Given the state of the world – especially with respect to its diverse and vivid potential for sustained & catastrophic violence – it is helpful to revisit some basic principles of how one lives in a chaotic dysfunctional world when one is a student of A Course in Miracles.
A primary metaphysical assertion of A Course in Miracles is that the world is not real (e.g., W-pI.132.6:2). It’s important to remember that the course is not denying that the world appears real; rather, it is asserting that the appearance is not in a 1:1 alignment with Love.
If we are lost in the desert, the mirage of an oasis is not a real source of water or salvation but it is a real mirage. Pretending otherwise can literally end in death.
If you happen to prefer chocolate ice cream to vanilla, then you are going to experience eating chocolate rather than vanilla ice cream. If you prefer hiking to running, then you’re going to experience scaling mountains rather than competing in local 5Ks. And so forth.
The particular experience we have is not a problem to be solved, nor an evil to be resisted, but simply a confusion to be corrected. And neither the confusion nor the correction are in the experience. Rather, they are in the mind that perceives the experience.
Bodies don’t undo bodies. The world doesn’t end in the world itself. Only minds change and under certain useful constraints, they can change in the direction of healing, which is to say, Love.
Thus, A Course in Miracles is not an invitation to deny our experience of being embodied in a world full of other bodies.
It is not an invitation to make an intellectual argument about Love that proves other course students wrong, or other Christians wrong, or other philosophers wrong.
Rather, it is an invitation to perceive the world with an internal Teacher who – unlike our rigidly embodied self – knows what’s illusory and what is not.
Please note that if you agree with what is written here, then you implicitly accept the existence of the body and the world’s reality. Some guy on the internet is right!
Please also note that if you disagree with what is written, then you explicitly accept the existence of the body and the world’s reality. Some guy on the internet is wrong!
With respect to this right/wrong binary there is – as Bill Thetford so aptly pointed out, inaugurating A Course in Miracles – another way.
The other way is to simply attend one’s living without a lot of drama, and to let their inner teacher – the Holy Spirit – handle the decision-making. Not my will but Thine be done.
What does this have to do with the world’s habit of threatening sustained and catastrophic violence?
It is not our job to start, prosecute or end war or [insert your calamity here].
At the level of the body, our job is to adopt a stance toward war exemplified by the Golden Rule: you don’t want anybody killing your body, so don’t kill other bodies. You don’t want other governments advocating killing your body, so don’t support a government that advocates killing other bodies.
That’s it. That’s always the answer to how to live in the world as a body (e.g., T-1.III.6:4). Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When we accept that, then “what to do” with this or that external crisis is solved neatly and quickly forever.
And then we can get on with the work of forgiveness: seeing our brothers and sisters as one self and one mind.
Most of us are happy to say that we see our brothers and sisters as one self and one mind. But the course is given to us precisely because we don’t see them that way but can be taught to see them that way. Until we learn that way of seeing, then we are going to remain attached to the illusion that truth and love are actually in bodies.
So for the time being, we have to work it out at both levels – mind and body.
You are only reading this post because – like the one who wrote it – you still believe in a world in which a body serves a function that can be other than neutral. It can’t. The body is literally the manifestation of an argument. Asking it to be anything else just doubles down on the original confusion.
Offer the body to the work of peace: do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and then forget about it. Don’t sweat the war. Or the ice cream or the 5K. Practice love in the face of conflict so that you can learn – once and for all, quite literally – that Love never went to war in the first place.