Personal Statement re: ACIM

I began to study A Course in Miracles at the end of a long spiritual drought. I had walked away from the Catholic church forever, ending a decades-long relationship that had shaped and guided all my fundamental belief systems. It was a big deal.

happy place

I’d known about the Course – had flirted with it a couple times, made fun of it now and then – but the third time I picked it up, I was in crisis and it was somehow clear that this strange book was – for better or worse – the help that was being given. I gave myself to it accordingly.

A Course in Miracles was familiar but alien, attractive but oddly conservative, and more confusing than not, but I came to it with the fervor of a drowning man grasping at driftwood. I was lost and scared, lonesome and depressed. ACIM was the unexpected – and not always desired – solution.

A couple things happened. The first was that around lessons 79 and 80 I had a traumatic but not unhelpful spiritual insight. In the woods with the dogs at 4 a.m., moonlight striating snowy pines, I saw clearly that the God I’d been worshiping was basically the cruel and judgmental one Jonathan Edwards identified in Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. I was intellectually ashamed and spiritually devastated. The God of Love to which the Course referred did not exist anywhere in my cosmology or theology. How could that have happened?

The second thing that happened was that I discovered the work of Tara Singh. Each sentence and line illuminated my mind. The clarity of his thinking, the intensity of his devotion, the rigor of his practice . . . It changed my relationship to the Course forever. Any remaining hint of a New Age, Oprahesque psychological vanity project was utterly dissolved.

That first year, those two events, and that first round of lessons . . . I did not look back. I have been a slow and self-willed learner, yes, but I have not turned back. I have not refused to hear.

I do not profess any expertise with the Course, save a certain stubborness and devotion. It is my path; there is no other. A Course in Miracles offers me the possibility of transformation at the level of the mind. It undoes what is personal and thus painful, ever shifting the psychological trendline away from fear and towards Love. It restores to awareness the truth that what I am is not separate from Creation, and that the erroneous belief otherwise produces all conflict.

I have no other word for this but healing. It is the other way to which Bill Thetford alluded, inaugurating Helen’s years-long writing project, through which – at long last – I came in a practical and radically helpful way to Jesus. I remembered my function.

All conflict is internal, and the solution is always to become nonviolent. Nonviolence means to cease resistance of every kind. It is to let go of everything that makes attack and defense feel necessary, rational, justified, valuable et cetera. When we become nonviolent, we create openings in our lives and the world through which Love passes, gently restoring us to a sustainable and non-dramatic happiness that is easy to give away. Giving it away is what it is.

The commitment to living nonviolently forces you into a sustained relationship with the holy instant. It asks that you give everything to God, without qualification or condition. The joy is all-encompassing. Nothing in my life prepared me for what would happen when I decided to take A Course in Miracles seriously, and to consent to whatever transformation it brought forth.

Healing is collaborative. It cannot be done alone. It occurs in relationship. Every relationship is a question: will you rest in the Holy Spirit’s judgment of you, which is God’s judgment, or will you struggle yet another day – yet another hour, yet another minute – in the ego’s judgment of you?

The Holy Spirit sees us as totally innocent and teaches us how to remember our innocence by helping others become happy, joyous and free. The Holy Spirit frees us to create as God creates. It teaches us that we are each a Guest at the Altar of Life, and that our sole function is to respond to the cries for love that we hear there.

The Holy Spirit guides us toward a life of service unto our brothers and sisters, which both begins and ends with self-love. God has one Child, not many, and that child has one function: to remember her own innocence by discovering in it in everyone else.

The ego sees us as always at risk of loss, always called upon to sacrifice, and without recourse of any kind save attack and defense. It demands that we compete with others for scarce-and-getting-scarcer resources rather than cooperate with them. It demands that we ignore their cries for help rather than communicate and respond to those cries with love and mercy.

The spiritual path to which A Course in Miracles calls us is a collaborative study and practice. We collaborate with all Creation, with all Life, and we do not fear the limits that the body seems to impose on us. We accept them happily as opportunities to share with our brothers and sisters the joyful news that the sleep of forgetfulness is but a dream from which we can easily awaken.

It is possible to be naturally, deeply and seriously happy. We can be at peace with all life, and our living can be informed by a radiant coherence that is in us but not of us. All we have to is give up the fight against ourselves.

Again, I share with you – in writing, in dialogue, one to one, and so forth – not because I have anything special to say or offer, but because it is only with you that I remember I am not special, and so together we can rest – however briefly – in holiness. Even a minute is enough.

Thank you, always, for sharing this path with me.


  1. Thanks once again, brother Sean for reaffirming the truth for all of us. There’s tremendous power in this validation. It just makes it a whole lot easier to hold the line.

  2. I too left the Catholic Church decades ago. I didn’t find the Course until years later and when I did I knew that this was my path in finding my way! I struggle often in living what I know to be true but I’m also grateful in my struggle.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings and validating our inclusiveness with all of creation!

    1. You’re welcome, Barbara. Yes to all of this – it is a struggle, it is a practice, but I am always grateful for it. A chance to say yes everyday to love πŸ™πŸ™

      Thanks for reading & sharing –


  3. Every time I feel like I’ve had enough with the course, you come along and make it all feel right again. Thank you.

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