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Reading the Rules for Decision: Finding Our Place in the Great Awakening

A Course in Miracles meets us where we are. That is part of what is so powerful and so lovely about it. There are no entrance examinations, no catechisms, no rituals. No special handshakes or secret signs. You don’t have to walk on your knees in pilgrimage. We pick it up and read and it begins to undo what blocks our awareness of Love.

This is why students have such vastly different experiences of the Course and why there are so many different interpretations of it. It is deeply personal. You wouldn’t expect your experience of falling in love to be precisely the same in form as anybody else’s. Why should it be any different for a relationship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God? That’s how it goes in this world.

It is a little problematic when we become attached to or invested in our ACIM experience and start thinking that it is the universal experience, but that’s okay too. We all do it, especially those of us who think we are past doing it. It’s part of being a body in the world. We think we’re special and unique. That’s both how and why arguments start – the belief that we’re right and our rightness requires defense (which, regardless of whether it appears defensive or offensive, is always an attack). You should read this edition of the Course and not that one. You should never read Gary Renard. Listening to Beethoven or reading Emily Dickinson will solve your problems.

At the level of opinion, the Course is just another interesting set of ideas about God and self. But that is not a very helpful level. Somehow we have to go past just treating the Course as one choice amongst many. I mean, if we know that it is our path, then we have an obligation to stop being casual about it. We have to engage with it at the deepest level imaginable.

And that is going to look different for all of us. The form in which you practice the Course is necessarily different than mine – perhaps radically so. It doesn’t matter. You might be working out a relationship with a spouse or a child. You might be figuring out your relationship to work or art. You might be figuring out money or sex.

You might be deeply into the Course’s Christian language and imagery. You might appreciate the specificity of Jesus vs. the abstraction of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you are drawn to the Course’s Freudian mechanics. Or the usefulness of its structure (a text, a workbook, and a manual for teachers).

All of that is just the form in which what is perfect and whole slowly remembers what it is and what it is not. Healing is just remembering that no healing is necessary.

Thus, it’s not really possible to generalize about what one means by “the deepest level imaginable.” It’s what you say it is. It’s between you and that which you call Jesus, or the Holy Spirit or God. And nobody can intrude on that. Some people might be able to make helpful suggestions or observations, but they can’t do the work for you. They can’t have the relationship for you. It’s like I said a couple of posts back, rephrasing the classic hymn. You have to walk with Jesus by yourself. Nobody else can walk that walk for you.

This is very much at the heart of Rules for Decision, which explicitly says near the beginning that we are not supposed to fight ourselves but rather focus on what is natural (T-30.I.1:7).

And if you find resistance strong and dedication weak, you are not ready (T-30.I.1:6).

There is no judgment in that sentence. We have to see that! It is just a fact, clearly and simply stated. That which does not flow naturally is not yet ready to flow. You can try to celebrate Christmas in July, but it’s not going to be the same. You can try to rake the lawn in a wind storm, but it’s not going to work. You have to try something different.

Jesus isn’t saying, “my favorite students are the ones who are ready for Rules for Decision.” He’s saying that he loves all of us and wants us to find that space where we can feel that love and trust that love. It’s like tuning in to a radio station: you need a good signal and music that you want to hear. It’s personal. It’s between you and Jesus.

Awakening isn’t something we can force, like jamming more leftovers into the fridge. Awakening is more akin to simply realizing that what we’re trying to do has already been done and so we can breathe. We can relax. We can go for a walk and enjoy the scenery. Why not?

It is important to make space for A Course in Miracles. That’s really one way of thinking about this first step in our new decision-making process: we aren’t going to make decisions alone anymore (T-30.I.2:2). As we slowly release the inclination to judge, and the actual judging slows and loses impact, we become aware of what is. We become aware that something is working independent of what we think we are, and that our efforts don’t contribute to it. God isn’t waiting for us to do anything, much less do something grand and heroic. God is simply waiting for us to reach the awareness that we are not separate from God. We’re waiting on that, too, and all our solo decision-making stands in the way.

Let the Course meet you where you are. Trust that you have a place in the Great Awakening and that it is both your will and the Will of God that you fulfill it (T-15.XI.10:10). If you have to take baby steps, then take them. If you can’t go past the Course introduction, then don’t. Don’t decide what you are and where you ought to be. That’s already been decided. Listen to the One who knows. Be ready to be guided.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • sally March 5, 2013, 12:19 am

    My whole being is filled with Joy as I read this Post. Just realizing on a deeper level, how much more relaxed within I am, and open each morning upon waking to read my Note on my bedside stand, of the 7 steps to Decision Making.
    Next, I’m fully aware of only mildly wording how I would like my day to be, while staying very focused on not letting my old habit of mentally jumping into my day with a Plan, usually written down with intense commitiment to my To Do List. My intensity on staying focused on not planning (unnecessary things) is due to remembering how often that I charged ahead with action on my decisions, and only moments later wondering “What if this happens, or that ??” on and on all day or days. Now I’m learning to know, how ever the day flows, It will be a sacred flow from my Invisible Teacher, who knows the past, present, future and timeing of every situation in my life. AND by redoing Jesus’ Teachings, I slowly and easily Let Go, and eagerly am looking forward to what He sends to me during the day. And as a result of this change in my mind, I no longer go through my day trying to subdue a partly unconscious stressful and fearful uncertainty of “what’s going to happen next?” Thank you dear brother, Sean, for taking us to and through A NEW BEGINNING. 🙂 Love, sally

    • Sean Reagan March 5, 2013, 9:35 am

      Hi Sally,

      That is such a beautiful phrase – “a sacred flow from my invisible Teacher . . . ” Yes, I hear you on the challenges. I, too, wake up and think, well, I have to do this and this, and I should probably do that, and maybe this too, and if this happens I have to have this response planned . . . It’s very tiring. Sometimes I think that’s the worst of it – how tired we make ourselves when we could simply coast in the sacred flow. It doesn’t have to be this hard – and we don’t have to do so much!

      But it is a question of trust and that doesn’t come easy, most of the time. But we are learning. For that I am thankful and, like you, thankful for all the companions as I go!


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