Because so much of my epistemology relies on accepting uncertainty, and being open to revelation from what is not presently within the range of my knowing, it can be difficult to countenance A Course in Miracles which professes an end to uncertainty for those for whom it is the way (T-6.V.C.8:8).
Of course it was once for me very much the way, and so that past relationship becomes a sort of fructive omfalós by which I can countenance it, with backward glances that are equally grateful and critical.
The course was understood by its early authors, editors and readers to be paranormal – to fall outside the accepted boundaries of natural law. An aura of magic attended it. Later, they would realize this was an error and try to redo the assignment but the cat was out of the bag. The moment Helen Schucman declined to put her name on the text, Gary Renard and his ascended masters were inevitable.
For serious students of the course Renard is a distraction, a fact which often only becomes clear after reading and reflecting on his work. It’s okay. But Helen Schucman is also a distraction. For that matter, so is Jesus.
Indeed, even A Course in Miracles – the gestalt of its curriculum and many classrooms – is a distraction from that to which it would direct us.
And that can be tricky ground on which to stand or shuffle along.
My tribe, so to speak – the body of fellow students who with me form an ACIM classroom – are that collective of folks (mostly women as it turns out, which is itself instructive) who go very deeply into A Course in Miracles, discover a tiny door hidden inside it, a door with a note that reads “do not open under any circumstances,” and who open the door and go through it.
I think the door is obvious once you know what you’re looking for and decide you want to find it, but apparently one can spend lifetimes – thousands of them – deliberately missing the door. In the end it’s okay, but it feels like going on a picnic and then refusing to eat food outdoors. I mean sure, it’s your call, but . . . why?
In terms of my ACIM teachers, I think Ken Wapnick knew about the door – and what lay beyond it – but remained embedded in the course, Boddhisattva style, doing what he could to get folks to notice – if not pass through – the door. I think this; I don’t know this. But the progression of his writing and teaching suggests it.
I believe Tara Singh went through the door early – maybe too early and maybe too quickly – and thus can be quite – even fatally – confusing to sincere students. Distributing food to the poor alongside Mother Theresa . . . where in ACIM does it say do that?
Which feels like a good question until you realize that you’re hungry and need to eat.
(If you’re still puzzled by people who eat pizza while professing to have no body (W-pI.136.20:5), Singh is a better teacher than Wapnick)
Opening the door is transgressive and it has to be this way. It’s not that something bad happens on the other side or that there are gods or angels or demons or ACIM bosses who will punish us for opening it.
No, the transgression matters because it is an assertion of responsibility and an acceptance of the consequences which attend that assertion. When we open the door, we become constructive in the nearly literal sense of building something with our own mind and our own bodies.
It’s kind of like you thought ACIM was the church and it turns out it’s just a pep talk for going out and building a church.
But “the church” is not a physical structure, nor even a metaphysical one. It’s a social one and like everything else we do in language, it’s virtual.
When we pass through the door we absolve our share of mind of its invented paternal gods and related patriarchal structures, and become unto our own self – and to one another – the designer/creator one naturally is.
On that view, God and all projects related to God become nontrivial ideas that can be helpful or unhelpful according to context, and so cease to function as either causes or judges. The work becomes to find what is most helpful (most functional) in the bringing forth of love, in the very context in which we find our self, and that works tends to be free of the old images of spirituality and religion and even right and wrong.
Indeed, to optimize love, it sort of has to be free of old images. As Humberto Maturana says, “every love is love at first sight.” Otherwise it isn’t love but something else.
If you are happily studying or teaching A Course in Miracles, then by all means don’t let me stand in your way. But if you are studying or teaching, and there is a nagging sense of missing something, and you keep looking back at the course to find it . . .
Well in that situation, what you are looking away from is the door. And I say: turn to it. Turn to it, and open it, and fall into love, over and over and over.
Sean, can you be more specific? In reading this article, my sens is that you are talking around and around the door, but I’m still not sure what you are saying about it or what it is… Other than to go through it is possibly an adventure, and possibly necessary. At some point. Thanks.
I don’t know if I can be more specific. Probably not.
Basically, I am suggesting that there are students whose devotion and attention to the course allows the material to open in them a door through which the divine both enters and is entered. “Door” is a symbol, of course, which may or may not be helpful. One could say “veil,” too. Or “insight” maybe.
The course is a symbol; it is a map, not the territory. And there are junctures in our study when this distinction becomes clear, and the clarity is both healing and instructional. It’s easier to cross a landscape and attain a destination when one is no longer confusing landscape/destination with descriptions of the landscape/destination (which may be named “map” or “prayer” or “guru’s lecture” or whatever).
That previous paragraph makes a lot of sense to me, but to many ACIM students it’s utter nonsense. What can I say?
One thing about the course that I am generally confident is true for nearly all its students is its deeply personal nature. It meets us where we are. Thus, we have to go slowly when the inclination arises to translate our experience as “the” experience. I could tell someone in explicit detail where in the text and my formal study of it the lights go on and the Lord appears, but that description can’t be retroactively fitted onto somebody else’s practice, any more than my saying “roast chicken is delicious!” can feed the hungry.
I sometimes feel – twelve-step style – like chanting “it works if you work it / so work it you’re worth it.” God is not hiding; the Truth is given wholly and unconditionally. But there seems to be a law that while others can encourage us and teach us we have to take that last step alone, which is – pace A Course in Miracles – another way of saying God takes the last step. And She doesn’t need ACIM to take it . . .