Yesterday, I talked about the so-called light episodes of Lesson Fifteen in A Course in Miracles. My basic position is: don’t worry about them. They aren’t important.
I want to say more about why they are not important. Or maybe how.
The world we see is a coarse-grained symbol of what A Course in Miracles calls the real world (e.g., T-20.I.3:1). However, from the perspective of bodies, we cannot know that real world because our bodies – and their function – are located in the image. They are the image.
An image is itself a real enough thing, but it is not the thing to which it points. It is really important to be clear on this distinction. A picture of my daughter is not my daughter. If my daughter is hungry, I don’t feed the picture.
Arguing otherwise is like saying that a character in a video game can suddenly become aware of the world outside the game. The character can be aware of the game world, sure, and she can act in the game world because she is brought forth with, in and as the game world. But she cannot reach beyond that world. You can’t actually talk to the character you play in Skyrim.
“Light episodes,” and experiences like them, are simply items on the long list of things that can happen in the context of bodies in the world with other bodies. In and of themselves, they mean nothing.
However, since we have no neutral thoughts about “light episodes,” we do not see any neutral “light episodes” (W-pI.17.2:4). We see no neutral apple pies, no neutral puppies and no neutral “light episodes.”
Therefore, we have to relate in a responsible way to the meaning that appears with the light episode.
If we take our personal experience of light episodes and translate them as testimony unto our spiritual growth and potential, then we have simply allowed ego to claim yet more of the world for its grim litany of death.
Regardless of what you may believe, you do not see anything that is really alive or really joyous. That is because you are unaware as yet of any thought that is really true, and therefore really happy (W-pI.3:2-3).
What is just another illusion should be – like all illusions – gently set aside as we give attention to what is beyond – in a generative creative sense – appearances. Everything is always changing – is there something that does not? How do you know? Can you stabilize in it? Give it away? Point to it with words? The goal of A Course in Miracles is to go beyond ego-based narratives as we answer these questions. Why create an elaborate and ultimately unsustainable image of love named “light episode” when the real thing is just . . . given to you?
Love is literally here, now. Ask to see the real world and then gaze about you in complete faith you are not alone and behold – the real world is given. It is here. It is this: this this. And if we add even a microdot of our own to it . . . then it disappears, blurred beyond recognition.
Joy and peace are so simple and we just . . . go on depriving ourselves. Why?
Well, in part because we don’t remember that joy and peace are given and, when we begin to intuit that they are, we can’t figure out how to accept them. We still think we have to do something, or that something has to happen. It can’t be this simple! And so again, we bring ego and falseness to what is clear, simple and present.
Thus the egoic bonfire goes on raging as “this body” in “this world.”
When it comes to the supernatural, the “grander” the story – in a past life I was a disciple of Jesus Christ! I no longer have an ego! I see lights everywhere all the time! – the further we are from the felt and quiet revelation that nothing need be done; we are already home in God.
The body’s adventures and misadventures – regardless of how exciting or sexy or special we make them out to be – are always just the body’s adventures and misadventures. No matter how how amazing or depressing or otherworldly or mundane, they always arise in and point back towards bodies.
Seeing lights – or hearing voices or communing with ascended masters or whatever – are merely things that appear to happen to bodies. They are less common, perhaps, than eating ice cream or sneezing, but they are still just embodied events in the world.
And as such, they mean nothing. Nothing. If they matter to us – as experiences we desire or experiences we claim have occurred to us and are thus indicative of our relationship with God, Christ or Spirit – then we are lost. We are just playing the ego’s game by the ego’s rules.
There is – there is always – a better way.
Yes, Lesson Fifteen suggests that these light episodes are signs that we are opening our eyes at last (W-pI.15.3:4) and that they prepare the way from illusion to knowledge (W-pI.15.3:7).
That is a healthier way to see them. They are not signs that we’re special, but signs that we’re finally getting our shit together. We’re finally taking the course seriously. We’re stubborn beginners whose stubbornness is finally beginning to dissolve.
But remember! Even when given to narratives that bring us closer to God, the light episodes are still illusions. They are still just symbols. And as such, they are no more or less valuable to our learning of the curriculum than, say, eating ice cream or misplacing our glasses. This is the secret that liberates us from self-identity strictly locked in the confines of bodies: all things that happen in the world and to and through bodies are the same.
Even things which makes us feel holy and loved and blessed, like light episodes.
A Course in Miracles gently invites us not to fixate on ideas like reincarnation and other psychic or supernatural powers.
The emphasis of this course always remains the same; -it is at this moment that complete salvation is offered you, and it is at this moment that you can accept it. This is still your one responsibility . . . Heaven is here. There is nowhere else. Heaven is now. There is no other time (M-24.6:1-2, 4-7).
Ask yourself: if I am not right now in reality, then where would I be? What place exists that God did not create?
Thus, I cheerfully accept the coming and going of light episodes and all the other experiences that make it seem as if a veil is about to be drawn revealing my authentic angelic self. Who cares? Light episodes, dark episodes. Blue episode, red episodes. This story and that.
If you really want a light episode and you haven’t had one, then drop some acid or invest in prisms or go visit a disco after fasting for a couple of days. If you’ve got a “preconditions to awakening” checklist, then go ahead and check stuff off it.
If you’ve already had light episodes and secretly believe their special signs to you from Jesus, then fine. Go behave the way you thinking Lightbringers-from-Jesus are supposed to behave.
Sooner or later, we get tired of the coming and going, and tired of the struggle to be special or become special, and we just surrender. Then we realize that light episodes (like eating and sex and playing with puppies) are akin to billboards advertising Boston right outside the city line. Yes we can stop driving and celebrate the image of Boston. But why do that when the real thing is literally right there?