Ruefully resisting resistance

Many a student of A Course in Miracles spends much time on banging himself (or herself) over the head about the spiritual self-sabotage that their fear of accepting Jesus’ message brings about. After all, this curriculum about awakening from the ego-hell of perception, time and space back to the Heart of God that we purportedly never left but which really doesn’t experientially mean anything to us, is extremely threatening to our unique special ego personality. We do feel we want the lasting inner peace that Jesus promises could be our eternal experience, and yet we also keep stubbornly clinging to our miserable little ego self, since somehow we still firmly believe that this body and this personality is all we have and all we are.

In other words, we all have a split mind: we want oneness, but we also want individuality. The difference between Course students and others is oftentimes that the former are now aware of this split, more than the latter. This increased awareness, however, doesn’t make them happier people. On the contrary; on top of the pain that the ego world brings about by definition, Course students have the added pain of ruefully resisting their resistance against waking up. They see the exit from hell, but they do not yet know how to eradicate their obvious resistance to passing through the gates of Heaven, back to their only reality as Christ. “So, what’s the next step?” they often ask in desperation.

At first, Jesus’ gentle answer to this outcry (“I need do nothing”, T-18.VII) does not seem to be very helpful. Of course, this advice should be read in the context of our identification with our body in the dream world: “Seek not outside yourself [for salvation]. For it will fail, and you will weep each time an idol [a devotion] falls.” (T-29.VII.1:1-2). However, in terms of training the part of our mind that continually chooses between the two possible teachers (the ego versus the Holy Spirit), we should be very active. If I want peace but I experience resistance, it makes sense to train the mind to ever more often choose peaceful thoughts instead of spending days, if not years, in ruefully resisting our resistance to Jesus’ message. Resistance, after all, can never lead to lasting inner peace.

The key, then, to getting rid of this resistance is not to spiritually work still harder at ‘doing’ the Course, but rather on calmly looking at the resistance, and honestly realize what it is all about. Period. There is tremendous power in simply acknowledging to yourself: “Yeah, I’m obviously still afraid of experiencing the Love of God, in which my little self will completely disappear. That’s not a sin; it’s perfectly understandable. I should allow myself some slack and gladly accept where I am now on the ladder that leads to the acceptance of the Atonement, which Jesus tells me I am guaranteed to reach, as will everyone, since there is only one seemingly sleeping Son of God. At least I am not wholly insane anymore, and I want to keep growing, at the pace I allow the Holy Spirit to guide me at.”

Perhaps you want to read the thought above once more. Compare the calm inner peace that emanates from this thought to the tension that arises at the urge of wanting to reach the top of the ladder right now (and the frustration of obviously not succeeding right now!). If I want to graduate from Jesus’ Course as a happy learner, I should cultivate in my mind the ten characteristics of the Teachers of God (M-4), not bang myself over the head about being such a poor student because I fail to follow through on what the workbook lessons tell me to do, five or ten minutes each hour.

An important characteristic in this regard is patience. After all, “What is a hundred or a thousand years to Them [God and Christ], or tens of thousands?” (T-26.IX.4:1). The happy learner realizes that although time appears to be linear, it is really holographic: “Each hour, each minute, each second, and each instant that each second holds, you but relive the time [i.e., the Big Bang] when terror took the place of love” (T-26.V.13:1). So each time I get frustrated about my resistance to accepting Jesus’ message, I am really reliving this ontological moment of the terror and guilt of rejecting the oneness Love of God. Rather than hurting myself about that, I could also honestly acknowledge that this is obviously the choice I still make.

The solution, then, is simple enough: accept the here and now as it is, be very clear about the resistance at hand, and then acknowledge that the decision maker has again chosen the ‘holy frown’ instead of the ‘holy smile’ of the happy learner, guided by the Holy Spirit. Don’t feel guilty about it; just acknowledge the choice and the accompanying pain it brings. That’s the real motivator for getting beyond the resistance, and making a different choice a little sooner next time. Cultivating the ten characteristics of the Teacher of God helps you do that a bit more effectively each day, as long as we still count the days and nights.

To conclude: we can expand the following quote “You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment” (T-3.VI.3:1) to include every situation in the here and now, which is of course the whole point of the quote: all the many seemingly separated forms we experience and interpret, are really one in content: either hate or love; either resistance or acceptance. So stop struggling in trying to get rid of your resistance to ‘doing’ Jesus’ Course: “Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon the battleground [of the mind]. From there your perspective will be quite different. In the midst of it, […] murder is your choice. Yet from above, the choice is miracles instead of murder. And the perspective coming from this choice shows you the battle [i.e., resistance] is not real, and easily escaped” (T-23.IV.5:1-7). Happy practicing!


See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:

buy-now-amazon-button

See my Feb. 2020 Course workshop on YouTube called “A kingdom to rule” (English captions/subtitles available).

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

Which me?

In therapeutic group sessions, people will oftentimes complain that they lack inner peace because they are annoyed by others. Even though they know their inner peace need not depend on what others say or do, there seems to be an almost endless list of people to dislike. But if I complain that I do not like my neighbor, who is it that does the complaining? This question is rarely asked, and yet points the way out of the vicious circle of vexation.

A Course in Miracles teaches us that the world we think we live in is inherently illusory, and therefore so are the bodies that we think constitute our reality, as we read in many places, for example in Workbook lesson 155: “The world is an illusion. Those who choose to come to it are seeking for a place where they can be illusions, and avoid their own reality.” (W-pI.155.2:1-2). In this case, Jesus is not speaking metaphorically. He literally means that to experience myself as a body is a deliberate attempt to avoid the experience of my true reality as Christ, outside time, space, perception and matter.

Everyone who walks this earth therefore, still prefers to try to attain lasting happiness through individuality instead of the state of Oneness. Most of us do not fully realize our deeply cherished attachment to the imagined state of individual specialness. Only once you really take some time to contemplate what life would be like without a body, without time and space, without perception, heck, even without consciousness, might it be that the sweat of terror about losing your very self would break out.

This is why in A Course in Miracles Jesus patiently explains to his students, in many places, that the ‘me‘ that complains about that awful neighbor, is not my real identity – it’s my ego, the part of my mind that still likes to be a unique, special individual self. Still, once I lift my mind ‘above the battleground’ (T-23.IV) of my chattering thought stream, I can learn to non-judgmentally observe the dream world I think I’m living in, and then ask for another Teacher where true inner peace can be found, Who in the Course is identified as the Holy Spirit. (In other thought systems this Teacher is called by many other names, always referring to the Voice for Oneness Love.)

In other words, the real me in this world is what Kenneth Wapnick calls the decision making part of the mind. Though still apparently active in the dream of time and space, the decision maker has the power to choose between love and fear at any moment in time. In fact, Jesus refers to this power to choose as “…all power in Heaven and on earth” (W-pI.191.9:1; W-pII.320.1:4). Once my decision maker consistently chooses to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, my identity will unavoidably melt into my Identity as Christ. I will have accepted the Atonement and am awake again in my real Home in the Heart of God.

This sounds easy (and desirable) enough, but our aforementioned imagined terror about losing our special unique individual self makes sure we continually self-sabotage our journey Home in various ways. Of course, condemnation is the chief instrument to keep the ego alive, for as long as I can ‘prove’ that I am different and better than others, individuality clearly seems to be the truth. So how do I learn to embrace the guidance of the Holy Spirit, while still immersed in the conflict between wanting self versus wanting Self?

The key is to increasingly become aware – above the battleground, in silence – of the ego thought stream, and then non-judgmentally look at the thoughts you apparently choose. In Chapter 31 of the text, we read: “Be very still an instant. Come, without all thought of what you ever learned before, and put aside all images you made. The old will fall away before the new without your opposition or intent. […] Forgive your brother all appearances, that are but ancient lessons you have taught yourself about the sinfulness in you. […] Thus it is a way you go together, not alone.” (T-31.II.8:1-3; 9:1,6).

Workbook lesson 155 says that “There is a way of living in the world that is not here, although it seems to be. You do not change appearance, though you smile more frequently. Your forehead is serene; your eyes are quiet. And […] those who have not yet perceived the way [e.g., neighbors] will recognize you….” (W-pI.155.1:1-4). In other words, I find inner peace by my decision to “…step back and let Him [the Holy Spirit, the Voice for Love] lead the way.” (W-pI.155).

This does not mean that my ego should now like my neighbor. The ego will always differentiate and reject. It does mean that I can now look at that attack thought in silence from above the battleground, and remind myself: “Ah yes, of course my ego doesn’t like my neighbor. But I am more than my ego. I actually witness a projection of my dislike of myself because of the sin of disliking God in the original moment. I do this to perpetuate the dream of time and space, so that I might still find some happiness all on my own. That’s just plain silly. In reality, my neighbor and I are the same Son of God, at one in Christ. Will I decide to see his form (behavior), or his content (the same Light that shines in all of us)?

As such mindfulness is extremely threatening to the ego, which we still intimately identify with, all sorts of objections will rise about really following through on this, as in, for example. “I tried acting kindly to him once, and it didn’t work. What’s the use?” However, trying to change someone else means once again falling into the trap of specialness. Jesus only asks of me some sincere willingness to see him as the same; to visualize the same Light in him and me. Period. And the time will not be long when my neighbor surprises me by acting kindly to me. And that’s when I start to realize that my “ego me” is not me. I’m the decision maker, with all power in Heaven and on earth to experience peace. Use it wisely!


See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:

buy-now-amazon-button

See my Feb. 2020 Course workshop on YouTube called “A kingdom to rule” (English captions/subtitles available).

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

Upset over nothing

In our nightly dreams, we can get upset about the wildest imaginable things. We might chase someone or be chased, switching abruptly from one scene to another; we might even be in a heated discussion about problems in the scene or about the safety of the characters involved. Although dreams can be a helpful aid in clarifying what upsets us in our daily lives that we apparently suppress, when we wake up the morning we’re glad to realize that in the dream we were really upset over nothing. The challenges in our daily lives in ‘reality’, so we argue, are much more serious and understandably make us upset at times.

Enter A Course in Miracles, wherein Jesus informs his readers (students) that even in what we consider to be our daily reality, whenever we get upset, we get upset over nothing. This is because from Jesus’ point of view, this entire world is literally nothing, being a hallucinatory concept about consciousness, space and time in the mind of the seemingly sleeping Son of God. In chapter 27 of the text, we can hear Jesus emphatically assuring us that “…It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity, which means there is no time.” (T-27.VIII.6:5). Think about that statement for a moment. From the perspective of the Course, this entire world is cut from the same cloth as our nightly dreams: it’s all illusory. Once we awaken from this ‘dream world’, we will be relieved to realize that we were really upset over nothing.

But there’s a slight problem. Who or what would be the “we” when we would awaken? Whenever I wake up from my nightly dreams, I am glad to find myself back in what I utterly identify myself with: my body. But Jesus really cannot comprehensively explain what would be my identity should I wake from the dream of perception, time and space! Unfortunately, the voice of the ego, which is the voice for separate autonomy from God, does have a clear answer. Experiencing myself in a body is a clear sign that my mind chose – and still chooses – the ego as the primary guide of my thoughts, which are always aimed at keeping my precious individual autonomy, separated from the oneness love of God, alive and kicking. So what is the crystal-clear answer of the ego?

“Should you choose to discard the individuality that is my gift to you, assuming for the moment that you were capable of doing such a thing,” so the ego would argue, “you would obviously disappear into oblivion, since there would be nothing left for you to perceive anything with. Moreover, without the body you would instantly be noticed by God, Who will punish you severely for the cardinal sin of having rejected Him in the moment you chose my guidance. There will be nothing left for you to cherish. Your soul will burn eternally in hell. I’d stick with me if I were you.”

And sure enough, every time we blithely start to work at some serious spiritual progress, sooner or later we notice that we self-sabotage our efforts: we distract our minds with trivial matters that “seem so important”, or we simply forget to remind ourselves of our desired goal. There is not a single student who hasn’t experienced the utter frustration of self-sabotaging his or her own spiritual intentions and practice. That’s why Jesus explains in chapter 18 of the text: “Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough.” (T-18.IV.2:1-2). Why is that?

Course Scholar Kenneth Wapnick often told his audience that truly studying A Course in Miracles should engender tremendous anxiety about the fear of ‘being erased’ once we would really follow through. After all, Jesus in effect tells us that our very individual existence is a lie, and that our eyes that read his book don’t really see, and the brain that tries to make sense of it all doesn’t really think. And nobody likes to be told his existence is a lie, and that nothing here in this world is worth assigning any value whatsoever to, as for example Buddhists correctly observe.

A Course in Miracles would be a most depressing curriculum if it didn’t offer us the best banquet of all, instead of the measly crumbs of specialness we try to collect in our dream world. In various subtle ways, in a most careful tempo, with symphonic variations, Jesus tries to make us realize that without individuality, having left time and space behind us, we would not be annihilated, but we would be Christ again, meaning we would be everything. In reality – in truth – no distinctions are possible between God and Christ, since oneness knows of no distinctions. And since in reality we are all, in reality we have all. Right now. Except this is not really understandable from our experience in time and space.

Self-sabotaging our own spiritual practice should merely be regarded as nothing but the understandable fear of letting go of our own perceived precious individuality. It’s really nothing to get upset about, although our anxiety is perfectly understandable. We should allow ourselves some slack: after all, undoing a decision that has been going on for some fourteen billion years now, no matter how illusory it is, is not something that is easily done. And Jesus fully understands. He even quotes from Plato’s Cave allegory to comfort us in our upset: “Prisoners bound with heavy chains for years, […] with eyes so long cast down in darkness they remember not the light, do not leap in joy the instant they are made free. It takes a while for them to understand what freedom is.” (T-20.III.9:1-2).

So please be kind to yourself. Whenever you find yourself getting upset over this or that, remember that it’s really about nothing, since in reality each seemingly separated one of us is already Home, outside time and space, as Christ. Then quickly choose a miracle instead of murder; that is, choose to forgive. Please don’t bash yourself for once again having forgotten Jesus’ instructions. Don’t feel guilty. Try to be much more patient with yourself. Only infinite patience brings immediate results, as again the Buddhists say. Once you truly practice patience, you find that literally nothing that seems to happen is worth sacrificing the inner peace in your mind. Happy practicing!


See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:

buy-now-amazon-button

See my Feb. 2020 Course workshop on YouTube called “A kingdom to rule” (English captions/subtitles available).

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

That liberating one percent

All of us regularly feel bothered by certain conditioned responses we know we would rather not choose, but which we just can’t seem to control. Such responses usually come down to some sort of condemnation, followed by associated behavior. Without exception, pain follows in the form of rancor, guilt, or regret. When the conditioned responses become too painful, we seek counsel with a psychotherapist. However, as long as the underlying attraction to stubbornly keep clinging to such conditioned responses (as this affirms our precious unique individuality and superiority to others) isn’t laid bare, no psychotherapy will ameliorate the pain.

The “Being-oriented Therapy” is one of the very few therapies I know of that helps the patient lift his consciousness “above the battleground”, as A course in Miracles names it (T-23.IV), without having to dive into any metaphysics, nondualistic principles or oneness vagueness. Briefly summarized, the therapist invites the patient to seek and find that “one percent” of the consciousness that is able to independently look at what’s happening – right now – with current thoughts and emotions. If you can train yourself to non-judgmentally observe the thoughts that lead to the conditioned impulses, without “automatically” being dragged into them, this must mean that you are not the conditioned self you believe you are. It can be quite a peak experience to realize that for the first time!

Once the patient’s mind has reached that “place on high”, from that “one percent” consciousness state of the observer, you’ve now become what Course scholar Ken Wapnick has coined the decision maker who can choose either one of two guides for the thought stream: either the ego (the voice for special separated autonomy) or the Holy Spirit (the voice for the Oneness Love that is God). In fact, the entire curriculum of A Course in Miracles is aimed at having us remember that we have a decision maker in the mind that has the power to choose to be guided by either individual selfishness or by oneness love. From the perspective of what the Course calls content, there are no other options than these two.

Since we all share the (firmly repressed) burning desire to re-unite with our Creator, only the choice for oneness love (i.e., following the advice of our Inner Teacher called the Holy Spirit) will lead us to the eternal happiness that we all seek for as long as we think we are living here in time and space. It’s only when we have fully learned the Holy Spirit’s Lessons of love and have accepted the Atonement for ourselves completely (i.e., no dark spot in the mind remains to hide the face of Christ in anyone, without exception) will perception give way to the happy realization that duality was merely a silly dream, and that nonduality is much, much better. However, then we’re back in the abstract realm of metaphysics again…

From the perspective of Being-oriented Therapy, though, we need not have fully mastered the abstract concepts of nonduality to experience lasting inner peace in this dream world. Remember, experiencing inner peace here and now reflects the eternal peace in Heaven. That experience will eventually automatically fuse into knowledge once we generalize the principle of forgiveness to all situations and all people all the time. This is why that “one percent” of our consciousness that can observe the thought stream, can truly be called liberating. The question to ask from that state of consciousness is simple: “Will the impulse that I usually follow (but now pause to look at) lead to pain or pleasure?” When that question is asked, the decision maker has been put in the position to choose again, and the best choice to make will be obvious.

This ‘best choice’ is the choice for the miracle that gives Jesus’ curriculum its title. The miracle is the effect of choosing to replace that “ancient hatred” (of the separation) with the “present love” of forgiveness (T-26.IX.6:1). This is the way all past hurts are unmasked and forever undone. In terms of Being-oriented psychotherapy, by activating the observer in the mind, the patient comes to realize that choosing to hold on to perceived hurt only keeps the currently experienced pain intact. That fuels the motivation to change the self-sabotaging conditioned responses that we chose just to keep the sorry picture of an unfairly treated separated self intact, to much better responses that assert that you and I and everyone else are still the same loving Son of God. That’s liberation!

Let’s conclude by quoting the lovely passage in section IV of chapter 23 in the text about choosing to activate that liberating one percent of consciousness that allows us to look at the battleground, evaluate it, and then make the better choice for inner peace: “Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it [the battleground]. From there will your perspective be quite different. […] Bodies may battle, but the clash of forms is meaningless. […But] How can a battle be perceived as meaningless when you engage in it? […] Whenever the temptation to attack rises to make your mind darkened and murderous, remember you can see the battle from above [that’s the liberating one percent]. Even in forms you do not recognize, the signs you know. There is a stab of pain, a twinge of guilt, and above all, a loss of peace. This you know well. When they occur, leave not your place on high, but quickly choose a miracle instead of murder.” (T-23.IV.5:1-6:5).


See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:

buy-now-amazon-button

See my Feb. 2020 Course workshop on YouTube called “A kingdom to rule” (English captions/subtitles available).

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

Release the world

For many students, one of the most puzzling aspects of A Course in Miracles remains its nondualistic foundation upon which its entire curriculum rests. While we experience ourselves in time, studying and practicing the Course, hoping to become enlightened and find the lasting inner peace that we want so much, we are bluntly told (cf. lesson 132) that there is no world and, moreover, that we are all mad: “A madman thinks the world he sees is real, and does not doubt it.” (W-pI.132.1:5). So why would Jesus say we are living like madmen in a world, only to learn that there is no world?

In his Course, Jesus patiently explains why we are still firmly convinced there is a world, in which we believe we exist in space and time. Each instant we are conscious of, so he tells us, we are merely reliving the ontological moment of separation when terror took the place of love (T-26.V.13:1). This is the “unholy instant” just before the Big Bang so long ago, when the metaphorically pondering Son of God decided to try the ego’s idea of being autonomous, separate from oneness, apart from God. Since this could never happen in reality, it’s only an hallucination.

Still, this belief was powerful enough to ignite the Big Bang and dream up an entire universe of time and space, in which we seek to hide from the imagined vengeful wrath of God. In order to prevent the sleeping Son of God from changing His Mind to once again prefer Oneness, the ego makes sure the mind is constantly distracted by problems and threats. So that’s why we always have 99 problems to worry about. And in order to displace the guilt we all secretly feel about our decision to renounce God, we are constantly on the lookout to find guilt in others. That’s why we always chortle in glee whenever we find convincing reasons to point fingers at all the ‘evil-doers’ in the world: this means God will let us off the hook when we die.

Lesson 132 and Chapter 26 shed some wonderful light on what is really going on in the mind, and what the way out of this hell looks like. Let’s look at some representative passages. In workbook lesson 132, Jesus summarizes what all of us firmly believe: “Perhaps you think you did not make the world, but came unwillingly to what was made already, hardly waiting for your thoughts to give it meaning.” (W-pI.132.4:4). Ah, yes; we would all agree, wouldn’t we? But then he continues: “Yet in truth you found exactly what you looked for when you came.” So what is it what we looked for? A place to bury and distract our mind from the Oneness love of God, in a state of almost infinite fragmentation, providing us with ample separated scapegoats to project our own perceived guilt on.

“You have enslaved the world with all your fears, your doubts and miseries, your pain and tears; and all your sorrows press on it, and keep the world a prisoner to your beliefs [i.e., that the separation from perfect oneness has indeed been accomplished].” (W-pI.132.3:4). Why would we want to make up such a hell, when we all profess we want lasting inner peace? This is because we want peace on our own terms. We want to be enlightened as a separated individual, and we want God to approve of that. Since our awareness of real Oneness Love would instantly pull the ego out of business, we crave to maintain the illusion of separation. And so we prefer to see a world that clearly continues to prove that the ontological moment of separation did indeed happen.

Now we can better understand what Jesus means when he says that “time is a trick, a sleight of hand, a vast illusion” (W-pI.158.4:1), made to provide ongoing support for our belief in unique, special, separated individuality: each instant that we still prefer to be separated, we but relive that ontological moment 14 billion years ago of choosing to believe in the ego, that instant when terror (i.e., the shattering of perfect oneness) took the place of Love (God, Oneness, perfection). So while we perceive time as something linear, its true nature is holographic: each interval of time contains the whole of the separation nightmare; and each time we choose to condemn someone or something we but relive that original choice.

This is why Jesus teaches as follows: “Belief is powerful indeed. The thoughts you hold are mighty, and illusions are as strong in their effects as is the truth.” (W-pI.132.1:3-4). So, while Jesus clearly states that “There is no world! This is the central thought the course attempts to teach” (W-pI.132.6:2-3), he adds that “There is no world apart from what you wish. […] Change but your mind on what you want to see, and all the world must change accordingly.” (W-pI.132.5:1-2). Jesus is of course speaking of forgiveness, the choice to see sameness instead of separated differences. Forgiveness is the one illusion that undoes the ongoing need for still more time.

Forgiveness (or the miracle, the mechanism and the effect of forgiveness) is the choice to follow the Teacher of Love instead of the teacher of sin, guilt and fear. In the Course, this Teacher is called the Holy Spirit, Who is defined as “The Voice for Love”, that is, the Oneness Love that is God. We could also say that forgiveness is the choice to prefer nonduality (eternity, oneness) to duality (the dream world of separation). Jesus reminds us that from the perspective of nonduality (a synonym for “truth”), the dream world of separation never really happened: “Time lasted but an instant in your mind, with no effect upon eternity. And so is all time past, and everything exactly as it was before the way to nothingness was made.” (T-26.V.3:3-4).

Elaborating on the perspective of eternal oneness, Jesus continues his mind-blowing unmasking of the ego’s “vast illusion” of time: “The tiny tick of time in which the first mistake was made, and all of them (i.e., all our condemnations) within that one mistake, held also the Correction for that One [i.e., the miracle], and all of them that came within the first. And in that tiny instant time was gone, for that was all it ever was. […] The tiny instant you would keep and make eternal [for 14 billion years now!], passed away in Heaven too soon for anything to notice it had come. […] Only in the past did this world appear to rise. So very long ago, for such a tiny interval of time, that not one note in Heaven’s song was missed.” (T-26.V.3:5-5:4)

The core of Jesus’ message in A Course in Miracles is that we are, right now, already safe at Home in the Heart of God (eternal Love). The only reason we stubbornly keep making time is because we still prefer unique autonomous individuality to oneness, no matter how much pain we often perceive amidst our efforts to achieve happiness. Jesus’ formidable task, then, is to convince us that ultimately we want oneness, not individuality. Since the dream of time is already over in reality (in fact, never really happened), we have actually already made this choice. We think we are still caught in the web of the nightmare of time and space, but A Course in Miracles shows us the way out, that is: practicing forgiveness by choosing to follow the Voice for Love instead of the teacher of condemnation. In short: be kind instead of hateful!

It is such a great comfort to read in A Course in Miracles that we need not do this on our own: “To you who still believe you live in time and know not it is gone, the Holy Spirit still guides you through the infinitely small and senseless maze you still perceive in time, though it has long since gone. You think you live in what is past. Each thing you look upon you saw but for an instant, long ago, before its unreality gave way to truth. Not one illusion still remains unanswered in your mind. Uncertainty [duality] was brought to certainty [nonduality] so long ago that it is hard indeed to hold it to your heart, as if it were before you still.” (T-26.V.4).

Yet this is what we all still stubbornly do as long as we still cherish our special, unique individual autonomous little self. A Course in Miracles teaches me that whenever I feel sadness, fear, anxiety, irritation, frustration or outright anger (really all the same emotion, the negation of peace) I can stop myself and realize this is silly. Such emotions only serve to keep the belief in separation intact. That’s not a sin, but it is a silly mistake that will only bring me more misery. Realizing that time is already over, before I let my behavior slide downhill, I can ask a much better question: “What would love do in this situation?” The answer, gratefully provided by the Holy Spirit through an intuitive impulse, will bring me (and the other!) the inner peace I want so much. This way I not only release my own mind from pain, I release the entire illusory world. So why wait for Heaven? Practice kindness and mindfulness right now, for now is the only time there is.


See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:

buy-now-amazon-button

See my Feb. 2020 Course workshop on YouTube called “A kingdom to rule” (English captions/subtitles available).

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

We have a mission here.

Workbook lesson 139 of A Course in Miracles explicitly states that you and I and all of us “have a mission here” (W-pI.139.9:1), even though the Course explicitly states that this world, the universe, time and space in reality do not exist and that we are — right now — already safe at Home in the Heart of God. We are only dreaming of exile from nonduality. So what, then, is our mission here about? As chapter 21 of the text emphasizes, “this is a course in cause and not effect.” (T-21.VII.7:8). Therefore, our mission here is not to make a ‘better’ dream world, as many spiritual aspirants unfortunately tend to try. So what is our mission here about? What’s the meaning of life here?

Jesus’ answer to this question in workbook 139, once read carefully, can be seen as a summary of the entire Course: “We did not come to reinforce the madness that we once believed in.” (W-pI.139.9:2). The “madness“, of course, is the impossible belief of the Son of God (Christ) in the tiny, mad idea (T-27.VIII.6:2) that He is better off without God; that He could be self-created and experience a happiness that’s much better than the oneness Love of God. Since, according to the Course, this oneness Love is the only reality, which by definition cannot have any opposites, this separation from God in reality never happened.

However, the seemingly sleeping Son of God is free to hallucinate that it did, and  experience the consequences of this belief in a made-up universe of time and space. And this is what all seemingly fragmented parts of the seemingly sleeping Son of God (that is, all of us) still believe who “count the hours still, and rise and work and go to sleep by them.” (W-pI.169.10:1,4). Most of us don’t even ask ourselves what our mission here might be; we just go on living our daily lives on auto-pilot, and die without a single clue as to why we exist. Well, at least we existed apart from God.

This is the “madness that we once believed in”. The sentence is stated in the past tense for two reasons: (1) “once” refers to the ontological moment just before the Big Bang that the Son of God chose to believe in the plausibility of the separation, a moment that we still relive “each day, and every minute in each day, and every instant that each minute holds” as long as we choose to hold on to judgmental thoughts; (2) Having chosen a path as a “happy learner” of Jesus’ curriculum and having reached lesson 139, he reminds us that we are no longer wholly insane: at least in part we have come to see the silliness of the tiny, mad idea; we acknowledge the desirability of the “other way” to live in this world, namely, as a happy learner guided by the Holy Spirit.

Our mission here, then, is to accept — and live! — the only correct answer to the universal question “What am I?”. The answer, as all good Course students know, is that I am pure spirit, at one with my Creator, as lessons 201-220 affirm: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.” (W-pI.201-220). The difficult part is when we realize that this must include everyone. As Jesus says about our true mission here: “It is more than just our [own] happiness alone we came to gain.” (W-pI.139.9:4). As Ken Wapnick often emphasized, if I am to be truly happy, it is everyone’s happiness I must desire, without exception. This must be true if  everyone I see out there is nothing but a projection of the thoughts in my own mind that I find too objectionable to come into awareness.

That’s why Jesus continues his plea in lesson 139 as follows: “Fail not your brothers, or you fail yourself. Look lovingly on them, that they may know that they are part of you, and you of them.” (W-pI.139.9:6-7). This sounds lovely enough, until people cross our mind that we really don’t like. Should I also apply this to that nasty neighbor; to this incredibly stupid Head of State; to that recently convicted criminal? I can perhaps intellectually accept the notion that everyone outside of me is a projection of an ‘unacceptable’ thought in my own mind, but once I turn on the news that’s rather hard to keep up.

Our mission here, then, can be concisely restated as “Be kind.” Not because we feel that’s a social obligation, but because we have honestly acknowledged that we are indeed all the same pure spirit, including that neighbor, the president, and that convicted criminal. I certainly do not have to condone silly behavior; but I can realize that beneath all perceptual behavior lies the same sadness, loneliness and fear all living creatures share. We all have that same frightened little child in us that yearns to rediscover the certainty of everlasting love as an exile in a strange land. As long as I choose to condemn others for their ‘unacceptable’ behavior, I am really stating that I do not want the oneness Love of God. That’s why choosing to react judgmentally always hurts myself. Always.

To accept our mission here as to be kind is to “proclaim that we accept as what we are everyone must be, along with us.” (W-pI.139.5-7). In that acceptance, condemnation becomes meaningless. I certainly do not have to act as the proverbial doormat; I can certainly say “no” to a particular situation if the Holy Spirit tells me that’s the most loving thing to do for all parties involved. But once I have accepted my mission here as a happy learner and teacher of true forgiveness, I experience the meaning of life in this illusory dream world. My mind remains at peace, no matter what my ego perceives. As Jesus concludes: “Today accept Atonement, not to change reality, but merely to accept the truth about yourself, and go your way rejoicing in the endless Love of God. It is but this that we are asked to do.” (W-pI.139.10:2-3). Happy practicing!


See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:

buy-now-amazon-button

See my Feb. 2020 Course workshop on YouTube called “A kingdom to rule” (English captions/subtitles available).

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

If looks could kill…

When moving about in the public space, have you ever noticed how quickly you disapprove of something or someone? Trafic that doesn’t behave the way you would like it to; people who seem to act selfishly without paying any attention to their surroundings; or people whose appearance you simply don’t like. For myself, I try to make it a habit of watching my own judgments of people and situations at hand. To my dismay I find, if I am truly honest with myself, that I condemn virtually everyone and everything outside of me. It may be as slight as a seemingly insignificant twinge of disapproval that quickly vanishes, but I nevertheless almost always find something to reject in what I see.

In A Course in Miracles, we are told that any single rejection (condemnation, really), however small it may seem, reflects the ontological rejection (condemnation) of God by the seemingly sleeping Son of God, which set in motion the separated dream world of time and space. Lesson 21 teaches us: “The degree of the emotion you experience does not matter. You will become increasingly aware that a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury.” (WpI.21.2:4-5). Moreover, the Course expands the notion of murder from physical murder to include psychological murder as well. This means that every time I choose to disapprove of someone, I am actually choosing murder.

Whether I choose a slight twinge of annoyance or a physical attack does not matter, at least in terms of content: in either case, I choose to be a murderer. Therefore, as far as the Course is concerned, the saying “If looks could kill…” might just as well be restated as “Unkind thoughts do kill.” After all, a dirty look is merely the effect of a condemning thought we first chose to believe in the mind. Similarly, physical murder is the effect of a condemning thought that was actively chosen in the mind. Again, whenever the Course mentions the word murder, this refers first and foremost to psychological murder, or condemnation in the mind. The effects in terms of what our senses see merely follow.

Course scholar Kenneth Wapnick often pointed out that we should not be dismayed at all by this realization that we constantly choose murder instead of miracles throughout our days. On the contrary, in one sense we should leap up with joy, for at least now we realize what it is we could choose to undo. Jesus cannot ask us to “choose to change our mind about the world” (T-21.in.1:7) as long as we do not fully realize what it is we are choosing to undo. If I spend my days telling myself I am a peaceful soul, that all people are wonderful, and that in fact everything in the world is beautiful, I am merely choosing a very shallow layer of peace that inevitably gets torn apart by the hate and attack that do govern all things in time and space, as long as we still crave to be separated individuals.

A fruitful Course practice, then, comes to down to vigilantly watching my own thought stream for any unkind thought to surface. And then merely watch it. I can train myself to watch my own negativity from ‘above the battleground’ (T-23.IV). As an observer. I can realize I am not my unkind thoughts – I am the decision maker that apparently made a mistake by having chosen for the ego fuel (i.e., condemnation) with the sole purpose of keeping myself distinctly separated from everyone else, to ‘prove’ that I exist as a unique individual. Now at least I’m being honest. This honesty is crucial for being able to take the next step.

This next step boils down to shifting awareness from seeing differences all around me (in worthiness) to seeing sameness all around me (“we are all equally worthy”). Jesus would rephrase this inner shift as a choice to see miracles instead of murder; to see content instead of form. To be sure, the perception of differences remains, but that’s form. Seen from the perspective of content, I share the same holographic aspects of the Son of God with all living things around me. The Light of Love is the same in each and everyone. God (i.e., Love) does not play favorites: everyone is equally worthy. Since perception follows projection, each life form I perceive outside of me merely mirrors my own unconscious state of mind. “Nothing so blinding as perception of form”, we read in (T-22.III.6:7). Therefore, if I want inner peace, I should offer it to everyone and everything, regardless of the form my sensory organs seem to perceive and interpret.

At this point, it is important to note that you and I should not in the least feel guilty about still having negative thoughts. “It would indeed be strange if you were asked to go beyond all symbols of the world, forgetting them forever; yet were asked to take a teaching function. You have need to use the symbols of the world a while. But be you not deceived by them as well.” (WpI.184.9:1-2; my italics). If I had truly abandoned all negativity in my mind and had reached the top of the ladder of the acceptance of the Atonement, I wouldn’t be here any longer in time and space. My awareness of my unkind thoughts merely shows me that I still have forgiveness lessons to learn in this classroom I call my physical life. One of the most uplifting aspects of A Course in Miracles is that we are all guaranteed to learn these “lessons of love”. Everyone will eventually graduate and return to Oneness; if not yet in this life, then most certainly in a next life.

Our sole remaining freedom here is to choose how long we will take to finally make this happy shift from murder to miracles. We all still tenaciously hold on to our deeply cherished individual judgmental existence because we are afraid of what would become of us if we would really let that go. So once again, as this reassurance of Jesus cannot be repeated too often: “You believe that without the ego, all would be chaos. Yet I assure you that without the ego, all would be love.” (T-15.V.1:7). In other words, “Why wait for Heaven?” (W-pI.131.6:1; W-pI.188.1:1). You and I could make this choice right now. The inner peace that inevitably follows from making this choice shows us we are well on our way back Home to the Heart of God which we never left. Looks can kill, but looks can also bless. The choice is up to us.


See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:

buy-now-amazon-button

See my Feb. 2020 Course workshop on YouTube called “A kingdom to rule” (English captions/subtitles available).

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

Sabotaging perfection

No matter how cleverly we plan, no matter how carefully we prepare, no matter how hard we try, our plans never work out perfectly. There’s always something unexpected that we either hadn’t noticed or could not have anticipated. As computer programmers say: “There’s always another bug.” Still, we stubbornly keep trying, hoping that “this time we’ll get it right.” In retrospect, though, we usually conclude that things turned out differently anyway. And so we plod along, hoping against hope that someday we’ll succeed; someday it’ll be perfect.

Studying A Course in Miracles, we eventually become aware of the silliness of our efforts to achieve perfection. Briefly summarized: in the ontological moment of separation from oneness, which set in motion the Big bang and the beginning of time, the seemingly sleeping Son of God rejected the perfection of God’s Oneness Love, thinking that He could do one better and be perfect on His own, without God. The gargantuan guilt that came with the realization that perfection wasn’t attained but destroyed, ensured that the seemingly sleeping Son of God became deathly afraid of the perfection of God. And so He felt the urge to hide from God in an illusory world that is all but perfect.

So there we have it: we want to be perfect on our own, apart from God, but somewhere deep inside we realize that perfection is of God and only of God. Since we believe we attacked that perfection, and are terrified of God’s imagined retaliative wrath, we’ve become deathly afraid of perfection, and we believe in our gut we’ll never have it. And as the Course teaches us that our fear of God’s anger is only a defense against our fear of God’s Love for us (T-19.IV.D), it gets worse: the more I seem to achieve perfection, the closer I seem to get back to God’s perfect Love, which means my would lose my unique individual self. As I still very much like to be my little self, I inevitably self-sabotage all my attempts at perfection. Yes, I want perfection, but I also still want to be me!

That’s the insanity, or silliness rather, of life in time and space and in a seemingly separated body. Lifetime after lifetime we try to achieve the combination of perfection and individual existence, which is verily an impossible combination. We “hang on in quiet desperation”, as Pink Floyd put it in the seventies, tired, weary and worn, uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear (T-31.VIII.7:1), until we reach a turning point where we throw up our hands and exclaim that “there must be better way” (T-2.III.3:5-6). That’s the moment when we first realize that we should “resign as our own teacher” (T-12.V.8:3), since “we were badly taught” (T-28.I.7:1), namely, by our own wish for separation from perfect oneness.

Everyone eventually reaches a point wherein it becomes clear that thinking and acting from intuition gives much more satisfying results than thinking and acting based on our rationalized planning. We slowly become aware that we have an “Inner Teacher” Who is not located in the brain, where we usually believe our own rational thoughts to be. In A Course in Miracles, this Inner Teacher is called the Holy Spirit, the Voice for Love. The Holy Spirit is not some external entity that we can call upon. The Holy Spirit is the memory of our true Home which we believe we have exiled ourselves from. It truly is the Voice for Love and therefore the voice for perfection. And this Voice is within each of us! Remember: “The Holy Spirit is in you in a very literal sense.” (T-5.II.3:7).

The good news of A Course in Miracles is that you and I have the freedom to choose to follow the advice of this Voice for Love at any time. Most of the time we do not choose to listen, as this Voice also seems to remind us of the perfection that we rejected and therefore do not deserve. The Course however teaches us to recognize that such self-sabotaging reasoning merely serves to keep the individuality of the ego intact, as we still believe we need this individuality to simply exist. However, since not only the ego is wholly illusory, but the entire universe of time, space and perception as well, giving up this individuality does not result in annihilation but in eternal peace: “You believe that without the ego, all would be chaos. Yet I assure you that without the ego, all would be love.” (T-15.V.1:7).

Should I then stop making plans altogether, as chapter 18 in the text (“I need do nothing”, T-18.VII) seems to suggest? Certainly not! That would be most impractical as long as we still firmly believe we are a body that needs to survive in an undependable, if not outright threatening world. The beauty of A Course in Miracles is that it meets us in the separated state we still believe we are in. We are taught that the question is not whether or not to make plans, but with whom we choose to make plans. Therefore, workbook lesson 135 states: “A healed mind does not plan. It carries out the plans that it receives through listening to wisdom that is not its own. It waits until it has been taught what should be done, and then proceeds to do it.” (W-pI.135.11:1-3).

This kind of planning-through-intuition is the invitation for the perfection of God’s Love to once again enter the mind. The result can only be perfection, that is, the reflection of the perfection of the God we thought we had rejected. As long as we can uphold our own “little willingness” (T-18.IV) to have faith that the Voice for Love is always right, while the rational ego voice is always wrong, and we are glad that this is so, we are well on our way back to our true Home. What keeps us from consistently following trough in this trust is our fear of losing our precious individuality in the perfect Love of God. It’s the constant evaluation, a thousand times a day, of choosing between the Voice for the Oneness of God’s Love (back to perfection) versus the ego-voice for separation (sabotaging perfection), that should be our mind compass throughout our days. Happy practicing!


See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:

buy-now-amazon-button

See my Feb. 2020 Course workshop on YouTube called “A kingdom to rule” (English captions/subtitles available).

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

 

Enlightenment right now, please

The central theme in A Course in Miracles is to learn how to forgive all the remaining dark spots in our own mind. To this end, we should work on a daily basis with the special relationships that we have formed with people, with possessions, with events, you name it. Anyone and anything can be transformed from a lesson-in-separation to a lesson-in-oneness, by re-evaluating what the relationship is for. Where we used to think the special relationship would bring us happiness, the Course’s re-evaluation shows us that it brings us only pain, and invites us to choose a different teacher to interpret the particular relationship.

Once we experience the inner peace that results from that other choice, forgiveness becomes more desirable, and so we put its practice somewhat more on the foreground in the mind each day. What we oftentimes fail to recognize, though, is that this only means we are now ready for forgiveness. That’s not the same as having mastered forgiveness. As Jesus reminds us in the text: “Readiness is only the prerequisite for accomplishment. The two should not be confused. As soon as a state of readiness occurs, there is usually some degree of desire to accomplish, but it is by no means necessarily undivided. The state does not imply more than a potential for a change of mind. Confidence cannot develop fully until mastery has been accomplished” (T-2.VII.7:2-6).

Once we experience the inner peace we want so much, there’s a tendency to demand instant enlightenment, simply because we want to feel good all the time. However, Jesus’ marked tempo in the Course is molto adagio (“very slow”), and with good reason. For example, whenever I think I truly forgive someone, and yet after a while I still notice feelings of hurt, resentment, rejection, anger, bitterness, and so on, I can be sure I have not yet truly forgiven that person, or better, my chosen relationship to that person. For many Course students, that’s an all-too familiar experience. Unfortunately, what oftentimes happens is that instead of patiently trying again and yet again, we make ourselves feel guilty for being such an inadequate spiritual student. And with guilt firmly in place, the ego has the last laugh, for guilt means its continuance is ensured.

For many Course students, a major eye-opener is the realization that it is exactly the unconscious devotion to the ego’s special individuality that’s the greatest block to true forgiveness. After all, true forgiveness ‘requires’ of me to see no differences whatsoever anymore between myself and the person (or situation) I condemned. Forgiveness will never be total until I can honestly say and mean: “I would rather be at one with you in Heaven outside time and space, than perceive us as separate in this dream world.” Until then, forgiveness remains “[…] a scourge; a curse where it was meant to bless, a cruel mockery of grace, a parody upon the holy peace of God.” (S-2.I.1:2). This is because deep down, I still judge myself as ‘better’ than you. Sure, as I am so enlightened I will not consciously condemn you anymore, but I still think I’m a better Son of God than you are.

In the Song of Prayer pamphlet, Jesus cautions his students against such thinking, which truly is a major obstacle in the process of going from readiness to mastery: “There are the [forgiveness] forms in which a “better” person deigns to stoop to save a “baser” one from what he truly is. Forgiveness here rests on an attitude of gracious lordliness so far from love that arrogance could never be dislodged. Who can forgive and yet despise? And who can tell another he is steeped in sin, and yet perceive him as the Son of God? Who makes a slave to teach what freedom is? There is no union here, but only grief. This is not really mercy. This is death” (S-2.II.2).

We should never forget that although the Course’s principles are simple, going from readiness to mastery is far from easy. The reason is obvious: I want to be enlightened, but I want it on my conditions. I want to experience the Love of God, but I want to keep experiencing it as a special individual. That’s because somewhere deep down, I still believe that this unique autonomous personality is all I have and all I am. What would I be if I were to give that up? I really couldn’t tell. The ego tells me I would be obliterated into nothingness (as punishment by God), but in A Course in Miracles, Jesus assures me that the only thing that would be obliterated is the ego itself, after which only love remains: “[…] You believe that without the ego, all would be chaos. Yet I assure you that without the ego, all would be love.” (T-15.V.1:7).

“You have built your whole insane belief system [i.e., separation; a dream world; time; bodies; fear] because you think you would be helpless in God’s Presence, and you would save yourself from His Love because you think it would crush you into nothingness” (T-13.III.4). Enlightenment, then, comes down to the reversal of exactly that belief. And you and I can hardly expect that to be instantaneous; while you and I still firmly believe we are a body living in space and time (and that includes virtually all of us), it’s no use telling ourselves that time doesn’t exist. We need to patiently work in time with time, to ultimately learn we don’t need time. And no, suicide isn’t a shortcut in time; it’s merely a guarantee you will need still more time [i.e., lives] to ultimately learn Jesus’ curriculum of love.

It’s hardly weak to admit that you’re still afraid of the oneness Love of God. On the contrary; once you can acknowledge this, you’re being more honest to yourself than you’ve ever been before. But now at least you’ve obtained readiness to learn Jesus’ curriculum. It also means you acknowledge that you cannot go from readiness to mastery on ego-strength alone. Luckily, the decision maker in the mind is still free to choose one of two available guides: the ego (the choice for continuing separation), or the Holy Spirit, the choice for oneness. The practice of ‘making the better choice’ is a lifelong practice. That’s why in the workbook Jesus encourages his students to frequently ask ourselves: ““Who walks with me?” This question should be asked a thousand times a day, till certainty has ended doubting and established peace.” (W-pI.156.8:1-2). This may seem to take a long time, but as you nurture the skill of patience, time becomes irrelevant. As the Buddhist saying goes: “Immediate results require infinite patience”. Or, in the context of this blog: “Instant enlightenment requires infinite patience”. Happy practicing!


See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:

buy-now-amazon-button

See my Feb. 2020 Course workshop on YouTube called “A kingdom to rule” (English captions/subtitles available).

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

Re-evaluating the world we see

The current covid-19 global fear wave goes to illustrate just how intimately we still identify ourselves with a body, and a weak one at that, even though the covid mortality rates are still comparable to the well-known influenza mortality rates, which few people still worry about anymore. In a sense, it also goes to show the inherent sameness in all the seemingly separated fragments of the Son of God: whether you live in America, Africa, Asia or Europe, we basically share the same fears and we share the same ideas about what will make us happy. And virtually everyone still shares the same firm belief that in spite of all the apparent fears, happiness can yet be found in something in the world in which we experience our lives in, even if only for a brief moment.

As with almost every page in A Course Miracles, its message is that this entire world and everything we seem to perceive in it is entirely hallucinatory, including time and space itself. This is in line with the staggering conclusion of quantum physicists that time and space are ultimately not real, and that the observer by definition influences everything that is observed. However, just as quantum physics is still widely ignored by the majority of scientists, the nondualistic message of A Course in Miracles isn’t exactly warmly embraced in spiritual circles either, let alone in society at large. This is because both deny our notion of where we believe we may still find happiness in this world. The alternative view, ‘a reality outside time and space’, is way too vague, abstract and frightening.

In A Course in Miracles, workbook lessons 128 to 130 form a triad on a re-evaluation of the world and the body we still so intimately identify with. Lesson 128 starts off with the seemingly rather depressive notion that “The world I see holds nothing that I want” (W-pI.128). Since everyone and everything sooner or later pass away, the Course concludes: “Nothing is here to cherish. Nothing here is worth one instant of delay and pain; one moment of uncertainty and doubt. The worthless offer nothing.” (W-pI.128.4:2-3). And yet, Jesus cannot leave it at that, for if that were the final conclusion, this Course would merely be depressive. Therefore, lesson 129 follows right after that: “Beyond this world is a world I want.” (W-pI.129). This, of course, is the world the mind perceives when all forms of condemnation have been laid by. This is when the purpose of the mind chooses to shift from sin-guilt-fear-thinking (thereby keeping the ego alive), to the experience of the oneness Love of God (restoring our awareness of our one collective Self in the mind).

In the final chapter of the text, Jesus summarizes this process from concluding that the world offers nothing of value to the awareness of the real world, a world freed of all condemnation: “All its [the world’s] roads but lead to disappointment, nothingness and death. […] Men have died on seeing this, because they saw no way except the pathways offered by the world. And learning they led nowhere, lost their hope. And yet this was the time they could have learned their greatest lesson. […] It is true indeed there is no choice at all within the world. But this is not the lesson in itself. The lesson has a purpose, and in this you come to understand what it is for. […] Learn now, without despair, there is no hope of answer in the world. […] No longer look for hope where there is none. Make fast your learning now, and understand you but waste time unless you go beyond what you have learned to what is yet to learn. For from this lowest point will learning lead to heights of happiness, in which you see the purpose of the lesson shining clear, and perfectly within your learning grasp.” (T-31.IV.2:3;3:3-10;4:2-3,6-8).

The lesson, briefly summarized, is that you and I are not the seemingly separated special body you and I think we are. You and I are pure spirit, still at Home in the Heart of God, outside time and space. You and I are merely dreaming an almost endless sequence of reincarnations in increasingly complex bodies, time and again attempting to be happy on our own apart from God. We keep this dream alive by finding things to fear, accuse and attack, just so we won’t have to face the deeply buried guilt we feel about initially having rejected the Love of our Creator. If you look at the course of history for the past few millennia, we’ve always found something fearful to distract the mind, preventing it from looking within: ‘natural’ catastrophes, civil wars, climate pollution… and now we have invented a global virus pandemic. And next year there’ll be yet another fearful something. Although the forms seem to differ greatly, the content remains the same: yet another reason to be very fearful, and above all not calmly, silently and honestly re-evaluate the truth of the world and the body we experience.

Recapturing lesson 129, Jesus pleads with us: “Is it a loss to find a world instead where losing is impossible; where love endures forever, hate cannot exist and vengeance has no meaning? Is it loss to find all things you really want, and know they have no ending and they will remain exactly as you want them throughout time?” (W-pI.129.3:1-2). Again, Jesus is referring to the real world, in which we still experience time, but which at the same time heralds the end of time and the disappearance of the universe, as we complete our lessons of total forgiveness (without exception!) and realize we are the sleeping Son of God, about to awaken to His true Home: the unchangeable Oneness Love of God outside time and space.

The trouble, of course, is that by far most of us are still too intimately identified with the body to say and really mean: “I don’t want to be an individual anymore. I want the peace of God as the one Son of God“. We may intellectually accept that this ephemeral world is not our true Home and that forgiveness makes us much happier than accusing, fearing and attacking… but we are not yet ready to turn that into our daily reality. Our faith and conviction will grow a little each time we succeed in truly forgiving a person or a situation, but we still need to be very, very patient with ourselves. Climbing the ‘spiritual ladder’ to the acceptance of the Atonement, we most certainly cannot skip rungs.

To help us reach the top a little quicker, Jesus offers us lesson 130: “It is impossible to see two worlds” (W-pI.130). So he explains: “Fear has made everything you think you see. All separation, all distinctions, and the multitude of differences you believe make up the world. They are not there. Love’s enemy has made them up. Yet love can have no enemy, and so they have no cause, no being and no consequence. They can be valued, but remain unreal.” (W-pI.130.4:1-8). So A Course in Miracles is essentially a mind-training program to condition the decision making mind to ask itself a thousand times a day: “Do I want to condemn or do I want to forgive?” “Do I want fear, or do I want love?” “Do I choose the weakness of fear, or the strength of love?” “Do I want to be right, or do I want to happy?” We cannot be both. It is impossible to see two worlds.

Our wrong-minded thoughts fear the covid virus because you and I still largely experience ourselves as a vulnerable body, rather than invulnerable spirit. We fear it much more than the well-known influenza viruses with comparable mortality rates because we constantly need to find something new to fear, just to keep up our faulty belief that we have indeed succeeded in separating from God as an autonomous individual being. Should I then deny the entire virus and ignore all the government policies that attempt to control it? Certainly not. As always, good Course students meet people where they are, and they act and behave as any normal ego would, and they abide by the law. They’re just not taken in by the dream anymore. Be a shining beacon of peace. The Holy Spirit will waste no time in extending this peace to the minds of those who still walk about in fear, including fear of this virus. Emanating peace is much more powerful than verbally trying to convince others of their faulty thinking. You might strengthen the immune system of thousands of people you don’t even know, just by emanating peace. Leave this to the Holy Spirit; that is His function.

Let’s conclude by reminding ourselves of the the ever-practical advice Jesus gives us in lesson 184 on how to act in an effective way in this dream world: “It would indeed be strange if you were asked to go beyond all symbols of the world, forgetting them forever; yet were asked to take a teaching function. You have need to use the symbols of the world a while. But be you not deceived by them as well. They do not stand for anything at all, and in your practicing it is this thought that will release you from them. They become but means by which you can communicate in ways the world can understand, but which you recognize is not the unity where true communication can be found. Thus what you need are intervals each day in which the learning of the world becomes a transitory phase; a prison house from which you go into the sunlight and forget the darkness. Here you understand the Word, the Name which God has given you; the one Identity which all things share; the one acknowledgment of what is true. And then step back to darkness, not because you think it real, but only to proclaim its unreality in terms which still have meaning in the world that darkness rules.”  (W-pI.184.9:1-10:3). Again, you do this by being a beacon of peace. Happy practicing!


See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:

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See my Feb. 2020 Course workshop on YouTube called “A kingdom to rule” (English captions/subtitles available).

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.