Organized fear in the dream

In less than a year’s time, the entire world seems to have been transformed in a place of heightened anxiety. Billions of people are mortally afraid their lives may be snuffed out by a monstrous virus we have never seen the likes of before. Although an increasingly growing group of scientists assure us that the mass hysteria is utterly disproportionate (currently, in all countries over 99,9% of the population survives, and the mortality rate has now dropped significantly), many governments seem to stimulate the mass fear, possibly driven by economic motives as dictated to them by Big Pharma or the World Economic Forum. Or so the ‘conspiracy theorists’ among us argue.

From the perspective of A Course in Miracles, it is totally irrelevant whether or not the mass hysteria is organized or not. In the seventeenth century, when the letterpress allowed for the wide dissemination of knowledge, governments viciously attempted to stop people from reading books, as this could undermine their comfortable position of power. Forms shift and change throughout the ages, but the underlying content always remains the same: we made this world to be a place of fear, a place “where God [Love] could enter not” (W-pII.3.2:4). Why? Because all fear is but a shadowy reflection of the original fear of the seemingly sleeping Son of God Who hallucinated (just before the Big Bang) that the Unity of Oneness had been shattered. The cause? Merely His silly wish to be autonomous, thereby negating the very definition of Oneness. Thus was the ego born, and time and space with it. Or so we believe.

In a verily insane association, the ego needs the ongoing awareness of fear, just to be able to constantly ‘prove’ that the separation from Oneness has actually occurred: all seemingly separated fragments are actually on their own in a world that is unmistakably real. After all, you and I see with our very own eyes that bodies are attacked; they are hurt and wounded, and they die. Who would be so foolhardy as to deny that this frail body is all you and I have, and that we need to guard and protect it with any means we can muster, no matter how fallible these means are? Answer: Jesus does, by the four infuriating words: “And God thinks otherwise” (T-23.I.2:7).

In A Course in Miracles, Jesus has the formidable task of teaching us the difference between what is true and what is a hallucination. True to its nondualistic metaphysical foundation, the Course regards everything in time and space as an illusion. Therefore, our bodies and our personalities are ultimately not real. “What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder an destroy themselves, are wholly unreal? Could you have faith in what you see, if you accepted this?” (T-20.VIII.7:3-7).

The answer, of course, is “No; if I accepted this, I would gently smile about the silliness of the time-space dream I perceive around me”. The problem is that we still like to cling to our bodies, to have this “little mound of clay” (T-19.IV-B.4:8) be our home, because we still like to try to attain divine autonomy all on our own, apart from our very Source and Creator. You and I have been trying this for many, many lifetimes on end. Of course, we have never found it, because an illusion remains an illusion, no matter how convinced we are we wake up to reality each morning. Jesus teaches us otherwise: “What you seem to waken to is but another form of this same world you see in dreams. All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and your waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. Their content is the same. They are your protest against reality [Oneness], and your fixed and insane idea that you can change it” (T-18.II.5:12-15).

According to A Course in Miracles, the truth of the matter is that you and I are the same pure spirit, yearning to return the Oneness we believe we left. Reminiscent of Buddhism, Jesus teaches us our true goal in life is to undo all our false beliefs in separation, sin, guilt and fear, and accept once again our true Identity as the One Son of God, ending all individuality, all time and all space forever. In the Course this is called the acceptance of the Atonement. This is the great awakening from the dream of time and space. And although this may seem to require many, many centuries for all seemingly separated souls to accept his, to Jesus time is utterly irrelevant. The outcome is certain: time and space will have an end (W-pII.2.I:3-4), and all life will return to the Oneness it never truly left.

Importantly, Jesus does not ask of us to deny or repress what our senses behold in this dream world. But he does plead with us to interpret it differently. This effectively means he asks us to choose another Teacher to interpret what we behold, for the world I perceive is always merely an effect of the quality of my thoughts. “If the cause of the world you see is attack thoughts, you must learn that it is these thoughts which you do not want. […] There is no point in trying to change the world. It is incapable of change because it is merely an effect. But there is indeed a point in changing your thoughts about the world. Here you are changing the cause. The effect will change automatically.” (W-pI.17.2)

In other words, it’s no use attempting to fight the current wave of fear, whether it is organized fear or not. However, this does not by definition mean that you and I just sit by and do nothing, while still experiencing fear. A Course in Miracles calls on us simply to switch teachers: stop living on ego auto-pilot, and ask the Holy Spirit (the Voice for Love) what to think, say and do instead. This loving intuitive Inner Teacher may perhaps call on you be very active in this world to lovingly help ameliorate the sufferings of many fear-filled people. Whatever it is, choose to listen to His Voice!

But how do you know it’s the Voice for Love and not the ego in disguise? Just be sure that your guide makes you aware of inner peace inside. If you feel an urge, or even ecstasy, that’s usually the ego. On In contrast, a calm, loving inner peace is always the sure sign that whatever you are directed to think, say or do will result in the best outcome for everyone. So practice the attainment of inner peace today by quietly consulting your Inner Teacher. To conclude with an oft-quoted Course quote: “Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world” (T-21.in.1:7). Happy practicing!

— Jan-Willem van Aalst, November 2020

Stop fearing and fighting the world (2)

In our lives, we are constantly looking for ways to minimize pain and to maximize pleasure. These are the basic motivating drives in all living things. We attempt to meet these needs by manipulating — or at least adjusting to — a world external to us. And although at some level we grudgingly admit that we will never wholly succeed, as there will always be some form of pain to perturb our pleasure, we stubbornly soldier on, accepting this as a ‘fact of life’. In stark contrast, A Course in Miracles teaches us that “this need not be” (T-4.IV). In fact, Jesus assures us that we can leave all pain behind, not by changing the world, but simply through forgiveness. How could this be?

In the Course’s Workbook, lesson 23 states that “I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.” When Jesus uses the word ‘world’, he equates this to a place of fear, anger, depression, hate, vengeance; in short: pain. Although we may sometimes experience the world as beautiful, wonderful, and blissful, sooner or later we realize that this does not last. Eventually, nothing in this world lasts. Even the most solid mountain ranges will eventually crumble. Beneath each fleeting perception of happiness, deep inside we realize that pain is never far away. Why is this so? Fasten your seat belt as Jesus puts the ultimate truth to us: We made this world as an attack on God. (W-pII.3.2:1). I challenge you to find a spirituality that proclaims this very same message!

The ‘we’ is the collective mind of the sleeping Son of God, who (metaphorically) considered the idea of what it would be like to be separate from his Creator. In taking this silly notion seriously, consciousness (and the ego with it ) seemed to come into existence: the Son being aware of himself and of something else (his Father). Guilt floods the mind of the Son over having shattered the oneness of eternity (or so he hallucinates). The ego counsels the Son to hide from the Creator through further separation, that is, by fragmenting into billions and billions of splintered bits, which we now know as the Big Bang and the origin of the material universe. Therefore, everything our senses behold is no more and no less than an effect of this fearful fragmentation, which is in turn an effect of the guilt and fear resulting from our imagined attack on God.

A Course in Miracles is a purely nondualistic spirituality, in that nonduality is defined as the only true reality. Nothing in the universe, including time itself, could ever have happened, and therefore never truly happened. Everything in time and space is but a silly dream, fearful though it may seem. The world we experience ourselves in therefore does not really exist! In the Workbook, Jesus puts it this way: “Each of your perceptions of ‘external reality’ is a pictorial representation of your own attack thoughts.” (W-pI.23.3:2); and, from the text: “It [the world] is the witness to your state of mind; the outside picture of an inward condition.” (T-21.in.1:5). We have therefore made (i.e., imagined) the world we experience, in an attempt to remain separate from God, cherishing our ‘autonomy’. These teachings put the responsibility for the pain and pleasure you and I experience, straight in our own hands! Why is this so?

Jesus explains: “If the cause of the world you see is attack thoughts, you must learn that it is these thoughts which you do not want. There is no point in lamenting the world. There is no point in trying to change the world. It is incapable of change because it is merely an effect. But there is indeed a point in changing your thoughts about the world. Here you are changing the cause. The effect will change automatically.” (W-pI.23.2). Again, this is because we did not come into the world unbidden; we made up this world in our crazy notion we had to hide from a vengeful God Who would most certainly punish us for our attack of separation. Jesus comforts us: “Nothing more fearful than an idle dream has terrified God’s Son, and made him think that he has lost his innocence, denied his Father, and made war upon himself.” (T-27.VII.13:3)

Jesus teaches us that the only reason we perceive attack, hate, and pain, is because we chose to have such thoughts in the mind. “It is with your thoughts, then, that we must work.” (W-pI.23.1:5). A Course in Miracles explains to us that we really only have two types of thoughts: either loving thoughts or non-loving thoughts. Consequently, there are only two teachers for our thoughts that we can choose to listen to: either the Voice for Love (called the Holy Spirit) or the Voice for fear (the ego).  Jesus tries to make us see that we can indeed undo all the pain in our lives, merely by giving up attack thoughts, thereby undoing the ego. We do this simply by consistently choosing to listen to another teacher: the Voice for Love.

Well, to say “simply” is not really fair. The principle may be simple, but following through is extremely difficult. Why? Because although we want the happiness that Jesus promises us, we want it as an ego-individual. Attaining the promised state of happiness means we must choose to relinquish our very personality and individuality, and that is sort of frightening, to put it mildly. We may tell ourselves rationally that it will be great, because it means returning back to the unchanging eternity of nonduality, where there is only Love that never fades, but in our gut we still cling to this material life on earth, as the ego tells us this is all we have. To avoid spiritual discouragement, Jesus promises that spiritual awakening is a slow process that need not be painful or frightening: “So fearful is the dream, so seeming real, he [i.e., the Son of God; all of us] could not waken to reality without the sweat of terror and a scream of mortal fear, unless a gentler dream preceded his awaking, and allowed his calmer mind to welcome, not to fear, the Voice that calls with love to waken him. […] God willed he waken gently and with joy, and gave him means to waken without fear.” (T-27.VII.13:3-5)

The means constitute the practice of forgiveness of every dark spot that we still cling to in our unforgiving mind. This curriculum is called A Course in Miracles because the miracle is the realization that you and I are the dreamer of the dream we call the world, that we are doing all of this unto ourselves (T-27.VIII.10:1). We are not victims! By consistently choosing the Teacher of Love (i.e., the Holy Spirit, or Jesus, as his manifestation) we can gradually undo all the fear and pain in our lives. Again, this puts the responsibility for the happiness in our lives solely in our own hands: “The correction of fear is your responsibility. When you ask for release from fear, you are implying that it is not. You should ask, instead, for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about. These conditions always entail a willingness to be separate.” (T-2.VI.4:1-3). Practicing forgiveness means choosing to overlook all the silly forms in the world and accept the content of love and shared interests in everyone — including yourself! — as the focus of your mind.

This Course does not ask us to deny what we see on the world news. There will still be crime, fear and misery everywhere. We still need courtrooms and prisons. We still need medicine to ease acute physical pain. The Course simply calls on us to realize that all perception of pain calls for forgiveness, not for anger, fear, or depression. To once again cite one of the most oft-quoted lines in the Course: “Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world” (T-21.In.1:7). Any darkness I perceive around me has nothing to do with anything or anyone around me: it is merely a sure sign of a dark spot in my own mind. This is where the work needs to be done. How could you save the world if you cannot even master the darkness in your own mind?

A Course in Miracles is a course in mind training. It is not a Course in Love, but a Course in finding and undoing all the barriers that we have built against Love (T-16.IV.6). Jesus continually reminds us that we can find lasting happiness, if we bring our attention back from fearing and fighting the world (the outside) to examining our thoughts (the inside) and allowing Jesus, as manifestation of the Voice for Love, to gradually and gently undo all this pain and darkness for us. So resign as your own teacher (T-12.V.8:3) and choose to identify once again with your own inheritance: pure love. Be vigilant only for God and His Kingdom [that is, Love] (T-6.V-C). “Teach only Love, for that is what you are” (T-6.III.2:5). Your experience of the world and of your life will change accordingly.


See also “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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So much, for so little (2)

In order to motivate his students to seriously study and apply the mind training for inner peace he offers in A Course in Miracles, Jesus promotes his curriculum by stating that “This course requires almost nothing of you. It is impossible to imagine one that asks so little, or could offer more.” (T-20.VII.1:7-8). What the Course offers us is lasting inner peace. This leads the mind to what Jesus calls the real world; free of sin, guilt, and fear. This is the preparation for the experience of Heaven, or nonduality. However, a few chapters later Jesus tells us bluntly that “To learn this course requires a willingness to question every value that you hold. Not one can be kept hidden and obscure but it will jeopardize your learning.” (T-24.in.2:1-2). So is Jesus tricking us? What does he mean?

All good teachers know that they’ll motivate their students best by emphasizing much-desired rewards. And Jesus does this brilliantly. Here’s an example, wherein he refers to the “plan” of the Holy Spirit for our salvation: “Once you accept His plan as the one function that you would fulfill [i.e., forgiveness], there will be nothing else the Holy Spirit will not arrange for you, without your effort. He will go before you making straight your path, and leaving in your way no stones to trip on, and no obstacles to bar your way. Nothing you need will be denied you. Not one seeming difficulty but will melt away before you reach it. You need take thought for nothing, careless of everything except the only purpose that you would fulfill.” (T-20-IV.8:4-9). And, from the workbook: “What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good? Perhaps you have misunderstood His plan, for He would never offer pain to you.” (W-pI.135.18:1-2)

The trick, then, is to realize that Jesus’ Course delivers the promised rewards (in the way he describes them) only once we truly want to learn it. A part of our mind does want to learn his Course, otherwise we would not be studying this blue book and attempting to apply its lessons in our everyday lives. But once we slowly start to realize the ultimate consequence of accepting the guidance of the Holy Spirit, namely: the disappearance of our personality, the body, the world and the universe, we experience a slight twinge of resistance, to put it mildly. We start to self-sabotage our study and practice: “In addition to recognizing your difficulties with sustained attention, you must have noticed that, unless you are reminded of your purpose frequently, you tend to forget about it for long periods of time. […] There may well be a temptation to regard the day as lost because you have already failed to do what is required. This should, however, merely be recognized as what it is: a refusal to let your mistake be corrected, and an unwillingness to try again.” (W-pI.95.5:2-7:5)

So what a lot of students of A Course in Miracles do, is start to blame themselves for being such a poorly motivated student; they determine to try harder this day, and still harder the next day. In short, they start to fight their ego, and their much-desired inner peace is farther away than ever. Such students would do well to re-read section VII in chapter 18, called “I need do nothing”: “You need but to remember you need do nothing. It would be far more profitable now merely to concentrate on this than to consider what you should do. […] It is extremely difficult to reach Atonement by fighting against sin. Enormous effort is expended in the attempt to make holy what is hated and despised [the body].” (T-18.VII.5:5-6;4:7-8). A bit further on, Jesus explains the relationship between the body and our resistance to learn his course: “To do anything involves the body. And if you recognize you need do nothing, you have withdrawn the body’s value from your mind. Here is the quick and open door through which you slip past centuries of effort [of doing things with the body], and escape from time. This is the way in which sin loses all attraction right now.” (T18.VII.7:1-4).

Jesus italicizes “right now” to remind us that our notion of time is a hindrance to our acceptance of his teaching: “It is impossible to accept the holy instant without reservation unless, just for an instant, you are willing to see no past or future. Release is given you the instant you desire it.” (T-18.VII.4:1-2). At this point it may be helpful to remember the metaphysical basis of A Course in Miracles that time and space, the world and our body were not thrust upon us unwillingly: the seemingly sleeping Son of God made these, listening to the seductive lies of the ego, to keep us rooted in the illusion that we could be separate from our Creator, seemingly existing on our own as an autonomous individual. The ego convinces us that the future will be based on what we experienced in the past. It seeks to avoid the now, for only in the now are we able to reconsider the choice for the ego in the ontological instant, and choose once again the Holy Spirit, the Voice for God. To repeat: since this would ultimately mean the end of our personality, of the body, the world and the universe — in short: the end of the ego — we continually focus on externals, since our individual identity is the very last thing we would want to let go of.

Jesus invites us to reconsider this: “There is one thing that you have never done; you have not utterly forgotten the body. […] You still have too much faith in the body as a source of strength. What plans do you make that do not involve its comfort or protection or enjoyment in some way? […] You are not asked to let this happen [forgetting about the body] for more than an instant, yet it is in this instant that the miracle of Atonement happens.” (T-18.VII.1-2). So the statement “I need do nothing” refers to our bodily actions in the world of time and space. By shifting our focus from externals (the world, the body, time) to the inner world of the mind, we could realize — and experience! — that if we but allow our thoughts to be guided by the Holy Spirit, life indeed flows much more easily. And the Holy Spirit is not likely to lead you to a solitary life in a mountain cave, renouncing the world — He is far more likely to guide you through a very busy life, with ample opportunities to forgive.

We overcome our tremendous resistance to making this choice to “resign as our own teacher” (T-12.V.8:3) not by fighting the ego, but by being kind to ourselves: “When you fail to comply with the requirements of this course, you have merely made a mistake. This calls for correction, and nothing else. […] Let all these errors go by, recognizing them for what they are. They are attempts to keep you unaware you are one Self, united with your Creator, at one with every aspect of creation, and limitless in power and in peace. This is the truth, and nothing else is true.” (W-pI.95.9:1-10:3). So what should be our focus? “Let us therefore be determined […] to be willing to forgive ourselves for our lapses in diligence, and our failures to follow the instructions for practicing the day’s idea. This tolerance for weakness will enable us to overlook it, rather than give it power to delay our learning.” (W-pI.95.8:3-4; my italics). Could you imagine a gentler spiritual teacher than this?

So this is why Jesus comforts us that “I need do nothing” amounts to “Concentrate only on this [the willingness to be guided], and be not disturbed that shadows surround you. That is why you came. If you could come without them you would not need the holy instant. Come to it not in arrogance, assuming that you must achieve the state its coming brings with it.” (T-18.IV.2:4-7). And also, in the manual: “Do not despair, then, because of limitations [our perception that we are not good enough]. It is your function to escape from them, but not to be without them.” (M-26.4:1-2). This course indeed requires almost nothing of us. Again, “It is impossible to imagine one that asks so little, or could offer more.” Yes, we must be willing to learn it, but we must especially be willing to forgive ourselves for not being wholly perfect and fully dedicated right away. Learning this course is a process, which takes time, as long as we believe we exist in time. Rather than hitting yourself over the head with a guilt trip each time you notice you sabotage yourself, remember the characteristics of God’s teachers: trust; honesty; tolerance; gentleness; joy; defenselessness; generosity; patience; faithfulness, and open-mindedness. Forgive yourself for still thinking you are a human body. Decide to accept the gentle correction of the Holy Spirit, and rest in his loving guiding arms, and happily realize: “I need do nothing.” The more you forgive yourself, the easier your life’s events will flow. Are you willing to forgive yourself yet?

— Note: While I am in the process of writing my next book, I may be revisiting some previous blogs. This one was written in January, 2018.

The misty monster inside (2)

An important reason why many people give up on their study and practice of A Course in Miracles is that this is not your everyday “feel-good spirituality”. In fact, scholar Ken Wapnick once said that to the ego this spiritual curriculum is a horror story, as it signifies its inevitable demise. This is because A Course in Miracles teaches us how to look at the darkness of the large chunk of the mind’s ‘underwater’ part of the iceberg, together with The Holy Spirit, and how we can learn to allow the Holy Spirit to shine that darkness away forever. In other words, unlike most spiritualities, A Course in Miracles does not teach us to deny or ignore the darkness inside the mind; it rather teaches us to look at it and evaluate it correctly, after which it may gently be undone. Still, we have to be willing to look first. This engenders tremendous resistance, since we are all afraid of what we might find should we truly look at the unconscious, which is unconscious because we are too fearful to allow it into awareness.

To make his students realize just how fearful they are of this large chunk of their mind ‘below the watershed’, Jesus uses some rather forceful language: “You think you are the home of evil, darkness and sin. You think if anyone could see the truth about you he would be repelled, recoiling from you as if from a poisonous snake. You think if what is true about you were revealed to you, you would be struck with horror so intense that you would rush to death by your own hand, living on after seeing this being impossible.” (W-pI.93.1). Jesus is serious about this. And although in the same lesson Jesus explains to us that this horrid image of self is an illusion, since our “sinlessness is guaranteed by God” (W-pI.93.6:1), we nevertheless cannot undo these beliefs if we do not honestly examine them, together with him. “No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected. […] We are ready to look more closely at the ego’s thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it, and since you realize you do not want it, you must be ready. Let us be very calm in doing this, for we are merely looking honestly for truth.” (T-11.V.1:1-4).

Again, many students do not recognize themselves at all in this frightening description of self. On the contrary, they see themselves as kind, loving beings who are learning to focus solely on love, and sharing that. After all, in the very same Course Jesus also says: “Teach only love, for that is what you are.” (T-6.III.2:4). While this is true, this doesn’t mean that we already fully believe this about ourselves, certainly not unconsciously. Spending your days repeating blissful affirmations about the love that you are, without examining the dark unconscious beliefs Jesus talks about, is like ignoring your garden while you keep saying to yourself: “There’s no weeds, there’s no weeds, there’s no weeds.” And guess what? They’ll take your garden! An infallible test for assessing just how much darkness still lurks in your mind is in writing down a list of all the little dislikes, irritations, regrets and rejections you manifest during the day. Even the smallest annoyance offers a valuable message. Remember, “A slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury.”(W-pI.21.2:5) Just try it for at least one day; you’ll be surprised. The key point in this exercise, by the way, is not to feel guilty or dismayed by seeing more items on the list than you had expected, concluding that you are such a lousy spiritual aspirant.

Then, of course, there are those unfortunate students who pretend to see nothing negative at all in the world, and do not allow any negative interpretation to come into awareness. As Ken Wapnick has emphasized in many a workshop, such an attitude is really born of double denial; first, the denial of the misery of the world, and secondly the denial of the fact that the world is merely a projection — a mirror if you will — of what’s in the mind, which is where the world’s misery actually resides. If we refuse to see this misery, the Holy Spirit has no classroom to bring us the forgiveness lessons that truly heal the mind. As Ken Wapnick notes in The message of A Course in Miracles: “Teachers are rendered superfluous if there is no classroom for their students, and no curriculum to teach them. The sorrow of the world we made as a substitute for God is the very classroom Jesus uses, that he may instruct us through the curriculum of our special relationships how the world reflects the real problem of our minds’ decision for guilt and individuality.” (pI, p.178). This way, I’ll never get to the turning point where I exclaim that “there must be a better way”. Twenty years from now I’ll unhappily conclude that I still have an ego. Workbook lesson 135 puts it this way: “You merely take away the hope of healing, for you fail to see where hope must lie [i.e., in the mind].” (W-pI.135.10:5)

A Course in Miracles therefore urges us not to deny any negativity that we feel, however small it may seem. Rather, we should pay careful attention to it, from ‘above the battleground’. The smallest annoyance I become aware of can be reinterpreted as yet another forgiveness lesson offered me by the Holy Spirit. If I can catch myself before I live it out, and instead ask the Holy Spirit: “I am making a mistake. Please help me look at this differently“, I am undoing condemnation, which is the invitation for love to take its rightful place in the mind. This is why A Course in Miracles in so many places stresses the importance of our special relationships: with people, with hobbies, with possessions, you name it. These can act as the royal road to the dark kingdom of the subconscious mind. Of this kingdom, Jesus reflects back to us how we feel about it: “At times, it does not seem I am its king at all. It seems to triumph over me, and tell me what to think, and what to do and feel.” (W-pII.236.1:2). This is because we have rendered it unconscious, believing we have (and are!) a monster inside, ultimately because in the ontological unholy instant we sinned by attempting to separate from God, and pushing the guilt over that sin out of awareness, because it is too horrible to face.

A Course in Miracles shows us that, indeed, you and I do believe we have a monster inside, but this monster is made solely of mist: it’s a flimsy veil which we constructed out of our horror over a sin which never happened. Therefore, the same mind that made the veil can decide to end its investment in it. Jesus cannot do this for us, but with his help, our work of undoing it cannot fail to succeed. Many Course students know the following prayer by heart: “I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace. I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.  I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace. I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him. I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.” (T-30.XII.6:7-10) “Be very firm with yourself in this [prayer] and keep yourself fully aware that the undoing process, which does not come from you, is nevertheless within you because God placed it there. Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace.” (T-30.XII.6:1-2).

To conclude: A Course in Miracles is a spirituality that goes way deeper than just having you focus superficially on the love and oneness in yourself, in others, in everything. While this is a focus towards the truth, you and I will not truly awaken if we do not honestly examine, with the Holy Spirit’s help, the secret sins and hidden hates that we have pushed ‘underwater’ out of awareness. Spiritual awakening does not come from ignoring the misty monster inside “because it is illusory anyway”. Awakening comes from shining the mist (Jesus uses the word ‘clouds’) away with the lamp that we hold together with Jesus: “Since all illusions of salvation have failed you, surely you do not want to remain in the clouds, looking vainly for idols there, when you could so easily walk on into the light of real salvation. Try to pass the clouds by whatever means appeals to you. If it helps you, think of me holding your hand and leading you. And I assure you this will be no idle fantasy. […] Remind yourself that your salvation comes from you, and nothing but your own thoughts can hamper your progress. […] You are in charge of your salvation.” (W-pI.70.10)

— Note: While I am in the process of writing my next book, I may be revisiting some previous blogs. This one was written in December, 2017.

Fear as a classroom

The world appears to be duly immersed in the fear of the Covid-19 virus. After a relatively quiet summer, with few infections, the emotions in the public debate are sharply on the rise again, which only seems to polarize the already painful oppositions in the society even more. These emotions are not just about the virus itself; they’re as much about the strategy the government employs to cope with the crisis, and the possible effects of that strategy. Some say that the government should go much further in rigorous measures, while others claim that the government is merely keeping folks in a state of fear, driven by a pharmaceutical agenda. In both cases, people are extremely worried about the economic and humanitarian consequences that we are all facing, even to such an extent that the ‘cure’ (the rigorous measures) may be worse than the disease (the virus). In short, the world is engulfed in uncertainty and fear, to an extent we have not seen since the second world war.

It is not the intention of this blog to ventilate a particular point of view about all this. For one, it is obvious that corona is a very nasty illness, with very nasty symptoms with those with an already weakened immune system. At the same time, the death ratio turns out to be much lower than the initial horror scenarios would have us believe (at this point, still less than 0.1% of the population), while the influenza death toll appears to be much lower than in previous years. In the Netherlands, each day there are over 200 deaths due to the most common diseases such as heart and vascular disease, lung cancer, heart failure, dementia, strokes, etcetera. Deaths due to corona now slightly contribute to that number, while the ‘missing’ influenza deaths remain to be re-identified. Still, the specter of corona indicating an extremely painful ending of your life has become a firmly fixed notion, further fueling the disruption of society.

From the perspective of A Course in Miracles, this is all part of the same ‘waking dream’, which is wholly illusory. The Course teaches us that you and I are not a body; we are pure spirit, and literally nothing in the world of time and space is able to change that Identity as the Son of God in the least. In other words, according to the Course, there is no reason to have any fear whatsoever about anything (W-pI.48); not in the past, not in the future, not ever. As a spirit, everyone is perfectly safe by definition. Still, although these may be inspiring and comforting words, almost all Course students still intimately identify with the little separated ego self, meaning that we still intimately identify with our body, at least for the major part of the day. We may consistently tell ourselves: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me” (W-pI.201-220), but at the same time we still see our body age and deteriorate, and we try to postpone death as long as possible.

In A Course in Miracles, Jesus explains that we, being the One Son of God, made this all up to be able to have a place “where God can enter not”, where we can experience ourselves as an autonomous individual, while at the same time being able to hide from the purported wrath of a vengeful God, which in reality does not exist. So in the text, Jesus asks us: “Do you like what you have made? — a world of murder and attack, through which you thread your timid way through constant dangers, alone and frightened, hoping at most that death will wait a little longer before it overtakes you and you disappear. You made this up. It is a picture of what you think you are; of how you see yourself. […] All these are but the fearful thoughts of those who would adjust themselves to a world made fearful by their adjustments” (T-20.III.4:2-6). Everything in the world is but a dream that mirrors the idea of separation, attack and death that is the ego.

Already early in the text of the Course, Jesus lets us know he does not demand we deny our existence in the waking dream of time and space; that would be “a particularly unworthy form of denial” (T-2.IV.3:11). As long as we still unconsciously believe that our body is our identity (which is the case for everyone who wakes up each morning in a body), it is a good idea to take good care of the body. Jesus does not even object to the use of medicine to alleviate pain (T-2.IV.4). What’s more, the body can be lovingly employed by the Holy Spirit, the Voice for Love, to manifest Jesus’ message in this dream world, if we choose to let Him. As we read in the workbook: “You are my voice, my eyes, my feet, my hands, through which I save the world” (W–pI.rV.in.9:2-3). So we can use the body as an instrument of salvation.

By placing my thoughts under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (i.e., focusing my attention on loving intuition), everything in this ‘waking dream’ becomes a lesson in love. Since in reality there is no world outside of me, and there is no-one else (and no viruses), everything I perceive and interpret mirrors how I perceive and interpret myself: either as a son of the ego in a frightening world, or as the Son of God in a dream in which we all share the same Light source. This Light is our essence as Christ, the one Son of God. By choosing to have my interpretation of everything I perceive outside of me be guided by the Holy Spirit, I eventually learn to interpret myself in that Light. Eventually this will lead to my acceptance of the Atonement.

So from the perspective of A Course in Miracles, the best thing we can do in these turbulent days of societal fear is non-judgmentally looking at our own interpretation of what we perceive and interpret around is. And as soon as we notice, despite our best intentions, that we start to judge again, we can now kindly thank the ego for that, and then quickly hand that judgment over to the Holy Spirit, instead of indulging in it or feel terribly guilty about it, which is what happens with many Course students. Guilt keeps the ego going, including our fear of a terrible ending of our fragile life here on earth. The end of guilt signifies the end of fear, and ultimately the end of the dream.

Choose to be a beacon of peace. Do not condemn any worldly opinion about this virus whatsoever. Know that a dream is a dream is a dream, and choose to have your thoughts and behavior be guided by the Holy Spirit, the Voice for Love, by taking a step back and following your loving intuition. This, by the way, does not mean at all that you become indifferent to the world. On the contrary, you can be very involved with the world on a daily basis helping people. Jus ask what Love would do. Whatever the form this help might take, you will offer everyone you meet the most beautiful gift imaginable: acceptance of the other (and therefore also of yourself) as the guiltless Son of God Who is safe forever. Seen this way, all fear is but a classroom in which we learn our lessons in love.


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.

The two requiems

In musical terms, a requiem is a contemplation about the transiency or the ending of life, and a plea to God to be reunited with the Light and to be saved from eternal death. They are often deeply emotional, large-scale works involving a considerable orchestra, a large choir and several soloists. The requiem is regarded by some as the pinnacle of human musical expression. Some of the most beloved requiems available today are those of Mozart, Fauré, Verdi and Brahms. The texts usually range from religious to humanistic.

Verdi’s requiem (“Missa da requiem”) and Brahms’ requiem (“Ein deutsches requiem”) make for interesting comparisons. Verdi’s requiem is intensely dramatic, almost operatic, with the highlight obviously being the hugely famous “Dies Irae”, referring to the supposed wrath of God for our savage sinfulness. Verdi’s requiem is verily drenched in death and despair. Brahms’ requiem, on the other hand, is one of solace and homecoming. Brahms refused to add any reproving biblical references; his message was that death is not the end, but rather the reunification with our Creator, wherein we will finally experience eternal peace once again.

This is not to say that I think one requiem is better than the other. Both are obviously sublime masterpieces of the highest quality. They do, however, represent two very different thought systems, namely the two that are treated in-depth in A Course in Miracles. The ego thought system, aptly pictured in Verdi’s requiem, holds that our coveted separation from God was a serious sin, for which the price cannot be anything other than suffering and death. Life here on Earth is permeated by the despairing feeling of “seeking but not finding”, the ego’s maxim par excellence (T-12.V.7:1). At the very best, when we die we might beg to God to be released from eternal death, as we have attempted to pay for our sins through immense suffering here.

Brahms’ requiem breathes an entirely different atmosphere, very often reminiscent of how the Course describes the nature of the Holy Spirit. To be sure, there are dramatic parts, as in (for example) the second movement, where we are told that “All flesh is like grass”, and in the sixth movement we are told that “Nothing here has an enduring state” (i.e., all things must pass). But the overall message is that death is not a punishment, but a liberation, a homecoming in which we will remember again Who we truly are, and where no loss is conceivable whatsoever. Many students will recognize here the way Jesus presents his loving message in the Course: ‘do not deny your every day experiences here as a body, but do come to realize that your mind is choosing nothing but a silly dream, whereas you could also make the choice of returning to your true Home where you will no longer be an individual, but forever at one with God/Love, eternally at peace.’

Our one problem is that, as with both requiems, we want both stories to be true. And so we seem to be in perpetual conflict. We yearn to return to the oneness of God/Love, but at the same time we demand that we can experience that as a separated individual, as we are still terribly afraid to lose the very special unique identity we think we have made of ourselves. In other words, we still cling to the four beliefs that Jesus summarizes for us in Chapter 2 of the text: “First, you believe that what God created can be changed by your own mind. Second, you believe that wat is perfect can be rendered imperfect or lacking. Third, you believe that you can distort the creations of God, including yourself. Fourth, you believe that you can create yourself, and the direction of your own creation is up to you.” (T-2.I.9-12).

Even when we can intellectually accept that these “gross distortions” are too preposterous to believe, we still engender great resistance to accepting the truth of our oneness instead. The ego, after all, must keep guilt alive in order to ensure its existence. Therefore the ego constantly distracts the mind, thereby telling us not to look inward, for if we did God would surely find us and destroy us. But Jesus demasks this strategy: “This you believe, and so you do not look. Yet this is not the ego’s hidden fear, nor yours who serve it. Loudly indeed the ego claims it is; too loudly and too often. For […] beneath your fear to look within because of sin is yet another fear, and one which makes the ego tremble. What if you looked within and saw no sin? This ‘fearful’ question is one the ego never asks.” (T-21.IV.2:4-3:2). This is of course the message of the Holy Spirit: nothing happened. The Son of God has not sinned and we are still safe at Home. We are merely choosing to dream about exile from Home, and the dream is not the truth.

It all comes down to which thought system you and I choose to identify with on a daily basis, even from moment to moment. Who is my ‘beloved’? Whom do I want to be intimate with? The ego or the Holy Spirit? It’s a good habit to ask yourself this very question the moment you wake up. Your firm decision for the right-minded answer will direct your thoughts, words and actions in the proper direction throughout the day. And if, every time you notice you once again choose to be intimate with your beloved ego once more, you can become aware of that choice. You can then quickly ‘raise your mind above the battleground’ (T-23.IV), look at the situation with Jesus’ loving presence beside you (i.e., within you), and then happily choose again. So please don’t feel guilty over choosing to be intimate with your preferred requiem. Just honestly realize what your chosen requiem represents, without feeling guilty, and survey the road this chosen thought system will lead you to: either to illusions or to truth. And then make your choice once again. A thousand times a day. 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.

A shift in purpose

A Course in Miracles teaches us that everything we think, say and do in time and space has only one of two purposes: either to keep the imagined state of separation (from oneness, from God, from Love) going, or to undo that same imagined state of separation, by forgiving ourselves for any condemning thought, statement or action that we still cherish. A Course in Miracles can be seen as a call to make this shift: “You have been called, together with your brother, to the most holy function that this world contains. It is the only one that has no limits, and reaches out to every broken fragment of the Sonship with healing and uniting comfort. […] The peace of God is given you with the glowing purpose in which you join with your brother.” (T-18.I.13).

This sounds wonderful enough in itself: all I need do is to shift the purpose of my thoughts and the peace of God will be given me. However, many (if not all) Course students unconsciously feel that they are called to sacrifice what they hold most dear: their precious unique special individuality. That’s why so many Course students try to distort Jesus’ message by trying to attain the experience of oneness as a separated individual. This is clearly a hopeless journey, as oneness and individuality cannot coexist. What makes this Course so hard to accept is our gradual realization, as we study the text and practice the workbook, that salvation requires of us that we give up the dream world of our own personality, which the ego made to be able to enjoy autonomous existence.

Although it’s true that the final acceptance of the Atonement requires a letting go of the entire dream world of time and space and individuality, Jesus’ curriculum guides us in making the necessary mindshift from seeing this as a sacrifice, to seeing this as the most desirable thing imaginable. Jesus’ repeated message, therefore, is that it can hardly be a sacrifice to give up a dream world that inevitably ends in death, and is permeated by uncertainty, loneliness, and constant fear (T-31.VIII.7:1). We don’t even have to give up anything that we made here out of our desire for specialness. We mere need to learn to assign a different purpose to these things: again, from reinforcing separation to emphasizing the sameness of all living things.

Jesus comments on this required ‘shift in purpose’ for example in chapter 25 of the text: “All that you made can serve salvation easily and well. The Son of God [i.e., all life combined] can make no choice the Holy Spirit cannot employ on his behalf, and not against himself. Only in darkness does your specialness appear to be attack. In light, you see it as your special function in the plan to save the Son of God from all attack, and let him understand that he is safe, as he has always been, and will remain in time and eternity alike” (T-25.VI.7:4-7). In other words, the Holy Spirit offers us a way of looking differently at everything we initially made (i.e., thought of) to separate, by shifting its purpose: from separation to sameness.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t take anything away from us. He is not some ghostly being that robs us of all specialness “for our own good”, because we ought to stop the dream world and return to the nonduality of oneness. This also means that I, as the dreamer of the dream of dualism, wrote the script for my life, or better, for the entire sequence of reincarnations that I experience in the course of the illusory ages. Whereas I first wrote that script to be able to try to achieve perfection on my own, apart from oneness (“In this lifetime I’ll get it right”), at some point the pain of constant failure becomes too much to bear. Then will I shift the purpose of what I made to the purpose of accepting the Atonement, eventually ending the dream of time and space forever.

To bring the metaphysical back to the practical: in my daily life, this means I realize that inner peace is found in forgiving the darkness in my mind, not in having my own superficial ego needs met. Practicing forgiveness is the way I learn Jesus’ curriculum of finding lasting inner peace. Still, what I learn I do not learn for myself alone: “And it is thus the power of your learning will be proved to you by all the many different witnesses it finds. Your brother first among them will be seen, but thousands stand behind him, and beyond each one of them there are a thousand more. Each one may seem to have a problem that is different from the rest. Yet they are solved together. And their common answer shows the questions could not have been separate” (T-27.V.10:3-7).

So the only way to heal is to choose to be healed, that is, of all the darkness that I once chose in my mind. And this I do by choosing the Holy Spirit as my new Teacher. This new Teacher doesn’t demand I sacrifice anything at all. He merely shows me a much better purpose in all that I think, say and do. “Such is the Holy Spirit’s kind perception of specialness; His use of what you made, to heal instead of harm.” (T-25.VI.4:1). Now we can better understand Jesus’ inspiring call in chapter 16: “The new perspective you will gain from crossing over [i.e., shifting the purpose] will be the understanding of where Heaven is. From this side, it seems to be outside and across the bridge. Yet as you cross to join it, it will join with you and become one with you. And you will think, in glad astonishment, that for all this you gave up nothing!” (T-16.VI.11:1-4).


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.

The joy of timelessness

A Course in Miracles teaches us that “time is a trick, a sleight of hand, a vast illusion in which figures come and go as if by magic.” (W-pI.158.4:1). We are taught that the hours, days and years that we still count are in effect part of a hallucinatory dream that the seemingly sleeping one Son of God is dreaming. This dream of time is merely a maladaptive attempt to hide from the imagined wrath of the Creator Whom the Son thought He rejected because He craved to experience life as an an autonomous individual, which is impossible if the Oneness of God is the only reality. How could a part of Oneness ever wrench itself from Oneness, no matter how many billions of fragmentary parts are produced? This is the tiny, mad idea that the Course talks about. But as long as the world and the body are still steen as all we have, the dream (the ego thought system, including time) remains intact, and with it all the rejection, attack and murder that constitute the ego thought system of separation from Oneness.

And so everyone who walks this planet has a split mind, wherein both the voices of the ego and that of the Holy Spirit are present. Sadly, 99,9% percent of all people still choose to listen mostly to the voice of the ego, thereby guaranteeing that time winds on wearily. A Course in Miracles is a curriculum that teaches us how to awaken from the dream, by learning how to increasingly listen to that other Voice in the mind: the Holy Spirit, the Voice for Love. Although this Voice will lead to the experience of timeless inner peace, it also ends our precious cherished special individual existence. That’s why we experience such enormous resistance to following up on Jesus’ advice in the text, the Workbook, and the Manual for Teachers. This, by the way, is of no concern to Jesus: he is not bound by time. He knows (and tells us) that everyone is guaranteed to graduate from his course in due time. Our one remaining freedom of choice is to decide when we will accept the Lessons of Love (which are taught in many other spiritual systems as well; the Course is only one from among many thousands of forms of the universal course (M-1.4:2)).

It can be helpful to frequently take some time to ponder the blessings we could experience once we would choose to follow up on Jesus’ advice a bit more diligently; a bit more passionately; a bit more devotedly. After all, if we can intellectually accept that leaving time and space behind will result in eternal inner peace – as spirit, it makes sense to take time to acquire the mindshift that the Course aims at bringing about. So if we look at our everyday lives, what mind characteristics would be helpful to cultivate to speed up this desired (though still resisted) mindshift from selfishness to oneness, from time to timelessness, from misery to inner peace?

Safety. If I can accept that my reality as spirit does not depend on my body and the world, then I can afford to rest in complete safety. Of course I still take care of my body. Of course I still make sure there’s food, shelter and money to pay the taxes. But that’s all part of the dream. Life is only a struggle as long as I see danger around me and I don’t feel safe. The more I can accept the safety that is my inheritance as Son of God, the easier such trivial matters will flow in my life, as many spiritual aspirants can attest to.

Desirelessness. If, outside of time and space, I – as spirit – have all because as the Son of God I am all, there’s nothing lacking to maintain my timeless peace. What, then, remains left for me to desire? This does not mean we should feel guilty about passionately desiring various earthly things, from hobbies to basic necessities such as food and shelter. But has there ever been not enough in your life? It’s okay to still desire this and that. The trick is not to make a big thing about it. It’s not where salvation lies. Desires are kid’s toys that at some point we realize we don’t need anymore and then lay aside, without regret. And don’t be upset if that process seems to take a lifetime. Time isn’t linear after all.

Defenselessness. If I – as spirit – am safe and have no need for ‘salvific’ desires any more, there’s really no need to attack, condemn, or reject anyone or anything outside me, especially when I realize that all of life combined is the One Son of God and all condemnation is really self-condemnation. To be sure, as long as I still believe my body in time and space is my reality, I need not act as the proverbial doormat. But I can learn to see my judgments a little sooner from ‘above the battleground’, and then quickly choose to forgive myself and to act kindly, that is, without any need to defend myself.

Peacefulness. My ultimate goal here in this particular reincarnation in time and space is to become a beacon of peace all the time. This I can become by conditioning my thought stream to focus on safety, desirelessness and defenselessness. I will forgive myself for still cherishing ego thoughts. I choose these only because I am still too afraid of the Oneness Love of God, which is perfectly understandable. Enlightenment doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a slow process. But what is ‘slow’ in the light of the unreality of time? As a happy learner and a Teacher of God, I can afford to be infinitely patient. And as we know: only infinite patience brings immediate results. Enjoy your awareness of your timeless reality!


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.

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:

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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.