As ye sow, so shall ye reap

In this perceptual world where we live, love and learn, we appear to lose what we give away. For instance, if I give you a book, I no longer have it. If you give me a book, you no longer have it. Many of us tend to measure the success in our life on how much material wealth we are able to acquire. And to the extent we succeed, others have less. We all read the stories of how the rich tend to get richer and the poor tend to get poorer. And so the world becomes a vicious place in which we snatch what we can get, lest we end up in the category of “have-nots” whom we secretly despise, or at least conveniently ignore.

Having more material wealth does not, however, tend to result in more safety, and certainly not in more inner peace. Many very rich people are constantly fearful of being robbed of what they’ve acquired. Some are even afraid to be murdered for their wealth. The majority of the common people guard what little they have with constant worry, hoping that catastrophe doesn’t strike them before the candle of their life goes out. This may sound a bit pessimistic; you might say that you don’t recognize yourself in this image. Unconsciously however, if you’re really torn out of your comfort zone, for example after a ‘natural’ disaster such as a flooding, this conditioning of “I have what I have taken or received from another” becomes painfully apparent.

How utterly different is the notion of giving and getting from the perspective of A course in Miracles! Jesus certainly doesn’t deny that in this material world of time and space, I lose what I give away. But the psychological world of the mind operates under entirely different laws. Following the central axiom of ideas leave not their source (T-26.VII.4:7), every thought [idea] that you express teaches the ones you are addressing, and yourself as well. For example, if I express loving thoughts to you, I’m teaching love to you, and also focus my own mind on love as the important thing at that moment. If, on the other hand, I verbally assault you in my anger over some stupid thing you’ve done (or not done), I teach hate and attack to you, and also in my own mind. What we usually don’t realize is that whenever we’re expressing anger, our brain produces all sorts of negative chemicals (especially cortisols) in our bloodstream; therefore, a verbal attack means also attacking your very own physical body. (This is an often still unrecognized cause of early stages of illness.)

That’s why in A Course in Miracles, Jesus teaches us that the universal law of the world is: ‘As ye sow, so shall ye reap‘. If I attack, I attack myself. Literally, both mentally in my mind and physically in my bloodstream. What’s worse, my attack serves as an invitation for you as ‘victim’ to return the attack, in ‘righteous self-defense’ (W-pI.153.2). I sow attack – I reap attack. You sow attack – you reap attack. This has been the condition of the physical universe ever since the Big Bang. Just look at our long history of (civil) wars and you will realize this is so. A Course in Miracles tells us that this serves as an effective distraction (by the ego) to prevent us from looking in the mind, and realizing that this need not be (T-4.IV.1).

Since in this world we choose each and every instant between wrong-minded thinking and right-minded thinking, we always have the option of choosing a different teacher in our minds. And the universal law of ‘As ye sow, so shall ye reap‘ still holds. That is, if I express love, I reinforce it in myself. Not just mentally, but even physically, since my brain produces ‘positive’ chemicals such as melatonine, serotonine and dopamine, supporting the natural self-healing process of the body. At the same time, my expressing love to you invites you to embrace that message and reinforce it. So if you feel you’ve never received the love you deserve, it’s a great lesson to learn that you won’t receive love by demanding it from others; you receive it by being loving. Anyone who has seriously tried this, that is, by foregoing any investment in the outcome, has found that it works. As ye sow love, so shall ye reap love.

At first sight, this message induces an enormous guilt trip. If you consider your 50,000 thoughts a day, you’ll find that many of your thoughts are not about love; they’re about worries, fear, doubts, judgments, or even outright anger or depression. So if we realize the universal law always holds, why don’t we consistently choose love? The great thing about A Course in Miracles is that it patiently explains to us why we employ the universal law as we do – that is, sowing attack, and reaping attack. Sowing fear, reaping fear. As long as we choose the ego as the preferred teacher in our minds, we are bound to attack out of fear, since the ego is the idea of attack, with the aim of the perpetual separation from God. Through denial and projection, we forget we did this; and to make sure we don’t remember, the ego has us constantly fix our minds on problems, threats, assaults and defenses. And so there will never be peace – not in the world, not in your mind.

From the viewpoint of A Course in Miracles, the only truly effective way out of this hell is to realize and accept that time and space are not real; that our perception constantly deceives; and that you and I are not a body, but pure spirit, created as Love by Love, and that all this misery need not be. Any psychotherapy process that does not provide an unambiguous answer to the central questions “What am I?” and “What is life’s purpose?” stays within the ego framework, with at best temporary relief from pain. I am pure spirit, and my life’s purpose is to forgive my own judgmental mind, and choose the better way with a better teacher. Now we can understand why Jesus, in A Course in Miracles, asks us so often to be vigilant about the thoughts we choose. Remember the well-known quote: “You are much too tolerant of mind wandering and are passively condoning your mind’s miscreations” (T-2-VI.4:6), ‘miscreations’ meaning attack thoughts. We do so because we still cling to the ego, because we feel this notion of individuality is all we have, and if we choose otherwise, we will disappear.

If you allow yourself to feel guilty about that, you are really telling yourself that you are powerless before the might of the ego. Luckily, Jesus also patiently explains to us that this thought-reversal process cannot be done overnight; it’s a slow process that requires trust, patience, and a little willingness (no, make that: abundant willingness) to guard your thoughts and consciously choose the Holy Spirit as a much better teacher. Never attack yourself for your constant stumbling in your efforts, because sowing attack means reaping attack. Sowing acceptance of where you are in the process as Jesus’ pupil and younger brother, will reap acceptance of the Atonement in your mind. Lasting inner peace is guaranteed if you keep practicing the loving effects of the universal law, with faith, honesty, and patience. Happy practicing!


Also see my seven “guidelines for living in an illusory world” in “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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Finding meaning in life

Recently I learned that a colleague at one of the companies I’m helping out had committed suicide. He had just retired and had ‘stepped out of life’, as the Dutch saying goes. This came as an unexpected shock for everyone who had worked with him. He had been a bachelor all his life and so left no spouse or children behind, but he had always been quite active in various social activities. Apparently he had concluded that living on would be more painful than just ending it all. What drives someone to conclude that there is too little meaning in life to stay here any longer?

In A Course in Miracles, we read in (T-31.VIII.7:1) that everyone walks this world uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear. Yes, that’s right – that means you and I as well. Such feelings originate from the ontological wish to try to separate from God, in a nightmarish dream we call the ego thought. In this dream, we’re seemingly all on our own. Through the mechanisms of denial and projection we forgot we (seemingly) did this, and convinced ourselves that of all the causes of our perceived loneliness, misery and hopelessness, our guilt was not among them. Someone else is responsible! So I end up as separated body, walking this world uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear. And I’m a helpless victim. Since we find this too painful to acknowledge, we cover it up with a thin layer of supposed happiness and ‘meaningful’ activity. We’re all very good at distracting our minds continually. When you break through the distractions, and realize this facade of a world ultimately doesn’t work, that physical death is inevitable and that it’ll all have been for nothing, you might conclude that spending more time in this ‘dry and dusty world’ (W-pI.341) is worse than just ending it all.

Ultimately, the only way out of this depression is to seek for happiness not in the world, but in your mind. “Seek not outside yourself. For it will fail, and you will weep each time an idol falls”, we read in (T-29.VIII.1) This is because seeking outside yourself comes down to attempting to convince yourself the ego is real, the separation did in fact happen, and as separated individual it is possible to find happiness – in other words, that you can indeed be happy apart from God. I can try a thousand idols to seek happiness – money; special love relationships; possessions; food; hobbies, you name it – but it always comes down to “seek but do not find” (W-pI.71.4). The unique contribution of A Course in Miracles as a spirituality is that it explains to us that the ego, being the idea of attack and separation, continually has us deliberately seek for fear, anger and depression as ultimate proof that the separation from oneness (love, joy, peace) was successful! Only once I can begin to accept that, I can slowly learn to look for happiness in the mind instead of in the world.

Many students have interpreted this message of mind training as a call to ignore the world, and certainly not become actively involved in it, since it is all illusion. Ultimately, this can lead to asceticism: withdrawal from the world in a mountain cave. But this is not at all what Jesus advocates. In the Bhagavad Gita, the great ancient nondualistic pearl of Vedic scripture, Krishna tells Arjuna to “be very active in the world… as a man centered within himself.” (Jesus would say: “…as a man who knows his Identity as Christ”). And Christ doesn’t fight the ego, but merely does not notice it. Trying to find happiness through repressing the ego will ensure that, subconsciously, my attention remains focused on the ego. Ken Wapnick would add that by doing so, I have made the error real.

Realizing that the world is an illusion calls on us to look at it, to experience it, from above the battleground, as a classroom to learn forgiveness. In this classroom, everything that seems to happen to me is a lesson of love the Holy Spirit would have me learn. Every situation and relationship offers me a chance of “meeting attack without attack” (P-2.IV.10), which is our main responsibility. Successfully following up on this on a daily basis is the miracle. Every one of us has in his mind the ability to choose to regard the world as a useful classroom, in which we can train ourselves to become a loving Teacher of God; to be an example of the reflection of God. This way we serve as a reminder to other seemingly uncertain, lonely and fearful souls that we live and work with each day.

All this may sound rather abstract and theoretical. In daily life, doing this is not so easy, since we’re all so thoroughly conditioned by our past. While ACIM might remind us a hundred times that the only true fact about the past is that it is gone, most of our thoughts are still related to the past and how they can help us predict the future. These are merely ego-distractions that serve to keep the mind away from the now, the only time there is (W-pI.164.1). But any good ACIM student sooner or later realizes the enormous resistance to following up on Jesus’ call, since this would expose the lie of the ego, of time, of space, of consciousness and perception. And so, finding inner peace through fathoming the metaphysics of (non)duality seems an assignment which we are not likely to carry out successfully.

This may lead to suicidal thoughts. But “There is a risk of thinking death is peace”, Jesus warns us (T-27.VII.10:2). If I consider suicide, I must have first evaluated this world as very real, and myself as a powerless victim of it. Ending my physical life, then, doesn’t bring me any nearer to accepting the Atonement – on the contrary, it only ensures that I need still more lives to learn the Holy Spirit’s lessons of Love. That is why, from the perspective of A Course in Miracles, suicide is a tragic delay and useless detour on our Journey Home. However, the prerequisite for fully realizing that “there is no world!” (W-pI.132.5:6), “Time is a trick, a sleight of hand, a vast illusion” (W-pI.158.4) and that I am not a body (“Am I free. For I am still as God created me”, W-pI.201.3) requires some understanding of the metaphysical foundation of duality and non-duality, which is a difficult study for our linearly programmed brains.

If you’re having trouble integrating the metaphysics of the Course in your daily life, the aforementioned Vedic scriptures might help a bit. This philosophy, rooted like the Course in nonduality, talks about a concept named “Dharma”. Sanskrit words are often hard to translate literally, but Dharma comes down to “Fully utilizing what has been given you in this earthly life to make yourself and others happy.” The idea is approximately as follows: everyone is born with talent, often more than one. There is something you can do better than anyone else out there! Although there seem to be people who are more talented than others, this is often a case of people not having sought out and found their own particular talents. Your talents are the gifts you have received at birth to help make yourself and others happy. You do this not by emphasizing your unique specialness, but through teaching (using your talents) that people share a common goal: that of finding love, joy, and inner peace. The fact that talents always manifest in forms in this illusory world is irrelevant. Using your talents properly (that is, right-mindedly), this always results in the experience of love, joy, and peace. And that’s content, not form.

So if you find yourself bothered by thoughts of suicide, or you know of someone in such a situation, consider the notion of Dharma. Are you aware of what your particular talents are? Most of us have not sought them out very explicitly. The first thing is to know that there is something that you can do better than anyone else in the world. Find it by meditating on what you love to do most, or best. Then train it, develop it and use it to illustrate (and experience) that what we share – our common identity as the Son of God – is much more powerful than the little competing egos that keep us lonely, uncertain and in constant fear. Don’t do this rationally on your own, by the way. “Trust not your good intentions; they are not enough” (T-18.IV.2:1). But together with the Holy Spirit you have “the lamp that will dispel the darkness” (T-11.V.1:3). In practice, this means learning to hear your intuition (the voice of the Holy Spirit) and mustering the courage to trust this as the voice you really want to follow. This voice always calls on your natural function to act as a Teacher of God, being a shining example of the reflection of the Love of God. And through your unique talents, you have the guarantee that you will be saving a large amount of time for yourself and for lots of other people. Living in Dharma, the idea of suicide becomes utterly valueless. Living in Dharma, you realize that the meaning of life lies in truly forgiving our silly notion of attack and separation, and choosing to fully and finally end condemnation.


Also see my seven “guidelines for living in an illusory world” in “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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Expressing rage

The past six to eight years I’ve come across various “energetic cleansing” programs that proclaim to heal various blockades in the mind. On average, this is done by facilitating outlets for all sorts of negative energies. The idea is that by temporarily switching off the emotional restraints that society usually demands, the mind is now finally allowed to free itself of “entanglements” (conditionings) that once may have been effective for survival, but have now become a burden. It’s somewhat different from, for example, Janos’ Primal scream therapy that was popular for a while in the seventies and eighties, wherein you would basically scream out the suppressed pain of childhood traumas; or Lowen’s bio-energetics, in which you physically kick out the trauma. Modern types of such therapies have a more explicit focus on the energetic body, e.g., the chakras and the meridians, in addition to a clear emphasis on activating the physical body. In the case of Ayahuasca (from Peru), there’s even a liquid involved that turns off the aforementioned emotional restraints in your mind automatically, facilitating the process of ‘letting go’. The rage that comes out this way is oftentimes rather impressive.

The curious thing that I find when watching “patients” try these therapies, is that although they do indeed experience a tremendous release and new emotional freedom, the effect rarely lasts more than, say, six to nine months. Time and again I see these people go and try yet another of such “energy-intensive healing therapies”. Again and again they report a fantastic experience that makes them feel as if they were reborn again. Physical and emotional energies are re-balanced and/or awakened. Until, after a few months, they discover that there is yet “another layer” that has now been given room to surface, again calling for energetic cleansing. It never seems to stop. What’s happening here?

According to A Course in Miracles, pain is in the mind, and only in the mind. We experience the pain in the body either as something physical that hurts, or as imbalanced energy (i.e., emotions, which is movement of energy), but the body merely follows the dictates of the mind, like a puppet on strings. The body is an effect of the mind (T-27.VIII.8). Jesus instructs us as follows: “To have peace, teach peace to learn it” (T-6.V.B). But where is the peace in the aforementioned energetic therapies? Although the mind’s focus seems to be on the cleansing of inner negativity, the body expresses rage, and the body is an effect of the mind. Therefore, at that moment, the mind is essentially focused on rage. Since we always learn what we teach (since teaching and learning are the same, cf. M-in.1), this mind is basically instructing itself about rage. This will guarantee that the imbalance is not truly solved, which of course suits the ego’s goal very nicely.

Jesus would comment that any therapy that does not first and foremost provide a clear answer to the questions: “What am I?”, and “What is my life’s purpose?“, is bound to fail sooner or later. Of course, virtually none of the aforementioned therapies provide a truly healing answer, because they stay rooted in dualism. They may question the validity of our perception, as ACIM does in many places, but they do not really question the reality of time and space. They don’t dive into the fundamental metaphysics of reality. Many, if not most of such therapists still see themselves and their patients as separate bodies. Their purpose may be in line with ACIM (i.e., “finding lasting inner peace”), but continually focusing on expressing rage in order to clean up energetically and emotionally, does not really sound like a convincing journey to a place of lasting inner peace.

It should be noted here that A Course in Miracles does not ask us to deny our emotional blocks and suppressed pain from childhood traumas. We are not asked to endlessly repeat affirmations such as “There’s no pain, there’s no pain, there’s no pain!” On the contrary, ACIM is very much about looking at pain – except that the place to look differs from most modern therapies. Again, pain is in the mind. Psychic and emotional blocks are always first and foremost manifest in thoughts. Through our brains, the thoughts express themselves almost immediately in biochemistry, which we then experience as emotions, accompanied by physical discomfort. But the right place to look for energetic cleaning is in the mind.

This is why it is so important to understand that each time Jesus asks us to look and be vigilant for any thought that arouses rage (cf. T-2.VI.5), he addresses our minds as decision maker. Only by actively deciding for right-minded thinking can we rise “above the battleground” (T-23.IV.1) and look at our suppressed pain without judgment. We do not deny what we “see” in the mind; we do not ignore it; we also do not live it out (since this only feeds the ego)… we merely look. In A Course in Miracles, Jesus tells us that he purifies all the errors in our thoughts that hide the light (T-5.IV.8), if we only let him, by choosing the Holy Spirit through our choice not to judge.

A Course in Miracles is basically about training your mind to be vigilant for any thought that does not reflect peace, and then immediately act on it. Again, not by ignoring it or living it out, but by quickly choosing to take Jesus’ hand in our mind, and simply stating: “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-5.VII.6)

So if you want to clean up your suppressed pain of childhood traumas with a result that lasts, don’t focus on your emotions or your physical body; focus on your mind instead. It’s true that we cannot heal such pain merely on our own (“Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough”, T-18.IV.2:1), but together with Jesus/The Holy Spirit you have the lamp that will dispel such pain forever (T-11.V.1:3). All that is asked of us is to be vigilant, from day to day, from minute to minute, for thoughts that do not reflect inner peace. Such thoughts will happen only about a zillion times a day. Such moments of realization are great opportunities to choose love (/forgiveness/non-judgment) once again. And then you’ll be teaching your mind peace instead of rage, which can be called true healing.


Also see my seven “guidelines for living in an illusory world” in “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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From Lord to elder brother

For many people in the Western world, the Biblical Jesus is a somewhat problematic figure. On the one hand he is presented as a savior, having absolved us of our past sins. Thanks to Jesus, our true Lord, the alpha and the omega, we again have a slight chance of being allowed back to Heaven when we leave this earthly life behind, although this still depends on our continuing willingness to be faithful to Jesus’ teachings in the Bible. On the other hand, the fact that Jesus is presented as God’s only Son – leaving us merely as ‘adopted children’ – reinforces our subconscious guilt over being nothing more than miserable sinners, barely worthy of God’s love at all. The rejection of God’s commandment by Adam and Eve, symbolizing how humankind rejected God, is a bloodstain that can never be removed (M-17.7). Only through a life of suffering and penance are we offered a chance to avoid eternal punishment in the afterlife. The result: merely thinking of Jesus continually reminds us of our unconscious guilt and worthlessness.

How utterly different does Jesus present himself in A Course in Miracles! Gone are all the connotations referring to his lofty status as “Lord”. Instead, Jesus presents himself as our loving elder brother, fully equal with us in terms of worth to God. In the Clarification of terms, we read: “The name of Jesus is the name of one who was a man but saw the face of Christ in all his brothers and remembered God. So he became identified with Christ, a man no longer, but at one with God. The man was an illusion, walking by himself, within a body that appeared to hold his self from Self, as all illusion do. […] Christ needed his form that He might appear to men and save them from their own illusions. In his complete identification with the Christ – the perfect Son of God, His one creation and His happiness, forever like Himself and one with Him – Jesus became what all of you must be. He led the way for you to follow him. […] Is he the Christ? O yes, along with you.” (C-5.2-3)

Jesus, again, presents himself to us as our elder brother. Our attitude should therefore not be one of awe, but of brotherly respect, since we are equals. As early as chapter 1 in the text book, we read: “[You] should experience awe only in the presence of the Creator of perfection. […] Equals should not be in awe of one another, because awe implies inequality. It is therefore an inappropriate reaction to me. An elder brother is entitled to respect for his greater experience, and obedience for his greater wisdom. He is also entitled to love because he is a brother, and to devotion if he is devoted. It is only my devotion that entitles me to yours.” (T-1.II.3)

If the point didn’t came across clearly enough, Jesus adds: “There is nothing about me that you cannot attain. I have nothing that does not come from God. The difference between us now is that I have nothing else. This leaves me in a state which is only potential in you.” He is our elder brother because he has already chosen Heaven one hundred percent, a choice that we are still to make: “You stand below me and I stand below God. In the process of ‘rising up’, I am higher because without me the distance between God and man would be too great for you to encompass. I bridge the distance as an elder brother to you on the one hand, and as a Son of God on the other.” (T-1.II.4)

This does not mean than when we do return to Heaven, ending time, space, perception, and everything else in duality, that we’ll walk through Heaven’s door, greeting Jesus, saying: “Hi brother! How are you? It’s been quite a while! We wandered off and got lost along the way. Thanks for guiding us Home. We’ve decided to stay here for all eternity.” In Heaven, there is no such thing as individuated consciousness: no time, no perception, no-one to talk or relate to. When we wake up from the dualistic time-space dream, we are at one with Jesus, in the sense that there is no point at which Jesus ends and other Sons of God begin. God has but one Son, one extension of unconditional Love, and this is what we are in essence. Or, as the Buddhists put it: “I am That, you are That, and That is all there is.”

This is exactly what we are so afraid of. “Don’t tell me that everything that I hold dear about my unique special self is a lie!” This is why we keep postponing the one decision for Oneness we can and will all make. “Be vigilant only for God and His Kingdom” (T-6.V.C.2) means saying “no” to our precious individual ego; our specialness; our sense of existing in relationship to something else; our attempt at being a god in a universe of our own. Instead, we settle for a certain measure of misery in our lives, as long as we can exist on our own. Until… you get smacked by a serious crisis in your life, and you realize that everything withers and dies; nothing lasts. “All things must pass”, as George Harrison sang in 1970, in the midst of the scribing of The course. A Course in Miracles invites us to honestly look at this “desert of death” that we’ve chosen, and points to a “better way” that will lead to the real world, wherein all perception is cleansed of judgment and attack.

The best way to practice this right-mind-training is in our relationships. Jesus pleads with us to only see the face of Christ whenever we meet a brother. In (T-31.VII.8) we read: “Behold your role within the universe! To every part of true creation has the Lord of Love and Life [God] entrusted all salvation from the misery of hell. And to each one has He allowed the grace to be a savior to the holy ones especially entrusted to his care. And this he learns when first he looks upon one brother as he looks upon himself, and sees the mirror of himself in him. Thus is the concept of himself laid by, for nothing stands between his sight and what he looks upon, to judge what he beholds. And in this single vision does he see the face of Christ, and understands he looks on everyone as he beholds this one. For there is light where darkness was before, and now the veil is lifted from his sight.”

Therefore, we reach Oneness by first seeing the sameness in our brothers and in ourselves. The key to ascending the ladder of Atonement is to look honestly at all the differences between us that we thought were real, and see their illusory nature. “The veil across the face of Christ, the fear of God and of salvation, and the love of guilt and death, they all are different names for just one error; that there is a space between you and your brother, kept apart by an illusion of yourself that holds him off from you, and you away from him. The sword of judgment is the weapon that you give to the illusion of yourself, that it may fight to keep the space that holds your brother off unoccupied by love.” So our task is simple: forgive yourself your unforgiving mind, and keep up your practice of silently blessing a brother every time you meet one during the day, whether it be physically or in your mind. You’re well on your way to meeting – no, becoming – your elder brother at last!


Also see my seven “guidelines for living in an illusory world” in “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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Choosing paradise on earth

A Course in Miracles offers its students a clear notion of the difference between duality (time, space, consciousness, concepts, perception) and nonduality (oneness, meaning no time, no space, no consciousness, no concepts, no perception). Roughly, “duality” in A Course in Miracles is equated with hell, and “nonduality” with Heaven. What’s more, duality is equated with illusion, and nonduality with reality. It is Jesus’ formidable task to first make us aware of this fundamental distinction, and second, to convince us that nonduality (Heaven) is our true Home as Christ, which is what we really yearn for deep inside, once we peel off the thick distraction layers of the ego. The beauty of A Course in Miracles is that it meets us on the level of the hallucinatory dualistic ego dream that we still believe is our daily reality. We are gently taught by Jesus not to feel guilty over clinging to our belief in the illusion of decay and death while we – at least theoretically – could wake up in an instant and return Home.

Unfortunately, Jesus cannot picture for us what “Home” is like, precisely because it is beyond all form, all concepts, all imagining. “Reality [Heaven] is ultimately known without a form, unpictured and unseen.” (T-27.III.5) We are told that once the Son wakes up (meaning: discarding the silly idea of duality once and for all, thus undoing time and space) we will know Heaven, and will remember nothing at all of duality. Of course, because remembering requires time. In nonduality there is no such thing as time. Can you imagine a state of mind (Mind, really) that is unchanging, unchangeable, absolutely certain, without any doubt or fear or anger or depression? A state in which all-encompassing Love is the only thing there is? A state with full communication with the Father, without any interference or uncertainties whatsoever? A state of pure peace, joy, and light, lasting for all eternity? In short: the state of Heaven?

Jesus says we all carry this memory within us. He uses the metaphor of a song: “Listen – perhaps you catch a hint of an ancient state not quite forgotten; dim, perhaps, and yet not altogether unfamiliar, like a song whose name is long forgotten; and the circumstances in which you heard completely unremembered. Not the whole song has stayed with you, but just a little wisp of melody, attached not to a person or a place or anything particular. But you remember, from just this little part, how lovely was the song …  a soft reminder of what would make you weep if you remembered how dear it was to you.” (T-21.I.6) That’s the memory of Heaven that we all carry within us. There’s just one little problem: Heaven knows not of individuality. It is only my continuing wish to try to live on my own, as a god in my own little separated mind, that seems to keep time, space, and perception ongoing, and therefore Heaven at bay. That’s why Jesus says that the authority problem is the only problem I have (T-3.VI.10). And any good student of A Course in Miracles learns to realize just how deeply attached we are to this individuality. The ego is not undone lightly.

On the other hand, although the ego may be fool-proof, it is not God-proof (T-5.VI.10). Luckily, the voice of the Holy Spirit (bringing the memory of Home) is also omnipresent within the illusory dream. Although we refuse to listen to the Holy Spirit most of the time, we are comforted that “tolerance for pain may be high, it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way” (T-2.III.3). An even bigger comfort is that we are told that eventually everyone will make this choice. It is not a question of whether or not the dream will end; it is only a question of how much more time we choose to spend in hell. Students of A Course in Miracles are bringers of salvation, or teachers of God, in the sense that they slowly learn to train their minds to choose to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit a little more often each day. Choosing the Holy Spirit as guide to your mind means, in essence, withholding judgment, condemnation and attack, while honestly looking at what’s going on in your mind, stepping back, and asking for advice on what to do next. This may seem meek’n’weak at first, but we are gently reminded that we really are in no position to reliably judge anything (cf. W-151.4), since our perception is so distorted. So giving up judgment, and following the Holy Spirit’s guidance “…is to let yourself be absolved of guilt. It is the essence of the Atonement. It is the core of the curriculum” (M-29.3). The peace of mind that follows is described in A Course in Miracles as the real world. Slowly manifesting the real world in your mind is the royal road to wake up from the dream and to ready the Son of God for his return to, or remembering of, Heaven.

In this sense, the real world is as close to the concept of “paradise on earth” as we can think of. It is the preparation for Heaven. Paradise on earth is not a perceptual state in which people are always nice to each other, the weather is always great, war is over, disease is gone, as are famine and lack whatsoever. According to A Course in Miracles, paradise on earth is in the mind, and only in the mind. It is an inner state in which there is no judgment, no condemnation of any kind. It is still in the dream world of perception, but it breeds no further attack and separation, and therefore no further illusion.  Externals do not change: there are still fights, disease, famine and lack of all sorts. But when I look at someone, though my eyes still see a body, my mind sees only Christ. Regardless of behavior. As the outer mirrors the inner, I make the choice for the real world by changing the inner. The outer will manifest itself in time; first in my mind, then in my relationships, and ever wider, according to the Holy Spirit’s “plan”. In (T-14.X.1) we read: “Reflect the peace of Heaven here, and bring this world to Heaven. For the reflection of truth draws everyone to truth, and as they enter into it they leave all reflections behind.” That is vision; such is paradise on earth.

So how do I train my mind to manifest the real world in my mind? First of all, I should always keep in mind that I am not a body; I am a holographic part of the Son of God, who can suffer only in dreams. Second, I should realize that everyone and everything I perceive is a projection of my judgmental and unforgiving wrong mind. Third, I am to remember again and again that my mind is a decision maker, with only two options: either listening to the ego or listening to the Holy Spirit. In every single moment I choose between the two. Which voice makes me truly happy? If I am very honest with myself, well… listening to the ego hasn’t really made me happy. Sure, there have been moments of ecstasy, but there are always more problems, and in the end my body decays and dies. But having chosen A Course in Miracles as my spiritual path, I notice that each time I withhold judgment, and ask for what to think and do instead, things turn out much more peaceful. Almost any student of A Course in Miracles can attest to such experiences. And each day this “infant of inner peace” grows a little more inside, I am increasingly willing to stop my unforgiveness and condemnation, and pause to ask the Holy Spirit what to do instead. And then, eventually, a day comes when you suddenly realize that you’ve been much happier in the past few years of your life than you’ve ever been in the years before. And that‘s a glimpse of the real world; the true realization of paradise on earth. Hence the final call of Jesus in the textbook: “Brother, choose once again” (T-31.VIII). Paradise is a choice!

 


Also see my seven “guidelines for living in an illusory world” in “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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