“This world you seem to live in is not your home. And somewhere in your mind you know that this is true. A memory of home keeps haunting you, as if there were a place that called you to return, although you do not recognize the voice, nor what it is the voice reminds you of. Yet still you feel an alien here, from somewhere all unknown. Nothing so definite that you could say with certainty you are an exile here.” Thus opens Workbook lesson 182, “I will be still an instant and go home”. These words have touched the hearts of many a student of A Course in Miracles, only quickly to be repressed and forgotten again, since we cannot yet accept the pain of the implication, namely that we are the ones who exiled ourselves to this “barren desert, where starved and thirsty creatures come to die” (W-pII.341.5). And so we spend our days trying to make the best of this illusory world, stubbornly “vowing that what God wants for us will never be, and that we will oppose His Will forever” (T-24.III.4:6).
Lesson 182 graphically describes how we try to make ourselves at home in a world that is not our Home. Jesus speaks for everyone who walks this world: “He goes uncertainly about in endless search, seeking in darkness what he cannot find; not recognizing what it is he seeks. A thousand homes he makes, yet none contents his restless mind.” (W-pI.18.3:2) These ‘thousand homes’ refer to all the special relationships we set up with people, with substances, with hobbies, with possessions; you name it. We spend our lives trying to find a home (i.e., lasting inner peace) in externals in the world. While Jesus’ purpose is not to make us feel guilty over our silliness, he does emphasize time and again that we must look at our illusions honestly, or we’ll never be able to make the better choice of changing our minds and ending the dream of duality that is this world.
So let’s look at our thousand homes, our various special relationships, for a moment. The most obvious attempts we find in our relationships with people. For example, many marriages are fueled by a mutual desire to complete the self with ‘special’ attributes of the spouse. We seek to build “a union made in heaven” as our life’s home. Alas; the high divorce rate well illustrates the disappointment that inevitably surfaces. Instead of learning the lesson, we listen to the ego’s counsel to seek another special love partner. “Another can be found.” (W-pI.170.8). And then the same cycle happens again. Jesus’ point is not that everyone should go for celibacy; the point is to be aware of the purpose with which you enter into a relationship: what is it for?
Another example of attempting to build a home in our ‘barren desert’ can be seen in our addictions to substances. It need not even be an addiction to obvious slow killers such as drugs, alcohol or nicotine. Even a seemingly ‘innocent’ addiction to chocolate, coffee, or junk food is in effect an attempt to find comfort in a threatening world. And then we wonder why we have an obesity epidemic on our hands. Being overweight does not call for ‘smart’ dieting programs; it calls for changing the mind about what is valuable in this life and what is valueless. Still, even a vigilant drive to eat as healthily as possible in your life, is an attempt to build a safe home. It will not make the body last, and certainly will not content the restless mind.
Perhaps you think that making a lot of money and then comfortably moving in your luxury mansion with your Lamborghini is the home that will bring you peace. In practice, though, we see that many very rich people feel extremely insecure and vulnerable. The unreliability of the world presses equally hard on their minds as it does with the billions of financially poor people in the third world countries. No matter how many houses you can afford to buy, they will never function as the home that you seek to content your restless mind.
All this seeking and building does not need to be physically or materially visible. Even a well-intentioned study on a scientific, societal or spiritual subject, geared at helping mankind take a next step in its ‘evolution’, comes down to building a home that will not last, and therefore will not bring the inner peace that we want so much. Nor will any hobby, or activity to ‘build a better world’ content the restless mind. To find a valuable home in your life, you do not need things of the world, material or spiritual. You do not even need A Course in Miracles. You need only to choose to change your mind about the world, and realize your true Identity as Christ, the one Son of God, seemingly splintered into billions of fragments in a hallucinatory dream we call the universe and the world, and then choose to listen to the Holy Spirit’s advice ever more often.
“Seek not outside yourself. For it will fail, and you will weep each time an idol falls,” we read in (T-29.VII.1). Anyone who has been through a divorce can attest to this. But before you slip into a depression about your current earthly life, take a look at what Jesus does advocate as valuable here, most notably in Workbook lesson 133, “I will not value what is valueless”, which offers clear criteria to test all things we think we want: “First, if you choose a thing that will not last forever, what you chose is valueless.” (W-pI.133.6) Well, that includes just about everything on this planet, except for your loving thoughts. “[…] Next, if you choose to take a thing away from someone else, you will have nothing left. This is because, when you deny his right to everything, you have denied your own.” (W-pI.133.7) This is a call to offer love instead of judgment. The lesson concludes that only the experience of the reflection of Heaven, which is the eternal Love of God, is to be valued: “Heaven itself is reached with empty hands and open minds, which come with nothing to find everything and claim it as their own.” (W-pI.133.13).
This means accepting the miracle, which shows you that you are the dreamer of the dream and that all you perceived and interpreted as valuable is not so. “There is no world! This is the central thought the Course attempts to teach.” (W-pI.132.6). Seek not outside yourself. Examine your mind for the kind of experiences you would have in this life, and then try to be as vigilant for the Kingdom as possible. In practice, this means: looking at your mind and letting go of judgment and condemnation; being kind and helpful to your brothers, who are one with you; and gently forgiving your own mind for still judging all the time. That alone brings the true peace of mind that’s your only real valuable home here on earth; the only home that will transform into Home by the time the mind is ready for it.
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: