Christmas is a time in which we remind ourselves and others that in spite of all the misery within us and around us, there’s something good in each of us, and we could choose to focus on that. Christmas is seen as a time to aspire to bring a little more peace on earth, and to contribute to that by being less irritated and hot-headed, at least for a few days. Although the religious connotation of Christmas gradually loses its significance, the message of the possibility of love nevertheless remains in our minds. From the perspective of A Course in Miracles, though, in this positivism we tend to forget a few subtle but important aspects about hoping for a little more “love, peace and understanding”.
First of all, you and I are thoroughly convinced that the world in which we see and move about is our daily reality. Yes, I want peace, but I want it in a world that I see is inherently unpredictable and threatening. If I’m not constantly on the lookout, there’s bound to be pain. This means that to achieve any measure of peace at all, this will by definition be a struggle. It will demand constant effort, not to mention sacrifice (although the sacrifice will at least ‘prove’ to God that I am kind and innocent). We believe that this is the condition of life in the universe we live in. We tend to forget that in truth there is no physical world at all. When we look in the mirror in the morning, we see a body that we are convinced is our essence. We think that our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin perceive meaningful things. We think that our well-being depends on how we turn this sensory perception into ‘effective’ action.
A Course in Miracles, however, presents us with a metaphysical view on “life, the universe and everything” that is utterly mind-blowing. It’s called “strict non-dualism”. Jesus assures us that both time and space are inherently illusory, which means that not only all sensory perception is an illusion, but that the entire idea of being born, maturing, aging, and finally dying, is a silly, nightmarish hallucination as well. We are pure spirit, eternally unchangeable, dreaming a dream of time and space, of bodies and behavior. God knows absolutely nothing about all of this. God is pure Love, which is all-encompassing. What is all-encompassing can have no opposite (T-In.7). Therefore fear, the opposite of Love, must be false. Kenneth Wapnick reminded us frequently that the God to whom we pray at Christmas, the God who sees all that’s going on and definitely judges us for it, is a God you and I made up, to be able to hold up our face of innocence: sin is clearly in others, not in me. “Just look at this world, dear God, and you will surely agree that this is so.”, we pray in fear.
Secondly, perhaps more importantly, Jesus in A Course in Miracles reminds us that we weren’t thrust by God into this earthly hell unwillingly… we, as the sleeping Son of God, actively chose to (mis-)make this universe and earth, to ‘prove’ to God that we can do very well on our own, without Him. The ontological instant of the tiny, mad idea of separation, resulting in what is scientifically known as the Big Bang, was an act of condemnation, attack and separation, in a mad attempt to achieve individual autonomy (in billions of fragments). Since ideas leave not their source, by definition, then, everything in the universe is fueled by this dynamic. I keep condemning, attacking, and emphasizing differences, just to keep up the illusion that I can indeed exist as an individual apart from my Creator. Everything I perceive is but the confirmation of this wish. And guess what, I’ve seemingly managed to deny the hopelessness of this for some fourteen billion years so far. No wonder that the world has become very weary. No wonder that “peace on earth” seems farther away than ever.
Still, the goal of the curriculum of A Course in Miracles is to attain peace (“Knowledge is not the goal of the Course; peace is.”, T-8.I.1). How can we experience peace in a hallucinatory world? Only by realizing that, yes, we find ourselves in this world, but we are not of this world. In A Course in Miracles, the miracle shows us that what we think to be gospel truth in this world is not so, and there’s a much better choice we can make now. This is simply the choice to give up condemnation, attack and separation. I don’t need to focus on metaphysics during the day. I don’t have to deny that I deeply care for the well-being of my body. I don’t need to give up anything I still cherish in this world. But I do need to look at my mind and realize that each instant of the day I choose the teacher to guide my thoughts: either the ego (wrong-minded thinking) or the Holy Spirit (right-minded thinking). The ego is geared towards specialness; the Holy Spirit towards sameness – the same unconditional, non-judgmental love that is always there for the choosing in our mind.
That’s why Jesus advised Helen and Bill to “make this year [i.e., the year to come] different by making it all the same. And let all your relationships be made holy for you.” (T-15.XI.10). The meaning of this sentence is profound: “making it all the same” means to realize that each seemingly separated life form shares the same interest, namely returning to the eternal unchangeable Oneness of God, thereby undoing the dream of time and space forever. Realizing that every seemingly separated brother is but a mirror of my own state of mind, each encounter with a brother offers me a great opportunity to transform the ancient ontological moment of separation into a holy instant of union. There will still be irritation, fights and civil war in the world. I will still be shifting back and forth between wrong-minded thinking and right-minded thinking. But whenever I choose to give up condemnation I invite the reflection of the Love of God to shine here on earth, which then manifests in places and times I cannot even begin to imagine. My accepting the miracle is all that’s needed to choose peace on earth. Try it. Keep trying it now. Peace can only be attained here and now, in the mind.
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: