Using the body lovingly

For many students of A Course in Miracles, their view of their own body has become somewhat strained, to say the least. After all, Workbook review VI (lessons 201-220) would have us repeat for twenty days on a row that “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.” Passages such as “I was mistaken when I thought I lived apart from God, a separate entity that moved in isolation, unattached, and housed within a body” (W-pII.223.1) hardly invite the student to continue to favor the body. Instead, Jesus urges us to: “…choose the spirit, and all Heaven bends to touch your eyes and bless your holy sight, that you may see the world of flesh no more except to heal and comfort and to bless.” (T-31.VI.1) In A Course in Miracles, Jesus brings everyone’s ambivalence about the body into full consciousness, which may feel rather painful at times.

It does not follow, however, that the body is evil, nor that we should ignore it as much as possible. On the contrary; if you read the previous quote above very carefully, it’s clear that Jesus invites us to use the body to heal and comfort and to bless. In Chapter 18, we read the following all-important lines: “The body was not made by love. Yet love does not condemn it and can use it lovingly, respecting what the Son of God has made and using it to save him from illusions.” (T-18.VII.4) This is a crucial statement that distinguishes A Course in Miracles from most world religions and even from many spiritualities, in which either the sinfulness or holiness of the body is paramount. Jesus subscribes to neither. The key lies not in any characteristic of the body (since everything made of matter is illusory); the key lies in the purpose that guides what we do with the body. This purpose has only two modes: either to hurt or to heal; to attack or to love; a miracle or murder. While we believe we live in time and space, we can choose to put the body to good use indeed: to heal and comfort and to bless.

The practical implications of such a mindshift can be enormous. For one, many people are extremely uncertain about the attractiveness of their own body. For some, this has become an obsession that rules their world (i.e., mind). The commercial glamour world has brainwashed entire generations about the minimum standard that a body must comply to. Women are allowed to have virtually no fat at all, and men ideally look like Tarzan. All this vicious conditioning only reinforces the belief that to be happy in life, you must maximize the characteristics of the body (and spend lots of money doing so). How tragic! Reading Jesus’ comforting lines in chapter 18, however, I realize that whether my body is visually attractive or not becomes irrelevant. I may not meet the standards of the glossies, but I can still use my body to help, heal and comfort other seemingly separated people. This is what gives my life meaning. I do not need to be beyond the ego to do this. I can choose to help someone whenever I want, no matter how insignificant it may seem. In the manual we read: “Even at the level of the most casual encounter, it is possible for two people to lose sight of separate interests, if only for a moment. That moment will be enough. Salvation has come.” (M-3.1) I still believe I’m housed in a body, but I have chosen to use my body lovingly.

Sex is another topic that makes many spiritual aspirants highly uncomfortable. After all, isn’t sex the prime example of exalting the body? Most spiritual paths teach that time spent on sex isn’t particularly helpful in reaching enlightenment. A Course in Miracles seems to teach that the special (bodily) relationship is really a cannibalistic ritual with the aim of snatching from the other what we feel is lacking in ourselves to make the self complete. We completely fool ourselves when we equate “sex” to “making love”. Sex is primarily an ego-centered ritual. However, this does not mean that love, as in the joining of minds, is not possible in this ritual. “…remember love is content and not form of any kind. The special relationship [sex in this case] is a ritual of form, aimed at the raising of the form to take the place of God at the expense of content. There is no meaning in the form, and there will never be.” (T-16.VI.12) The key is to stop feeling guilty over the form of the ritual (in this case: sex), but to focus on the content behind the ritual, which ideally is the purpose of love, the joining of two seemingly separated minds, ending the separation. Therefore, even in sex the focus can shift from the body (form) to the mind (content), with no more guilt or uncertainty involved. Phew!

Why should I be attached to the attractiveness of my body anyway? My body only blossoms in the first twenty years of my life. After that, I must deal with fifty to seventy years of decay, inevitably ending in death. Scientists may be on the verge of breakthroughs in prolonging the longevity of the body, but to what end? We may succeed in adding more years to our life span, but does that guarantee more happiness? Deep inside, you and I know it doesn’t. Besides, if you subscribe to the eastern view of reincarnation, you (as spirit) inhabit many, many bodies in the course of time. The point therefore is not to make each of these bodies as powerful or attractive as possible, but to learn how to end the cycle of reincarnation. In his book “Your immortal reality”, author Gary Renard very graphically describes a vision in which his teachers Pursah and Arten treat him on a vision in which he gets to see, in quick succession, all the bodies that he has ever inhabited. Quite startling! Gary even published an audio book titled “The end of reincarnation”, in which he explains that our stubborn need to keep trying to find autonomy in a body – many lives on end – is futile. It’s only when you gratefully “resign as your own teacher” (T-12.V.8) and allow the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts, that you learn to undo all unforgiveness and finally return Home, outside time and space, “where God would have us be” (T-31.VIII.12).

Bottom line: stop feeling uncertain or depressed about your body. It’s not the visual perception of the body that matters; it’s the loving purpose that you can put the body to. Kenneth Wapnick in his workshops often spoke of the distinction between figure and ground, by which he meant the foreground and background of our focus. This is really about what’s upfront in my mind and what’s in the background. Conditioned by the marketing machines, we were taught to put visual perception in the foreground, and mind matters in the background. In A Course in Miracles, Jesus invites us to turn things around: place the mind in the foreground, and perception of space and time in the background. I still see the body, but in the background. Upfront in my mind is the purpose of love. This shifts the focus from using the body for idolizing the body to allowing the Holy Spirit to use the body to heal, to comfort and to bless; that is: to teach the end of separation. Thus we give the body a holy purpose indeed. This is something you and I can do at any moment of the day. Why not try it now?

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


Fighting against time

How often do you feel pressed for time? How often do you feel that there’s just not enough time to do everything you’d like to do? And when you sincerely ask someone how they’re doing, have you ever noticed how often people complain that they’re “fine, but just so terribly busy?” The information age, allowing us to connect to just about anyone and everything in the world, only worsens this phenomenon. Some have called ‘time stress’ the number one disease of the modern age. I think we can safely say that ‘time stress’ wasn’t so common, say, four hundred years ago, regardless of which continent you’d pick to examine. Scientists say that people probably even talked slower back then. Can you imagine how this overheats your mind? Counter-movements such as ‘slow management’ and ‘mindfulness’ do not seem to be able to significantly relieve society of this ever-increasing problem.

Is it a problem? I think it’s a serious problem, both on the physical, mental and spiritual level. Physically, time stress results in higher and less stable brain wave frequencies. This directly hinders the brain in its healthy control of the bodily functions. A lot of modern endocrine-related illness, including burn-out and Parkinson, are related to the quality of our brain wave frequencies. On the mental level, we allow ourselves less time to quietly rethink why we want to do what we do. We slip away into a state of living life on auto-pilot, trying to keep dozens of mind threads organized all at the same time. The epidemic of ADHD disorders is largely due to the overdose of stimuli that parents do not protect their children from, often because they are too busy themselves with their career or on a thousand other activities.

On a spiritual level, it’s obvious that all this activity merely serves to distract the mind from pondering about life’s fundamental questions, such as: “What am I?”, “What’s my purpose here?”, or more generally “What’s the meaning of my life?”. When you draw the timeline of the fourteen billion years of the cosmos on a piece of paper, our time stress becomes ridiculous. On this letter-sized timeline, mankind on the tiny speck of dust called Earth is only visible as a dot on the very end. You and I allow ourselves to become extremely agitated about dozens of senseless worries on issues that usually take only a few days or less. In the context of the larger picture of time, our time stress becomes totally insignificant and absurd. And yet you and I keep doing it. Why? Because I’m so afraid that my life will be be meaningless if I don’t achieve this or that before I die. My self as a special individual must matter, otherwise my existence is for nothing. And so I strive to be of value; to the world, but (unconsciously) ultimately to God. And what a strife it is!

Of course this does not work. At the very end of my life, chances are that I evaluate almost all of my efforts as either failed or unimportant. What remains is the question of how much love I’ve allowed myself to express in my lifetime. It’s sobering to read in the Bhagavad Gita, some 4,000 years old, that “as long as you focus on selfish desires, your life is utterly wasted.” And yet that is exactly what we see most of the seven billion people around us do daily, including ourselves: making sure I get by physically, occupying my mind with an endless string of idols, just to prove to everyone, including God, that I am significant, that my life is not utterly wasted, even though in the bigger picture I’m only like a firefly’s brief glow in time.

In A Course in Miracles, Jesus offers fundamental release from this hell, by bluntly presenting the extremely coherent nondualistic metaphysics of the unreality of space and time. Let’s focus on time here, the fourth dimension of duality. Jesus says: “Time is a trick, a sleight of hand, a vast illusion in which figures come and go as if by magic. Yet there is a plan behind appearances that does not change. The script is written. […] We but undertake a journey that is over. Yet it seems to have a future still unknown to us.” (W-pI.158.3-4). Since our brain is so linearly programmed, it dazzles us to try to fathom the unreality of time. After all, aren’t you and I reading this in time? We are studying A Course in Miracles in time, aren’t we? How can it be unreal? Jesus explains this in chapter 25, where he says that since we can only think linearly, his message presents us in time-bound fashion as well: “All this takes note of time and place as if they were discrete, for while you tink that part of you is separate, the concept of a oneness joined as one is meaningless.” (T-25.I.7) Jesus meets us in the condition we think we are in.

The liberation that Jesus offers us lies in the realization that we are the dreamer of a nightmarish hallucination, which does not affect our reality in eternity at all. Recall Lesson 167: “When the mind elects to be what it is not, and to assume an alien power which it does not have, a foreign state it cannot enter, […] it merely seems to go to sleep a while. It dreams of time; an interval in which what seems to happen never has occurred, the changes wrought are substanceless, and all events are nowhere. When the mind awakes, it but continues as it always was.” (W-pI.167.9) To be sure, “continues as it always was” is meant atemporal, since in eternity there is no such thing as time. Jesus uses the metaphor of a carpet that seems to roll out before us as we move through time. “Time seems to go in one direction, but when you reach its end it will roll up like a long carpet spread along the past behind you, and will disappear.” (T-13.I.3)

So we fool ourselves by holding on to our conviction that we must find our own meaningfulness within time and space. Our reality and our salvation lie outside time. Can we in any way picture this? Jesus helps us in this regard in lesson 107: “Try to remember when there was a time, perhaps a minute, maybe less, when nothing came to interrupt your peace; when you were certain you were loved and safe. Then try to picture what it would be like to have that moment be extended to the end of time and to eternity. Then let the sense of quiet that you felt be multiplied a hundred times, and then be multiplied another hundred more. And now you have a hint, not more than just the faintest intimation of the state your mind will rest in when the truth has come.” (W-pI.107.2). This is our choice to make, not something God bestows on us or not, depending on our past sins. God does not know of time, nor indeed of this entire world. As we read in chapter 26, this dualistic dream never happened in reality: “Not one note in Heaven’s song was missed.” (T-26.V.5).

That’s all very nice and comforting, but how do I learn Jesus’ lessons while I still believe I’m here in the 21st century, trying to make a living for myself and my loved ones? You and I won’t wake up next morning outside time and space, that’s for sure. The comforting thing is that we do not have to. Awakening is a slow process. Just as the Bhagavad Gita advises us to lead a normal life and… “be very active in this world, but as a man centered within himself”, Jesus in A Course in Miracles teaches us to practice the holy instant: a temporary focus on God’s unconditional love now; momentarily forgetting both past and future. “Now is the closest approximation of eternity that the world offers” (T-12.IV.6) – a statement, by the way, that led Eckhart Tolle to write his bestseller “The power of Now”. The Buddhists say: “The past is gone; the future is not yet here. You only live now, in the present moment.” How feasible is this?

The entire workbook of A Course in Miracles is a mind training program in which you train yourself daily to spend a little more time in the now, in a state of mind focused on forgiveness, a focus on unconditional love. This way you invite the Holy Spirit to guide the direction of your thoughts, an invitation the Holy Spirit gladly accepts. And after a while you notice that your mind is much calmer, and life seems to flow much more smoothly. Life is still busy at times, but with less stress, and more good fortune. Many ACIM students can attest to this experience. It is this experience of peace that is the goal of A Course in Miracles and ultimately of your life here. How much unconditional love do you allow yourself to express today? Practice the holy instant with gladness, and then return to the busy world, but centered on the Holy Spirit’s guidance, which cannot fail.

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


The seemingly many are one

If you have ever watched a large flock of birds move by in the sky, you will probably have noticed the often wonderful patterns they collectively paint in the air. To a growing group of scientists, this is a clear hint of the existence of something called ‘collective consciousness’. Consider: none of these birds ever went to highschool to be instructed on how to fly in mathematical formation. None of them had to pass any exam. And yet they know exactly what to do. Perhaps you’ll say that’s an instinct that has been conditioned in each of the birds for millennia, but even then — the group movement as a whole clearly illustrates some collective mechanism at work. It’s as if they each share in a collective mind.

In A Course in Miracles, Jesus teaches us that this is a universal principle of all life, both outside and within the dream of duality. Let’s focus on the dualistic world of time and space that we are convinced is our daily reality. To our sensory organs, it seems as though there are billions of distinct and competing egos populating the planet. However, we tend to forget that “perception is nothing but a projected wish [of separation] fulfilled” (T-26.VIII.2). Remember, “Projection makes perception” (T-21-in.1). Since “…there is no world!” (W-pI.132.6), everything I perceive mirrors an inner part of me that I wish to project outside of me because I don’t want to face it. The consequence is that not only do we share the same collective Identity as the Son of God (outside the dream), but we also share the very same ego (within the dream). And as with the flock of birds, every ego thought resonates through every mind, even though it does not appear to be that way.

This ego, masquerading as billions of individualized fragments, is one hundred percent hate. Not that we hate all the time, but whenever we choose wrong-minded thinking, this comes down to hate, albeit often veiled. This must be so, since the ego is the idea of separation from Oneness. Separation means attack. The very first concept that seemed to come into existence in the ego duality is consciousness: a mind that wishes to perceive itself as separate from something else. And from the Big Bang on, so it appears to be. Attack, though, must always be accompanied by guilt. When this guilt is about the enormous ‘sin’ of separating from the Creator, that guilt becomes intolerable. What’s more, this guilt is accompanied by fear of retaliation by God, who is of course fully justified in punishing us for this cardinal sin. In an attempt to hide from God’s wrath, the terrified ego fragments itself almost infinitely, to, as it were, become ‘ungraspable’. The brilliance of the Big Bang, setting in motion time and space, is that the oneness that once was, seems to be lost forever. What’s more, each splintered fragment of consciousness is now able to see ‘evil’ in all other fragments, but not in itself. To the ego, that’s a double treat and a very clever decision!

Except that this strategy of projection does not work, since (a) the collectiveness of the one ego is not gone but merely pushed out of individual awareness, and (b) projections always return to the projector, since defenses do what they would defend (T-17.IV.7). In Textbook chapter 24, Jesus graphically explains how we perceive evil in all others, and how we hate and wish to attack. Each of us wants “…to lead the other to a nameless precipice and hurl him over it.” (T-24.V.4). Consciously we try to defend our little self against a threatening world. But unconsciously the matter is much worse. As any good psychologist knows, everything we accuse others of we secretly fear in ourselves. As Jesus comments in chapter 7: “The belief that by seeing it [guilt; evil] outside you have excluded it from within is a complete distortion of the power of extension. That is why those who project are vigilant for their own safety. They are afraid that their projections will return and hurt them. Believing they have blotted their projections from their own minds, they also believe their projections are trying to creep back in. Since the projections have not left their minds, they are forced to engage in constant activity in order not to recognize this” (T-7.VIII.3).

As you go through your day, try to be aware of all that you perceive as “evil” outside of you. It might be your neighbor, your manager, your colleagues, loitering youth, the president, the police, religious extremists, you name it. As Kenneth Wapnick often explained in his workshops, it is so helpful to become aware of all your fearful thoughts about evil around you, then realize that these perceptions are projections of what you secretly believe to be the evil inside yourself, and then just observe that. Do no more. Should you react to such perception in any other way than non-judgmental observation, you will already have activated your ego again. If, however, you succeed in turning on the observer “above the battleground”, you place yourself in the position to choose the miracle that lends this Course its title, meaning: letting the fear in your mind be undone by the Holy Spirit, by allowing Him in, through the realization that “God thinks otherwise” (T-23.I.2). Do not deny your feelings, by the way; but do practice in not living them out on auto-pilot.

Back to our topic of collective consciousness, we can now see why Jesus tells us that: “All power is given unto you in earth and Heaven. There is nothing that you cannot do. You play the game of death, of being helpless, pitifully tied to dissolution in a world which shows no mercy to you. Yet when you accord it mercy, will its mercy shine on you.” (W-pI.191-9). That’s great news! Each time I truly forgive, forgiveness radiates through the entire seemingly fragmented cloud of life in the universe, in no time. This is the active mechanism of the miracle that we are not asked to understand, but merely to accept. Surely it does not seem to work that way. If, for example, I forgive my neighbor for parking his car right in front of my window all the time, my neighbor’s behavior is unlikely to change. That’s when people say: “I tried forgiving, but it doesn’t work. I tried it on John, but he keeps being a horrible person!” By such reasoning, we forget that John is merely a projected part of the ego that we don’t want to see in ourselves. By maintaining my dislike about John, I keep alive my unconscious dislike about myself, and nothing has really been forgiven at all.

In A Course in Miracles, we are told that the miracle, born of forgiveness, can have effects in unexpected places in the world we have never been, in times gone by or yet to come. Again, we are not asked to fathom this, but merely to accept it and diligently practice what Jesus advocates. “That the miracle may have effects on your brothers that you may not recognize is not your concern. The miracle always blesses you.” (T-1.III.8) This is why the answer as to how many teachers are needed to save the world is: one (M-12.1). It cannot be otherwise, since there is only one Son of God, of which we are all a holographic part. Forget the principle of the hundredth monkey, which holds that peace can only come if a sufficient number of people practice it. Seek not outside yourself. Forgive now, and all evil disappears, even though it may not seem to be that way instantly. You and I have “all power in earth and Heaven”, through the miracle, to set universal peace in motion, just by choosing it in the mind (which is by the way the true meaning of prayer: communion).

The collective consciousness as seen in the flock of birds is really universal. The seemingly many are one. You and I and the president and the most horrible terrorist are connected, since there is only one Son. A peaceful, forgiving mind is the greatest gift you can offer to all the perceived fragmented, splintered, evil egos you seem to see about you. 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


Born in prison

As early as about 500 B.C., the Greek philosopher Plato published his Allegory of the cave in his monumental book The Republic. An allegory can be a useful way of making someone realize some painful aspect of life that has been pushed out of awareness because realizing it would be too painful. For Plato, his Cave allegory did not only serve to remind people that while most of them choose a life of ignorance, true happiness is attained by choosing to acquire knowledge of “the Good” (Plato’s term); it was also a way to channel his deep frustration over the assassination of his teacher Socrates, who had been murdered because he had brought exactly that inconvenient message of mindfulness.

In the cave allegory, presented as a dialog between Plato’s brother Glaucon and his mentor Socrates, we see a group of people who have been chained by neck, hands and feet in a cave all their lives. They face a blank wall; they are not able to look around them, let alone behind them. From the entrance of the cave behind them, the sunlight casts shadows on the wall from travelers on the road passing the cave. To the prisoners, the shadows are perceived to be the sole reality of life. They even believe that the sounds of the traveling merchants are caused by the shadows on the wall. Each of the cave people is born in the prison of the cave. However, they do not perceive it as a prison: they perceive it as home; their entire world. They know nothing about any other kind of life outside their cave.

At some point though, the chains of one of the cave people fail (as Murphy’s law seems to be ubiquitous). This prisoner (a stand-in for Socrates himself of course) starts to look around him in bewilderment. At first his eyes are blinded by the sunlight coming from the entrance, and he flinches back. Eventually though, his curiosity overcomes his fear of the unknown, and by the time his eyes have more or less adjusted to the daylight, he starts to explore the outside world. Imagine how the bewilderment turns to joy as he learns that there is a much better world outside the cave! Feeling blessed by such good fortune, he becomes filled with pity for his fellow people. He decides to bring them the glad message of the world of light, so they might share in his gladness.

The cave people, however, do not welcome the philosopher back at all. Since the latter’s eyes seem to be blind in the cave because he is not used to the darkness anymore, they reason that the world outside will only hurt them. They collectively conclude that they should not venture a similar journey, for this would surely end in disaster. And it gets worse: they vow to kill anyone who might attempt to drag them out of their cave. Which is of course exactly what happened to Socrates. This is the rationale behind the ancient saying that “a prophet is never welcome in his own home town”: his message tends to drag people too much out of their comfort zone, which only results in vicious resistance.

Jesus faces the same challenge in bringing his peace-bringing curriculum of A Course in Miracles to our sleeping minds. In fact, in Textbook chapter 20 he explicitly refers to this allegory to get his point across: “Prisoners bound with heavy chains for years, starved and emaciated, weak and exhausted, and with eyes so long cast down in darkness they remember not the light, do not leap up in joy the instant they are made free. It takes a while for them to understand what freedom is.” (T-20.III.9). In a way, Jesus is very much like the philosopher who brings the message of light to prisoners who have known only darkness their entire lives. If you have been studying A Course in Miracles for some time you will no doubt have noticed the infinite patience with which Jesus presents his same message again and again. Not once does he scold his students for continuously choosing the stupidity of remaining asleep in darkness. As any good psychotherapist realizes, you do not take away people’s defenses.

Anyone born in a prison will love the prison, since it is all they know. If you have ever watched the movie “The Shawshank redemption”(still #1 on IMDB’s all-time Top 250), you will realize just how true this is. Brooks Hatlen, a man who had spent most of his life in the Shawshank prison, was released in 1954, then aged 72. Outside, he encountered a world that had changed dramatically since his childhood years. Although he tried hard, he concluded that he wasn’t capable to adjust to a society he had never known. Finally, he committed suicide. Reading his farewell letter, his former inmates concluded: “He should have died in prison.” On the other hand, the event also drove the main character to make serious work of his escape back to the free world, which in the end succeeded.

In A Course in Miracles, Jesus explains that we are all (seemingly) born into the prison we call the physical world. We just try hard not to experience it as a prison. In spite of the struggles and decay we see while watching the news, we are all intimately in love with the physical world. Moreover, we are thoroughly convinced that it is all we have, which partly explains the overwhelming zeal over ‘creating a sustainable future on this planet’. When Jesus reminds us that “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me”, we really cannot depict what this state is like, since it is devoid of any form, which is the unknown. And just as the world outside the cave was the unknown to the cave people, the thought of exchanging everything that you know for something totally unknown is simply terrifying. And so we keep clinging on to our worldly externals, just as the the cave people decided it would be too harmful to attempt to exit their cave.

Jesus knows his students well, which is why he spends so much text on having us fully realize the nature of wrong-minded thinking, and just how painful this really is. That’s why Kenneth Wapnick repeatedly reminded us that A Course in Miracles is not a message of love; it’s a message of learning how to choose to deny the denial of love. We will not take Jesus’ hand on the road to the real world as long as we do not fully realize the true nature of the cave in which we have bound ourselves, and which we still love so much. Again, Jesus knows this acceptance process takes time. To repeat: “Prisoners bound with heavy chains for years, starved and emaciated, weak and exhausted, and with eyes so long cast down in darkness they remember not the light, do not leap up in joy the instant they are made free. It takes a while for them to understand what freedom is.” (T-20.III.9)

To be free, we merely need to choose Scharmer’s principle of “letting go, letting come”, that is, letting go of our stubborn conviction that we know what the purpose of our lives and this world is about, and increasingly allowing Jesus/The Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts, merely by giving up condemnation of everything and everyone outside of us. In chapter 20, Jesus continues: “Strengthen your hold and raise your eyes unto your strong companion, in whom the meaning of your freedom lies. He seemed to be crucified beside you. And yet his holiness remained untouched and perfect, and with him beside you, you shall this day enter with him to Paradise, and know the peace of God. […]  In your brother is the light of God’s eternal promise of your immortality. See him as sinless, and there can be no fear in you. […] This [forgiveness] is the purpose given you. Think not that your forgiveness of your brother serves but you two alone. For the whole new world rests in the hands of every two who enter here to rest. And as they rest, the face of Christ shines on them and they remember the laws of God, forgetting all the rest and yearning only to have His laws perfectly fulfilled in them and all their brothers. Think you when this has been achieved that you will rest without them? You could no more leave one of them outside than I could leave you, and forget part of myself.” (T-20.III.11).

To conclude, let us remind ourselves of the often-quoted line: “The secret of salvation is but this: that you are doing this onto yourself.” (T-27.VIII.10). Anyone who has chosen to honestly study and practice a spiritual path begins to realize that not only a life in the cave is not desirable; it is a prison we have chosen to be bound in, and there’s a much better state of life outside that prison. They also realize that it takes a while to adjust to the light. Still, there is no greater joy than finally seeing (with the mind’s eye, the psychology of vision) the road to the real world, and walking that path with a companion Who cannot fail in His guidance. Our task is merely to strengthen our innate desire of letting go and letting come, by practicing unconditional forgiveness.

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