One of the more cherished cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach is Bwv.82 (written in 1727), titled “Ich habe genug”, which translates to “I have enough”, in the sense of “I am content”. It is not a glorious choral hymn proclaiming praise to Heaven. On the contrary, it is a rather personal and introspective composition, as if sitting by the fireside, contemplating life. The singer concludes “I have enough” because he has Jesus the Savior to guide his life, which is really all he needs. At the end of the cantata, the singer even concludes that because of this, physical death doesn’t matter anymore.
The subconscious ego, however, does not agree with this statement at all. “Don’t be ridiculous”, we hear that persistent angry voice arguing, “there’s lack of just about everything. Consider: day in, day out, we work so hard, and yet there’s barely enough money to get food and shelter. But apart from such superficial necessities, the real lack is much worse. Don’t you feel incomplete and unfulfilled all the time? All these so-called friends of ours, they stole the priceless pearl that would make us complete! They stole our innocence and autonomy by attacking us unjustified, taking from us what they fear would be lacking in them! So, regrettably, they force us to do the same! No matter how loving we try to be, we’ll be betrayed sooner or later. Stop fooling yourself that you have enough; to secure peace is to prepare for war. This is the fate of everyone’s life. Now get back to work, you slave!”
A Course in Miracles offers genuine release from this ‘battleground’ by teaching us how to lift our consciousness above the battleground, and see it for what it truly is. Workbook lesson 236 aptly summarizes this by its title: “I rule my mind, which I alone must rule.” In this lesson, Jesus would have us say to ourselves: “I have a kingdom to rule. 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.” You and I probably agree there’s not a soul in the world to be found who does not recognize this experience. And then Jesus continues with the good news: “And yet it has been given me to serve whatever purpose I perceive in it.” (W-pII.236.1).
For any spiritual aspirant, it is life-changing to not only learn about the power of the mind, but to accept that the quality of life depends so much on the quality of the choices we make in our minds. A Course in Miracles takes this to the max in workbook lesson 253, wherein Jesus would have us say to ourselves: “It is impossible that anything should come to be unbidden by myself. Even in this world It is I who rule my destiny. What happens is what I desire. What does not occur is what I do not want to happen. This I must accept.” (W-pII.253.1). As good Course students, we know that Jesus refers here to content, not form. Of course we’re not directly responsible for, say, a devastating earthquake to hit the fault line; but we are responsible for the measure of inner peace in our minds, or the lack of it. No one and nothing has the power to bring us pain, sorrow, happiness or peace. We must accept such states of mind as our own responsibility.
One of the unique characteristics of A Course in Miracles as a spirituality is its consistent reasoning of why events in the world are inherently irrelevant to our state of mind: this is because there is no world! (W-pI.132.6.2). Perception is not truth. The ego would have us convince that this is a ridiculous thought because, after all, our sensory organs instruct us otherwise. Wouldn’t it be foolish to deny what our eyes behold? And should your toe hit a rock, who would maintain that the pain is not real? It is only in recent scientific experiments with near-death experiences, survivors of which tell the most baffling stories of their ‘dead’ time in between, when their brain had no clinical activity whatsoever anymore, that we open up to the possibility that mind and brain are not the same. Moreover, new theories such as quantum physics clearly argue that ultimately, time and space are unreal. However, this is too inconvenient for most of us to accept.
Why is it too inconvenient? Because it points to the way out of the hell of clinging to the ‘old rugged cross’ of the ego, which we think is our identity. The entire physical universe is a seeming hallucination about autonomy and separation from God the Creator. It is the ‘quantum possibility’ of the Son pondering the scenario that God’s Love is not enough; that he could do a better job on his own. The entire fourteen billion years since the Big Bang are nothing more than a film in which this ‘quantum possibility’ is played out. Tragically, since the triggering mechanism of this scenario is ‘rejection, attack and separation’, this is what drives the entire dream of time and space. Outside time and space, nothing at all happened to disturb the peace of God and his Creations (W-pII.234.1). And now we have A Course in Miracles, wherein Jesus comforts us in our pain by explaining that “This need not be” (T-4.IV.3). Our mind is powerful enough to decide to look at that silly movie from above the battleground, realize its nothingness, and then choose a much better way.
Kenneth Wapnick often emphasized in his books and workshops how important it is to learn to realize that you and I are a decision maker. Most of the time in A Course in Miracles, when Jesus contrasts the ego with the Holy Spirit’s message, he addresses us as a decision maker; he invites us to decide to make a better choice just has he once did: “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 [i.e., nothing else but unconditional Love]. This leaves me in a state which is only potential in you.” (T-1.II.3). The implication of this teaching is that I have been confused up to now about what my true will is. The ego is the attempt to have a will separate from the Will of God, but this is only (seemingly!) possible in the feverish nightmare we call time and space. If I am truly honest with myself, I must admit that this ‘experiment’ really does not work. In spite of my feverish wish to try autonomy, my will remains forever at one with the Will of my Creator: Unconditional Love. This is my will because this is what I am. In reality, the kingdom of my mind is at one with the Kingdom of Heaven, since in reality there is nothing outside Heaven.
In Chapter 6, Jesus confirms this notion: “No darkness abides anywhere in the Kingdom; your part is only to allow no darkness to abide in your own mind. This alignment with light is unlimited, because it is in alignment with the light of the world. Each of us is the light of the world, and by joining our minds in this light we proclaim the Kingdom of God together and as one.” (T-6.II.13:3). So indeed, I do have a kingdom to rule. Fortunately, ruling this kingdom is easy if I choose the Holy Spirit as my royal adviser. As the king of my mind, it is given me to stand above the battleground of time and space, look non-judgmentally at what’s happening, and then give all perceived pain over to Jesus (or the Holy Spirit), thus purifying my mind. Inner peace is what remains.
We can still expect a devastating earthquake to hit the fault line sooner or later. We will no doubt be confronted with people who will let us down. The physical body will most certainly deteriorate and die. All this doesn’t matter anymore once I come to accept the fact that I am the sole ruler of the state of my mind. “If you think what you have made can tell you what you see and feel, and place your faith in its ability to do so, you are denying your Creator and believing that you made yourself. For if you think the world you made has any power to make you what it wills, you are confusing Son and Father, effect and Source.” (T-21.II.11:3). Let us be grateful that this is so, and then start a new day in the world, knowing we experience ourselves in it, but are not of it. Following the Holy Spirit’s advice, we forgive where we used to condemn. This is the royal road to inner peace! Hail yourself as the king of your own mind. Rule your kingdom wisely, your Majesty. You and I indeed do have enough, since we have Jesus and the Holy Spirit to guide us.
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: