This infamous line from the Bible (Job 2:9) by Job’s wife symbolizes our accusing finger at God for all the misery and pain in the world and in our own personal lives. At the same time, though, from an ego-perspective, it also acknowledges that it is indeed possible for us to oppose the Will of God; therefore, the (ontological) separation from God did indeed succeed. We obviously exist as autonomous individuals! So when Job responds by saying to his wife that man should expect from God not only good, but also adversity (as this would help us grow spiritually), he is again affirming the distinction between what God wills and what we as humans want. Apparently, the ego was heavily involved in writing the Bible.
A Course in Miracles, as a spiritual curriculum for inner peace from Jesus, undoes such tragic mistakes. Referring to the Holy Spirit, the Voice for Love, Jesus assures us in workbook lesson 166: “One walks with you Who gently answers all your fears with this one merciful reply, ‘It is not so.'” (W-pI.166.11:3) We think we have overthrown God and can be a god in our own little world; that is, until He exacts his revenge and takes back the life-light we stole from Him. But this is not so. The reason this is not so is that our firmly fixed notions about the reality of the world and of what we are, turn out to be plain faulty. Again in the same lesson, we read: “This world is not the Will of God, and so it is not real.” (W-pI.166.2:2; my italics).
Ouch. That statement leaves no room for avoiding manoeuvres, such as that ‘God did not create the evil in the world (since that’s our own choice), but he did create the material world’. Jesus in his Course is very clear in stating that this world is not the Will of God, and so it cannot be real. This is one of the many places in A Course in Miracles where the ego gets profoundly afraid and retaliates, for example by closing the book or furiously throwing it against the wall. Small wonder, as such statements go against everything we believe is reality; everything we think we know we can count on. If this world is not real, that must mean I am not real. But who, then, is reading these words in this book? The beauty of workbook lesson 166 is that Jesus explains why we experience such resistance in accepting his message of love, joy, and peace. Let’s have a look at how he does that.
Jesus starts out by asking: “What would make you think there is another will than His?” (W-pI.166.1:6). He then explains: “Those who think it [the world] real must still believe there is another will, and one that leads to opposite effects from those He wills. […] Every mind that looks upon the world and judges it as certain, solid, trustworthy and true believes in two creators; or in one, himself alone. But never in one God.” (W-pI.166.1:6-2:5). This echoes the heart of the truth Jesus presents to us as early as chapter 3 in the text: “You can perceive yourself as self-creating, but you cannot do more than believe it. You cannot make it true. […] the belief that you can is the foundation stone for your thought system.” (T-3.VII.4-6,8). This is the condition everyone on this planet finds himself in: we are distinctly separate individual beings, constantly threatened by others, by viruses, by politicians, by natural catastrophes, you name it. The joy, peace and love of God are certainly not available here, save perhaps in short, fleeting moments of pleasure.
One of the key points of lesson 166 is that God’s joy, peace and love are with us all the time; in fact, these comprise the essence of what we are. However, we do not experience these, because of our distorted image of reality and of ourselves. Consider how Jesus describes the archetypal human being: “He wanders on, aware of the futility he sees about him everywhere, perceiving how his little lot but dwindles, as he goes ahead to nowhere. […] He seems a sorry figure, weary, worn, in threadbare clothing, and with feet that bleed a little from the rocky road he walks. No one but has identified with him, for everyone who comes here has pursued the path he follows, and has felt defeat and hopelessness as he is feeling them.” (W-pI.166.5:3-6:2). No wonder Job’s wife counseled him to “…curse God and die!”
The beauty of A Course in Miracles lies not only in a convincing explanation of why this unconscious image of ourselves is not true, but it also explains why we need to calmly and honestly look at this firmly fixed belief, in order to allow the Holy Spirit to have this silliness be undone forever. Therefore, in A Course in Miracles, Jesus gently invites us to ‘turn on’ spiritual vision and be glad: “Yet is he really tragic, when you see that he is following the way he chose, and need but realize Who walks with him and open up his treasures to be free?” (W-pI.166.6:3; my italics). The answer, of course, is: “No!” We are not tragic; all the misery we perceive and experience is our own choice. “The secret of salvation is but this: that you are doing this unto yourself.” (T-27.VIII.10:1). Given that truth, you would think it easy enough for us, as the hallucinating Son of God, to consistently choose joy, peace and love to misery, pain, and death. But if that were so, everyone would already be enlightened. Apparently, there’s resistance at work, and it is this we need to carefully examine; without fear, without guilt, without anger.
Jesus explains: “You cower fearfully lest you should feel Christ’s touch upon your shoulder, and perceive His gentle hand directing you to look upon your [own] gifts. How could you then proclaim your poverty in exile [from Heaven]? He would make you laugh at this perception of yourself. Where is self-pity then?” (W-pI.166.8:1-4). A part of our mind leaps up in joy at reading these words, but another part (the ego part) cringes sharply, as this ultimately means that Oneness is the only reality, and therefore my individual existence is indeed a lie. As Workbook Review VI would have us repeat for twenty days on a row: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.” (W-pI.201-220). Until we muster the willingness to allow the Holy Spirit to change these firmly fixed beliefs about individual autonomy versus a ‘Oneness joined as One’ (T-25.I.7:1), we will resist Jesus’ message in A Course in Miracles, and keep ourselves in pain.
A Course in Miracles is not a spirituality to make you feel better as an individual. It goes all the way to the core of the problem of the material universe, the only way back to what we really are: the eternal extension of the Love of God. As we read in the same lesson 166, describing the experience which doing the Course will give us: “Christ’s hand has touched your shoulder, and you feel that you are not alone. You even think the miserable self you thought was you may not be your Identity. Perhaps God’s Word is truer than your own. Perhaps His gifts to you are real. […] God’s Will does not oppose. It merely is. […] He does not know about a plan so alien to His Will. There was a need He did not understand [the desire to be on our own], to which He gave an answer [the Holy Spirit]. That is all. And you who have this Answer given you have need no more of anything than this.” (W-pI.166.9:1-10:7).
So each time you are tempted to become depressed, fearful or outraged while studying (and practicing!) A Course in Miracles, be sure to realize that his is merely your ego resistance at work to accepting Jesus’ message that individual existence is not only a silly lie, it’s also what we really do not want, if we compare the world of time and space to the eternal gifts of joy, love and peace of God. Still, this is a slow learning process. The thing to do, as always, is to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, by giving up condemnation: “I could see peace instead of this” (W-pI.34). The more often you resign as your own teacher and let the intuitive advice of the Holy Spirit be your guide, the happier your days become. You can curse God as often as you like, but you and I — as spirit — cannot die. God’s gifts are ours. So why wait to choose Heaven?
See also my “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:
See also my Feb. 2018 Course workshop at www.youtube.com.
Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.