In A Course in Miracles, Jesus’ famous New Year’s wish for his students (and for all of us) is his call to “Make this year different by making it all the same. And let all your relationships be made holy for you” (T-15.XI.8:11-12). The idea is that to find lasting inner peace, we should stop perceiving others as different from us, since we we are all equally worthy of Love, no matter what. In fact, we are all the one beloved Son of God. The seeming fragmentation into billions of bodies is wholly illusory. We all share the same mind. In other words, “making it all the same” means “seeing everyone as the same”.
As good Course students, we usually smile politely and may even feel warm feelings of intimacy regarding the ones close to us. But we rarely generalize that to all living beings. Consciously or not, we tend to exclude for example neighbors, loitering youth, parents, authoritarian bosses, and public figures, whom we feel impinge on our inner peace. In this world, it is very, very hard to regard everyone as the same, when differences so clearly abound: not only physically, but especially in how differently we think, in what we feel is important in life, in our values and ethics, you name it. So how feasible is it for Jesus to ask of his students to see everyone as the same?
For Jesus’ clarion call to make sense, I should first fully realize how each and everyone walks this planet with a split mind. At any instant in time, my thoughts are guided by only one of two teachers: either the ego (the voice for differences, emphasizing my distinct uniqueness), or the Holy Spirit (the voice for Love, reminding me of my shared Identity as the one Son of God). As long as I choose the ego as my mind’s guide, I will invariably perceive differences everywhere and all the time. From the ego’s point of view, it seems rather foolhardy to blissfully keep affirming that everyone is the same, when our daily experience is that people are obviously distinctly different. These differences are further influenced by forces clearly beyond our control: climate; illness; law; other people’s mood; you name it.
As long as I choose to reincarnate in a body, I — by implication — keep choosing the ego as my chief counselor 99 percent of the time. My choice to hold on to the image of a unique personality with a unique life mission, with very serious external problems to deal with, automatically means that the perception of differences (especially differences in worthiness) rules my days. This choice is purposive, as all Course students know well: my deepest fear is that without my perceived unique identity, my existence would simply be erased. And God knows what hellish punishment will befall me for my ‘cardinal sin’ of having separated from Him in the original ontological instant just before the Big Bang!
Luckily, when the Son of God seemed to fall asleep in the nightmare of fragmentation that seemed to manifest the physical universe, the earth, and our bodies, convinced by the ego that this is the way to hide from God’s wrath and keep the newly gained autonomy intact, the Memory of His true Identity came with Him into the nightmare. In the Course, this Memory is called the Holy Spirit: the Voice for oneness Love; the state of mind in which no individuality and no differences exist. This Memory is present in each and every life form. It cannot be obliterated, although it can temporarily be repressed (and we’re all very good at this). This Memory is the loving intuitive whisper that gently reminds me that “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me” (W-pI.201-220). That is, you and I are essentially pure spirit.
In A Course in Miracles, Jesus patiently explains to us that our eyes don’t really see; our ears don’t really hear; and our brain that reads these lines doesn’t really think (W-pI.92.2:1-2). (This is a really nice Zen koan, by the way: how do you make sense of that?) Still, beyond the senses, in our ‘mind’s eye’, we can choose to listen to the Voice of the Holy Spirit, telling us that beyond what the senses perceive, each and every one of us is created by the same Source: God. And “God is not fear, but Love” (T-18.I.7:1-5). And by implication, so are we, although we choose to repress that truth: “Can you who perceive yourself as a body, know yourself as an idea?” (T-18.VIII.1:5).
The nice thing about A Course in Miracles is that Jesus always translates his lofty metaphysical message to what this means for our everyday practical lives. In this case, it means that each and every time I am tempted to perceive a body, I should immediately realize that beyond these silly senses, I merely perceive a projection of the one Son of God: a mirror of my very own Identity! So each and every moment in my life, the choice is mine, as lesson 156 would have me ask ‘a thousand times a day’: “Who walks with me?” (W-pI.156.8:1-2).
So every time I am tempted to judge my neighbor, my parents, loitering youth, authoritarian bosses, public figures, you name it, I would do well to remember as quickly as possible that “…your task is still to tell him he is right. You do not tell him this verbally, if he is speaking foolishly. He needs correction at another level, because his error is at another level. He is still right, because he is a Son of God.” (T-9.III.2) Ah. No matter what my perceived scapegoat did (or failed to do), beyond the senses I can still choose to see the Light of the one Son of God in that person — which is the royal road to perceiving that same Light in myself.
Jesus continues: “His ego is always wrong, no matter what it says or does.” (T-9.III.2). Therefore, in the dream world we are certainly not asked to condone people’s ego’s, ignore their crimes, or become the proverbial doormat. Jesus certainly doesn’t counsel us to close all courtrooms and prisons. We can and should still say “No” to non-loving acts… but we can do so kindly, without a burning ego desire for vengeance. After all, how I treat others (which reflects how I think about others) merely mirrors my beliefs about myself, about my own identity.
So “make this year different by making it all the same” does not mean we should walk around in blind denial of every non-loving thing that goes on in the world. The world is cruel; after all, we made the world “as an attack on God”! (W-pII.3.2:1) We are asked, however, to train our minds to simply look at the dream world from above the battleground of the nightmare, and once more consider the question: “Who walks with me?” Again, the answer can be only one of two teachers: the ego — promoting perception of differences — or the Holy Spirit, promoting knowledge of sameness.
Guided by the right teacher, we will continue to perceive differences and act accordingly, but we don’t seek salvation in them anymore. We don’t indulge our ‘special righteousness’ any longer. We realize that behind each and every non-loving ego action we perceive, there is an “uncertain, lonely, and constantly fearful” (T-31.VIII.7:1) mind that begs of us to lovingly remind him of the undifferentiated Home we never left. So every time you notice you get upset by whatever, quickly remind yourself that what you seem to perceive is in essence a “call for love” that mirrors your own burning desire to return to God. Giving this message — by thinking an acting kindly — is the greatest gift you can give your brother and yourself, day in day out. Happy new year!
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. 2019 Course workshop at www.youtube.com called “Farewell to your self, to find your true Self”. (English captions/subtitles available)
Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.