Workbook lesson 139 of A Course in Miracles explicitly states that you and I and all of us “have a mission here” (W-pI.139.9:1), even though the Course explicitly states that this world, the universe, time and space in reality do not exist and that we are — right now — already safe at Home in the Heart of God. We are only dreaming of exile from nonduality. So what, then, is our mission here about? As chapter 21 of the text emphasizes, “this is a course in cause and not effect.” (T-21.VII.7:8). Therefore, our mission here is not to make a ‘better’ dream world, as many spiritual aspirants unfortunately tend to try. So what is our mission here about? What’s the meaning of life here?
Jesus’ answer to this question in workbook 139, once read carefully, can be seen as a summary of the entire Course: “We did not come to reinforce the madness that we once believed in.” (W-pI.139.9:2). The “madness“, of course, is the impossible belief of the Son of God (Christ) in the tiny, mad idea (T-27.VIII.6:2) that He is better off without God; that He could be self-created and experience a happiness that’s much better than the oneness Love of God. Since, according to the Course, this oneness Love is the only reality, which by definition cannot have any opposites, this separation from God in reality never happened.
However, the seemingly sleeping Son of God is free to hallucinate that it did, and experience the consequences of this belief in a made-up universe of time and space. And this is what all seemingly fragmented parts of the seemingly sleeping Son of God (that is, all of us) still believe who “count the hours still, and rise and work and go to sleep by them.” (W-pI.169.10:1,4). Most of us don’t even ask ourselves what our mission here might be; we just go on living our daily lives on auto-pilot, and die without a single clue as to why we exist. Well, at least we existed apart from God.
This is the “madness that we once believed in”. The sentence is stated in the past tense for two reasons: (1) “once” refers to the ontological moment just before the Big Bang that the Son of God chose to believe in the plausibility of the separation, a moment that we still relive “each day, and every minute in each day, and every instant that each minute holds” as long as we choose to hold on to judgmental thoughts; (2) Having chosen a path as a “happy learner” of Jesus’ curriculum and having reached lesson 139, he reminds us that we are no longer wholly insane: at least in part we have come to see the silliness of the tiny, mad idea; we acknowledge the desirability of the “other way” to live in this world, namely, as a happy learner guided by the Holy Spirit.
Our mission here, then, is to accept — and live! — the only correct answer to the universal question “What am I?”. The answer, as all good Course students know, is that I am pure spirit, at one with my Creator, as lessons 201-220 affirm: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.” (W-pI.201-220). The difficult part is when we realize that this must include everyone. As Jesus says about our true mission here: “It is more than just our [own] happiness alone we came to gain.” (W-pI.139.9:4). As Ken Wapnick often emphasized, if I am to be truly happy, it is everyone’s happiness I must desire, without exception. This must be true if everyone I see out there is nothing but a projection of the thoughts in my own mind that I find too objectionable to come into awareness.
That’s why Jesus continues his plea in lesson 139 as follows: “Fail not your brothers, or you fail yourself. Look lovingly on them, that they may know that they are part of you, and you of them.” (W-pI.139.9:6-7). This sounds lovely enough, until people cross our mind that we really don’t like. Should I also apply this to that nasty neighbor; to this incredibly stupid Head of State; to that recently convicted criminal? I can perhaps intellectually accept the notion that everyone outside of me is a projection of an ‘unacceptable’ thought in my own mind, but once I turn on the news that’s rather hard to keep up.
Our mission here, then, can be concisely restated as “Be kind.” Not because we feel that’s a social obligation, but because we have honestly acknowledged that we are indeed all the same pure spirit, including that neighbor, the president, and that convicted criminal. I certainly do not have to condone silly behavior; but I can realize that beneath all perceptual behavior lies the same sadness, loneliness and fear all living creatures share. We all have that same frightened little child in us that yearns to rediscover the certainty of everlasting love as an exile in a strange land. As long as I choose to condemn others for their ‘unacceptable’ behavior, I am really stating that I do not want the oneness Love of God. That’s why choosing to react judgmentally always hurts myself. Always.
To accept our mission here as to be kind is to “proclaim that we accept as what we are everyone must be, along with us.” (W-pI.139.5-7). In that acceptance, condemnation becomes meaningless. I certainly do not have to act as the proverbial doormat; I can certainly say “no” to a particular situation if the Holy Spirit tells me that’s the most loving thing to do for all parties involved. But once I have accepted my mission here as a happy learner and teacher of true forgiveness, I experience the meaning of life in this illusory dream world. My mind remains at peace, no matter what my ego perceives. As Jesus concludes: “Today accept Atonement, not to change reality, but merely to accept the truth about yourself, and go your way rejoicing in the endless Love of God. It is but this that we are asked to do.” (W-pI.139.10:2-3). Happy practicing!
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 my Feb. 2020 Course workshop on YouTube called “A kingdom to rule” (English captions/subtitles available).
Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.