A Course in Miracles teaches us that everything we think, say and do in time and space has only one of two purposes: either to keep the imagined state of separation (from oneness, from God, from Love) going, or to undo that same imagined state of separation, by forgiving ourselves for any condemning thought, statement or action that we still cherish. A Course in Miracles can be seen as a call to make this shift: “You have been called, together with your brother, to the most holy function that this world contains. It is the only one that has no limits, and reaches out to every broken fragment of the Sonship with healing and uniting comfort. […] The peace of God is given you with the glowing purpose in which you join with your brother.” (T-18.I.13).
This sounds wonderful enough in itself: all I need do is to shift the purpose of my thoughts and the peace of God will be given me. However, many (if not all) Course students unconsciously feel that they are called to sacrifice what they hold most dear: their precious unique special individuality. That’s why so many Course students try to distort Jesus’ message by trying to attain the experience of oneness as a separated individual. This is clearly a hopeless journey, as oneness and individuality cannot coexist. What makes this Course so hard to accept is our gradual realization, as we study the text and practice the workbook, that salvation requires of us that we give up the dream world of our own personality, which the ego made to be able to enjoy autonomous existence.
Although it’s true that the final acceptance of the Atonement requires a letting go of the entire dream world of time and space and individuality, Jesus’ curriculum guides us in making the necessary mindshift from seeing this as a sacrifice, to seeing this as the most desirable thing imaginable. Jesus’ repeated message, therefore, is that it can hardly be a sacrifice to give up a dream world that inevitably ends in death, and is permeated by uncertainty, loneliness, and constant fear (T-31.VIII.7:1). We don’t even have to give up anything that we made here out of our desire for specialness. We mere need to learn to assign a different purpose to these things: again, from reinforcing separation to emphasizing the sameness of all living things.
Jesus comments on this required ‘shift in purpose’ for example in chapter 25 of the text: “All that you made can serve salvation easily and well. The Son of God [i.e., all life combined] can make no choice the Holy Spirit cannot employ on his behalf, and not against himself. Only in darkness does your specialness appear to be attack. In light, you see it as your special function in the plan to save the Son of God from all attack, and let him understand that he is safe, as he has always been, and will remain in time and eternity alike” (T-25.VI.7:4-7). In other words, the Holy Spirit offers us a way of looking differently at everything we initially made (i.e., thought of) to separate, by shifting its purpose: from separation to sameness.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t take anything away from us. He is not some ghostly being that robs us of all specialness “for our own good”, because we ought to stop the dream world and return to the nonduality of oneness. This also means that I, as the dreamer of the dream of dualism, wrote the script for my life, or better, for the entire sequence of reincarnations that I experience in the course of the illusory ages. Whereas I first wrote that script to be able to try to achieve perfection on my own, apart from oneness (“In this lifetime I’ll get it right”), at some point the pain of constant failure becomes too much to bear. Then will I shift the purpose of what I made to the purpose of accepting the Atonement, eventually ending the dream of time and space forever.
To bring the metaphysical back to the practical: in my daily life, this means I realize that inner peace is found in forgiving the darkness in my mind, not in having my own superficial ego needs met. Practicing forgiveness is the way I learn Jesus’ curriculum of finding lasting inner peace. Still, what I learn I do not learn for myself alone: “And it is thus the power of your learning will be proved to you by all the many different witnesses it finds. Your brother first among them will be seen, but thousands stand behind him, and beyond each one of them there are a thousand more. Each one may seem to have a problem that is different from the rest. Yet they are solved together. And their common answer shows the questions could not have been separate” (T-27.V.10:3-7).
So the only way to heal is to choose to be healed, that is, of all the darkness that I once chose in my mind. And this I do by choosing the Holy Spirit as my new Teacher. This new Teacher doesn’t demand I sacrifice anything at all. He merely shows me a much better purpose in all that I think, say and do. “Such is the Holy Spirit’s kind perception of specialness; His use of what you made, to heal instead of harm.” (T-25.VI.4:1). Now we can better understand Jesus’ inspiring call in chapter 16: “The new perspective you will gain from crossing over [i.e., shifting the purpose] will be the understanding of where Heaven is. From this side, it seems to be outside and across the bridge. Yet as you cross to join it, it will join with you and become one with you. And you will think, in glad astonishment, that for all this you gave up nothing!” (T-16.VI.11:1-4).
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.