In less than a year’s time, the entire world seems to have been transformed in a place of heightened anxiety. Billions of people are mortally afraid their lives may be snuffed out by a monstrous virus we have never seen the likes of before. Although an increasingly growing group of scientists assure us that the mass hysteria is utterly disproportionate (currently, in all countries over 99,9% of the population survives, and the mortality rate has now dropped significantly), many governments seem to stimulate the mass fear, possibly driven by economic motives as dictated to them by Big Pharma or the World Economic Forum. Or so the ‘conspiracy theorists’ among us argue.
From the perspective of A Course in Miracles, it is totally irrelevant whether or not the mass hysteria is organized or not. In the seventeenth century, when the letterpress allowed for the wide dissemination of knowledge, governments viciously attempted to stop people from reading books, as this could undermine their comfortable position of power. Forms shift and change throughout the ages, but the underlying content always remains the same: we made this world to be a place of fear, a place “where God [Love] could enter not” (W-pII.3.2:4). Why? Because all fear is but a shadowy reflection of the original fear of the seemingly sleeping Son of God Who hallucinated (just before the Big Bang) that the Unity of Oneness had been shattered. The cause? Merely His silly wish to be autonomous, thereby negating the very definition of Oneness. Thus was the ego born, and time and space with it. Or so we believe.
In a verily insane association, the ego needs the ongoing awareness of fear, just to be able to constantly ‘prove’ that the separation from Oneness has actually occurred: all seemingly separated fragments are actually on their own in a world that is unmistakably real. After all, you and I see with our very own eyes that bodies are attacked; they are hurt and wounded, and they die. Who would be so foolhardy as to deny that this frail body is all you and I have, and that we need to guard and protect it with any means we can muster, no matter how fallible these means are? Answer: Jesus does, by the four infuriating words: “And God thinks otherwise” (T-23.I.2:7).
In A Course in Miracles, Jesus has the formidable task of teaching us the difference between what is true and what is a hallucination. True to its nondualistic metaphysical foundation, the Course regards everything in time and space as an illusion. Therefore, our bodies and our personalities are ultimately not real. “What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder an destroy themselves, are wholly unreal? Could you have faith in what you see, if you accepted this?” (T-20.VIII.7:3-7).
The answer, of course, is “No; if I accepted this, I would gently smile about the silliness of the time-space dream I perceive around me”. The problem is that we still like to cling to our bodies, to have this “little mound of clay” (T-19.IV-B.4:8) be our home, because we still like to try to attain divine autonomy all on our own, apart from our very Source and Creator. You and I have been trying this for many, many lifetimes on end. Of course, we have never found it, because an illusion remains an illusion, no matter how convinced we are we wake up to reality each morning. Jesus teaches us otherwise: “What you seem to waken to is but another form of this same world you see in dreams. All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and your waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. Their content is the same. They are your protest against reality [Oneness], and your fixed and insane idea that you can change it” (T-18.II.5:12-15).
According to A Course in Miracles, the truth of the matter is that you and I are the same pure spirit, yearning to return the Oneness we believe we left. Reminiscent of Buddhism, Jesus teaches us our true goal in life is to undo all our false beliefs in separation, sin, guilt and fear, and accept once again our true Identity as the One Son of God, ending all individuality, all time and all space forever. In the Course this is called the acceptance of the Atonement. This is the great awakening from the dream of time and space. And although this may seem to require many, many centuries for all seemingly separated souls to accept his, to Jesus time is utterly irrelevant. The outcome is certain: time and space will have an end (W-pII.2.I:3-4), and all life will return to the Oneness it never truly left.
Importantly, Jesus does not ask of us to deny or repress what our senses behold in this dream world. But he does plead with us to interpret it differently. This effectively means he asks us to choose another Teacher to interpret what we behold, for the world I perceive is always merely an effect of the quality of my thoughts. “If the cause of the world you see is attack thoughts, you must learn that it is these thoughts which you do not want. […] There is no point in trying to change the world. It is incapable of change because it is merely an effect. But there is indeed a point in changing your thoughts about the world. Here you are changing the cause. The effect will change automatically.” (W-pI.17.2)
In other words, it’s no use attempting to fight the current wave of fear, whether it is organized fear or not. However, this does not by definition mean that you and I just sit by and do nothing, while still experiencing fear. A Course in Miracles calls on us simply to switch teachers: stop living on ego auto-pilot, and ask the Holy Spirit (the Voice for Love) what to think, say and do instead. This loving intuitive Inner Teacher may perhaps call on you be very active in this world to lovingly help ameliorate the sufferings of many fear-filled people. Whatever it is, choose to listen to His Voice!
But how do you know it’s the Voice for Love and not the ego in disguise? Just be sure that your guide makes you aware of inner peace inside. If you feel an urge, or even ecstasy, that’s usually the ego. On In contrast, a calm, loving inner peace is always the sure sign that whatever you are directed to think, say or do will result in the best outcome for everyone. So practice the attainment of inner peace today by quietly consulting your Inner Teacher. To conclude with an oft-quoted Course quote: “Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world” (T-21.in.1:7). Happy practicing!
— Jan-Willem van Aalst, November 2020