A Course in Miracles as a curriculum to learn how to attain inner peace, is not exactly an easy-to-read spiritual book, to say the very least. Its poetic language, metaphysics and advanced psychological treatment calls for a reader with at least moderately developed intellectual abilities, and had its scribe Helen Schucman exclaim in joy: “Thank God there is at last something [spiritual] for the intellectual!” However, as scholar Kenneth Wapnick noted in his two-volume book “The message of A Course in Miracles“, even those not intellectually inclined can learn a lot from its message, without having to fathom all the details of metaphysics or clinical psychology. Let’s look at three such pearls, just to get an idea of some examples.
First of all, everyone can learn from the Course that God is Love and not vengeance. God is not angry with us; God does not prefer or value some people (or races) above others; and God does not judge people after they die to assess whether they will be accepted into Heaven or condemned to eternal hell. God merely loves: “You who believed that God’s Last Judgment would condemn the world to hell along with you, accept this holy truth: God’s Judgment is the gift of the Correction He bestowed on all your errors, freeing you from them, and all effects they ever seemed to have. […] God’s Final Judgment is as merciful as every step in His appointed plan to bless His Son, and call him to return to the eternal peace He shares with him. Be not afraid of love. […] This is God’s Final Judgment: “You are still My holy Son, forever innocent, forever loving and forever loved, as limitless as your Creator, and completely changeless and forever pure. Therefore awaken and return to Me. I am your Father and you are My Son.”” (W-pII.S10.3-5).
Years ago in the Netherlands we had a huge billboard sign along the A20 highway, some 60 feet tall, showing a simple white surface with only three capitalized words on it: “God is Love” (Dutch: God is Liefde). That was it; nothing else. No advertiser identity, no hyperlink, nothing. I’ve never seen anything along a highway that was so very true! And as we read that God is but love (“God is but love, and therefore so am I” (W-pI.171-179)), we also come to realize that although we usually do not think too highly of ourselves, this Love of God is in us as well; or better yet, it is the inner essence of what we are: “No course whose purpose is to teach you to remember what you really are could fail to emphasize that there can never be a difference in what you really are and what love is. Love’s meaning is your own, and shared by God Himself. For what you are is what He is” (W-pI.127.4:1-3).
Following this joyful insight, a second “pearl” everyone can gain from A Course in Miracles is a growing ability to become aware of judgmental and condemnatory thoughts, and look at these without immediately living them out, which is what usually happens in the world. In A Course in Miracles, this is called “above the battleground”, in which ‘battleground’ refers to the mind, which is verily a battlefield of conflicting thoughts, which we perceive (through projection) by carefully looking around us at the world we believe we live in. “Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon [the world]. From there will your perspective be quite different. Here in the midst of it, it does seem real. Here you have chosen to be part of it. Here murder is your choice. Yet from above, the choice is miracles instead of murder” (T-23.IV.5:1-5, which incidentally is where my book and this blog got its name from).
Once we succeed in noticing our judgmental thoughts and stop ourselves from reacting immediately, we have activated the decision maker in our mind, who can then choose forgiveness instead of attack, as we read in lesson 55: “‘I can escape from this world by giving up attack thoughts.’ Herein lies salvation, and nowhere else. Without attack thoughts I could not see a world of attack. As forgiveness allows love to return to my awareness, I will see a world of peace and safety and joy” (W-pI.55.3). Everyone can learn to observe his/her own thoughts, feelings and emotions, without repressing them or ignoring them, but rather simply looking at them and deciding how to proceed, or what reaction to choose.
This brings us to a third pearl everyone can get out of A Course in Miracles, even without digging into metaphysics or psychology (desirable though that would be), which is to learn to trust intuition. We are all familiar with situations in which our brain seems to advise one thing, while the area of the lower belly, our gut feeling, says something quite different. In retrospect, intuition was usually right, especially if the intuitive feeling was peaceful and non-judgmental. “In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, ‘My brother,choose again’” (T-31.VIII.3:2). In A Course in Miracles, this peaceful intuition is referred to as the Holy Spirit, the Voice for God, or the Voice for Love. And to follow the advice of peaceful intuition, devoid of judgment, means following the advice of the Holy Spirit.
If all you get out of reading A Course in Miracles is that God is Love and not hate, that you need not be aimlessly tossed about by your feelings and your emotions about what seems to happen to you, and that you can find peace by following the quiet, intuitive advice of the Holy Spirit instead of the cackling rational brain, you are in fact making huge progress on your spiritual journey Home. In fact, the Course itself says: “Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God” (W-pI.189.7). For: “Who with the Love of God upholding him could find the choice of miracles or murder hard to make?” (T.23.IV.9:8).
— Jan-Willem van Aalst