In the coming years wherein the dream world will spin increasingly out of control, we need to remind ourselves often of the fact that our essence is pure spirit, and that literally nothing has the power to take away our peace of mind, if we are but “vigilant for the Kingdom of God” (T6-V.C); which means being vigilant for accepting the Love that is not of this world, which is our true Source. Let’s look at workbook lesson 41, titled “God goes with me wherever I go”, which, again, could also be read als “Love (capital L) goes with me wherever I go”, or “My true Self goes with me wherever I go”. This all means the same thing, as our true Self still abides in the heart of God (Love), even now.
Jesus starts the lesson by asserting the tremendous power this idea has to heal the mind: “Today’s idea will eventually overcome completely the sense of loneliness and abandonment all the separated ones experience. Depression is an inevitable consequence of separation. So are anxiety, worry, a deep sense of helplessness, misery, suffering and intense fear of loss. The separated ones have invented many “cures” for what they believe to be the “ills of the world.” But the one thing they do not do is to question the reality of the problem.” (T41.1:1-2:1). This is of a course a bombshell for the ego. It’s a reference to the metaphysical foundation of the Course which states that the dream world of time and space was made as an attack on God (W-pII.3.2:1); that we do not yet want the separation healed (T-13.III.2) because we cherish our individuality so much; and that we therefore willingly keep ourselves in pain (“The secret of salvation is but this: that you are doing this to yourself”, T21.VIII.10:1).
The solution, as every good Course student knows, is to gladly acknowledge we were wrong in believing in the reality of separation, and happily choose the guidance of the Holy Spirit (the Voice for Love) in what to think, say, and do. As we read in the text: “In gentle laughter does the Holy Spirit perceive the cause, and looks not to effects. How else could He correct your error, who have overlooked the cause entirely? He bids you bring each terrible effect to Him that you may look together on its foolish cause and laugh with Him a while. You judge effects, but He has judged their cause. And by His judgment are effects removed. Perhaps you come in tears. But hear Him say, “My brother, holy Son of God, behold your idle dream, in which this could occur.” And you will leave the holy instant with your laughter and your brother’s joined with His (T-27.VIII.9).”
Continuing with lesson 41, Jesus then treats us on a pep talk about our true reality: “Deep within you is everything that is perfect, ready to radiate through you and out into the world. It will cure all sorrow and pain and fear and loss because it will heal the mind that thought these things were real, and suffered out of its allegiance to them. You can never be deprived of your perfect holiness because its Source goes with you wherever you go. You can never suffer because the Source of all joy goes with you wherever you go. You can never be alone because the Source of all life goes with you wherever you go. Nothing can destroy your peace of mind because God goes with you wherever you go (W-pI.41.4).”
Now hold on for a second. Do you and I really believe this, whenever we watch the evening news, whenever we are confronted with “the harsh reality” in places where we experience restrictions? Rationally we certainly do not believe it, since this not at all our sensory experience. But this does not mean that Jesus’ peptalk is not true. It is only because we still believe in the reality of the dream world (reflecting our ongoing belief in the reality of the separation from God, of which we are guilty) that we choose not to believe Jesus, who himself comments on exactly this thought: “We understand that you do not believe all this. How could you, when the truth is hidden deep within, under a heavy cloud of insane thoughts, dense and obscuring, yet representing all you see? (W-pI.41.5:1-2).”
This, then, is the one remaining stubborn conviction in the mind that we need to work on. We need to train our mind in accepting the following realization, poetically taught by Jesus in chapter 18 of the text: “This heavy-seeming barrier [i.e., this conviction] is like a bank of low dark clouds that seem to be a solid wall before the sun. Its impenetrable appearance is wholly an illusion. It gives way softly to the mountain tops that rise above it, and has no power at all to hold back anyone willing to climb above it and see the sun. It is not strong enough to stop a button’s fall, nor hold a feather. Nothing can rest upon it, for it is but an illusion of a foundation. Try but to touch it and it disappears; attempt to grasp it and your hands hold nothing. … So should it be with the dark clouds of guilt, no more impenetrable and no more substantial. You will not bruise yourself against them in traveling through. Let your Guide teach you their unsubstantial nature as He leads you past them, for beneath them is a world of light whereon they cast no shadows (T-18.IX.5:2-4; 6; 8:1-3).”
This is why it is important to keep up some sort of daily meditation practice: to train the mind to quietly connect with the Oneness Love that is our Source, entirely beyond the illusory dream world. We do this not by denying or suppressing the ego; instead, we choose to become the observer “above the battleground” and just watch what comes along in the mind, without any judgment whatsoever. Try to sink past all this, to your essence within. As Jesus instructs us in lesson 41, as the very first meditation he offers us in the workbook: “Repeat today’s idea very slowly. Then make no effort to think of anything. Try, instead, to get a sense of turning inward, past all the idle thoughts of the world. Try to enter very deeply into your own mind, keeping it clear of any thoughts that might divert your attention. […] Try to sink down and inward, away from the world and all the foolish thoughts of the world. You are trying to reach past all these things. You are trying to leave appearances and approach reality. It is quite possible to reach God. In fact it is very easy, because it is the most natural thing in the world. You might even say it is the only natural thing in the world. The way will open, if you believe that it is possible (W-pII.41.6:5-7:4).”
To conclude: choose to be a brightly shining beacon of Love amidst the turbulence of the dream world. The turbulence itself is an inevitable precursor to a great world-wide awakening, wherein a large part of the population will come to realize that “The only real pleasure comes from doing God’s will” (T-1.VII.1:4) instead of miserably soldiering on from an ego-auto-pilot mode of thought. As Course students, it is given us to be a Teacher of God and a herald of that awakening, as long as we choose to be a “happy learner” ourselves. Love is with you always, but you need to choose to be aware of it, as the observer, from moment to moment. Happy practicing!
— Jan-Willem van Aalst, November 2021