Lonely nevermore

One of the most common ailments that bother people is loneliness. Statistics vary somewhat between studies, but roughly one third of all people indicate that loneliness depresses them at times. They feel their very life is meaningless and futile, with no real hope of true happiness whatever they do. Where we used to associate loneliness mainly with elderly people, it now seems to be an ‘epidemic’ that reaches all adults, even adolescents. This includes not only the people who consciously notice it and can identify it as such — more often than not, people quickly distract themselves by whatever means available, to avoid the loneliness reaching full awareness. In the meantime we face an alarming amount of antidepressants being prescribed and swallowed, polluting the environment after they fail to bring any lasting change.

In A Course in Miracles, Jesus emphatically discusses this theme of loneliness. In Chapter 31 of the text, he has us realize that we all wander “…in the world uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear” (T-31.VIII.7:1). In workbook lesson 182, Jesus goes on to explain a major reason for this loneliness: this world is not our home. Jesus assures us that deep down in our hidden unconscious mind, we all feel like an exile here: “This world you seem to live in is not home to you. And somewhere in your mind you know that this is true. A memory of home keeps haunting you, as if there were a place that called you to return, although you do not recognize the voice, nor what it is the voice reminds you of. Yet still you feel an alien here, from somewhere all unknown. ” (W-pI.182.1:1) So all feelings of loneliness reflect the ontological feeling of the loneliness that the Son of God caused himself by choosing to separate from God, and — by the Big Bang — to make up a physical universe in which he could hide from God.

In the same lesson, Jesus describes that the sleeping Son of God “goes uncertainly about in endless search, seeking in darkness… A thousand homes he makes, yet none contents his restless mind. He does not understand he builds in vain. The home he seeks cannot be made by him. There is no substitute for Heaven.” (W-pI.182.3) In other words, Jesus says that all of us must inevitably feel lonely, because we chose to deprive ourselves of our real Home in the Heart of God. So fundamentally, our question should not be: “How can I ease my loneliness?”, but rather: “Do I really wish to see myself as separated from my Source?” I can lose myself in hobbies, in promiscuous relationships, in a career, in booze or food, but these forms do nothing to alleviate the bitterness of the content: seeing myself as deprived from Love and on my own. Merely changing behavior never works. Only when the mind reaches the point where it dares to ask: “What am I?” is any serious change possible.

“What am I?” is the most fundamental question everyone must ask sooner or later. As long as we choose to answer this question with “I am a unique body with a special personality”, we belittle ourselves and invite the pain of uncertainly, loneliness and constant fear (of the retaliation by God the vengeful Creator, who won’t forgive us for having separated from Him). Anyone who still chooses this answer — and everyone chooses it as long as he thinks he lives, works, walks and sleeps here in time — is described by Jesus as follows: “He is afraid indeed, and homeless, too; an outcast wandering so far from home, so long away, he does not realize he has forgotten where he came from […] He seems a sorry figure; weary, worn, in threadbare clothing, and with feet that bleed a little from the rocky road he walks. No-one but has identified with him, for everyone who comes here has pursued the path he follows, and has felt defeat and hopelessness…” (W-pI.166.5:4-5;6:1-2)

How refreshing it is to read in section 14 of Workbook part II, called “What am I?” (right after lesson 350), to read that you and I are pure spirit. The body is an illusion in a dream! “You have chosen a sleep in which you have had bad dreams, but the sleep is not real and God calls you to awake [as spirit].” (T-6.IV.6:3) One of the main thrusts of A Course in Miracles is to invite us to wake up from this nightmare: “Come home. You have not found your happiness in foreign places and in alien forms that have no meaning to you, though you sought to make them meaningful. This world is not where you belong. You are a stranger here. But it is given you to find the means whereby the world no longer seems to be a prison house or jail for anyone.” (W-pI.200.4)

That’s an important key. Jesus does not push us to commit suicide, which would only be a typical example of first making the error real, and then acting on it, which doesn’t solve anything. “Nothing at all has happened but that you have put yourself to sleep, and dreamed a dream in which you were an alien to yourself…” (T-28.II.4:1). The way out of loneliness is merely the realization that we, as spirit, are not alone. “God is not a stranger to His Sons, and His Sons are not strangers to each other…” (T-3.III.6:3). What’s more, from Jesus’ perspective, this world of time and space is already over; we merely seem to be reliving again what has already gone by (W-pI.158.4). That’s why he can confidently state that “You will undertake a journey, because you are not at home in this world” (T-12.IV.5:1). This is also why Jesus says that his course is a required course, and that only the time we choose to take it is voluntary (T-in.1:3).

Sooner or later everyone will choose to follow this curriculum, as we go through the threshold of the pain of uncertainty, loneliness, and constant fear. It does not need to be A Course in Miracles, by the way; Jesus is very explicit in that his course is only one form of the universal curriculum, and we should not judge another’s path back to God. But as students of A Course in Miracles, we have every reason not to indulge in lonely depression, but to choose to take on the role as a Teacher of God and demonstrate the inner peace of God that is everyone’s inheritance: “Although you can keep it [your will to be at one with God] asleep you cannot obliterate it […] Rest does not come from sleeping but from waking [from the dream of duality]. The Holy Spirit is the Call to awaken and be glad. The world is very tired, because it is the idea of weariness. Our task is the joyous one of waking it to the Call for God.” (T-5.II.1:5;10:4-7).

So whenever I catch myself feeling lonely again, I can realize that this need not be (T.4.IV.1-8), because I am not a body; I am free, for I am still as God created me [that is, as pure spirit, at one with all life forms] (see workbook lessons 201-220). In fact, a good practice is to every now and then “realize how many opportunities you have had to gladden yourself, and how many of them you have refused” (T-4.IV.8:1). I can gladden myself because I can see the one all-encompassing light of God in all my brothers, and therefore in myself: “Light is not of the world, yet you who bear the light in you are alien here as well. The light came with you from your native home, and stayed with you because it is your own. It is the only thing you bring with you from Him Who is your Source. It shines in you because it lights your home, and leads you back to where it came from and you are at home.” (W-pI.188.1:5-8). So to conclude: live a normal life in this world, but centered in this realization of our real home, and you’ll be lonely nevermore.

— Jan-Willem van Aalst

Be the happy witness

To all readers familiar with A Course in Miracles, I would like to invite them to use today’s post as a meditation for the day, in which you seek and find the joy of your true mission in this particular incarnation in the waking dream of space, time and perception. It’s the closing paragraph from Lesson 166, “I am entrusted with the gifts of God”, and I add to this the inspiring closing call from the Manual for Teachers. Both excerpts emanate the same joyful lesson, which is given us to share with all who still seem to wander this world “uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear” (T-31.VIII.7:1).

God has entrusted all His gifts to you. Be witness in your happiness to how transformed the mind becomes which chooses to accept His gifts, and feel the touch of Christ. Such is your mission now. For God entrusts the giving of His gifts to all who have received them. He has shared His joy with you. And now you go to share it with the world (W-pI.166.15:3-8).

Please note that this final sentence does not mean that you and I should go out and preach the form of A Course in Miracles to all those who still seem to keep themselves asleep. Course students realize that there are no others to awaken. Rather, I “share it with the world” by firmly holding in my mind the realization that I am “the dreamer of the dream, and that its content is not true” (T-28.II.6:7). I go out into the world looking like everybody else, but I have the responsibility for my own mind training and self-forgiveness foremost in my mind. I become the observer above the battleground as often as possible. This is really all that is asked of you and me: to simply be kind; towards everyone we meet, and certainly to ourselves.

And now in all your doings be you blessed.
God turns to you for help to save the world.
Teacher of God, His thanks He offers you,
And all the world stands silent in the grace
You bring from Him. You are the Son He loves,
And it is given you to be the means
Through which His Voice is heard around the world,
To close all things of time; to end the sight
Of all things visible; and to undo
All things that change. Through you is ushered in
A world unseen, unheard, yet truly there.
Holy are you, and in your light the world
Reflects your holiness, for you are not
Alone and friendless. I give thanks for you,
And join your efforts on behalf of God,
Knowing they are on my behalf as well,
And for all those who walk to God with me.