Many a student of A Course in Miracles spends much time on banging himself (or herself) over the head about the spiritual self-sabotage that their fear of accepting Jesus’ message brings about. After all, this curriculum about awakening from the ego-hell of perception, time and space back to the Heart of God that we purportedly never left but which really doesn’t experientially mean anything to us, is extremely threatening to our unique special ego personality. We do feel we want the lasting inner peace that Jesus promises could be our eternal experience, and yet we also keep stubbornly clinging to our miserable little ego self, since somehow we still firmly believe that this body and this personality is all we have and all we are.
In other words, we all have a split mind: we want oneness, but we also want individuality. The difference between Course students and others is oftentimes that the former are now aware of this split, more than the latter. This increased awareness, however, doesn’t make them happier people. On the contrary; on top of the pain that the ego world brings about by definition, Course students have the added pain of ruefully resisting their resistance against waking up. They see the exit from hell, but they do not yet know how to eradicate their obvious resistance to passing through the gates of Heaven, back to their only reality as Christ. “So, what’s the next step?” they often ask in desperation.
At first, Jesus’ gentle answer to this outcry (“I need do nothing”, T-18.VII) does not seem to be very helpful. Of course, this advice should be read in the context of our identification with our body in the dream world: “Seek not outside yourself [for salvation]. For it will fail, and you will weep each time an idol [a devotion] falls.” (T-29.VII.1:1-2). However, in terms of training the part of our mind that continually chooses between the two possible teachers (the ego versus the Holy Spirit), we should be very active. If I want peace but I experience resistance, it makes sense to train the mind to ever more often choose peaceful thoughts instead of spending days, if not years, in ruefully resisting our resistance to Jesus’ message. Resistance, after all, can never lead to lasting inner peace.
The key, then, to getting rid of this resistance is not to spiritually work still harder at ‘doing’ the Course, but rather on calmly looking at the resistance, and honestly realize what it is all about. Period. There is tremendous power in simply acknowledging to yourself: “Yeah, I’m obviously still afraid of experiencing the Love of God, in which my little self will completely disappear. That’s not a sin; it’s perfectly understandable. I should allow myself some slack and gladly accept where I am now on the ladder that leads to the acceptance of the Atonement, which Jesus tells me I am guaranteed to reach, as will everyone, since there is only one seemingly sleeping Son of God. At least I am not wholly insane anymore, and I want to keep growing, at the pace I allow the Holy Spirit to guide me at.”
Perhaps you want to read the thought above once more. Compare the calm inner peace that emanates from this thought to the tension that arises at the urge of wanting to reach the top of the ladder right now (and the frustration of obviously not succeeding right now!). If I want to graduate from Jesus’ Course as a happy learner, I should cultivate in my mind the ten characteristics of the Teachers of God (M-4), not bang myself over the head about being such a poor student because I fail to follow through on what the workbook lessons tell me to do, five or ten minutes each hour.
An important characteristic in this regard is patience. After all, “What is a hundred or a thousand years to Them [God and Christ], or tens of thousands?” (T-26.IX.4:1). The happy learner realizes that although time appears to be linear, it is really holographic: “Each hour, each minute, each second, and each instant that each second holds, you but relive the time [i.e., the Big Bang] when terror took the place of love” (T-26.V.13:1). So each time I get frustrated about my resistance to accepting Jesus’ message, I am really reliving this ontological moment of the terror and guilt of rejecting the oneness Love of God. Rather than hurting myself about that, I could also honestly acknowledge that this is obviously the choice I still make.
The solution, then, is simple enough: accept the here and now as it is, be very clear about the resistance at hand, and then acknowledge that the decision maker has again chosen the ‘holy frown’ instead of the ‘holy smile’ of the happy learner, guided by the Holy Spirit. Don’t feel guilty about it; just acknowledge the choice and the accompanying pain it brings. That’s the real motivator for getting beyond the resistance, and making a different choice a little sooner next time. Cultivating the ten characteristics of the Teacher of God helps you do that a bit more effectively each day, as long as we still count the days and nights.
To conclude: we can expand the following quote “You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment” (T-3.VI.3:1) to include every situation in the here and now, which is of course the whole point of the quote: all the many seemingly separated forms we experience and interpret, are really one in content: either hate or love; either resistance or acceptance. So stop struggling in trying to get rid of your resistance to ‘doing’ Jesus’ Course: “Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon the battleground [of the mind]. From there your perspective will be quite different. In the midst of it, […] murder is your choice. Yet from above, the choice is miracles instead of murder. And the perspective coming from this choice shows you the battle [i.e., resistance] is not real, and easily escaped” (T-23.IV.5:1-7). Happy practicing!
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.