From fear to reason

According to A Course in Miracles, the ego is the thought that I can find lasting happiness as a special individual, quite apart from the oneness Love (what we call God) which created me. The metaphysical foundation of the Course holds that in reality this is impossible, since ‘oneness’ means there is nothing else, but my mind has the freedom to imagine a dream of time and space in which I seem to experience this separated ego-state. This hallucinatory dream, however, can only be upheld by constantly proving that this is something different from the eternal love that we rejected; hence nothing lasts and nothing is ever perfect.

Moreover, the ego senses that the Son (i.e., all of us combined), who willingly chose to make up this dream world of an imperfect universe, could change His mind and choose oneness Love once more, which would end the entire dream of time and space. To prevent this from happening, the mind must constantly be fueled by fear of a made-up angry God, hellbent on punishing us for having rejected Him. As long as we have a list of things to fear, the mind will not take the opportunity to honestly look within and realize the illusory nature of the dream world of time and space. And so there always seems to be something to fear in this dream world. The forms are myriad: being manipulated by evil politicians; a natural catastrophe; a civil war; or a new malignant virus.

Regardless of the form of fear, the ego’s message is always the same: be afraid. Be very afraid, for your life can be snuffed out by anything at any time. And this all seemingly separated souls do believe, as we read in chapter 21 of the text: “The blind become accustomed to their world by their adjustments to it. They think they know their way about in it. They learned it, not through joyous lessons, but through the stern necessity of limits they believed they could not overcome. And still believing this, they hold those lessons dear, and cling to them because they cannot see. They do not understand the lessons keep them blind. This they do not believe. And so they keep the world they learned to “see” in their imagination, believing that their choice is that or nothing. They hate the world they learned through pain. And everything they think is in it serves to remind them that they are incomplete and bitterly deprived. Thus they define their life and where they live, adjusting to it as they think they must, afraid to lose the little that they have. And so it is with all who see the body as all they have and all their brothers have.” (T-21.I.4:1-5:2)

As long as I still believe I am a vulnerable body, no reasonable arguments will be able to lift the fear that my life may be ‘snuffed out at any time’. It doesn’t matter if the mortality rate of the new virus clearly approximates the mortality rate of similar well-known viruses we’re not worried about anymore. It doesn’t matter if economists say that the consequences of a society lock-down may turn out to be be far worse than just accepting the death percentage and keep on trading and living. It doesn’t matter if an integral health coach emphasizes the formidable learning capacity of our immune system. Fear keeps our sense of being a unique special separated individual body intact, and so the mind chooses to remain on the verge of panic: “See? There’s the proof. I can be attacked and killed by a virus; something I cannot even see. The separation from God has clearly been accomplished in reality!”

A Course in Miracles does not chide us for still being spiritual infants, and Jesus certainly nowhere mentions that we should stubbornly deny whatever our senses perceive. The body is not evil; it is neutral, and should be taken care of as such. As early as Chapter 2 of the text, Jesus explicitly mentions that using ‘magic’ (the course’s term for anything material, including medicine) to take care of the body is not sinful (T-2.IV.4:4-10). So should you have a headache, do take an aspirin! So in the face of a virus threat, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy lifestyle medicine: eat nutritious food; get enough exercise; sleep well; and reduce stress levels. And this final aspect, of course, is the key. I only experience stress because of certain beliefs about what might go wrong and how this could affect me; that is: affect my body. And there’s no doubt the body can be affected by a plethora of things that are seemingly out of my control.

Again, the only way out of this state of misery and fear is to change my mind about the world and about what I am. In the workbook we read: “The world was made as an attack on God. It symbolizes fear. And what is fear except love’s absence? Thus the world was meant to be a place where God could enter not, and where His Son could be apart from Him” (W-pII.3.2:1-4). Workbook lesson 97 affirms: “I am spirit”. Should the virus conquer my bodily existence because my fear level is still too high, I will inevitably reincarnate in a new body, as many times as I need to finally learn the lesson of Love (T-6) that God’s Son is one, and cannot turn a dreamed up universe of time and space into reality. Metaphysicists would moreover add that in reality, time is already over anyway. So, referring to workbook lesson 48: “There is nothing to fear”!

Fear is always a poor counselor. The solution to any threat that seems to come at us, be it a manipulative boss, a flooding, or a virus, is never to raise the level of fear, but always to lower the fear. A Course in Miracles helps me lower my fear level by pointing out the difference between truth and untruth. And as an effective Course student, I do not walk around accusing my friends, family and other relatives that they should stop believing they are a body and that they are in reality invulnerable. On the contrary: effective Course students meet people where they are. So they first turn inward and ask the Holy Spirit what would be the most loving thing to say and do. Very likely, something will come up that these folks can understand and appreciate, for example strengthening the immune system through good food, sufficient exercise and a regular sleep pattern. If you can succeed in remaining totally kind and loving, you can honestly claim the title “Teacher of God”. 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:

buy-now-amazon-button

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.

The two advisers of the king

My annual “Miracles in contact” Course workshop, called “A kingdom to rule”, is now available online on YouTube, with English subtitles/captions:

The workshop’s theme is of course derived from workbook lesson 236: “I have a kingdom I must rule”. This kingdom is the mind. Ken Wapnick often referred to this king as the decision making part of the mind. Whenever Jesus invites us to ‘choose once again’, he adresses the part of the mind that chooses either the voice for separation (the ego) or the Voice for Love (the Holy Spirit). This is the only choice we need ever make in our lives; indeed, it is the only choice we can make.

A wise king always consults his advisers before deciding. And so it is with our mind. Each hour, each minute, yes even each instant we, as the decision maker, choose the adviser to which we listen, in the split second before we make the decision. Most people choose the ego about 99 percent of the time. A Course in Miracles has come to us to explain that we can indeed train the mind to learn to hear the other Adviser, Who is always within us, but Who we shout down through the constant rattle of the ego. In a sense, the essence of the Course is to train the mind to lift itself above the battleground (T-23.IV), learn to listen to both advisers, and then make a better choice.

In theory we could do this in an instant. At a first glance, the choice doesn’t seem difficult at all. After all, no-one wants to suffer and live a life of negativity, right? And yet 99% of the people still choose the voice for negativity 99% of the time. This means we still believe this adviser serves our best purpose. And what do we think is our best purpose? Keeping the illusion of our autonomous individuality alive and well; in other words: make sure our own little separated kingdom will continue. If a king consults an adviser Who tells him that the king would be far better off by giving up his little kingdom and fuse with the Kingdom of the Father, how likely is that advice to be followed up on? Not very likely. This is why we fear to hear the Voice for Love: we are afraid our precious individual existence will be erased, which would indeed be the case.

This is why the Course spends so many pages on having us reconsider who and what we really are. As long as we still believe the body is all we have and are,  the Voice for Love will rarely be heard. Only when we reach the point on the proverbial ladder where we can honestly say and mean: “I am still one Self [as pure spirit], united with my Creator. I am not a body. I am free. I am still as God created me [again, as pure spirit]”, will we have found the courage to hear the better Adviser and follow through on His advice. Only when you are slowly learning to trust the truth that you, as spirit, are safe, are guided, and will be welcomed back Home with great joy, will you not only hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit, but welcome it and follow through on His Advice, no matter how odd it may sound at times.

This is, very briefly, the gist of this workshop. Its purpose is to serve as a reminder that we are not by definition doomed by the ego’s capricious advice. We can learn to become aware of the power of the mind, learn to ‘switch on the Light’ and make a better choice a little sooner each day, each hour, each moment. This is undoubtedly the most important curriculum you’ll ever take in this lifetime in this dream world. And the Course guarantees everyone will pass the exam in due time. When is solely up to us. So why wait for Heaven?


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:

buy-now-amazon-button

See my Feb. 2020 Course workshop on YouTube called “A kingdom to rule” (English captions/subtitles available).

See also my Feb. 2019 Course workshop on Youtube called “Farewell to your self, to find your true Self” (English captions/subtitles available).

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

Seven ways to describe Love

Some classical music masterpieces seem to have originated straight from Heaven, and this is i.m.h.o. certainly the case with Brahms’ A German Requiem (1867). In retrospect, Brahms stated he would have retitled this work “A requiem for mankind”, which seems to fit its universal feel better. Although its lyrics seem to suggest it is a work primarily about sorrow and death, Brahms meant it to be a message of solace, a promise of the certainty of everlasting love to come after this ethereal life of pain and seeming death. Indeed, the seven movements can each be experienced as depicting a particular aspect of God; that is, the nondualistic God as described in A course in Miracles; the God Who equals everlasting Love. If Brahms had known the Course in his lifetime, he might have named the seven movements of his requiem as follows.

1 – God is Love
In the Bible, God is depicted as the almighty Creator Who has his good days and bad days. Both love and anger are clearly part of Him. He judges all our doings, and meticulously prepares His judgment on each of us, to be ‘shared’ with us the day we die. In other words, the biblical God is clearly a dualistic God, subject to opposites. A Course in Miracles, however, obviously presents a nondualistic God, Who equals only Love. Therefore, anything that is not Love is an illusion and does not exist in reality. That is why everything we experience in time and space is no more real than are our nightly dreams. When we finally accept the Atonement, that is, see the face of Christ in all our brothers, we remember God; we awaken from the dualistic dream and return Home to the Eternal Love that we are. The solace in this track, then, is that even though we seem to suffer at the hands of time, our happy return to eternal Love that is God/Heaven/Christ, is guaranteed to be our experienced reality in the end. It’s strictly up to us how long we still want to crucify ourselves.

2 – God (Love) is eternal
Clearly, nothing in this world of time and space lasts. “All things must pass”, as George Harrison recounted in 1970, in the midst of Helen’s process of the scribing of A Course in Miracles. The Course clearly states that anything that does not last forever is without any value. While the Course does not chide or scold us for our desire to cling to false gods (special relationships with people, possessions, events, you name it), Jesus does invite us to reconsider what would make us truly happy. In the end, the only plausible answer is eternity: the nondualistic state of the Love that does not change, since there is no time or space for anything to change in. Surprisingly, the Course states that we are there already here and now; that is, we can experience the reflection of Heaven by temporarily silencing the ‘raucous shrieks’ (or constant babble) of the ego. See for example workbook lesson 106: “Let me be still and listen to the truth”.

3 – God (Love) is mercy
In A Course in Miracles, “mercy” is virtually synonymous with “grace” and “forgiveness”. It is a state completely free of any condemnation whatsoever. Again, a large part of the Course is about reversing the biblical notion of a vengeful Creator Who is out to punish us for our ‘cardinal sin’ of having separated from Him. One particularly helpful illustration of this is the Course’s referral to the biblical parable of the prodigal Son. Even though this son, who had left his father’s house only to find nothing of any value in the world, was deeply ashamed to return home, his father welcomed him warmly back. There was no accusation, no rejection, no need for any guilt. In other words, again: our Father is only unchanging Love. Each of us will be welcomed back with unconditional love, no matter how wretched or guilty we may unconsciously feel in time.

4 – God (Love) is Home
Deep down inside, we know that this world of time and space is not our true home. “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. Nothing so definite that you could say with certainty you are an exile here. Just a persistent feeling, sometimes not more than a tiny throb, at other times hardly remembered, actively dismissed, but surely to return to mind again.” (W-pI.182.1:3-6). If God had ordained our home to be a world where nothing lasts, where everything withers and dies, “God would be cruel” (T-13.in.3:1). Happily, our true Home is in nonduality outside time and space. It is solely up to us to decide when we will truly choose to see the face of Christ in all our brothers, ending all condemnation forever, paving the way for our return home to Heaven.

5 – God (Love) is consolation
No matter what pain and hurt seems to befall us, unconditional love always comforts, as it recalls the unchanging timelessness of our true Home. Love is the the state of mind where sorrow of any kind is utterly inconceivable, as there is nothing to oppose the perfect peace, happiness and joy that is the state of Heaven. As the soprano very tenderly sings in this fifth movement: “You now have sorrow; but I shall see you again, and your heart shall rejoice and your joy no one shall take from you. I have had for a little time toil and torment, and now have found great consolation. I will console you, as one is consoled by his mother.”

6 – God (Love) is life
According to the Course, anything that does not live forever cannot be called life. Therefore, in our dualistic world of time and space, true life cannot be found. Bodies are not really born and they do not really die; they are merely schizophrenic imaginations of the sleeping Son of God dreaming of exile. Anyone who has briefly experienced a light episode, wherein time and space seemed to vanish and all was bathed in pure light, knows this truth: anything in time and space will not last, and is therefore not life. Moreover, almost anyone with a near-death experience emphasizes that the state of life outside time and space is much, much more real than anything we experience here in this world.

7 – God (Love) is peace
“Knowledge is not the motivation for learning this course. Peace is.” (T-8.I.1:1). “Whatever you may think about yourself, whatever you may think about the world, your Father needs you and will call to you until you come to Him in peace at last” (S-3.IV.10:7). We come to Him thus, not by committing suicide, but by our acceptance of the Atonement through unconditional forgiveness of everyone and everything. We cannot do this on our own, since we are still too attached to self-indulgence. But our willingness to gradually change our minds to consistently follow the Inner Voice for Love (i.e., the Holy Spirit) guarantees that peace is everyone’s due. So why wait for Heaven? (W-pI.131, 188).

In my opinion, the recording of Brahms’ Requiem that most closely approximates the emotional depth as described above is by Herbert von Karajan in 1964, with Eberhard Waechter, Gundula Janowitz, the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Wiener Singverein. Just put on the headphones and let the essence of its message sink deep down inside. There’s no need to follow any lyrics. Just let the music come. You may be amazed at the depth of consolation, life and peace it offers.


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:

buy-now-amazon-button

See also my Feb. 2019 Course workshop at www.youtube.com called “Farewell to your self, to find your true Self”. (English captions/subtitles available)

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

Do I want to be pure spirit?

Workbook lesson 97 is called “I am spirit”, and Jesus comments on this as follows: “Today’s idea […] simply states the truth. Practice this truth today as often as you can, for it will bring your mind from conflict to the quiet fields of peace.” (W-pI.97.1:1-4). That should be ample motivation to stick with the inner peace once I experience this. And so I mutter: “Yes, yes, I’m not a body, I am free, for I am still as God created me [i.e., as spirit]”. But apparently I don’t want to be pure spirit as yet. Why not? Because I forget about the lesson for hours on end and I still get upset over this and that! All Course students have experienced this frustration. So what to do to convince myself I really want to be pure spirit?

Most students are familiar with the somewhat disheartening opening of workbook lesson 185, entitled: “I want the peace of God”, wherein Jesus reminds us: “To say these words is nothing. But to mean these words is everything” (W-pI.185.1:1-2). The trouble is, yes, I do want the peace of God, but I want it on my own terms. I want God to be my sugar-daddy who will fix my perceived problems here, in my own personal little world. In other words, I still stubbornly “prefer to be right, rather than happy”  (T-29.VII.1:9). This is because of my fear that if would truly accept that I am pure spirit, my personal self would be finished, and therefore I would cease to exist!

So if I were really honest with myself, I would admit that, no, I don’t want to be pure spirit yet, because this is much too frightening to my perceived identity as a unique separated individual. For many Course students, a most unfortunate consequence of such a conclusion is that it seems to induce loads of guilt over being such a poor, wretched, worthless spiritual pupil. “Sigh. This Course is the clearest guide to inner peace that one might think of, and yet I don’t follow through because I am too weak and fearful to find the motivation to practice what it says.” Obviously, such a conclusion is merely a clever ego tactic to keep itself alive and well: clearly separated from God, with no inner strength to ever switch on the inner light which would make the ego disappear.

As long as I succumb to the deceptive temptation of wrong-minded thinking, all my efforts to learn this Course seem futile indeed. Happily, the real power of A Course in Miracles lies in its gentle guidance to gradually make the shift from wrong-minded to right-minded thinking. And this is a slow process. One particularly helpful passage comes in chapter 15: “[This Course…] does not require that you have no thoughts that are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep.… In your practice, then, try only to be vigilant against deception, and seek not to protect the thoughts you would keep to yourself. Let the Holy Spirit’s purity shine them away, and bring all your awareness to the readiness for purity He offers you” (T-15.IV.9:1-2,8-9).

So my real practice is merely to become aware of my negative thoughts slightly sooner than before, and then not judge myself for being “bad”, but merely realize above the battleground (T-23.IV) that this negativity clearly serves the purpose of wanting to keep the seeming separation intact because I’m still too fearful of the notion of being pure spirit. Then I will not feel guilty about being spiritually inadequate. Sure, I may not be fully enlightened as yet, but at least I’m on the right track in reconditioning my mind from wrong-minded thinking to right-minded thinking. Each time I can gently smile about my own silliness and ask myself what Love would do instead, and then follow the Holy Spirit’s loving impulse, I am choosing a miracle, and the experience of inner peace will inevitably follow.

Very early in the text, Jesus states that “[A] miracle substitutes for learning that might have taken thousands of years. […] The miracle shortens time by collapsing it, thus eliminating certain intervals within it” (T-1.II.6:5,8). This lofty metaphysical idea about cleaning up karma and ending the cycle of reincarnation, however, should be applied to the smallest things in our everyday lives. We still believe that, for example, when we offer a simple, genuine smile to a stranger on the street, this may not be a significant contribution to our own salvation. But Jesus gently reminds us that we have no clue whatsoever about our greatest advances and failures: “You cannot distinguish between advance and retreat. Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success” (T-18.V.1:5-6).

In chapter 31 of the text, Jesus further addresses this importance about our ‘little’ encounters in which we can affirm the mutual truth about ourselves as being pure spirit: “The holy ones whom God has given you to save are but everyone you meet or look upon, not knowing who they are; all those you saw an instant and forgot, and those you knew a long while since, and those you will yet meet […]” (T-31.VII.10:5). According to A Course in Miracles, the temple of the Holy Spirit is not the body (as St. Paul taught us in the Bible); it is a relationship. And this is with anyone and/or anything I perceive outside of me. The truth about myself that “I am spirit” will dawn on me when I practice in relinquishing my judgment of all that I perceive outside of me, even in seemingly insignificant encounters.

In practicing this, I will yet learn that where in my wrong mind I believe I am losing a bit of my unique special autonomy, my right mind brings the experience of the peace I want so much. It’s all a matter of being vigilant for which teacher I choose to guide my thoughts, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, year by year. That’s why the Manual for teachers closes with the inspiring plea: “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.” (M-29.8:1-3) And the unexpected moment will come when you will be astounded to realize with perfect clarity that, yes, I do want to be spirit, joined as one Self with the whole Sonship, on its way back Home! Could there be any greater joy than that?


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:

buy-now-amazon-button

See also my Feb. 2019 Course workshop at www.youtube.com called “Farewell to your self, to find your true Self”. (English captions/subtitles available)

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

 

Forgive yourself for fearing Love

In chapter 19 of A Course in Miracles, Jesus addresses his readers as follows: “Where I am made welcome, there I am. I am made welcome in the state of grace, which means you have at last forgiven me.” (T-19.IV-A.16:6-17:1) This puzzles many students. Why would I have to forgive Jesus, and for what? Isn’t he the ultimate teacher whom I love above all else; the one whom I plead to be my guide so that I will eventually learn to accept the Atonement and finally choose to be right-minded all the time?

One might well ask the same question about why the biblical figure we call Jesus was murdered by crucifixion some two thousand years ago. After all, wasn’t he the savior back then as well? The trouble is that Jesus — and he realized this very well himself back then — awoke the slumbering, repressed guilt of those he addressed. In the deep unconscious part of the iceberg we call the mind, everyone feels guilty over having separated from God, from Oneness, from Love. We all repress this guilt out of our awareness because we find it too horrible to face, fueled by the imagined fear of God’s wrathful retaliation. Yet what is repressed is by definition projected out; and so we spend our days trying to see guilt in everyone and everything around us, just so we don’t have to face it in ourselves.

Imagine, then, how these people would react to the appearance of this gentle man called Jesus, who is not only introduced as the one and only Son of God, but also attests to this divine role by performing one miracle after another. The same projection dynamic then dictates that the mind will (unconsciously) reason as follows: “Hey, there‘s the innocence that we thought we threw away at the separation, but he obviously stole it from us! We didn’t commit the sin of stealing love; he stole from us what should be rightfully ours! He‘s the culprit!” As Jesus explains in chapter 19: “I became the symbol of your sin, and so I had to die instead of you. To the ego sin means death, and so atonement is achieved through murder.” (T-19.IV-A.17:3).

This dynamic is no different in our days; in form, perhaps, but not in content. When we study and practice A Course in Miracles, and slowly learn not to skip the passages we dislike, we read Jesus bluntly stating that “This world was made as an attack on God” (W-pII.3.2:1); “It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity” (T-27.VIII.6:5), and “You want your Father, not a little mound of clay [i.e., the body], to be your home” (T-19.IV-B.4:8). Jesus is in effect telling us that everything we think we are does not really exist. My body, my personality, my values, my grievances, my age, my sex, my possessions, everything I hold dear; it’s all make believe because I’m still convinced I can exist apart from my Creator, even though deep down I suspect I am an exile here (W-pI.182.1:1-2). Well, I may be a miserable sinner, but at least I exist. Or so I believe.

This is why nobody likes Jesus and his message; back then, and now. Or, as Ken Wapnick put it in his final workshop (2013): “We want to smack him!” We want to scream at him: “Take me seriously, dammit! Don’t you know I’m in pain? Take my hurt seriously! Take my anger seriously!” Jesus, however, just keeps on smiling gently, knowing that nothing at all has happened in reality to disturb the eternal peace of God. We just don’t want to hear him reminding us of the fact that we are “the dreamer of the dream” (T-27.VII.13:1) we call the physical universe, that “you are doing this [i.e., all our pain] to yourself” (T-27.VIII.10:1), and, above all, that “my salvation comes from me [i.e., myself]” (W-pI.70). Jesus is telling us, in effect, not only that our pointing fingers at others to see guilt solely outside of us is useless, but that our very belief that we exist as an individual is a joke. And nobody likes to be told he’s a joke.

So when Jesus asks us to forgive him, he is really asking us to forgive the projected image we unconsciously made of him in our mind. Remember, Jesus is not some divine external being who watches and judges our doings; he is, rather, a symbol of the eternal Love (capital L) that knows not of condemnation, exclusion, or separation. Or, as Jesus describes himself in the text: “I am the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and when you see me it will be because you have invited Him” (T-12.VII.6:1; M-6.1). Since the Holy Spirit is already always present in everyone’s mind, “inviting Him in” really means “accepting Him as our mind’s guide instead of the ego”. Therefore, if I fear Jesus’ message telling me that I, as separated individual, do not really exist, what I really fear is accepting my Identity as formless Love, which Jesus tells me I would re-experience once I would choose to “see the face of Christ in all my brothers and remember God” (M-6.2:1), ending my individuality.

A Course in Miracles is a lifelong curriculum in training the mind to “seek and find all of the barriers that you have built against love” (T-16.IV.6:1-2). The problem is not that I wouldn’t want to experience Jesus’ eternal love; the problem is that I demand I can experience that as an autonomous individual. I want God to notice me as an individual, which is impossible because the whole tiny mad idea of individuality is a joke. This is why we hate Jesus and his damned Course. When Jesus says in chapter 19 that “I am made welcome in the state of grace, which means you have at last forgiven me”, he means that I have at last forgiven myself for my silly belief in duality (time; space; bodies; individuality), and that I want, above all else, to experience something much, much better: bringing the mind’s focus to the real world, which heralds the end of attack, pain, and death; but also the end of my deeply cherished ‘little mound of clay’.

Forgiving Jesus means forgiving ourselves for stubbornly answering the question “Do you prefer that you be right or happy?” (T-29.VII.1:9) with the foolhardy answer: “I want to be right. I think I know better than God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit”. Once we really contemplate, as workbook lesson 91 would have us do, the question: “I am not a body. What am I?” (W-pI.91.5:2), we recall Jesus’ loving promise in chapter 1 of the text: “There is nothing about me that you cannot attain. I have nothing that does not come from God. The difference between us now is that I have nothing else. This leaves me in a state which is only potential in you.” (T-1.II.3:10-13). Indeed, “My salvation comes from me” (W-pI.70); once I forgive myself for wanting to be right at the expense of happiness; once I decide that above all else I want to see (W-pI.27), and that the Holy Spirit will guide me, at my own pace, to the state in which I attain all that Jesus was, is, and forever will be: my Self; Christ; the One Son of God. 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:

buy-now-amazon-button

See also my Feb. 2019 Course workshop at www.youtube.com called “Farewell to your self, to find your true Self”. (English captions/subtitles available)

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

All the same?

In A Course in Miracles, Jesus’ famous New Year’s wish for his students (and for all of us) is his call to “Make this year different by making it all the same. And let all your relationships be made holy for you” (T-15.XI.8:11-12). The idea is that to find lasting inner peace, we should stop perceiving others as different from us, since we we are all equally worthy of Love, no matter what. In fact, we are all the one beloved Son of God. The seeming fragmentation into billions of bodies is wholly illusory. We all share the same mind. In other words, “making it all the same” means “seeing everyone as the same”.

As good Course students, we usually smile politely and may even feel warm feelings of intimacy regarding the ones close to us. But we rarely generalize that to all living beings. Consciously or not, we tend to exclude for example neighbors, loitering youth, parents, authoritarian bosses, and public figures, whom we feel impinge on our inner peace. In this world, it is very, very hard to regard everyone as the same, when differences so clearly abound: not only physically, but especially in how differently we think, in what we feel is important in life, in our values and ethics, you name it. So how feasible is it for Jesus to ask of his students to see everyone as the same?

For Jesus’ clarion call to make sense, I should first fully realize how each and everyone walks this planet with a split mind. At any instant in time, my thoughts are guided by only one of two teachers: either the ego (the voice for differences, emphasizing my distinct uniqueness), or the Holy Spirit (the voice for Love, reminding me of my shared Identity as the one Son of God). As long as I choose the ego as my mind’s guide, I will invariably perceive differences everywhere and all the time. From the ego’s point of view, it seems rather foolhardy to blissfully keep affirming that everyone is the same, when our daily experience is that people are obviously distinctly different. These differences are further influenced by forces clearly beyond our control: climate; illness; law; other people’s mood; you name it.

As long as I choose to reincarnate in a body, I — by implication — keep choosing the ego as my chief counselor 99 percent of the time. My choice to hold on to the image of a unique personality with a unique life mission, with very serious external problems to deal with, automatically means that the perception of differences (especially differences in worthiness) rules my days. This choice is purposive, as all Course students know well: my deepest fear is that without my perceived unique identity, my existence would simply be erased. And God knows what hellish punishment will befall me for my ‘cardinal sin’ of having separated from Him in the original ontological instant just before the Big Bang!

Luckily, when the Son of God seemed to fall asleep in the nightmare of fragmentation that seemed to manifest the physical universe, the earth, and our bodies, convinced by the ego that this is the way to hide from God’s wrath and keep the newly gained autonomy intact, the Memory of His true Identity came with Him into the nightmare. In the Course, this Memory is called the Holy Spirit: the Voice for oneness Love; the state of mind in which no individuality and no differences exist. This Memory is present in each and every life form. It cannot be obliterated, although it can temporarily be repressed (and we’re all very good at this). This Memory is the loving intuitive whisper that gently reminds me that “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me” (W-pI.201-220). That is, you and I are essentially pure spirit.

In A Course in Miracles, Jesus patiently explains to us that our eyes don’t really see; our ears don’t really hear; and our brain that reads these lines doesn’t really think (W-pI.92.2:1-2). (This is a really nice Zen koan, by the way: how do you make sense of that?) Still, beyond the senses, in our ‘mind’s eye’, we can choose to listen to the Voice of the Holy Spirit, telling us that beyond what the senses perceive, each and every one of us is created by the same Source: God. And “God is not fear, but Love” (T-18.I.7:1-5). And by implication, so are we, although we choose to repress that truth: “Can you who perceive yourself as a body, know yourself as an idea?” (T-18.VIII.1:5).

The nice thing about A Course in Miracles is that Jesus always translates his lofty metaphysical message to what this means for our everyday practical lives. In this case, it means that each and every time I am tempted to perceive a body, I should immediately realize that beyond these silly senses, I merely perceive a projection of the one Son of God: a mirror of my very own Identity! So each and every moment in my life, the choice is mine, as lesson 156 would have me ask ‘a thousand times a day’: “Who walks with me?” (W-pI.156.8:1-2).

So every time I am tempted to judge my neighbor, my parents, loitering youth, authoritarian bosses, public figures, you name it, I would do well to remember as quickly as possible that “…your task is still to tell him he is right. You do not tell him this verbally, if he is speaking foolishly. He needs correction at another level, because his error is at another level. He is still right, because he is a Son of God.” (T-9.III.2) Ah. No matter what my perceived scapegoat did (or failed to do), beyond the senses I can still choose to see the Light of the one Son of God in that person — which is the royal road to perceiving that same Light in myself.

Jesus continues: “His ego is always wrong, no matter what it says or does.” (T-9.III.2). Therefore, in the dream world we are certainly not asked to condone people’s ego’s, ignore their crimes, or become the proverbial doormat. Jesus certainly doesn’t counsel us to close all courtrooms and prisons. We can and should still say “No” to non-loving acts… but we can do so kindly, without a burning ego desire for vengeance. After all, how I treat others (which reflects how I think about others) merely mirrors my beliefs about myself, about my own identity.

So “make this year different by making it all the same” does not mean we should walk around in blind denial of every non-loving thing that goes on in the world. The world is cruel; after all, we made the world “as an attack on God”! (W-pII.3.2:1) We are asked, however, to train our minds to simply look at the dream world from above the battleground of the nightmare, and once more consider the question: “Who walks with me?” Again, the answer can be only one of two teachers: the ego — promoting perception of differences — or the Holy Spirit, promoting knowledge of sameness.

Guided by the right teacher, we will continue to perceive differences and act accordingly, but we don’t seek salvation in them anymore. We don’t indulge our ‘special righteousness’ any longer. We realize that behind each and every non-loving ego action we perceive, there is an “uncertain, lonely, and constantly fearful” (T-31.VIII.7:1) mind that begs of us to lovingly remind him of the undifferentiated Home we never left. So every time you notice you get upset by whatever, quickly remind yourself that what you seem to perceive is in essence a “call for love” that mirrors your own burning desire to return to God. Giving this message — by thinking an acting kindly — is the greatest gift you can give your brother and yourself, day in day out. Happy new year!


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:

buy-now-amazon-button

See also my Feb. 2019 Course workshop at www.youtube.com called “Farewell to your self, to find your true Self”. (English captions/subtitles available)

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

Light wills to be shared

In A Course in Miracles, students are encouraged to honestly look at the darkness they’ve put in their special relationships (be they with people, possessions or values, or whatever). The Course’s central message is that all specialness is illusion, and only loving thoughts are true. We are then invited to choose to change our mind to think with God (=Love; Oneness), by bringing our illusions to the light of truth (again: Love; Oneness), cleaning up yet another dark spot in our unforgiving conflicted mind. Moreover, Jesus emphasizes that our only part in this mind-healing process is to nurture our own willingness to align our will with Love, which, through the miracle of forgiveness, operates perfectly through time and space wherever it is needed.

Since we are cautioned not to try to change the external world, but solely the inner world of our own mind, we usually do not think we can influence the mind of those around us. After all, since bodies are clearly separated, it seems highly unlikely that my change of mind about you can directly influence your state of mind, especially if you’re not around. We do know that if someone in a meeting emanates a particularly negative energy, this influences the mood of all participants in the meeting, but we attribute that effect to a choice of our interpretation of the situation at hand: should I choose to be happily at peace, no negativity would be able to disturb that inner peace. Conversely, if someone in a group meeting is extremely joyful, chances are that this ‘contagious’ effect brightens the mood of everyone who’s involved.

However, aside from these obvious examples when people are in each other’s vicinity, we usually do not think that we can lighten up the mind of those who are far away. And yet, in my own Course workshops I increasingly hear reports of participants who experience the healing of a strained relationship merely by actively choosing to place the other person in the light of Love in their mind. People who almost constantly bicker at work; family members who refuse to speak to each other for years on end; neighbors whose minds are unceasingly filled with hate about each other. These are just a few examples of real-life cases in which the relationship was completely transformed to love without any mutual conversation between them whatsoever. The relationship visibly improved merely because one of them found sanity and actively chose to place the other in the light of Love. The results are often truly astounding. How could this be?

The Course teaches us (1) that minds are joined (T-18.VI.3:1), and (2) that everyone who still walks this earth has a conflicted mind (cf. W-pII.257.1:1): on the one hand, we often like to choose the ego as our mind’s guide, indulging in specialness and differences; on the other hand, sometimes we choose the Holy Spirit — the Voice for Love — as our mind’s guide, focusing on our inherent sameness and our shared purpose of living a life of Love. Of all these thoughts, we are taught that only the loving ones are true (T-12.I.8:7). Thoughts about any aspect of negativity (guilt; fear; separation; attack; hate; depression, you name it) are illusory and therefore not true. Note, by the way, that the term ‘thoughts’ refers to our mind’s impulses rather than to our verbal thought stream, which is only a representation of these impulses. Our only real thoughts, then, may be aptly summarized as our impulses of Love, in as far as that Love refers to you and me being the same in spirit, which is our essence.

The apparent fact that we can heal a strained relationship just by placing the other — in the mind! — in the light of Love, is explained in the Course by the simple statement that light is always shared (W-pI.R4.In.6:1), whereas darkness cannot be shared, since it is illusory. Darkness is a feeble wish of the ego, with the sole aim of keeping the separation ongoing. However, since the entire ‘tiny, mad idea’ of separation is illusory, darkness cannot have a real effect anywhere. As darkness in a room immediately dissipates when the light switch is turned on, so the illusory darkness in the mind dissolves whenever a mind decides to turn on the ‘inner light’ of love. The apparent healing of my previously strained relationship of course merely reflects the healing of my own mind, since in reality there is only one mind. An illusion has been brought to truth, and is thereby healed.

That’s why Jesus says that he and you and I have “all power in Heaven and on earth” (W-pI.20.3:7): by choosing to clean up the ‘dark spots’ in the mind that appear to block the flow of oneness love and therefore perpetuate my apparent unique individuality, I turn on the light switch that immediately dissipates the darkness which was illusory anyway. The ‘price’ I pay for this is that my unique individual self becomes a little less unique. This unconsciously frightens me because I do not know what I would be without a unique individual body and personality. Our unconscious fear of being annihilated into oblivion by a wrathful Creator leads us to keep the dark illusion of separated individuality alive. Jesus’ task in A Course in Miracles is to get us to accept the truth of statements such as: “You believe that without the ego, all would be chaos. Yet I assure you that without the ego, all would be love.” (T-15.V.1:7).

So yes, you and I really can actively heal our conflicted special relationships, and you don’t even need the other’s conscious consent! Why not try it now. After reading this, close your eyes and picture someone whom you seem to have trouble with. The form of the conflict or situation doesn’t matter. What matters is your intention to bring that particular illusion of darkness to the light of truth through forgiveness, thereby allowing the Holy Spirit — again, the Voice for Love — to bring the miracle to its full efficacy. First and foremost, we should realize that I cannot heal if I do not love myself, that is, my essence as spirit. Since in truth there are no “others”, any grudge or grievance I seem to hold merely mirrors a dark conviction about some aspect of myself. Therefore, begin the healing process by immersing yourself in the light of love.

There are many ways to experience this, and you should follow your own preferred method. Paradoxically, your body may be of great help to experience that light. Try to immerse every single vein in your body in light; feel it tickle across your skin; try to become consciously aware of as many body parts at once as you can. See your body as a body of light. Say silently to yourself, then: “I will there be light. There is no will but God’s; therefore, any conflict in my mind, including my conflict with you, cannot be real. I am Light. You are the same Light. We are the same Light. I want to see us as that Light above all else, that we may both be healed of all darkness.” Be assured that the Holy Spirit wastes no time in following up on this invitation, and casually notice what happens to your relationship in the time that follows. You might just be astounded. 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:

buy-now-amazon-button

See also my Feb. 2019 Course workshop at www.youtube.com called “Farewell to your self, to find your true Self”. (English captions/subtitles available)

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

Choose to forgive… yourself

In A Course in Miracles, workbook lessons 61 (“I am the light of the world”), 62 (“Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world”), and 63 (“The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness”) form a triad in Jesus’ mind training program. They could even be seen as a decidedly positive summary of the entire curriculum. Just to remind ourselves, let’s quickly revisit the central message of this trio.

First of all, “I am the light of the world” is true for everyone, since God has only one Son (i.e., all life combined, also called the Sonship). However, saying this, we immediately find ourselves bringing together (or, perhaps: confusing) the Course’s metaphysical level, and the Course’s practical everyday level in the ‘waking dream’ we call the material world. Since everyone who experiences himself living in this dream world has the same split mind (wherein both the ego and the Holy Spirit reside), everyone both has and is the light of the world.

The trick is that almost nobody is consciously aware of this ‘inner light beyond time and space’. On the contrary, most of us walk this illusory world in a state of ego mindlessness, that is, “uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear” (T-31.VIII.7:1). So when we read lesson 61 from this state of “wrong-minded thinking”, the ego will exuberantly conclude that I apparently am the light of the world, and others are not. Needless to say, this is exactly the opposite of what Jesus is trying to make us see here. Since you and I and everyone else are exactly the same, at least on the level of the mind, everyone is the light of the world.

That’s why Jesus says about this message that it is simply a fact: “This, then, is merely a statement of the truth about yourself.” But he also reminds us: “It does not describe the self-concept you have made.” (W-pI.61.1:4) In other words, the challenge is that we have not accepted this truth about ourselves as yet. This is because we still do not want the separation healed, since we are still so intimately attached to our special individual little self. I may be plagued by pain and anxiety, but at least I exist as an autonomous individual. In this lesson, Jesus is saying that even though we still experience ourselves as separated, we can at least begin to consider the truth of what he is conveying here.

Lesson 62 adds the central concept of forgiveness to this message. Here, he again emphasizes the fact that our view of our separated self is an illusion of self. Just as our nightly dreams are populated by various characters, so is our ‘waking’ dream world populated with seemingly separated people and events that are no more real than our nightly dreams. Again, God has only one Son, our daily experience to the contrary. That’s why Jesus states: “Illusions about yourself and the world are one. That is why all forgiveness is a gift to yourself.” (W-pI.62.2:1-2).

We usually see forgiveness as a process from me to you. I forgive you for what I think you did, or failed to do. However, almost every Course student has learned that such thinking only makes the original ontological error of separation real, since it presumes a ‘better’ person who may rightfully judge ‘lesser’ people. To the ego, this makes perfect sense; but if God has only one Son, this cannot be the case. Who, then, is there to forgive? And for what? Here, once again, we can easily mix up the metaphysical level of the Course and the daily, practical level, and this unfortunately happens a lot.

On the metaphysical level, we are taught that time is already over; we are mentally reviewing what seemingly happened long ago. All people and events I perceive are “outside pictures of the inward condition of [the ontological] separation” (T-21.in.1:5); a condition that can only be sustained through constant judgment and attack, which is what we do all the time. But since the thought of separation has not left the mind of the seemingly sleeping Son of God, all “evil” that we perceive outside merely symbolizes (represents) darkness in my own mind. Therefore, true forgiveness means forgiving myself for having chosen to be the host of dark thoughts. I chose this to be able to uphold the idea of separation from God; a separation which in reality never happened. How tragic!

Lesson 63, then, describes the mechanism of the practical process of forgiveness in this illusory dream world of time and space. As we all know, it is not enough to stubbornly repeat to ourselves: “I have no dark thoughts anymore. I have no dark thoughts anymore. I have no dark thoughts anymore.” That’s like trying not to think of the color blue. As long as we still experience ourselves in the dream world of time and space, interacting with other people, we are invited to shift the purpose of the world. Instead of constantly finding opportunities to blame, judge, and attack, we can train the mind to constantly find opportunities to see the sameness in everyone and everything. Others then become symbols of the light, which we can then recognize in ourselves as well.

So we heal our own mind by ‘placing’ others in the timeless light of Love, seeing the sameness in everyone and everything, including ourselves. That’s why Jesus says: “How holy are you who have the power to bring peace to every mind! How blessed are you who can learn to recognize the means for letting this be done through you!” (W-pI.63.1:1-2). And that’s also why Jesus answers the question in the Manual for Teachers (M-12) about how many teachers are needed to save the world with: “One”, since we are all a seemingly splintered fragment of the one seemingly sleeping Son of God, Who is still One, even in the waking dream.

This does not mean, by the way, that the one you lovingly place in the timeless light of Love, will immediately accept that light. In fact, usually they don’t. This, however, is irrelevant because time really does not exist and everything that seems to happen in time is really happening now. The ego sees this as a reason not to keep up this practice: “If I place someone in the light of Love and he keeps being an asshole, what good is it?” However, as Jesus reminds us in, the effect of our forgiveness practice (“the miracle”) should not be our concern (T-18.V.2:4). We should not be worried about whether our forgiveness will be accepted by the other. The Holy Spirit sees to it by definition that the miracle reaches its ultimate destination in time and space. All we are asked is the “little willingness” to choose to see our brother as sinless. As Jesus concludes: “What purpose could you have that would bring you greater happiness?” (W-pI.63.1:3).

Even though the observable effects of our forgiveness practice should not be our concern, many can attest to situations wherein there clearly were observable effects. In my own workshops, several participants shared their forgiveness decision about very strained relationships, wherein they found that that particular relationship unmistakably improved in the weeks that followed. This illustrates Jesus’ statement that “The Son of God looks to you for his redemption” (W-pI.63.2:2), albeit unconsciously. We all yearn to be seen as innocent and worthy of the Love of God. This is exactly the message that we send out when we decide to forgive that person, even when we’re not in their vicinity. Simultaneously, we have cleaned yet another dark spot in our own mind, which is of course the essence.

As our motivation to master this Course is strengthened by our experience of inner peace whenever we truly forgive, so does our peaceful countenance inspire those who still hesitate to make the same choice. This way, “a strong chain of forgiveness is welded” (T-1.III.9:2). The goal of A course in Miracles, then, is to fuel our own willingness to keep practicing our function of total forgiveness, embracing everyone, until no single dark spot remains to hide the Face of Christ from anyone (T-31.VIII.12:5). Once we reach that point, we find in glad astonishment that we’re done with time, and where we used to fear we had to sacrifice everything for salvation, we happily conclude that we gave up nothing!

 


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:

buy-now-amazon-button

See also my Feb. 2019 Course workshop at www.youtube.com called “Farewell to your self, to find your true Self”. (English captions/subtitles available)

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

Reasons to attack the Course

Oftentimes I notice people who delve into A Course in Miracles becoming puzzled, if not outright offended, by the unilateral use of masculin pronouns. The words ‘she’ or ‘her’ never once appear in its entire 1500+ pages. The text is replete with references to ‘my brother’, but not once does it refer to ‘my sister’. For some folks, that in itself is reason enough to close the book, discarding it as ‘sexist’. They then go and find a spirituality that seems to do justice to the equality of the male and female aspects of life.

Another major objection that I oftentimes notice with Course ‘novices’ is about its use of biblical language. In the Course, we read a lot about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, as well as typically Christian concepts  such as the crucifixion and the Last Judgment. Additionally, when it becomes clear that the author of A Course in Miracles is no-one less than Jesus himself, he is immediately mixed up with the historical Jesus as depicted in the Bible. Since spiritual aspirants are usually not too hot about religion, again the book is closed and discarded as being “overly religious”. Such people find non-religious “new-age”-like spiritualities much more attractive.

The more analytically inclined people object to the Course because of its many seeming contradictions. For example, at one point we read that God did not create this world and knows nothing about it (W-pI:14); but several chapters later we read that God is lonely without his children, weeps for their suffering, and even thinks that they must be awakened [by Him] (T-6.V.1:8). Similarly, at one point we read that Jesus only asks ‘a little willingness’ from us, while at other times he explicitly talks about ‘abundant willingness’.  Moreover, oftentimes the text feels more poetic than scientific. Again, such analytical people discard the book as being ‘filled with contradictions, surely  by an incompetent author.’

And last but not least, many novice students consider the curriculum to be simply too vague or complex, especially the text. Sentences such as “It is sure that those who select certain ones as partners in any aspect of living, and use them for any purpose which they would not share with others, are trying to live with guilt rather than die of it.” (T-16.IV.4:5-7) only make sense once you fathom core Course concepts such as “Projection makes perception“, “Ideas leave not their source“, and “Together, or not at all.” Until then, many passages simply do not seem to make sense, because they are still read by a mind that’s in ego-mode.

However, as scholar Kenneth Wapnick never tired of explaining, all such objections always focus on various aspects of form of the Course’s curriculum. For example, every time we read about ‘he’, ‘him’ or ‘his’ in the Course, Jesus refers to all people. That’s the content he discusses. It would be rather awkward to explicitly mention both genders all the time. What’s more: to Jesus, gender is completely irrelevant anyway, since he and his curriculum focus exclusively on the mind, which has no gender. So objections about the text using only masculine pronouns focus on form, not on content.

As for the biblical language, A Course in Miracles came to our Western world in this particular time frame, in this particular language with this particular biblical terminology because that is the religious frame for the vast majority of the western world. Heck, we even count our calendar years based on the new Testament! But again, that’s form. A very similar message, in content at least, came through some 3,000 years ago in ancient India, in their particular religious terminology (Krishna) and in their particular language. It’s called the Bhaghavad Gita. The source of both messages is the nondual voice for Love, that is, the Oneness Love of God. In fact, the same message of Love can be found in many cultures, each in their own particular religious framework.

The central point behind all these objections on the Course’s form is the underlying fear of the content of its message. And what is the core of its content, bottom line? No less than the message that you and I actually do not exist as autonomous individuals; nor are time, space and perception in any way related to reality. God is Fact, and all else is illusory. As Ken Wapnick often explained, once you really start to grasp the essence of the Course’s message, fear and anxiety are bound to rise sharply, consciously or not. After all, no-one likes to read that the fact of the matter is that he doesn’t exist. Yes, we are told that we are a timeless extension of of God’s Love, but to our linearly programmed brains that doesn’t mean anything. And so, at first the Course only seems to lead to the loss of what I cherish the most: my self. That’s why A Course in Miracles will never be hugely popular.

Many a first-time reader of A Course in Miracles hopes to find in this curriculum a way to be a happier ego in this world. It can be rather disconcerting to discover that this curriculum asks of you to reconsider all the values that you still hold dear (T-24.In.2), with the ultimate purpose of relinquishing the little self you still intimately identify with. It’s only when the clarity and stark logic of the Course’s metaphysics are understood to some degree, that you start to realize that this is a Course that leads us Home, out of the nightmare the seemingly sleeping Son of God has constructed to be able to hide from Oneness, in an insane attempt to try to be a god in our own little separated kingdom.

Slowly realizing and accepting that this ‘tiny, mad idea’ of separation doesn’t work, we can slowly learn to again hear and choose the Voice for Love in our mind. This ultimately is our own voice, which gently guides us back Home to nonduality. As Jesus once said to his scribe Helen Schucman (published in Ken Wapnick’s  Absence from felicity): “The thing to do with a desert is to leave.” This is exactly what the Course’s content is about. Would this simple message be a reason to attack its form? Yes, it would, until we start to realize that our personal version of Heaven turned out to be a desert, “where starved and thirsty creatures come to die” (W-pII.13.5:1). Gladly realizing this is but a dream we made up, A Course in Miracles falls like drops of rain from Heaven. Once we see through the form and are willing to look at its content, where we first thought the Course asks us to sacrifice our very self, we find that we lose nothing and gain everything.


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:

buy-now-amazon-button

See also my Feb. 2019 Course workshop at www.youtube.com called “Farewell to your self, to find your true Self”. (English captions/subtitles available)

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

Happily let it all go!

Last week I ‘accidentally’ came across an article about the Hindu mystic Swami Ganapati Saraswati, also known as Trailanga Swami, who reportedly lived from 1607 to 1887 (no, that’s no typo; he is thought to have lived for no less than 280 years, although such a claim can hardly be verified of course). The famous mystic Ramakrishna met him and called him ‘the walking Shiva of Varanasi’. What particularly struck me is that Trailanga had taken the vow of non-seeking (ayachaka); that is, being content with whatever the circumstances bring. There’s two ingredients to that: (a) having no material desires whatsoever; and (b) having no investment in the outcome of any situation. That’s quite something if you think about it. What would such a mindset mean for how you experience the quality of your life?

It’s reminiscent of the well-known parable of the Chinese farmer who had learned not to judge any situation at all. When his son broke his leg at work, people lamented the ill fortune of the farmer. The latter, however, merely shrugged his shoulders and said: “Maybe.” When a week later the government recruited young men for the state army in the wake of war, the son obviously didn’t qualify. This time, people pointed out the good fortune of the farmer. Again, the farmer shrugged his shoulders and said: “Maybe.” The point of the parable is that you can save yourself a lot of perceived suffering if you don’t judge events according to your own personal agenda, but are willing to accept everything exactly as it comes.

There are many parallels in A Course in Miracles as well. Most students are well familiar with Course concepts such as “I need do nothing” (T-18.VII); “Do you prefer that you be right or happy?” (T-29.VII.1:9), and, above all, “I do not know what anything is for” (W-pI.25), since “I do not perceive my own best interests” (W-pI.24). The Course points out to us that since we are convinced we have personal interests that differ from other interests, we constantly engage in making plans and setting goals, in order to manipulate the flow of time in such a way that it will bring us good fortune. Every event and situation that confront us we immediately judge as “good” or “bad”. Moreover, within a split-second we have set up various scenarios in which we think we can influence the wheel of fortune.

It’s no wonder that Course scholar Kenneth Wapnick remarked in his workshops that “in a sense, we are all control freaks in this world”. The ego is needy by definition, and since we all still intimately identify with the ego, we cannot help seeking and seeking for safety and happiness, which of course we never find, because this world was made to be a place where true Love (a synonym for God) could enter not (W-pII.3.2:4). And yet we stubbornly keep trying to plan and control the flow of events, even though inside we know that things will always turn out differently. How could it be otherwise, if you consider our very limited sphere of influence?

In the Manual for teachers, we read the following sobering reasoning: “In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things; past, present, and to come. One would have to recognize in advance all the effects of his judgments on everyone and everything involved in them in any way. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception […]. Who is in a position to do this? Who except in grandiose fantasies would claim this for himself? Remember how many times you thought you knew all the “facts” you needed for judgment, and how wrong you were! Is there anyone who has not had this experience? […] Why would you choose such an arbitrary basis for decision making?” (M-10.3:3-4:4).

Jesus’ point is not that we should never make plans. The point is that we should consider which teacher (or guide) we choose to make plans with. As all Course students know, there are only two guides: from moment to moment, we either choose to be guided by the ego or by the Holy Spirit. The former guide will make me feel personally important but will always lead to misery because of its core concept of separation and attack. The latter will guide me to the experience of lasting inner peace, because His core concept is of Oneness and Love. That’s why the same section 10 in the Manual proceeds to conclude: “Wisdom is not judgment; it is the relinquishment of judgment.” (M-10.4:5).

So, returning to Trailanga Swami, who had taken the vow of non-seeking: what if I relinquished all judgment, happily accepting every situation as it comes, solely following the impulses of love that originate from the Voice for Love, the higher Self? We all have two voices inside us that answer that question. The intuitive voice that for most of us resides in the hara area of the lower belly lets out a sigh of relief: “Wow. That would mean the end of all stress and turmoil in my life.” The other voice, however, which usually resides in the area of the head, answers quite differently, immersed in anger or outright panic: “What!? That’s idiocy! You’d lose your income, your job, your house, your spouse, everything! You’ll be a bum, an outcast, the lowest of the low in the world. Achieving happiness requires action! Stop dreaming and get back to work!”

We’ve all been brought up with the belief that ‘success in life’ requires hard work, diligent planning and perseverance. The message of A Course in Miracles is not that we should not be active, but that happiness depends on which guide we choose to guide our thoughts and actions. On a personal note, for about six or seven years now I’ve actively tried to choose to prefer the intuitive voice in the lower belly. Firstly, I practice in relinquishing my judgment about how my plans should turn out; secondly, I increasingly try not to plan on my own, but to ask the Holy Spirit what to think, say, and do. To be sure, this doesn’t always feel very comfortable (to the ego) and I still catch myself many times thinking or doing things out of a perceived “personal interest”. But I also notice that, all in all, my life seems to flow much easier than it used to. Overall, I feel healthy and lighthearted, and I experience no lack whatsoever in any aspect of my life. Maybe, just perhaps, this Course works after all…

Again in the Manual for teachers, Jesus comments on this point in section 4, about all situations wherein “[…] the teacher of God feels called upon to sacrifice his own best interests on behalf of truth [which is what happens in the practice described above]. He has not realized as yet how wholly impossible such a demand would be. He can learn this only as he actually does give up the valueless [i.e., ‘personal’ interests]. Through this, he learns that where he anticipated grief, he finds a happy lightheartedness instead; where he thought something was asked of him, he finds a gift [i.e., inner peace] bestowed on him.” (M-4.I-A.5:5-8). The message of A Course in Miracles is simple indeed: “Do you prefer that you be right or happy? Be you glad that you are told where happiness abides, and seek no longer elsewhere. You will fail. But it is given you to know the truth.” (T-29.VII.1:9-11).

So why not try Trailanga Swami’s vow of ‘non-seeking’? Your daily practice of letting go of judgment in the view of your ‘personal interests’ will inevitably usher in the experience of inner peace and lightheartedness, no matter how many times you may stumble each day, no matter how hard the ego shrieks that your life will fall apart. One final point though: Jesus’ message may be simple, but it is certainly not easy. A major pitfall that Kenneth Wapnick often pointed out is that of blissninnyhood, as in: “Ah, okay. All I have to do is focus on Love and everything will be alright. Therefore I will teach only love and deny the ego, which, after all, is the denial of truth. Hooray!” This will not work because the underlying ontological guilt isn’t being undone. We should always remember Jesus’ clarion call: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false” (T-16.IV.6:1-2). So seek out all the dark spots in your own unforgiving mind, and then choose the Holy Spirit to teach you how to happily let it all go.


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:

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See also my Feb. 2019 Course workshop at www.youtube.com called “Farewell to your self, to find your true Self”. (English captions/subtitles available)

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.