Do you know how to read the Course?

August 15th, 2010

Recently a friend sent  me an email stating that she did not understand the passage from Lesson 195 which reads, “Today we learn to think of gratitude in place of anger, malice and revenge. We have been given everything. If we refuse to recognize it, we are not entitled therefore to our bitterness,….” Her concern was how to understand the segment marked in red. My reply was that it was a simple, “If…,then….” proposition. And she replied, “Oh, I see.” But did she?

The title of Lesson 195 is “Love is the way I walk in gratitude.” and suggests that gratitude be substituted for bitterness, anger, malice and revenge. But, who can truly do this? And I am not talking about some sort of namby-pamby, new agey pretense. Here is a question: What would make gratitude possible? The Course is written to evoke questions, not engender belief.

Even before that question, when reading the above segment from lesson 195, does not the question arise, “Am I actually refusing to recognize that I have been given everything?” Who has actually seen that in every moment he is actively refusing to reconize this “fact.” Is this “fact” real to you? Are you actively refusing to recognize your gifts?

The Course suggests that we question everything. It seems only natural then that we should question the Course itself.

The (No) Way

July 21st, 2010

no teaching
no teacher
no student
no how
no where
no path
no progress
no method
no practice
no technique
no time
no effort
no doing

“Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything. Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God.”

Lesson 189

Forgiveness-to-Destroy

March 2nd, 2010

Forgiveness continues to be the most misunderstood topic of A Course in Miracles. And yet it is the most essential; it is the crux of A Course in Miracles.

Perhaps the most succinct illumination of forgiveness comes not in the Course itself, but in The Song of Prayer (which I suspect that most students of A Course in Miracles have not read), which followed the transcription of the Course. It calls the “normal” type of pardon, “forgiveness-to-destroy.”

“No gift of Heaven has been more misunderstood than has forgiveness. It has, in fact, become a scourge; a curse where it was meant to bless, a cruel mockery of grace, a parody upon the holy peace of God. Yet those who have not yet chosen to begin the steps of prayer cannot but use it thus. Forgiveness’ kindness is obscure at first, because salvation is not understood, nor truly sought for. What was meant to heal is used to hurt because forgiveness is not wanted. Guilt becomes salvation, and the remedy appears to be a terrible alternative to life.”

Forgiveness is not an action; forgiveness is a way of seeing. In terms of A Course in Miracles, forgiveness is exactly and identically the same as Atonement, salvation, true perception. spiritual vison, the eyes of Christ.

“Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin.” [from the Workbook, part II]

HAS NOT OCCURRED! NOTHING HAPPENED! This is some statement! Any other interpretation of forgiveness then is attack. And there is no such thing as to “practice forgiveness.” In fact this phrase appears nowhere in A Course in Miracles.

Please, if we are to be sincere students of A Course in Miracles we must at least make an attempt to understand what the Course means by its significant concepts…or at least realize that we really have no clue… instead of just muddling along with our own mistaken understandings.

Channeling Jesus

February 25th, 2010

Channeling Jesus.

Channeling first became popular as part of the “spiritual” culture in the 1970s. The first I can remember is Seth, followed by Lazarus. Ramtha, Mafu, and many others. Most were identified as disembodied cosmic spirits who expounded all sorts of cosmic nonsense and even advertised ice cream on television. However, people hungry for meaning in their lives latched on to these spirits enthusiastically. Until the late 1980s no one claimed to channel Jesus. After A Course in Miracles became popular, with Helen Schucman claiming to hear the voice of Jesus, many new voices of Jesus began to arise. Even one existing channel named Raj suddenly claimed he was really Jesus. Unfortunately, most channels do not understand their own process or where the voice comes from. And while there may be a cosmic consciousness to which one might be connected, more often it is only another voice within one’s own head.

Recently I received an e-mail from another of these different Jesuses claiming to have new phases for A Course in Miracles. Even a cursory reading of the initial e-mail clearly demonstrates that the voice is not the same voice that dictated A Course in Miracles. The concepts are different, the phrasing is different, the attitude is different. When I responded to this e-mail with questions about the veracity of the voice I received a very defensive e-mail attempting to justify, defend and explain this new voice. The fact that the voice felt a defensive e-mail was necessary is another illustration of its questionable nature.

In reading A Course in Miracles it becomes obvious that the source of the material is beyond most human comprehension. It is cohesive and without contradiction. The thought system it proposes is whole and thoroughly and completely developed. On the other hand, the ideas proposed by most of the other Jesuses are usually just a rehash of popular new age so-called “spirituality” and lack the cohesiveness and depth of A Course in Miracles. For that reason I suggest each individual reader apply a certain level of discrimination. If there are ideas or concepts which seem somehow in conflict or in opposition to one’s understanding of A Course in Miracles that the material be examined with a critical eye. For example, in the e-mail I recently received there was mention of concepts like “spiritual progress,” “spiritual development,” and “spiritual path.” None of these phrases appear anywhere in A Course in Miracles. This is a very quick clue to the fact that the voice speaking these words is not the same voice that dictated A Course in Miracles.

Helen Schucman kept an almost invisible public profile and sought no credit or fame from scribing A Course in Miracles. Unfortunately, virtually all of these other voices of Jesus do not follow the same policy. They are, quite obviously, seeking recognition and/or income. This is another clue to their lack of veracity. A Course in Miracles stands on its own and requires no additional external teachers or guides. The difficult part is that it asks one to do it on his own without external guidance. A Course in Miracles is about learning to listen to internal guidance, something which most 21st century people find most difficult. Following an external guide or guru seems a much easier path, but it is not the way of A Course in Miracles.

Beware of false prophets!

Dreaming

February 8th, 2010

Is it not possible that we are dreaming all the time and that this (which we call “reality”) is but another level of dreaming? How would one know? Does not the main figure of a dream (which is called or identified as “I”) think of himself as real…while the dream is on? Does not the experience of a “nighttime dream” seem real while it is being dreamed? And very logical and reasonable…even though, upon awakening, it seems to be the grossest sort of foolishness? From my research and experience I find there are several types of dreams, but the most common are what I call “trash” dreams. The mind just makes up stories from scraps, with no investment whatsoever in their veracity, accuracy or relevance. They mean nothing at all. Dreams (for the most part) are a sign of bad sleep. The brain never rests. As I said before, it is merely a dreaming mechanism (not really a mind at all…it really doesn’t think…rather constantly rearranges what it has already gathered) and it’s activity is non-stop.

Meaninglessness and Despair

February 6th, 2010

For at least a couple of years I have been contemplating the synergy between:

1. “Learn now, without despair, there is no hope of answer in the world.” (T.31.IV.4.3 – bold mine). What would make it possible to learn there is no hope in the world WITHOUT DESPAIR?

2. “I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself.” (T.31.V.17.7) I wonder if any have really come to this realization. Yet ACIM says: “…in this learning is salvation born.”

3. Lesson 13 – A meaningless world engenders fear. Doesn’t it just???? And is not despair the same as fear? I wonder how many, if any, have really come to grips with the fact that absolutely everything in the personal world is meaningless, including me?

Star Trek: Voyager

February 5th, 2010

My most favourite episode of Voyager is Season 2, episode 23 called “The Thaw.” I recently downloaded a copy of it and burned it to a DVD. It is just as stunning now as it ever was. A perfect metaphor for our situation as described in ACIM.