PLEASE NOTE: This is the first section of an introduction to A Course in Miracles that I wrote as a way of being “truly helpful” to those of us who would like to truly understand the Course. Please stay tuned for further updates after today, and thank you for reading!
AN INTRO TO THE INTRO:
Why A Course in Miracles Needs An Introduction
A Course in Miracles requires an introduction or “way in” to it because it is just so challenging to read and understand on its own. Many have picked it up and attempted to plow through it, only to put it back on the shelf, often just to gather dust. Mark Twain once said that a classic is a book that everybody has and wants to read, but nobody actually does. Just over 5 decades old, the Course is definitely on its way to becoming something like that. It’s the Moby Dick of the spiritual world, up there with the Urantia Book, Madame Blavatsky’s writings, and the Zohar.
So an introduction that helps explain why the Course is so important and potentially useful, as well as to elucidate some of its challenging language and concepts, can be very helpful. The thing is, every introduction to the Course is its own interpretation of sorts, including the one you are about to read. So in the end, the Course really is best approached on its own terms. And yet, again, those terms are just so elusive to most of us!
In what follows, I attempt to get out of the way and point you toward those who I feel really are tried, true and trustworthy guides and resources for the spiritual masterpiece that is A Course in Miracles, thank you for listening…
Questions That Everyone Has About ACIM
(and which we will attempt to get some clarity on…)
~ Who is the author of ACIM? Jesus? Really? How can we know this is so?
~ How is the Course similar to and how does it differ from traditional Christianity?
~ What is the ego and where did the ego come from? Is it a thing?
~ The Course says that God did not create the world. Well, if not, who the hell did? In other words, how did the whole shebang come to be?
~ I find it hard to believe/accept that this world with all of its majestic beauty is an illusion, besides the fact that it all feels so real. Please help me with this!
~ I’m scared of letting go of my ego, I don’t feel ready to wake up just yet. It’s so hard to forgive some things. Should I continue on this path?
~ How do I know if I’m making progress with ACIM? Sometimes it feels like things are getting worse, not better!
~ The Course says that it is pointing to an experience of Perfect Love (Oneness) beyond all symbols. Do we know if anyone has ever had this experience? If so, where are they, I need to talk to them!
~ There are so many teachers of ACIM, and I’m discovering that not all of them agree with one another. How do I know which teacher to follow?
~ How do I distinguish between the voice of the ego and the voice of Spirit (or, the Holy Spirit)?
~ How do I practically apply the Course to my daily life, especially considering that the Course says nothing specific about what to do/how to live?
~ Can it all really be as simple as the Course suggests?
A Course in Miracles in One Page
(more or less)
To distill the message of ACIM in one page is kind of ridiculous as the Course calls to be read, and read and studied and practiced on its own terms. That said, perhaps someone who reads this will feel inspired to actually pick up the darn tome and be willing to wade through its difficult language in order to reap the benefits of working with it. For clearly it is the case that many who are, in fact, interested in ACIM do not get very far due to being hung up on the words and wordiness of it all. So! Without further ado…
The Course presents us with what Jesus was really wanting to get at 2,000 years ago, if only his followers could have understood the mystic basis of his teaching. They couldn’t, of course, because he was teaching at such a high level, and as its said, it “takes one to know one.”
But essentially, Jesus’ message was/is very simple, and because it is so simple, it has the unique ability to save you a lot of time in your life and on the path of awakening.
And the simple message is to recognize that we are always doing either one of two things: Living from fear, or living from love. Otherwise put, we are always either choosing to follow the ego, or choosing Spirit as our teacher. The problem is that we are generally not conscious that we even have this choice moment to moment, because we are already so deeply identified with the ego that we have allowed much of our decision-making to be unconscious. Because of this, we think that the world is somehow being done to us (victim-consciousness), rather than that we are fully responsible for our life and liberation.
And because we are so identified with the ego, we don’t even realize that we have chosen to identify so deeply with our body and personhood because the ego has as its mission to convince us that we are limited, that we are not what we truly are. And it uses every means necessary (variations on the themes of sin, guilt and fear) to keep us asleep so that we will never wake up to the reality that the ego is actually nothing but a false idea about who we are, and that we are really still safe at home in God (Perfect Love, Absolute Oneness).
Now, the most important tactical weapon in the ego’s psychic arsenal is “projection.” Projection works through seemingly projecting outside of the mind what is actually within it. So ultimately, the whole universe of time and space is actually a projection of the mind, but on the level most of us are at right now, we can see how projection works if we begin to recognize how invested we are in continually seeing the “problem” out there, rather than in here.
Which is where forgiveness comes in. Forgiveness means recognizing that there is nothing being done to you by anyone, and it is actually up to you to choose to make the unconscious conscious and realize that you always have a choice to see peace and innocence and perfection and unity everywhere, or not. And as you learn — slowly, slowly — to lay aside judgment and see everyone and everything this way, not only will you become happier and more at peace, but at some point along the way, you will have an experience (and perhaps more than one) of what it feels like to be Home again. And like the road less traveled, this experience will make all of the difference.
But you gotta do the work. It’s up to you. You are the one you’ve been waiting for, you are the only one that needs to wake up, and both the problem and the solution lie inside of you.
And the truth is, this is all so mind-blowingly elegantly simple, yet not so easy. Which is why so few ever go all the way with this process of “undoing the ego” and unwinding the mind back to God. In fact, there has only been one who has ever fully done this.
Maybe you will be the One? ; )