Why A Course in Miracles?
People are intrigued as to why A Course in Miracles – why the passion for and devotion to this path by so many, including myself?
As Jesus said ‘the kingdom of heaven is within’, and it is, but it is not in our awareness due to our entanglement with the ego. ‘Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.’
The Course tells us not to try to change the world but to seek to change our mind about the world; to remove all the obstacles to the Truth of Who We Really Are. Through its theory and its 365 workbook lessons we undergo a mind re-training that does just that. We are not changing anyone else, fixing the world or moving the furniture around on the Titanic. Our perceptions about everything are being healed and we forgive everything that is not ‘real’. In that process we return to the Love that is our True Nature, to the Self.
The Course is a self study course that is undertaken with the Help of our own Holiest Self, also known as the Holy Spirit. This means that we are not seeking peace through any external system, religion, guru, or anything else in physical form that may promise peace; we are seeking and finding the peace we yearn for within ourselves, and we have Help on the journey from the Presence within.
Reflections on what the Course teaches students:
- To recognise the true self as Spirit; that I am not this body, this persona, these self concepts and masks, nor am I my ‘history’
- That the world as I see it is not out there, but within my mind
- To know that Life is eternal and changeless
- To deeply sense my invulnerability as Spirit
- To learn the strength of defenselessness
- That my belief in the ego is what needs to be recognised and surrendered
- That my focus on Truth, on Love, diminishes the ego’s influence
- That the ‘I’ that takes offence, feels hurt and abandoned is not ‘me’ but that those feelings or triggers are my key to what calls for healing in me
- To take responsibility for everything in the ‘dream’, aka ‘my life’
- To drop the idea that anyone or anything can ‘make me’ feel a certain way
- To develop Trust in Spirit as my strength, my centre, my guidance
- Recognition of ‘special’ relationships, ie those based on needs and expectations, and to heal those with the Help of our Guide
- To experientially know that all I give, whether it be love or judgement, I give to myself – ‘giving is receiving’
- To recognise that every situation can be viewed differently if desired
- The ‘little willingness’ is all that is required to invite in Help
- To realise that my fearful thoughts and feelings of guilt are of the ego, and these can be undone and released with the help of the Holy Spirit
- To forgive myself for my childish/egoic choices, namely my detours into fear, anger, resentment, uncertainty, judgment, criticism, self-condemnation etc
- To remember that each moment is a chance to choose either love or fear
- To know that each moment is an opportunity to start anew, to make a better choice
- To understand the pain that results from judgement
- Not to make others ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ but to allow people to be without any orchestration or interference
- To know that guilt is not necessary or real
- To see ‘my brother’* as innocent; to see ‘the Christ’ within him/her.
- To learn to forgive my brother* for what he has not done (this is radical forgiveness and it is the key to peace. This is the crux of the Course and fortunately we have help with it in the form of the Holy Spirit/Higher Self)
- To learn that ‘as I see you I will see myself’
- To embrace the idea that ‘my world’ is my mirror
- To know there is access to Divine assistance in the form of the Holy Spirit/Higher Self, always
- To know the comfort and gentle guidance of that Loving Presence
- To experience the joy of remembering that my brother and I have never left our original Source which is what is meant by ‘accepting the Atonement’ (At-one-ment)
- To remember when fear is acknowledged to invite Love into my mind – where perfect love resides there can’t be fear
- To remember to laugh; the Course tells us that when we separated from God (which is an impossibility) we forgot to laugh at ourselves. Laughing at life (ourselves included) is essential!
NB: *My brother is every person in my life – everyone – from my family to friends to people I don’t even know; politicians, movie stars, petrol attendants, my dog, my cat – you name him/her, they are all a ‘brother’ as part of the ‘Sonship’ and therefore one with me.
This is an overwhelming list of things to integrate into one’s life and it is a process of continual evolvement undertaken with courage and a sense of wonder. The path will seem like a few steps forward – hurrah – then a few steps backward – to be met with non-judgement and humour!
The Benefits of Practicing these Principles
From my own experience with the Course over a period of nearly 14 years, there are new ‘ways of being’ that have been learnt and practiced which have lead to real benefits. It is a joy to reflect on these benefits and to share them with you here.
- More authentic relationships
- Genuine pleasure in social interactions & interactions with strangers, as Holy Encounters
- More conscious living in the present; less addiction to ‘time’
- Less self-pity & less pity for others
- More compassion and honouring of others
- More confidence but less need to be heard
- Less fear and when fear comes up less intensity and less time with it
- Less reactivity
- Less need to be right
- Less drama
- Less fear of the future
- Less dwelling on the past in guilt or nostalgia
- Shortening of time spent ‘under stress’
- Less need to please; more authenticity
- More self-acceptance and self-love
- More courage
- Greater trust in my Higher Power
- Diminishment of personal feelings of guilt aka ‘low self worth’
- Consciousness of and understanding of my own projections
- Increased empathy for our shared longing for reconnection
- Tenderness toward our struggles, mistakes, fragility and foibles as humans
- Sense of ‘sameness’ with others and shared interests beyond appearances
- Feelings of intense appreciation & connectedness
- Increase in humour – ability to laugh at my own mishaps!
- Deepening experiences of Grace
- An expansion of peace and contentment