Fri, May 25th - 4:15PM
ACIM Basics - A Simple, Practical Statement
In the process of posting this series on the basic teachings of A Course in Miracles, a more simple, practical way to state the ACIM basics occurred to me. I will continue to review the basics of the thought system which are the underpinning for understanding and practicing the Course, but I thought it would be useful to make a more simple statement at this point.
First of all, however, I want to point out that the Course does not pretend to be the only path to enlightenment. The Course honors the fact that there are many paths up the mountain of enlightenment, while also recognizing that, at the top of that mountain, the view and understanding are similar for all. The content of love in our mind, toward which the spiritual seeker is directed, is the same for all. Forms are different and may change -- concepts, words, spiritual practices differ, but the truth of Oneness which is the essence of Love remains the same for all, regardless of differing forms.
Now, with respect to the simplicity of the Course, in spite of its seeming complexity, consider the following excerpted passages:
This is a very simple course (ACIM Text-11.VIII.1:1; italics mine).
The reason this course is simple is that truth is simple (ACIM Text-15.IV.6:1).
Like the text for which this workbook was written, the ideas used for the exercises are very simple, very clear and totally unambiguous. We are not concerned with intellectual feats nor logical toys. We are dealing only in the very obvious, which has been overlooked in the clouds of complexity in which you think you think (ACIM Workbook-pI.39).
You have surely begun to realize that this is a very practical course, and one that means exactly what it says (ACIM Text-8.IX.8:1).
This course offers a very direct and a very simple learning situation, and provides the Guide [i.e., Holy Spirit, or the thought system of the Atonement, in our mind] Who tells you what to do (ACIM Text-9.V.9:1; brackets mine).
This course makes no attempt to teach what cannot easily be learned. Its scope does not exceed your own, except to say that what is yours [i.e., the awareness of Oneness and Love, which are our "natural inheritance"] will come to you when you are ready (ACIM Text-24.VII.8:1-2).
In our dream of separation, forgiveness is possible because, in truth, separation from God (i.e., sin) is not possible -- in Truth.
As a student of the Course, I try to remember that I am only responsible for accepting the Atonement (the truth that separation is not possible) in my own mind. That is the only responsibility that Jesus asks of me. In my experience, that is an ongoing process, but it involves a willingness to be alert to all the many ways in which I would choose the ego (i.e., separation) rather than the Holy Spirit on a moment-to-moment, day-to-day basis. Along with that responsibility, the only function Jesus asks me to fulfill in this illusion of life is that of forgiveness, and I can only fulfill that function as I am able to accept the Atonement in any given moment. How forgiveness works through me -- the form it takes -- in any specific situation is not my responsibility. All that is necessary is my willingness to remove the interference to being guided by love. I never know in advance what form forgiveness might take, but I do know that every relationship in my life offers lessons in forgiveness.
I do not think that the Course is about saving the world or saving others. The Course is not for everybody. It's a long story how I wound up doing what I do on the Internet, but I am clear that I am only offering an understanding of the Course to those who seek it and can make use of it, and I'm clear that whatever else, I am always offering that understanding to myself -- an understanding that needs to reach my heart and which is of no real value if it only remains at the head level.
I think that being what the Course calls a "teacher of God" is not a big deal. It simply means that one is willing to learn how to accept the Atonement and then practice forgiveness in ones daily life. Accepting the Atonement is how I can allow myself to be an instrument of peace and love. I don't know ahead of time what that might look like at the level form: the level of of the world and behavior. I surely do not know what it will look like for someone else.
I have sometimes felt that the most loving thing to do was to contribute money to a charity which tries to be of help to people in various situations of distress. But, I have never felt guided to become a spiritual leader or formal teacher of the Course for such people, nor do I ever think of myself as a "teacher of God" in any formal sense. I am aware that the most important way I teach is by example, and that whatever I do, I am always teaching myself. As the course clearly points out: teaching and learning are the same; giving and receiving are the same. Rather than thinking of myself as a "teacher of God," I think in terms of being "truly helpful" according to the following little prayer. It's the same thing, but the title "teacher of God" sounds pretentious to me while thinking about being "truly helpful" seems closer to what is involved in being a student of ACIM.
I am here only to be truly helpful.
I am here to represent Him Who sent me.
I do not have to worry about what to say or
what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me.
I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing
He goes there with me.
I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal"