7 FAQs When Starting A Course Correction with ACIM
"There must be another way. But what?"
I was asked in a review of The Disappearance of the Universe I wrote forAmazon
to clarify how the messages of Arten & Pursah (the author's teachers) actually helped me out. As Arten says in the book, "The most striking validity of this approach will be demonstrated to you by the fact that it works" I couldn't help elaborating a little on how this book opened A Course in Miracles to my closed mind!
1. Why do terrible things happen in the world, if, as most spirituality says, God made everything in it? Can you have both a loving and a wrathful, or uncaring God?
My understanding of the answer in DU (Disappearance of the Universe): God is pure Spirit and unchangeable, constant Love, and has nothing to do with the world and it's creation. The world and the body are projections from a level of mind where it seemed to split from being one with God. This concept of pure non-dualism is ancient in Eastern philosophy, yet more recent Christian religious thought emphasizes the world and the body as reality, and so attributes them to God, ignoring the contradiction inherent in a limited God having created transitory forms, and Is sometimes kind, sometimes cruel, but always including sacrifice and suffering.
2. Why do I have all these fears that seem to run my life with repeating patterns even if I apply traditional and alternative healing modalities?
When the mind first thought to separate from God, in a 'what if' idea, it experienced unimaginable pain from a sense of disconnecting from God's Love. This resulted in denial of the incredible guilt that followed, and an attempt to 'hide' from God through projection into form, with the idea that God was going to come after us, for being ungrateful s.o.b.'s! Much like entering into a fantasy or dream at the level of the individual, this massive denial at the metaphysical level was the big bang of the entire Universe. The unconscious guilt that was repressed is what really runs our lives, and until it is forgiven at that level by rejoining with the unshakeable Love of God, we will continue to experience being in bodies and repeating victim experiences, fearing the very illusions we made up. Taking responsibility for the separation at this level of cause is one of the fundamentals of advanced forgiveness. This completely undoes the unconscious guilt that is behind the fears and issues that I'm more consciously aware of, releasing them forever.
3. Why can't I be at peace with certain people that I've had issues with, and bring myself to forgive them?
I was usually discouraged in trying to heal relationships because I was dealing with the person at the level of effect, seeing them as a separate body that had really done something that harmed me. Advanced forgiveness, as described, undoes the sense of separation at its cause, by realizing you and everyone are pure spirit, totally innocent, and it never really happened. When Arten says, the evidence for the validity of this practice is that it works, he didn't say it was easy. The training that is involved is simple repetition but it calls for constant vigilance, and to those who are ready, peace is the result. I've found that after doing the practice around someone that upset me, I felt no resentment toward them the next time I encountered them. Again, this is because the unconscious guilt was being undone at a deep level in my mind, affecting every aspect of my awareness on a quantum level.
4. No matter how successful in the world I was, or in loving relationships, or even living with an ocean view of Hawaii, there was always a longing that remained.
DU explains this longing as the call to return to God and the Love that we really are, but have forgotten. It is like a song, faintly heard, but a call that cannot be denied, no matter how many lifetimes we made up to try to hide from it. This paragraph from the Workbook (p.339) says it so eloquently:
"The world you seem to live in is not home to you. And somewhere in your mind you know that this is true. 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, or 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."
Of course, we can celebrate here and bring joy into our lives in the world, where our experience tells us we are, and at the same time be 'about our business', preparing our minds through forgiveness to return to Spirit, where our true home is waiting. In DU, that is described as an experience where God's Love never varies and every need is answered. Again, this is the experience which the practice in ACIM and DU is designed to bring about, not intellectual understanding. Although understanding is preliminary to choosing the Love and our rightful inheritance as one with God over the world's meager offerings.
5. How is it this message of true reality is so rare?
Reality, as most are taught to accept it is of a world of transitory form where we eventually deteriorate through age, pain, and then death, with an endless emphasis on one's identity as a particular body and personality. This book elaborates on A Course in Miracles' definition of your reality, and that which 'J', (Jesus, or more accurately, Y'shua) taught, being that you are spirit having an experience of being in a body, and that at some point you will awaken to what you are, at home with a loving God. This concept is also quite old and there's nothing new age or cultish about it.
This message of radical spirituality was quite upsetting to those in power 2000 years ago, who put people on crosses to silence those with a different view on reality. No one could hold power over another if they knew they weren't some vulnerable body, or induce guilt and shame and sacrifice to serve the the current authority if you understood Jesus' message of your absolute innocence. He understood Buddhist and Vedantic thought and knew the reaction he would get introducing it to western minds steeped in the traditions of the sacrificial god of Abraham. But he took Buddhism one step further, reconnecting the one innocent (prodigal) son back to the One loving God and then used his life to complete that journey as he rejoined with God, at the same time demonstrating the insignificance of his own body and our way home as equal 'Son's'. With only the understanding of the world as illusion, one can feel hopeless and depressed, but in the Course, J reunites us with God and reveals the purpose of the world at the same time–to offer us the opportunity to choose again by forgiving it.
Validity of an entirely different reality doesn't come through corroborating evidence within your current reality. You have to get out of the box to discover you're in a box, or as the 'blasphemous' Albert Einstein wrote, "You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it." The problem is we're asleep in a false reality, and you can't see the problem until you start to wake up. Holy Spirit knows we aren't going to be happy campers if it shakes us awake before we're ready, and so gently meets us where we think we are, and whispers from outside the dream through books, sleep, or other inspiration until we're ready to ask for help.
That's why this book is so unique. It isn't afraid to question mainstream spirituality and gently offers an experience to those willing to have an open mind. We're all having an experience that tells us we're here, in a body. This teaching doesn't ask you to deny that, or to not take care of yourself, or be kind to others. It's just stating that it's a false experience, and offers a way for you to awaken while still doing what you normally do. Your behavior or worldly work are not what needs to change for you to wake up, it's how you see people in your mind, and your willingness to hand over separation thoughts and judgments to be lovingly corrected by Holy Spirit.
J understood the nature of the world as a dream and so transcended it. That was his purpose in life, and he now holds that out for everyone to follow, when they are ready. He turned the tables on the world of illusion and saw it as a place to forgive all the separation guilt he was holding by seeing everyone in his mind as pure, whole, spirit. Not part of God, but one with God.
Living out life as it unfolds is going to happen anyway, so go ahead and make your contribution here. But at the same time you can remember you're really home with God having a dream and leaving the one purpose of awakening.
After a period of disillusionment (dispelling the illusion!) the ego quiets down it's attempt to attack it's way toward some control in the dream, and peace rules. You become much more effective in the world and in your relationships and you realize you've given up nothing (a life of quiet suffering; good times mixed with bad) for everything–a sense of connection to Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is described as God's Messenger, the Voice for God that stays with the split mind, guiding us gently as to how to live in grace through practicing forgiveness, your constant companion in an ever-changing world of chaos.
6. If nothing's real, why bother?
Many people misinterpret the concept of the ego or the world as illusion in a way that makes it sound like they don't exist, so why bother? It is your mind that is real and offers true forgiveness, not the judging ego. It is asleep at the wheel in a make-believe world and only knows attack & blame, defense & guilt from seeing everyone as separate. It knows this level of release (advanced forgiveness) is it's undoing, and resists it to maintain control. The situations that require forgiving are real to your ego, and the pain and upset you experience in holding grievances also seem very real, and so that's where the Holy Spirit has to meet you–who you think you are in that moment, existing as a victim in a body–in order to help you heal the mind and eventually awaken to what you really, pure spirit and love.
By releasing the issues with this advanced forgiveness you realize they never really happened and join with Holy Spirit to correct your mind so you can see the situation and others as innocent. Why bother? Well, it wouldn't occur to you if you're content to keep appearing over and over in a dream where re-runs rule. But if you're starting to feel you've done all this before and longing for what can never quite be satisfied in the world, this practice is the fast track that leads to peace of mind, and eventually, the end of reincarnation. It's important for us to do the work of forgiveness and in this, participate in the healing of our mind, or by free will we would just keep appearing in the dream forever. God's Will is that we be whole. The good news is, it's our will too–when we remember!
Again, it's really very simple, but not necessarily easy to apply, at least at first! The desire for peace, and the fulfillment that comes as you answer this calling to remember what you are (Love) will eventually provide the direct experience of that Love.
It's not a 'running away of the mind' simplicity where you say everything is perfect and you don't have to do anything; just 'be'. Advanced forgiveness involves a proactive step of turning the tables on the ego when stuff gets brought up. Intellectual understanding of the concept of pure non-dualism are needed to approach this practice. Wisdom is required to choose to practice it. And honesty in viewing and forgiving what Holy Spirit pulls out of your hat, is the practice. This eventually trains your mind to choose against your ego by choosing Holy Spirit (forgiveness) at every opportunity. Over the years, the Holy Spirit's thought system replaces the ego's and old habits are released by continually identifying with your innocence each time you choose to forgive and see others as innocent. That translates into your unconscious mind as how you see yourself and the unconscious guilt is released bit by bit. Hey, I played around with bad habits for what seemed like lifetimes, so a few years to turn it around seems a bargain!
7. Okay, I can handle the world as illusion, I just don't want my world turned upside down. What will my life look like if I live this?
A Course In Miracles is a self-study course, and a person can 'graduate' without anyone else knowing because it is correctly applied at the level of the mind, not in trying to change the world or it's opinion of you. The miracle is your shift in perception from a world of pain and separation, to peace and oneness. I found The Disappearance of the Universe to be like a can-opener to ACIM due to my initial difficulty with the Course's artful language. An answer to a call at this level is individualized for every seemingly separate mind.
Many move quietly toward their goal doing very similar things in the world as they had done, but forgiving the heck out of every situation that calls for it and so doing their part in the salvation of the world. And if you are called to share it, your real teaching will be done in thinking correctly and inspiring others to be directed to their own 'right-minded thinking'. All healing is accomplished in the mind that chooses it, not by standing on a podium trying to heal others, or listening to someone like me carry on. At the same time if you're called to stand up and teach as part of your forgiveness lesson, you should probably ask for something at the door! Just tell them you asked Holy Spirit how much you should charge :-))
This work isn't for everyone right now, but if you are moved to practice it, you will just know, without anyone's influence. There are many paths that lead home. We all left bread crumbs on our outward journey, and we'll find those familiar crumbs in the practices that appeal to us. For me, the fear of buying into a delusion was momentarily offset by the thought: "there must be another way." It took a life-changing event and the feeling of being in crisis for the ego to back off and surrender control of 'my' world long enough to follow my heart over my beliefs. I found the Holy Spirit right there waiting when it was my time, leading me to the experience of lasting peace that evaporated all my doubts–and I'm a hard nut to crack!
And now I salute you for reading this far, as you must have forgiven me to do so! Actually, my intention was to express gratitude for what can really never be relayed in words. Thank you for helping me try. I wish to cherish your natural state of being, beyond form, beyond conflict, beyond words and concepts, eternally at home in the loving Mind of God.