One of the reasons that A Course in Miracles, and subsequently A Course of Love, resonated with me at a very deep level- aside from the voice of Jesus, which always seems to enter and then settle into me the way only the voice of a compassionate, invincible being dispensing timelessness could- is the focus on the only issue that really matters: our awareness of who we are and of what is real.
These texts are not focused on phenomena.
There was a time in my spiritual seeking when my ability to have experiences which seemed otherworldly felt like an important validation of my progress. This was unfortunate, because I didn’t have them. Not, at least, in the ways you read about. I have had strong, inner, wordless feelings, but at the time I was eager for validation in the form of outer manifestations. A voice. An apparition. A sign that could only be interpreted in one way. A miraculous event. A light. An incredible dream. Something… While this may seem in hindsight like a desire for validation or an obvious attempt at specialness, at the time it was simply a desperate hunger for the Real, expressed the only way I was capable of expressing it. I thought those experiences I sought were the real ones I was missing… I thought if I could just have them, and thereby be taken into Reality’s embrace, things would be alright.
A Course in Miracles was profoundly helpful for the simple reason that it paid very little heed to such phenomena, and simply encouraged a profound getting down to the work of healing false perceptions. With A Course in Miracles, over time I learned to trust the unshakable power of silence, of inner knowing, and of a full heart. I never did walk around like a man having visions of two worlds, but I learned to walk around with a rock of Presence in my chest that I could rely on, build a relationship with, and turn to for help when it seemed like the world had gone sideways again. I learned that nothing could really compete with this Presence over the long haul.
We learn to cultivate Peace.
We have access to Peace. We feel it inside of us. We are able to turn to it whenever the need arises, but then this thing happens. We begin to feel that this place within us wants to reach out, to become known to the world and to others, to spread its wings a bit. We begin to wonder if accessing it, and being it, are the same thing. We begin to get this inkling that somehow we might be able to live this sensation, and make it even more real, more immediate, more complete. We realize we might discover there is even more to it, something like an infinite extent, if we could only become it and merge with it. We begin to wonder if there isn’t a way to experience being alive in a way that does indeed transcend the mundane limits we once took as gospel.
Am I back to desiring phenomena?
For myself, this is the point where A Course of Love has really been helpful. A Course of Love isn’t about phenomena either, but it speaks to this opportunity of “life after the ego”. It dares us to accept the magnitude of what is, when we leave separateness behind and embrace what we all are: uniquely expressed, identically realized. There is one section in the Dialogues when Jesus is describing the possibility that the sun may not rise for an entire day, or not set for an entire night, when Jesus points to the limitlessness of creative expression that awaits us upon our return from false perception.
He says point blank that “scientific or natural law and the law of spirit are not the same… Yes, there are natural laws, but these ‘natural’ laws are not the sets of facts you have defined them to be. They are rather a staggering series of relationships, relationships without end, relationships that exist in harmony and cooperation. This is a harmony and cooperation that might one day extend to the sun and a demonstration that the sun need not rise- or perhaps need not set- and the earth would still be safely spinning in its orbit.”
This sounds really “cool”. Hearing this, we get big ideas. We imagine what we might be able to control, to influence, to manifest. We think of separate things we could dream into form, but the thing is: these courses are not really concerned with such phenomena. They are concerned, instead, with our return to unity, and to our authentic presence within the “staggering series of relationships, relationships without end, relationships that exist in harmony and cooperation.” Unlimited expression comes after we crawl inside of the Truth, and merge with it… when it is no longer possible to envision the arising of anything that is in any way separate from what we are.
Everything follows from this return to Unity, and prior to accepting this in our hearts and minds, we are condemned to see independent phenomena arising outside of ourselves, phenomena we are desperate to make our own…
Seven billion separate wizards we’ll never be, for Love cannot anoint anything outside of itself. Seven billion nodes in a continuous, unbroken chain of being is what we already are, for we are all, already, anointed…