This past week a small groups of friends and I began the journey of reading the book A Course In Miracles. This will most likely take over a year! This is a book of Christian origin that was divinely dictated to a professor in the 1970’s. (It is controversial to many close minded individuals). To me, it’s like an addendum to the Bible where a more philosophical Jesus takes some time to clarify or update some messages. They say the book finds you at the right time and when I stumbled upon it a Barnes N Noble on Christmas Eve, I knew that it was my time. So here goes…
Reactions to our first reading–which was the first three sections of Chapter 1: Principles of Miracles.
Something of significance I’d like to say to begin, is that I read less than 1/2 of the first page and then wrote all this before continuing my reading. I sat on a plane and filled the front and back of a piece of paper simply by what the first 1/2 page inspired in me. I was amazed to find sections, as I continued to read, that supported exactly some of the things I had written, and I then went back and added statements from the text. It was/is an amazing feeling.
(So here I go, for real this time…)
Why have I lived my entire life–until now–thinking miracle are few and far between? And very difficult to attain?
1st thought: We unconsciously prevent miracles from happening because we fear them becoming to common and therefore less meaningful.
2nd thought: We like to believe we are not capable of making miracles happen ourselves and we feel we must rely on a higher, holier deity to grant them to us and ONLY if we are worthy.
3rd thought: The ego doesn’t want to believe in miracles because to believe, it must surrender. Surrender of control and surrender to the easiness of it all, surrender to the likeliness of miracles, and surrender to the selflessness required to allow miracles to happen.
YET: ACIM says “Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.” (1.1.3) & “When they do not occur, something has gone wrong.” (1.1.6)
If we truly understand how special a miracle is, it will never become commonplace–even if we experience 10 miracles a day! When you stop to think about everything that had to take place for us to be here right now, from every system working in our bodies, to the evolution of technology to be on a computer, to the way our society and world functions as it does in general, IT IS ALL AN AMAZING (somewhat overwhelming) MIRACLE! Perhaps that is what actually happens when we become mindful and begin to live in the present moment–we awaken to the miracle of every moment and every situation.
I am so moved as I write this and make these realization for myself, for the first time!
The talk of mindfulness and being present, brings me to 1.1.7 “ Miracles are everyone’s right, but purification is necessary first.” Purification of the mind is reached one step at a time by becoming mindful and by living in the now. 1.1.37 “A miracle is a correction introduced into false thinking…perception is healed…until this has occurred, knowledge of the Divine Order is not possible.” So much of the suffering we go through in life is simply because of our limited perception/perspective! Once we admit that we cannot see the whole picture, we will be liberated from judging situations as bad or good. We can have faith that all is as it should be, and that although we may feel temporary pain, we are on our best/proper/perfect path. 1.1.38 “He separates the true from the false by his ability to perceive totally rather then selectively.” 1.3 “You cannot behave appropriately unless you perceive correctly. Miracles arise from a mind that is ready for them.” Miracle Readiness!
Another key is truly understanding that everyone is equal. I believe you cannot freely experience the wealth of miracles until this is truly engrained in you. We are all cut from the same cloth! Namaste’! 1.1.40 “The miracle acknowledges everyone as your brother and mine. It is a way of perceiving the universal mark of God,” and 1.3 “When you bring in the stranger, he becomes your brother.”
I have an exercise I’d like to suggest here. I have been doing this lately as I strive to break down all barriers between me and my fellow man. When you walk into any room, take a moment to look at all the people around you. Declare to yourself that you are all equal. Begin to notice what comes up. Does your ego try and fight this notion? Notice that different places illicit different responses from yourself. A room full of friends or people all there for a common reason may be much easier for the ego to accept. Or maybe you feel a a deep camaraderie amongst a group, and you begin to feel a euphoria as you realize how not alone you are! This exercise will help us to treat all people with respect, break down our egos and to let go of many of the physical barriers that we let stand between us.
Lastly, a quick personal note of a struggle that came up for me.
I am looking for the balance of how to live in this modern society and world as the spiritual being that I am. This includes many issues but the one I am asking myself today actually comes down to language. I have been known to cringe when people use the words like miracles and blessed. “The Lord has just blessed us and it is a miracle–PRAISE be!” I have just rolled my eyes on the inside, but I don’t wanna do that! I believe the we are infinitely blessed and I recognize the miracle of sitting right here this moment and I love God, so why do these kinds of statements turn me off so much? Perhaps it rings false with me? Perhaps it seems fake coming from people who always have so much (ie rich westerners)? Perhaps it’s the English language itself that seems not to do feeling justice? Either way, it adds up to a lot of judgement on my part. I can imagine that, non-judgement, would be my first step to letting this go.
Perhaps its the fact that we not raised to learn the art of conversation as spiritual beings, you know? This is not what I learned in cotillion! The art of good conversation includes current events, literature, art, music, leisure but not your heartfelt, personal relationship with God and your fellow man. In fact most people waste a lot of conversation bitching about their fellow man and cursing God for the pain they feel in life. Perhaps this is more the issue…how to shift our conversation. (This also would explain my total shyness & extreme blushing I experience when attempting to discuss reactions in meditation groups and Satsang in NYC).
Also, although I am working to reduce the amounts of labels I use in my life, (about myself, others, and the world around me), I must still be afraid of labels people would put on me. I don’t fit many molds these days. It feels like unless I fit into society’s perfect mold of a religious leader, my deep spirituality will be dismissed, and I will be known only as new-age, hippie, & granola. I will be judged by some for being deeply in love with nature and animals, someone who doesn’t earn a traditional living, or contribute enough to society with endless consuming, or someone who lives with parents or extended family. Ultimately, others judgements won’t matter and I will strive to show how good all those attributes can be.
Anyone have any reactions?
I’ve been reading the book for a while now, but it took a loooong time for the lesson ” You cannot see two Worlds” to sink in. Every time I tried to reconcile this present world ( climate change / population explosion / peak oil etc etc ) I would hit a brick wall. Then I realised that the Course means what it says…you cannot see both.. so I stopped trying to reconcile the irecconcilable, and the bricks stopped hitting me 🙂 Gos speed, safe journey
Earlier today someone gave me this quote from Lao Tzu that I feel helps in the situation you described. (That I, too, find myself in frequently). “Would you like to save the world from the degradation and destruction it seems destined for? Then step away from shallow mass movements and quietly go to work on your own self-awareness. If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” Amazing, right? Namaste’