(by Tim Wise)
In the 1980’s the Talking Heads rock group had a song that kept repeating the line… “Well, how did I get here?”
Probably the most often question ever asked by both new and ongoing Course students is this: How did we/why would we ever leave the oneness and the peace of Heaven, and then separate into something else… if oneness is our true reality.
What is the Course’s short and quick answer to “How did the impossible happen?”… It didn’t!
There are actually three ways the Course approaches and doesn’t answer this ego-based inquiry:
It’s An Assertion, Not a Question
1) It’s not really an innocent question, the Course explains, but rather a statement masquerading as a question. We have already wrongly defined ourselves as separated beings. Now we are similar to two year olds throwing a fit and stamping our feet, insisting on something not real or helpful. We are demanding an explanation from God as to how that exodus from Heaven took place. As with any loving and caring father dealing with a tantrum, there’s not a lot He can say… but simply quietly wait for the tantrum to stop. (Text: p.376, par.4 & The Quiet Answer p.574-6)
“Who asks you to define the ego and explain how it arose can be but he who thinks it real, and seeks by definition to ensure that its illusive nature is concealed behind the words that seem to make it so” (C.2.2:5).
It’s Not Only in the Past- It’s Happening Now Too!
2) At one point Jesus said to Bill Thetford, when Bill asked him about how the separation happened… “why are you asking about something that seemingly happened in the past (The Big Separation from God), when you believe you are doing it right now?” In any given moment there is only one of two thoughts being projected into our awareness in time and space… either separation (and it’s not our fault), or forgiveness (the Course’s Atonement principle which says separation never did happen, and isn’t happening even now). That all solely depends on which internal teacher we are choosing in this very second, the ego or the Holy Spirit. (Text p.85, par. 6 & p.179, par. 11-12)
“It is reasonable to ask how the mind could ever have made the ego. In fact, it is the best question you could ask. There is, however, no point in giving an answer in terms of the past because the past does not matter, and history would not exist if the same errors were not being repeated in the present” (T.4.II.1:1,2,3).
Ask for An Experience, Not An Explanation
3) And finally the most comforting description of this process of addressing this belief… Jesus says that when we practice forgiveness in our minds with others and ourselves, this question/belief will simply fade away into the unreality from which it came. In other words, the experience of our true connection and identity as one Son of God is the direct result of forgiveness. We will know the disconnect never happened, despite the images we seem to see. Then the question “well, how did I get here” becomes irrelevant, and we totally lose our investment in needing an impossible answer to a silly question. (Manual p. 77, par. 3-4)
“The ego will demand many answers that this course does not give. It does not recognize as questions the mere form of a question to which an answer is impossible. The ego may ask, ‘How did the impossible occur?’, ‘To what did the impossible happen?’, and may ask this in many forms. Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology delay you.” (C.in.4)
For further discussion of our ‘leaving Heaven’
see Ken Wapnick’s CD set or MP3 download on
For an SFACIM post on the ‘way back’ to Heaven thru
“The 3 Steps of Forgiveness”: click here