“Yet it (Redemption) is done already, and unless you give all that you have received you will not know… that you have awakened with him (your redeemer).” Text p.209, par. 9
One of the striking differences between the Course and Judeo-Christian beliefs (and most New Age spiritualities) is that A Course in Miracles takes an already-done-deal approach. Most western religious and spiritual paths assume something is really wrong to begin with, and then go about trying to fix it or evolve beyond it. To them, sin and separation are devastatingly real. The Course specifically sets up its version of the Atonement (that nothing happened), right in its Introduction. It immediately spells out that this is not a course about love, loving, or evolving somehow towards love, or even making the world a better place in which to live…
“The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim however at removing the blocks to the (our) awareness of love’s presence, which is our natural inheritance.” (Text, p.1)
So then, this is simply a course about undoing the blocks to our awareness, in our minds, that love is already a done deal, and our true Identity is still part of that Love… period. We are God’s children, always have been, always will be. The Course shows us how to stop pretending that we’re not eternally part of God’s Love… insisting in our criticizing, fixing, and sometimes even helping, that we are not ‘still’ as God created us.
“But when I willingly and gladly go the way my Father’s plan appointed me to go, then will I recognize salvation is already here, already given all my brothers and already mine as well.” (Les.#317)
So what’s my Father’s plan? In the Course’s 1300 plus pages, Jesus is always encouraging us to look at each other differently by asking the Holy Spirit for help ‘to see beyond the veil,’ see beyond the differences we think we see and even cherish. Early on in the Course he also states that this course is not about behavior (Text p.29, par.2-3), what we do or don’t do, but about how we “see” each other.
And more to the point: with whom are we seeing or perceiving… our egos or the Holy Spirit? Jesus tells us we have this internal place called the mind, where we are constantly choosing between one of these two teachers or inner guides. (This internal place is not what the world calls our brain.) When we are choosing the ego, we see separation and blame. When we choose the Holy Spirit, we experience the Atonement, that nothing happened and our true Identity is still intact.
Problem is, when we are choosing the ego, we’re not really conscious of that choice… but we feel it’s effects. We are irritable, judgmental, and certainly not peaceful. We are quick to point out that our discontent is not our responsibility, but we easily finger-point the culprit as something or somebody else. It’s amazing when we go thru the course of our day, and begin to realize… how many times each and every day we are blaming, and always on the alert for new drama to accuse others of robbing us of our peace.
However, choosing to ask the Holy Spirit to perceive and experience things differently is a very conscious and vigilant effort. We first honestly look at how hateful our thinking and seeing is, and even tho we believe we’re right, how painful it is. This becomes the motivation to hope that ‘there must be a better way,’ and maybe I’m willing to find it and try it. The better way for Course students is the Course’s process of forgiveness, or ‘seeing’ differently. We forgive, or let go, of our way of viewing the world full of victims and victimizers. Then we allow, or let, the Holy Spirit’s vision, of what we truly are, take its place.
(Lesson Titles #31-35)
Forgiveness in the Course is a return to the awareness of the “Done Deal.” Whatever our eyes might be telling us, we ask for the Holy Spirit’s gift of vision to see/experience that our brother’s innocence (and ultimately our own) is still intact… already there and present, no matter what they are doing or not. This doesn’t mean, in terms of behavior, that we don’t do the next appropriately helpful thing. But it does mean that while we are doing whatever our chosen behavior is, in our heart of hearts, we come to know we are each already saved, already God’s one Son.
This is not some pie-in-the-sky made up fantasy. For those of us who have practiced the Course’s forgiveness, we experience that this is the reality behind all the seeming facades that ’cause’ us to blame and condemn. We actually begin to feel and know, about ourselves and others, what Jesus consistently tells us in Lessons #201 thru 220:
“I am not a body. I am free. I am still (already) as God created me.”
Thank you Jesus!
and Happy Thanksgiving!
Replay of latest video from SFACIM on a discussion of “gratitude”: https://youtu.be/ZHm1s-jFVFQ