Weekly Questions and Answers about A Course in Miracles: 07/12/2006

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This week's questions/topics:
Q #970 As a supervisor I am asked to judge others. How can I deal with this?.
Q #971 I cannot relate to what others do, and this world seems boring.
Q #972 Were people really healed in Jesus' presence?
Q #973 What is meant by a "universal experience" ?

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Q #970: I have been a student of A Course in Miracles for two and a half years. Lately, a lot of issues have been coming up at work. I'm having trouble seeing everyone as calling for love. I just feel overwhelmed -- physically and mentally tired from trying to act from my higher mind and keep my ego out of the way. Because I am in a supervisory position, there are situations in which I am being asked to judge others. I believe these judgments are incorrect and won't actually help in getting the desired behavior. How should I approach this?

A: That studying A Course in Miracles has made you want to be kinder and more loving is potentially very helpful. However, it sounds like the approach you are taking to achieve this admirable goal may actually be increasing the level of frustration and guilt you feel about your work. If this is the case, then you can be sure that you are not doing exactly what the Course advocates.

It may be helpful to consider the following passage from the text: "You may wonder how you who are still bound to judgment can be asked to do that which requires no judgment of your own. The answer is very simple. The power of God, and not of you, engenders miracles. The miracle itself is but the witness that you have the power of God in you" (T.14.X.6:7,8,9,10). Further explaining the futility of trying to achieve miracles on our own, Jesus says, "The only judgment involved [in miracles] is the Holy Spirit's one division into two categories; one of love, and the other the call for love. You cannot safely make this division, for you are much too confused either to recognize love, or to believe that everything else is nothing but a call for love" (T.14.X.7:1,2).

In other words, the Course does not ask us to force ourselves to move beyond judgment. Rather, it asks us to connect with God's Love in our mind, which will radically and completely change our perception. To help us do that, it lets us know that in addition to the ego's voice of judgment, we also have another Teacher in our mind -- the Voice of the Holy Spirit. When we listen to the ego (as most of us do nearly all the time), we automatically see and hear everything as an attack calling for attack. When we listen to the Holy Spirit, we automatically see and hear everything as either love or a call for love. Thus, when we follow the dictates of the ego, we cannot help but be judgmental and attacking. When we let the Holy Spirit guide us, we become kind and loving without any effort on our part .

So again, the Course process is not about willing ourselves to see the world or other people differently. It is about using life as a classroom that will teach us that we would be better off if we changed internal teachers. The loving, nonjudgmental presence we become once we have made that change is neither the Course's nor our concern. What is our concern, is asking the Holy Spirit to hold our hand and help us watch ourselves without judgment as we continue to fill the roles that we are used to playing exclusively under the ego's guidance. In other words, we ask the Holy Spirit to help us watch our judgments, without judgment. In so doing, He will show us that our judgments are merely manifestations of our own fear of the Love of God. And every time we come to this realization about ourselves, we will recognize that the same fear must be what is motivating whomever we are currently judging.

In this way, the Holy Spirit will gradually and gently teach us how to fill our roles in such a way that even as we judge someone in form (as your job requires you to do), the content will be love. It may seem to take quite some time until we really know how to do this and are able to do it consistently. This does not mean we are failing, or that we need to try harder. It simply tells us that we are still afraid of God's Love.

If you recognize this struggle as both your own and the universal human condition, who could be a better choice than you to be a supervisor?

Q #971: After studying and practicing A Course in Miracles for over 20 years, my life has changed significantly in terms of how and where I live, how I spend my time, and how I approach conditions on this planet. Sometimes I feel so much love within that I think I will burst. However, since "the world I see holds nothing that I want," I can't relate to most of what people do to stay busy. I often wonder "What is the point?" Increasingly, I feel bored, and except for witnessing the occasional miracle, I don't see much reason to stay in the physical. Sometimes I have visions that fill me with joy that exceeds anything I've experienced in normal waking consciousness, but this is a rather recent development. What does the "real world" feel like? What does one "do" there? Am I maybe stuck somewhere in between?

A: It sounds like you may be superimposing other thought systems onto A Course in Miracles . The Course is not concerned with what we do -- in this world or in any other. This is because Jesus knows that we are not in this world. We are merely dreaming that we are here because of our intense fear of awakening to find ourselves at home in God. Thus, Jesus sees this world and our experiences in it as nothing more than reflections of what goes on in our mind -- not our mind as the person we think we are, but rather the decision-making part of our mind that exists outside of time and space. That mind has the power to choose between two teachers -- the ego and the Holy Spirit. Which voice we listen to will determine whether we are filled with love or guilt and fear. And this will, obviously, profoundly change our experience of this dream we are having. So Jesus' goal in the Course is to help us shift our purpose from using the world to keep us ever more firmly planted in the ego's guilt, to using the world as a gentle classroom that constantly lessens our fear of our reality in Heaven.

But before we can truly awaken, we must learn to listen exclusively to the Voice of the Holy Spirit -- as Jesus demonstrated. At some point, once we have achieved this, we will consistently experience life through His eyes of forgiveness. Then we will be incapable of projecting guilt, and will be in a continual state of peace. The Course's symbol for this state of mind is the real world. Nothing external will have changed and we will not have gone anywhere . We will simply have changed the purpose of the dream we are having. The Course tells us that "the world is the belief that love is impossible" (T.8.IV.3:7) . We could say then, that the real world is the knowledge that love exists, therefore the world is impossible .

What will gradually take us from the state of mind we are currently in to the one symbolized by the real world is the mental shift that the Course refers to as the miracle . Like the real world, the miracle has nothing to do with any physical phenomenon. It is solely the shift in our mind from the ego's thought system of sin, guilt, and fear, to the Holy Spirit's thought of forgiveness.

You mentioned "experiencing the occasional miracle." Remember, though, that the only miracle the Course is concerned with is the change of teachers in your own mind. This is the key to solving the conundrum of why we would want to continue functioning like so-called normal people in this world, even though we know it holds nothing that we want. While it is true that nothing in the physical world can give us lasting peace or happiness, this world is the classroom in which we can learn that we threw away those qualities and that they still exist in our mind -- the mind we have worked so hard to obliterate from our awareness. And the way that we learn this is, again, by asking the Holy Spirit to help us watch all our thoughts and actions through His gentle eyes of forgiveness. This forgiveness is the closest thing we can experience to love in this world. It is not God's all-encompassing Love, but it is a reflection of it through forgiveness for ourselves and the world we think we see. This would not typically make us feel like we want to burst or are filled with visions of joy. Rather, it is generally more of a calm, inner smile that arises when the veils of our guilt and judgment fall away and our compassion emerges.

The Course process, then, is not usually one of highs and lows, but rather of experiences of inner peace, and experiences of knowing that our fear caused us to abandon that peace. This is a process that can actually make it easier to relate to what others do to stay busy. Not because we relate to their activities, but because we understand both the fear and the unrealized longing to return home that motivates us all. And when such understanding occurs, we will no longer feel trapped in this world. We will derive all the comfort we need simply from being in the right place in our mind.

Q #972: Do you think that people experienced physical healing in the presence of Jesus two thousand years ago? If so, what would be the explanation of that experience, from the perspective of A Course in Miracles ?

A: There is no way of knowing this for sure, as most scripture scholars have concluded. It would not be surprising, however, if people were healed in Jesus' presence. In fact, it would be surprising if they were not. The basis in the Course for this is that all sickness is of the mind, specifically the guilt in the mind, and it has nothing to do with the body ( see for example, M.5.I,II) . Physical symptoms are simply expressions in form of the mind's content. The message that would have been emanating from Jesus' mind to everyone is that their guilt is not justified, or in his own words in the Course: “God's Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation” (M.1.3:5) . Simply stated, those who recognized and accepted this message would have let go of all their guilt and been healed accordingly. They would have responded to the invitation of his unconditional love for them to let go of all the barriers they had placed in its way -- and that he was merely reflecting to them the love in their own minds that they had denied. This is the idea Jesus conveys in speaking of God's teachers as “symbols of salvation,” standing for the “Alternative” (M.5.III.2:4,6) . Those who were able to get past their fear of accepting his love would have been healed, as is still and always will be the case.

The discussion in Question #126 is also relevant to this topic.

Q #973: I have been reading A Course in Miracles for over twenty years and have never directly experienced the Holy Spirit or Jesus. I never had any visions or heard any voices. The only time I have any experience of Jesus or the Holy Spirit is when I read the words in ACIM . The Introduction to the clarification of terms at the end of the manual says “A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary” (C.in.2:5). I feel my focus is on what I am not experiencing like not being angry, fearful, or guilty. I recognize not to use the ego thought system to judge or value anything in this world. Can you explain what is meant by a universal experience?

A: The universal experience Jesus refers to is that all people would experience in some way that God loves them and has never condemned them. Earlier in the manual, he expressed it this way: “God's Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation” (M.1.3:5) . Because of all the cultural, linguistic, and other differences among the people and nations in the world, it is unlikely that there could ever be a theological expression of this that would be accepted by everyone; but that does not matter in the end, Jesus is saying. All that matters is that we experience in whatever way we can, our innocence in God's sight, and that this innocence extends to everyone, without exception. This does not have to be experienced as a vision or a voice; it could simply be an awareness or a feeling. But Jesus teaches us that we should not try to force ourselves to have this experience. He teaches us, rather, to recognize our commitment to the exact opposite -- our concealed investment in seeing ourselves and/or others as sinful, which is the basis of our guilt, fear, and anger. This investment -- coming from our identification with the ego -- is the interference to our awareness of our eternal innocence; and therefore the focus of the Course's teachings and exercises is on forgiveness. For students who have accepted A Course in Miracles as their path, the practice of forgiveness is what will bring about the universal experience of love. Everyone will eventually arrive at the same place, but the means and paths may all differ.