Questions and Answers about A Course in Miracles: 11/15/2006
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This week's questions/topics:
Q #1041 How can I help a child with a debilitating disorder?
Q #1042 What exactly is meant by "littleness"? .
Q #1043 Studying the Course makes It hard for me to "blend in" and seem normal.
Q #1044 Why did Helen say Jesus told her the opposite of what she wanted to hear?
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Q #1041: My 8-year-old granddaughter has Tourette's Syndrome. I feel I am in her life to help her, but I'm not sure how. I am new to A Course in Miracles . I know the answer to my quest is in there somewhere! Can you speed up the process for me? How do you help a child with a debilitating disorder overcome her fears when you find it hard enough to face your own? I think she is here to teach as well as to learn. And can you also address the issue of the Indigo Children. Are they real or just another figment of our imagination?
A: First and foremost, just be a normal grandmother, doing what loving, caring grandmothers do for their grandchildren. Along with that, the Course can be helpful to you in terms of looking within to the content in your mind -- there is nothing in the Course about behavior. You put your finger on the core of the problem by recognizing that you cannot be of genuine help to anyone when you yourself are in a state of fear. If you are afraid for another person, you are seeing that person and yourself as an ego -- as a vulnerable, weak, victimized body. That is the temptation practically all of us succumb to, and with good reason, for that is why there is a world in the first place -- so that we would be blinded by form (bodies) and forget all about content (our minds) (T.22.III.6:7) . So the first step in your thinking about this is to ask for help to correct your own distorted perception of yourself and your granddaughter.
In this sense, she is your teacher, because she is reflecting back to you -- through your reactions to her -- what is going on in your own mind, the thought system you are using to interpret the situation. Feeling fearful, which is quite normal, is telling you that you are looking at the situation through your ego's eyes. This course is teaching you that fear is a choice, and that you can make a different choice: to see through Jesus' eyes, or the Holy Spirit's. So to begin with, you just want to acknowledge that you are following the ego's interpretation of the situation -- that this is a tragedy and that your granddaughter is an innocent victim. Again, these are normal perceptions in this world.
When you switch to Jesus as your inner teacher, you will begin to realize that you can be peaceful in the face of what appears to be sad misfortune. Most people find this terribly difficult to accept, because -- having identified with the ego thought system -- we instinctively feel that inner peace is dependent on external circumstances. That is totally false. It is the big lie of the ego that what God created can be changed. Jesus repeats in different ways throughout the Course the essential thought that “ I am as God created me. His Son can suffer nothing. And I am His Son . . . . You are as God created you, and so is every living thing you look upon, regardless of the images you see” (T.31.VIII.5:2,3,4; 6:1) . You can thus use this situation in your life as a means of learning this for yourself, and in so doing, you will be conveying the same sought-for message to all who come into your presence -- without ever uttering a word about it. Your peaceful presence will remind them that they, too, can make the same choice.
We cannot see our own or anyone else's full Atonement path, so we should be extremely cautious about judging situations as tragic, and people as innocent victims. Although we do not know this, it could be that your granddaughter (as a mind) is using this physical condition as a way of learning that the body is a projection and does not define her. If that is the case, then that is her means of getting beyond her ego and remembering her true Identity; therefore, from that point of view it would not be a tragedy at all. However, this does not mean that you and her family should not pursue medical treatment, etc., but in your mind, you would be seeing the situation from a different perspective. When you can set your fear aside -- if just for an instant -- the love in your right mind would flow through you and guide you in what to say or do, which could be nothing, other than being a non-judgmental, peaceful presence.
With regard to your question about the Indigo Children who are reported to be enlightened beings that have come to the planet to help us . . . This is best thought of in the same context as above -- that is, on the level of mind we are all one. Everyone is here to teach and to learn. There may be some extremes on the scale, as reflected in your question, but in truth everyone is here to both teach and learn.
Q #1042: What exactly is meant by littleness ? It is not contained in the glossary of terms. I have an idea but I would really appreciate a confirmation. If the separation never really happened, then why are we still perceived to remain in a separated state?
A: At one point in the text Jesus says something absolutely startling about us: “The truth about you is so lofty that nothing unworthy of God is worthy of you” (T.9.VII.8:4) . This same evaluation is echoed in a later statement: “God is not willing that His Son be content with less than everything. For He is not content without His Son, and His Son cannot be content with less than his Father has given him” (T.15.III.4:10,11) . Littleness , then, is anything not worthy of God, which means that anything of the ego would fall into the category of littleness -- any kind of limitation, individuality, fragmentation, or imperfection. Thus, we belittle ourselves and each other when we think of ourselves as bodies -- incomplete, needy, conflicted, sick, special, superior/inferior, etc., etc. And when we seek for things in the world, Jesus says, “Here does the Son of God ask not too much, but far too little. He would sacrifice his own identity with everything, to find a little treasure of his own. And this he cannot do without a sense of isolation, loss and loneliness” (T.26.VII.11:7,8,9; see also W.pI.133.3) .
The entire Course, in a sense, is about helping us realize what we have done to ourselves by preferring an illusory existence of specialness and individuality over our true Identity, eternally at one with God's Love. Never does Jesus say this is sinful and deserving of punishment. It is simply a silly mistake that we should not want to choose to uphold an instant longer.
There is no intellectually satisfying answer to your second question -- it presupposes the reality of the “we” who perceive ourselves in a separated state. This is totally baffling to us, as “we” seem quite real, and “we” often evaluate situations as “life threatening” -- implying our lives here are real. Fortunately, the focus of A Course in Miracles is not on getting us to see everything, including ourselves, as illusory. Forgiveness applied to our daily relationships and interactions is its focus: seeing shared, not separate interests, and that nothing has power to take away our peace. Yet, ultimately, the Course's unique understanding of forgiveness can be properly comprehended only within the framework of its metaphysical non-dualism. Jesus assures us, though, that it will all come together for us if we just become more consistent in choosing him as our teacher, rather than the ego. Withdrawing our faith and trust in the ego's version of reality and placing it in his is the one alternative that is always open to us.
Q #1043: I know that you all say to not forget to be "normal" and Ken frequently has said that the only difference between a teacher of God and others is that the teacher of God "smiles more frequently." But, I feel that I hide the fact that the Course and my spiritual path are such a big part of my life from others out of fear that they will not understand. I want people to know this about me because I feel it is "who I am." This has become a very big part of my life and I feel that by trying to "blend in" and be "normal" I am not being true to myself. Can you please comment on this?
A: This is an issue many students have raised over the years in many different ways. While it probably is true that others will not understand the Course and why you chose it as your path, this need not be something fearful to you. You did not mention specifically what you are afraid of should they not understand, but in some cases people have feared being rejected for believing in a thought system that is not reconcilable with traditional biblical religions. That has happened to many students, but they were able to deal with it.
What will help you a great deal is to keep form and content distinct. On the level of content , to say that A Course in Miracles has become a big part of your life means that you have chosen Jesus or the Holy Spirit as your inner Teacher, and are now dedicated to seeing everything in your life as a classroom in which you will learn that your interests are not separate from anyone else's. Your life now has this as its purpose (content), having relinquished the ego's purpose of seeing everything in the context of its principles of one or the other and kill or be killed . Being true to yourself thus means living this way, and forgiving yourself when you discover you have reverted to the ego's way -- of judgments, differences, specialness, victims and victimizers, etc. You are being true to yourself by recognizing separating thoughts and actions, and then not judging yourself for them. There is no need, really, to explicitly let others know that you are approaching your life differently now. It doesn't matter if they know or not, for your focus would still be on the thoughts in your mind about yourself and others -- wrong-minded or right-minded. In a sense, this will keep you more honest with yourself. You will not feel that you are hiding anything from anyone or sacrificing something of yourself.
If spiritual paths come up in a conversation, or others see you with “the book,” then you would just talk about its meaningfulness to you, without any investment in their responses. Again, if your focus is always on bringing your wrong-minded thoughts to the loving presence of Jesus in your mind, then you would not be focusing on bringing “the book” to others. The love of Jesus is in their right minds, just as it is in yours; and they have the power to choose it, just as you do. If that is the content in your mind, then you are being true to yourself as a student of this course. That is where your passion and excitement should be directed -- the joy of seeing yourself and others as Jesus does. When you are thus centered in loving content, you will have less and less sense of a separate self that needs to communicate as one self to another self. The love in your mind will naturally extend itself through you in whatever form is helpful at that time in those circumstances.
Q #1044: My question relates to page 155 of Absence of Felicity where Kenneth states that people experience Jesus differently and that Helen knew Jesus was talking to her because, "He told her the opposite of what she wanted to hear." I understand that Jesus speaks to each person in an individual way, yet how could something that speaks against someone's peace be benign? I believe that Jesus would never speak for such things.
A: It is important to know the context of Helen's comment in order to understand it properly. On the same page you cite in Absence from Felicity , Kenneth states that Helen was keenly aware of her inner conflict -- between “Heaven and Helen,” as she described it. Within this framework, “Jesus' will and her own were always separate,” and therefore she would be aware of what was coming from her -- meaning the part of her that was terrified of accepting his love -- and what was coming from that loving presence she knew to be Jesus. She was aware that she was resisting the emotional acceptance of what she had accepted intellectually from Jesus. “Helen did believe in the truth of the Course's teachings, not to mention in the existence of its author. However, she was not able emotionally to accept its truth into her own personal life” (p. 156). This is a crucial distinction. She knew that she would be better off doing what Jesus asked of her; she was just afraid of the consequences of accepting his will unconditionally at all times. Jesus was not speaking against her peace, as you have interpreted her comment to mean. Quite the opposite -- she knew she would be better off if she integrated into her daily life what she knew to be the truth intellectually. Kenneth concludes that this integration came “all at once at the moment of her death” (p. 157; see also Chapter 18 where Kenneth describes her final days and death).
Every student of A Course in Miracles is bound to run into this same dilemma. We all have minds split between wanting Jesus to be the central figure in our journey, and a fierce resistance to letting go of the self we think is our identity but which is a false self determined to keep the true Jesus as far away as possible. This intense fear will inevitably cause us to have a distorted experience of his love. That is why he emphasizes so much the need to become aware of these two parts of our minds. It is vital to our progress with the Course to come to know and respect our fear of the truth about us, so that we will not erect even further defenses against it, thus burying it deeper and deeper in our minds. This is what Jesus wants to help us with more than anything, if we will let him. If we do let him, we will be more peaceful, more often, as together we walk the pathway home.