Weekly Questions and Answers about A Course in Miracles: 10/24/2007

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This week's questions/topics:
Q #1230 Can I do the lessons in the Workbook even if they make me uncomfortable?
Q #1231 How can a universe so complex not originate from God?
Q #1232 My friend seems too forceful about the Course: I don't know if I should stay in the relationship.
Q #1233 Why did God create the sonship?

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Q #1230: In A Course in Miracles, Workbook Lesson 20 says: “Yet you will not see if you regard yourself as being coerced, and if you give in to resentment and opposition” (W.pI.20.1:6). But the thing is, most of the time I regard myself as being coerced by any person I interact with, so I'm used to living like this and it is giving me trouble to do the lessons without this feeling. Is it all right to continue doing the lessons even if I do them uncomfortably?

A: It might help you to go back over each lesson with the intention of noticing how much Jesus emphasizes gentleness and patience. Focus on his loving nature as a teacher and guide who wants more than anything to help you let go of everything that is causing you pain. Try to sense his loving intention, totally free of judgment and coercion, even though you may not be used to feeling it in another person or in yourself. Then know that your feelings of coercion and discomfort are coming from your own guilt projected onto other people. That is exactly what Jesus wants to help you get past. So just look at those feelings as they come up; don't deny them and don't judge yourself for having them. You don't have to let go of them. It is important that you not force yourself to do anything -- you never want to fight against yourself. But simply learning how to look at or observe your feelings is a big step in the process of releasing them to Jesus' love.

Issues similar to yours have come up for other students. You might find it helpful to look at our discussions of these in Questions #71, 146, 184, 315, 934.

Q #1231: If God did not create the world and our collective mind did, how is possible that it made such a complex universe from beginning to end? It would seem only God could do this. And this universe seems to be made of all the same stuff. What is it made of? I thought it was all made of God.

A: The complexity of the universe is deliberate, but it is not of divine origin. From the perspective of A Course in Miracles , the world is the result of a series of steps in the ego's strategy to obliterate from our awareness any sense of the oneness of reality and of the Sonship. “The Substitute Reality” in Chapter 18 explains this process of fragmentation and its result, along with the Course's approach to the reversal of fragmentation (T.18.I.4,5,6) .

When you think of it, inherent in complexity is separation, whether you are talking about the microscosmic or macrocosmic level. In addition, this complexity produces what seems like an infinite number of problems demanding our attention, just so that we can survive as individuals, as nations, as a planet, etc. This is also important to the ego's strategy, for as long as we, as physical-psychological individuals, are preoccupied with what is going on in the world (including our bodies), we will never go back into our minds and discover that all of our perceptions are chosen and deliver to us the experiences we want. “Projection makes perception. . . . [the world] is the outside picture of an inward condition” (T.21.in.1:1, 5) ; [Perception] is the outward picture of a wish; an image that you wanted to be true” (T.24.VII.8:10). The world, thus, is not at all what it appears to be. It is the projection of a guilty mind seeking escape from its guilt and fear. As Jesus explains in a rather striking passage, “The world you see is the delusional system of those made mad by guilt” (T.13.in.2:2; see also W.pII.3.2:1).

Safely mindless in the world, we are oblivious to our own mind and its power to choose the Holy Spirit's thought system instead of the ego's. Keeping this realization out of our awareness is the ultimate goal of the ego, and our continual involvement in an impossibly complex world is among its most effective ways of achieving this end. This is the direct opposite of Heaven, which is “an awareness of perfect Oneness, and the knowledge that there is nothing else; nothing outside this Oneness, and nothing else within” (T.18.VI.1:6). Our primary goal as students of this course, thus, is to learn to reflect this Oneness in our daily interactions by recognizing that we all share the same interests and the same split mind with the power to choose between the ego and the Holy Spirit.

For further discussion of the relationship between God and the world, see Questions #764 and #904.

Q #1232: I have a friend who feels he understands A Course in Miracles better than anyone else. As much as I think he has some Course concepts right, I do not find his needing to talk about it non-stop and lecturing everyone helpful. He feels he can get people to understand the Course faster if they'll listen to him. At this point, after listening to him for years, I disagree, and I resist his lectures. He feels I should continue with the relationship and be open to letting him teach me. I enjoy his company when he is quiet and practices forgivness instead of preaching at me and to others. The truth is I am having a hard time letting go of the relationship, or staying in it, and clearly I am not forgiving it! This relationship is very special and I know it. Can you shed some light on what I am doing to myself?

A: What would help relieve a great deal of the pressure you are feeling is to simplify the issue. The issue is not really whether you should stay in the relationship or leave it. Instead, your focus should be on asking for help to free your mind of judgment -- in other words, whether you stay or leave, you can do so without judgment. This is what we generally recommend to people who are in a quandry about whether or not stay in a relationship they experience as abusive or as uncomfortable. The lesson is that you can leave a relationship peacefully, or you can choose to stay in a relationship and be at peace. Asking Jesus or the Holy Spirit to help you on that level will take you out of the should-I-stay-or-should-I-leave bind you are experiencing.

Q #1233: Why did God create the Sonship?

A : A Course in Miracles speaks of God's Son in two ways: (1) as the creation of God in Heaven, the undifferentiated unity within the Godhead, wherein “He makes no distinctions in what is Himself and what is still Himself. What He creates is not apart from Him, and nowhere does the Father end, the Son begin as something separate from Him” (W.pI.132.12:3,4; see also T.2.I.1:1; T.11.I.2,3,4,5,6,7; T.28.II.2:1,2). The Son is the extension of God within the Godhead, “a Oneness joined as One” (T.25.I.7:1) , a process we are incapable of comprehending in our separated state ( see also W.pI.192.2:1). There is no “why” in creation, as it is purely internal to the Godhead. There is no “why” in shared Identity that communicates eternally. It is simply of the nature of Love to extend Itself.

(2) The Course also speaks of the Son in a state of separation from God, a state that is purely illusory, as separating from Totality is an impossibility (the Atonement principle). The “author” of this existence is the ego, although to give it more credibility and validity, the ego encourages theologies that have God as the source of this existence, as in the Bible and other scriptures. Importantly, the Course does not use the term create or creation when talking about the separated Son's origin; it uses the word make instead. On this level -- existence outside God's Being -- the issue of “why” becomes very relevant, and has been the focal point of many, many studies for more than two thousand years. This, in fact, is the subject explored in Kenneth's comparative study, Love Does Not Condemn: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil According to Platonism, Christianity, Gnosticism, and “A Course in Miracles.”

Question #198 briefly addresses this from the point of view of God's purpose in creating oneness.