Weekly Questions and Answers about A Course in Miracles: 01/23/2008

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This week's questions/topics:
Q #1280 Should I feel guilt or blame myself over the ending of a relationship?
Q #1281 What is meant by "I have purified them of the errors that hid their light"?.
Q #1282 How could there ever be a separation?
Q #1283 I'm finding it hard to relate to people who criticize or complain.

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Q #1280: I recently ended a seven year relationship with a partner I was planning to marry until he told me he wasn't sure. I gave him several weeks to decide, but he was unable to, saying he felt he was not good enough for me. I ended the relationship very sadly and reluctantly, still not knowing what he really wanted. I understand from the Course that everything that happens to us is made by ourselves. I would like to know if this situation, including his uncertainty and his not feeling good enough, was caused by my guilt, because I was looking for something outside myself. Was I mistaken to want the relationship to move to a deeper level? I am now uncertain if I gave up a loving relationship for the sake of wanting marriage.

A: A Course in Miracles tells us that this physical life is a dream and that we are the ones dreaming it. So, ultimately, it is true that everything we experience here is of our own making. However, it is not as the individual we think we are that we dreamt all this up. That occurs on a level outside of time and space -- a level that we cannot get in touch with or comprehend from within this dream. Therefore, we do not have to take responsibility for all the thoughts, feelings, and actions of everyone around us. In fact, doing so could be very detrimental because, rather than leading us to greater understanding and forgiveness, it tends to root us more deeply in guilt and fear. This is so because the "I" that tries to take responsibility is just as made up as that which it is attempting to take credit for. Thus, we wind up wrongly attributing power to a false self that is already terrorized by the mistaken belief that it has the power to destroy Heaven and banish God forever.

The message of the Course is exactly the opposite: We do not have power over God. Despite all the horrors we see and pain we feel, not one note in Heaven's song has been missed (T.26.V.5:4) . We remain "at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality"(T.10.I.2:1) . What will help us move toward awakening is not trying to take responsibility for what others do, but rather taking responsibility for our reactions to what they do. Because we script our lives to be full of pain as a defense against remembering God's Love, the key to getting out of our pain is recognizing that it comes not from external circumstances but from our own choice to feel it. The process of the Course consists of asking the Holy Spirit to be our internal Teacher and help us realize that we would be much happier if we chose God's Love over our pain, guilt, and fear.

And so, in a situation like the one you have described, the Course would not tell you whether you have made a right or wrong decision. What it would do is encourage you to explore whether you made the decision with the guidance of the ego or the Holy Spirit. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with wanting to get married and deciding you would like a partner who shares that desire. However, since the ending of your relationship was confusing and emotionally difficult and you are now second guessing yourself, it seems likely that there may be other issues involved.

None of this is reason to feel guilty. Indeed, virtually everyone here has relationship issues since it was our relationship issue with God that compelled us to fall into this dream in the first place. It does sound, though, like it might be helpful for you to look at the beliefs, feelings, and expectations you have around intimate relationships so that future ones go more smoothly. A good first step would be taking the Holy Spirit's hand and asking Him to help you look at what you have just experienced through His loving and non- judgmental eyes.


Q #1281: In Chapter 5 of the text, Jesus says, “I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had. I have purified them of the errors that hid their light, and kept them for you in their own perfect radiance" (T.5.IV.8:3,4). Is he talking about our errors or the errors of the people that our kindnesses were directed toward, or both?

A: Jesus is referring to our own kindnesses and loving thoughts. He is saying that he does not take into consideration the ego aspects that may have crept in, and that we reflect Heaven's changeless love when we choose him as our teacher instead of the ego.

This entire paragraph was originally meant for Helen, especially the opening line, “How can you who are so holy suffer?” (T.5.IV.8:1) . This is a unique passage in A Course in Miracles at this point (Chapter 5), for it is the first time this form appears. It is almost as if Jesus had been dictating the thought system to Helen from a script, which he dropped to sing this lovely little aria. Clearly, it is meant for all of us. It is Jesus' gentle way of saying to us that we can choose again and feel differently -- the choice is ours.


Q #1282 : I don't fully understand how if God is all there really is, and He is perfect Oneness, how He could have a thought of separation in the first place that created what we consider reality? I've read the sections on separation, duality .

A: This is, by far, the most frequently asked question about A Course in Miracles , and we refer you to Questions #10 and #171 for our answer, along with references to relevant passages. The main point, as you will find stated there, is that there is no intellectually satisfying answer to this seeming perplexity. That should not affect your practice of the Course, however.


Q #1283 : I don't want to judge others, but when I am with people I hear constant judgment from them of the president, government, religions, other people, etc. I do not join them in this and I am having trouble having conversations because of it. I want to show love -- and I feel love for them -- but it is increasingly awkward. My friends tend to be on spiritual paths (New Age, Yogis, etc.) but they still run down lots of things. I don't want to seem to be trying to change or preach to them. How can I handle this?

A: A Course in Miracles tells us that in the Holy Spirit's eyes, everything is either love or a call for love (T.14.X.7:1) . Thus, when we hear others expressing judgments in a way that is vicious, angry, fearful, and so on, we can know that what they are really doing is responding to a perceived lack of love within themselves. They are viewing the world through the ego's eyes, which tell them that God's Love has been destroyed. Every one of us carries around the unconscious belief that I am the one who destroyed God's Love. And because the guilt this thought induces is overwhelming, the ego tries to give it away by continually finding external targets to blame for the unhappiness it causes -- targets ranging from friends and spouses, to political leaders, to our own body. So the ego is always on the make, looking for someone or something with which to be upset. To the ego, finding such targets represents salvation.

It is easy, upon reflection, to understand the fallacy of the ego's approach, and it is particularly easy to see it in other people. However, we need to be aware that the ego is tricky. If we find ourselves reacting to and judging something another does -- even if it is merely a judgment that he or she should not be judging -- we need to recognize that our own ego has been activated. As the Course makes clear, on the level of behavior, salvation does not hinge on either doing or not doing something (T.12.III.2) . This is because salvation is not dependant upon behavior. Thus, as Course students, we want to realize that the problem is not the expression of judgment, but rather the underlying fear of love. Therefore, it is not our job to stop others from being judgmental. Instead, we should focus on turning our own mind away from the fear that necessitates judgment in the first place.

The process the Course lays out for doing this involves switching from the ego to the Holy Spirit as our internal Teacher. This means that whenever we do not know how to respond lovingly to another, we should ask the Holy Spirit for help. He will always show us how to look upon the other with love and compassion, which will automatically translate to words and actions that reflect His Love. The form of what we say and do will undoubtedly vary from situation to situation, but the content -- because it is His content -- will always be love.

From a loving place, you many even find yourself joining in your friends' tirades. Or, you might find other ways of listening to them without making them wrong. Ultimately, most people do not want their defenses taken away, or even suggestions for another way of looking at their grievances (unless they directly ask for this). What most people want is simply to be heard, to have another person understand that dealing with others and with life in general is hard, and to know that no matter what they tell you, your love and acceptance of them will not waver. When you are able to find this loving state in your mind and have no need for others to be any different than they are, your words will flow without effort and your friends will delight in talking to you.