Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wide appeal of A Course in Miracles

There is nothing I like more than a good question about the Course.  And by "good question", I mean a thought provoking one - a question that makes me reassess what I currently believe and perhaps come to see it in a new light. As a result, we have a very interactive study group of Course students here in Louisville where everyone is encouraged to share their insights and questions. It is also a very diverse group with people from widely varying religious backgrounds so we get a lot of very insightful questions and I've been making a note of them for the last 15 years.  Here is one of my favorite ones:

Question: The Course clearly appeals to people from very diverse religious backgrounds. Why do you think that is?

First and Foremost: A God you can love wholeheartedly

The diverse appeal of A Course Course in Miracles is due in very large measure to the way it completely reshapes our relationship with God. We do not have to earn our way back into our Heavenly Father’s love because we never lost it!

That’s what Jesus himself was saying when he gave us the parable of the Prodigal Son and the Lord's Prayer. Like the Prodigal Son, a child of God need only to change her direction back to home, and God the Father will run to meet her with open arms.

The appeal of the truth of ACIM is very great, undoubtedly, but even before we can get to an understanding of that truth, the appeal of a completely loving God is what kindles most student's motivation to learn and then maintains our momentum home.

Second: The desire for peace
You who want peace can find it only by complete forgiveness. You never really WANTED peace before, so there was no point in being told how to achieve it.”
The horror of nuclear destruction shocked a generation about the potential costs of war. Instant video news coverage and graphic Hollywood productions shoved the routine horror of war in the world's face. All romantic nonsense about the glory of military combat could be questioned, and rejected.

For the first time in history the instructions for peace could be heard by a significant slice of the population, for the simple reason that people of all nations were ready to listen. A Course Course in Miracles is a comprehensive “how-to” manual for genuine peace.

Third: Eliminate the (often corrupt) middlemen

Eastern traditions and ideas have been percolating around the Western world for several hundred years taking root. A new generation coming of age in the 1960's flocked to the promise of a direct personal connection to the transcendent world, and to God. The stale preaching of worn out doctrines by hypocritical clergy were not enough to satisfy a growing hunger for the divine.

A Course Course in Miracles presents itself as a truth to be tested and experienced, not as dogma to be blindly accepted. A revolt against the guardian priests was gaining strength.

Fourth: The inner world

Some sixty years after Freud popularized the idea of the unconscious mind, an educated public was ready to take it seriously and to go exploring. Saints and sages throughout the ages had know of this secret, and wrote about it, but it has been just recently that the terrible fear of the unknown depths relaxed its grip on the public consciousness.

A Course Course in Miracles provides a comprehensive set of spiritual exercises designed to deal with the dark nightmares that haunt our minds, and it lends us the courage to face them.

A perfect storm

These factors combined at the perfect time and in just the right place to make A Course Course in Miracles possible. The Course came as an answer to the heartfelt cries for help from the people of a war-weary world. The Course appeals to people from very diverse religious backgrounds because the Course promises what everyone wants deep down.

Carmen Cameron
Louisville, Kentucky

Friday, October 16, 2009

Investing in yourself

An incredibly successful and busy person once told me, “Find something you love to do and then just do it and you’ll never have to ‘work’ a day in your life.” He was obviously living in a state of joy and there was no doubt about his ability to be helpful to others in his chosen walk of life.

A couple of months ago, I gave a class on levels and degrees. We believe in levels and degrees because we believe that it is possible that we could SEPARATE ourselves from the Infinite - from God.

The course tells us that our only real need is to overcome that basic error. That we need to learn how to identify that falsehood as it comes up in our deciding process in all its multiple and pernicious disguises.

And one of the most painful guises of our collective belief in our separation from God is our resulting belief in our personal smallness. We are in truth cosmic beings - extensions of the One Universal Life - playing at being finite. Limited. Inadequate. Helpless in the face of a world that is far more powerful in its will for us than we are.

This world as we perceive it through our five physical senses (the ultimate premise for what the course calls our “body identification”) and our individual lives, as we have shaped them, are nothing more - or less - than our acting out of that ludicrous and erroneous belief.

You cannot be excluded from the All-That-Is. That would make All-That-Is less than Itself by subtracting what It extended AS YOU! (That’s downright silly.) So no one can deprive you of anything. That is, no one but yourself.

We must first put our faith in the limited before believing we are small – OR THAT BEING SMALL WAS EVEN POSSIBLE!

That erroneous belief in separateness - in being limited by the body in what we are capable of doing - is the entire foundation of our world. That’s why it is an illusion. But it’s an illusion we have each accepted or we couldn’t be limited by the “powers” of the world in the first place.

This belief in the collective conscience of humanity is exemplified in the extreme by a TV program called “The Apprentice” in which seemingly very intelligent people are willing to do ANYTHING AT ALL in order to secure the mentorship of one of the world’s most prominent “successes”. Many people would be willing to figuratively (sometimes, literally) kill to win that kind of prized “opportunity”. How sad and yet how logical. It’s just a matter of degrees of excess of what we each do in order to just survive in the world as we see it.

If we only limit ourselves to our physical senses in our perception of our strengths and resources, then we will readily give up our fondest wishes, our ideals - even our God-given hopes and aspirations – slowly and agonizingly losing touch with our very essence. And growing ever-more despondent in the process.

We have traded our potential for a very limited sense of security, indeed, when in reality, we have the means for direct access to the Source of the universe if we are just open to that as a possibility.

The source of life created you in order to extend Its own creation, not as a “lab rat” to be tested in order to prove your value. It already KNOWS your value! It created you beyond measure. It is YOU that made the “ruler” by which you set a value on yourself. “Infinity minus x” is how you identify yourself. And that is an insult to the Infinity that created you.

Just consider what if:

  • WHAT IF God is ONLY love? And love without ANY limits?

  • WHAT IF He created you just as loving and as limitless as He is?

  • WHAT IF nothing is beyond your ability to do IN PARTNERSHIP with Him?

  • WHAT IF God had the thought to do something wonderful for His creation and YOU (in your present form and abilities) came into existence as a result?

  • WHAT IF THAT DREAM YOU GAVE UP ON and locked away in the deepest recesses of your heart is precisely YOUR REASON FOR BEING?

WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO BE OPEN TO REVIVING YOUR DREAMS AND ASPIRATIONS THEN? Would you be willing to TEST what ACIM tells us and just be open to the possibility that God can open the doors YOU closed - and open new doors for you as well? Would you be willing to watch your thoughts for any reflection of the belief in limitation? Could you be vigilant for the kingdom of God? Not just for your sake alone but for the joy and blessing of all you touch!

THEN the universe of infinite possibilities can open up for you. But it needs your invitation and unceasing welcome (even when it gets a little scary) for the Mind that heard your request and answered has not left you alone to deal with the changes that He’s wrought. You are only asked to TRUST, when you’re tempted to doubt the love of the Infinite and then limitations will just fall away, like the “scales” from the eyes of the blind.

Your faith given to One’s vision instead of to your perception of appearances is the “little part” that is asked of you. So small a part, in fact, that you are likely to be insulted by it.

Be open to being You and one idea, one connection, one person, one “closed door” opening will change your life for the better in one instant. But the FIRST door you need to open is in your mind: the door you closed on the Infinite.

These are ACIM’s promises to you. Be willing to accept them - for your sake and mine.


Carmen Cameron
Louisville, Kentucky