While I’ve read and been inspired by many books there are few that I would call truly life changing. However A Course in Miracles is one that deserves that accolade. I remember one night going to a reading of the Course in a dingy little back street room. There were only three others present that night. I think I went on the recommendation of a friend. I was mildly impressed but never returned, and some years had passed before I read the book. I was busy at the time doing all kinds of nonsense and told myself I didn’t have time.
Then, one day, while browsing in a bookshop in Dublin I once more came across the Course. Something about it grabbed my attention, so I had to have a look. I think it almost leaped off the shelves and hit me over the head!
So I thought, well, this is big! Anyway, the upshot is I took it to the check-out and brought it back to my home in the leafy suburbs of Donnybrook where it sat on the book shelves unopened for about another year.
When eventually I did get around to reading it I found myself struggling! This book was strange, to say the least, and I kind of went unconscious at the bottom of every page. It was like I’d read the page and go, yeah I understand that, and then seconds later couldn’t remember what I just read. I now know this was resistance. This is a defence mechanism we use (ACIM would say the ego uses) to avoid change. Resistance is a strange thing, we usually resist that which a part of us wants most for some weird reason.
The thing we’re fighting to achieve is the
thing we resist the most.
The book comes in three parts. There is the text itself, plus a handbook for teachers, and the work book for students. The workbook is, if you like, the way into it. It contains 365 lessons, which are like a condensed or bite-sized version of the text, to be read sequentially, leading the reader from the fundamentals of metaphysics to self realisation. The workbook spans exactly one calendar year, with one lesson to be covered each day.
So I abandoned the text and started there. However, a little bit into the workbook I again hit resistance, and just started making excuses not to do it. Then one day I decided (I remember it was exactly a year to my 50th birthday) I’m doing this thing.
And finished it on my 50th.
I suppose you could say I was ‘ready’ to do it then and not before. I’ll accept this explanation even if it’s a bit ‘new-agey’.
Somebody wrote once, I think it was Tony Robbins, although I’m not sure, that when we make a decision with the ‘made-up mind’ we will carry it through. In other words only when we’re totally committed to a task will we do it. Often we tell ourselves that we’ll do something with no intention of carrying it through.
Well, this time I embraced the material with the made-up mind, and then all my resistance suddenly melted away. Not only did I start enjoying it, it was almost like the thing I’d been looking for all my life. I kept thinking why had I not done this earlier?
I remember jumping out of bed each morning so enthusiastic was I to discover that day’s lesson. Perhaps I should mention I was doing a lot of conscious connected breathing at the time, and the more we breathe the more enthusiasm for life we have. Consequently we are better able to deal with and overcome resistance. What was difficult before now seemed easy. Also I found the material itself and the concepts much easier to grasp. Definitely the handbook is a really good way into the Course for anyone thinking of doing it.
Now, let’s be clear. I’m not telling you must do the Course. That is not the way I operate, nor is it the ethos of unscripted self.
(See our mission statement.)
Instead I prefer to open doorways, show possibilities that allow you to go to another place if you want, and then to gently lead you there, but only if you want to go.
Only go where you feel drawn, only travel the path with a heart, the one that has your name on it.
There’s a difference in being drawn to something, and feeling you ‘must’ do it. The first is your path calling you, the second is often an outside pressure. It’s like, ‘if I don’t do this I’ll miss out on something’, not a good place to start anything.
But, if you do feel drawn to the Course then by all means go for it. However, I have to warn you A Course in Miracles is not for everyone. Just to be clear on that from the outset.
See also How the Course came into the world (on the origins of ACIM)
There is a voice that doesn’t use words - listen!
Reality is merely an illusion - albeit a persistent one.