Love Always Answers

A Path of Healing and Awakening

The Course is not a new religion, although it presents and is based upon a comprehensive, consistent, and profound theological and metaphysical system of thought. It claims to have no corner on the truth. Rather it indicates that it is only one path among many thousands. Moreover, it states,

"Theological considerations as such are necessarily controversial, since they depend on belief and can therefore be accepted or rejected. A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. It is this experience toward which the course is directed. This is not a course in philosophical speculation .... It is concerned only with Atonement, or the correction of perception. The means of the Atonement is forgiveness."

The emphasis of the Course is very much on experience—the experience of healing our suffering at its source—which according to the Course is our belief in separation and feeling of estrangement from God and our true Self through the spiritual practice of forgiveness in our relationships.

The Course has been described, accurately, I believe, as a system of spiritual psychotherapy. For myself, I think of it as a spiritual path of healing and awakening, whose core practices are forgiveness and developing a relationship with our Inner Teacher, Whom the Course calls the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit Who teaches us the true meaning of forgiveness, guides us through it, and directs the course of our healing.

Healing Our Dream of Separation

"You dwell not here, but in eternity. You travel but in dreams, while safe at home...You are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality. Is it your decision to do so?"

The journey of healing begins with the need for healing. And our need for healing began, the Course teaches, when we accepted into a tiny part of our mind a thought that the impossible had actually occurred. The Course describes it this way:

"Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh."

Eternity is Heaven, the oneness and unity of God and His Creation. God is Source, First Cause, Creator. Creation is described as the extension of being. There is but one Creation, which the Course calls Christ, or the Son of God, which shares all the attributes of God, being the extension of God. God and His Creation are pure spirit, formless, changeless, immortal, and eternal.

Only what God creates is real, and all that is created must share God's own nature. God is only Life, God is only Love, and so reality must be as well. Whatever appears otherwise cannot be real, because it cannot be of God.

The "tiny, mad idea" that is the source of all our problems and is the idea of separation—the idea that it is possible for a part of God’s Creation to wrench itself away, to establish itself as autonomous and opposed to the Will and nature of its Creator. It is the idea that we could be more powerful than God, that we somehow have the power to destroy or change what He created eternal and changeless as Himself.

The Course teaches that this idea is insane and merely laughable if its true absurdity is recognized. Not only could the impossible not occur, the Course teaches, it did not occur.

Reality and God and our true Identity and nature remain as They have always been and will forever be. And yet, the Course describes, when the idea of separation was taken seriously, it is as if God’s Son fell asleep and dreamed a dream of exile, misery, and death.

He dreamed that he was no longer his Father's Son, like his Father in all ways.

He dreamed that he was guilty of shattering the wholeness of Heaven and of turning his Father's nature from perfect love to vengeance and wrath. And he dreamed that he must live in terror of punishment and hide himself from his Father's retribution.

He dreamed a world in which to hide—a world unlike creation in every respect, a world of fragmentation, sorrow, and loss, a world of scarcity and competition and war; a world of sickness and isolation and tears.

He dreamed a world where we are born in pain and the only certainty is that we will die. And we search this world, in desperation and futility, for something to fill our longing and emptiness—something to replace the love, the wholeness, the deep sense of home we believe is lost to us forever.

The Ego

The belief in separation—the original “sin,” or error—is the origin and entire foundation of the ego—the illusion of a separated self, housed within a body, separate from other bodies and from God.

The ego, the Course teaches, is nothing but a tiny fragment of our whole mind that has fallen asleep and is dreaming a terrifying nightmare in which it has sinned and thereby turned its Creator into a feared and hated enemy.

"This fragment of your mind is such a tiny part of it that, could you but appreciate the whole, you would see instantly that it is like the smallest sunbeam to the sun, or like the faintest ripple on the surface of the ocean. In its amazing arrogance, this tiny sunbeam has decided it is the sun; this almost imperceptible ripple hails itself as the ocean.Think how alone and frightened is this little thought, this infinitesimal illusion, holding itself apart against the universe. The sun becomes the sunbeam's 'enemy' that would devour it, and the ocean terrifies the little ripple and wants to swallow it.

Yet neither sun nor ocean is even aware of all this strange and meaningless activity. They merely continue, unaware that they are feared and hated by a tiny segment of themselves. Even that segment is not lost to them, for it could not survive apart from them. And what it thinks it is, in no way changes its total dependence on them for its being. Its whole existence still remains in them. Without the sun the sunbeam would be gone; the ripple without the ocean is inconceivable...

Like to the sun and ocean your Self continues, unmindful that this tiny part regards itself as you ...This little aspect is no different from the whole, being continuous with it and at one with it. It leads no separate life, because its life is the oneness in which its being was created.

Do not accept this little, fenced-off aspect as yourself." -A Course in Miracles

This passage is extremely important in understanding both the theory and the practice of the Course. The ego is not enemy to God and our own Self, to be hated, fought against, or destroyed. It is simply a tiny fragment of our own mind that has become deeply confused about what it is and terrified in that confusion. It has no power but the power of our own thought and belief.

The ego is an illusion about our own nature and our relationship to our Source—an illusion that needs only to be returned to the light of truth, a mistaken belief that needs only to be gently corrected.

The ego's dream of separation is not real. And yet we have gone deeply into the dream and identified strongly with this illusion of ourselves. Just as our nighttime dreams seem very real to us while we are dreaming, the dream of separation feels very real to us. It is where we believe we are, and we perceive ourselves as the "hero," or central figure, of our dream. We have forgotten that we are the dreamer. Our need is to awaken from the dream of separation and to be restored to the awareness of Reality and our true Self.

The journey home—our journey of healing—is a journey toward reawakening.

The Holy Spirit

The Course teaches that the Holy Spirit is God's Answer to the ego, to the idea of separation. In the same instant that the separation seemed to occur, God placed the Holy Spirit within our minds.

The Holy Spirit is the Voice for God. He is the memory of God's Love we carry deep within our minds and hearts, even within the dream. His presence in our minds belies the separation and undoes our mistaken belief that it is real.

He is our Guide to right seeing and right understanding, Who speaks only for the truth of what we are and what our brother is. He is Transformer of our misperceptions, Translator of our guilty, fearful dreams into happy dreams of forgiveness and peace.

First Dream of Peace

"You will first dream of peace, and then awaken to it.Your first exchange for what you made for what you want is the exchange of nightmares for the happy dreams of love."

-A Course in Miracles

We have all experienced what it is like to wake up suddenly from a nightmare. We bring the terror of the dream with us into the first moments of our being awake.

The Course teaches that this is not what God wills us.We have deeply invested in and identified with the ego's dream, and the dream is a terrifying one. God wills us a gentler awakening.

"You are the dreamer of the world of dreams. No other cause it has, nor ever will. Nothing more than an idle dream has terrified God's Son, and made him think that he has lost his innocence, denied his Father, and made war upon himself. So fearful is the dream, so seeming real, he could not waken to reality without the sweat of terror and a scream of mortal fear, unless a gentler dream preceded his awaking, and allowed his calmer mind to welcome, not fear, the Voice That calls with love to waken him; a gentler dream, in which his suffering was healed and where his brother was his friend. God willed he waken gently and with joy, and gave him means to waken without fear." -ACIM

God's Love meets us where we are in our subjective experience, within the dream, and guides us gently toward the readiness to awaken by helping us transform our nightmare into a peaceful dream. We exchange our nightmare of sin, guilt, conflict, and fear for a dream of forgiveness, healing, and love. When our dream comes to so closely reflect the peace, joy, and beauty of Heaven that the difference between sleep and waking is nearly imperceptible, the Course teaches that God Himself will take the final step to awaken us.

The means given us to transform our fearful dream—the means that is the central teaching and practice of the Course—is forgiveness. We learn forgiveness through the Teacher of forgiveness within our mind, the Holy Spirit.


Love Always Answers by Diane Berke The core practices of A Course in Miracles are forgiveness and listening to the Holy Spirit, our inner teacher, the voice for God within us.



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