Path of Healing and Awakening
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,
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."
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
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.
Our Dream of Separation
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?"
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.
Course describes it this way:
eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea,
at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh."
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
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.
"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.
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
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.
dreamed that he was no longer his Father's Son, like
his Father in all ways.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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
not accept this little, fenced-off aspect as yourself."
Course in Miracles
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.
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.
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.
need is to awaken from the dream of separation and
to be restored to the awareness of Reality and our
journey home—our journey of healing—is
a journey toward reawakening.
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.
Holy Spirit is the Voice for God.
is the memory of God's Love we
carry deep within our minds and
hearts, even within the dream.
presence in our minds belies the
separation and undoes our mistaken
belief that it is real.
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
Dream of Peace
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.