“Take the work seriously, and your self not seriously at all.”
– Judy Dench as quoted by Alan Rickman
I have decided to study The Course in Miracles for 2017. Actually, I’ve been studying it for a few months already, on the heels of working through The Universe Has Your Back.
To be honest, the all-positive, Law of Attraction ‘motivational coach voice’ of some materials has been a stumbling block for me, as well as ACIM’s overtly solely Christian metaphors. But, it can also be helpful at the right time, perhaps like the one I’m in… when pulled to be more outward and receptive.
The best of The Course reminds me of Abhidharma, which is a Buddhist mind training system for learning to see through the solidity of appearances by way of less personal attachment. ACIM’s exercises are unusual and koan-like, but more bothersome; the 16 ACIM exercises I’ve tried so far, have been uncomfortable in a different way.
Actually, let’s face it. I’m seriously resistant to them, but also fascinated by the avenues the exploration is opening, rituals that feel comforting and playful — the most recent being a symbol of the Brazilian John of the Cross community. I haven’t learned how to work with this, but did enjoy making it this weekend, decorating with fun but meaningful embellishments.
Although most I saw in a quick scan of images online were very plain, I invested childlike wonder in the process. Sometimes you have to be silly to get to what my daughter would call “the feels.”
My favorite line of Gabby Bernstein’s The Universe Has Your Back, came from A Course in Miracles): “When you think you’ve surrendered, surrender more.”
Which comes down to a kind of heart longing of, “Not my way but Thine”, with that ‘Thine’ in the language of ACIM being God, or in Gabby’s book Universe (or God interchangeably). For another it might be Inner Self, or Flying Spaghetti Monster. I like simply, Life, but Holy Spirit is also nice, folding back in the innocent faith of my youth.
All I’ve studied over the course of the last few decades leads me feel that a huge number of us have been moving toward non-dualistic ways of thinking for quite some time, away from stark good vs. evil contrasts, leaving a third way open. The phrase middle way is sometimes taken to mean a compromise, which I think is farther away from the mark than the transcendent notion of a play dynamic.