And, now for the Rest of the Story...!
A Course in Miracles promises that there is another world to be seen. In the Bible there is reference to a new Heaven and a new earth. These promises do not speak of an improved version of the old, but a radically and totally new one. Yet, we are much more interested in trying to fix up this world than in seeing a really new one.
The Course gives this direct injunction,
"Learn now, without despair, there is no hope of answer in the world."
and continues, in the Workbook,
"Seek you no further. You will not find peace except the peace of God. Accept this fact, and save yourself the agony of yet more bitter disappointments, bleak despair, and sense of icy hopelessness and doubt. Seek you no further. There is nothing else for you to find except the peace of God, unless you seek for misery and pain.
"This is the final point to which each one must come at last, to lay aside all hope of finding happiness where there is none; of being saved by what can only hurt; of making peace of chaos, joy of pain, and Heaven out of hell. Attempt no more to win through losing, nor to die to live. You cannot but be asking for defeat. Yet you can ask as easily for love, for happiness, and for eternal life in peace that has no ending. Ask for this, and you can only win. To ask for what you have already must succeed. To ask that what is false be true can only fail."
Then, any real spiritual path merely leads us to remember our Real Identity. To put it another way, to remember that we were Happy before we started thinking we were un-Happy. Happiness is our natural state and by attempting to be something else, we have made ourselves very unhappy. What we are seeking is what we are.
Rajneesh, in his commentaries on Tilopa's Song of Mahamudra, says it this way,
"The great teaching is: You are already what you can be, realize this. You are already the goal, be aware of this. This very moment your destiny can be fulfilled. For what are you waiting? Don't believe in gradual steps -- take the jump, be courageous."
Let us say that we finally see the wisdom of this. How do we begin? A Course in Miracles recognizes the fundamental basis for our incessant seeking and attempts to point us in the direction of the only final and ultimate experience of fulfillment which it calls the Kingdom of Heaven, or the Peace of God.
"Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, because that is where the laws of God operate truly, and they can operate only truly because they are the laws of truth. But seek this only, because you can find nothing else. There is nothing else."
What does it mean to seek the Kingdom of Heaven? or Truth? or Love? This is where most get fouled up. The self-mind, which is but a mimic, attempts to project and imitate the state of Realization it has read or heard about and winds up in endless self-deception. The real spiritual search is far simpler, though not nearly so attractive as that. There is nothing to be attained, achieved or accomplished.
"This is a course in how to know yourself."
Is it not shocking that you don't have any idea who or what you are or where you came from? St. Teresa of Avila pointed this out around 400 years ago,
"It is no small pity, and should cause us no little shame, that, through our own fault, we do not understand ourselves, or know who we are. Would it not be a sign of great ignorance, my daughters, if a person were asked who he was, and could not say, and had no idea who his father or his mother was, or from what country he came? Though that is great stupidity, our own is incomparably greater if we make no attempt to discover what we are, and only know that we are living in these bodies, and have a vague idea, because we have heard it and because our Faith tells us so, that we possess souls. As to what good qualities there may be in our souls, or Who dwells in them, or how precious they are -- those are things we seldom consider and so we trouble little about carefully preserving the soul's beauty. All our interest is centered in the rough setting of the diamond, and in the outer wall of the castle--that is to say, in these bodies of ours."
The inscription at The Oracle at Delphi was "KNOW THYSELF." How does one go about it? For what does one search?
"The first step toward freedom involves a sorting out of the false from the true."
"The search for truth is but the honest searching out of everything that interferes with truth."
"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false."
"Love is not learned. Its meaning lies within itself. And learning ends when you have recognized all it is not. That is the interference; that is what needs to be undone."
So that the application of A Course in Miracles involves first seeing the problem exactly as and where it is and then becomes a careful negation of all the interference to the actual experience of God which is right in our face, closer than our very breath at all times. We must see that all seeking is suffering; the seeker himself is the problem. Once again, Merton seems to understand,
"Both Christianity and Buddhism agree that the root of man's problems is that his consciousness is all fouled up and he does not apprehend reality as it fully and really is; that the moment he looks at something, he begins to interpret it in ways that are prejudiced and predetermined to fit a certain wrong picture of the world, in which he exists as an individual ego in the center of things. This is called by Buddhism avidya, or ignorance. From this basic ignorance, which is an experience of ourselves as absolutely autonomous individual egos--from this basic wrong experience of ourselves comes all the rest. This is the source of all our problems."
Perhaps Meister Eckhart, who also saw the problem, offers some hope,
"Further, I say that if the soul is to know God, it must forget itself and lose itself, for as long as it is self-aware and self-conscious, it will not see or be conscious of God. But when, for God's sake, it becomes unself-conscious and lets go of everything, it finds itself again in God, for knowing God, it therefore knows itself and everything else from which it has been cut asunder, in the divine perfection.
"No one ought to think that it is hard to attain this, however hard it sounds and however hard it may be at first to cut one's self asunder and be dead to everything. But once you have come in, no life is easier, nor pleasanter, nor lovelier, for God is very anxious at all times to be near to people, and to teach them how to come to him, if they are only willing to follow him. Nobody ever wanted anything as much as God wants to bring people to know him. God is always ready but we are not ready. God is near to us but we are far from him. God is within; we are without. God is at home; we are abroad."
All forms of external seeking are interferences and, as such, must be surrendered. God must find us. And, in fact, God is always seeking us, but cannot find us because of our constant and consistent activity of seeking for things that are not God; by our being perpetually turned away from Him. All seeking, even the overt search for "God", is avoidance and must be surrendered. In the words of Thomas Merton:
"..it is not even a question of seeing a road. It is simpler than that. For as soon as you stop travelling you have arrived."
and this is echoed by the Course,
"...there is no journey, but only an awakening. .... There is no road to travel on, and no time to travel through."
By what means does God find us? When the fruitlessness and deception of all seeking is actually recognized and surrendered, what is left is a deep longing, a radical discontent, which is the underlying motivation for all seeking in the first place. This longing, when left without a projected escape or relief, even for a moment, is like a distress beacon and is the only real prayer of the soul to God, by which God may find us. Only when this longing, this discontent, becomes pure and without any hope of escape via natural or projected supernatural means does it have any hope of penetrating beyond the limits of our self-containment, of the individual or collective unconscious. All prayer prior to or other than this is incapable of reaching through the veil of samsara, the bounds of the unconscious, of finite mind; but it does serve to purify the longing by ultimately failing us. Sooner or later the realization dawns,
"...that I do nothing of myself...."
A Course in Miracles emphasizes and expounds on this,
"Here again is the paradox often referred to in the course. To say, 'Of myself I can do nothing' is to gain all power."
because it is the separated self which is the problem and all of its doing is, in fact, nothing real at all, but it is an interference to what always already is.
Here we once again encounter a fundamental teaching of the Course -- that truth, wholeness, perfect peace already exist. They are already resident within our consciousness. It is what we have attempted to add to Truth that has interfered with our awareness of it. To understand A Course in Miracles and bring the principles into application requires that this be understood first. Awakening, enlightenment, the Peace of God, whatever you wish to call it, is not something to be acquired, attained or earned. It is our Real Nature, already existent. Of course, that is not our awareness, our experience, but it is the fact. So, if we are to seek the Kingdom of Heaven, what is it, then, for which we are to seek? The Course, once more, is very explicit, both as to what to seek and what not to seek. It begins in the Introduction,
"The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance."
"Removing the blocks"! It repeats this theme in many ways. A Course in Miracles could not be more direct, explicit or simple to understand on this point. Why is it that so few students of the Course turn their attention in this direction? Why do we insist that it is difficult to understand? Here, I believe is where we encounter our unwillingness in its most naked form.
"Specialness is the function that you gave yourself. It stands for you alone, as self-created, self-maintained, in need of nothing, and unjoined with anything beyond the body. In its eyes you are a separate universe, with all the power to hold itself complete within itself, with every entry shut against intrusion, and every window barred against the light. Always attacked and always furious, with anger always fully justified, you have pursued this goal with vigilance you never thought to yield, and effort that you never thought to cease. And all this grim determination was for this; you wanted specialness to be the truth."
Who is willing to see the truth in this? The Course is so very simple to understand.
"All that you need to give this world away in glad exchange for what you did not make is willingness to learn the one you made is false."
But, who is willing to do that? This is what A Course in Miracles calls "a little willingness." How does one come to that willingness, that realization? Are we willing to look upon unwillingness as and where it is?
If this is seen, then it is clear that truth can neither be sought nor found by the self for it was never lost. All seeking by the self is avoidance, looking away from truth, attempting to validate its own existence. Truth can only be dis(un)covered by a rigorous questioning of every concept on which our experience and thinking is based and a thorough negation of all that is false, thereby finding out who and what we actually are in truth. The only seeking which has any hope of success is for the blocks in our consciousness which prevent the awareness of our immediate union with Reality. Only by clearly seeing the false as false can Truth be REvealed, REcognized, REmembered, REALized.
"Teach only Love, for that is what You are."
~ NAMASTE ~
I believe I'll let this speak for itself ... as I'm still very much in the thick of learning, and learning how to apply it to my life, my relationships, my experiences... my healing.
What is most profound to me is that God is not intending to punish us (the ego's interpretation), but to *HEAL* us (the Spirit's interpretation).
Let that one sink deep, and even deeper ...
[For those who want to know, this article came from here. And the entire Course in Miracles, both the text, and the daily exercises, can be found here.]