Here is a question which sits heavily for some who love the beauty of A Course in Miracles, but, fearing loss and sacrifice, they resist embodying its unequivocal teaching:
“I listened to yours (Nouk) and Coreen’s commentary on ACIM Lesson 106, “Let me be still and listen to the truth,” and I have to say… I almost started feeling as though the Course is too radical for me. It seems like the choice is to remain in our current relationship and continue “dead talk,” or choose God. I know the book does say this, but… I’m quite happy with my life, be it an illusion or not. I haven’t hit any rock bottom that has me desperately seeking a way out… I quite like my fiancé, lol. He doesn’t study the Course and we talk about the weather and the garden and what to make for dinner… so is the Course not for me at this time? Is it a sign that I’m ‘not ready?’ Is this why I’ve been meditating and studying the Course for a decade and feel I haven’t grown “enough?” Am I just another of the walking dead, having meaningless conversations with my neighbors and students and family, etc.? hmmm…”
Nouk’s Response: When we begin to study the Course we can only absorb that which is based on what we currently believe and resonate with through our ego filter, which was literally made by us and is based upon our seeming past, together with our experiences and perceptions through the body.
Remember that the Course aims at a complete “reality-reversal” of all that we believe, because all that we believe and therefore see arises from the fundamental belief in separation. This ego filter serves as our defense against awareness of the truth of our Identity and our inseparability from God. Because God’s answer to the ego dream of separation is the Holy Spirit, which was placed in our mind in response to the idea of separation, it is impossible to forget this truth entirely. The half of our mind in union with Holy Spirit recalls the changeless Love we are and retains this knowing, while the other half of our mind, as the embodiment of fear, denies it. This is the split-mind.
As the defenses of our split-mind are gradually undone, or more correctly, unlearned via forgiveness, we naturally become less fearful of real and changeless Love, and we open up to experience the deeper teachings within the Course. This is why each time we read it we may experience its teaching at a much deeper level. Whatever our fear-filter resisted before is now cleared and we increasingly welcome the direct and felt experience of Love that the Course is pointing us toward.
In my own experience, and that of many of others, as we ascend back up the separation ladder that we originally came down, there are many steps and stages, including some life-changing, “eye of the needle” experiences where large blocks which were previously protected by the ego, finally give way, due to our willingness to heal our mind. We may be attracted to the Course and even study it for many years, while still compartmentalizing our lives out of the fear that awakening will require sacrifice, before we’re actually willing to practically apply and demonstrate its principles across the board. We experience its life-altering effects in our relationships, body and life, only after we are truly ready to enter stages one, two and three of the development of trust, as set forth in the Manual for Teachers, M-4.I.A.
Stage one, the undoing, is initiated by an experience or circumstances whereby the ego leads us to its own cumulative and necessary outcome – disillusionment. This may be in one or even many areas of our life, where we reach an intolerable threshold of suffering in our relationships, health, depression, identity crisis, financial lack, death of a loved one, etc. The ego judges this as failure, but the truth is that in the long dream of time everyone will eventually hit this wall of ego disillusionment. And until we do so, we will continue to pursue our completion and fulfillment by inappropriate means such as special relationships, inauthentic relating, pursuit of pride, pleasure (body appetites) and attack, illness, pain, etc. In summary, we will continuously seek externally to find fulfillment and completion, even though this can only ever be truly found by turning inward to find our Holy Self.
Stage two is the beginning of sorting out the valuable from the valueless, in other words, the real from the unreal. Stage three is a period of relinquishment. This is where we begin to devalue what is unreal, and with Holy Spirit, we willingly let it go. Often, there are relationship and life-changes in this stage; all of them are beneficial which we will see later as our trust in Holy Spirit increases.
In many instances, while we may be attracted to the beauty of A Course in Miracles, we may not yet be ready to embark on the first three purification stages of the necessary transfer of trust from the ego’s body/world to the Holy Self. This is not only perfect, but exceedingly common. I have known many sincere students of the Course who are not yet ready to exchange their desire for the ego’s temptations, which are all the substitutes for God (idols) that it cherishes, such as its special relationships, sex, food, working out, proving our worth in our career and projects, etc. For a better understanding of this we invite you to study The Gap Diagram from A Manual for Holy Relationship. Here is a link to the diagram on our website: https://nouksanchez.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/C-I.5A-Gap-All.pdf
If there is still a strong attraction to idols within the gap, including special relationships and the sensual pleasures of the body, then this is a clear sign that we are not ready to invite Holy Spirit in to divinely repurpose them; that the necessary “willingness” to enter the ego’s disillusionment phase has not yet occurred. As a consequence, the stages of undoing, sorting out and relinquishment will be resisted. And we will not make the invitation to Holy Spirit who patiently waits upon our call for help.
If you love the beauty of the Course but are still resistant to wholeheartedly practice its principles, across the board in all your relationships and all areas of your life, then meet yourself there. With radical self-honesty, look at the idols within the gap diagram and identify the ones you still want and are not yet comfortable to give over to Holy Spirit for Him to divinely repurpose. In this exercise, without self-judgment, you are forming a true alliance with self-honesty, which automatically helps to eradicate the ego’s guilt. Now, you can be honest with Holy Spirit, trusting that He honors your wishes and will gently guide you when you are ready.
The first three stages of the transfer of trust from fear to Love, usually involve an ever-increasing intolerance to meaningless conversation as the realization sets in that nothing real or authentic is taking place. Initially, this often exacerbates our inner and outer conflict with loved ones and friends who still value the ego’s superficial communication in order to avoid authentic relating and joining. Here, we begin to recognize that the world is obsessed with the meaningless. We can see that only in our authenticity are we available to truly join with another and allow a Holy Instant to occur, i.e. the felt state of union beyond bodies.
While we journey through these stages, superficial relating with self and others becomes intolerable, especially as we begin practicing true communication with like-minded brothers and sisters who share the same goal of awakening from the ego. The unbearable conflict that this produces gives us the essential motivation to value authentic relating more than meaningless interactions. Eventually, we decide to “show-up” in our conversations and the fear of rejection falls away as it is replaced with our genuine desire to join at the heart with others. NOTE: For the Seven Keys to Authentic Relating: https://nouksanchez.com/nouks-blog/the-seven-keys-to-authentic-relating/
Awakening from the split-mind is an organic process, one which cannot be meaningfully accelerated by the ego’s manipulations to hasten it. Even the spiritualized ego must finally be relinquished in order to allow our Holy Self to show-up and communicate through us and this takes great humility and willingness. This depth of willingness and certainty comes when we have sincerely had enough “contrast-learning” between what is real and true, verses the ego, its idols and the illusory body/world.
Ideally, in continuing our Course studies, we will eventually open to the felt experience of joining authentically with at least one like-minded miracle buddy who prioritizes looking past the body to see our innocence above all else.
As we experience the real joys of true union, it will greatly increase our “contrast-learning” between special love which revolves around guilt, and changeless Love which gifts us with the heart-centered recognition of our glorious, shared innocence. Without the experience of this blinding contrast, we really won’t want to learn to relate authentically because the only “love” we know, although painfully limited and fraught with change and loss, is regarded by the ego as all that we deserve.
In reflection, where are you in this journey? Wherever you may be in your recognition of the idols in the ego’s gap, it is important not to attempt a spiritual bypass, trying to be where you are presently not. If some of the idols in the gap still hold value for you, then it is far more helpful to admit it, honestly and vulnerably, to Holy Spirit, with no self-judgment and no guilt. He knows your higher purpose and He knows your will with God. He will not push or coerce you. And He will certainly never bring you painful lessons. He waits patiently until you use your free will to choose to join with Him. It may be in this lifetime or in the next.
Nothing is ever wrong. Your willingness assures your awakening. Holy Spirit meets us right where we are and gently leads us by the hand. It is an honor to walk beside you on this journey Home.
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