I bought myself a secondhand copy of ‘A Course in Miracles’ for my birthday this year. According to the blurb, it’s a ‘self-study course designed to shift our perceptions, heal our minds and change our behaviour.’ It goes on to say ‘miracles occur naturally as expressions of love and all we have to do to experience miracles instead of problems in our own lives is to be aware of love’s presence.’ I’ve been reading quotes from, and discussions of it for years. Marianne Williamson, whose work has been pivotal to some of my biggest paradigm shifts, wrote her breakthrough work ‘A Return to Love’ based on her 7 year study and application of the principles in ‘A Course in Miracles.’ Somewhere in the squall that was ‘Working at the spa’, I decided I could really use some kind of dedicated, externally directed mindfulness/spiritual practice, so I finally ordered a copy.
Comprised of three parts – the Text, the Workbook for Students, and the Manual for Teachers – the Workbook offers 365 daily ‘lessons’ to work through. My housemate M and I have been covering a lesson everyday for the last 24 days thus far. None of it feels inherently new to me, the core principles can be found in many teachings, but the daily focus ‘lesson’ has felt an interesting process to embark on. So too has it felt a brilliant part of the process to be doing it with my housemate. The Bible tells of Jesus announcing (and I’m paraphrasing) ‘Where two or more are gathered in my name, there shall I be.’, and I believe this points to a deep truth about the synergistic power of connecting with even one other in our spiritual and metaphysical studies and practices. My understanding is not that Jesus as a person arrives in our presence, but rather that we are drawn more succinctly to connect with our own ‘Christ-self’ – that infinitely loving, fulling connected, miracle worker self we all have. Whatever the deeper benefits, it also just feels good to be greet each other every morning, read the day’s lesson, and discuss the meaning of life in general. Every day. We had a similar dynamic up on the mountaintop, with what the secular world would label ‘intense’ discussions every night. It’s radically different from what the world calls ‘normal’… But it changes the fabric of my every day and realigns me with my knowing in ways I am infinitely grateful for. I highly recommend it.
Today was one of those days when the prompt given by the book garnered from me a big ‘YES.’ (Just for the record, I’m not looking to subscribe to any one book or source as infallible doctrine, so some days I read a page and take it with a grain of salt. Today’s lesson just perfectly summed up my revived conclusions of the past few days.) Today’s lesson was – ‘I do not perceive my own best interests.’ Ba-da-bing ba-da-boom. So true! ‘I’ – this egoic construct of me- really have so little idea of what’s going on. I don’t have holy perspective enough to walk constantly in awareness of the perfection of my experience in the context of the whole. I – little ‘I’, small ‘I’- get so caught up in ‘getting what I want’. And I think ‘what I want’ is in my best interests… Until I change my mind five minutes down the line, or I tangle myself in a web of ‘Well, if this happens, then that will have to happen, which will mean this and this and this, but what about that and that and that?’ I perceive it to be in my best interests to get a certain house, a certain lover, a certain car, a certain friend, at a certain time, in a certain place… Only to be constantly reminded further down the track that what I thought I wanted back then wasn’t actually in my best interests. And even that’s an incredibly simplistic way to look at it.
I see my mind flip-flop like a gasping, desperate fish pulled reluctantly to the deck of a boat. Its wants that guy to call, and that one to write, but then it makes a drama out of it if both do… Or neither do. It reads about a job and almost instantaneously projects a whole immediate future based on that starting point… Only to read a different one five minutes later and construct a whole different version. It wants action for the sake of action, rather than action inspired by love. It thinks it knows something, but really it knows nothing. I – this little ‘I’, this little ‘I’ that I most regularly walk through this world in- do not perceive my own best interests. And that reminder liberates me from the hook in my mouth, the one that dragged me to the deck and left me flip-flopping. I can just flip-flop back into the ocean now. I can let go of trying to figure out how to intellectually make this work. You know, ‘this’, as in, life.
I’m doing all I’m called to do, following up on whatever even vaguely whispers to me, but I’m not pushing anything. I’m gently, trustingly curious about what the next ‘big thing’ will be… And I’m just as fascinated with the ‘little things’, of which there are many coming up in the near future.