What can one possibly do while laid up for over a year?
The answer, for me, came in the form of a giant book.
Many years ago I heard of this book, A Course In Miracles, and I was intrigued. I wanted to learn more, so I went out and bought it. If you’re familiar with ACIM, you know how heavy it is. Not just size (it’s huge), but it’s also quite deep, and I felt incredibly intimidated. I put it on my bookshelf and left it there for a long time.
If you’re not familiar with ACIM, it’s described as this: “a self study guide for spiritual transformation. It teaches to unlearn what we thought we knew, and to open our hearts and minds to new truths.”
Also, “It teaches us to release a thought system based on fear, and learn a new thought system based on love.”
More than five years later, this book called to me. It started showing up everywhere I looked. People were mentioning it, reading it, and I started paying attention. One day while at a retreat I was taking part in, a friend, who just happened to bring hers with her, put it on the table. She knew I was struggling. She said, “I think your answers are in here.”
I picked it up and started reading, but I was still resistant. It would be several more months before I began taking it seriously.
Eventually, the Universe put me in a position where I knew I was running out of choices. I had been completely brought down by back pain and trauma, and was basically bedridden. While I lay there, staring at my walls, this book once again called to me. This time, I listened intently and picked it up.
The course, though thick, is divided into sections. The first is the text, second is the workbook for students, and third is a manual for teachers. I started doing the lessons every day without question.
It became my ritual, and here’s what I’ve learned so far:
1. I am an extension of love.
We are born of love—not sinful, not bad. We are, at our very essence, the presence of love. Love as an energy, a vibration.
To be an extension of love is to offer love to ourselves and others. Not a love that comes from ego, that seeks something in return—withholding love from some, while giving freely to others.
This is a love that comes from the soul, that gives without exception. Have you met someone like this? A person who just oozes over with a loving presence you could stand in forever. I have, and I knew I needed that. I wanted to be that person, but I knew I had a lot of healing to do to get there.
“Love, which created me, is what I am.” ~ ACIM Lesson 229
2. All healing is the release from fear.
To be healed, truly healed in any way, is to release ourselves from fear’s tight grip. This, for me, has been incredibly difficult. Fear has played a huge role in my life, and releasing its grip on me has been a lot of intense effort.
Therein lies the importance of doing lessons every day. They help me to get out of my head and into my heart. The lessons are important mantras for me each day, always reminding me that I can choose to let love in, and to let it guide me.
“Every situation properly perceived, becomes an opportunity to heal.” ~ A Course In Miracles
3. Every choice we make is either an expression of love or an expression of fear.
This, for me, means that in everything we do, we are either acting from love or we’re acting from fear. There is no in between. Our thoughts, beliefs, actions, and words are either expressing love to us and others or they’re expressing fear.
Paying attention to our thoughts and actions is so important. To be conscious and in tune is work, of course, but the course is helping me so much with this.
“Love is what we’re born with, and fear is what we’ve learned.” ~ Marianne Williamson
4. A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love.
This one took some time for me to grasp. How do miracles just show up by shifting my perception? The beauty of miracles is that simply asking for guidance to see things differently changes everything.
It’s how we see things that matter and make the biggest difference. When we shift our perception from seeing through fear, and ask for guidance, we become receptive, and that is what opens the door for the miracle to show up.
I find myself repeating the following mantra often, especially in times of difficulties: “Lord, please help me see this (situation/person) differently. Help me see through the eyes of love.“
5. Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.
Yes, good ole forgiveness. To say I found this difficult would be an understatement.
I’m a huge fan of Louise Hay, and I know she advocates forgiveness work. I have done it, but it can be incredibly difficult. But I had agreed, when I picked up the book, that I would do all it requires, and I did. I spent a lot of time offering forgiveness to everyone who had ever hurt me. Some were fairly easy, some not so much, and some I’m still working on.
I believe that forgiveness should never be forced. No one should ever feel as though they need to do this if they’re not ready. I was ready—a little resistant, but ready. It has been incredibly liberating. For me, it’s not about the other person. It’s about releasing myself from what Caroline Myss calls, “the tomb of our wounds.”
“Forgiveness is the healing of the perception of separation.” ~ A Course In Miracles
6. Fear is the absence of love; love is the absence of fear.
This is probably one my favorite quotes from the course. It reminds me daily to pay attention to what I’m focusing on, and that we always have a choice.
Fear is the voice of the ego. It is loud and consumes everything, making everything look big and scary. It is not real.
Fear is a liar. It’s really good at convincing us that it is love and that what we see is real. The ego has its place. It’s meant to protect us. However, we’ve been led to believe that it’s our true voice—and it’s not.
The soul is the truth of who we are. Our soul is our very essence. It is the energy of love. When I connect to my soul, and ask for guidance to see the truth, I find my fears become much quieter, and I can see things with much more clarity.
The voice of our soul is much quieter. It speaks softly, and it has taken me time and dedication to connect with this part of me, this truth of me. This voice is loving, kind, compassionate, inclusive, forgiving, and confident. This voice of complete love is patient and will always lead us in the right direction if we are willing and courageous enough to follow it.
“Love holds no grievances.” ~ A Course In Miracles
The most important lesson I’ve learned from A Course In Miracles is to trust. To trust the Divine and to trust in myself. It’s not always easy, sometimes incredibly difficult, but I commit myself to this every day.
I’ve learned that when I adhere to the lessons, staying true to myself, my life flows better, and I am a much more loving and peaceful person. When I let my ego run the show, chaos and conflict almost always follows.