“Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” – A Course in Miracles
I have been on a spiritual journey for most of my 30s. During this time I have read many books revolving around religion and spirituality in an effort to find what speaks to me. Some of the spiritual teachers I have come across, such as Marianne Williamson and Gabrielle Bernstein, have referenced A Course in Miracles as the foundation of their own teachings. I became intrigued by the fact that multiple books and writers referenced this text with such conviction. After some soul searching I decided that this year I would take it on and read the text and complete the lessons of the course myself.
At first sight the book can be quite intimidating. It is over 1,000 pages oftest that includes writing with a strong religious undertone. I decided to dive in headfirst and keep an open mind. After reading the text I was able to take some of the passages and apply them to situations in my own life. Here are some of the things I read that made me go “whoah”:
“What perception sees and hears appears to be real because it permits into awareness only what conforms to the wishes of the perceiver.”
“To escape from darkness involves 2 stages. First, the recognition that darkness cannot hide. This step usually entails fear. Second, the recognition that there is nothing you want to hide even if you could. This step brings escape from fear.”
Only your mind can produce fear. It does so when it is conflicted in what it wants, producing inevitable strain because wanting and doing are discordant.”
If you are not particularly inclined into religious text you might find it difficult to get through some of the writing. As someone who does not believe in organized religion myself, however, I can assure you that beneath the strong verbiage there are treasures to be discovered that can be applied to anyone despite your beliefs.
The text is followed by lessons, 365 lessons to be exact. The idea is that you will take on one lesson a day over the course of a year. They are all mostly 1-2 pages in length and require no more than a few minutes of your time to practice each day.It is strongly recommended that you only complete one lesson per day in order to fully understand the lesson and how it applies to you. I began a little over a week ago and here is what I have learned so far:
Nothing you think or see has any meaning: Think about this for a moment. Everything around us, whether it be our furniture, our electronics, our arms and legs, our most prized possessions, none of it holds any meaning and we rarely ever see these things for what they truly are. The reason these things, by themselves, are meaningless is because it is us who attach meanings to these things.
Everything you see or perceive is based on the past experiences because the past is all we see: This may be difficult to believe at first. However, how do you know that a chair is for sitting or that you cell phone is for calling and texting? Because it is based on our past experiences with these things.The course says: “Look at a cup, for example. Do you see a cup, or are you merely reviewing your past experiences of picking up a cup, being thirsty, drinking from a cup, feeling the rim of the cup against your lips…”
You are never upset for the reason you think you are: We all experience anger, fear, depression, anxiety, and many other emotions and we attribute the cause of them to a person or situation. We all believe these emotions to be different when , in fact, they are all the same in that they steal us of our sense of peace. The real reason we are upset is because when we are consumed by these feelings we are seeing something that is no longer there.
After week one, simply put, this is the message I received: nothing is what you think it is, we are constantly living the present based on our past, and nothing we feel is due to the reason we think it is.
If you are ready to see your world through a different set of eyes I would say take this on yourself, however, proceed with caution. This course will challenge the very essence of your beliefs. I find that invigorating, and, if you do too, then join me and share your thoughts as well. You just may experience your own miracles.