As you know – my question right now is how to make healing last for people that I work with. And as you also know, if you are following this journey – it’s been a strange and unexpected path. So now, who would have thought I’d end up reading and loving A COURSE IN MIRACLES. I learned of it from the EFT website of founder Gary Craig and picked it up half-a-year ago, then put it down again after a few pages.
I opened the COURSE again after I stated asking how to make healing last – and that’s when this text became one of the more important books I’ve ever read. As I was finishing it, a friend said it sounded like a book he’d loved, CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD, so I gave it a read too, and found some similarities and some differences. Part of the strangeness of this healing journey is that I’ve become very hesitant to use the word GOD in conversations since my time as I pastor. I discovered back then that the word mostly seemed to raise more questions than answers and I’ve tried hard to find words to use that didn’t set off such triggers for people. These two books are filled with God language – check your triggers! Here’s my report.
A comparison of CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD and A COURSE IN MIRACLES.
Recently, as I was explaining my impressions of A COURSE IN MIRACLES, a friend told me it reminded him of his experience reading CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD. So I picked up CONVERSATIONS and gave it a read. Surprisingly, I found myself experiencing anger as I read the book, The emotion was a surprise – and it was a gift. Let me share my experiences, first with the effect that the COURSE is having on me.
As I’ve been saying recently, since the remarkable but temporary results of helping people eliminate their fibromyalgia pain, I’m looking for an answer to help make healing last. A COURSE IN MIRACLES, after all its hundreds of pages, turns out to be pretty simple. We are all part of the one source, God, or whatever term one would use for it. There is nothing real outside of this source. Everything we experience to be different from the source is an illusion, or a dream, or an idol. Illusions can only be partial. When we fulfill a dream, we eventually recognize that it is not the one source, but at best a partial glimpse. In recognizing this, we let go of the dream. In the process of giving up our idols and our illusions, we recognize more and more what we are and what we have always been, and what we will always be, fully a part of source – same as source – source itself.
The process to recognizing who we are is forgiveness, the living out of the truth that our sisters and brothers are equally and inseparably part of the same source. If we will simply give ourselves completely to another’s need, we will be on the path to recognizing our salvation – our oneness. There is no need ever to judge, for anything that a person does that is not part of source is an illusion. There is no sin in this understanding, just errors to be corrected so that the ego can drop its illusions, dreams, and idols.
The book is hundreds and hundreds of pages long, but here’s one line to memorize. “I will make no decisions for myself today.” The little mantra is recommended for our day once we have thought about the kind of day we want to have. “I will make no decisions for myself today,” offers me two insights. First, we are following some guidance, whether habits or bosses or whatever; we really are not making our own decisions, but reacting to some external framework. The second inisightis that we can have that framework that we follow become our consciousness of God. As much as we are conscious of Oneness, so much can we simply trust that answers and pathways will show, rather than believing that I must create some separate dream, some separate illusion, or some separate idol to get from here to there.
I finished A COURSE IN MIRACLES a week ago and it is still constantly on my mind – I think it is the most comprehensive and practical and consistent book that I may ever have come across. It is a book that seems consistent from page one to page the end.
As I begin this comparison with CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD, Let me first say that I found many similarities between CONVERSATIONS and the COURSE. Freedom, choice, non-judgment, and the inevitability of eventual salvation. What is different is that CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD sets up the universe differently. Let me explain what I see as an illusion in CONVERSATION’s construction of the universe.
CONVERSATIONS’ explains that God set up this world as a necessary place to experience “The opposite of God.” How can you know good, or love, or whatever, unless you know it’s opposite? So the opposite gets created – in reality. And we experience as much of the opposite as we want before we turn to God’s love. In CONVERSATIONS’, then the talk even turns to war and justifications for deciding to go to war to preserve peace. CONVERSATONS’ ends up in these conversations, I believe, because it chooses a different starting point – that this world was created by God to show us the opposite of God so that we could appreciate God as Source. If God creates something real, that is really outside of God – how can this work?
A related disappointment about CONVERSATIONS was something that is also fundamental to the COURSE, the concept of choice. Both books insist on a person’s fundamental freedom of choice – but with CONVERSATIONS setting up the world as a place to experience the opposite of God a person is left churning in this world of opposites without any test for moving forward other than having become tired of one’s present position in life. Once tired, then choose again. And so, in CONVERSATONS, one has the notion of hundreds of lifetimes, spent in the experience of the opposite of God. This isn’t the notion of earning your way into heaven, but it does feel like a process of wearing yourself out of all the options in this world until you choose the opposite of God’s opposite – God.
CONVERSATION’s bumper-car progress towards GOD is for me more elegantly handled in the COURSE. Rather than bumping around in the world of opposites, the COURSE sets up the universe as one single reality, one Source, one God. This is the universe – all else is illusion. Even the body is an illusion, and sickness and disease. If we live in Source, there is no sickness, thus the basis for healing miracles is helping people reconnect to the Source. Although the COURSE acknowledges that the path may be long, the process is simple and direct – dispel illusions, wake up from dreams, and set idols aside. We let go of these because they are not real. When we recognize their unreality, then we are ready to let them go.
The difficulty in the COURSE, for me and perhaps for many, is in changing my perception to understanding that almost everything I look at and have lived is nothing more than an illusion. What I have spent my time on is not God, therefore is separate from God, therefore is not real, only illusion. Once accepted, you go in a different direction from CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD. The COURSE’s understanding of Reality vs Illusion frees us from needing to create the universe of God’s opposite that is the foundation of CONVERSATIONS. This understanding of Reality vs. Illusions is much simpler, and makes much more sense to me than creating a world of opposites so that we can know God.
Creating the CONVERSATION’s opposite reality is a declaration that might make sense on the surface, but the COURSE’s universe of One Source and many illusions is more consistent with my theological and scientific background.
When I trained as a pastor, a central theological conversation was between whether humans could do anything to be acceptable to God (theology of Glory) or whether acceptability by God was pure gift (theology of the cross). The COURSE provides me a new and creative way of seeing this “pure gift” conceptualization of God. Without an “opposite construct” the COURSE gives us pure SOURCE and pure connection to it – we can only have the illusion of disconnection. Salvation – oneness with God – is a permanent and present guarantee.
Scientifically, the COURSE feels consistent with quantum, whereas CONVERSATIONS construction of an opposite universe seems bound to Newton’s laws of classical science – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That’s where my anger got triggered – CONVERSATION got stuck in the visible world of action-reaction. You don’t need to artificially construct an opposite universe in order to experience God – that would mean that the experience of God is in the material constructed universe. CONVERSATIONS makes the same mistake (in my understanding) as theology of glory constructions – assuming there is something physical to do to get from here to there. In CONVERSATONS the something to do is more subtle than some of the Theology of Glory’s constructions, but nonetheless, CONVERSATIONS sets up a universe where you have to really materially live out “Not God” until you are ready to live out “God.” if there is One God, one source, one One, or however we would name this organizing force, then according to quantum, it won’t be in the material that we find it’s being, it will be in the quantum field of energy.
Energy become matter based on the consciousness applied to it. Matter is a manifestation of consciousness. Anything that we understood as separate from the quantum field, the organizing principle, the Source, the One, God, would be an illusion, because it is all connected to source. Any idol of relationship, wealth, knowledge, security, safety, specialness, or whatever that we envisioned as separate from Source can be only an illusion, since nothing is separate from the source. The COURSE has created a universe that is consistent with quantum understanding.
Illusions therefore need not be judged by us, because they are not real. Dreams are not to be decreed as SIN that separates us from God or brings the judgment of God because they are not real. Idols only give us the perception of having found something that can substitute for Source, but idols are not real either. To the degree we recognize we are part of source, judgment becomes impossible and forgiveness becomes unavoidable. The COURSE has created a universe in which Oneness is all there is, and we are inevitably destined to recognize and live in awareness of this Source. To whatever extent we do not recognize this Source in our life, to that extent we live in illusion. In quantum understanding, this is the relationship between the underlying energy and the material manifestation. The material world is always connected to the energetic world. It cannot not be connected, for energy is all there is. Material can flow back into energy and reappear as a different material manifestation. Look at how a person can appear angry in one moment, with bodily physical manifestation, and when they recognize that the anger was an error in perception, they can instantly appear in different physical manifestation – the red anger and tensed muscles change to a relaxed jaw and bodily ease. Consider the difference that this change in form has on the material world of people and the environment – peace vs. war.
To close – the COURSE has provided me with the simplest and most helpful construction of the universe that I’ve come upon so far –
- We live in a universe of pure free choice –and we are free to choose anything.
- There is nothing real but Source, and everything we choose is either to be in the reality of Source, or to be in an dream that there is something other than Source.
- There is no judgment about our illusions – they are freely chosen – but they are not real – how can what is not real be judged? There is no judgment, because there is no sin, no separation, only errors of illusion to be corrected so that Source can be recognized again.
- There is only pure God, pure Oneness, pure Source – and there is free choice to live completely in this awareness as well as free choice to explore everything else, where everything else is just a dream.
If the universe does indeed have but One Source, and if we do indeed all have free choice, The COURSE provides us a simple and elegant way to understand our existence and to choose to experience the peace and joy of this Creator. If this is but a step along the way, I look forward to what opens up next.