Volume 23 Number 4 December 2012
Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
LIVING A COURSE IN MIRACLES
As Wrong Minds, Right Minds, and Advanced Teachers
Part 3 of 3
How Advanced Teachers Live in the World:
The Reflection of Heaven's Love
Perhaps the simplest way to characterize advanced teachers is that they have no needs that demand satisfaction, no hidden spots of darkness to mar the innocent perception of the world, nothing in their minds to interfere with the free and natural flow of love from their minds to others. Freed of guilt and fear, they are able to remain true to the Holy Spirit's content of Love, all the while their bodies appear to be active in the daily business of life. Gone are the "shoulds" that control daily living, or special rituals that are needed to ground their thinking or center it on the divine. The love within allows their Teacher's Love to be the daily program they follow. As Jesus explains, employing the Course's symbol of a separated Teacher to guide us through the various roles of our everyday lives:
There is no program.… He will be told all that his role should be, this day and every day.… For the advanced teacher of God, then, this question [of how one is to spend one's day] is superfluous. It has been asked and answered, and he keeps in constant contact with the Answer. He is set, and sees the road on which he walks stretch surely and smoothly before him (M-16.1:2,5,8-10).
As we walked with Jesus through the ego's endless maze of death, our minds and hearts increasingly began to sing the healing prayer of life. That song magnified as we journeyed on, until the qualitative shift (T-5.I.7:6) occurred in which that prayer became our life. We transcended the personal self and the artificial boundaries of individuality and differentiation. And so we not only grew to reflect Heaven's love, but came to experience ourselves as that love. No longer now do we walk with Jesus, for we have blended into the single Voice that has truly united God Son in the wholeness that is his Self—the Voice that is God's Son.
Thus, though we remain the same in the outer eyes of the world, we are not the same. To use the Course's metaphor of the dream, we are the dreamer, not the dream figure, the dream's cause rather than its effect. Supported by the love that transcends the world of separation, we stand tall in the sandbox of guilt and judgment, sin and specialness—above the battleground of illusion fighting illusion (T-23.IV). We literally fulfil the biblical teaching to be in the world though not of it (John 15:19; 17:14,16), for we have become the love of Jesus that appears to live in the bodily world of dreams of attack and judgment, but knows that beyond them all is the single truth of Atonement. Its gentle radiance shines down on all—saint and sinner—who still walk the world in despair, "uncertain, lonely and in constant fear" (T-31.VIII.7:1). We no longer fear death, for we know that the mind's love is eternal and cannot die.
A trace of individuality remains, but what is that to those who truly know they are not here; in fact, know there is no here to even be in? Time and space, bodies and behavior, have no special significance. Indeed, the inherent unreality of the phenomenal world of differentiation is seen with open eyes. The only reality for these advanced teachers, who are but one small step away from the real world, is their home away from home: the "stately calm within," the holy stillness in which dwells the Love of God (T-18.I.8:2) and with it God's one Son. Looking out from this "quiet center"(T-18.VII.8:), they perceive Heaven's love in everyone and everything. Even distinctions between victim and victimizer, animate and inanimate fade away, for the response of these advanced teachers is always the same: kind, gentle, and loving, regardless of time, place, circumstance, or event. Their holy vision of the universal sameness of God's apparently multitudinous Sons reflects this beautifully expressed truth from the workbook:
Then close your eyes upon the world you see, and in the silent darkness watch the lights that are not of this world light one by one, until where one begins another ends loses all meaning as they blend in one (W-pI. 129.7:5).
This qualitative shift from separation to sameness, differentiation to unity, is an unchangeable fact in our perceptual experience. What was spoken of early in the workbook (W-pI.23.3:2) has been transformed by Christ's vision: the world remains the projection/extension it has always been, but what we see in our healed perception is only the pictorial representation of loving thoughts, there being nothing left in our unclouded minds. Love is continually born anew in the mind's quietness, and is the sole source of our perceptions and behaviors. Innocence has replaced guilt, and people have been transformed in our perception from enemies into friends. Indeed, the following passage is the only truth as we appear to walk the world of illusion:
The outcome of the lesson that God's Son is guiltless is a world in which there is no fear, and everything is lit with hope and sparkles with a gentle friendliness. Nothing but calls to you in soft appeal to be your friend, and let it join with you. And never does a call remain unheard, misunderstood, nor left unanswered in the selfsame tongue in which the call was made.… The soft eternal calling of each part of God's creation to the whole is heard throughout the world this…lesson brings (T-31.I.8:1-3,8).
Can you imagine the joy of having this truth be our life? Nothing the world holds dear—nothing!—can even approximate the joy of knowing, not only that we are guiltless, but that every fragment of God's holy Son shares in that innocence. And always has. The separation that so infused (infected would be a better word) our lives has been gently dissolved in the soft glow of Heaven's kiss, the hush of Heaven that holds our hearts (W-pII.286) wherein all living and non-living things are responded to as one. The glory of God's loving oneness is directly reflected in the healed mind, and this glory is the gentle foundation of a gentleness that is our life as long as we seem to be here. In humble gratitude do we rejoice in the song of prayer that led us up the ladder of love that separation led us down (T-28.III.1:2):
Now prayer is lifted from the world of things, of bodies, and of gods of every kind, and you can rest in holiness at last.… Now can you look upon His [Christ's] sinlessness. High has the ladder risen. You have come almost to Heaven. There is little more to learn before the journey is complete. Now can you say to everyone who comes to join in prayer with you: I cannot go without you, for you are a part of me (S-1. V.3:1,4-9).
We have learned and integrated the sole purpose in everything that seems to move, breathe, and live: the healing of our brothers' pain through the quiet stillness of our Self. We have reached the lawns of Heaven, knowing we have not come this way alone. We remember that the Name of God's Son is one, and that we all share and are that oneness. The spirit of Helen Schucman's poem "My Father's House" is our very breath, and our being sings out its sacred song of thanksgiving to our Creator Who is the Source of all creation, and to His Son whose holy Name is His and ours:
Hallowed my name. I am a Son of God
Who walks in stillness. I hold out my hand,
And from my fingertips the quiet goes
Around the world to still all living things,
And cover them in holiness. Their rest
Is joined in mine, for I am one with them.
There is no pain my stillness cannot heal,
Because it comes from God. There is no grief
That does not turn to laughter when I come.
I do not come alone. There walks with me
The Light that Heaven looks on as itself.
I am a Son of God. My name is His.
My Father's house is where my stillness is.
(The Gifts of God, p. 59)