A Course in Miracles:
A Hope-filled Spirituality
Excerpts from two Workshops held at the
Foundation for A Course in Miracles
Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
Q: Just as the world goes on wearily, so does practicing A Course in Miracles. I find that the more you go along and practice and the more you detach yourself from the world, the harder it is to maintain an interest in anything here. Getting up for work in the morning is the same old routine. Even with sporting activities, you do one for a few years, you get bored, and then you move on to something else. You get interested in one conspiracy theory, then you lose interest and find another. As you practice this course, how do you deal with the weariness?
A: The only way you could have this not be boring, dull, and wearisome is to be really clear about what you want. If you were clear that your goal is to awaken from this dream and go home, you would never experience your life as winding on wearily. You would see everything that happens as an opportunity to take you further along so you could one day be out of here, not out of the world through death, but out of the whole thought system. The problem is that you are ambivalent about the goal, which is what we all feel, because if we were not ambivalent about the goal, we would already have achieved it. We are still here schlepping along with this course because we are still ambivalent about the goal.
Q: Within the world, you go to university for three, four, or however many years. You put in your time, you do your work, you get your diploma, you hang it on the wall. So I guess I am still waiting for my Course diploma.
A: When you go to university, you have a goal, and that is to graduate. You do everything you have to do to graduate because that is your goal. If you are ambivalent about the goal, you will flunk classes, get incompletes, not hand in papers. You will not do everything you need to, because you do not want the goal. You are afraid of what is beyond graduation, so you just stay. There are a lot of people who do that because they are afraid of growing up. Once they get out of college, they are grown up and they have to fend for themselves in the world. But if they drag it on for 6, 8, 10, 12 years, it is easier because they are ambivalent about the goal.
It is the same thing here. We are all afraid of growing up, of graduating from this course and being back home with God. We are ambivalent about that goal because we cherish our individuality and specialness. Therefore we dawdle, and after a while dawdling winds on wearily. It is the same idea as the answer Jesus gave Helen when she complained that the Course was not working, that it was winding on wearily—enough already! Jesus asked her if she had ever considered that she had not done what it says. If your goal is to be out of the dream, then it will be impossible not to find your life here joyful, not because of anything intrinsic to the world, but because of the lessons you are learning. If you really wanted to graduate from college and learn at the same time, you would enjoy your courses. If there were a course that was not enjoyable, or was not going to help you achieve your goal, you would not take it. So if your goal is to leave this world as quickly as possible, this course will do it, but you have to be aware that the goal is ultimately to not be in a body, not by death, but by not being part of this thought system.
Over and over again, which is always infuriating, Jesus says this is a very simple course, and by that he means there is only one problem and one solution. What could be simpler? In response to Helen's complaining that this course was too difficult, he said:
(T-31.I.1) How simple is salvation! All it says is what was never true is not true now, and never will be. [The problem is that this means we are not true either.] The impossible has not occurred, and can have no effects. And that is all. Can this be hard to learn by anyone who wants it to be true? Only unwillingness to learn it could make such an easy lesson difficult. How hard is it to see that what is false cannot be true, and what is true can not be false? You can no longer say that you perceive no differences in false and true. [Remember, this is Chapter 31, three years of scribing, not to mention all the personal communication.] You have been told exactly how to tell one from the other, and just what to do if you become confused. Why, then, do you persist in learning not such simple things?
Now this is as gentle a reprimand as one can get, but it gets a little worse.
(T-31.I.2:1-2) There is a reason. But confuse it not with difficulty in the simple things salvation asks you learn.
One way of distinguishing what is false from what is true in this world is that anything that separates you from anyone else is false, and anything that allows you to say everyone is the same is true. The truth that we are all the same is a reflection of Heaven's truth of Oneness.
(T-31.I.2:3-4) It [salvation] teaches but the very obvious. It merely goes from one apparent lesson to the next, in easy steps that lead you gently from one to another, with no strain at all.
The strain that we all feel is our resistance. If your car is going 60 or 70 miles an hour, there is no strain on the engine. It just goes. But if you have the emergency brake on, the engine is going to feel a lot of strain. If you continue to drive with the emergency brake on, you are going to ruin your engine and your tires, but the problem is the brake, not the car. The engine is fine. Well, that is what we are all doing. This course would speed us home. What could be easier? What is true is true; what is false is false. That's it! The Course is incredibly consistent from beginning to end in making this point. The problem is that we are afraid, because "what is false is false" is our identity. "What is true is true" is our true Identity. We cling to this false identity, this specialness, this body, and that is the brake. That is why there is strain.
(T-31.I.2:5-6) This cannot be confusing, yet you are confused. For somehow you believe that what is totally confused is easier to learn and understand.
What is totally confused is the ego thought system that is trying to tell us what is true is false, and what is false is true. That is pretty confusing, and this is all because we cherish this self. If you read this course as a body, you will be confused because you will think it is all about the body or the world. You will be confused about what it is saying and will distort what it is saying; and therefore you will not achieve the benefits this course is promising. But if you recognize this is about the mind, then you will realize that any difficulty you are having is because you are still cherishing your body and your experiences here as a person. You cannot blame the Course, because it is telling you over and over again consistently that this is about the mind, not about the body or the world. We get confused by what it says and we find it difficult to do what it says because we are driving with the brake on.
(T-31.I.2:7) What you have taught yourself is such a giant learning feat it is indeed incredible.
This is really important. This is the height of Jesus' point to us here—why he is shaking a gentle finger and saying, "You are not being honest. Don't tell me you cannot learn this course. Look what you have learned."
What we have taught ourselves, again, is that what is false is true and what is true is false. We have taught ourselves this whole convoluted, complicated, intricate thought system of the ego. Not only that, we then made up a world and mastered it. We know how to live in this world. We know how to live with our bodies. We know how to make our bodies survive. It is very complicated. That is not the case in Heaven, as spirit does not do anything; it just is. In this world, we have to do a lot in order to survive physically just to keep the body going, and then psychologically just to keep the body going emotionally. Dealing with relationships is extraordinarily complicated, but we are all masters at it. We are all masters at guilt; we are all masters at being a victim.
(T-31.I.3:1) No one who understands what you have learned, how carefully you learned it, and the pains to which you went to practice and repeat the lessons endlessly, in every form you could conceive of them, could ever doubt the power of your learning skill.
There is no greater power in the world. The "learning skill" Jesus is talking about is really the power of the mind to choose. Jesus said no one could doubt the power of our learning skill. Remember what goes into living in this world. Just think about what goes into having made this world, dreaming it up.
(T-31.I.3:2-6) There is no greater power in the world. The world was made by it, and even now depends on nothing else. [The power of your mind to believe in it is the "nothing else."] The lessons you have taught yourself have been so overlearned and fixed they rise like heavy curtains to obscure the simple and the obvious. Say not you cannot learn them. For your power to learn is strong enough to teach you that your will is not your own, your thoughts do not belong to you, and even you are someone else.
Recall, there is no time. This is being written right now.
(T-31.I.4) Who could maintain that lessons such as these are easy? Yet you have learned more than this. You have continued, taking every step, however difficult, without complaint, until a world was built that suited you. And every lesson that makes up the world arises from the first accomplishment of learning [the original error that I could be separate from my Creator and Source and could make a self and a world the opposite of the Self in Heaven that God created]; an enormity so great the Holy Spirit's Voice seems small and still before its magnitude. The world began with one strange lesson, powerful enough to render God forgotten, and His Son an alien to himself, in exile from the home where God Himself established him. You who have taught yourself the Son of God is guilty, say not that you cannot learn the simple things salvation teaches you!
That is the answer to the complaint that this course does not work, that it is not practical and is too convoluted. We could not ask for anything that is so simple. As it says in the workbook, ". . . what is false is false, and what is true has never changed" (W-pII.10.1:1). The problem is that we do not want to learn it.