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.
(T-31.I.2:7-8) What you have taught yourself is such a giant learning feat it is indeed incredible. But you accomplished it because you wanted to.…
You wanted to, which means we do not want to learn the lessons this course is teaching, because if we did, we would. Look what we learned instead. That is the key point. I do not think there is anyone who would argue with this and think that they would get away with it. This is an incredibly complicated world. Just think about how the body functions. It is very complicated and so brilliantly conceived that to confuse us even more, when it breaks down we need more complicated theories to fix it. It is unending. We made microorganisms like viruses that mutate, that are smarter than the vaccines injected to defeat them. It gets more and more incredible, confusing, and hopeless. We made the world that way, and we learned how to survive in it.
So Jesus has every right to say, "Don't tell me you cannot learn what I am teaching you." The reason we do not learn it is that we don't want to. That is why he says, "You accomplished it because you wanted to." One of the characteristics that make this course unique is that it focuses on motivation, which of course is an important psychological term. Any teacher knows that it is most frustrating to have to teach students who are not motivated. And any therapist knows that court-assigned or school-assigned patients make the worst patients, because they do not want to be there. The court has told them they have to go. Since they are not motivated, they will not learn and they will not change.
So Jesus' big challenge as our teacher in this course is to motivate us to learn, and the only way he can motivate us to learn is to convince us we need to learn, which means we need to know how miserable and unhappy we are because of what we have taught ourselves. There are two sentences that I put together that read: "Resign now as your own teacher, for you were badly taught" (T-12.V.8:3; T-28.I.7:1). We have to admit we have been badly taught and do not like the way we are living, but without blaming it on external circumstances.
All of us here could be blissfully happy by learning that we are not here. "How else can you find joy in a joyless place except by realizing that you are not there?" (T-6.II.6:1) Realizing we are not really here is the most joyous thing we could learn. That is where the hope is. If we are not here, where are we? We are in our mind, and we can do something about our mind. We can do something about what we are thinking. That gives us hope. That is what gives us back our power, not the power to dominate, oppress, and command, but the power to choose.
Again, Jesus is saying we should not doubt our learning skill. Look what we have taught ourselves. The laws of special relationships are incredibly complicated, and we spend a lifetime mastering them. Love is not complicated. You just love. You do not make distinctions. You love everyone, no matter what they do, no matter what they say, no matter who they are.
Specialness is not like that. With specialness, you have to scope out everything. Where are this person's weaknesses? Where are this person's strengths? What do I want to seize? How do I get it? How do I make it look as if I am not really getting it when I have really gotten it? How do I fool them? It is very complicated, but we are all so good at it; it is second nature now. We start learning this at birth. How do I get my parents' attention? I cry. It works. They hold me, and then they burp me and I am fine. Then if I want more attention, I get more gas. We are good at it, and we never stop burping. Just think how helpful it would be to go through life realizing that everything is just a burp, and all people want is to be held and patted on the back, and have someone say, there, there, it's all right. We know how to get that response from people.
We are not just talking about one body, one planet, or one solar system. We are talking about an entire cosmos. It is extraordinarily complicated. Scientists are looking for the simple explanation, the one thing that will explain everything. Well, they do not know where to look. Here is the one thing that explains everything: the decision maker choosing guilt. That is the explanation, and the real string theory is how all this strings together and makes up a world. The black hole is the black hole of guilt that swallows up everything. This is very simple, and the solution is simple. You just look at it and remember to laugh at the absurdity that a part of God's living and loving Oneness could wrench itself from that Oneness and declare itself to be its own self and its own creator. But this means giving up what we believe to be true.
That is why the lines near the beginning of Chapter 24 say, "To learn this course requires willingness to question every value that you hold. Not one can be kept hidden..." (T-24.in.2:1-2). Well, we all have a multitudinous list of values, but the core value is: I value me. I value the thought system that made me. I value the thought system of attack that protects and preserves me, because the unforgiving thought, the attacking thought "protects projection" (W-pII.1.2:3). As long as I can justify my hatred of you and my anger at you, my attack on myself stays hidden, protected, and never healed. That is what we cherish; that is what we value. That is why we value attack and that is why we value the body. The body proves that we exist.
That is why this is not a course in the body; this is a course in the mind. "This is a course in cause and not effect" (T-21.VII.7:8). The miracle returns the problem to the cause so it can be changed. Magic brings the problem, the cause, into the world of effect and confuses the two. It says the world, which is really the effect, has caused me. I am the victim; I am at the mercy of forces beyond my control. That is why Lesson 76 is so important: "I am under no laws but God's." We think we are under the laws of the body, the so-called natural laws. The only true laws we are under are the laws of God, which are the laws of Love and Oneness and eternal life. If you want to call it a law, the law of forgiveness is what bridges the gap and takes us from the laws of the world and the body back to God's laws. Thus, all Jesus is saying to us is, "Don't tell me you cannot learn my course."
This course is self-contained. Everyone always likes to have a gimmick. They have another way to practice forgiveness, another book, etc. It's all here. It does not need a sequel: A Son of A Course in Miracles [laughter]. It comes complete with a teacher—batteries included! You do not have to get anything else. Its teachings are so consistent and simple. That is why we do not do them, because we like complicated. "Complexity is of the ego" (T-15.IV.6:2). Again, what could be simpler than saying what is false is false and what is true is true? What is false cannot be true and what is true cannot be false.
While the Course speaks to us of the Oneness of Heaven, it teaches us how to live that principle of oneness in this world by learning that everyone is the same. "Make this year different by making it all the same" (T-15.XI.10:11). See everyone as the same because we all have the same mind. See every situation as the same because every situation is part of our classroom, if we choose to learn from it, or if we choose to learn the lessons of forgiveness. Again, it comes complete with a teacher and a curriculum. We are the curriculum. The classroom is our life, and the curriculum is all of our relationships. Why seek elsewhere? We seek elsewhere because this is too frightening, and it is frightening because it is the truth. Something in all of us knows it is the truth, and that is why we have embraced this and devoted all this time to it, but it is really important to also recognize how fearful we are. We get back then to that idea of resistance. We have to look at the resistance as to why it is we are not learning what is so simple.