A Course in Miracles
informs us that the ego likes to grab hold of scripture and distort it for its purposes of condemnation, separation and fear. Well it comes as no surprise that this is also done with the teachings of the Course.
The Course is not about teaching us how to love, more profoundly, it teaches us why we don't. Each one of us has an ego alive and well within, and it will not be subjugated with spiritual admonitions.
When attempting to live our chosen spiritual path, we may be accused either by ourselves or someone else, of not living our spirituality when we behave in a way other than what is deemed as "loving".
Unfortunately, what it means to love is something the ego has greatly distorted for its own purposes. The problem with evaluating behavior as a sign of one's spiritual maturity is that one can behave "lovingly" in public, or write nice emails, and nevertheless, harbor venom in their mind.
On the other hand, if someone is seen behaving in away deemed as "unloving", unbeknownst to the casual observer, he or she may have made giant strides in that area. Obviously, when our mind is aligned with Love it will be reflected in our behavior, but let's face it, we all have moments when choosing Love is difficult.
I had a discussion with a friend about what it means to "live" A Course in Miracles
. She said, "When I am angry or judgmental, I know that I'm not living the Course." This is not true, but many of us have felt this way. We then move into using spiritual principles to beat up on ourselves or others, and that is not what they're for.
I said to my friend, "If you are angry, and then blame those feelings on a person, place or thing, then, in that moment, you aren't living the Course because you're placing the cause of your distress as being "out there". If, however, you become aware that you're angry, and then recognize that you're viewing the person or situation through the lens of fear and separation (ego), then you are living the Course."
One of the things I really love about A Course in Miracles
is that it doesn't impose "should" and "shouldn't" on us. Instead, it merely points out what we do, why we do it, and then offers another choice. It's not about acting a certain way. It's not that we're not supposed to feel anger, fear, sadness or judgment; rather, and again more profoundly, it's that we're not to blame those feelings on causes outside of our own mind. But please don't fall into blaming yourself, for that is the same mistake.
A friend once said to me, "I don't like coming to your lectures because they are always about me! How come there's never anything wrong with the other person?" We laughed. She was going through a difficult divorce at the time, so I could see her point.
"Oh My God, It's Me!" is not about blaming yourself, it's about taking a look at yourself; but this doesn't mean that "they" aren't doing anything. I am not responsible for another person's behavior, I am only responsible for my reactions to their behavior.
We react to other people based not on reality, but on our perception of reality. Most of the time, people who upset us are simply marching to the beat of their own drum, yet we perceive their behavior as being specifically designed to make us nuts. A big part of spiritual practice is learning to let go of our expectations of what others should be for us, and asking Holy Spirit (the great transformer of perception) for a higher interpretation. As we allow this Inner Presence to return our mind to Love, then Love will extend through us.
Ultimately, we are taught to observe the ego in action -- without judging it. Admittedly, this takes (at least for most of us), quite a few years to master! This is one of the reasons I am so glad that I've stuck with the practice of A Course in Miracles for going on two decades! It is a gold mine -- a continual fount of wisdom and riches taking me deeper into an awareness of the Truth of Who I Am.
The purpose of a spiritual path is to lead us to healing, not further self-condemnation. A passage in the Course that really speaks to me is: It's not that you're to have no impure thoughts, just none that you would keep, give them to Me because I am the purifier.
I used to try
to be more patient, loving, kind, peaceful... it never worked! Finally, I realized that I really cannot do it by myself, I must let my thoughts and feelings go to Holy Spirit. This does work:
Help me see this person or situation
with your vision of Love,
instead of with my eyes
of judgment and fear.
So that's the deal. We're not expected to be perfect human beings, in fact, we can't be. We can, however, return our awareness to the Truth of our spiritual perfection. Our Inner Spirit is the light that shines away the darkness. Healing is restoration. The purpose of any spiritual path is to restore to my awareness that I Am indeed a child of God, and one in whom God is well pleased.