Well I woke up early this morning because I went to bed so early last night. So I hop on the computer and start surfing and wind up at one of the ACIM boards, which then lead me to one of the most active topics on the board.
As I read the comments and replies, I started seeing a familiar pattern. The pattern of being right and repeating one's self to make sure that the “other” received the message that the one is right, by replies and rebuttals over what the other said.
There was talk of this being a trap and that being a trap. Of claims of not being a teacher, yet acting that in very manner. And of course there was much talk about what the course does and doesn't say. What is Truth and what is not.
I have my own ideas of what the course does and doesn't say, but in my saner moments, I have to ask myself, “Is it really all that important if I can “prove” I am right? Is it really all that important to convince someone else my thoughts about the course?”
And as I sat there, I felt a deja' vu. I remember this exact same back and forth “discussion” when I participated on a religious/spiritual board a while back. It was always just the same arguments /discussions over and over and yet over again. Repeated constantly in different form, yet still holding the same content,by the same people, seemingly trying to accomplish getting others to see it their way. Out of curiosity, I went to that message board and voila, what did I see? The same old arguments with the same old people about the same old thing with the same old responses and these same people have been on that board for years.
Isn't that just a bit insane when you think about it? And boy was I right there with those people, until one day it dawned on me and I said to myself, “Eric what the hell are you doing? What is this for?” And I stopped going there. Well of course I posted a few times more and then finally accepted the fact that what I was doing was distracting myself from my own path. Almost like a defense mechanism. Setting myself up with unessential issues and making them essential to slow my own learning process.
I know that forums can help people with questions and sharing and even writing on self reflections can help a person see within themselves a little clearer, but I wonder sometimes about ACIM forums, LOL. What a great place for egoic thinking to gets it's teeth into and cause one big distraction by getting caught up in being right or trying to show how much “spiritual wisdom” the person really has. How far that they have “accomplished”. Or speak in what I call Narnia talk all riddle like to seem all mystical and mysterious.
And some of the people that are repeating themselves over and over again trying to convince others of what they are saying or try to correct other people's points of view of what the course says or doesn't say may have a more correct perception of what points to Truth, but in all honesty I think that someone that is really living the course and enjoying the peace from this living would not keep themselves so preoccupied with trying to either show of their “spiritual wisdom” that they gained from the course or would continue to “discuss” with others over and over and yet over again what the course does or does not say. I would actually think that it would be more accurate to call that arguing disguised as discussion.
It is very difficult to apply the course when the person is preoccupied with talking about how other people don't “get it”. Or trying to convince others that your point of view about the course is right which if they don't share in that point of view automatically implies that they are wrong. How do we know that they are wrong? Maybe they are right where they need to be right now?
I could write all about what I think that the course is and is not through my perception and everyone else might think, “Oh poor Eric. The poor boy is completely off target” and maybe intellectually seeing the course that might be true(at least as true as illusion can be in symbols), but what if I were at peace? I don't mean enjoying a pleasure of a temporary contentment, but really, what if I had a constant tranquil mind (not saying I do, cause I don't or I should say it is not a constant state, but it is becoming more and more consistent), but if I did how wrong could I be?
Would it be better to have all this theoretical philosophical “wisdom” that you can show people your “depths of spirituality” or to have a tranquil mind? Or in simpler terms, “Would you rather be right or happy?”
The course says, “A tranquil mind is no small gift.” I happen to think that this short simple statement is one of the most underrated statements in ACIM, for in my opinion, a tranquil mind is everything. Would you want to give up all that just to be “right” in a discussion? Well it seems we all do at some time or another. So I guess the answer is yes.
But in my saner moments, sometimes when I am about to just fully identify with my egoic thinking and reply to someone's post and tell them whats what, which isn't always about ACIM. The same thing happens on a quit smoking board on the social side sometimes too, but right before I reply there is that voice nowadays that asks, “What is it for Eric? What do you want to come of this?” Well I want to be right of course, because I already believe that I am right. So maybe I should rephrase that. I want other people to know that I am right. But what for? What is the purpose of that? You know, when it comes down to ideas, there really is no purpose....well except to be right and does that bring peace or does it give me that sick little temporary satisfaction that I have become so used to through all these years?
I'm learning to listen to this voice more and more and though sometimes I may feel “deprived” initially that I didn't get to “share” or more accurately show other people that I am right. Later on, it just becomes so apparently obvious that listening to the Holy Spirit was just the right way to go, because I am at peace and I don't have to think about if someone is going to argue with my point of view and I don't have to worry about getting caught up in drama of arguing back and forth. As they say, “Drama is a drug that needs to be kicked.”
I am learning that being happy is so so so much better than being right. Though I do let my egoic thoughts deceive me still sometimes. Thankfully I always get to choose again.
Forums can be wonderful places. I've got to meet new people that have helped me along my own way. I have got to see different paths that I might not have seen, such as Krishnamurti and others and teachings such as Ken's that let me see a different point of view or maybe open up my mind a little more.
But there can certainly be a trap within a forum also, especially one that is on a book with such a vast scope such as ACIM. A book that is metaphysically vast, practical in psychological terms, quantum like in time and space and form, eastern like, similar to Buddhism and Taoism, Hinduism or Toltec etc, and is so full of metaphorical concepts in Christianity form that is can really get your head spinning.
But as I go along through my lessons, this thick blue book that at one point was so overwhelming is becoming a very simple teaching. Want me to tell you what it is? LOL. I can't, cause I don't know LOL, by trying , then the simplicity that I'm starting to see would actually once again become more complex for myself, getting back into my head of my concepts, intellectual points of views(for lack of a better phrase) and ideals of what the course does and doesn't say.
Maybe what could be said is that the course emphasizes practical application rather than theoretical intellectualism. As Tolle says, We all have enough worldly knowledge. We don't need anymore. Or as Krishnamurti said, worldly knowledge is just an accumulation of past. That kind of knowledge leaves the mind dull and stupid(his words LOL)
This is all an undoing, not a doing. Sometimes we need to hold onto the concepts until we realize that we can let them go. When we realize that we need do nothing.
I cannot tell anyone what the course does or does not say. I can only tell someone what I think the course does or does not say. That is not the same. And in all honesty is it really essential that I convince others what the course does or does not say. Is that the purpose of the course or the purpose that the ego gives it? “Ah something else for me to show my cleverness and wisdom”.
Just like what is on that spiritual/ religion board, I wonder if the same will happen within the course community, if it hasn't already been happening. Will two years from now, the same people be having the same discussions about the same thing? It totally reminds me of the quote in the course that says,
“The ego thinks it is an advantage not to commit itself to anything that is eternal, because the eternal must come from God. Eternalness is the one function the ego has tried to develop, but has systematically failed to achieve. The ego compromises with the issue of the eternal, just as it does with all issues touching on the real question in any way. By becoming involved with tangential issues, it hopes to hide the real question and keep it out of mind. The ego's characteristic busyness with nonessentials is for precisely that purpose. Preoccupations with problems set up to be incapable of solution are favourite ego devices for impeding learning progress. In all these diversionary tactics, however, the one question that is never asked by those who pursue them is, 'What for?' This is the question that you must learn to ask in connection with everything. What is the purpose? Whatever it is, it will direct your efforts automatically. When you make a decision of purpose, then, you have made a decision about your future effort; a decision that will remain in effect unless you change your mind.”
Will people still be preoccupied with the Truth of the course? Will intellectually discussing the course bring the peace that passeth understanding? Will studying it over and over again to accumulate knowledge bring tranquility to the mind? Well it might and it might already have for some. I don't really have an answer to my own question, but we do need concepts and the intellectual mind when first studying the course to go beyond them But there is also that trap. “Ah, I finally got it, now I'm off to teach everyone else the Truth!” But is it The Truth or just our truth once again?
Tolle says something like, "You can talk about honey. You can study honey. You can write papers on honey, but until you've actually tasted honey you don't really know it."
That is the limitation of perception and words. But by teaching through example, then there is the witnesses to what the words points to. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Not by their accumulated knowledge.
I am finding that it is through application that I am finally receiving the fruits of ACIM after being sucked into intellectual debate about it for so long.
OK off to school to get more accumulated knowledge LOL