Following a conversation recently with a Course student, I feel prompted to share about what may become an increasing phenomena in the ACIM world. I’ll call the student T.
T, a devoted Course student for some time, has been undergoing a deep healing process, questioning everything, and now questioning whether to continue with ACIM. She’s feeling much resistance to the teaching, constriction when she thinks of it, a lack of interest in reading the text or studying the lessons. T finds this unsettling, to say the least.
My response is that there are perhaps 3 helpful ways of understanding an experience such as T’s.
- The mind could be continuing its expansion, and ACIM simply isn’t the teaching that best supports that. If so, then great gratitude can be offered for all that was learnt through ACIM, and an openness will bring what does best support the mind now.
- The mind could be choosing some rest after much intensive healing/shifting, and the power of the Course’s ideas are ‘pushing the river’ at this time. If so, a break for integration may well be the powerful way for now.
- The mind could be faced with the terror of truly welcoming God and it’s considering turning away from the unrelenting healing that ACIM represents.
The 3rd possibility brings us to the title of this writing: ‘the hidden phase 2 of ACIM’.
When we start with the Course, and maybe for a very long time with the Course, the teaching seems to be addressing our situation as a seeming person in a physical world. Forgiveness is about seeing this situation differently, withdrawing projections on others and the world in general. This is miraculous and much needed. All good! During this phase we may become increasingly drawn to the ideas of Heaven, God, Christ, Truth, but often as a context for our forgiveness work, and a somewhat distant goal.
However, if we keep going with this forgiveness practice, it can only lead the mind nearer and nearer to the decision to forego the ego completely and turn full attention to its reality. This will be felt as a deep and non negotiable yearning and yet, is likely to precipitate terror as never before. God is no longer a distant goal, but a Presence right here that ‘threatens to snuff out’ all we understood as ‘our life’.
For those who choose to develop a single focus on ‘there is only God’, ACIM can suddenly open out and offer ‘phase 2’. A new application for the same words on the page comes into view. The mind can either perceive this as joyous or simply too much for now, perhaps attributing its confusion and constriction to the ‘limitations of ACIM’ and deciding it’s better off without it (the 3rd possibility as mentioned above).
Here’s an example of a well know Course teaching, interpreted at what I’m calling phase 1 and phase 2 stages of a journey with ACIM:
‘Forgiveness recognises what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin. And in that view are all your sins forgiven. What is sin, except a false idea about God’s Son? Forgiveness merely sees its falsity, and therefore lets it go. What then is free to take its place is now the Will of God’.
Phase 1 interpretation: we apply the teaching to what others do that upsets us. We realise that the ‘wrongdoing’ is a projection, and that our minds have dreamed of another who will seem guilty of its perceived wrongdoing against God. Forgiveness leads us to be willing to see there is no wrongdoing anywhere and that we never left God. Although the absolute understanding is represented in this interpretation, for the most part it’s still an intellectual understanding, and our experience is of undergoing a healing process, on the way to the reality we never left God. Again, all good!
Phase 2 interpretation: we apply the teaching far more extensively; what we thought anyone and everyone did has not occurred. The world has not occurred. The person reading ACIM has not occurred. ACIM has not occurred. The separation has not occurred. There is only God. Forgiveness now shows that any ‘doing’, let alone a ‘wrongdoing’ is an impossibility. Forgiveness is now a ‘jumping off the precipice’ of a seeming solid world and into the truth of the mind.
In phase 2, our centre of gravity has shifted to the holy instant, our interest and desire is all about God, being a lucid dreamer is of all importance, and the Course is seen as beautiful, brilliant and perfect support for a mind approaching the real world. There is an eagerness and delight in reading well known passages and lessons with this new interest and desire.
In closing, let’s remember that there is no hierarchy of illusions – ACIM is one of many paths home while we only dream of exile – and there is no inherent benefit to continuing with ACIM into phase 2. For some minds it will be profound and miraculous. For other minds, the possibilities 1 or 2 mentioned above may be the perfect way.
This mind is wondrously celebrating the limitless healing offered through the teaching of A Course in Miracles.
Last word to the Course:
‘Forgiveness is not yet a power known as wholly free of limits. Yet it sets no limits you have chosen to impose’.