Ask: Does it take years to learn the Course?

… I am 64 years old, have melanoma and have just started ACIM and am on lesson 25…I have read others that say that it takes years to learn the Course and I may not have that. I know that nobody knows how long they will live but my case seems to be different than say a 25 year old. Do you have any comments about that? – DH

A Course in Miracles is a self-study course for inner peace. Inner peace is the result of an awareness of Truth (God) as Truth, which you may have had before you picked up the Course, or which may have begun for you when you picked up the Course. In my own experience, and through my own observations of others, it does seem to take at least 20 years after first becoming aware of Truth for one to reach comprehensive peace, and longer still for one to reach complete peace, if this is their goal. In any case, all students of the Course begin to have a more peaceful experience as soon as they start seriously studying it, and their peace increases as they go along.
I’m going to make an assumption here, which is always a tricky thing, but I think this is what I am reading in your question: You fear that you must attain something that the Course offers – perhaps peace - before the personal self seems to die or there will be unpleasant consequences for you after the personal self seems to die. There is a false belief behind this thought, and it is that you are a personal self, and that the personal self “continues on” after this “life”. This idea is just the personal thought system’s (ego’s) way of making you believe that it is eternal. But it is not; it is only a passing thought.

“The ego is nothing more than a part of your belief about yourself. Your other life has continued without interruption, and has been and always will be totally unaffected by your attempts to dissociate it.” – (T-4.VI.1)

God is all that is real in your mind. God is completely untouched by not-God (the universe of form, including personal selves) in your mind. God has no beginning or ending: It is here in your mind before you thought of the personal self, It is here as you think of the personal self, and It will still be here when the personal self falls away. What is eternal in your mind is not personal or individual; It is Universal.

“Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” – T-Intro.2

God is unchanged and unchanging; your belief in and attachment to the universe of form is only an obstacle to your awareness of this, that is all. So, you “need do nothing”; you are already whole and perfect in God.
You might ask why you would bother with something like the Course, which helps you to undo your obstacles to being aware of God, so leads to peace, if you don’t have to do it because it does nothing real. There can be only one reason: Because you love yourself, you want inner peace.

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Anonymous said…
20 years? Are you sure? I really and truly don't believe this. Everyone is different, and some may take up learning ACIM pretty fast. It depends on every individual and how they have already evolved during their life-time. There are people who have [even without studying ACIM or Vipassana meditation] learnt to be aware. So saying that it takes 20 years or more is based on an assumption that may be true for you or people you know, but maybe and probably not for someone else. If this is being said to every new student of ACIM, they will become stuck with this idea. It's like being given a 20 years sentence in jail, and people start counting the minutes, days, weeks, months and years to get grip on ACIM. I still have 18.5 years to go (...). I am CONVINCED that there are students who can go through ACIM in a breeze. And understand being aware in maybe one year or less. It's like doctors who "predict" and tell their patients, how long they will live, after they discovered a life-threatening disease. MOST people take their words for granted and believe the doctor is right and take his/her words for TRUTH. So the majority of patients goes home in a state of hypnosis with the devastating thought "My doctor has said, I have still X-months to live". This becomes their mind frame and their mantra, and they just die right on time, just as their doctor "predicted". There are however more and more people, who because of other healing/alternative modalities don't believe this false Truth given by their doctors. They change their thinking about themselves and the world, and most of all, they don't accept the words of their doctors as an Absolute Truth and these people for some mysterious (..?) reason heal completely. We should be VERY VERY careful with our words and setting time lines (which are hurdles) for others. This works counterproductive and is more or less a "curse". I'd reccommend this particular lady to start with a 10 day silence meditation retreat, as taught by Goenka. In a rather short time we learn to experience great inner peace. The 10 day silence meditation retreat is totally free (go figure) and it's a marvellous way to become aware of WHAT we are and seeing the chattering ego-mind as something that comes out of nothing and goes back to nothing, as long as we just observe the thoughts rising and passing away and don't get entangled into them. Peace is there Being and staying aware and experiencing inner peace, is of course a life long daily PRACTICE in everything we do, but gradually awareness/being aware and feeling great inner peace, gets as easy and thoughtless as breathing. My 2 cents...

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