Questions for Deeper Study and Practical Application
Studying is more than just reading. It is thinking about what you read. Early on in my study of A Course in Miracles I found I was asking questions while I studied that would help me to take the ideas in deeper. This was especially important for me as a student of ACIM because ACIM gives so many words and concepts new definitions. The questions were like this:
1. How do I think of this concept now? What do I feel about it?
2. How is this concept being used here? Is it different from how I’m used to using it?
3. If I accepted this concept (or how it is being redefined) as true how would that change how I feel about myself?
4. If I accepted this concept (or how it is being redefined) as true how would that change my relationship to the world?
For example, ACIM was not the first place that I read that God is within rather than an outside being. But it was as a student of ACIM that I realized that I had to integrate this idea or ACIM would have no real effect on me. So:
1. How do I think of the concept of “God” now? What do I feel about it?
Traditionally, I think of “God” as a paternal, authoritative being outside of me that sits in judgement on me. This is a frightening idea to me. It makes me feel ultimately powerless and angry. And I feel guilty for feeling that way.
2. How is the concept of “God” being used in ACIM? Is it different from how I’m used to using it?
In ACIM “God” is the one Being That is. God is my True Being. Yes, it is significantly different. God is not another being sitting in judgment on me. There is no separation between us.
3. If I accepted as true that God is within me how would it change how I feel about myself?
I would feel completely empowered. I would feel whole. I would not fear “sinning” and being punished by some outside being. This concept is so staggering that I don’t think I can even see all the ways that it would affect me. But it would all be positive.
4. If I accepted as true that God is within me how would it change my relationship to the world?
I would feel I could do anything I wanted. I would feel always safe and secure. I would feel wholly empowered.
I did not ask myself these questions to force myself to accept the concepts, only to understand them better. Nor did these questions cause me to immediately shift in a new direction. But they helped me to see what had to be accepted and the shift that had to be made. Often they made me see how much my mind had to change to align with Truth. So they helped me to formulate the correction that I had to bring into my day-to-day life to bring about the change. I realized I had to pay attention when I found myself falling into the old way of thinking and correct it to the new way. For example, let’s say I was driving and I saw a bumper sticker that said, “God loves you.” My initial feeling would be to try to convince myself that something outside of me loved me. Then I’d catch myself and think, “God is not outside of me. God is my True Being. So what does ‘God loves me’ mean to me now?” I’d realize that “God loves me” was an unnecessary statement. God is Love and is my True Being. That was a radical change in how I thought about “God”.
Deeper study led to practical daily application. This eventually led to the necessary shifts and integration of the concepts into my experience.
Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace at www.acimmentor.com.