Questioning Does Not Necessarily Mean Tossing Out
When I was very young I realized that I didn’t feel love when others loved me but rather when I loved. This is why I was a nurturer. I had learned, though not in these words, that what I give I receive.
When I was twenty I became a student of A Course in Miracles and read that lesson in those words. But I made the mistake of thinking that ACIM could not be talking about a lesson I had already learned. Helen Schucman was in her fifties when she scribed ACIM. Certainly she had to have already learned this lesson? Maybe this meant something else? So I took the lesson deeper and learned that it was saying, as it says elsewhere more plainly, that I can only give to myself.
My mistake was thinking that I could not know something at twenty that someone at fifty had yet to learn. Of course we do not all learn the same lessons in life. And even when we do we do not learn them in the same order. A twenty year old can know something that someone at fifty has yet to learn. I was young and inexperienced and insecure and didn’t trust my own learning. I also felt ACIM was so radical that it couldn’t also contain mundane lessons. Another mistake. Yes, in its ultimate teaching that the universe of form is not Reality it is radical. But it is also meant to be used in a mundane world. It was answering Helen and Bill’s call for a “better way” to be in the world.
This is only one example of the mistake of thinking I couldn’t already have learned some of ACIM’s lessons before I picked up the books. Many ideas in ACIM were wholly new to me. But those that were not, those lessons that I had already learned, I questioned. And I questioned every other lesson I’d learned and continued to learn in life. This should’ve been a good thing because it could’ve opened my mind. Questioning means one considers the validity of what they have already learned. If the lesson is valid then questioning it strengthens it. If the lesson isn’t valid then it is tossed out. But questioning does not mean that one inevitably tosses out what they have learned. And this is what I did for a long time. I tossed out, or at least distrusted, all that I had learned and continued to learn about the world and my experience in it. My mind was closed, not open.
What ACIM actually teaches is that I should bring lessons to the Holy Spirit to determine what is useful and what is not. But since I didn’t do that for a very long time I drifted through the world unmoored. I think I thought that this was spiritual! But in fact I was just lost because I didn’t trust my own observations and experiences. When I finally did allow the Holy Spirit to guide me through the world I found my experiences and observations in the world were validated by the Holy Spirit. Most of it was useful. I found common sense prevailed. I found my footing again and felt grounded in the world. It turned out that being grounded in the world is not un-spiritual; it is the result of spiritual awareness. I was not going to transcend the world by denying my observations and experiences of it. I had to first accept those before I could begin to transcend the world.
The funny thing is, these mistakes led me to look deeper into ACIM’s teachings. I kept thinking that it couldn’t mean just what it said on the surface. And I found that deeper meaning every time I sought it with the Holy Spirit. I found a singular, profound, cohesive message that I eventually expressed in my translation of ACIM into plain, everyday language. Oh, well. Even our mistakes have their uses if they are given to the Holy Spirit!
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