Testing the Path
I was amused to find that Bernadette Roberts (What is Self?) took the same approach to her path that I took to mine: Wanting the Truth, we have both been willing to dump what we thought we already knew and valued if we found it was erroneous. And we both used the same test: We would let go of ideas and experiences we valued and if they hung around we’d know they were true. I let go of the Holy Spirit often at the beginning, only to find It was still here.
Another approach I often took to test my path was to dump all concepts and look only at my own direct experiences. What do they teach me? I trust experience, not words in a book or someone else’s experience. Those only resonate when they align with my experiences. I never wanted to fit my experiences into preset concepts, but rather allow concepts to arise from my experience. Having said that, sometimes it was not until I read another’s experience that I would find a way to describe my own.
Reading others on different paths I have been struck by how their understanding of their experiences is shaped by their path. Since Ms. Roberts tested her path, I trust her putting her experiences in the context of her path.
There came a time as my path unfolded where I put A Course in Miracles aside—along with spirituality altogether. This was baffling, but organic. I could not feign an interest I no longer had. But when it came time to get back on the path—which I didn’t even sense until it happened—it was ACIM and I knew I would never drop it again.
Which isn’t to say I didn’t try. Soon after coming back to it, it came time to teach it. I had come back with fresh eyes and understood the whole instead of just some parts. But teaching it in a study group, I was frustrated with its form. Its language is dense and, I felt, unnecessarily convoluted. It flips between being literal and being metaphorical and it takes long study to discern which is which. Its symbols are archaic; its language, if not actually sexist, disregards half the human population. I was aware that it translates symbols that had been used for fear into benign or loving symbols, basically “correcting” what Christianity has done to Christ, and that was lovely, but still required a lot of explanation. It is a difficult tool with which to teach. Each class I felt I had to hack through jungle just to get to the path. Eventually I translated it into plain language (The Message of A Course in Miracles and Practicing A Course in Miracles/The Way of A Course in Miracles) and wrote 4 Habits for Inner Peace, which many say is ACIM lite.
Despite my frustration, however, I could not get rid of it. When my “training” was over and it was time to teach other “teachers of God” one-on-one, I put it in the name of my life-coaching practice, ACIM Mentor. I felt inextricably linked to it. Eventually, my own study of it fell away and I only read it with others. But, still, it has continued to shape my path. It is the only teaching that brings it all together for me; it is the only one that validates all my experiences. Time and again, when I dump all concepts and look only to my experiences, my experiences show me what ACIM teaches.
But having read of others who also followed a singular path and seen how their path has shaped their understanding of their experiences while their experiences have illuminated their path, I can yet see how important it is to hold one’s own path loosely. In other words, walk your path earnestly, but not too seriously. Nothing this side of Truth is absolute; nothing this side of Truth is real.
ACIM is difficult to understand and often challenging to practice. If you want support and guidance from someone who has been there email me at Liz@acimmentor.com to set up an appointment for mentoring. Learn more at www.acimmentor.com.