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.

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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.

Comments

Harper said…
Thank you, Liz. This is a beautiful reminder, instantly turning my attention to simple awareness of what is, clean and unburdened of interpretation. I love you.
Francis said…
Liz I have often wondered why the Course was delivered in such an obtuse format given fits intended purpose to deliver truth to not-truth world. Your translation blew open the windows with a gush of fresh air. A true saving of time. Any thoughts?
sister said…
dearest Liz,

thank you for this sharing. it has given me the opportunity to take a closer look at my relationship with the Course as my path.

i am experiencing a growing awareness that my path has become defined by a deepening Relationship with and as a student of the Inner Presence of Love that the text and lessons have opened up for me. i continue to study the text and work with the lessons as a means of strengthening It. the Course is my way into this Relationship. it is this Relationship that has become my deep well.

this has been a helpful clarification. in grateful Love, a sister
will said…
Our minds run at 100mph, 24 hours a day. Not much can penetrate this wall of speed. Even the Holy Spirit is kept at bay.

The Text trains (forces) the personal mind to slow down to a crawl. We end up reading a word at a time and even then having to re-read the whole sentence.

Can you imagine the Buddha's mind running 100mph beneath that calm exterior:-)

This is the proper speed to live the Course. Even your walking speed will slow down. For the first time in your life you will find you can really listen to what others are saying.
will said…
It forces the mind to what feels like a crawl when reading the Text.
will said…
Liz,
We Forgive thoughts within the split mind (not personal mind), thoughts that never happened. Have I got that right?
will said…
Liz,
Since "we" created guilt and the world then each of "us" is the Decision Maker?
ACIM Mentor said…
Will, you are *a* split-mind (decision maker/observer/Son of God). You can forgive the thoughts you have that give you an emotional charge. You're telling yourself some story that makes you upset.

The world (consciousness/existence) was made in the idea that it is possible to be separate from God. That resulted in a seemingly split-mind as well. They're the same thing, really. Guilt is just a belief that this (sin) is possible.
will said…
Liz,
I thought I was understanding Forgiveness in the context of non-dualism.

I don't know, I was up all night with the excitement of finally putting the pieces together. I felt that I finally had a real understanding of Forgiveness. I guess I was wrong.
ACIM Mentor said…
Yes, Will, true forgiveness is the awareness that only God is real. But if that is not your experience, using that idea only leads to denial. So, to begin, in practice you recognize how you make your experience (your world) with your thoughts.
will said…
I,I,I ...
The night seemed like a mix of the Holy Instant and Holy Spirit teaching. That doesn't mean it was. I'll have to think about it...or not.
will said…
That is what was happening. It was REAL, not the make believe stuff of the past 16 years. It has become comfortable over the past two weeks. It is not the pretend stuff. Anyway...
will said…
Thanks for the feedback.
will said…
No problems Liz. The Holy Spirit won't leave me out here hanging. The blog as a place to put your thoughts out in front of you so you can see what is going on is an invaluable tool. Much thanks as always.

Still in the Slipstream!

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