Note: This article was written by a student of A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and assumes some ACIM knowledge.
Before you decide not to read this, please give me one minute of your time.
Ok, set your timer, just one minute. First off, I’m not talking about living in a cave, or giving up your life, I’m talking about the meditation that Jesus talks about in ACIM. Ok, I have about 45 seconds. For the rest of this minute I am going to ask you to be as brutally honest with yourself, as much as you can muster. If you read the title and found a dislike, a judgement, an aversion to it then I would ask you to write down what that thought was, or it may be several thoughts. Go ahead write them down. Maybe the thoughts were something like …”It’s not necessary and a waste of time”, or maybe they were along the lines of “I would like to but I don’t have time”, or maybe it was something like “what would my friends think”, or maybe it was something like “oh I know how to meditate there is nothing else to learn here”. Whatever the thoughts were, they are precious to you right now. They hold the key to your release! Next I ask you, with all my heart because our salvation rests on it, with as much willingness you can find, go into a self inquiry with Spirit for each thing you wrote. Work with each of those thoughts uncovering the thought below it until you reach that “Aha!!!” moment when you discover the root! Now with Spirit’s help ask to forgive yourself of that root, false belief and let it go and in the process heal our mind! When you are done with that please join us back here if you want to. I think my minute is up now.
For everyone still here and those rejoining us, Welcome!
I have been interested in how meditation can be useful in my practicing what the Course is teaching. In actually doing the Course. I wonder how important or helpful it is to my salvation. I see that Jesus uses it in his teaching in the Workbook and it is referred to in the text and supplemental material. If Jesus keeps bringing it up he must find it helpful, right?
By the way, as thoughts start to surface of not liking, judging or aversion please follow the step of self inquiry above because these are the blocks to Love’s presence which we are all trying to uncover! Congratulations you just bumped into one!
In the workbook Jesus starts us out early in the lessons closing our eyes and going inside. He starts us out for only a few minutes at first and then increases the duration as he goes, leading us to the point where we choose with Spirit how long to stay focused inside. He calls it mind training. And with any training we know that we have to start out with what we are capable of at that time, with the understanding as we practice we will become capable of handling more. We each need to proceed at our own pace based on our own capabilities and willingness to progress.
The workbook starts out using a mediation technique of leading us through the meditation, using our mind or imagination. In several places Jesus asks us to walk through the clouds of our misbeliefs to arrive at the light of Love’s presence. Eventually he brings us to lesson 189 where he asks us to set aside every thought we have. He’s asking us to not use the mind or the imagination, he is asking us to come to this place of silence and rest, empty. Where there is no past, there is no future, there is no guilt or fear, there are no things, or any thoughts. In this place of awareness we observe ourself. This is what Jesus is referring to when he talks about a clean slate in lesson 65:6:4 “on this clean slate let my true function be written for me.”
The Course teaches us that the goal in this place we find ourselves now is to be in our right mind, and to see the real world. And if we talk about right mind then there must be another part of the mind. This is what the Course refers to as a split mind with the parts being the right mind and the ego mind. Please bear with me on this review here. It helps me to get it all straight so I can continue.
Actually this would be helpful to look at now. In the clarification of term it says “consciousness is the receptive mechanism,receiving messages from above or below; from Holy Spirit or the ego. Consciousness has levels and awareness can shift quite dramatically, but it cannot transcend the perceptual realm. At its highest it becomes aware of the real world, and can be trained to do so increasingly.” Ok, this is saying we have consciousness. We have a receptive mechanism receiving messages. With consciousness we are listening or receiving messages either from Spirit or the Ego. As we listen to Spirit our level of awareness of our true self is higher then when we are listening to the ego. And our level of awareness can shift dramatically. But what is it saying about the real world? It says that we can become aware of the real world, and can be trained to do so increasingly.
Ahaaaa!! This is where I think meditation can train my mind to be aware of the real world. I’m not saying that this takes the place of all the forgiveness work the course asks us to do.Both of these trainings will lead us Home. If we do both as Jesus is asking us to do we will get there faster. Both of these can help us to recognize what the end goal is, and once we are skilled at it, will provide motivation for us to continue the work.
In lesson 66 it says:
“God gives me only happiness.
He has given my function to me.
Therefore my function must be happiness.”
When we have shifted, as the course says , to receiving messages from the ego we are at a lower level of awareness. At those levels of awareness we have the miracle of forgiveness to restore us to our function of happiness.
When we have shifted to receiving messages from Spirit we have the awareness of knowing who I am as our function which is happiness.
What does the course say about the real world? If we were aware of it, what would it be like? The clarification of terms says in section 4 “where destruction was perceived the face of Christ appears, and in that instant is the world forgot, with time forever ended as the world spins into nothingness from where it came.”
So we can train our minds to forget the world, time, and remember only our Self, the one who has a mechanism for hearing called consciousness. As Jesus asks us in Lesson 189, “Simply do this: be still and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is, all concepts you have learned about the world, all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false or good or bad, or every thought it judges worthy and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught , nor one belief you ever learned before from anything. Forget this world, forget this course, and come with holy empty hands unto your God.
One way I found to practice lesson 189 using meditation is I quiet my mind by sitting comfortably in a quiet uninterrupted place. I let my mind contemplate who am I. I contemplated who I am if I had no arms. I am still me, nothing of who I am changed. As I didn’t have any arms, I am the same in truth. And if I had no legs, the same. I did not change, I’m not any less. And as I let go of the trunk and the head I still do not change. So what am I? I let go of the thought of language. Did I change? No, I am still me. The concept of house and stuff I seem to have, letting go of all that and still I am unchanged. I let go of time, of the past and of the future. Did I change? No, I am still complete. I let go of all thoughts, and still I am still who I am. As I sit with a quiet mind I come to see that I am the one who is awareness itself. And I sit here watching my Self. There is nothing here but my expansive Self. If I become aware of a thought I let it go, I don’t get involved I go back to watching my Self.
Try this for yourself, practice it as often as you can. As you practice what do you discover? What do you feel? As with any training your skill develops over time. I know that as you practice this what you discover will bring you the motivation that Jesus talks about in the introduction to Lesson 181-200, 2:5 “your motivation will be so intensified that words become of little consequence. You will be sure of what you want, and what is valueless.”
I don’t want to say too much or be a spoiler because I want you to discover the truth about yourself, so that when you do discover it you will know it came from Your Self.
For more instruction on the meditative process of awareness watching awareness please see the book The Most Direct Means To Eternal Bliss