“Today we answer for the world, which will be freed along with us. How glad are we to find our freedom through the certain way our Father has established. And how sure is all the world’s salvation, when we learn our freedom can be found in God alone.” Workbook page 462, Lesson 321.
We search for ways to achieve freedom in this illusory world. We think that perhaps when we have paid off the mortgage or no longer need to go to work that we will be free. Or we think we can become free if we end a relationship or if we travel around the world with no commitments and no ties. But is this the way to freedom? No matter what we choose to do with our short, little lives, they ultimately come to an end. Can death be called freedom? We are not freer after death than we are whilst alive because death will simply lead to rebirth unless we have become liberated before dying.
The wise try hard to find a path that will lead them Home; there are so many paths and A Course in Miracles is just one of them. It does not suit everybody because it is a very radical teaching. Students of ACIM know that the only real function of their physical form is to be a means of communication. So they offer information about these teachings to those who show an interest. This is helpful because ACIM might be their path back Home. Some who hear the teachings will walk away from them or even pour scorn on them. Yet this is all right. It means that A Course in Miracles is not for them and, hopefully, they will find a more suitable path.
On the other hand, some people who hear about A Course in Miracles become passionate about it. This is because the Course is their path and it will lead them Home. A key teaching of ACIM is that we are lost here on earth in an illusory world created at the time of the separation by the mind that split in two. We are, in fact, trapped here because we really believe we are here; actually, we are still at Home with God but are unaware of it. “You are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality.” T182.
If we think we can find freedom in this world, we will remain trapped here. Hence the importance of Lesson 321, which reiterates that true freedom can only found by following the Voice for God. “...Father, I have searched in vain until I heard Your Voice directing me. Now I would guide myself no more. For I have neither made nor understood the way to find my freedom. But I trust in You...” W462.
The first step to take when seeking to extricate ourselves from the world of the ego is to recognise that it is illusory. And it is also important to realise that all the distractions we have created simply serve to keep us focused upon the world of form. “No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected.” T202. Once we are ready to accept that the world of duality is unreal, we are then able to focus on turning towards the Kingdom of God. We will still, of course, have physical needs and preferences, and there is nothing wrong with that provided we don’t lose sight of the goal—which is awakening from our collective dream.
Awakening from the dream is not an unpleasant experience and Jesus tells us in the Course, “There is no need to learn through pain. And gentle lessons are acquired joyously, and are remembered gladly. What gives you happiness you want to learn and not forget...” T446. He goes on to explain the reason why we may not be a “happy learner” is that we are still uncertain about our goal. We are not yet sure that we should ignore the ego and turn from wrong-mindedness to right-mindedness by following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Yet, there is a part of us which vaguely remembers what it was like before the separation from God. “...You could remember, yet you are afraid, believing you would lose the world you learned since then. And yet you know that nothing in the world you learned is half so dear as this. Listen, and see if you remember an ancient song you knew so long ago and held more dear than any melody you taught yourself to cherish since.”
That paragraph on page 447 of the Text is followed by one of the most beautiful and evocative passages in the whole Course. “Beyond the body, beyond the sun and stars, past everything you see and yet somehow familiar, is an arc of golden light that stretches as you look into a great and shining circle. And all the circle fills with light before your eyes. The edges of the circle disappear, and what is in it is no longer contained at all. The light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity forever shining and with no break or limit anywhere. Within it everything is joined in perfect continuity. Nor is it possible to imagine that anything could be outside, for there is nowhere that this light is not. This is the vision of the Son of God, whom you know well...”
That is a description of what it will be like when we awaken from the dream and return to our pre-separation state. When we are able to remember this vision, we will have achieved a miracle. Moreover, our awakening will hasten the awakening of others. “...What is a miracle but this remembering? And who is there in whom this memory lies not? The light in one awakens it in all. And when you see it in your brother, you are remembering for everyone.” T447.
We see the light in others by never judging them and always forgiving them. We have the Holy Spirit at our side to guide us when we need His help. All we have to do is to remember to call upon him. When upset or irritated or sad or lonely just call upon Him and wait quietly for His response. It may not come instantly but, if we continue to call upon Him, we will eventually hear Him. Lesson 327 assures us of this: “I need but call and You will answer me. I am not asked to take salvation on the basis of an unsupported faith. For God has promised He will hear my call, and answer me Himself...”
The important thing to remember is that salvation will never be found in our world, however much happiness we may experience here. The renowned ACIM teacher, Ken Wapnick, on page 52 of his book, From Futility to Happiness, stresses, “It is imperative to see how miserable our existence is, even when it seems to work, which it often seems to do. In the end, however, all worldly experience comes to naught, for everything here comes to an end...” But there is no need to be pessimistic about the inherent meaninglessness of life because, as he explains on page 80, “However, what does give it meaning is seeing that it affords us the opportunity of learning this is a dream from which we can awaken.”
When we have taken the decision to definitely awaken we will understand and agree with these words in Lesson 321: “...Father, my freedom is in You alone. Father, it is my will that I return.”
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