A Course in Miracles

Thảo luận trong 'Sách tiếng nước ngoài' bắt đầu bởi assam1719, 2/10/13.

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    A COURSE IN MIRACLES is an astonishing set of three books that are now available in one combined volume printed on "bible-thin" paper. For those unfamiliar with "the Course" (as "students" are inclined to call it), it is not a class, a cult, or a religion. The Course is set up in the format of a class, with a Text, a Workbook For Students, and a Manual for Teachers and is primarily intended to be studied on one's own. But many students like to form "study groups." Neither approach to studying the Course is "right" or "wrong."

    The Course is a non-dual system of spiritual psychotherapy. Non-dual means that there is no "good" or "bad," there are no opposites. A common mistake people make in interpreting the non-duality of A COURSE IN MIRACLES is to think it means that only the "good" things in the world are real and that the "bad" things aren't. The Course could therefore be seen as just an extension of "New Age Positivism." A next logical step in this misunderstanding of Course theory is to focus on the "good" things in the world and to be contemptuous of those who do not agree with you about what is good. This is where we can get caught in the trap of attempting to "enlighten" others. What the Course's non-duality really means is that the very concept of "good" and "bad" is an illusion. This points to the profound metaphysical teaching that our personal identities themselves are illusions. And since the Course aims at "removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence" (Introduction, p. 2), it could even be thought of as a type of "negativism." Ultimately, Love is all that is real. But the Course teaches that this world was not made by Love and is not a loving place. Trying to make this world loving is futile.

    Many people have commented that the Course really is not all that "new" in this point-of-view because Hinduism and schools of Buddhism have been teaching non-duality for millennia. But the Course even goes beyond those forms of non-duality by saying that the world is not only an illusion, it is an illusion made by the ego as an attack on God (workbook p. 403). God is all perfect, loving, eternal, changeless, formless, and no division or opposites reside within Him. (The Course uses the masculine term for God exclusively, but acknowledges that this is just a symbol. Since God is formless and timeless and is not anthropomorphic, God does not have a body and cannot be either male or female.) If we look around the world we will see that everything in it will either change or die, has an opposite, and has a physical form. God cannot have created the world we see since God only creates like Himself. The Course says this is a dream world, and there is no difference between our "waking" and "sleeping" dreams. Both are insane.

    Everything the Course says is on the level of content, not form. The Course only offers advice on how we should "perceive" things, not how we should "do" things. When the Course says to be defenseless it is really just pointing back to its metaphysical teaching that we are not our bodies but are Spirit. If we are Spirit then we are defenseless because Spirit is eternal and changeless. When the Course says to be defenseless it means to "remind ourselves" that our true reality is not in this world but in the "Real World" of Spirit. And that is what the Course refers to as a "miracle": a change in perception. We are to change our perception of ourselves. No behavior in this world, no rituals, no amount of group study, no advertising the Course itself, will bring us salvation. The Course teaches that "my salvation comes from me," and it means that only we can "save" ourselves by changing our minds about ourselves.

    The Course is not "literally" channeled from Jesus. In A COURES IN MIRACLES "the Name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol. But it stands for a love that is not of this world" (Manual For Teachers p. 58). Jesus in A COURSE IN MIRACLES could easily be replaced with the words "Higher Mind" "Christ Consciousness" "Cosmic Consciousness" or any other name to denote Eternal Love. When Helen Schucman said the Course was channeled from Jesus, she meant it came from that place in her mind that is still in touch with the completely abstract non-temporal and non-physical awareness of only Love. The reason she chose the word "Jesus" to denote that awareness is because there is so much pain centered on the word and figure of Jesus ("Some bitter idols have been made of him who would be only brother to the world." Manual for Teachers, p. 88). Jesus is the most powerful and important man and concept in the western world. Indeed, even our calendar marks the days since his death. If we in the Western world are to truly heal from the pain we are in and the mess we have made of things we will need to look at our most powerful symbols and teachers. As the Course teaches, individual identity is ultimately illusory and so Jesus is just an illusion as well. But in the Course he is used as a symbol for our Inner Teacher and for Eternal Love. This helps to correct the idea that our supreme symbol of love, as indeed Jesus has been purported to be, wants us to suffer. Ultimately, all concepts of Jesus only exist in our minds and we therefore need to change our minds about Jesus.
    This is the deepest and most profound book I've ever read. And I have a ridiculously large collection of books.
    It also contains breathtaking concepts, that resonate with the simple, ironic beauty characteristic of profound universal truth. Even the physicists, cosmologists, mathematicians have remarked they use the same criteria of beauty and elegance as a helpful evaluation to help vet new candidate laws of nature.

    ACIM presents spiritual truths so concise and raw, so pure, that one must often spend days or weeks (or more) studying + praying + meditating upon a single passage. Then one may begin to achieve first insights into a passage, and begin to apply it directly to one's life. With insight revealed by each passage, you'll become more and more aware of the miraculous spiritual world which is true life (all else being false dream).

    This book DOES teach miracles. I will offer you an example.

    In everyday life you cross paths with countless strangers. Many you meet for a moment, and never again. For example, you'll exchange a few casual words of courtesy with the grocery store cashier, as your items are rung up. Somehow it became "normal" to view such interactions as inconsequential; most of us eventually became a bit numb to the souls around us. We don't notice their spiritual and emotional needs. We forgot how to truly see others and to love.

    Haven't we had enough of "normal" mundane existence!

    Let's now re-imagine our "inconsequential" daily interactions in a new, deeply spiritual and profound way, transforming these interactions into most consequential miracles.

    That cashier ringing up your groceries may be quite happy - OR she might be hiding severe depression which has her that very moment thinking about how she'll commit suicide later that evening after work. Her soul may be in that much pain. She needs a miracle encounter, and without it she'll be dead later that evening.

    First, you understand you can never personally "make" miracles happen. Miracles are never under your command. You can only ready your consciousness through purification, making yourself a willing channel / vehicle through which God performs miracles.

    We start by caring, extending that care even to random "strangers" we encounter. We open our heart and hold precious a deep concern for the well-being (and advancement) of other souls. That spiritual intent awakens one to sense the pain in other souls, even when hidden under many layers. Meditation & prayer, tools of spiritual purification awaken us to see the true beauty and purity of other souls, even when they themselves do not see it, even when others may perceive them as "unattractive" in appearance or personality.

    This book teaches how to be a willing channel through which miracles can be worked (and that is only one aspect of the overall spiritual development the book cultivates). This is fundamentally NOT an intellectual exercise of reading a concept, memorizing, analyzing it logically, and then thinking that rote approach will turn you into a "miracle worker" It doesn't work that way. This is a non-rational, non-intellectual, non-linear workshop for your soul, a process for which intellectually reading each sentence is only the very first step. Next comes convulsions of prayer and meditation in which you humbly surrender, quieting your ego and will, and pleading God to fill you, and to reveal the meaning of the passage to your heart. You may find yourself on the floor in tears, out of spiritual longing to know God, or at least to know the spiritual meaning a sentence. Beyond saying that, the process is intensely personal, and beyond words' ability to describe it.

    CLARIFICATION: some reading this have misunderstood why I've described a helpful mindset (or heartset) for approaching God as a humbly begging and pleading for God's intervention.

    I'm not implying God is an anthropomorphic Being who ignores you until you've prostrated yourself sufficiently and only then grants you mercy. Always remember ACIM concepts are death to your ego (ego being nothing anyway) so the ego always wants to "hijack" your spiritual process, stalling it. A humble admission that your ego and will are useless to your spiritual growth, and your resignation, entreating God to intervene, is a prerequisite (along with meditation) to quiet your ego, preventing it hijacking the process. We willfully walked away (from God's love) long ago. We forgot the path back. The ego depends upon keeping the path forgotten, avoiding the path back. We must humbly beg God to be shown the path back. It is the only Way.

    A helpful suggestion is to use each sentence in ACIM as a meditation, where pondering a concept will often bubble up to your conciousness, to your heart, your longing to again know God's love. It is very good thing to reawaken how much we long to know God; immediately let that sacred longing move you to directly entreat God in personal prayer, speaking to God that your paramount desire is no longer some ACIM sentence, BUT INSTEAD YOU CARE ONLY TO ONCE AGAIN KNOW AND FEEL GOD'S LOVE! Nothing else matters. That is a purity of prayer and intent. Trust me: that is the most direct path, because true knowing of the ACIM concepts is a natural outcome (biproduct) of direct movement of your Consciousness back to God.

    Does God see us, perceive us walking a path back to God? No! God knows no separation from anything. ACIM devotee's with egos that have hijacked their spiritual process, are often heard making attack remarks to others such as: "You DON'T need to walk back to God; you're already there! Stop praying TO God. You're already ONE WITH God!"

    We must start with honesty about where we are: in our ego consciousness we view ourselves as separate from God. You cannot short-cut the spiritual work of unwinding that by tritely remarking "OK, I'm ONE with God now...well because I've said that I am."

    How many steps are needed to gently reveal to the pysche the blinding purity of God's love that we turned away from, and then subequently forgot to avoid remembering that unbearable loss? It can be done in one step; you just have to miss God's love so much that you'll let fall away the entire complex structure of your identity as you now know it, including ego and will, all in one convulsive step! I think you get my point. In most cases, we resign to walk back to God in our hearts, step-by-step with God's help, progressively shedding, deconstructing our ego, our identity, our self-determined will, each step of the way.

    Let's return to our example involving the cashier.

    God KNOWS the precise sentiment and the exact few words you must communicate to that cashier, in order to miraculously lift her soul and prevent her suicide. This will not merely prevent her suicide that evening, but will transform her life in a matter of a few seconds. She will forever think of herself on a higher level, more clearly seeing her own spiritual perfection, and that will change her life. That is the miracle! And it is reciprocal: our soul is lifted as we help others.

    Your heart is open, allowing you to sense the pain of another soul, in this case a total stranger ringing out your groceries. You have made yourself ready for this moment through prayer, meditation, and reading ACIM.

    You see the cashier with spiritual seeing, as one looks at a beautiful sunset, meditatively. You don't see his or her "depression." Instead you see perfect, precious Spirit; that is, you see absolute truth about the angelic nature of another, and God can help you let that person see that in your eyes, in your soul!

    In the moment of your love, and your deep willingness to help, your mind clears as you wait fearlessly for God to work a miracle through you. And God does.

    You'll hear sentences come out of your mouth that you did not intellectually formulate from any ego or logic-driven process. You'll understand those words came from Above. Those sentences were so perfectly matched to meet the needs of the soul of that cashier in that moment, you could not possibly have originated those words in your intellect. Often the words will even reference secret events or feelings in the life of the stranger that you have no prior knowledge of!

    The reaction of that person to those spontaneous words will be most amazing, because that person is stunned to see and feel that you (a total stranger) has out of LOVE, looked into the hidden recesses of their heart and soul, and - despite seeing their secret pain - has instead seen their true angelic beauty shimmering like a million stars!

    Often the total stranger will immediately burst into the happiest of tears of joy. They may look up at you with tears streaming down their face, but with their face glowing with a huge, happy smile, as if you've just saved their life and they are eternally grateful. And in some cases you may have in fact saved their life, preventing a suicide. However, all the work was by God, acting through you.

    You may find yourself spontaneously embracing that person with a warm hug and sharing their tears of joy - all done with countless strangers watching on, perplexed by it.

    Then you walk out of the store. The miracle has happened and you know it will work spiritual power in the life of that person blessed by it.

    Now it often happens, not always, but sometimes, you'll encounter that same person many years later. Twenty years later you might be running an errand or whatever, and suddenly a "stranger" walks up to you and looks at you lovingly as if you are a long-lost sibling, and says with heartfelt intensity:

    "Long ago, you saved my life by speaking a few words to me in a grocery store! I could NEVER forget you! Thank you!"

    And of course you remember and recognize that person; impossible to forget a miracle!

    If you understand that example, and you have started to understand what is inside this most miraculous book.

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