As much as I resonate with the overall teachings in A Course in Miracles (ACIM) (see part 1), there are some explanations in the book that I prefer to deviate from. Specifically, I address in this post my thoughts on the absence of the divine feminine figure, the relevance of the body, and the interpretation of magic in ACIM. While these areas of dissonance can be interpreted as matters of semantics or even as my ego’s limited perception of reality, I believe that our experiences and inner guidance are also the lessons that Spirit has for us to teach and learn during our lifetime on Earth. Since we embark on individual life paths in each of our irreplaceable incarnations, our individual truths are also sacred in and of themselves.

“When the student is really ready, the teacher disappears”

When I first started reading ACIM, I tried to ignore the fact that every (holy) figure, including the reader, was masculine. Like the language of the Bible, God is our father, we are all brothers, and the Holy Spirit is the He who knows. So I searched online for explanations. The consensus was that during the time when Jesus would’ve been alive, women were not eligible for inheritances. Accordingly, to inherit the Kingdom of God, everyone, including women, was all one under the Son of God.

Supposedly, as a woman, I should be grateful for this level of inclusive thinking…But no, I’m not convinced. The book was scribed in the 1970s by Helen Schucman from the voice of Jesus. But by that time, Jesus would’ve been speaking to a world that had already gone through significant feminist movements. Moreover, there must be a spiritual reason why women had been subjugated in most cultures throughout history in the first place. So, with a bit of mental gymnastics, a thought came to mind: Who is it to say that women are a subset of men (as some religious interpretations would have it)? If we ignore etymology and history, we can also think that men are a subset of women since the word “man” is a part of the word “woman”. But being the embracing spiritualist (bypasser) that I can sometimes be, I finally concluded with the question: Will I let my ego be triggered by a three-letter pronoun and denounce the truth of the text? And so, I kept on reading.

But still, life has been teaching me to trust my intuition, honour my emotions, and return to my body. The lessons of reclaiming the sacred feminine in me were not going away, and that training did not have to conflict with the teachings of ACIM. Therefore, I’ve come to believe that the messages in ACIM, with Jesus as the prototypical sacred masculine, are meant for the divine masculines within all of us. The context of its birth in a university psychology department is aligned with this idea. A place where the thinking mind is allowed to assume that it can know and solve everything and where blind faith is seen as irrationally foolish, is a good place for reminders that there is a source greater than the human ego.

The sacred feminine and the knowing that we know

While ACIM teaches that we first need to know that we don’t know, the sacred feminine in me has taught me that it’s also ok to know. This revelation first came to me after my PhD defence (which happened online during the peak of Covid-19). While the examination went smoothly for the most part, a bit of tension occurred when the Chair did not agree with the answer I gave to one of her exam questions. Instead of agreeing to disagree, I was subtly “put in my place” as the examinee (and not a peer). To add salt to injury, the external examiner reminded me in a motherly tone near the end of the defence that “it’s ok to not know.”

I passed the defence with an award nomination, but that seemingly small event of friction shook my soul. It was only after a few days of sitting with discomfort that I realized what my higher self was trying to tell me: It’s ok to know. It’s ok to have my own interpretation of the world. Or in other words, my personal truth and the universal truths that I intuitively know, just because I know, are valid.

The most disappointing detail of this story was that my truth was undermined by women. However, this is not surprising. The voice of the sacred feminine has been discredited in many ways: in and beyond traditional social justice narratives; in my life as events similar to this one that have left me feeling patronized; in larger cultural manifestations such as the depreciation of Mother Earth’s power through an environmental narrative that relegates her as a damsel who needs saving; and how esoteric knowledge, historically practiced by women, had been witch-hunted in the past and is still dismissed in institutions.

Yet, these forms of knowledge have now found mass popularity in the New Age movement. So, I have a feeling that in the 1970s, the rift between men and women, and the archetypal masculine and feminine, were too far apart that our collective spiritual growth had to remain polarized and separate. But something in the air feels different in recent years. The evolution of humanity has reached a point where the sacred feminine is ready to return to our consciousness. 

The body: our spiritual home on Earth

While Mother Earth is the feminine embodiment of our planetary home, our bodies are the physical homes that gives space to our life experiences. However, ACIM reminds us that we are not our bodies, and the body is what gives us the illusion that we are separate. Although this teaching is true in that we are consciousness, the body is also the only place where we can experience the oneness of our conscious presence.

Of course, you can always argue that because oneness is the natural state of the universe, the illusion of separation, and therefore, our bodies and our egos are fundamentally spiritual errors. But if that is so, and we can live peacefully in the unmanifested state of oneness, why would any spiritual entity want to incarnate as a human being? Why would we want to be here in a world of timelines, narratives, and bodies?

Perhaps, the opposition we see between our spiritual existence and our corporeality as living beings is the actual illusion of separation? Perhaps, this illusion is what has been causing our pathology of placelessness as a species? Perhaps, our inability to reconcile these two realities is what drives us (now and in the past) to settle for hastier routes to oneness through death, violence, and destruction? ACIM notes that the ego wants to kill us, but perhaps, the ego isn’t really a villain and is merely an ineffective advisor who tries to sell us lazy short-cuts to our goals?

So, somewhere along the path of my healing, I realized that we are here to bring Heaven to Earth. We are here to learn to live with time and narratives, through our bodies, in a state of unity. In this time in history, this “we” may only include those who feel called to take on the role of a “lightworker,” but ultimately, this “we” will become our collective destiny and purpose as human beings.

But before we can feel the bliss of Heaven, whatever Hell on Earth that has been created so far, repressed and locked in our bodies must be freed and expressed, not through violence or projection, but through radical truth and acceptance. So, ultimately, we cannot deny the value of our bodies if we want to be “awakened”. Rather, the body is our key to returning to our spiritual home on Earth.

In defence of magic

When I think of our embodied presence here on Earth, I can’t help but think of the magic of a forest. So, the last topic I want to address is the interpretation of magic and miracles. Now, ACIM uses these two terms very specifically and differently from how we normally use them. Magic is related to the psychological condition of magical thinking—the error of a causal link between unrelated events. However, in ACIM, this magical thinking applies to all cause and effect between the world and the mind. A miracle is the realization that this cause and effect is just an illusion because the world is always a creation of the mind. The error in believing that the mind can go outside of itself to fix the world and the self, and vice versa, that the world has power over us, hinders our access to forgiveness (atonement) and universal love.

This all makes sense to me conceptually, but what I find tricky with ACIM and many other spiritual teachings is the challenge to get past the “mind’s” conditioning, in particular, the conditioning of language. Therefore, spiritual truth often becomes a circular reference that many “minds” cannot decipher (e.g., “Form is emptiness; Emptiness is form,” from the Heart Sutra). So before we can even unravel our attachments to particular definitions of magic, we have to contend with the word “mind.”

Put simply, the creative mind in ACIM (and the law of attraction) isn’t the thinking mind. The error in believing so, with the Cartesian foundation of “I think, therefore, I am,” has set us off on a destructive trajectory since The Age of (Philosophical) Enlightenment. Rather, this creative mind refers to the Dreamer—the mind that dreams the world into being, through ethereally connected and separate bodies of spiritual existence. The physical laws, scientific conclusions, and social norms we operate from are the world-building rules we’ve set up for this dream.

So, while I can get behind ACIM’s description of the error in our universal magical thinking, the dreamer in me prefers to safeguard our Earthly definition of magic because it gives room for the rules of our dream world (i.e., our perceptive reality) to change. You can say that surrendering to the Holy Instant and the allowing of miracles as described in ACIM does the same thing, but my surrendering to the grace of miracles requires a certain kind of magic. This magic is the nourishment my Inner Child needs to remain innocent in the face of the ego’s temptations to persuade her that she is guilty.  

ACIM states, “Miracles fall like drops healing rain from Heaven on a dry and dusty world, where starved and thirsty creatures come to die.” So ironically, miracles that can only be bestowed from a Kingdom of Heaven that floats in the skies of our minds can only see our world as dry and dusty, death as pitiful, and our existence in physical form as pointless. Yet, the magic of the Innocent Child is grounded through Heaven on Earth.

Nurtured by the Earth Mother, this magic is fertile. It reminds us that life is a miracle in itself. Contrarily, death also supports life. A dead tree is a habitat for many organisms. And animals sustain life by consuming what has already died. We don’t need to condemn anyone or start a war to return to oneness. We are complete in our existence exactly as we are, right here, right now. Because life and death already exist, oneness is already here.

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