by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff
A lady at a resort in the Catskills says, “The food here is terrible!”
Her friend replies, “Yes, and they give you such small portions.”
I always chuckle and shake my head at this joke because it really illustrates the situation of the world. We rant and rave about this problem and that person, but we’re still dining on that “terrible” food!
While we are not going to completely stop sneaking a taste of suffering all at once, we do need to start making a concerted effort to stop repeating the problem. That’s why the workbook of A Course in Miracles is so powerful. It keeps pointing us back to what we are doing, where we are holding our unforgiving thoughts — our “blocks to the awareness of love’s presence,” as the Course’s introduction to the text puts it.
Students of the Course are indebted to its co-scribe, Bill Thetford, for giving us a succinct definition of a miracle. He said a miracle is a shift in perception that removes the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence. That, in a nutshell, is the gist of the entire Course. We are here to refocus our perception, to see the miracle God would have us see (which is the truth in every situation and in every person) and not dwell in the “valley of the shadow of death,” where the ego has made our bed and believes we have to lie in it.
God never sees us as unworthy or condemned by our actions or thoughts, but rather He knows us as “His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased.” (T-4.I.8) If we truly knew that God loved us, we could come out of the shadows and not fear His wrath, which is nothing more than a figment of our insane thinking. It is not the love of God that keeps us in hell; it is the fear of God. And this fear is simply a mistake. We need a miracle to help us remember Who we are and Who God truly is.
So, in short: God loves us, is well pleased in us (the truth about us, not our ego actions), and it is His great pleasure that we abide in His Kingdom of love.
For us to experience this, we need to remove the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence through the miracle. That might seem difficult, but He helps us even in this. He knows how much we believe in our blocks, and so all we need do is invite His loving Answer (through the Holy Spirit) into our suffering and pain and “let healing come.” (Lesson 137)
We must, however, be willing to let this healing come to us again and again and again — even when the “terrible food” seems like such a small portion that we can’t get enough of.
“The Holy Spirit’s Voice is as loud as your willingness to listen.” (T-8.VIII.7)
“Be not afraid to circumvent the voices of the world. Walk lightly past their meaningless
persuasion. Hear them not. Be still today and listen to the truth.
Let me be still and listen to the truth.” (Lesson 106)