by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff
“Change is the only constant in life,” so said Heraclitus, a pre-Socractic Greek philosopher who lived around 500 BC. He was right way back then, and he is right today. One thing that doesn’t seem to change, however, is conflict. A Course in Miracles says. “Conflict is the root of all evil, for being blind it does not see whom it attacks. Yet it always attacks the Son of God, and the Son of God is you.” (T-11.III.1.7) As you can see, conflict is the antithesis of a holy encounter. A holy encounter shows us the commonality in a situation and ourselves, whereas conflict shows only the separation.
There is lots of conflict occurring in our country right now. Safety concerns verses gun rights, immigration rights verses deportation, pro-choice verses pro-life, and the list goes on. Conflict reigns. Who’s right? Who’s wrong?
A man who was facilitating A Course in Miracles study group had a conflict arise in his group meeting one night. On one side was a man who was sure his interpretation of a particular passage from the Course was right. On the other side was a man who was sure his interpretation was most “Course-like” and therefore the truth. Conflict took place, as others in the group began taking sides. “Who is right and who is wrong?” wondered the facilitator, as the insanity ruled.
The next day, deciding to find the truth concerning the controversial passage, the facilitator called his friend, Bill Thetford, co-scribe of A Course in Miracles. Certainly the man who was jointly responsible for the Course’s dictation would know who was right.
I would have ripped out the page in the Course that contained that passage…”
After explaining the events of the previous evening, he asked Bill how he would have handled the situation. “I would have ripped out the page in the Course that contained that passage,” Bill said, “for nothing, not even A Course in Miracles, is worth the separation of two brothers.”
“Nothing is worth the separation of two brothers.” Those are powerful words, with a powerful meaning. In a world of conflict, a world of rights and wrongs, the real solution is to heal the thought of separation.
So, what does this mean for the conflicting issues in our lives? It means our goal must be one of unity, not of focusing on who or what is right or wrong. The desire in our hearts must be for healing the thought of separation between our brothers in whatever conflict that seems to exist. This is the “little willingness” that is asked of us, so that God’s Answer, the Holy Spirit, can show us the way: What to say, what to do, and where to go.
Healing can and will occur, but not on the level of the problem. We must look “above the battleground” to see that the solution always lies in healing the thought of separation, in experiencing a holy encounter.
“Nothing is worth the separation of two brothers.” Let us take Bill’s advice and remember that no issue, no “right” or “wrong,” no conflict is worth separating us from our unity with each other (which is our true Self) and from our true home.
“Heaven is the home of perfect purity, and God created it for you. Look on your holy brother, sinless as yourself, and let him lead you there.” (T-22.II.13.6)
P.S. July 4th of this year will mark the 31st anniversary of the passing, or as the Course would say, “liberation” of Bill Thetford, co-scribe of A Course in Miracles. Days before Bill’s death, he was dancing around and commenting to friends that he was now flexible — that all his relationships were so perfectly at peace. The practice of the Course had allowed him to move past the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence and embrace the peace of God that is within us all now. May we follow Bill’s advice and use each day as a day to be liberated from the chains of the ego, embrace the freedom of God’s love, and live a flexible life of joy! Thanks for the reminder, Bill. We remain grateful for you!