by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff
The other night we were watching the movie Titanic. I had forgotten how the movie started. It was all about treasure hunting and how this present day crew was using sophisticated machinery to survey the underwater wreckage of the Titanic. The salvagers were on a hunt for a precious, heart-shaped diamond that was purported to have sunk to the bottom of the sea on the ill-fated ship. The movie starts out as a hunt for a worldly treasure and then quickly turns into an inner journey about real value and treasure in the hearts of people.
Where is your heart? What are you searching for right now? Most of us are on a hunt for something that we think will make us happy…a relationship, job, money, fame “and an endless list of forms of nothingness that you endow with magical powers.” (W-50) A Course in Miracles reminds us all of these things are a replacement for the Love of God.
This is a tough idea to wrap our minds around because we have experienced external things in life that, at times, made us feel better. Those external things were never lasting, though, and we usually set out again in search of something more.
The Course, though, is uncompromising in saying that these things we have endowed with magical powers focus on our body (the forms of the world) and its limited nature; and, in the end, they are all replacements for the love of God that is within us now.
“We understand that you do not believe all this. How could you, when the truth is hidden deep within, under a heavy cloud of insane thoughts, dense and obscuring, yet representing all you see?” (W-41)
With that said, none of those things we search for outside ourselves are wrong or bad; they are simply to be looked at without fear or judgment so they might be healed for us. This is when we can ask for a miracle to heal our perception so that we might move through the “clouds” of insane thoughts.
These clouds are not who you are nor can they stop you from the truth of who you are. These clouds only have the power you give them; in and of themselves, these clouds have no power and are substance-less.
So how do we move forward?
The Course tells us to first begin by sitting quietly, closing our eyes, and focusing beyond what we think we need or want and moving to the light within. It tells us “let your thoughts fly to the peace within.” It reminds us that our thoughts know the way. “For honest thoughts, untainted by the dream of worldly things outside yourself, become the holy messengers of God Himself.” Our honest thoughts are not distracted by worldly things, for they have a single purpose: our peace and healing. When that is our inward focus, we are helped by the Power of love, the Power of God within our minds to keep that focus.
Here’s how the Course instructionally counsels us:
We practice coming nearer to the light in us today. We take our wandering thoughts, and gently bring them back to where they fall in line with all the thoughts we share with God. We will not let them stray. We let the light within our minds direct them to come home. We have betrayed them, ordering that they depart from us. But now we call them back, and wash them clean of strange desires and disordered wishes. We restore to them the holiness of their inheritance.
- We look at our wandering thoughts. These are thoughts that would make you or another “bad” or unworthy. Even if you feel fully justified in your opinions, just be willing, for this moment, to look at them as unemotionally as possible.
- Gently bring them to the awareness of God. Think about it this way: How do you think God sees you or anyone? Most of us would say, at least from the Course’s perspective, that He is not thinking we are unworthy or a failure. He sees our Christ-like reality. In this world, we have made mistakes, but that does not change our reality, which is unalterable. So, dwell for a moment in the truth that no matter how much water has gone under that proverbial bridge, you (and they) are still as God created you, and light and joy and peace do abide in you.
- Don’t let your thoughts stray. Here’s where the “yeah buts” come in. “Yeah but”…I don’t feel loved,…I don’t feel loving,…I don’t feel happy, and an endless list of feelings that are valid from a worldly perspective, but simply not worthy of a child of God. When we let our thoughts stray, we get lost. So, just for this moment, let’s assume that God might know us better than we know ourselves. Trust in His Opinion instead of your own and see if He can lift you, for just a moment, out of the “fantasies and shadows” where you so often dwell.
- Trust that there is a light in you that will direct you home. This light is the truth of your being that is not bound by worldly opinions. No matter how long or how far you think you have traveled from the truth, this light still shines. It is like your own internal lighthouse whose beacon is signaling and directing you home. It is always signaling no matter how rough life may seem or whether we choose to see it. Let us choose to follow the light.
- Finally, realize that you don’t have to fix these thoughts, but simply bring them to the light (the Love of God) that will “wash them clean of strange desires and disordered wishes.” We are all fixers and believe that our precious opinions and activities are necessary to keep this world turning, and that is accurate. If we want to keep the same old worldly patterns of pain, suffering, and fear going, then we will keep repeating the insane pattern of trying to fix everything ourselves. It is now time to join our minds with the Will of God, so we might experience a “fix” that finally ends the suffering and allows us to experience the peace we so richly deserve.
“Thus are our minds restored with them, and we acknowledge that the peace of God still shines in us, and from us to all living things that share our life. We will forgive them all, absolving all the world from what we thought it did to us. For it is we who make the world as we would have it. Now we choose that it be innocent, devoid of sin and open to salvation. And we lay our saving blessing on it, as we say:
The peace of God is shining in me now.
Let all things shine upon me in that peace,
And let me bless them with the light in me.”
We invite you to join with us, as we journey together in and to this light that is shining in us now. Now, that is truly a treasure of the heart worth uncovering!
Above quotes from Lesson 188 in the Workbook for Students of A Course in Miracles.