"Here’s a quiz question for you…" said Eric. "No looking at your books! Which lesson title is so central to the Course's teaching that it appears in the Workbook three times? Do you give up?"
"'God is but love and therefore so am I?'" suggested Mark.
"Not quite, but it’s a good guess. It’s actually very close: 'I am as God created me.'"
Daisy began looking it up in the contents. "Lesson 94," she said. "...Lesson 110... and Lesson 162!"
"Maybe Jesus ran out of fresh ideas," said Christopher.
"If we believe we can alter, or destroy, or tarnish what God created, are we not in effect saying we’re more powerful than God? And isn’t that the height of arrogance, however we dress it up? So it isn’t humble to feel guilty. It isn’t modest to feel unworthy. But nor is it a sin! It’s simply a mistake… a false idea about the Son of God. And that, dear friends, is the Course in one lesson."
"Or in three," said Christopher.
Eric raised his eyes to the ceiling.
The above is an extract from Peter M Parr's forthcoming new book, Encounters with A Course in Miracles, to be published in 2020.
In the second in a series of blog posts, I continue my exploration of doorways to an inner state of peace.
2. If you lose touch with Christ, be kind.
In a state of unity consciousness, Love requires no conscious effort. It simply is. In the physical world, our experiences of Oneness are fleeting, “for now we see only a reflection as in a mirror” (1 Corinthians 13:12). But when awareness of True Self fades, we can still make a conscious decision to be kind.
The Dalai Lama famously said, “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” Imagine if that were everyone’s creed.
After a tough day at work recently, I stopped off at a café that I visit from time to time and bought a slice of carrot cake to enjoy on my way home. When I got on the train and opened the box I discovered... TWO slices of cake. (I'd only paid for one.) This little act of kindness from the waitress brightened my day. I really could have my cake and eat it!
Being the recipient of an act of kindness feels great, but being the one who offers kindness is equally rewarding. As I reflected in the booklet Things to Remember, “When I warm to people, it warms my heart. When I offer love, I expand; I feel more fully alive. When I give of myself, I do receive. This I know experientially”.
Conversely, when I’m not kind – when I show a lack of care or consideration for others – I retreat further from my True Self. Physically, I experience this as a shrinking; a hardening or clenching within my body; a tangible lack of ease.
Being kind to others brings me joy, and a sense of peace. I don’t have to believe in oneness to experience its effects.
As an important aside, we need to be kind to ourselves too. Remember, “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12:31). At a deep-seated level we may think ourselves unworthy of love and compassion. (Have you ever chided yourself as “stupid”, or metaphorically beaten yourself up, when you’ve made a mistake?) But if God Loves me – and God must, for “God is Love” (1 John 4:16) – who am I to disagree?
Next time: The way of presence.
Peter Parr: Quaker, writer and former member of the British minigolf team. (Actually those are all just roles I play. Words can't describe who any of us really are.)