Thoughts That Illuminate

ACIM Solutions are Radically Different

I spent the early years as a Course student diligently practicing the Workbook lessons and reading
the Text.  An interesting thing happened along the way. The more I immersed myself in my study
and practice, the deeper I seemed to reflect on the inner meaning of the words.  It suddenly
became clear to me how radical the Course’s teachings were.  I remember my brother saying to me
after going through the workbook again; “Do you realize what this is saying???!”  I answered with a
smile, “Yes, its pretty radical isn’t it?”  What do we mean by “radical” in this context?  It means the
Course’s teachings go completely against what the world teaches.  We have spent lifetimes learning
how to stand up for ourselves, set our boundaries, fight back, perform good deeds in an effort to be
a “good” person, sacrifice for others, and suffer in order to be close to God.  We have learned how
to fix the world by saving the environment, saving the whales, feeling someone else’s pain to show
compassion -- I could go on and on.  There comes a time during a student’s life, when they realize
that everything they have learned from the world is in direct contrast to what they are leaning from
A Course in Miracles. This is when they begin to see just how radical the Course is.

I smiled hearing my brother’s realization, but there was a time when the radical teachings of
A
Course in Miracles
brought terror to my mind.  Soon after my divorce, everything within me was
screaming to do something to plan for a secure future.  I was in a state of fear and worry, frantically
looking into graduate school, updating my resume, and trying to plan for how I could support
myself.  As I was seeking guidance and doing my Course practice, I kept hearing “sit still and look
within”.  Intellectually, I understood what I was being asked to do.  I was being asked to stop
rearranging the external and see what is going on within the mind.  But, the problem seemed so
pressing and scary and the guidance seemed so radical. I began to argue with the Holy Spirit.  “Do
nothing? Are you crazy?  I’m a single woman who hasn’t been in the workforce, raising three
daughters and You want me to look at my inner state of mind???  I don’t have time!”  But, there was
also a voice very much alive and speaking as well.  It was the part of my mind that wanted to look
and heal above all else. How could I follow such radical guidance in light of such fear?  That night I
had my breakthrough and it came in the form of a dream.

In the dream I was on the Titanic.  The dream begins at the moment the passengers discover the
boat is sinking.  Everyone, including myself, is trying to figure out a way to safety, a way that will
hold death at bay.  Hundreds of people were trying to get up to the deck, scrambling to find life
jackets and lifeboats.  Some passengers were even jumping, hoping a boat would eventually come
to their rescue.  As I struggle to make a decision on what direction would be my best bet for
survival, I notice a beautiful, loving Presence by my side.  This Presence is calm and peaceful.  He
holds out His hand and says, "Come and follow me. I know the way that will save you."  I immediately
became calm and felt relieved that there was someone who knew the way to safety.  (Because truth
be told, I had no idea which way I should go.)  He continued, "We must go to the very bottom of the
boat."  There was a split second pause, "Did He say bottom?"  I wondered to myself.  "What!" I
screamed, "The bottom???  But that's insanity and sure death.  How can that be the way?"  I'm
beginning to feel a bit of panic now.  Maybe, He doesn't know the laws of physics and never saw the
ending of the movie "Titanic". He remains certain and calm and explains, "What they don't know ",
as He points to all the frantic people going
up, "is that the act of hitting the very bottom of the boat
creates a propelling motion that rises you up and out of the boat with no effort on your part."  I
began to see the logic here, even though my mind silently continued to argue with the insanity of
going in the opposite direction of what the whole world was doing!  And yet I felt He
knew it wasn't
insanity so I began to trust in what He was saying.  

At this moment, I decided that I would feel a lot better about my decision, if others would come along
with me.  "Why isn't anyone else following us down to the bottom?" I ask.  He gently responds,
"Because they can't hear me."   I take a quick look around.  Everyone is screaming in terror and
doesn’t notice this Presence talking to me.  I see that He was correct.  No one could hear Him speak
of another way.  Even though I still see this as insanity, I take comfort in what He knows, but that I
do not yet understand.  I take His hand and we begin to descend to the bottom of the boat.  As we
go below the water line, I become fearful and wonder what it would be like to have the water cover
me completely, to not be able to breathe, and to suffocate under the water.  At the very moment I
am having this thought, I notice the water is surrounding me but I am not touched by it.  It seems to
stand a good two feet away from me!  I say to myself, "Hey, I can breathe. The water is not
engulfing me. How can this be? This makes no sense.  It's impossible!" This is when I began to
understand that by taking the hand of this loving Presence and trusting His way, things were going
to be “different”.  New rules and laws were operating here, such as: going to the bottom to be saved
instead of the top, and going below the water line and still being able to breathe.  I could see clearly
that the Presence, who Guided me toward safety did not operate under the laws of the world, but
operated under the laws of God.

This dream brought me comfort for what lay ahead. I entered into a year of quiet, non-action. I was
guided to stop searching in the world for safety and take a very close look at my hidden desire for
separation.  There were times when the fear was overwhelming and I would spend a few weeks
researching what I could “do”.  But after my activity, I would sit with the Holy Spirit and He would
gently say, “not yet”.  During this time of non-action, the girls and I had everything we needed and
nothing was lacking.  The laws of the world did not apply and I did not drown because I followed the
Holy Spirit. Today, I am in a place of action. But, it’s a different kind of action.  This teaching truly
was a breakthrough in that it broke free an old pattern and allowed for a new one -- one where I do
not plan, I know my needs will be met, and I look less and less to the world for safety. Are the
Course teachings radical? Yes they are. Let’s face it. Going deep into the mind to find what will
save you instead of scrambling for a life vest when your ship appears to be sinking
is radical.  But it
is also, the only way that works.  

I still have not hit the bottom of the boat where I completely accept the truth of Who I am, but at
least now I know I’m going in the right direction!  

Written by: Patti Fields