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
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