Thursday, March 29, 2007

"A Course in Miracles" and the Dreamworld


I like some of the content of the book A Course in Miracles, but the book is seriously over-named. It is clearly not a "course in miracles," for it does not tell how to do miracles, in the accepted definition of that word. So, the title is actually a bit absurd. Despite the "grabber" of a name, no doubt to sell more copies, it does contain some good and useful material. It is largely an adaptation or modification of much of the Twelve-Step program material.

Sadly, a cult is forming around the book. It is seen as the "new Bible." Believers are gathering, and dividing themselves spiritually and socially from "inferior" non-believers. I do not accept the dogma that the book was "written by Jesus Christ," as believers insist.

Nor do I see the book as infallible, as many believers are starting to claim. The book was written by a psychologist, not by Jesus. A realistic, practical assessment tells us that we can include this book in our libraries and sources, but we cannot reasonably join the cult that is forming around the book, without sacrificing our independence and other freedoms.

There is nothing particularly original, and certainly nothing "spectacular," about the book. The writing is clear but ordinary. It contains a few good ideas, but, again, has nothing to do with miracles in the usual definition of that word.

Re your inquiry about the "reality" of the everyday world. It is true that the great saintmystics, particularly of Indian tradition, point out that our world is a "virtual" one, or, a dream. No material object is real. They are all products of Mind. They are dreamimages, or "virtual" reality.

But Mind is real. Since this Mind indwells you, this means that you-- and all other thinking beings-- are real. That is why human and other sentient (self-aware) life is so sacred. All thinking and aware beings are real,and holy.

Life on earth is a great school. We do things, and accomplish tasks, not so that they will last forever (they do not), but so that we can learn from them. Every minute is valuable because we can learn from that moment, and enrich our minds and hearts.

The whole "show" is about Love. Earth is a Love-school. So, every event and situation is designed to help us learn to love ourselves and other creatures. Just as a little child can learn about real estate and real money by playing Monopoly, although it is "just a game," we can learn very much about ourselves, and about compassion, goodness, and kindness from the various environments to which earthly life exposes us.

Every person is of inestimable value. So, we are here to learn to "invest in people," not just bucks and unreal material things. (The reason that they can never satisfy is that, deep down, we know that money and "stuff" are unreal.)

Your friend has gone way too far, and has misunderstood everything important, if he says that human beings are illusions. Instead, they are a part or expression of Mind, or Reality. In an unreal world, human beings are certainly, and very, real indeed.

In spirituality, we are always talking about "sentient" beings. These are self-aware beings. This category includes most of the higher mammals, and certainly, includes all human beings. Any creature who can say, "I am," with meaning, distinguishing herself from other creatures, is a "sentient" being. (This category includes all developed brains of mammals, but does not include reptiles, amphibians, fishes, insects, microrganisms, etc.)

Deliberately harming any of these sentient beings can create terrifying and disastrous karma. This is where the principle called ahimsa enters the life of the wise. For this principle is taking a vow never deliberately to harm any sentient being.

So, your grand-daughter, like yourself, is both real and sacred. She is to be treated with kindness that, in its fullness, blossoms as Love. Love is the most important principle in the enlightened life.

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