Boot Camp? Not …

A couple of weeks ago in the regular A Course in Miracles Thursday night class I teach our conversation wandered into that ever seductive quagmire of senseless musings the ego would like us to get lost in more often. Things like; how can we be sure this is really an illusion? How can I believe what the Course is saying–that everything I experience is a literal projection of guilt in the mind over believing we separated from eternal wholeness–when I never feel guilty? (Trust me; that one did not come from me.) Since the law of attraction works to manifest more pleasure in my life, why wake up? And, of course, how can I tell forgiveness is working when I ask for help from Holy Spirit over and over to see this person’s behavior differently but still don’t feel any peace.

This line of reasoning rapidly devolved into enthusiastic testimonials about how it was relatively easy to experience inner peace in meditation (some of my fellow Course students had been engaged in such practices for many years) but quite a different story to experience it while immersed in a special relationship battle. Therefore, if we are supposed to rise above the battleground to see things differently, why not just vacate the premises altogether? Why not create an A Course in Miracles Boot Camp? After all, ample wilderness beckoned 24/7 from not too far away. We could just head for the backcountry for a few days, weeks, months; and have it out with Holy Spirit once and for all. Demand our rightful share of the forgiveness template download we apparently had not come in with, finish up the messy business of looking at our past and future scripts differently, and then return to the world beatifically “in it but not of it;” unless we preferred to be beamed up on the spot.

While seductive and highly entertaining, our collective fantasy soon wore itself out. Because frustrating as we may find forgiveness when we resist (in our unconscious fear and false self-protection) its benefits, a part of our mind knows only too well this Course is not about striving to awaken, renouncing the world, or concentrating on past or future forgiveness goals. It does not involve removing ourselves from our classroom. That would be counterproductive to all this Course teaches.

Our daily lives are our classroom. Our relationships are our curriculum. This is not a Course in trying to muscle through our resistance to the all-inclusive, eternal Love we secretly believe we squandered in our desire to experience individuality. We build the forgiveness muscle day-to-day in the holy (whole) instant in which we step out of the brutal spiral of time and consult with our inner teacher in an office that is always open. Our strength training merely requires gently looking at the pain our ego allegiance inflicts with the loving inner personal trainer of innocence. The part of our split mind that knows without a single shadow of ego doubt that we do not need pain to gain enlightenment, only willingness to recognize the contrast in how we feel while following the ego’s edicts versus listening to our right mind’s. Then, having identified the real cause of our distress—always a symptom of the unconscious guilt in our one mind over the repressed belief in original separation from our source—we simply exchange the inner trainer of sin, guilt, and fear for that of uninterrupted sinlessness, solace, and safety.

I have said this before and will likely say it again because I keep forgetting: I don’t need to focus on awakening. I only need to focus on forgiveness, to take my curriculum to my inner teacher whenever I find myself again reacting to a seeming, external problem throughout my day and ask to see what’s really happening to this false self at the hands of these imaginary other false selves “out there.” Awakening will happen eventually if I keep offering the blocks to my awareness of Love’s presence to our one right mind. If I make that my new life’s work, the number one priority on my To Do list, all the defenses against my true identity (and yours) in eternal wholeness will one by one dissolve under the penetrating gaze of my right mind. When and how I return home for good is not the business of this illusory self who—let’s face it–is not going to be joining me anyway. As A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 181 reminds us:

“ … We do not care about our future goals. And what we saw an instant previous has no concern for us within this interval of time wherein we practice changing our intent. We seek for innocence and nothing else. We seek for it with no concern but now.”

Salvation is right here, right now. Awakening is a long-range goal we are apt to muck up. The ego will seize it and run with it and the next thing you know you’ve mistaken a weepy moment of communion with a particularly colorful sunset for enlightenment. (Not that there’s anything wrong with weepy moments of communion with colorful sunsets but they won’t get you home.) Or, even better, the Holy Spirit starts giving you very specific, detailed guidance about what you should do in the world (what you and what world would that be?) and (especially) what fellow dream figures need to do and you figure you’ve got some kind of secret pipeline to truth.

Now you think you’ve found a shortcut to doing the work of forgiveness. You think you’re enlightened, start denying all evidence to the contrary, and are once more robotically projecting your repressed guilt on everybody else. Only now you’re a special, spiritual projector spouting platitudes at everyone else who can’t remember God created them the way you can. “Coursing” the daylights out of those you secretly love to hate through your imagined superiority. Try to avoid that. It’s a trap. Not that you still won’t get home (we are home; never left!) but it will set you back. Because your dream just got a whole lot deeper, a whole lot more real seeming; a whole lot harder to wake up from. And that smile you think is the Holy Spirit’s is really the ego’s self-satisfied smirk.

Oh; and here’s one more “try to avoid.” (And, as always; I am talking only to myself! :)) Don’t dwell on the script you think you wrote. I mean, who is the one that wrote it? Forget about where the heck the script came from. Who is the one that cares? Just stay in class; focusing on allowing the correction of your misperceptions. The self you think you are doesn’t understand. The self you think you are doesn’t know right from wrong. So what? That’s why you need a teacher. That’s why you’re in school.  Just raise your hand, admit you don’t know, and ask the Teacher who does. What’s the big deal? That’s how we learn. That’s how you get a big fat A in this Course. That’s how you eventually awaken from the dream. By admitting you don’t know, you don’t even want to know; and then asking for help anyway. Just like this: right mind, help me; help me; help me to see things differently. Done.

“ … We do not seek for long-range goals. As each obstruction seems to block the vision of our sinlessness, we seek but for surcease an instant from the misery the focus upon sin will bring, and uncorrected will remain. … Nor do we ask for fantasies. For what we seek to look upon is really there. And as our focus goes beyond mistakes, we will behold a wholly sinless world. When seeing this is all we want to see, when this is all we seek for in the name of true perception, are the eyes of Christ inevitably ours. And the Love He feels for us becomes our own as well. This will become the only thing we see reflected in the world and in ourselves. …”

Gary Renard will be offering a workshop in Colorado Springs September 24, 2011. For information and reservations, go to: Miracle Promotions Contact: Kathy Scott Perry


  1. How did the impossible occur? Isn’t it amazing how many variations of that ego ruse we encounter, including all the diversionary tactics that would leave any one out of total inclusion, by bypassing the curricula of our forgiveness classroom. If we’re really looking honestly at our mind with HS, aren’t we already in a 24/7 intensive ‘boot camp’ for being completely kind to all (our ‘selves’ included)? … Great writing, as always, Susan; thanks! 🙂

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