“Joy is the most infallible sign of the existence of God.”— Longtime note on Stephen Colbert’s computer
Someone on Facebook asked if any of my books discuss how I became a student of A Course in Miracles.
Like many relationships, it started with a meet and greet.
Someone introduced me to Gerald Jampolsky’s “Love is Letting Go of Fear.”
It inspired me to buy the big blue door stop, the first of many I’ve purchased over the years. I’ve lost a couple, accidentally washed one with my sheets.
From there, I went to Big Sur for a month-long ACIM work study with Julian Silverman, a Gestalt teacher and one of the first managers of Esalen. It was where I met Stan, the guy I mention in chapter one of E-Squared.
But I remained a dabbler. Like most Course beginnings, it was desperation that finally forged my commitment.
In fact, the Course itself was “scribed” out of desperation by two professors at Columbia University who were sick of the petty struggles, the department infighting, the aggressive attitudes.
William Thetford, head of medical psychology, unexpectedly proclaimed one day, “There has GOT to be a better way.” The Course, which began pouring forth through Helen Schucman, was “the better way.”
Lesson 33 echoes their discovery: There is another way of looking at the world.
And for that FB reader who wanted to know, here’s an excerpt from E-Cubed:
Before I became a serious student of A Course in Miracles, I was the last person anyone would have picked out of a police lineup as “most likely to succeed.”
At the time, my boyfriend, the last in a long series of boyfriends, had kicked me out of the house we shared in rural Connecticut.
To top it off, I was seven months pregnant, was (obviously) unmarried, and had nary a clue where to go. Even worse, it was mid-July and the air conditioner in the little blue Toyota in which I’d stuffed most of my earthly possessions was on the fritz.
Temperatures averaged 100 degrees as I set out across the country, big as a house, pointed in the general direction of Breckenridge, Colorado.
Clearly, something needed to change.
A Course in Miracles, a self-study program in spiritual psychology that I ultimately began to follow in earnest, had the audacity to suggest that I was responsible for my train wreck of a life. It implied that if I would simply let go of all my mad fixations—my “he done me wrong” blockages and all the other clutter I’d picked up about the way the world works— I could actually be happy. It suggested that the only reason I wasn’t experiencing big-ass love and swimming in perpetual abundance was because my consciousness was on red alert.
My thoughts viewed the world as my sworn enemy.
In short, it challenged the very foundations of my life.
I didn’t let go without a fight.
My conversations with JC and the Holy S, as I began to call my Course comrades, went something like this:
Me: “But what about all my problems? I must analyze and fi x them.”
“Let go!” the Course seemed to suggest.
Me: “But what about good and evil, right and wrong?”
“Resign now as your own teacher,” it clearly advised.
Me: “But . . . but . . .”
Slowly, inch by inch, I gave up the reins to my beliefs and old mental constructs. It began to occur to me that if I had the power to create such an ongoing disaster, I might also have the power to create a life I could enjoy.
In fact, the Course pulled no punches, going so far as to guarantee that “perfect peace and perfect joy are your inheritance.” And all I had to do was give up my belief in deprivation and lack.
Me: “But that’s so hard.”
“It’s not hard,” the Course said. “It’s your natural state. It’s just very different than the way most people think.”
I also learned from the Course that the tall blonde chick I see every day in the mirror isn’t really me. The depressed pregnant woman driving the blue Toyota cross-country was nothing but a false identity I’d been taught to assume by a world that worships separation and limitations.
In fact, by focusing in on that little “self,” I completely missed my connection to this other thing, this bigger thing that many call God.
I had completely imprisoned myself by zeroing in on this rickety body that—no matter how many face creams I used, no matter how many downward-facing dogs I did, no matter how many Wayne Dyer books I read (and I read a lot)—was never going to be good enough.
And that’s what the Course is about: Taking the wrecking ball to mental constructs that have imprisoned us for far too long. Taking the focus off the limited self we see in the mirror and putting it on the glorious field of potentiality (the FP) that allows us to connect to all that is.
It’s about letting go—giving up old mental constructs and surrendering to the all-loving, all-powerful energy force that’s bigger, bolder, brighter, and, yes, stranger than anything you’ve yet seen. This Sacred Buzz is life itself.
Life, which—no matter how many walls we erect, no matter how seriously we screw up—is always there waiting with arms open wide.
Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her new book, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side.