What does A Course In Miracles say About How I Can Stay Sane and Centered in this Insane and Terrifying World?
It is easy to understand the angst, despair, fear, and anger that circumstances in this world can trigger. The challenge, in these times, as in all times, is to cultivate and strive to maintain an internal (i.e. spiritual and emotional) zone of safety and comfort throughout notwithstanding the external happenings. A Course In Miracles reminds us that there is but one problem in the world and that it has already been solved.
That problem is the notion that we are separate physical beings. The truth is that we are not our bodies and indeed that we are connected most durably and irreversibly to the fiber of God/Spirit/All That Is. Indeed we are that fiber itself. Thus, at the level of energy or spirit, we are all one. One with each other and one with our Creator, our Source. I am not speaking symbolically or metaphorically. And we couldn’t separate ourselves if we tried.
That is the Truth. Death of the physical body is in reality not an end of energy but simply a manner of transformation of it. The most horrible and horrifying events in the world today do not change that. Of course, on a body or ego level, our fears are certainly real, justified, and palpable. But on a spiritual level, we remain the same as we always were. What we so often do, however, is to live at the level of ego — which is experienced as the illusory world of bodies that are separate resulting in reasonable and understandable fear and anger. And that is a perceptual or cognitive choice that we don’t have to make.
Our challenge is not to become consumed with fear and anger but to remain peaceful inside. This, by the way, has absolutely no bearing on our political perspectives about what’s going on in the world. Nor does it have any bearing on the passion or inclination that we may feel to take action in one form or another to advance our principals or values, or to contribute to world peace.
How does this play out in the practical and physical world? Moderate the amount of television watching that you do if it is making you feel frightened, angry or sad. If reading the newspaper creates a state of duress or discomfort, adjust accordingly to a practice that allows you to remain at peace internally. Develop a spiritual practice such as meditation or yoga. Feel free to see my article on this website on How to Meditate for a how-to-guide to meditation.
Remember, the Course teaches us that if we are not completely in a state of peace, then we are in a state of fear. Do your best to choose love (defined here synonymously with “peace”), not fear notwithstanding what you read about or become aware of in terms of world events. Just as light casts out darkness, love casts out fear. In Zen Buddhism, there’s a concept of “zen mind” or “beginner’s mind”. The mind should be like an empty rice bowl. If it’s full, the universe can’t fill it up. Only if it is empty is there room to receive. Surrender is the process of emptying it. This is not always easy, but its value is inestimable. When your mind is filled with the angst, fear or anger over world events or even the troubling events in your backyard, it can’t be filled with the Truth. It’s hard, if not impossible, to see in the dark. It’s also scary. But in the light, you realize that it’s okay, that all is well.
The choice of love over fear is the perceptual shift or “miracle” that the Course teaches that returns us to our inner peace. Doing so brings immediate surrender and with it, bountiful and overflowing love and joy. And that is available to us all in the blink of an eye when we remember that we are not our physical bodies but rather that we are light beings who put on “body suits” and then forgot.
By maintaining our own internal peacefulness, we contribute mountains of peace to the world. Because we are not isolated but rather all connected and part of the same “mind”, everything we do, every thought we have, affects the rest of the world. This has been referred to as the “Butterfly Effect”.
Thus, our most significant contribution to the world – and the challenge to us all — is creating and maintaining our own peaceful internal canvass, for that pours fourth and disseminates love and peace and joy into the rest of the world in ways that are both abundant and immeasurable, even if they are invisible to our body’s eyes. Try not to become agitated and angry at world events. Such agitation and fear yields more of the same energetically. Do your best to maintain your groundedness in peace and love.
Try to love even those that you may want to hate; for hating only contributes more fear and anger-based energies and manifestations to the world. This includes the often very palpable emotional challenge of not being angry with leaders, for example, with whom we may be in disagreement. Remember that on an energetic or vibrational level, our anger at anyone only enhances rather than diminishes the problem. This is the challenge.