“If you are willing to recognize your problems, you will recognize that you have no problems. Your one central problem has been answered, and you have no other. Therefore, you must be at peace…” Workbook page 143, Lesson 80.
This interesting lesson tells us that we have no problems but one—the problem of separation from God, which is our “one central problem.” Yet, we are not at peace because we seem to be beset by problems. We may have problems at work, difficulty paying the bills, a challenging relationship, health issues, etc. Yet, A Course in Miracles tells us that our only problem is that we think we are here experiencing these problems when, in fact, we are not because the separation never took place.
“A long series of different problems seems to confront you, and as one is settled the next one and the next arise. There seems to be no end to them…The temptation to regard problems as many is the temptation to keep the problem of separation unsolved…” W141. That passage comes from Lesson 79: “Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.” We are told in this lesson that the only problem is the separation and it has already been solved because the instant we seemed to experience the separation God sent us the Holy Spirit to call us back to Him. “The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind…” T74. The Atonement principle is simply the recognition that the separation never took place. In accepting this, we heal our split minds and, thereby, solve all our problems. As the separation is the only problem, when we accept the Atonement, we will realise that all our other problems here on earth have been solved because we are not here on earth—we only think we are.
“There is no world! This is the central thought the course attempts to teach…” W243. If there is no world, then there are no problems. But as long as we believe we are here, then we will always experience problems because they are one of the tools of the ego to keep our attention focused on the world of form. But it is not easy for us not to take our problems seriously. Money problems, relationship problems, health problems, work problems all seem so very real to us. As we read in the Manual for Teachers, “The text explains that the Holy Spirit is the Answer to all problems you have made. These problems are not real, but that is meaningless to those who believe in them…” M29.
So the solution lies in, firstly, recognising our core problem—the separation—and, secondly, accepting the Atonement by extending the miracle of love and forgiveness. In Lesson 90 we read, “Today I would remember the simplicity of salvation by reinforcing the lesson that there is one problem and one solution. The problem is a grievance; the solution is a miracle. And I invite the solution to come to me through my forgiveness of the grievance, and my welcome of the miracle that takes its place.“ W155
The miracle of love and forgiveness is the way for us to learn how to accept the Atonement, which undoes the separation, and this solves our only problem for us. “Forgiveness is your peace, for herein lies the end of separation and the dream of danger and destruction, sin and death; of madness and of murder, grief and loss.” T615. But what is the connection between forgiveness and the Atonement? The answer is given in Chapter 9 of the Text. “Forgiveness through the Holy Spirit lies simply in looking beyond error from the beginning, and thus keeping it unreal for you. Do not let any belief in its realness enter your mind, or you will also believe that you must undo what you have made in order to be forgiven. What has no effect does not exist, and to the Holy Spirit the effects of error are non-existent. By steadily and consistently cancelling out all its effects, everywhere and in all respects, He teaches that the ego does not exist and proves it.” T169
It is not just difficult people that we have to forgive. There is another important aspect to forgiveness—letting go of illusions. We need to forgive or release all the events and situations we come across or see on television because they are only happening in our dream world. We can think of this world as one huge movie screen, and everything that is going on is taking place on the screen, having been projected there from our minds. There isn’t much point getting upset by things that are taking place on a screen because they are unreal. That’s why we forgive them, which means we release them. But it does take practice.
Obviously, we have to take whatever practical steps we can to solve problems in our world, but we also need to change our perspective and try to look down upon ourselves from a higher vantage point. We have to somehow cultivate the ability to be in this world but not of it. Although this may seem difficult, if we consistently extend love and forgiveness, and if we always remember that we are not the victims of what is going on in our lives, we will gradually be able to chip away at the ego, take the world a little less seriously and change our perspective. It helps if we have a spiritual practice such as studying A Course in Miracles. The more we study the Course, the easier it is for us to be in this world but not of it.
We are given good advice in Lesson 80; we are told to keep telling ourselves that our only problem has been solved. “Repeat this over and over to yourself today, with gratitude and conviction…Repeat the idea with deep conviction, as frequently as possible. And be particularly sure to apply the idea for today to any specific problem that may arise. Say quickly: Let me recognize this problem has been solved.” Jesus tells us that when we accept this we will experience peace, and that is one of the goals of A Course in Miracles.
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