The following excerpts from the “Text” of A Course in Miracles have been selected not to provide a comprehensive overview of its message but to give a sample of its language and a sense of the challenge that it presents to students.
— D. Patrick Miller
Everyone who ever tried to use prayer to ask for something has experienced what appears to be failure. This is not only true in connection with specific things that might be harmful, but also in connection with requests that are strictly in line with this course. The latter in particular might be incorrectly interpreted as “proof” that the course does not mean what it says. You must remember, however, that the course states, and repeatedly, that its purpose is the escape from fear.
Let us suppose, then, that what you ask of the Holy Spirit is what you really want, but you are still afraid of it. Should this be the case, your attainment of it would no longer be what you want. This is why certain specific forms of healing are not achieved, even when the state of healing is. An individual may ask for physical healing because he is fearful of bodily harm. At the same time, if he were healed physically, the threat to his thought system might be considerably more fearful to him than its physical expression. In this case he is not really asking for release from fear, but for the removal of a symptom that he himself selected. This request is, therefore, not for healing at all.
The Bible emphasizes that all prayer is answered, and this is indeed true. The very fact that the Holy Spirit has been asked for anything will ensure a response. Yet it is equally certain that no response given by Him will ever be one that would increase fear. It is possible that His answer will not be heard. It is impossible, however, that it will be lost. There are many answers you have already received but have not yet heard. I assure you that they are waiting for you. . . .
The dreaming of the world takes many forms, because the body seeks in many ways to prove it is autonomous and real. It puts things on itself that it has bought with little metal discs or paper strips the world proclaims as valuable and real. It works to get them, doing senseless things, and tosses them away for senseless things it does not need and does not even want. It hires other bodies, that they may protect it and collect more senseless things that it can call its own. It looks about for special bodies that can share its dream. Sometimes it dreams it is a conqueror of bodies weaker than itself. But in some phases of the dream, it is the slave of bodies that would hurt and torture it.
The body’s serial adventures, from the time of birth to dying, are the theme of every dream the world has ever had. The “hero” of this dream will never change, nor will its purpose. Though the dream itself takes many forms, and seems to show a great variety of places and events wherein its “hero” finds itself, the dream has but one purpose, taught in many ways.
This single lesson does it try to teach again, and still again, and yet once more: that it is cause and not effect. And you are its effect, and cannot be its cause.
Thus are you not the dreamer, but the dream. And so you wander idly in and out of places and events that it contrives. That this is all the body does is true, for it is but a figure in a dream. But who reacts to figures in a dream unless he sees them as if they were real? The instant that he sees them as they are they have no more effects on him, because he understands he gave them their effects by causing them and making them seem real.
How willing are you to escape the effects of all the dreams the world has ever had? . . .
You believe you can harbor thoughts you would not share, and that salvation lies in keeping thoughts to yourself alone. For in private thoughts, known only to yourself, you think you would find a way to keep what you would have alone, and share what you would share. And then you wonder why it is that you are not in full communication with those around you, and with God Who surrounds all of you together.
Every thought you would keep hidden shuts communication off, because you would have it so. It is impossible to recognize perfect communication while breaking communication holds value to you. Ask yourself honestly, “Would I want to have perfect communication, and am I wholly willing to let everything that interferes with it go forever?” If the answer is no, then the Holy Spirit’s readiness to give it to you is not enough to make it yours, for you are not ready to share it with Him. And it cannot come into a mind that has decided to oppose it. For the holy instant is given and received with equal willingness, being the acceptance of the single Will that governs all thought.
The necessary condition for the holy instant does not require that you have no thoughts that are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep. . . . You will not be able to accept perfect communication as long as you would hide it from yourself. For what you would hide is hidden from you. . . .
You who have spent your life in bringing truth to illusion, reality to fantasy, have walked the way of dreams. For you have gone from waking to sleeping, and on and on to a yet deeper sleep. Each dream has led to other dreams, and every fantasy that seemed to bring a light into the darkness but made the darkness deeper. Your goal was darkness, in which no ray of light could enter. And you sought a blackness so complete that you could hide from truth forever, in complete insanity. What you forgot was simply that God cannot destroy Himself. The light is in you. Darkness can cover it, but cannot put it out.
As the light comes nearer you will rush to darkness, shrinking from the truth, sometimes retreating to the lesser forms of fear, and sometimes to stark terror. But you will advance, because your goal is the advance from fear to truth. . . .
Truth has rushed to meet you since you called upon it. If you knew Who walks beside you on the way that you have chosen, fear would be impossible. . . .
A Course in Miracles is available in bookstores and from the Foundation for Inner Peace (P.O. Box 598, Mill Valley, CA 94942), which has also made the Course available for free on a “scholarship” basis to anyone who writes and asks for it.
Information about the academy and retreat center of the Foundation for A Course in Miracles is available from the foundation at 1275 Lake Tennanah Road, Roscoe, NY 12776-5905, (607) 498-4116.