for the Inner Journey
with Jon Mundy, Ph.D.
What is a Miracle?
The definition of miracle in A Course in Miracles is a correction in perception. It removes the blocks of fear and guilt in the mind, allowing a glimpse of timeless joy. The prayer for a miracle asks the Holy Spirit for this shift in perception. It is not about seeking to change anything in the world, as the miracle merely reminds us that what is perceived is false.
The Course as a Preventative for Alzheimer's
We have known for a long time that physical exercises, including ‘fun things’ like simply walking, swimming, dancing, and tennis, are important deterrents in the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s. More recently, I came across a study done by Dr. Natalie Marchant, from the University College London, which concluded that depression and anxiety are known factors for dementia. Another study showed that cognitive activity: reading, writing, doing crossword puzzles, studying music, math, or other languages, and engaging in scientific research, reduces the likelihood of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The Course is not a religion. It is not based on rites and rituals, the repetition of creeds, or the need to follow a list of prescribed rules. The Course is a study that helps us to expose the false beliefs we hold about ourselves and others – thus facilitating the process by which we can forgive both ourselves as well as our brothers and sisters – for what they did not do. What is required is a change of mind, which frees us from depression, anxiety, and our own insanity.
The Course can thus be a deterrent to Alzheimer’s since in both reading the Course and in doing the exercises in the workbook, one is steadily coaxed into thinking more deeply and more lovingly. It, therefore, helps us to find freedom from superficial thinking, leading us to both greater physical and mental health.
The Course is built on a deep and solid foundation, i.e., on the teachings of Jesus, on depth psychology, and on the insights of physics and a meaningful understanding of space/time and the mind. It is not surprising that the Course was given to two deep thinkers and Professors of Psychology at Columbia University. Helen and Bill were influenced by Freud and Jung and their research on the nature of the unconscious and how the unconscious ego determines our attitudes and outlook on life.
The Course may then be thought of as an ‘attitude adjustment’ to a more positive state of mind, as we give up our attack thoughts, our attachment to the world, and temporal worldly pleasures in exchange for a more peaceful state of mind. Thereby, we learn to let others be who they are, so we can more clearly be who ‘we’ already are – blessed children of an all-wise mother-father God.
The Course is a study, of the nature of the psyche of humankind. It provides us with exercises we can do that will free us from often-overburdening guilt and depression, thus opening our minds to a clearer way of ‘seeing’ and ‘being’ in the world. Indeed, the more deeply we dig into the Course, the more likely we are to come to repeated ‘ah ha's' and revelatory experiences.
Incantations, repeating creeds, engaging in rites and rituals, and/or ardently following a list of rules does not open the door to Heaven. That is a form of magic. Miracles, on the other hand, are natural signs of forgiveness. Through miracles, we accept God's forgiveness by extending it to others. Miracles represent a change of mind about the world – not a change ‘of’ the world. If the mind does not change – nothing changes. Understanding how our attitudes, how “projection makes perception,” and how we can forgive and let go changes everything.
One of Ken Wapnick’s favorite phrases was: “Take it deeper.” The Course is very deep, which is what gives it a solid foundation. I recently enjoyed spending ten days working with Diederik Wolsak. He does not just teach the Course; he has a way of digging down, finding the uncomfortable scars we all have in our psyche, and exposing them in such a way that “through forgiveness” they can be healed. The result again is freedom from depression and anxiety and a clearer, more centered, mind – along with a greater feeling of love for our neighbor, indeed for the whole of life.
There is a saying, “We become what we study,” or “We become what we think about.” The Course is therefore simply a process by which we can change our mind about our minds – which moves us from sickness to health, from the limitations of space, time, and a body to eternity.
Studying the Course is a healthful, helpful process and practice. The more we study, the more comfortable and automatic the process of opening to the truth, and thus to love, becomes. It is analogous to the high musicians feel when they practice their instruments, artists feel when engaged in their crafts, dancers experience in becoming more proficient in dance, or sportspersons feel as they become skilled in their endeavors.
Take it deeper and you will see
that your mind can forever be
bright and clear and eternally free.