"Resign Now as Your Own Teacher"An Excerpt from Reading and Commentary for T-12.V, "The Sane Curriculum"

by Robert Perry

The following is an excerpt from a Text reading and commentary that was created as part of our 2006 Text reading program. The numbered material is the Text passage being commented on. The “[Ur:]” material inserted into that numbered material is material from the Urtext. The other material is my commentary.

This section, which is entitled "The Sane Curriculum," contains a powerful commentary on our impaired condition as students trying to learn how to love. In the end, it offers a compelling argument for why we need to rely on a curriculum that is not of our devising.

5. 1You have learning handicaps in a very literal sense. 2There are areas in your learning skills that are so impaired that you can progress only under constant, clear-cut direction, provided by a Teacher Who can transcend your limited resources. 3He becomes your Resource because of yourself you cannot learn. 4The learning situation in which you placed yourself is impossible, and in this situation you clearly require a special Teacher and a special curriculum. 5Poor learners are not good choices as teachers, either for themselves or for anyone else. 6You would hardly turn to them to establish the curriculum by which they can escape from their limitations. 7If they understood what is beyond them, they would not be handicapped.

What are "learning handicaps"? They are what we would today call "learning disabilities," a term which includes any disorder that entails a difficulty in learning in a typical manner. An example would be a reading disorder or a math disability. It's not about lack of intelligence; it's about a problem specifically in the ability to learn.

Jesus is saying that we have a learning disability. He is not saying yet what specific disability it is, but can we at least open our minds to the idea? Is it possible that in certain areas our "learning skills are so impaired that [we] can progress only under constant, clear-cut direction"? Perhaps in some areas we learn very well, but is that true of all areas?

If Jesus is right and we are learning handicapped, then should we be the ones designing our curriculum? Imagine turning to a group of learning disabled kids and saying, "OK, you're the teachers now. Design your own curriculum. Make up lesson plans. From now on, you're going to teach yourselves." This, of course, is out of the question. Think of all the resources that learning disabled students need. They need highly trained teachers, with carefully planned curriculums, and lots of learning aids.

The point is: We are one of those students. As such, we should not be designing our own curriculum. We need to rely on the Holy Spirit, on His resources, and on His curriculum.

6. 1You do not know the meaning of love, and that is [Ur: is] your handicap. 2Do not attempt to teach yourself what you do not understand, and do not try to set up curriculum goals where yours have clearly failed. 3[Ur: For] Your learning goal has been not to learn, and this cannot lead to successful learning. 4You cannot transfer what you have not learned, and the impairment of the ability to generalize is a crucial learning failure. 5Would you ask those who have failed to learn what learning aids are for? 6They do not know [Ur: They do not know]. 7If they could interpret the aids correctly, they would have learned from them.

Perhaps you've been trying to teach yourself to be a more loving person for a long time. How far have you gotten? Have you learned the kind of love the Course is talking about? A love without favorites, without degree, and without change-a love that is undivided? The reason you haven't is because, quite frankly, when it comes to love you are learning handicapped. This is the learning disability Jesus was referring to in the previous paragraph. Instead of a math disability, you have a "love disability." This is not because your brain isn't wired right, but because, unconsciously, you are dead-set against love. Your goal, therefore, has been to not learn it, which has led to learning failure, inability to generalize your learning, and not realizing what the learning aids (such as the body and time) in your classroom are for. The learning disabled child is trying to play the teacher, with the inevitable results.

7. 1I have said that the ego's rule is, "Seek and do not find." 2Translated into curricular terms this means [Ur: this is the same as saying], "Try to learn but do not succeed." 3The result of this curriculum goal is obvious. 4Every legitimate teaching aid, every real instruction, and every sensible guide to learning will be misinterpreted [Ur: will be misinterpreted], since they are all for facilitating the learning this strange curriculum is against [Ur: they are all for learning facilitation, which this strange curriculum goal is against]. 5If you are trying to learn how not to learn, and the aim of your teaching is [Ur: and are using the aim of teaching] to defeat itself, what can you expect but confusion? 6Such a curriculum does not make [Ur: any] sense.

Realize that when Jesus is asking Helen to accept the Holy Spirit's teaching and the Holy Spirit's curriculum, he is really talking about her accepting his teaching and his curriculum. This section is therefore a powerful argument about why we need the Course, why we need to follow its curriculum, rather than try to set up our own. I used to be passionately eclectic when it came to spirituality. I believed that the wisest, healthiest thing to do was have many teachings at my disposal, and then, inspired by all of them, set up my own curriculum. Yet I can tell you that the things I am doing now, under the Course's instruction, are things I would never have done on my own. They are just too challenging to my love affair with lovelessness.

I see tremendous resistance among Course students to treating the Course in the way this section implies. We conveniently misinterpret its teachings. We conveniently brush over its practice instructions, or conveniently decide that they are an unreasonable burden that is not in our best interests. Could it be that this teacher (Jesus) knows exactly what he is doing, yet we are neutralizing him because we are secretly against learning the love he is trying to teach us?

7This attempt at "learning" [Ur: This kind of learning] has so weakened your mind that you cannot love, for the curriculum you have chosen is against love, and amounts to a course in how to attack yourself. 8A supplementary goal in this curriculum [Ur: A necessary minor, supplementing this major curriculum goal,] is learning how not to overcome the split that makes its primary aim [Ur: which made this goal] believable. 9And you will not overcome the split in this curriculum, for all your learning will be on its behalf. 10Yet your mind [Ur: will] speaks against your learning as your learning speaks against your mind [Ur: will], and so you fight against all learning [Ur: against learning] and succeed, for that is what you want [Ur: that is your will]. 11But perhaps you do not realize, even yet, that there is something you want [Ur: will] to learn, and that you can learn it because it is your choice [Ur: will] to do so.

The early paragraphs of this section said that we started out filled with pure, undivided love, and that this was our strength. Then we decided to attack ourselves, to attack the love in us. This split our mind into a love camp and a hate camp. Being divided inside between these camps, we were now weak, not strong.

Now this paragraph makes clear that all of the subsequent talk about learning and curriculums is a continuation of this same picture. The love camp wanted us to return to love, and so we have been trying to learn how to love again. Yet the hate camp wanted to make sure that, however much we tried to learn love, we never succeeded. Unfortunately, the hate camp has had the upper hand. Under its influence, we have majored in repeating the original attack on ourselves, and have minored in keeping intact the split that allows that attack to continue. After all, you don't attack yourself unless you are split, unless the attacking part of you (the hate camp) looks upon the other part (the love camp) as something other than you, as not-you.

Unfortunately, trying to learn something we can't really want to learn (how to continually attack ourselves) has soured us on learning itself. What we need to realize is that there is something we truly want to learn, something that every legitimate impulse in us yearns to take hold of.

8. 1You who have tried to learn what you do not want [Ur: will] should take heart, for although the curriculum you set yourself is depressing indeed, it is merely ridiculous if you look at it. 2Is it possible that the way to achieve a goal is not to attain it? 3Resign now [Ur: now] as your own teacher. 4This resignation will not lead to depression. 5It is merely the result of an honest appraisal of what you have taught yourself, and of the learning outcomes that have resulted. 6Under the proper learning conditions, which you can neither provide nor understand, you will become an excellent learner and [Ur: and] an excellent teacher. 7But it is not so yet, and will not be so until the whole learning situation as you have set it up is reversed.

Application: Ask yourself the following questions as sincerely as you can:

Have I treated Jesus' teaching in the Course as a learning disabled student ought to treat his teacher? Have I embraced his instruction, taken to heart his injunctions, and done what he told me to do?
Or with each bit of his instruction, have I reserved the right to set it aside or modify it, as if I know what's better for me?
Have I lived my life as if he is my teacher or as if I am my own teacher?
[Assuming the latter…]
How have I done as my own teacher? Have I learned the love I really want to learn?
Could it be that the curriculum I set myself is all about trying to learn love but never succeeding?
[Assuming a "yes"…]
I admit that my curriculum has been ridiculous.
I therefore resign as my own teacher.
I accept Jesus as my teacher instead.
But I do not resign in depression.
I resign in the happy faith that I will become an excellent learner and even an excellent teacher,
Once I am willing to act like a real student of my real teacher.

9. 1Your learning potential, properly understood, is limitless because it will lead you to God. 2You can teach the way to Him and learn it, if you follow the Teacher Who knows the way to Him [Ur: and the curriculum for learning it] and understands His curriculum for learning it. 3The curriculum is totally unambiguous, because the goal is not divided and the means and the end are in complete accord. 4You [Ur: You] need offer only undivided attention [Ur: undivided attention {recognize this line from your school days?}]. 5Everything else will be given you. 6For you really want to learn aright [Ur: For it is your will to learn aright], and nothing can oppose the decision [Ur: will] of God's Son. 7His learning is as unlimited as he is.

Application: On the heels of your decision to follow Jesus' teaching, not your own, repeat the following to yourself with as much genuine conviction as you can:

My teacher will provide all that I need.
I need offer only undivided attention.
Everything else will be given me.
For it is my will to learn aright,
And nothing can oppose the will of God's Son.
My learning potential is as limitless as I am.

One Comment

  1. Carole Cordes
    Posted March 10, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Dear Robert,
    I was just thinking about this subject today, that I’m not a very good learner; specifically with holding grievances about the world. I’m improving in this regard but not well. I have to think about it a lot and often ask for help but I still get upset with people and institutions and, “How stupid can they be!”. Why do I attract all this conflict and worry? So, this article is priceless for me! I will keep near me and trust that I can learn to love.
    Thank you! Carole

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