Course Meets World Commentary
On this page, I will post short commentaries relating A Course in Miracles to a topic "in the news." Here's how it works: I will present material drawn from the world's media—a newspaper article, a blog, an Internet discussion, etc. (with a link to the original source). Then, I will discuss the relationship I see between it and A Course in Miracles. For example, I might show how it echoes things said in the Course, or contrast what it says with the Course's view of the same topic. The goal is to bring a Course perspective to topics being discussed in the larger world.
"I See Him as My Friend": A Woman's Forgiveness of the Man Who Killed Her Daughter
Note: The horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut (December 14, 2012) happened a few days after I finished this piece. I thought about writing a piece about the shooting, but realized that this piece about forgiving when faced with extreme situations could be fruitfully applied to that situation. Let us all, step by step, replace anger and fear with the healing balm of love and forgiveness, in Connecticut and throughout the world.
Those of you who read these "Course Meets World" pieces regularly know that I love good forgiveness stories. Here is yet another one: the remarkable story of a woman who forgave a drunk driver who killed her daughter. As a Course student, what I find especially striking about this particular story is how her forgiveness reached deeper and deeper levels as events progressed. Over time, she went from not wanting to forgive at all to truly joining with the man she had formerly condemned.
- "Love Is in the Fabric of the Universe" I recently read a New York Times article which described a new program in spiritual psychology at Columbia University, the first of its kind at an Ivy League school. In my eyes, this program, started at the very place where Helen and Bill scribed A Course in Miracles forty years ago, is a very positive development. I hope that this program and others like it will bring concepts like spirituality and love into the mainstream of academic research where they belong, and that it will even help make the Course itself the subject of serious study that it deserves to be.
- A Beacon of Forgiveness in Aurora One of the big events in the news right now is the horrific shooting massacre at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. On July 20, James Eagan Holmes opened fire during a premier of the new Batman movie, killing twelve and wounding fifty-eight more. Of course, we grieve for the dead, hope for a speedy recovery for the wounded, and send love and prayers to everyone involved. Here, though, I want to focus on one man wounded in the shooting who has brought light to the darkness: Pierce O'Farrill, who has forgiven Holmes and thus has reminded us all that, in his words, "there is a Light that shines brighter than the darkness ever imagined."
A Beacon of Forgiveness in Aurora
One of the big events in the news right now is the horrific shooting massacre at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. On July 20, James Eagan Holmes opened fire during a premier of the new Batman movie, killing twelve and wounding fifty-eight more. Of course, we grieve for the dead, hope for a speedy recovery for the wounded, and send love and prayers to everyone involved. Here, though, I want to focus on one man wounded in the shooting who has brought light to the darkness: Pierce O'Farrill, who has forgiven Holmes and thus has reminded us all that, in his words, "there is a Light that shines brighter than the darkness ever imagined."
"You Are Free. You Are Free."
A Mexican Assassin Is Healed by the Miracle of Forgiveness Why do we find it so difficult to forgive other people, especially when their apparent attack on us is extreme? One reason is that, in our eyes, it seems that the attacker is gaining something at our expense and even enjoying his attack upon us, which if true would make him an evil monster. But A Course in Miracles says we have it all wrong: In fact, the attacker is gaining nothing from his attacks on us, and even when he seems remorseless, he is secretly burdened with crushing guilt and begging us to help him find his lost innocence through our forgiveness. I recently read a remarkable story that powerfully illustrates this teaching: the story of a Mexican assassin who was miraculously freed from his prison of guilt through the power of forgiveness.
- "Choose Peace": A Small Miracle of Love In personal comments from the author of A Course in Miracles to Helen and Bill, we learn that a miracle need not be a dramatic act like healing the sick or raising the dead. While these things can happen and they are wonderful when they do, a miracle can also take the form of the smallest act of human kindness. Recently, I read a touching story that in my mind illustrates this point in a powerful way. To me, it shows that miracles are not the exclusive province of the great spiritual masters among us, but instead can be performed by each and every one of us right here and right now.
- Who's Minding the Mind? A Course in Miracles claims that underneath our surface beliefs and motivations, we have a deep pit of dark, unconscious beliefs, motivations, and drives that are the real engines running our lives. We believe we murdered the Son of God in ourselves, and that we are so vile we would kill ourselves if our true nature were revealed to us. An underlying motivation in our love relationships is to take vengeance on past partners by extracting "love" from our current ones, who inevitably become targets of vengeance themselves. We have a relentless unconscious drive to accumulate guilt and punish ourselves with pain and death, all to serve the insane goal of keeping God's Love away from us. How can such dark drives be running our lives without our knowing it? It's difficult to imagine. Yet recent scientific studies leave the door open for the Course's account of our lives, for "the new studies reveal a subconscious…that is far more active, purposeful and independent than previously known."
- The Ten Commandments and A Course in Miracles My fiancée, Patricia, who has a Mexican Catholic background, recently asked me what the Course says about the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments were an important part of her faith growing up, and she wanted a Course perspective on them.
- Violence Has Dramatically Declined — Why? It is a truism that we live in violent times. With the daily reports of crime, war, and terrorism screaming from our newspaper headlines, television sets, and Internet news sites, who could possibly suggest otherwise? Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker does suggest otherwise. In his new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, he uses statistical and historical analysis to demonstrate that, contrary to conventional wisdom, worldwide violence has in fact declined dramatically over time — so dramatically that we may well be living in the most peaceful period in human history. I find his arguments largely convincing, and naturally my thoughts turn to how this good news might be viewed from the perspective of A Course in Miracles.
- Identify with Love, and You Are Safe How can we respond to violence in a truly helpful and healing way? For me, this is no idle question. I am currently living in Mexico, where violence is a growing problem. Since 2006, when the government declared war on dueling drug cartels, some estimates say that up to 40,000 people have died, often in gruesome ways. Mass graves have been discovered; dead bodies have been hung from highway overpasses. Many of these deaths have occurred among the poorest and most vulnerable people, who are ruthlessly exploited by the cartels.