Course Meets World Commentary Greg Mackie

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.

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  • One Lily of Forgiveness in Iran A big story in the news recently has been the election in Iran and its aftermath. After current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner, supporters of challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi claimed that the election results were rigged and took to the streets and rooftops in protest. But the details of the election controversy are not what I want to report on here; we have CNN and Reuters for that. Instead, I want to highlight a video of the protests I saw which to me captures perfectly the choice on which the salvation of the world depends: the choice between sacrificing one another at the dark and bloody shrine of the ego, or offering one another the lilies of forgiveness that transform the darkness of our world into radiant light.
  • What Goals Really Bring Us Happiness? More and more psychological studies are discovering what many of us are slowly discovering for ourselves and A Course in Miracles is trying to teach us: Happiness comes not from achieving worldly goals, but from becoming better, more loving human beings. A new study, conducted by Edward Deci and colleagues at the University of Rochester, provides further evidence for this conclusion. It suggests that achieving goals like wealth, fame, and physical attractiveness not only doesn't make us happy, but it actually makes us feel worse. True happiness, in Deci's words, comes instead from "growing as an individual, having loving relationships, and contributing to your community."
  • Is Distant Healing Possible? A number of recent scientific studies have explored the question of whether one person can heal another at a distance. While the results of these studies have varied, I recently read about one such study which offers strong evidence that distant healing is truly possible. This finding dovetails perfectly with A Course in Miracles, which regards distant healing as not only possible but completely natural, given the true nature of reality.
  • It Must Be More? Especially in these difficult economic times, all of us hope to acquire enough to make ends meet. Of course, we would love to do better than that; if we had enough money and material things to not just get by but live comfortably, surely we would be happy with what we have, right? According to recent scientific studies, probably not. These studies suggest that there's a darker, greedier motive driving our acquisition of wealth: We don't just want enough to meet our needs; we want more than other people have. This strongly echoes the teachings of A Course in Miracles on our lust for specialness, our ego-driven need to elevate ourselves above others. "Enough" just will not do; in the Course's words, "It must be more" (T-29.VIII.8:7)
  • Accepting Our Real Protection The economic crisis has made us all feel vulnerable. In these difficult times, many of us have felt our sense of security pulled out from under us as our jobs, houses, and savings have vanished in the blink of an eye. But according to A Course in Miracles, these things never made us secure in the first place. Our true safety comes from God. Therefore, our economic difficulties don't have to bring us fear and trembling. They can also give us a precious opportunity to let go of our false sense of security and accept our real protection.
  • To Think or Not to Think? Why Not Do Both? I recently read an article based on the work of Eckhart Tolle called "To Think or Not to Think?" It presents a view that is virtually universal in alternative spiritual circles: a view that greatly minimizes the value of good old-fashioned discursive thinking, seeing it as mainly a barrier to real insight and spiritual growth. This is an unfortunate view in my opinion, for I believe that discursive thinking — thinking characterized by elements such as logic, reasoning, discernment, and analysis — is absolutely vital to the spiritual journey, a tool that we simply cannot do without. It is certainly vital to the path of A Course in Miracles.
  • Kent Whitaker: Forgiving the Son Who Murdered My Family Since forgiveness is the central teaching of A Course in Miracles, I love true stories of forgiveness in extreme situations. I found another recently in a story featured on Oprah. This is the story of Kent Whitaker, who forgave his son for an act so horrifying it is hard to even imagine: arranging the murder of his own family. Though Kent's forgiveness was from a born-again Christian perspective, I find some striking parallels with the Course.
  • How Can the Course Help Us Cope with the Current Financial Crisis? We've all seen the headlines, and everyone's talking about it: America is experiencing a financial crisis that some say is the worst since the Great Depression. Like everyone else, I have been pondering what effect the recent events on Wall Street will have on my own life. What will happen to my income, since I work full time for the Circle and our donations go down when the economy suffers? What will happen to my supplemental income performing weddings, since fewer people come to Sedona to get married when they are watching every penny? Since I am a Course student, one question is the most important of all: How can my path help me cope with this financial crisis and the distressing questions it brings up? I want to share a few Course ideas that have helped me with this. I hope they will be helpful to you too.
  • The Unabomber's Brother, My Brother A Course in Miracles is all about forgiveness and joining, so now and then I like to share a story that exemplifies these values. Recently, I came across the remarkable story of Unabomber victim Gary Wright and the Unabomber's brother, David Kaczynski. You would think that Wright would want to keep at arm's length the brother of a man who tried to bomb him to oblivion. Why have anything to do with another member of that crazy family? Yet against all odds, Wright and Kaczynski have forged a friendship so deep that they now regard each other as brothers.
  • Why I Watch the Olympics, in Spite of Everything Anyone who's not meditating in a cave somewhere knows that the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China have just concluded. I have to confess that I enjoy watching the Olympics, which may sound strange coming from a Course teacher. How can a Course teacher enjoy an athletic competition that is for the most part a monument to specialness? On a more mundane level, I'm sure it's simply an artifact of my youth. I watched the Games growing up, I was a competitive distance runner who once dreamed of Olympic glory as a teenager, and old habits die hard. But I think one reason I watch the Games today is because they offer, on a world stage, both extreme examples of egocentricity (which can help us get in touch with our own versions of egocentricity), and occasional glimmers of hope that we may yet transcend our petty egos and join together in peace.

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