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.
- "Safety Is the Complete Relinquishment of Attack": Thoughts on How to Respond to Donald Trump's Election Victory As everyone who is not in a cave on a Himalayan mountainside knows, Donald Trump shocked the world by winning the election for President of the United States. This event was both surprising and disturbing for many people, including me. While of course Trump's supporters are very happy—and there are obviously quite a few of them—in much of the United States and virtually the entirety of the rest of the world, this unexpected turn of events has spawned intense fear, anger, and despair. All of this came home to my e-mail inbox very quickly—within hours of his victory, I got multiple requests to address this issue. It has hit people hard; as one of my correspondents said, "I can not remember feeling this way after any election, or really at any time in my life." So, I'd like to offer some thoughts that have come to my mind about a Course-based response to Trumps election victory.
Selfish, Altruistic, or a Mixture of Both?
Reflections on Matthieu Ricard's Altruism and the Debate about Human Nature I've recently finished reading an excellent book called Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World. This book by a French Buddhist monk named Matthieu Ricard offers a passionate argument, buttressed by the insights of Buddhism and Western science, for the existence and transformative power of true altruism: genuine concern for the well-being of others, untainted by self-centered motives. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and heartily recommend it. Here, though, rather than summarizing or reviewing the book as a whole, I want to share some reflections on a major topic that both this book and A Course in Miracles address: human nature, and how our view of human nature impacts our efforts to build a better world.
- Ishmael Gilbert, Miracle Worker In the early dictation of A Course in Miracles, the miracle is depicted as an "expression of love" extended by a miracle worker to a miracle receiver, an expression that often takes the form of a seemingly small act of kindness. This expression of love heals the mind of the receiver, but it doesn't stop there: It then extends beyond the initial receiver to bless countless others—indeed, in the end, it is miracles that save the world. What does this look like in everyday life? I'd like to tell the story of Ishmael Gilbert.
Sickness Has Become Impossible The Amazing Story of "Wild Bill Cody" There's a well-known Course passage from Lesson 136 ("Sickness is a defense against the truth") that says some stunning things about what will happen to our bodies if we really let this lesson all the way in:
Perhaps you do not realize that this removes the limits you had placed upon the body by the purposes you gave to it. As these are laid aside, the strength the body has will always be enough to serve all truly useful purposes. The body's health is fully guaranteed, because it is not limited by time, by weather or fatigue, by food and drink, or any laws you made it serve before. You need do nothing now to make it well, for sickness has become impossible. (W-pI.136.18:1-4)
- Going the Extra 5K: An Olympic Holy Encounter As we leave behind the recently completed Olympics in Rio, I'm reflecting on a question that Course students have asked me often over the years: Is competitive athletics compatible with A Course in Miracles? Obviously, like so many endeavors in human life, this one is fraught with the quest for specialness. These are events in which people literally compete to see who has the best body; the official Olympic motto, after all, is "Faster, Higher, Stronger." That being said, the Holy Spirit can use any situation to teach His lesson of love and joining. With that in mind, I'd like to tell you about the Olympic holy encounter between Abbey D'Agostino and Nikki Hamblin.
- Living Up to Our Highest Values: A Miracle of Solidarity People often think of miracles as spectacular events like dramatic physical healings and the like. Certainly that is one category of miracles, as A Course in Miracles makes clear. But as we've emphasized so much here at the Circle, miracles most often take the form of small acts of human kindness that have a surprising transformative impact. Here, I'd like to share a story of what looks to me like an example of such a miracle, performed by my wonderful partner, Patricia.
Raised from the Dead?
An Extraordinary Story of Forgiveness and Transformation A Course in Miracles claims that we can literally raise people from the dead, just as Jesus did in his earthly life (see T-1.I.24:1). There is, after all, no order of difficulty in miracles. But this seems very hard to believe, to put it mildly, and the question naturally arises: Are there examples of people actually doing this? Actually, there are reports of people raising the dead, and while it's hard to say how much truth there is to them without careful investigation, I personally find them intriguing. Here, I'd like to share the story of Francis, a man who was purportedly raised from the dead through prayer and a remarkable commitment to forgiveness of the man who "killed" him.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A "Man for Others" I recently read an excellent biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor and theologian who was executed by the Nazis for participating in a plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler. The biography is called Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Metaxis. (Numbers in parentheses throughout this article are page references to this work.) I've always connected with Bonhoeffer, which on the face of it may sound strange, since he was a conservative evangelical Lutheran who ended up supporting the killing of another human being—hardly a stance that brings to mind A Course in Miracles. Yet even so, for reasons I hope will become clear below, Bonhoeffer strikes me as a uncommonly good human being with qualities I admire and wish to emulate in my own way.
- More Evidence for the Course's "Law of Love" Many recent scientific studies have shown a positive correlation between helping other people and greater psychological well-being. I was recently pointed to yet another study that suggests this link. We seem to be accumulating more and more scientific evidence that, in the words of one of this study's authors, "When we help others we can also help ourselves." What A Course in Miracles calls "the law of love"- "What I give my brother is my gift to me" (W-pII.344.Heading)-seems more and more to be a genuine law that we can actually demonstrate in our daily lives.
- Give Love a Chance: A Sane Response to Extremist Islamic Terrorism Note: The specific audience for this article on extremist Islamic terrorism is non-Muslims in the Western world, simply because this is the main audience that reads my work. I believe the general principles I discuss here apply to everyone, but of course they would apply in different form to our Muslim brothers and sisters from all over the world, who are also struggling with this issue.