Gary Renard and 'A Course in Miracles' (ACIM)
Essence of the teachings
Below is a summary of an interview with Gary Renard and his wife Cindy by Patrick Kicken on Advaita FM (see also the YouTube links below). I made this summary because I think the interview is really the basics of A Course In Miracles 'in a nutshell', very comprehensive. Actually it's not much of an interview; Gary starts talking and just does not stop anymore. It really knocked me off my feet - very impressive. Hope you enjoy this content as much as I do!
- In order to be enlightened your mind has to be completely healed by the Holy Spirit. That will happen by definition if you learn all your forgiveness lessons in your lifetime; that includes anything that comes into your mind, including any bad memories that you may have for example. By practicing forgiveness you can undo the ego.
- The ego, that is the false you, and that is very clever, wants to survive rather than being undone, will come up with a hundred different ways to tell you that you are a body. And one of the ways it does this is with bad memories, which make you identify with this as you. And of course there is sickness and any kind of pain, any kind of annoyance, upset; anything that takes you out of the present and makes your mind wander.
- We are far too tolerant to mind wandering, and condoning our miscreations. Miscreations are anything that is not God and his Kingdom. Although A Course in Miracles turns out difficult to do, it's ideas are actually very simple. there are not trillions of things to choose between as it appears, there are really only two things to choose between: there are God and His Kingdom, or anything else. And anything else is not true, is not real. Anything that is true is eternal and cannot change or be changed. And that narrows it down quite a bit, because there is not anything in the universe that does not shift or change.
- By definition ACIM is saying, that nothing which we see is true; it is all a projection which comes from the unconscious mind. It's very much like being in a movie theatre - you are seeing a projection, and your attention is diverted to the movie screen. And you start to make the illusion real in your mind, you're drawn into the story. This is what we did with the world: we invested our believe in the world, and because of that, the world can hurt us.
- The Course denies the ability of anything not of God to affect you, and brings the belief back where it belongs, which is with reality, which is perfect oneness, which is also the Course's definition of Heaven. Heaven is the awareness of perfect oneness.
- The idea of you and me is all based on separation. The idea that we are separate from our Creator is what led to this projection in the first place. And everything that you see in the projection is based on separation, including the idea that there are separate bodies. Because of this idea of separation it looks like I am sitting over here, and you are sitting over there, which is an illusion. The truth behind the illusion is that we are one.
- So you have two complete and mutually exclusive thought systems: the thought system of the Holy Spirit which is based on oneness and wholeness, and the thought system of the ego which is based on separation. Time and space are also separation ideas. According to the Course there is only a tiny tick of time. but through the device of separation we took that one single instant and we divided it, and sub-divided it over and over and over again. So now instead of one instant, you have millennia and centuries and decades and years and months and weeks and days and hours and minutes and seconds and nanoseconds, but it's all made up. It seems to be practical, but eventually everybody runs out of time and the body dies.
- People want to make the universe spiritual, but the truth is there is nothing spiritual about it, because anything in it decays and dies. Nothing in the world can live without something else dying, which is why ACIM describes it as 'the dream of death'. And it is very much a dream, and although the idea that the world is an illusion is being taught for a long time, by itself it is not a very helpful idea. What you need to do is to replace it by something.
- The first thing ACIM does to replace this, is to refine the idea that this is an illusion to the idea that this is a dream that you will awaken from. That awakening from the dream is enlightenment. When you awaken from the dream you realize that you are not the effect of the dream, but that you are the cause, and you are no longer a victim. The world is not being done to you, it is being done by you.
- The Miracle worker is anybody who practices kindness and forgiveness, which is coming from a place of cause and not effect. Now you realize that it's your dream, the world is a projection of the unconscious mind, and the unconscious mind is hidden. Just like in the movie theatre the projector is hidden and you are not supposed to turn around and look at the projector. You are supposed to keep looking at the screen, which is exactly what the ego wants for us here. Because if we make the world real in our mind, that means the ego is real.
- The ego senses that salvation or enlightenment is death to the ego. Because of that the ego is afraid, and it's range of emotions will shifts from suspiciousness to viciousness, and that's where illness and injury come into play. The Holy Spirit will then say that there is nothing to fear - you are not the body or the images on the screen. What you really are is exactly the same as your Creator.
- There are 3 basic and very important ideas that you have to put together on ACIM:
- The full awareness of the Atonement (which is the correction of your idea of separation) is the awareness that the separation never occurred; it never happened, we never really left God. You're at home with God, dreaming of exile, but perfectly capable of waking up to reality.
- The sole responsibility of the Miracle worker is to accept the atonement for him or her self. You really never left Heaven, but neither has anybody else. And that's why they are innocent, which leads to the Course's in kind forgiveness. We don't forgive people because they've really done something; we forgive people because they haven't really done anything, because you're the one who made them up in the first place. This is your dream, and they are simply figures in your dream. The people in your dream are images, and the images you make cannot prevail against what God himself would have you be, namely be with him in a state of perfect oneness. It is possible to experience that perfect oneness, even while you appear to be here. The Course calls that experience of complete but temporary suspension of doubt and fear 'Revelation'. The Gnostics used to call that Gnosis, which means knowledge, but it's not intellectual knowledge but an actual experience of God. It cannot be put in words, because words are but symbols of symbols and thus twice removed from reality. The experience gives a taste of things to come and encourages you to try to achieve it on a permanent basis even more.
- The means of the Atonement is Forgiveness. And that is how you undo the ego. People have never left Heaven, and that's why they are innocent, and that's why you are innocent. If you could go into hell, into unconsciousness, deep enough, you would find there is only one of us - one ego appearing as many. It is what Hindus call the world of multiplicity, and it's all illusion, not true. The unreality is always changing, and the reality is unchanged, which is what Jesus referred to as building your house on a rock, not on sand. The truth is always same for everyone. The ego's law of chaos is that the truth is different for everyone, because the ego is always trying to trick you, and will also try to tell you that you are a body, which the Course calls 'temptation'. Here the body tells you what to feel, and not the other way around as it should be. The way turn this around again is to think from cause instead of effect. The body is outside of us, and not our concern; the hand you hold in front of your face is not more significant than the table you see in the room. You don't have to identify with your body, just like you would not identify yourself with your car. It's a vehicle I use to move myself around, and if I want it to work well, I have to put good things in it and take care of it, but it's not me. The body is a projection of the ego. The repetition in the Course is necessary to undo the ego. As you undo the ego the Holy spirit heals the mind. Basically you are forgiving what the ego is showing you.
There is no world, nothing here is true, and in that sense the Course is non-dualistic.
When practicing forgiveness, you have to think outside the box. If someone is bothering or hurting you, you have to think that is not the truth - there is another reality behind that person, which is nothing less than God, bigger than the universe, limitless, something that cannot be confined in any way, in any shape or form. So people are innocent, and they may not know it, but I know it.
You could say people are God in disguise, but it's not a good disguise, because people act insane, and God is not insane. The ego is insane, and will for example call for help by killing twenty people.
Because there's only one of us, and one ego appearing as many, one unconsciousness mind which knows everything and also knows the truth somewhere deep inside, what you are thinking about another person will be interpreted by the unconscious mind to really be about you. People wonder why they are depressed and unhappy in life, but look at the garbage they've been thinking their whole lifes about the world and about other people. This way we establish our own identity, as you see it and believe that it is. So if you overlook the body and can see how the other person is innocent, that is how your unconsciousness mind is going to interpret you. And your unconsciousness mind will say 'okay you are innocent, and you have never left Heaven, and you haven't really done anything, and you are totally worthy of Heaven and being with God'.
The Course says 'to say I want the peace of God is nothing, but to mean it is everything'. What if it didn't matter what happens to me or if I don't get what I want? - that's a harassment to the ego, that will say 'of course it matters'. What if I could be happy and peaceful regardless of what happens? But you have to want the results, you have to have the desire to be with God.
Crisis will happen to you regardless what you think about it - it's the script of the ego. The ego thrives on separation, And there's no better example of separation than death. We all will loose family and friends and eventually die ourselves. Even if you are the most successful person in the world you still have to go through that. The Course says you can be peaceful even if you loose a person, because you know you can never really loose that person, that you are with them at home in Heaven, that you will both awaken to that and that you can even be closer with that person than you could possibly be here.
The Holy Spirit sees oneness all around and always overlooks the body, sees innocence everywhere, which also means it makes no exceptions. So also with practicing forgiveness we must always try and see people for what they really are, no matter what they have done. When you are forgiving, you are ultimately always healing yourself. And you will experience the benefits of it, you will feel better, experience the body in less intense manner in case of illness or injury.
The Holy Spirit heals your mind on an unconscious level every single time you practice forgiveness. Even if you feel you are forgiving the same time, over and over again. Therefor a Miracle is never lost. The unconscious fear of God that many people have will be healed, as well as the fear for death. Finally the mind will be taken over by the Holy Spirit completely, and you will find nothing in the world can threaten or affect you any longer. And when you finally lay your body aside, you will wake up in God, in a permanent state of Revelation. Then you will realize you never really left, and neither has anybody else. In this joy, you can't contain yourself and you expand into infinity.
Therefor the Course says 'nothing real can be threatened'. The 'Peace of God' lies in the fact that there is a choice: are we going to overlook the illusion, overlook the dream, and think in terms of reality, or are we going to make the dream real?
The irony is, that the Course does not ask you to give up anything. You can still have your life, still have your job, still have money, goals, sex, like everybody else has. The only thing is that you are looking at it differently, like a view above the battleground. And you have more joy in life, because if you practice forgiveness, also the unconscious guilt (that goes back as far as the initial idea of separation) is healed as well. It does not matter that it is an illusion, just like you can enjoy a movie in the theatre. You know it's not real, but that does not stop you from enjoying. And it's not that you are not going to have any problems; if you look at the life of Jesus, things were not exactly going good at the end. When you live in a world of duality, you are going to have good and you're going to have bad, you're going to have what you want and you're not. And if you're going to have bad or not what you want, you can forgive. And if there's nothing to forgive someone, you can celebrate with them.
If you can forgive in this lifetime, including memories or any thoughts that come into your mind, you are also forgiving in any other lifetime, as past, present and future are one, and the content is really all the same. When you have forgiven everything, it will lead to enlightenment, and you don't have to come back. Also not for saving the world, that is the job of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus says: there is nothing about me that you cannot obtain. If you want it badly enough, you will start forgiving and you will awaken from the dream. And if you don't want it you will not start forgiving. That's a personal decision. In this respect it's not different from any kind of profession or sport: if you practice enough, you will get results.
People don't realize that the feelings they are having right now, came about as a result of the thoughts they have been having over a long period of time. So you have to learn to control the mind. The Course says this is a kind of mind training, and without a trained mind you can accomplish nothing. So you have to learn to think from the Holy Spirit, and it's going to change the way you feel. For example if you feel stress, this stress has come about because of all the thoughts you have been having with your ego; and if you are able to switch to the Holy Spirit often enough you cannot help but becoming less stressful and more peaceful. The ego is like a wild animal - if you don't train it, it will run wild.
The ego is the voice we are used to listening to, until you become aware of another voice, the voice of the Holy Spirit, and now there is a choice. So the Course is a mind training and you will actually find out that it speaks never about the form or the body, it's all only about the mind. The body is a symptom of the ego. The power of decision (to see anything as it really is or in the way of the ego) is the one remaining power you have in this world. It is our responsibility to choose, and if you make the right decision frequently enough, the ego is undone, and you are free.
For example: fear or fearful thoughts and feelings are how the ego tries to trick you and to separate you from the oneness with God. It is an interpretation of (in itself neutral) images from the outside world that have come to your mind through your eyes or your brain. The images are never the cause of the problem. When you see this, you can recall the projection and replace it by the realization you were never separated from God's love. So you take charge again, by seeing yourself as cause and not suffering from the effect. It's the same with other feelings, like upset or sadness; that's why the Course says 'I am never sad for the reason I think'. Over and over again, the ego will bring people in your life that you have arguments with. And besides that these are projections to let you know you have a real problem in a real world, underlying is a tendency to self-accusation, where the ego is continuously using these projections to trigger the feelings of unworthiness caused by the separation from God.
Like in the Advaita tradition it is said that the world is actually a mistake, the Course would say it's a mistake that needs correction. The truth is God didn't have anything to do with the creation of the world. Because if God created the world and interacted with it, he would be just as crazy as we are. Therefor the world has no purpose, other than to awaken and realize it's not real.
The Course is not about love, but about undoing what's not love, which leads to love automatically. Because love and the Kingdom of Heaven is your natural inheritance.
Health according to the Course is Inner Peace. It does not matter whether you have a healthy body or a sick body, because they are both untrue. Only the perception of the body can be unhealthy.