I frequently repeat lesson 25 from A Course in Miracles: I do not know what anything is for. I recognize that I can only understand the benefit of things in hindsight. Or as Chuck Klosterman says in But What if We’re Wrong, “It’s impossible to understand the world of today until today has become tomorrow.” There are innumerable things that happen that I can’t comprehend in the present moment, and history has a nasty way of demonstrating this truth. Too often, great artists die in poverty. Van Gogh, who was an extremely prolific painter having produced over 900 painting, sold but one during his lifetime. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick was a huge commercial failure at the time it was published and was all but forgotten until some 28 years after his death. Even Christianity wasn’t popular during Christ’s lifetime.
When I look at my own life, I find there are so many things I could not have foreseen. If, for example, anyone would have told me I would spend so much time thinking and writing about God, I’d have told them they were crazy. If anyone would have told me that I’d be doing what I do, living where I live, spending my days as I spend my days, I wouldn’t have believed them. As the Course says, “…you cannot distinguish between advance and retreat. Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success.”
It seriously makes me question everything. It’s impossible to understand now while I am in it.
Yesterday’s Course lesson said, “No one needs practice to gain what is already his.” The big secret we hide from ourselves (or at least, the big secret I hide from MYSELF) is that I already have what I am seeking. I already am what I am striving to become. But then, where’s the game?
What I am doing is learning to remove the filters I’ve made that keep me from seeing what was always there. It really is an evolution. I find now that whenever anyone describes to me their “illness,” their bodily tales of woe, I have a really hard time buying into it. It’s not that I don’t think they have cancer or broken ribs or diabetes. I think that they think they do, and that on some level, it serves them, though it is an unconscious thing and I don’t pretend to understand its purpose. Hell, I look at my own ailments, which are always my biggest blind spot, and I know as I look at them that they are not the solid, changeless thing that ego wants to tell me they are. These days all I can see is stubbornness. When I am clinging to varicose veins, for example, I know that part of me is getting mileage from them. There is some purpose they are serving and I also know that I am at the point in my life when I can’t continue to hold on to them. I also understand that thinking I need to understand what that purpose is creates another tentacle that keeps me from severing its grasp.
I no longer beat myself up for the varicose veins. They are healing. In truth, they are already healed, but I am not yet ready to accept that fully. I have no idea why though I do know they are improving.
I often think of this guy in those moments:
Arthur had to give up his attachment to being a victim to get there. That’s not always easy to do, particularly if you are collecting disability checks for it… I am not, but there’s got to be some gain. (The Manual for Teachers says, “Healing must occur in exact proportion to which the valuelessness of sickness is recognized. One need but say, “There is no gain at all to me in this” and he is healed.”)
My theory is that I would scare myself too much if I thought I was as powerful as I really am. It’s sort of like in the movie the Matrix when Neo asks the Oracle if he is “the one.” He’s not ready to own it.
Neo: I’m not The One.
Oracle: Sorry, kid. You got the gift, but it looks like you’re waiting for something.
Oracle: Your next life, maybe. Who knows? That’s the way these things go.
He’s not ready. Until, he is, of course.
As Marianne Williamson said, “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”
Perhaps if Van Gogh had known the influence he would have, he would never have painted so much. If he’d been a success in his lifetime, he might have stopped painting. We don’t know. I don’t know. How often has someone become an overnight success only to have it ruin him?
The music industry is filled with one-hit wonders. Sometimes the recognition of our greatest can cripple us. Ego comes in and hijacks the show.
I do not know what this post is for. I do not know what anything is for. Good. Bad. I have no idea. I just write because I am called to, just as I imagine Van Gogh painted because he was called to. Will any of this impact the world in any way? I don’t know. Maybe I don’t even care.
I look at the daily news (my biggest obstacle to the total relinquishment of judgment!) and I see that I have no idea how the pieces fit. I have opinions, even though I try hard not to, and I realize that many of them, most of them even, perhaps ALL of them, are wrong.
The Manual for Teachers says, “It is necessary for the teacher of God to realize, not that he should not judge, but that he cannot. In giving up judgment, he is merely giving up what he did not have. He gives up an illusion; or better, he has an illusion of giving up. He has actually merely become more honest.”
Thinking that I am capable of judging anything is delusional. I am simultaneously much more powerful than I give myself credit for and also completely powerless, because the only thing I really have dominion over is my own willingness to accept what already is; all the rest is merely dominion over illusions. “Freedom cannot be learned by tyranny of any kind, and the perfect equality of all God’s Sons cannot be recognized through the dominion of one mind over another. God’s Sons are equal in will, all being the Will of their Father. This is the only lesson I came to teach.”
I am here to learn love. I am here to teach love (what I teach, I learn). I am not here to judge anything or determine what it means. I can’t. It’s impossible to understand. I am just a ripple and where those ripples lead is none of my business. I can’t understand it and if I thought I could I would only get in my own way.
I am teacher to be a Teacher for God. But to do that, I have to surrender the need to fathom the unfathomable. I do not know what anything is for. How could I?
It’s all impossible to understand.
Namaste, my friends, Namaste.