The objective of A Course In Miracles is to restore joy and peace in its students’ mindheart, to remove all barriers to love that we construct within our self. It achieves this goal by mending our relationships. A Course In Miracles is a relationship coach.
There are only four characters in A Course In Miracles:
God: our Creator
I: the teacher of the course
You: the student of the course
Your brother: any fellow-being the student may think about or encounter
So, for all practical purposes (of receiving the teaching of the course at least), there is only one relationship here among us: we are brothers to each other.
My romantic partner is my brother, my parents are my brothers, my friends, my nephews, niece, children, any relative near or far, any office colleague, boss, any person I know remotely, meet briefly, think about, everyone is my brother.
Essentially, the one person who is on my mind right now, at any given moment, that is the brother towards whom any resentment, anger, bitterness, fear is to be washed out – to whatever tiny extent that feeling may be there, it is to be washed out. “Your patience with your brother is your patience with yourself. Is not a child of God worth patience?” says A Course In Miracles, but it does not ask us to do disservice to our self. In fact it teaches that when we honor our self, we honor our brother, and vice versa — because we are One Self, One Mind, very literally.
In following the teachings of A Course In Miracles, I have found it very effective to consider all my relationships as a relationship with my brother. In her book You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay suggests, we look at our parents as little children, to connect with and empathize with their pain. This sure does have some merit — not just for looking at our parents, but anyone, of any age and social standing — it is important to connect to our fellow-beings’ pain, to empathize with it, to be sensitive towards it. However, to remain at that perspective, I have found is not healthy. That sensitivity and empathy, that understanding of that person’s pain, can then easily convert into pity. This does gross disservice to our self, and to the other person. It binds us and the other person into very unhealthy mental patterns. Irrespective of what anyone goes through, ultimately it is each person’s responsibility to process their pain and emerge from it. In this, it helps to look at our fellow-being as a brother, as an equal — not higher than, nor lower than us in any way.
Our body-consciousness is so insidious. It is easy to look at a child as a child who needs to be ‘moulded’. It is easy to look at an ‘elder’ as being in some way greater than us. This is so far from the truth. Any human being, irrespective of age and condition, is a complete being and deserves of being seen as such. It is important to strive to not receive anything that is undeserving of our innate worth, and not accept disrespect towards our brother too — and each small instance is important. Even if the brother talks in a self-deprecating, self-flagellating manner towards their own self, we must, reaffirm the innate worth of our brother. Whether we say anything verbally or not, reaffirming the innate worth of our brother in our mind is powerful enough. What we think of our brother is what we think of our self, emphasizes the course.
Yes, all this is not easy. Relationships are the number one struggle in most lives on the planet, the number one reason for pain and lack of peace. However, A Course In Miracles achieves this cleaning process in a very methodical and relentless manner via its Workbook — and yes, it is an ongoing process. At times it feels great, at times it feels things are getting messier, but it is better than things being pushed under the carpet with the pretension that the issue does not exist. Until an issue is truly healed in our heart, it shall continue to fester, irrespective of how much we push it away with pseudo-wisdom or distract our self with other stuff.
This article is part of an ongoing extended book review of A Course In Miracles
The previous articles are:
How I Started Reading My Favorite Fat Spiritual Book
How He Endeared Me To Himself
Next post in this series:
He Has X-Ray Vision
Photo: The Walk to Paradise Garden by W. Eugene Smith