Monday, January 10, 2011

A Course in Miracles Perspective on the Arizona Shooting

The recent event in Arizona, in which a gunman shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others, jolts us to the core. When tragedy strikes, we need an explanation to stem our horrific grief, so we turn to religion and philosophy to understand man’s inhumanity to man.

Here is how A Course in Miracles explains such heinous crimes.

We were created as part of God, and we are still at home in God, but dreaming a nightmare of life on earth. A Course in Miracles states, “You are at home, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality.” (Text, p. 182) Here on earth we feel separated from God—scared, angry, filled with loss and grief, always waiting for death’s ax to fall. There is only One of us, but because we feel separate we see more than six billion separate bodies.

To wake up from our dream of death, we need to remember our true Identity as the one Self, extended from God. We do that by forgiving the gut-wrenching tragedies that we see on earth, as well as by forgiving all appearances. All forms, those that seem good, and those that seem bad, are part of one big illusion.

In the instant that we thought we could be separate from God, time and space appeared. In that instant, all possible scenarios occurred, all universes, all potentialities, all individual bodies and lives. Physics shows us that time and space are relative and have no independent existence without an observer. We are that observer, making worlds and bodies pop in and out of existence. We are mind/spirit and everything is happening in our mind. Our mind is like a film projector, projecting images of a scary and painful world.

In the thought of separation, a person named Gabrielle Giffords was dreamed up, as were all possible persons. The scenario in which the person called Gabrielle Giffords was shot was also dreamed up. This is called the ego’s thought system, the wrong mind.

God’s counterpart to the ego thought system is the right-minded thought system of the Holy Spirit. It looks on this world with compassion, knowing it is simply an illusion. It looks on time and events as a trick, as an unreal movie being projected from a frightened mind. It reminds us gently that we are safe in the arms of God and need not fear the images of the world. A Course in Miracles tells us, “The problem of separation, which is really the only problem, has already been solved.” (Workbook, p. 141)

The Holy Spirit teaches us to forgive ourselves for believing in separation. In doing so, we access the part of our mind that is still connected to God. As we do this, we see that the spirit of Gabrielle Giffords cannot die, cannot be hurt, nor can there be other separate people who can be killed. We start to see Gabrielle Giffords as a part of our own mind. We start seeing with the mind of God and see only Spirit, not bodies.

This is just a thumbnail sketch of something that A Course in Miracles takes 1300 pages to teach us. In the past, events such as happened in Arizona left me suicidal and in abject despair. It may sound crazy at first, but when you practice the workbook lessons of A Course in Miracles, you attain a peace not of this world. I have experienced it, as have many of my fellow Course students. We are meant to be joyous and free, not shackled by the chains of an illusion we invented.

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