"Truth answers every call we make to God,
Responding first with
miracles, and then
Returning unto us to be itself."
(See Part II Practice Summary, and also Part II Introduction)
An idea is conveyed here, one that is a running theme through the Course, is that we find our way to God through others; we see Christ first in our brothers, and then in ourselves (1:2). When we call to God, Truth always responds (Title). The first response is "miracles," which we offer to others through our forgiveness. Then, Truth returns to us "to be itself." "Your holy Son is pointed out to me, first in my brother; then in me" (1:2).
This is the way of ACIM. "As I look upon Your Son today" (1:4), that is, as I see the Christ in those around me, "I hear Your Voice instructing me to find the way to You, as You appointed that the way shall be" (1:4). We hear the Voice that directs us to God as we look on Christ in others. Another way of stating this theme is that we see the face of Christ, and then remember God.
The two stages of the answer are: (1) miracles, and (2) the apprehension of Truth as Itself.
Miracles, in the form of forgiveness offered to my brothers, are only a symbol of the Truth. Forgiveness is only "truth's reflection" (1:1). In the miracle I see the Son of God, first in my brother and then in myself.
As miracles accumulate and our mind is trained, Truth Itself begins to dawn, which is the realization of our Identity with God. That isn't our worry, says the Course. We don't need to work to make that happen. Concentrate on the first step, and the second will come of itself. It is God's gift to us.
Many spiritual paths, I think, make a mistake in focusing on God-realization directly. The effort may eventually work because the purpose is right, but it takes a long time, and enormous effort (see T-18.VII.4:9-11). The effort to do what is un-doable, to make happen what has already happened, to find what we have never lost, can become a struggle of endless frustration, a perfect vehicle for the continuation of the ego. This kind of spiritual seeking results in the type of person who is "too heavenly minded to be of any earthly use." Here you find the Pharisee who passes by the injured traveller because he does not want to be tainted. The religious bigot. The self-righteous fundamentalist. His prayers are so important that he ignores his family and its needs.
The Course is saying that the path to heaven is "through forgiveness here" (W-pII.256.1:1). Don't get lost in the search for an abstract experience of union with God. Rather, practice forgiveness. Pay attention to the practical. Concentrate on union with your brother, and union with God will be given you. Work with the material given you, the relationships that are at hand. Don't try to run away in some spiritual retreat; it will fail. You will be attempting to apprehend something you are not capable of apprehending. You can't skip over this process. The way to God is through your brother; he is your Savior. There is no other way.
The path of ACIM is anything but narcissistic or solitary. It teaches us quite clearly that we cannot find God alone; we cannot find God in ourselves alone; and we cannot find God anywhere unless we find Him everywhere. "He is approached through the appreciation of His Son" (T-11.IV.7:2). By learning to see those around us as the Son of God, as God's perfect creation, we learn that we are part of that creation as well. This leads us to the memory of God Himself. The way to God lies through the person next to you:
"'Behold his sinlessness, and be you healed.'"
Copyright © 1996, The Circle of Atonement, Sedona,
All rights reserved.