Miracles News

January-March, 2018

The Simplest Journey in the World

by Rev. Kirsty Randle, O.M.C.

Rev. Kirsty RandleA Course in Miracles is the simplest journey in the world. This is because we don’t have to do anything. We just have to be willing, and all the rest is all done for us. What could possibly be simpler than that?

And yet, for me, the Course is also the hardest journey in the world. Here I am, ten years on, showing willingness. Day after day, week after week, year after year, praying, meditating, doing the workbook lessons, studying the Text, attending groups and workshops, maybe getting closer, but never quite arriving at the promised land. Fear, rage, disappointment, shame and guilt are my constant companions, although I wish they weren’t.

So what gives, Holy Spirit, what gives?

“Reach out and love,” comes the reply, “Be willing to forgive that which you perceive needs forgiving, although you know that is only the stormy projection of the death throes of an old, tired ego, clinging on for dear life. Only in its dying do you remember your awakening and know that you are loved, held and directed like a ship in a storm to safety by the Light that knows no darkness. We are blessed.”

This, whilst very beautiful, and undoubtedly (in my mind) the voice of Holy Spirit, triggers me. I do nothing in this world but show a willingness to forgive. I know Lesson 78 by heart by now and the list of people I “behold” as my savior is growing daily, ably led by my ex-husband, with his young wife bringing up the rear. “I do my little bit,” I think, “and it’s about time Holy Spirit stepped up to the plate and did His thing.”

A few weeks ago, my ego punched a particularly hard blow. Some kid was bullying my son at a party, a sort of passive aggression that didn’t quite warrant an intervention, but I nevertheless found hard to bear. There was nothing for me to do but go to the church next door, drop my 20 pence in the coffer, light a candle, and “Lesson 78” the bejesus out of this situation. I swear I was there for the full two hours of the party, on my knees, praying with all my heart that I could forgive this kid.

And actually, I couldn’t. I left the church in a worse state of agitation than I had come in with, demanding to know “What kind of situation is this? I spend two hours on my knees, in a church, with a candle, and still cannot forgive an eight year old kid!”
And then concluding, “Really and truly, there is not much hope for me. I give up!”

And then, with this unexpected little bit of surrender, I experienced what must have been a holy instant, right there in the graveyard on the way to the hall to collect my son. I realized that I was not willing to forgive. I had never, ever been willing to forgive, and had, in actual fact, never forgiven anyone in my whole life. Every single grievance I had ever held, I still held — all my past forgiveness was but forgiveness to destroy.

I had been wishing to forgive, most definitely, but I wasn’t willing. Wishing is different from willingness. It’s of the ego — a desire for things to be different from how they are now. And suddenly I didn’t even know what willingness was. In that present moment, I was given the opportunity to let it go, to hand it over to Holy Spirit, every last bit of it. It’s what I had been praying for, for ten years, now finally handed to me.

“No way!”

In giving it up, I saw I was giving up everything I understood to be me, my entire identity, as a woman, as a mother, as a minister, as a victim of a cruel world. I was giving up my specialness. And yes, I also saw that something new would arise. Something more marvelous and beautiful than I could possibly imagine.

“No Way!”

“How bitterly does everyone tied to this world defend the specialness he wants to be the truth! His wish is law to him, and he obeys.” (T-24.VII.1:1-2)

Oh yes indeed! I bitterly defended my specialness I wanted to be the truth. And then, as my moment of reckoning had passed, I went to collect my son from the party, the righteous mother of the victimized child.

Frequently, the weekly Pathways of Light teleconference call on Sunday answers the question I have been asking all week. Holy Spirit uses it well. So, the Sunday morning after this incident, I was not surprised to find myself looking at Chapter 15 of the Text, The Holy Instant. There was one line that stood out for all of us on the call:

“It takes far longer to teach you to be willing to give Him this [instant] than for Him to use this tiny instant to offer you the whole of Heaven.” (T-15.I.11:4)

Aha! So, this, then, is the journey. The simplest, hardest journey in the world is the journey into willingness itself. I dearly wished that I was willing, (it seemed tragic to me that I wasn’t) but of course, as I already knew, wishing doesn’t do any good.

I had an unsettling experience a few weeks previously during a Sufi meditation. (ACIM is my path, but as it’s such a new path, I find tapping into the wisdom of older traditions helpful.) The teacher took me to one side and delivered a strange message from his “Inner Immam” during the tea-break; apparently I needed to say thank-you (Alhamdulillah) for everything that arose in my daily life. Then at the end he called me back. Having consulted once again with Inner Immam, he declared, “You need to change,” and gave me an inscrutable look.

Later, Holy Spirit gave me the message, “Acceptance that everything is as it should be in this moment is key to your forgiveness of all that never was.”

Then it dawned on me, what willingness means, at least for me. If wishing is the desire that things are different from how they are, willingness is the acceptance that things are exactly as they are. So, wishing and willing are exact opposites. This is what the Sufi teacher had meant by changing, the one single change I need to make in my life, that shift into acceptance that things are as they are, present moment by present moment, and giving gratitude for everything that arises, regardless of how the ego perceives it. That is all I need to do, and I should do nothing more, for Holy Spirit to take care of the rest. It is, after all, Holy Spirit’s plan for my salvation unfolding, like a ship in an ocean, slowly changing its course.

There’s an inspirational Oprah Youtube frequently shared on facebook. Oprah says that everyone she has ever interviewed who has traversed a difficult path would give their younger selves one piece of advice, “relax.” But I have to say, I disagree with this from personal experience. Yes, I can look back so far on my life and realize all I had to do was relax, but as advice for going forward it doesn’t work like that.

In “Resurrecting Jesus,” Adyashanti says:

“The events in the Jesus story can be seen as a living metaphor for what’s necessary in our own being. The true boundaries that need to be broken down are the boundaries within our own minds and within our own hearts. So the whole Jesus story, ultimately, is the map of a journey that happens within us.”

And Jesus had broken down boundaries to the point where he was raising the dead, walking on water, and calming a storm with his hand. He’d even had a transfiguration upon a mountain. But in Gethsemane, he was hardly relaxed. He was a human being, in deep fear of what was to come, yet willing to go through with it.

During one of my own trials, Holy Spirit gave me some guidance which I think acknowledges this:

“Do not expect the terror to dissolve into peace, but do expect a shift where you see things in their true Reality, for there is a point when all the ego’s power dissipates into the joke it really is.”

So it isn’t an easy journey, this breaking down of the boundaries between our own hearts and minds, as even Jesus will testify, and we have the ego to thank for that. But it is certainly simple. And after the tortuous journey through the labyrinthine tunnels of my ego, I arrive at the single Truth that will see me through

“Accept what is.”

Rev. Kirsty Randle, O.M.C. is a Pathways of Light minister living in Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom.
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