Miracles News

April-June, 2023

Why I Practice the Teachings of A Course in Miracles

by Rev. Jennifer McSween, Ordained Ministerial Counselor

In May of this year, 2022, I received the “Dreaded Diagnosis,” the “Big C,” as a biopsy confirmed that the cells of the 2.7mm lesion on my upper left lung was cancerous. I say the “Dreaded Diagnosis” because as the world teaches… whether it’s within the context of religion, spirituality, philosophy, or the secular world… “cancer” of any sort is one of the things in the world by which we seem to be most victimized. This is partly because despite our best efforts, we can’t seem to prevent it… we have not yet found a cure… and it is still among the leading causes of death.

The world therefore teaches that “cancer” is something to be feared and fought against so… most of the time receiving a cancer diagnosis begins a cycle of worry, fear, and fight. It’s common to hear people who have been diagnosed with cancer and/or who have been cancer-free for some time, talk about how hard they are fighting against the disease and describe themselves as “Cancer Survivors.”

For me though — from the first time I heard the diagnosis up to the time of this writing, which is six days after having surgery to remove the entire upper lobe of my left lung — I have been totally at Peace. I remember feeling extremely calm as the two Pulmonary Specialists discussed the results of the first CT Scan with my husband and me, in April. The results showed a clearly defined “spot” on my upper left lung and they suggested a series of further scans, tests and exploration over the following four to six weeks to determine the exact nature of the ‘spot.’

After they left the room, I turned to my husband and asked, “So how do you feel about all this?” He responded by saying, “Never mind me… how do ‘you’ feel?” I shared that I was feeling quite calm and at peace despite the possible diagnoses.

I imagined he thought that I might be in shock… or that the news had not quite settled in yet and, for a brief moment, I wondered the same thing myself. However, I continued to feel calm.

I felt calm when the thoracic surgeon shared the results of the biopsy confirming that the “spot” on my lung was not scar tissue but a lesion, and that the cells in the lesion were cancerous. I was calm and at peace when she discussed the different options and the prognosis based on the information we had so far. And I was at peace making the decision to monitor the lesion via a CT Scan every three months to detect any changes that might occur. I was also calm and at peace when I agreed to be placed on the emergency wait list for surgery because the results of the CT Scan in September showed that the lesion was growing.

Now… you might be thinking that I’m either in denial… must be engaging in positive or wishful thinking… constantly praying… or have a very strong sense of faith to be feeling so calm and at Peace about my condition. However… you need to know that at no point during this experience did I feel victimized because I had cancer. At no point did I fear that I would die because of it. And… at no time did I hope or pray that I have a specific result or outcome. If there was anything for which I “prayed”… for lack of a better word, it would be that I remain peaceful regardless of the outcome. 

I continue to feel mentally peaceful now… even while having physical pain and discomfort from having surgery six days ago and awaiting the results as to whether there has been any spreading of the cancer to the surrounding lymph nodes.

What is allowing me to remain peaceful throughout this experience… is practicing what I’ve learned as A Course in Miracles student, teacher, coach and counselor for over 20 years. The Course in Miracles’ most central teaching can be seen as this: “It’s not what happens but how you look at it, that determines the way you feel, think about, respond to, and ultimately experience anything.” And the Course presents lessons, teachings and perspectives that allow you to choose to look at yourself, your life, the world and everything that takes place in your life and in the world from a place of power and of peace… instead of victimization and fear.

One of the most liberating and empowering lessons in the Workbook, is Lesson 31 which simply states: “I am not the victim of the world I see.” The reason why I say it’s “one of the most liberating and empowering lessons”… is because the idea behind this lesson is that “you” are not your body. So… though something may be happening to or in your body… the real you remains unaffected so “you” are never a victim of anything.

Practicing this lesson over the years I’ve come to embody the idea behind, I’m not the victim of the world I see. And this is why I’m able to remain peaceful throughout this experience regardless of the diagnosis, prognosis, or what is happening in or to my body.

Practicing the teachings of A Course in Miracles has also led me to gain a new perspective of those circumstances, situations, or conditions, such as a cancer diagnosis, that not only takes away the perception of threat and victimization but shows them as “Tools for the Trade.” Here’s what I mean by this. From the perspective of the Course, everything can serve the purpose of our healing and awakening. So we can look at the circumstances, situations and conditions we find most threatening or victimizing as not coming to hurt us, but rather to “prepare” us to express the purpose for which we were created.

I believe that my purpose is about helping people to feel healed, happy, empowered and at peace as they go about their life in the world, regardless of what happens in their life, their body, or in the world. From that perspective, my cancer diagnosis can be seen simply as a way to prepare me to express that purpose — teach others how they can feel healed, happy, empowered and at peace even if they, too, have to face a cancer diagnosis.

I can most effectively teach them how to be that way by my ‘learning to be that way’ in my own life. These are just a couple of the reasons why I have been practicing, and will continue to practice, the teachings of A Course in Miracles!

Rev. Jennifer McSween is a Pathways of Light Minister, The Miracles Mindset Strategist, ACIM Coach, and International Bestselling Author of the book “TRUE FORGIVENESS: The Proven Path From Pain To Power In 5 Simple Steps.” She is founder of LifeWorks Spiritual Network FB Community https://www.facebook.com/groups/thetfgvgrp  Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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