Learning is beautiful and exciting… but can information bring real transformation?Jan 22, 2020
(By Eldad Ben-Moshe ✨ Reading Time: 7 minutes)
Well over 600 pages.
That’s how big the theoretical part of A Course in Miracles is.
And there’s even more theory in other parts of the book.
That’s a lot of information.
The practical part of A Course in Miracles, called ‘The Workbook,’
has 365 daily lessons, with 365 daily exercises.
That's a lot of transformation.
No matter what path you’re following - religion, yoga, meditation, etc.,
it will usually have both information to learn and practices, or exercises, to perform.
But can information lead to transformation?
What is the importance of learning information, and why is it also a trap?
What are the use and the purpose of learning and understanding things?
A Course in Miracles, being both a spiritual course and a psychological one,
gives us an insight into the relationship between information and transformation.
So I’ll use ACIM (an acronym of A Course in Miracles) as an example.
Still, the principles are true to any path, from spirituality to math...
A Course in Miracles is a pretty massive book. Literally.
3 parts: Text, Workbook & Manual for teachers.
2 Supplements: Psychotherapy, and The Song of Prayer
The text is the main theoretical part.
And it’s the biggest part of the book, with well over 600 pages.
The workbook has 365 daily lessons, and each lesson has a daily exercise.
It is the 2nd biggest part of the book.
And with such massive theoretical and practical parts, one can easily get lost.
But ACIM helps us handle that.
It does so by telling us about its point of view regarding the relationship between
information and transformation, theory and practice, theology and experience.
But because it’s such a big book, and at many times the language is hard, it’s easy to miss out,
misunderstand, or lose track of what the A Course in Miracles is saying.
That’s where I aim to help.
The dangers of information
“A universal theology is impossible,
but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary.
It is this experience toward which the course is directed.”
- A Course in Miracles, Manual for Teachers, Clarification of Terms - Introduction
So right off the bat, we see it’s all about the experience, not the information.
“A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not
only possible but necessary.”.
If you understand this, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble,
‘knowledge wars,’ ‘religious fights’ etc.
Let’s face it: The text is huge, and not always easy to read.
Obviously, not everyone agrees on all of it, just like the bible,
and any other vast spiritual or religious text.
It’s human nature. And A Course in Miracles warns us about that.
We think we know things, and our ego loves the idea of “I know,” and its sibling “I’m right.”
In my online workshop, “My salvation is coming from me - so why isn’t it happening?”
I show why it’s part of human nature and why we cherish these ideas so much.
It’s too much to fit into a blog post, but the workshop is available here.
Personally, my understanding of the ACIM did change over the years.
Not from one extreme to the other, but some major, essential shifts certainly happened.
So that's another good way to remember that we don’t really know everything and
to keep an open mind about other people's point of view.
Many times you won’t agree with them, but keeping an open mind is a
practice that is worthwhile in and of itself, and when you do that,
you can also learn new things.
Share what you believe, even if someone is sure that they are right and you are wrong.
But while doing that, be open to listening.
And don’t worry about knowing it all 100% right.
It's probably impossible to know it all 100% right. And it is not the goal anyway.
“A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. It is this experience toward which the course is directed.”
Information can be beautiful and exciting, for sure.
A course in Miracles is a great example of that.
But my guidance, my advice to you, is this: focus on what's important.
But what is it that brings the experience if not information?
And what is the role of information?
Why is A Course in Miracles offering more than 600 pages of theory?
The purpose of the information
“A theoretical foundation such as the text provides is necessary as
a framework to make the exercises in this workbook meaningful.
Yet it is doing the exercises that will make the goal of the course possible.
An untrained mind can accomplish nothing.”
The purpose of the text, the goal of the entire massive theoretical part,
is to give a supportive framework to the practice, to the implementation.
It’s practice and implementation that lead to experience.
And “It is this experience toward which the course is directed.”
That is exactly what the motto of Better Life Awareness Center is saying as well:
Learn -> Practice -> Experience -> Transform™.
Information is essential and useful, but it’s not the goal.
It’s but a means to an end.
And the end is transformation.
Being the means to an end, a correct understanding of the A Course in Miracles’ text,
or theory, is helpful because we have an unconscious interest to misunderstand the course.
That unconscious interest is discussed in detail in my online workshop.
What’s important right now is to understand why information is important.
And it's simply that:
To get the transformation & experience that A Course in Miracles (or any other path)
is aiming for, we need to combine practice with correct understanding.
It is the theoretical framework that “make the exercises in this workbook meaningful”.
Misunderstanding of what ACIM is saying, practicing with the wrong framework in mind,
will not be neutral.
It will sabotage your progress.
But we also need to remember that the theory is just a means to an end, and treat it like that.
Don’t make an idol of it, don't go to holy wars over it.
Get what it means, and make your understanding of it useful for your transformation.
Here’s what the A Course in Miracles has to say about all that:
“There is a course for every teacher of God.
The form of the course varies greatly.
So do the particular teaching aids involved.
But the content of the course never changes.
It can be taught by actions or thoughts; in words or soundlessly;
in any language or in no language; in any place or time or manner…
This is a manual for a special curriculum,
intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course.
There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome”
- A Course in Miracles, Manual For Teachers: Who Are God’s Teachers?
I want you to remember this humble, important, honest declaration of
A Course in Miracles about itself:
That it is “a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms,
all with the same outcome”.
But don’t get confused by the word special.
Our egos love the word special.
In this context, it means that A Course in Miracles is just a specific form
of the universal course.
What’s important is not the form of the universal course you’re following.
It can be A Course in Miracles or any other form.
“There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome.”
What’s important is the content, the essence, which is the same for all different
forms of the universal course, and even more so -
The outcome that we will reach by means of the content.
The outcome, too, is the same for all different forms of the universal course.
Also, going back to that quote, Notice the difference between form and content, or outcome.
The forms are many and do not matter.
The outcome, or content, is one and is all that matters.
So what do we learn from all that?
We learn that the theory is important, but it’s in a supporting role,
it’s not the star of the show.
It is a means to an end.
A Course in Miracles is designed for practice, not for gaining intellectual information.
The theory is essential as a supportive framework that gives context and makes
the practice meaningful, but it’s also a dangerous trap.
It’s like when you break your leg, and you need crutches to help you walk.
It helps you for a while if you’re using it right.
It can do damage if you’re using it wrong, or if you’re over-using it.
Before healing is complete, it's hard to walk without them.
But at some point in the healing process,
it becomes a burden and even dangerous for your healing.
Another metaphor is that of the cocoon that a caterpillar weaves.
It is vital for the transformation process - from a caterpillar to a butterfly -
but eventually, we need to break through that cocoon of intellectual understanding,
and leave it behind - just like the butterfly does. Otherwise, it becomes a trap.
‘Mine is the real god,’ ‘im right and you’re a sinner,’ 'I know, 'I'm right'...
Even fighting between students of ACIM - or any other path - about
who's right and who's wrong about the A Course in Miracles.
Instead, we can have an open dialogue in which we listen, respect,
and learn from others - even if they think the opposite of us.
Our ego loves the specialness of ‘I'm a better student of A Course in Miracles than you are,’
or even a simple ‘I’m a student of A Course in Miracles.’
It’s a specific form of the ego’s specialness song, a form of spiritual ego.
Don't get trapped in the ‘I know’ trap.
“We are not concerned with intellectual feats nor logical toys.
We are dealing only in the very obvious,
which has been overlooked in the clouds of complexity
in which you think you think.”
“This is not a course in philosophical speculation,
nor is it concerned with precise terminology.
It is concerned only with Atonement, or the correction of perception.
The means of the Atonement is forgiveness."
It is forgiveness (ACIM's main practice), not precise definitions and theories,
that will make possible ACIM’s goal: The correction of perception.
Forgiveness is the means, it’s a tool.
It’s something you do, something you practice.
A Course in Miracles' goal is all about transformation, not information.
We use the information, the theory, to get to the transformation.
Learn -> Practice -> Experience -> Transform™.
Practice is the bridge between “learn” and “experience,”
between information and transformation.
A Course in Miracles has many words, and the theoretical part has the most pages.
But the emphasis is on implementation, on practice -
so that we can experience the course’s desired result.
To your better life,
with tons of 💖
Founder, Teacher, and Coach
Better Life Awareness Center