Free Will and A Course in Miracles
What about FREE WILL? Do we have free will? According to the common sense view of life, the universe is real and we are real as separate individuals. We are all separate from one another, from nature, from other animals, and from God Himself. In this world of individuality we have desires, personal ambitions, and certainly we exert our “free will” to try to make them come to pass. So, in the common sense view of the world, of course we all have free will. You can jump up and down and declare to the heavens that you are a unique individual and, come the end of your life, you can sing the song, “I did it MY way.” In your life as an individual you may even use certain spiritual thought systems that help you “manifest” more stuff that you think you want, although next year your stuff will go out of style and you’ll have to manifest new stuff, but PRAISE GOD, you are an individual and can trace your genealogy back to Adam and Eve. After all, “God” created us as individuals, didn’t he? Careful my common sense friend. Even the scientists within this common sense world are now saying that the universe is not real! They are coming to the conclusion that the universe is more like a hologram…or a…dream! Whoa! That would mean that we as “individuals” were characters in a…dream! You have surely had some very vivid dreams in your life which contained many characters. The dream seemed real at the time you were experiencing it! So tell me. Did those characters in your dreams have (wait for it) FREE WILL? Of course not, you say. They were just part of my mind that was dreaming. In dream analysis, all the characters in the dream are a part of YOU! They seemed to be separate characters in the dream, but it was just a dream! For thousands of years, one of the world’s great religions, Buddhism, has been telling us that our experience in the world is more like a dream. Now Quantum Physicists agree!
Into this discussion now comes the spiritual system known as A COURSE IN MIRACLES. ACIM tells us a different story. Instead of the common sense one, it tells us there is a God created universe of spirit (or Mind) and a dream universe that we think is real. In the real universe of spirit which God created there is perfect Oneness. There are no individuals. There is God and His one Son, also called “Christ,” who God created by extending himself, sort of, by analogy, like the rays of our physical sun radiating light from it. The Father (God) and the Son are totally One. There is no place where the Father ends and the Son begins. They are totally One, totally unconditional love, totally true, and totally factual. In this universe of spirit (or Mind) Love is continually extending itself. There is also only One Will which is the Will of God, totally inclusive and indivisible. It is not possible in this real world for anything to be outside of the Will of God.
ACIM then gives us a spiritual epic myth to give us a deeper picture than Adam and Eve. It’s intention is to help us see NOW rather than some remote time in the very distant past. It says that in calm eternity where all is One, something SEEMED to happen which was impossible. A “tiny, mad idea” popped into the Mind of the Son that He could somehow be different from His Father. Since that could not be true, the Son fell into a little dreamlet in which He was split off from His Father and could now observe. In reality, in Heaven, there is no observer because there is total Oneness. But the Son now has fallen into a dream and believes he can observe as a separated Being. In His dream he now thinks he has a mind which appears to co-exist with the Mind of God and Christ. He believes He has split off from Oneness, which of course could never happen, but in His dream it appeared to happen. That split mind now has two reactions to the split it thinks it has made, two reactions to the “tiny mad idea.” One voice is what the Course calls the “ego,” and it says to the separated son, “boy you have really done it! Look how you have hurt God! He gave you everything and you have spit in His face. You have stolen the crown jewels! Do you really think He is going to let you get away with that? He is going to hunt you down like the mad dog you are and He is going to destroy you!” The ego is the thought that the separation from God has actually happened, just as the awful story of God, Adam and Eve and the Garden tells us! The other Voice is what the Course calls “The Holy Spirit” or the voice of Jesus. It speaks for the truth and says, “it is just a little dream. Nothing has happened. Laugh it off and just wake up.” The Holy Spirit is the memory of who the Son really is and He has taken this memory with Him into the dream. Now for some reason, we will never know why, the Son believed the ego’s story. He believed He had indeed hurt God by separating from Him. The ego gives a very nasty word for this act of separation. The ego calls it “sin” and now the split minded separated son has committed it! This is the beginning of all guilt or self-hatred. This is also where the fear of God comes from. The ego has turned the Love of God into the wrath of God, something that could never exist in truth in God’s Mind. The tale of the ego is one of sin, guilt and fear, its very unholy trinity. When the Son of God becomes identified with the ego thought system of sin, guilt and fear, he identifies himself as sinful, guilty, and fearful. The workbook says at one point, “You think you are the home of evil, darkness and sin” (W-pI.93.1:1). So the separated son, now fearful of the wrath of God decides to hide from God. He projects a physical universe in which to hide from God. And as he enters through the Big Bang he splinters into zillions and zillions of pieces, star dust, planets, matter, life forms, including humans. Now the separated son has a body to hide in. He is an individual now, as far away from Oneness as he can get, for he fears Oneness now. The ego tells Him that this Oneness the Holy Spirit talks about is really extinction. So he hides from God in a body in a physical universe of his own making by projection. The tiny mad idea has been projected outwards to create an entire fake universe full of bodies for the son to hide in. The Course says “This world was made as an attack on God. …[it] was meant to be a place where God could enter not” (W-pII.3.2:1,4) By the dynamics of denial and repression, the knowledge of who he really is gets buried in the dream. He must believe he is a separate individual in a body. He takes up an identity in a body with other bodies and appears to live a life all based on sin, guilt and fear. SO WHERE IS FREE WILL IN ALL OF THIS? Did the Son have free will when he chose for the ego’s story of separation? He certainly had a choice but it was a choice within a dream. Can that be thought of as FREE will? Hardly. What about the individual bodies who now believe they are real? Do THEY have free will? In their dream world they appear to be able to choose things: a certain job, a certain house, a certain life style. But could you call this FREE WILL when it is happening in a dream world created by projection and upheld by denial and repression? Hardly FREE! So in this physical world bodies hide from God, who they fear is wrathful, assert their individuality (like the tiny mad idea wanting to be something different from the Father) and believe they have a will of their own which is opposed to the Will of God! This is all in the dream of the fake physical universe. Each split off son in a body is a hologram containing the whole truth within him. The truth of who he is lies in him buried under denial and repression. Now we come to the essence of the Course which is all about MIRACLES. A miracle introduces a pause into our “normal” thinking. It gives us a gap in time. It brings us back to the truth that we chose wrongly for the ego and now we can choose rightly for The Holy Spirit’s view. THAT is FREE WILL. It is within the son’s power to decide again, choose again this time for the Holy Spirit. As he does, the memory of who he really is comes back to him. He can see that he is NOT a body! He is a spirit, a mind, and can choose again. He can forgive all the other bodies he interacted with because he sees now that he has been in a dream. His mind has been split into two parts, a wrong mind which believes the ego’s thought system, and the right mind which believes the Holy Spirit’s answer: “This is all a dream. Separation from God could never occur in truth. You are still as you were. I am not a body. I am free for I am still as God created me.” Gradually the son begins to come out of denial and repression and learn the truth. He is not a body. He is the Son of God. The Holy Spirit’s job is to bring together all the separate pieces of the son together. We help in this with our free choice to forgive our brothers for what we thought they did to us. The Peace of God comes to us and at some point we experience ourselves as simply The Love of God. Our bodies now become a useful tool in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Instead of hiding from God in a body, we learn the lessons that will help us all to awaken from the dream. Is there free will in this? Yes. The choice to join again with our Father is a FREE choice because it brings Truth. The choice to join our will with the Will of God is a FREE choice because it brings freedom. That is where we are today in the epic story. Either you are hiding from God and proclaiming your greatness as an individual or you are joining with the Holy Spirit in bringing the pieces of the Sonship together. Which will it be? Will you proclaim yourself an eternal individual forever separate from God or will you choose to rejoin with the Oneness of God and His Son? As soon as you see that it is not a fearful thing to rejoin with God, you will quickly and easily choose to do so. But as long as there is fear left, rejoining will give you fearful images of losing this great individual you think you are. That was the ego’s story, that the tiny individual will be annihilated within the ocean of God. That was the starting delusion of the dream, that the son could somehow be more than God! That one silly mistake in thought has given rise to our world of a physical universe filled with individual selves. To enhance the dream, individuals created religions to glorify the individual. New Age spiritualities came to call the individuals great and powerful beings who could “create” whatever they want. You see how clever the Ego is? It created religions, old and New Age, to bolster its story of glorious individuality.
What could you want that the Love of God could not give you? Would you choose sin, guilt and fear over everlasting Love? If you broke free of denial and repression and knew yourself to be the Glory of God, would you go back to your little self? If you knew the Will of God encompassed you with nothing but Love for you, would you try to exert your own little will against His? All of these questions are before you TODAY and they call for a choice! The son of God can choose again and follow the Voice of Jesus back to our true identity and true Home. For the time has come and the choice must be made. Would you remain in chains and hold your brothers captive with you? Or would you choose to forgive them and receive your own salvation as you bestow it on them?
Do not fail to heed my voice, dear brothers, for the time has come and you must choose again, and in this I have perfect certainty that you will choose for Heaven. There is but a ladder reaching from your dream world to the Heaven which is your Home. I stand at the top of the ladder and reach down to take your hand. I will not fail you for it has been given me to succeed. We are but a tiny step away from Heaven’s Gate and we will awaken into our Home.