Like many serious seekers, I went through the Course In Miracles phase. In the late 90s, I bought this really expensive thick onion-skinned paged 2-inch thick blue book (equivalent to 3 volumes) and read it from cover to cover. What was most life-changing (for me) about the book was its Workbook which were 365 exercises you have to do each day for 1 year. Since the book is Jesus-based (lots of Jesus reference in the Text part), I asked a born-again Christian if it was a Christian book. She went through it and (almost) threw the book back at me and said it was anti-Christ. That was reassuring for me, meaning I could read it because it was not fundamentalist Christian, and I wouldn’t be brainwashed. Because that’s what the exercises intend to do, brainwash you of your ‘separation’ and ‘lack’ thinking.
This book was written by psychologists over a 7-year period and the ‘authors’ claim that it was written through Jesus’ dictation (technically called ‘automatic writing’). Because it’s really a difficult book to understand, I sought for the simpler explanations from such ACIM (A Course in Miracles) practitioners/teachers, like Marianne Williamson and Gary Renard and two others I don’t remember (I have to go through my boxes to find the book and the authors’ names, so let’s leave it at that). They explained the book in a simpler and practical way. Of course, just like the book with its questionable origin, Gary Renard’s books also claim to be teachings from an ‘ascended guru’ he saw in a vision telling him to follow the teachings of ACIM. I like Marianne Williamson’s practical books on relationships better.
So I really used to be into this ACIM thing although my approach remained more psychological than spiritual. I voluntarily went through the exercises because I was curious if this brainwashing tool would work, and how it worked. Except for the Jesus reference and its automatic writing origin, it’s no different from what we do during meditations when we brainwash ourselves into voidness. I was aware of all these, so I didn’t go into it blindly. I would do it over again if I have the time. And if there was a need.
So, back to the Workbook. The first day exercise is to keep repeating to yourself that every thing you see is not real (tables, chairs, walls, plants, people, etc). The exercises vary each day but it’s the same thing, persuading yourself that you, what you see, what you do is not real. This goes on for weeks which almost drove me crazy and gave me vertigo, until one day, I heard this soft cracking sound inside my head and my vision literally shifted (the same feeling you have when you think you’re falling). I suddenly felt different, like I had a wider view of the world (what a friend calls my helicopter view). I was thinking, this really works. I have really been brainwashed! Up to now, I am still impressed with the efficacy of the book. So, its brainwashing technique is really a shortcut and intensive method to ‘changing your mind’ (or perspective of the world). It can also drive you crazy if you’re the impressionable and emotionally imbalanced type.
Right now, I’m listening to Gary Renard’s Secrets of the Immortal, and I’m trying to figure out what ‘secret’ he’s talking about. The way I see it, there’s really no secret out there. But I’ll let you know how this Renard book comes out.. he’s another writer who gets his teachings from visions, and his works are mostly interpretations of ACIM. An interpretation of a vision from a vision?
I think my point is, the books and teachings that we listen to and believe today, come from dictations and visions and automatic writing from ‘spirits and visions’ in the past. Think about it, the Bible, Blavatsky’s books, ACIM, Alice Bailey’s volumes.. and note that many Buddhist and yoga and esoteric teachings also refer to these ‘ascended gurus’ that are mentioned. They always come up in my readings. We can never be exact about the origins of teachings because they always cross-reference one another, even across time and culture. And we can never really check them out unless we become really evolved and all-seeing. I guess that’s why for now, discernment is important. That, and logic.
Right. (Although even today, I still think the ACIM book to be a brilliant work.)