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In 2003, about a year after the scribing of A Course of Love was completed, Mari received “Learning in the Time of Christ.” It is an aid to the reader and anticipates the formation of discussion groups. Its three parts correspond to the three Books—The Course (I), The Treatises (II), and The Dialogues (III). Each part has been placed at the end of its respective Book.
A.1 A major difference between A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love has to do with the movement into the Time of Christ, a time of direct learning in union and relationship with God. The word learning is loosely used here for no learning is needed in union and relationship.
A.2 Yet, as your work with A Course of Love begins, learning and unlearning continue. It continues for the sole purpose for which learning has always existed—that of returning you from self-doubt to self-love. This could also be expressed as returning you from your perceived state of separation to your true state of union. Learning is needed only until perception is cured. The perception of your separated state was the illusion for which a cure was needed—and within A Course in Miracles offered.
A.3 Perception is the result of learning. Perception is learning.
A.4 Since the mind is the realm of perception we have taken a step away from the realm of perception by appealing to the heart and the heart’s ability to learn in a new way. You are thus instructed not to apply your thought and your effort, your usual means of learning, to this Course of Love. This Course is not for the mind but for the heart. It is not a way of thought and effort but a way of feeling, of ease, and of direct relationship. Again I say to you, in the direct relationship achieved in union, no learning is required. Until you have truly recognized unity, which may come before or after completing the “Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition,” you continue to perceive of yourself as a learning being. This is the only reason for this continuation of the coursework provided in A Course in Miracles. While you continue to put effort into learning what cannot be learned, as you continue to see yourself as a student seeking to acquire what you do not yet have, you cannot recognize the unity in which you exist and be freed from learning forever.
A.5 This is not to say that you will find this Course or the end of learning to be easy. Yet it is your difficulty in giving up your attachment to learning through the application of thought and effort that creates the perception of this Course’s difficulty. Thus it is said to you to take this Course with as little attachment to your old means of learning as is possible for you. If you do not understand, accept that you do not understand and go on. Listen to the words as if they are spoken to you, for such they are. Listen as you would listen to a friend in conversation. Listen simply to hear what is being said. Listen simply to let the words enter you.
A.6 This is recommended for your first reading of the Course.
A.7 When you succeed at listening without seeking for understanding, without grasping for meaning, without applying the effort you are used to applying to study, you begin the transformation that is the movement from head to heart and from their separation to their union.
A.8 In wholeheartedness, then, you are ready to return to a second reading of the Course. In wholeheartedness you will find difficulty falling away and understanding arising. You are beginning to know yourself in a new way. You are beginning to know yourself without the perceptions and the judgments of the mind. You are beginning to know yourself as you truly are and you will begin to hear the language of the Course as the language of your own heart.
A.9 Now you may feel quite compelled to share your experience of the Course with others. What might you expect to find?
A.10 Often you will find a desire to read the Course again—to read it aloud—to hear it spoken. This is a natural desire to let the words of the Course enter you in yet another way—the way of voice. Again it is not required nor even recommended that these readings be interrupted by a search for meaning. Listen. Respond. Let meaning be revealed.
A.11 What you will find yourself accepting through this method is precisely what cannot be taught. What you are learning through this method is precisely what cannot be sought after and attained through your seeking. What you are finding through this method is receptivity. You are coming home to the way of the heart. What you gain by sharing with others is a situation in which you “learn” in unity through the receptivity of the heart.
A.12 Am I telling you not to question? Not to enter discussion? I am only telling you to receive before you seek to perceive. I ask you not to receive as one who does not have what another has, as this is not a passing on of information that you do not possess. I ask you merely to receive in order to learn receptivity, the way of the heart. I ask you only to pause, to give the mind a rest, to enter a realm foreign to the mind and yet beloved to the heart. I ask you but to give yourself a chance to let the relief of not having another task to apply your effort to fill you. I ask you but to give yourself a chance to forget about approaching this as one more self-improvement exercise, or one more objective to accomplish. Only in this way do you come to realize you are already accomplished.
A.13 Through receptivity, what your mind finds difficult to accept, your heart accepts with ease. Now you are ready to question what you must. Now you are ready to hear the answer that arises in your own heart or from the voice of the man or woman sitting next to you. Now you are ready to hear all the voices around you without judgment, to enter discussion without an agenda to attend to, to not be so anxious to say what you are thinking that you forget to listen. Now you are ready to let understanding come without the aggressiveness of going out to get it.
A.14 You are patient, loving, and kind. You have entered the time of tenderness. You begin to hear what your feelings are saying to you without the interferences and cautions of your thinking mind. You begin to trust and as you begin to trust you begin to extend who you are. True giving and receiving as one begins to take place. You have entered Holy Relationship.
A.15 The task of facilitators of such meetings of open hearts is to direct the reader away from ego-mind and back to wholeheartedness or Christ-mind. “How do you feel?” is a more appropriate question than, “What do you think?” The sharing of experience is more appropriate than the sharing of interpretation. The sharing of process is more appropriate than the sharing of outcome. Facilitators will keep readers from attempting one correct interpretation, as the only correct interpretation is that which comes from each reader’s own internal guidance system. Group attendees will find themselves feeling less competitive or interested in asserting their beliefs as it becomes clear to them that unlike in other learning situations, there is no correct answer or specific set of beliefs to be adopted. The student begins to move beyond the need for shared belief to personal conviction and authority.
A.16 Can students be misguided? Is there, in other words, perhaps no “right” answer or correct interpretation, but “wrong” answers and inaccurate interpretations? This is a matter of unity versus separation rather than a matter of right and wrong. In unity and relationship, each is not only capable but will inevitably receive the answer and come to the understanding or interpretation that is “right” for them.
A.17 Those who do not enter unity and relationship cannot be helped, fixed, or shown the inaccuracies of their perceptions. Their perceptions will remain true for them because their minds have told them they are true and their belief in the supremacy of the mind has temporarily overridden the openness of their hearts. The need for some to remain within the teaching and learning situation of “right” and “wrong” answers will be strong. Many will not be dissuaded from the logic that tells them they must work hard to attain anything of value.
A.18 Let me be clear. The seeming lack of difficulty in this Course is where its difficulty lies. To give up difficulty for ease is more than some egos are willing to accept. To give up effort for receptivity is more than some can accept. Why? Because it is too difficult. It goes against all you have learned and the nature of the reality in which the mind has functioned. In turning to the heart we seek to bypass this difficulty as much as possible, but each will feel it to some degree, the precise degree to which they are capable of giving up reliance on what they but think has worked for them in the past.
A.19 The way of the heart is the way of the Time of Christ. The time of the Holy Spirit has passed. The time of the intermediary is over. The greatest intermediary of all has been the mind. It has stood between you and your own inner knowing, caught in a dream of perception.
A.20 Collectively and individually, you have come to a level of frustration with what can be taught that has exceeded its limits. Your readiness is felt as impatience. Many can ride the wave of this impatience to a new way. Others need to battle against it a while longer.
A.21 For those ready for a new way the time of battles has ended. They care to engage in no more debates, care not to be proven right or proven wrong, care not to hear the evidence for this approach or that. They have grown weary of the ways of the mind. They are ready to come home to the way of the heart.
A.22 The way of learning in the Time of Christ brings with it a new kind of evidence, an evidence demonstrated clearly and plainly with every willingness to end reliance on the ego-mind and to leave the hell of the separate self behind. What will be demonstrated and shared is the perfect logic of the heart, and that abandonment of the old way will not bring forth ruin but will bring instead the wisdom that each one knows she or he has always possessed.
A.23 Facilitators can rely on this demonstration even when many in a group may remain attached to the ways of the thinking mind. The demonstration will work for those who observe from a place of unity even if it works not at all for the reader who cannot find it within him- or her-self to accept union. There is no cause to delay the movement of the group or to feel anything but gentleness toward those who cannot at this time accept the new way. No harm will come to anyone from the demonstration that will be provided of just how little gain comes to those who cannot receive.
A.24 Through receptivity is the wisdom inherent in being who you truly are revealed. Being who you truly are, accepting your true identity, is the goal of this Course and of this beginning level of what I only loosely call a curriculum. It is appropriate to remember and to be reminded at this level, that being true to your Self is not about reaching an ideal state or a state of identity exactly the same as another’s. It is also not about being selfless. These ideas too are part of the unlearning of this Course and are to be discouraged.
A.25 Readers then naturally may wonder what there is left to strive for and in doing so reach again the very difficult transition away from striving. In unity, perfection is the reality. Your reality is union. Thus no striving for either unity or perfection is necessary. The “answer” for those in need of challenges, is the challenge presented in the call to reside in unity and to express the divinity of their nature through sharing in union and relationship. This call is addressed further in the work of the Treatises.
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