31 Aug 2016 Comments Off on Ask Amy: Is ACIM Against Meditation?
Q: I’ve heard that the Course is against meditation. Is that true?
A: The Course is not against meditation. Sometimes people misunderstand the passage where Jesus says, “Nor is a lifetime of contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body necessary.” Taken out of context, that sentence might seem to be against meditation.
But in context, Jesus is telling us that fighting sin and temptation are actually ways of staying engaged with the ego. He explains that ritualistic meditation is counterproductive: “Routines as such are dangerous, because they easily become gods in their own right, threatening the very goals for which they were set up.” (M-16) In other words, the ego is only too happy to cleverly take over meditation for its own goal of “doing” rather than surrendering to the much happier realization that “I need do nothing” but allow the Holy Spirit to completely take over.*
Throughout the entire Course, Jesus advises that we develop a taste for spending quiet time with God. There are many meditations throughout the 365 lessons in the workbook, but usually they are called exercises or practice periods (see www.facebook.com/acimeditations). The Workbook starts off with meditations that are just a minute or two and builds to a point where we are told that we will eagerly await being able to devote time solely to God. The Text and Manual for Teachers also have meditations, and they are called holy instants, recommendations to be still and listen, wait in silence, spend a quiet moment opening to His Correction and His Love, among other phrases.
Interestingly, forgiveness, the cornerstone of the Holy Spirit’s practice, can be considered an “outward” meditation. ACIM teacher Don Giacobbe, in his book, Christian Meditation Inspired by Yoga and A Course in Miracles, proposes, “Forgiveness is meditation applied outwardly toward others. … Forgiveness and meditation have a reciprocal relationship. Since forgiveness is meditation applied outwardly, the inverse is equally true: Meditation is forgiveness applied inwardly toward yourself.” How beautiful and profound to discover that the Course offers us both internal and external meditations to access direct experience of our Innocence which is our true nature. “For now we seek direct experience of truth alone.” (W-Pt.II.Intro)
It could be said that prayer and meditation are the same thing. Both require a willingness to release belief in the body and personal identity. If we can do this for just one moment, time collapses and “the memory of God shimmers across the wide horizons of our minds.”
The ego would have us form a special relationship with meditation so that the ego can feel expert and masterful. Jesus and the Holy Spirit would have us relinquish all control and discover that meditation is the doorway into our natural Self. When we do this, day and night becomes an ongoing mindful meditation as we find, “How quiet is the time you give to spend time with Him, beyond the world.” (W-164)
* Mooji’s video, “Is It Important to Devote Time to Meditation?” may help you understand.
This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the July-August 2016 issue of Miracles magazine. Miracles is a well-loved staple in the ACIM community. For a subscription, email Jon@miraclesmagazine.org or call 845-496-9089. Click here to purchase digital copies. To ask Amy a question, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com
Copyright © 2016 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.