Meandering down the canister aisle, I find my favorite dark chocolate covered almonds. As I’m about to fill the little plastic bag, I hear a firm voice behind me instructing a customer to put a mask on. The shopper is holding the mask in her hand, but goes on a rant about why it is unhealthy to wear it. The manager of the store shakes a little, but her voice raises a pitch and she tells the woman she will need to leave the store as her unsafe behavior is affecting other customers.
Both sets of eyes dart my way, pleading for me to take their side. I inwardly admit to being annoyed, but not by either person’s words, as I agree with some of what they both have to say. However, I make the 30-minute drive along the lake to get to my favorite natural food store because it usually brings me happiness just to be in that wholesome atmosphere, and I don’t want to be subjected to being drawn into anyone’s battle. I just grab my nuts and try to hurry away not looking at either of them. But an image of that customer shoving her little basket of food into the manager’s chest as she storms out, catches my eye anyway. As my own heart beat calms and I continue shopping I send both women waves of love. I wish I would have been immune to getting upset and had had the presence of mind to offer helpful words to both of them even if their egos were turned up to a violent notch. But, at least I have all the tools I need to return to my state of inner peace quickly thanks to the teachings of my favorite book ~ A Course in Miracles (ACIM).
ACIM is a work of art so powerful that I believe it can help save our planet from destruction. It is based on the premise that we can surrender our addiction to drama and the need to be right, and instead let the light of our soul light shine through in any situation. It is written in perfect iambic pentameter, a poetic form used by William Shakespeare. Helen Schucman, was an American Psychologist, and is the scribe of the book. She stated that the material was given to her by an inner voice she identified as Jesus. She entrusted the perfected copy, after editing it under Jesus’ guidance, to her close circle of friends, as she did not want to claim authorship. The Foundation of Inner Peace had it published and you can find the complete works here.
Unfortunately, her first draft of her book along with many personal notes was stolen from the US Copyright Office and the library of the Association for Research and Enlightenment, and has now been published by others claiming to have the right version of the book! A confused judge had invalidated its copyright and put it in the public domain. So, people are free to sell the earlier drafts and make money off of stolen material, though some even put Helen’s name as author (which was directly against her wishes).
One of the core characteristics for people as teachers of God (according to ACIM) is honesty. So, while people can still benefit from the stolen material (after all, it still has ACIM within it) the people who stooped to do this must not really understand what the ACIM is trying to teach them. Yet they added their own interpretations of what the course is about throughout their books, in the guise of helping people to understand it better. Ugh!
There are plenty of useful books that have been written to help people try to understand ACIM better. Why alter a masterpiece? It would be like someone painting over the Mona Lisa to make her smile broader or her eyes more twinkly in an attempt to help others understand how happy she was, instead of taking the time to really look at her and understand more deeply all the emotions that come through. I don’t believe ACIM was meant to be read fast and easy. When I first encountered it in 1987, I would read a paragraph or two and then hold the book in my arms letting its beauty wash over me. It took many years before I understood that as a path to a better way of experiencing life, and to be understood fully, the lessons it encourages us to partake in need time and experience to firmly become more consciously known.
Recently, I saw a YouTube interview of two people discussing the fact that in one of Helen’s personal notes (that was never meant to be published and was only specific to one person) she had asked if her dear friend should get a flu shot. When the answer was affirmative, the host went on to encourage others to use this information to validate their stance on vaccines. I was saddened to think people would use my beloved ACIM to promote their controversial views. Even though my personal belief is that vaccines can be helpful (masks ~ not so much, though I wear one when it brings peace to those around me) as a holistic health practitioner, I believe that the real spread of viruses is caused by anger. The cure is love regardless of what outer forms of protection people choose to believe in. ACIM teaches us how to undo angry and fearful ego thoughts and return to loving each other. So I am using another core principal of ACIM to bring me back to inner peace ~ forgiveness!
Mona Lisa is still smiling though she too is subjected to thievery and the exploitation by others who choose to promote their own agendas.
Pen Augustin is author of Waves of Light and The Priestess Tale series. She is also founder of Lady of the Lake Holistic Health. Pen loves to give messages about how we can heal ourselves and bring balance to our beloved planet. Living near the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan, she enjoys spending time in nature and communing with the local wildlife.