Illusion and Compassion
At the outset of this program I promised you that I would share with you the insights that represent the cutting edge of my own coaching journey. This is one of them.
I just returned from Japan, where I presented a weekend seminar on A Course in Miracles. One participant asked me an excellent question:
“A Course in Miracles teacher from America was recently in Japan, where someone asked her what A Course in Miracles would say regarding the Tsunami and earthquake that devastated so much of our country in 2011. She answered, ‘It never happened. Such disasters do not exist.’ While I understand the Course’s philosophy about this, her answer left many of us unsatisfied. Some of us were directly affected by the disaster, and many Japanese people lost loved ones and personal property. How would you answer the same question?”
I told her this:
We might say that the answer exists simultaneously on two levels:
First, as that teacher noted, A Course in Miracles teaches that all disaster and suffering are illusions. God did not create pain and suffering and loss and death, so they do not exist. All such experiences are an element of maya, the dream or hypnosis to which humanity has succumbed. As the Course tells us, “Only the creations of light are real. Everything else is your own nightmare.”
While this statement is true in the ultimate sense, meanwhile we have the experience of living in the world, or illusion. Thus we must work or act within the illusion to deliver healing and upliftment wherever we can, so the illusion of hell comes closer to the illusion of heaven. A Course in Miracles calls this “the happy dream,” in which we continue to dream, but we transform the dream from a nightmare to one of joy and inner and outer peace.
Therefore the response to “how do we respond to the Japanese disaster” is the same as “how do we respond to any disaster?” The answer is to relieve suffering wherever we can. If that means going to the area affected by the tsunami and earthquake and volunteering to help people; deliver medical supplies and treatment; donate money; take a refugee into your home; help rebuild; or whatever, then the power of love will work within the illusion to dissolve the illusion. In fact, when a disaster or any negative experience strikes, it offers an opportunity for us to step out of our shells of separateness to join together to create an experience of healing where otherwise it would have been absent.”
By that point in the ACIM seminar, most of the audience was weeping. It was obvious that many of the students had been impacted by the disaster, and were still in need of emotional healing about it. I like to think that the voice of compassion assisted them to release some of their pain.
It’s easy, when you live far away from suffering, to say that it does not exist. Ultimately, that is true. To really leverage ourselves to heal ourselves, each other, and our world, we must rise beyond the appearance of suffering and establish ourselves in reality as God created it, which is free of suffering of any kind. Yet for the time that we still seem to walk the earth, we must do all we can to make the earth more like heaven. Such a quest always involves compassion, kindness, and service. ACIM tells us “The holiest spot on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love.” The Course is instructing us to take the situations on earth that are the most difficult, and bring love to them to the point that the healing we experience exceeds the situation if it had it been peaceful all along. One might say that we are on earth to become masters of transformation. Thus we dissolve the apparent difference between heaven and earth and live in the state God intended for all of us.