The Journey to Heaven

The Journey to Heaven

There are a number of popular phrases in A Course in Miracles that are subject to more than one interpretation. The problem is that an error in interpretation can cause a delay in the student reaching the goal of awakening as set by the course, as it presents correct perception as essential. A popular phrase often quoted is “I need do nothing.”

This phrase is very seductive for what could be easier to do than nothing? Let us just relax, do nothing, be saved and awaken to heaven. Some may even believe that because they are doing nothing now, that they are awake and in heaven at this moment, even though we see them as still being here in the dream with us.

What does ACIM mean when it speaks of doing nothing?

One holding on to the path of least resistance may think it means: “Continue on as you are. You do not need to do anything different.”

When you think about it the phrase cannot mean that.


Because none of us who are still in the dream are doing nothing. Instead of doing nothing, we are doing many things that keep us in the illusion such as:

[1] Seeing yourself as in a body.

[2] using the senses of the body to perceive.

[3] We see the past and plan the future

[4] We listen to thoughts of the ego instead of the Holy Spirit

[5] We pay a lot of attention to ensure the body gets proper care.

[6] We establish special relationships

The list could go on indefinitely for most of us are a long way from doing nothing.

A phrase with similar meaning is, “Be still and know that I am God.” This is found in the Course and the Bible and quoted by many practitioners of meditation.  They tell us that the act of being still in body, emotion and thought is quite difficult and takes a lot of focus. In other words, doing nothing takes some serious mind training.

Where have students heard that phrase before? Oh, yes, here it is.

“This is a course in mind training.” T-1.VII.4

Indeed, the mind has to be trained and focused to do nothing, for the average person has a myriad of thoughts, feelings and perceptions calling for attention. Here we are told the benefit of doing nothing:

“Who needs do nothing has no need for time. To do nothing is to rest, and make a place within you where the activity of the body ceases to demand attention.  Into this place the Holy Spirit comes, and there abides.” T-18.VII.7

The great benefit then is the reception of the guidance from the Holy Spirit. When this presence is felt, the seeker can yield to Its instruction and let go of the stress involving the decision making of the ego.

“I am not alone, and I would not intrude the past upon my Guest.

I have invited Him, and He is here.

I need do nothing except not to interfere.” T-16.I.3

It is actually quite difficult to be still and do nothing, but the reward is great and it takes us a great step forward to awakening.

You would think that people would know whether or not they are in heaven, yet the answer is not so simple for ACIM students. Some believe they are experiencing a dream, as taught by the Course, and must awaken to full awareness of heaven, while others believe they are fully in heaven right now and there is nothing further we need to do to enter the pearly gates.

Here is the core passage that creates the problem:

“Heaven is here. There is nowhere else. Heaven is now. There is no other time.” M-24.5

Notice that it does not say that you are in heaven now, but “Heaven is now.”

There is only one time in heaven which is the present and to enter, that is where our consciousness must be.  In that same paragraph it states: “it is at this moment that complete salvation is offered you, and it is at this moment that you can accept it. This is still your one responsibility. Atonement might be equated with total escape from the past and total lack of interest in the future.”

This clearly tells us that before we can enter heaven we must achieve a “total escape from the past and be totally in the present.

Notice the word “total.” I personally do not know anyone who has come close to doing this, for to even communicate with words you have to use your memory of the past.

Certain soundbites from the Course make it sound like returning to heaven is as easy as falling off a log, and we humans are attracted to things that are easy. Of Course, it is important to emphasize that we can take the necessary steps, and the steps are easy once embraced, but getting the students to embrace the steps is indeed difficult.

The easy and the hard part are noted here:

“Nothing is so easy to recognize as truth. This is the recognition that is immediate, clear and natural. You have trained yourself not to recognize it, and this has been very difficult for you.” T-7.XI.5

When we are completely open and in tune with the Holy Spirit recognizing truth is very easy, but we have trained ourselves “not to recognize it.”  The process of unlearning is the difficult part.

Chapter six gives us four major steps to make that happen and the workbook gives us 365 lessons.

ACIM takes a half million words to just get us headed in the right direction. It does therefore seem that reaching the goal involves much more than merely declaring you are not here, but in heaven.

Consider this quote:

“Just as the separation occurred over millions of years, the Last Judgment will extend over a similarly long period, and perhaps an even longer one.” T-2.VIII.2

It took us millions of years to make the illusion we are currently in and we are told it may take even longer to end it.

Obviously, a problem that requires millions of years to solve involves much more than making some declaration of belief.

There are two things given us to speed up the process of return. The first was the creation of the Holy Spirit. This was crucial for “Without this link with God, perception would have replaced knowledge forever in your mind.” W-pI.43.1

So without this assistance we would have been stuck here forever.

The second is the presentation of A Course in Miracles. This is said to be a part of a “celestial speedup” to cut down on the time needed for the Sons of God to return.

It is the tendency of us humans to want a quick and easy salvation. Manny fundamentalists say we just need to accept Jesus as Lord and that will do it. Others say we just need to accept a certain guru or doctrine and eternal salvation is ours. Many Course students have embraced a quick salvation idea since we are told the kingdom of God is within.

By reflecting within and following the Course many have had spiritual  experiences, but such experiences do not mean that the journey is over. Instead, spiritual experiences are just signs that the journey is underway.

While in the dream we are told that we still have a part of heaven within us. It says that “This is the little part you think you stole from Heaven. Give it back to Heaven.  Heaven has not lost it, but you have lost sight of Heaven.” T-18.IX.1

If within us “is the tiny part of yourself, the little thought that seems split off and separate.”  T-18.IX.1 then just imagine what a fullness would be like when we the separation ends and the “Father will lean down to you and take the last step for you, by raising you unto Himself.” T-11.VIII.15

When that happens that which is beyond words will be realized.

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