ACIM Conversations, Part 3

ACIM Conversations, Part 3
Resolving Disagreements

Student: I’ve noticed that when two have a heated disagreement about the meaning of the Course that no one ever admits to being in the ego. Almost all seem to think that their thinking is endorsed by the Holy Spirit.

Teacher: Yes, the ego never wants to reveal itself unless it furthers its cause.

Student: Is there anything that those who are in disagreement can do to bring oneness?

Teacher: They can prayerfully, or in meditation, present their disagreement together to the Holy Spirit and in silence wait for a response

Student: That sounds right but when a good argument gets going, the students do not seem to be in the mood for such a suggestion. Is there anything else they can do?

Teacher: When the emotions are not at peace during an argument, then the ego is in control and they will not consider resolving the problem through the peace of the Spirit. The Course asks: “Do you prefer that you be right or happy?” T-29.VII.1 Many do not want their feeling of being right disturbed by the peace of the Holy Spirit.

On the other hand, there is something else they can do. What do most students feel that the Holy Spirit has verified to them?

Student: Probably the Course itself.

Teacher: And that makes the Course the second highest authority for them while they are in this world. But what should be their highest authority?

Student: I would suppose that would be their direct connection to God, the Holy Spirit.

Teacher: Exactly. But since many in disagreement are unwilling or unable to allow the Spirit to resolve their differences, the Course itself provides the next best course of action. Why do you suppose the Course is inferior to the Holy Spirit in resolving differences?

Student: The Holy Spirit gives us a complete picture that doesn’t need interpretation, whereas the written word is subject to numerous interpretations.

Teacher: Exactly. The interference of the ego causes most of those who are both in the Spirit and the ego to resort to the written word, perception and interpretation in their discussions. But we must always remember this: having an inspired written word is much better than nothing at all. Just think of the millions who have read A Course in Miracles and have made a step or two toward greater enlightenment.

Student: That includes me. I know I have a ways to go yet, but it has definitely made me aware of the problems to awakening that we face.

Teacher: So, if our best immediate tool to solve differences is the Course, what is the best way to use it?

Student: If you believe the Course is in harmony with your belief then there should be passages that agree with you.

Teacher: This is true. I’m sure you have seen arguments between students who each quote passages supporting their view from the Course, yet cannot reach agreement. Why do you suppose that two knowledgeable students may not be able to reach unity?

Student: I’m sure that bias enters in, but I can see that many arguments are quite vague, so overcoming the bias becomes impossible.

Teacher: So, what do you see as some of the problems with the various presentations?

Student: A common one I see is that some will quote a large amount of material thinking that will prove their view to be correct. When I read that over, I can usually find nothing specific that even addresses the argument.

Teacher: Yes. This is the shotgun approach of the ego. Throw a lot of information out there and claim proof is in there somewhere. Anything else?

Student: Others give quotes that seem to have little or nothing to do with the subject of the disagreement. That doesn’t seem productive.

Teacher: This and your last point illustrates the strategy of the ego: “Its dictates, then, can be summed up simply as: ‘Seek and do not find.’ This is the one promise the ego holds out to you, and the one promise it will keep.” T-12.IV.1

Student: Could we say then that answers from the ego are designed to not find the truth?

Teacher: Indeed. One of the prime tactics of the ego is to avoid being specific. It loves to argue with generalities.

Student: One thing I see in that direction is students sometimes will just declare that “Love is the answer” when love has little to do with the subject at hand.

Teacher: Yes. That answer always sounds good but, in many cases, it supports the confusion endorsed by the ego. What else have you noticed about unresolved disagreements?

Student: Sometimes two knowledgeable students disagree and do quote specific passages on the subject, but continue to disagree because one text seems to disagree with another. For instance, one may believe there is only one Son of God and another believe there are many, yet both have quotes to back them up.

Teacher: You just pointed out a prime tactic of the ego as noted here: “the ego attacks everything it perceives by breaking it into small, disconnected parts, without meaningful relationships and therefore without meaning. The ego will always substitute chaos for meaning, for if separation is salvation, harmony is threat.” T-11.V.13

Instead of examining the text that seems to be contradictory and looking for the harmony, the ego breaks it down and picks a side. It figures that there is either one Son or many and chooses with black-and-white thinking. In the end, both students could be following the ego in this argument.

Here is what the Voice said about this problem:

“You may believe from time to time that I am misdirecting you. I have made every effort to use words that are almost impossible to distort, but it is always possible to twist symbols around if you wish.” T-3.I.3

Student: It does seem that a lot of students do twist the words around. What would one following the Holy Spirit do?

Teacher: He would figure that since ACIM is inspired, then there would be truth in both statements and study them in context. In this case, he would realize there is one Son but with many parts, and see that the one and the many is not a contradiction. He finds he does not have to pick a side.

Student: Then there are teachings that are almost impossible to distort, like your quote says.

Teacher: But never underestimate the ego’s determination to create confusion.

Student: So, is there any value then in two or more students discussing a disagreement in ACIM?

Teacher: Yes. Outside of the Holy Spirit this and pure reasoning are the only tools we have for students to reach oneness, which is one of the main goals of the Course.

A civil discussion of opposing views can have a number of benefits. Here are three:

[1] Generally, neither party will claim victory nor admit they were in error, but later in quiet moments one may sense the Holy Spirit confirming to him a truth in the other guy’s presentation and come to change his mind.

[2] Sometimes a discussion will bring up a quote that one did not realize was even in the Course and this will alter his thinking. Most who read the text for a second or third time will be amazed at how much is in there that they did not see in their first reading. Some students see things that others miss, so sharing of any kind can be helpful if it is civil.

[3] Even if the two having the disagreement do not make any progress, the exchange may bring light to observers. Have you had that happen when observing a heated exchange in a discussion?

Student: Yes, I have. Often the two are of the same opinion still, but the dialog gave me a lot to think about.

Teacher: So, let us conclude with this statement. Doing something to take us to unity, however flawed, is better than doing nothing.

Student: Agreed. If we take no steps to fully understand the Course, we may be caught up in the illusion indefinitely.

Copyright by J J Dewey

Read the Introduction HERE, Read Chapter One HERE. Chapter Two HERE, Chapter Three HERE, Chapter Four HERE, Chapter Five HERE Chapter Six HERE, Chapter Seven HERE, Chapter Eight HERE, Chapter Nine HERE, Chapter Ten HERE, Chapter Eleven HERE, Chapter Twelve HERE, Chapter Thirteen HERE, Chapter Fourteen HERE, Fifteen HERE, Sixteen HERE, Seventeen HERE,       Eighteen HERE, Nineteen HERE, Twenty HERE, Twenty-One HERE, Twenty-Two HERE, Twenty-Three HERE, Twenty-Four HERE, Twenty-Five HERE, Twenty-Six HERE, Twenty-Seven  HERE, Twenty-Eight  HERE, Twenty-Nine HERE, Thirty HERE

ACIM Conversations, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part  16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25

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