A year ago I created a graphic simulacrum of a stained glass window, based upon one symbolic theme commonly used by Unity churches in various forms. As you can see, this simple graphic has three major elements: The word "Unity" at the bottom, a soaring dove in flight, and the unobstructed shining sun above.
As I revisited this artwork last night and this morning for other purposes (see: Inspirations from A Course in Miracles), I was struck by the perfection of the symbolism as it relates to the teaching of A Course in Miracles.
For us, lost in the confusing labyrinth dream of separation, the starting point may come to us through words. With A Course in Miracles it is more than 500,000 words. With this piece of art, it is the single word "unity." Something in the meaning of the words connects with a hidden yearning within us, and by sharing the thought the idea grows in strength within.
The ACIM Workbook lessons leads us, with words, through a series of contemplations and affirmations that, with repetition and a little willingness, plants the seedling ideas firmly in our minds. After a period of germination and with a proper attitude, the seed-ideas may sprout. As they push above the surface of our befuddled minds, we get a first taste of the reality behind the words, and the mind is given wings to fly.
The dove generally symbolizes both the Holy Spirit reaching down, and the desire for peace reaching up. Inner peace, as the Course teaches, is the one condition necessary for knowledge. The Holy Spirit represents the vast array of help and support that is available to us for the asking. The minute we desire peace, peace is offered, and it is this that which gives wings and the ability to ascend in the here and now below, to the here and now above.
The shining sun is a symbol both for God, the giver of life and light, and also our own soul or essential God-created self. When we reconnect to God, we reconnect to our eternal self. When we reconnect to our eternal self, we reconnect with God.
So, the words carry the idea. The idea plants a seed within. Affirming and practicing the idea from within a fog of doubt and fear nurtures the seed planted within. When the seed sprouts, it gives us a glimpse of the truth. This glimpse of the truth inspires the will to proceed in trust in the face of apparent adversity. The ideas gather strength and the dove takes flight.
All this, from a simple word "unity" to the ascending reaffirmation of spirit through experience, in a simple picture.
"You have received all this. No one who walks the world but has received it. It is not this knowledge which you give, for that is what creation gave. All this cannot be learned. What, then, are you to learn to give today? Our lesson yesterday evoked a theme found early in the text. Experience cannot be shared directly, in the way that vision can. The revelation that the Father and the Son are one will come in time to every mind. Yet is that time determined by the mind itself, not taught. . The time is set already. It appears to be quite arbitrary. Yet there is no step along the road that anyone takes but by chance. It has already been taken by him, although he has not yet embarked on it. For time but seems to go in one direction. We but undertake a journey that is over. Yet it seems to have a future still unknown to us."