God in a box

Some time ago I was listening to someone discussing "A Course in Miracles" in connection with receiving guidance from spirit. He said, "You need to ask the Holy Spirit about your problem, and when you do, this is what the Holy Spirit will tell you . . . ." He then proceeded to repeat his carefully memorized two-minute elevator speech consisting of his condensed theoretical understanding of the Course.

At this point I tuned out. I have encountered this general attitude many times among certain fundamentalist Christians who are convinced they know what message spirit has for you. Among many Christians this manifests as a desire to post the Ten Commandments in public places, as if doing that would actually cause anyone to change.

With Course students it seems very similar. Many Course students like to boil the vastness of the Course's message down to a handful of over-simplified and easily remembered slogans, but this is just a way of stuffing spirit into the ego's own straight-jacket. It is a way of appearing to be in touch with spirit without actually doing the inner work required to actually reach communion with spirit. It is mainly a self-deception.

It is a method putting God in a box.

I suppose the problem is based upon a belief that asking for spirit guidance results in the words from "A Course in Miracles" being echoed back, but that is not the case. The words from the Course you have been studying these many years are now part of the past that binds you. The innocent vision of spirit "serves a wholly open mind, unclouded by old concepts, and prepared to look on only what the present holds." (ACIM Text)

Indeed, there comes a time when the words of the Course become "old concepts."

The ability and habit of coming to spirit with an open mind and heart, and empty hands, is what the training leads to. It is a great misunderstanding to think, "I have studied the Course and so I know what message spirit has for me, and for you too." It is not this at all. This is a way of keeping judgment by using the words of the Course as the basis for judgment. You can memorize the words of the Course and be able to repeat it backwards in your sleep, but that will not improve your ability to judge in the least. Knowledge of the Course does not result in good judgment.

"It is necessary for the teacher of God to realize, not that he should not judge, but that he cannot. In giving up judgment, he is merely giving up what he did not have. He gives up an illusion; or better, he has an illusion of giving up. He has actually merely become more honest. Recognizing that judgment was always impossible for him, he no longer attempts it."

This takes us back to the beginning, and the miracle worker's prayer:

"I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me."

To seek guidance from spirit requires, at minimum, enough self-honesty to admit that you do not know in advance what answer you will receive. Otherwise, it is not asking spirit for an answer, it is telling spirit what answer your little self feels comfortable with.