Saturday, November 7, 2015

Drinking the Kool-Aid

“Mind training?!  I don’t know about this. I’m very careful about who or what I let mess with my mind.”

So I said to my ACIM teacher the first time I met with her one-on-one. At my request, she was explaining the curriculum and the learning process of A Course in Miracles. I could feel myself tense up as I equated mind training with brain washing. Images of indoctrination, cults, and “drinking the Kool-Aid” flashed through my brain.

But…I wanted to hear more; learn more. Since I had already read portions of the Big Blue book, I knew that something within its messages called to me. So, I stayed. And, I heard more and learned more. I was willing to give it a shot but I made a promise to myself that I would remain ever vigilant for the troops that might come to abduct me and take me to the secret camp.

Fast-forward five years. As a committed student of the Course I have a broader vantage point from which to base my decisions. And, I am not writing this from some hut on that feared illusion of a camp!

Let’s talk about mind training. It’s what goes on day-in-and-day-out from the moment we are born. Much of it can be extremely positive and helpful to the developing child. Many messages keep the child safe, help him/her to develop appropriate boundaries and learn social norms. But many messages can be harmful to the innate goodness of that child.

Take careful note of the some of the messages that you may have received from well meaning adults:

·      “Be careful of him.  He’s one of those.”

·      “Stay away from her. She’s not like us.”

·      “Avoid that part of town.”

·      “He’s so lazy that he’s not worth our time or energy.”

·      “You’re not as good as your brother.”

·      “I wish you were as smart as your sister.”

·      “Make sure you don’t get too fat. You won’t look pretty.”

·      Add some of the message that you received that did more to deflate you than raise you up.

What about some of the messages we’ve heard from the pulpit?

·      “In order to enter the Gates of Heaven you must make sacrifices.”

·      “You cannot be a member of our church because you are gay/lesbian and you’re sinful.”

·      “Your sins will separate you from God.”

·      “You will go to Hell if you if you commit mortal sins.”

·      “God does not permit women to become priests.”

·      “Only the chosen may receive communion.”

·      What messages have you heard that do more to separate you from others and convince you that you are separate from God?

And the media, what role have they played in mind training?

·      It’s your choice: Be thin or be ugly

·      Youth is coveted over the aging. Get rid of those wrinkles.

·      Men are powerful and assertive and are given the floor to speak. Women are whiney, and weak bitches when they disagree with those in charge.

·      Drive this car and you’ll be admired.

·      Wear these clothes and you’ll be cool.

·      Live in this neighborhood and you’ll be accepted

·      Buy our product and you’ll be admired.

·      I’m sure you could spout off product jingles, law firm phone numbers and prescription drug promises. Want to give it a try to see how they’ve gotten into your head?

You want to talk about mind training? Look at and listen to the messages that you are bombarded with on a daily basis! What do these messages do to your self-worth, your state of mind, and your independent thinking?

And I was worried about the mind training of A Course in Miracles? It is messages of the Course that seek to undo the too-numerous negative messages that we have absorbed. It is through the indoctrinated messages of some ill-informed adults, religions and the media that we have been force-fed the Kool-Aid.

Take a look at only some of the lessons (from the Workbook) that the Course asks us to consider and practice…reminding us that we always have free will whether to follow Jesus’ messages or those of the ego:

·      There is another way of looking at the world. W-33

·      I could see peace instead of this. W-34

·      I am the light of the world. W-6

·      I am as God created me. W-110

·      Let me remember that I am one with God. W-124

·      I walk with God in perfect holiness. W-156

·      I choose the joy of God instead of pain. W-190

·      I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt. W-284

·      Eternal holiness abides in me. W-299

·      Judgment and love are opposites.  From one come all the sorrows of the world.  But from the other comes the peace of God Himself. W-352

Tell me please, which messages would you rather have received as child, those that encouraged you to fear others, to keep yourself apart from others and to see them or yourself as less-than? And what about the messages where your mind was trained to believe that God loves only some of His children and rejects others? You have free will remember. Which do you choose?

Here’s my choice: I choose the joy of God instead of pain.

 Photo of Barb Adams by Sue Gavron (c) 2014

Barbara Franco Adams is a ministerial student with the Pathways of Light ministries.