By Sheri Baker
“You must unlearn what you have learned.”
When Yoda uttered this statement to Luke Skywalker in the movie, The Empire Strikes Back, the sci-fi character echoed a major concept expressed in A Course in Miracles (ACIM). The truth is already present in our mind because it was placed there by our Creator. Now all we have to do is “unlearn” everything we’ve taught ourselves since.
One of the things many of us learn early on is that knowledge is power, and that’s true, but not in the way we typically think. ACIM equates knowledge with the oneness of Heaven, yet we tend to think of it as the accumulation of facts and figures. We embark on what we expect to be a lengthy spiritual journey to gather information which might shed light on who we are. While we’re at it, we also spend enormous amounts of time and energy looking for love somewhere out in the world in the hope we’ll feel more complete.
When we’re ready, we’re presented with the truth — ACIM being only one version of it — and we’re shocked to find out that our journey of self discovery actually has no distance at all, that love isn’t found outside but inside of us, and that the world of time and space doesn’t even exist. Mr. Spock, the world’s most beloved Vulcan, expressed this truth when he quoted a basic Course principle, “Nothing unreal exists,” in the movie, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
As each of us makes our voyage home, we will encounter these and other ACIM concepts which turn our thinking upside down. One of the many mind-benders associated with the Course involves its use of language. Although the Course expresses a nonsectarian, non-denominational spirituality, it speaks to us in Christian terminology, but in a non traditional way. Words such as sin, forgiveness, miracle, God, Atonement, and Heaven do not mean what we typically think they do.
I once heard A Course in Miracles referred to as an “equal opportunity course” because there’s something in it to offend everybody. Those raised in the Jewish faith, for example, are typically distraught at the outset by the Christian terms, yet followers of Christianity are equally bothered because ACIM uses these terms in a way very different from what they were initially taught. If we’re not willing to unlearn some of the old definitions, we will get entirely different messages from the book than than the ones intended.
Setting aside everything we know or think we know can be challenging to say the least, and is therefore a gradual process. ACIM gently leads us on this journey of unlearning to the knowledge of who we truly are.
As we proceed along our own highly individualized curriculum to higher awareness, it’s important to know we are not alone. There is a powerful force within us — call it Holy Spirit, Unseen Therapist, or whatever name feels most comfortable to you — that guides our every step. As on ongoing reminder, and in the spirit of this article’s nod to science fiction, allow me to restate what is probably the most iconic Star Wars quote of all, “May the Force be with you!”