“Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God”. With this statement ‘A Course in Miracles’ summarizes itself. The statement is also endorsed by Eckhart Tolle, the author of ‘The Power of Now’ and ‘A New Earth’, and the speaker on the DVD ‘Findhorn Retreat – Stillness amidst the World’.
This is a very far reaching statement. If one takes it literally (which A Course does), it implies that everything that exists temporarily and has a material or physical base – we, the earth, the society, even the cosmos – , and thus can be threatened, is not real. It implies that reality as we experience it and as we know it is not real. It is a counter-intuitive statement in the sense we don’t feel and perceive reality that way.
But wait a minute. Is this not exactly what quantum physics is saying too? In quantum physics nothing is as it appears. The only thing that in an essential way is real is the zero-point field, the invisible field that permeates everything – that is everything.
So the consequences of all this seems to be that the only reality, the only thing that is not vulnerable and not not immune for damage is this field. The Course would call this God, but we can also call it Zero-point- energy, Essence, Intelligene, the Creative Force, Presence or Eternity.
This is an extraordinary attractive thought system. It is the antidote to depression, feelings of powerlessness, anger (even rage) when we are confronted with destructiveness in ourselves and in the world around us. Destructiveness is as unreal as the unreality it destroys! Indeed: herein lies the peace of God, or as I should rather say: the peace of mind.
However, there is a snag in this, or actually two. The first one is that this thought easily can lead to passivity, lethargy or indifference. If the world as we know it is unreal, why should we bother and care? Is this indifference really what we feel comfortable about? There are (spiritual) masters (Lao Tse, Nisargadatta, Osho) who indeed propagate no-action: being conscious and connected with the invisible world is sufficient (which of course requires active meditation – and that is different from passivity or lethargy). It will automatically result in a better world. I personally cannot fully believe that, and I am in good company: Buddha (the 7-fold path: right action and livelihood) Christ en Thich Nath Hanh all strongly recommend spirit-in-action for the benefit of both oneself and the world.
The other snag I already mentioned above. We don’t experience the world around us as unreal. So it is very difficult to fully accept the statement from the Course. I personally cannot do it, but the vision of the Course nevertheless is very attractive. And there is certainly a deeper truth hidden in it. As I often say, in case of small of bigger trouble: it is meaning nothing in the light of eternity. Or said differently: this life is a play, nothing more nothing less. When we forget this, we are in trouble ourselves.
Actually I believe that we can live with both concepts of reality at the same time. We can see the world around us as reality in itself, or as just an illusion, created by the Essence beyond it. For Dutch readers: I more deeply dive into this in my latest book.
Let me end this blog with a few quotes from Richard Bach (Illusions): First a dialogue:
Richard: “The world is a dream, you say, and it’s lovely, sometimes. Sunset. Clouds. Sky.” Donald: “No. The image is a dream. The beauty is real. Can you see the difference?”.
And: “The world is your exercise book, the pages on which you do your sums. It is not reality, although you can express reality there if you wish. You are also free to write nonsense, or lies, or to tear the pages.”
(I apologize for mistakes in my English. Blogs are cursory – not stuff for correction by a native speaker).