As a student of A Course in Miracles, the concept of willingness comes up a lot. Today, I learned how truly valuable it can be. I also learned how maintaining a constant state of willingness prepares us to be miracle workers in situations we cannot foresee or even know of. It brings to mind my absolute favorite quote from the Course:
“You are perfectly safe as long as you are completely unconcerned about your readiness, but maintain a consistent trust in mine.” (From the Text, Chapter 2, Section 5, Paragraph 4:2.)
I got some bad news today. It has often been my habit and history to allow bad news to overwhelm my life (at least for awhile). As I sat on my bed crying, looking out the window at the birds jumping around on our lawn, I thought about willingness. That tiny voice in the back of my head reminded me, “all you have to do is be willing.” It wasn’t a particularly welcome voice at that moment. I felt my sadness was justified, my despair warranted; and I wanted to believe that nothing and no one could help me.
Of course, that is never true. I was BARELY willing, but willing enough to surrender the situation to Spirit in prayer. I would almost call it begrudging willingness, but thankfully Spirit doesn’t seem to notice the difference. As I continued to cry and process my emotions, I started to feel a strange underlying feeling of peace. It felt out of place considering the circumstance, but I couldn’t shake it and honestly, I didn’t want to try. There was enough willingness in me to DESIRE peace on some level, and that led me to the next moment. And the next.
I felt guided to join in on a weekly study group that I hadn’t participated in for months. Throughout the duration of the group, the passages read and the topics covered uplifted me and comforted me. Somehow, every word spoken felt specifically directed to me in my time of need (this often happens when we are in alignment and following those impulses from Spirit; we are led to exactly what we need to hear).
Later, a teacher and friend reached out to me and affirmed the truth of who I am. Her kind gesture and willingness to only see the Light when I was in a place of darkness jolted something in my mind. As I began to write a response to her, I found myself coming to a profound place of peace, acceptance, and understanding.
I turned to my lesson for the day, lesson 333 in the Workbook, for further guidance. As it points out, we cannot escape from our pain or conflict. It is only in bringing these illusions to Spirit that they can be stripped of their defenses and seen for what they really are. It is only in this surrender that we can lighten the darkness and, in fact, enlighten ourselves.
This situation has taught me– better yet, REMINDED me– of several things. One of those things is that willingness truly is the key. It opens the door to the miracle that we need in that moment, and paves the way for miracles to come. As we work through the Course and make a habit of choosing Spirit/ Love over ego/ fear, it becomes easier to recognize the two paths available to us. It doesn’t mean we won’t still choose fear sometimes, but it does mean that we are able to find our way back to Love more quickly each time. And, someday, we won’t stray from the path of Love at all.
I was also reminded that we are never alone. This is stated in the Course over and over, and it is one of my favorite things about ACIM. Spirit is with us, WITHIN us, and it IS us. Though our illusory blinders often keep us from seeing this fact, Spirit can work around it. It will find a way to us, and often uses the people around us to reach out to us and help us open our hearts to Love again.
Lastly, as complicated as life can appear sometimes, the Course reminds us often that it is actually quite simple. We can live in fear, or we can live in Love. EVERYTHING that happens to us; EVERY situation, relationship, and circumstance that comes our way is a cleverly-disguised lesson to provide us with practice in making the choice for Love. And no matter how dark and dismal a situation can seem, Love can infuse it with Light. Love can create a path where before there were only impassable brambles. Love can relieve an aching heart that seems incurable. Love, in reality and in effect, creates a MIRACLE. Every time. Without fail.
In light of the miracles available to us, a bit of willingness doesn’t seem so much to ask, does it?