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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 12 The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

V. The Sane Curriculum

  1. Only love is strong because it is undivided. The strong do not attack because they see no need to do so. Before the idea of attack can enter your mind, you must have perceived yourself as weak.  Because you attacked yourself and believed that the attack was effective, you behold yourself as weakened. No longer perceiving yourself and your brothers as equal, and regarding yourself as weaker, you attempt to “equalize” the situation you made. You use attack to do so because you believe that attack was successful in weakening you.
  2. That is why the recognition of your own invulnerability is so important to the restoration of your sanity. For if you accept your invulnerability, you are recognizing that attack has no effect. Although you have attacked yourself, you will be demonstrating that nothing really happened. Therefore, by attacking you have not done anything. Once you realize this you will no longer see any sense in attack, for it manifestly does not work to protect you. Yet the recognition of your invulnerability has more than negative value. If your attacks on yourself have failed to weaken you, you are still strong.  You therefore have no need to “equalize” the situation to establish your strength.
  3. You will never realize the utter uselessness of attack except by recognizing that your attack on yourself has no effects.  For others do react to attack if they perceive it, and if you are trying to attack them, you will be unable to avoid interpreting this as reinforcement. The only place you can cancel out all reinforcement is in yourself. For you are always the first point of your attack, and if this has never been, it has no consequences.
  4. The Holy Spirit’s Love is your strength, for yours is divided and therefore not real. You cannot trust your own love when you attack it. You cannot learn a perfect love with a split mind because a split mind has made itself a poor learner.  You tried to make the separation eternal, because you wanted to retain the characteristics of creation, but with your own content. Yet creation is not of you, and poor learners do need special teaching.
  5. You have learning handicaps in a very literal sense. There are areas in your learning skills that are so impaired that you can progress only under constant, clear-cut direction, provided by a Teacher who can transcend your limited resources. He becomes your Resource because of yourself you cannot learn. The learning situation in which you placed yourself is impossible, and in this situation, you clearly require a special Teacher and a special curriculum.  Poor learners are not good choices as teachers, either for themselves or for anyone else. You would hardly turn to them to establish the curriculum by which they can escape from their limitations. If they understood what is beyond them, they would not be handicapped.
  6. You do not know the meaning of love, and that is your handicap. Do not attempt to teach yourself what you do not understand, and do not try to set up curriculum goals where yours have clearly failed. Your learning goal has been not to learn, and this cannot lead to successful learning. You cannot transfer what you have not learned, and the impairment of the ability to generalize is a crucial learning failure. Would you ask those who have failed to learn what learning aids are for? They do not know. If they could interpret the aids correctly, they would have learned from them.
  7. I have said that the ego’s role is, “Seek and do not find.” Translated into curricular terms this means, “Try to learn but do not succeed.” The result of this curriculum goal is obvious. Every legitimate teaching aid, every real instruction, and every sensible guide to learning will be misinterpreted, since they are all for facilitating the learning this strange curriculum is against. If you are trying to learn how not to learn, and the aim of your teaching is to defeat itself, what can you expect but confusion? Such a curriculum does not make sense. This attempt at “learning” has so weakened your mind that you cannot love, for the curriculum you have chosen is against love, and amounts to a course in how to attack yourself. A supplementary goal in this curriculum is learning how not to overcome the split that makes its primary aim believable. And you will not overcome this split in this curriculum, for all your learning will be on its behalf. Yet your mind speaks against your learning as your learning speaks against your mind, and so you fight against all learning and succeed, for that is what you want.  But perhaps you do not realize, even yet, that there is something you want to learn, and that you can learn it because it is your choice to do so.
  8. You who have tried to learn what you do not want should take heart, for although the curriculum you set yourself is depressing indeed, it is merely ridiculous if you look at it. Is it possible that the way to achieve a goal is not to attain it? Resign now as your own teacher. The resignation will not lead to depression. It is merely the result of an honest appraisal of what you have taught yourself, and of the learning outcomes that have resulted. Under the proper learning conditions, which you can neither provide nor understand, you will become an excellent learner and an excellent teacher. But it is not so yet and will not be so until the whole learning situation as you have set it up is reversed.
  9. Your learning potential, properly understood, is limitless because it will lead you to God. You can teach the way to Him and learn it, if you follow the Teacher who knows the way to Him and understands His curriculum for learning it. The curriculum is totally unambiguous, because the goal is not divided, and the means and the end are in complete accord. You need offer only undivided attention. Everything else will be given you. For you really want to learn aright, and nothing can oppose the decision of God’s Son. His learning is as unlimited as he is.[1]

This section is called the sane curriculum for a reason.  As we still our minds and hearts today and come as learners rather than already-know-it-alls on our journeys to God, Jesus tells us that only love is strong.  Several devotional texts ago we learned that God is the only power there is, now Jesus is telling us that only Love, being God, is strong.  Love is not divided; Love is whole.  Love has no reason to attack anyone for any reason because It knows itself as invincible.  All the petty tyrants in the world cannot stand against it and there is no reason at all for Love to give all such bullies, strutters, braggarts, boasters so much as a swat for they are doomed in their division and Love is strong in its wholeness. 

In paragraph two Jesus says that our sanity is restored when we recognize our own invulnerability.  When we demonstrate that attack has no power, no real effect, no meaning at all, we will not attack anymore nor will we accept attack.  We will know that attack has no power to protect us.  When I recognized that the bullies in my life only had the power that I gave them, that I was still alive when they blabbed all my secrets, made fun of my accomplishments, and were all too willing to point out my family’s flaws and shortcomings while covering up their own, I stopped wasting my time with them. I focused on other things.  I did my best not to give them any power in my life.  But my best was not good enough because the things they did and the things they said kept getting larger and more hurtful in my mind no matter how hard I worked to not let their words and their actions bother me. 

It was not until I fully recognized God’s Love was my love, that I learned to love the petty tyrants, the false friends, the conniving coworkers.  They were not my enemies; they are my equals.  Nothing they say or do can hurt me unless I choose to let it hurt me.  When I no longer thought what they were doing against me had any reality, when I could look at them through the eyes of God’s Love and undying devotion toward me, harboring poor-me thoughts started to seem as ridiculous and unproductive as generating I’ll-show-them fantasies!  Sanity was restored.  My mind became a beautiful place to spend time for it is peaceful, joyful, and gracious.          

No matter what befalls us in this realm, we are not flesh and blood, we are spirit, we are forever, we are sons of God, the same spirit that dwells in Christ dwells in us.  All the crazy things we do to ourselves and to each other, have no everlasting effect upon us.  In our right minds we take everything we do not want to the inner altar and give it to Holy Spirit.  Our sanity is restored, we come to know ourselves as we really are.  Only the insane would choose to hold on to the things of the past and try to derive some kind of ongoing satisfaction from attack and counterattack.  There is absolutely no glory in this for it keeps our minds mired in meaningless drivel that impedes our awareness of God. 

We bring our poverty and our meanness to the inner altar and lay them down in all their bleakness and weakness.  We look at them in the light of God’s Love and refuse to give them any place in our minds, no dark corridors, no closets in which to cower.  What we put on the altar we give to Holy Spirit and step completely away from it.  We trust Holy Spirit to undo it and cancel it out and we put this trust into practical application by refusing to reinforce any thoughts, memories, or repercussions from that mess.  This stops the craziness.  It is a step of utter courage and strength – for the weak cannot break this cycle nor do they want to – for the weak adore the drama, need an enemy, the weak thrive and dine upon the “he said and then I said, and then he said, and then I really told him…”

Our love is divided between holiness and egotism, between the high mind and the lower mind, between that which abides in reality and that which lurks in ignorance.  We cannot do the work of Holy Spirit by failing to recognize that our minds are split and starting there.  In paragraph four, Jesus tells us that as humans we wanted to make the separation eternal – we wanted to retain the characteristics of creation, but we wanted our own content, which was to oppose Spirit, to oppose Love and have a world of opposites.  Yet Creation is not ours to change, and we have made ourselves poor and weak by opposing that which is our strength. 

In paragraph five Jesus describes our need for a sane curriculum.  We have a Teacher; we have a Resource and all of us require a specialized Teacher with a specialized curriculum.  Because we have made ourselves poor and ignorant – we are not good learners, and we are even worse teachers for we teach that which keeps us in ignorance, fear, and attack mode.  Teachers that teach a corrupted curriculum are untrustworthy, for they perpetuate the perceptual world rather than helping us escape it!  Only when we learn who and what we really are and what is beyond the perceptual world can we be saved from the ongoing cycles of poverty, meanness, and spite. 

As humans, we simply do not know the meaning of love, and because of this we are damaged, we have handicapped ourselves, we are afraid of the very thing that saves us, fulfills us, and gives us everlasting life.  We cannot teach what we do not understand.  We cannot find a curriculum that teaches love in the same curriculum that teaches fear and vengeance and wrath.  We cannot use the same learning aids which have clearly taught us condemnation and punishment to teach us forgiveness, correction, and grace.  When our learning goal is not love, we learn of that which opposes love, we learn of chaos and uncertainty, we learn of conflict and confusion.  

Just as the ego’s aim is to seek and not find, its learning aim is to study but not learn.  The ego intentionally misinterprets all legitimate curriculums for its aim is not to learn anything of real value.  This naturally leads to confusion.  We collect a lot of facts, we put them together, but they mean nothing because they do not make sense, they have no real and everlasting purpose, they not only lack love, but are opposed to love which is the only power there is.  Without love, which is unifying and makes whole, a bunch of separate, disconnected facts amounts to a course in how to attack oneself!  Instead of healing the separation and making the Sonship complete, the ego’s system of education specializes in division.  This leads to depression and hopelessness for as much as our ego opposes love, our higher Self knows that love is our strength and what we really are and what we must truly learn. 

Jesus tells us in paragraph eight to take heart – yes, the world’s curriculum is disheartening but when we really look at it, it becomes merely ridiculous.  If we want love, if we want to know love and be love and become as we were created, is it not silly to oppose it?  Resign now, Jesus tells us.  We simply stop choosing the old ways of learning.  We put aside the curriculums of fear, of uncertainty, of perception.  We look at what we have learned so far and finding it wanting, we say we don’t want it anymore.  We put our minds and our hearts in the hands of our Teacher, Holy Spirit and we trust in Him to lead us to knowledge.  We can only do this when we are willing to put down every learning device that we have used in the past.  We must be willing to let all the learning situations from our past be reversed.  We must be able to say – “I did it my way, I did it their way, I joined the church and did it the way they said.  I did it the way my parents and my grandparents did it, and after an honest appraisal I realize that what I have learned so far simply cannot be right, true, or worthy.  I want the real deal. I want to know the only power there is.  I want to know God as He is. I want to know Love as Love.”  

It sounds simple, but there is a real process here that feels painful and may even strike us as sacrifice. Giving up our traditions, giving up our sense of membership and community, giving up our rites and rituals in our search for truth is never easy.  Our best church buddies will call us heretics when we change our minds about holy books, doctrines and separate denominational doctrines.  Our popularity may take a big plunge.  We may face excommunication, if not execution. The Netflix movie called “Come Sunday,” is based upon the story of Bishop Carlton Pearson who hears God’s voice assuring him that everybody is saved, whether they have heard of Jesus Christ or not.  Rather than be thrilled about their loved ones not burning in hell and being punished throughout eternity, many of his church members turned on him; his evangelical mentors and co-pastors publicly denounced him.  He lost dear friends and relatives – his own mother rebuked him. He was forced out of his megachurch and into a much smaller ministry – but he heard the Voice for God, and to that end no amount of intimidation, threats, or loss could keep him from sharing what he knew to be true.  Jesus tells us today that our whole learning system must be reversed before we can know truth.  Only when this happens are we able to learn and teach the sane curriculum.    

Our learning potential is without limit because it leads us to God.  We teach and learn it by following the Voice for God within us Who teaches us what we really are and what we really want.  There is only one way – there is only one goal – the means to the end is in perfect accord with the end itself.  There is no cost to us in money or in tithes or in offerings of any kind.  We do not have to sacrifice to God any of our prized goods or give up our favorite pastimes.  We do not have to change a thing about ourselves.  We simply give Holy Spirit our full attention and we will learn what we really are and what we really want.  This is God’s Will and the Will of His Son and nothing can oppose this decision for as His Son we are unlimited as is the knowledge of God. 


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 12 The Holy Spirit’s curriculum. V The sane curriculum. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.

Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com

Filed under: ACIM

About the Author

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Coming up on sixty, my love for God, home and hearth, my husband and family fueled my decision to devote the rest of my life only to pursuits which brought love, joy, peace, and purpose. I am a writer, seeker, student, and teacher with experience professional and otherwise from waitressing to teaching the English language in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. I hold a BA in Psychology from Bloomsburg University, which took nearly 30 years to attain while I squeezed courses in between raising my children, journaling, relationships, work, and an assortment of escapades, some of which I would rather forget! An ongoing passion for reading, writing, adventure, food, and fun, eventually led me to the love of my life, James, whom I met in 1996 and married in 1997. Our life together has been an exciting journey of work and travel, spiritual awakening, and domestic bliss ever since. Although we have experienced the tragic loss of family members and friends through death and estrangement, we have managed to turn our special relationship into a holy one by the grace of God and an acute and growing awareness of “there must be a better way!” In 2006, I published my first novel, Luella’s Calling, and am currently working on my second, Grover Good and the Stone Chateau. From 2013 through 2018, I worked as a Prevention Education Specialist for Transitions, a local domestic violence sexual abuse victim’s service agency. My work there, fueled by a lifelong enthusiasm for teaching, led me to obtain an MS in Education from Scranton University. In 2018, I resigned to accompany James on his work travels while focusing on my calling to study and teach A Course in Miracles. To that end, I dedicate the rest of my days to writing, sharing, and teaching the message of salvation found within the Course pages. Thank you for your interest in this blog. As I do not respond to comments on the posts, if you care to contact me, please email me at eckief@yahoo.com.

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