The State of ACIM Dialogue ~ Daniel Tipton


Dare to Be Happy

By Daniel Tipton*

THE STATE OF ACIM DIALOGUE

[as it appeared in the January 2012 Newsletter]


The State of ACIM Dialogue

This is a part of a conversation that I had on the CMC online discussion board. I had been talking to one of the members, Bart Bacon (student of the Course since 1977), about the state of my participation on the discussion board and it led to a discussion about the state of ACIM dialogue. I think that this discussion would be useful to many students.

Daniel:
What I want to work on is my ability to substantiate and clarify [thoughts on A Course in Miracles]. It is much more work to substantiate a thought with quotations, but it is something that I must become accustomed to. I’ve just started work on a Master’s degree. I am finding that my professors have been asking me to clarify and substantiate my thoughts. I’ve been receiving lower grades because my comments lack explanation. It is all the same.
I used to look at a scholarly approach to metaphysical discussions as a contradiction. I used to think “it’s all based on feelings, right?” However, I am learning that we use a language that is composed of “symbols of symbols”. So when we want to communicate, it is important to use these symbols to the best of our ability so that we can come as close to mutual understanding as possible. The problem is that it is WORK! I need to accept that the work will be well worth the time; maybe more than I can imagine right now. I am always tempted to make “shoot from the hip” posts, but I am learning that they can lead to some confusion and hinder progress because there are so many holes to fill.
I’ve only been through the text and lessons once now. I will start up both again on the 1st. I am thinking that to post the way I want, I will have to start off short and slow. My posts on heavy topics like this may be short and spread out in the beginning. However, I do sometimes find that a deep thought can be explained in a few words. I think it would be better to share a few great words, rather than a bunch of wordy words, if you know what I mean. Quality over quantity.
Also, if I am to be a proclaimed student of Socrates, I must practice his methods of dialogue as much as possible.
I understand there is always a place for light discussion, but if I want to keep up with the “big dogs” ;), I need to nip laziness in the bud.

Thank you, my teachers and friends.

Daniel

~*~

Bart Bacon:

Daniel,

I have some thoughts on yours of December 23, 2011 at 05:15 PM.

You wrote “What I want to work on is my ability to substantiate and clarify. It is much more work to substantiate a thought with quotations, but it is something that I must become accustomed to.” Amen, brother!! My experience is that much (probably most) of the discussion in the ACIM community outside of CMC forums consists of people making up ideas in their heads and then convincing each other that they represent the ideas of ACIM, when in fact they are generally opposite to the ideas of ACIM. So I applaud and encourage your decision to substantiate and clarify. With regards to developing the ability, if you practice doing it, the ability will develop. Just like riding a bike, or playing a piano, or playing tennis.

You wrote “I used to look at a scholarly approach to metaphysical discussions as a contradiction. I used to think “it’s all based on feelings, right?” However, I am learning that we use a language that is composed of “symbols of symbols”. So when we want to communicate, it is important to use these symbols to the best of our ability so that we can come as close to mutual understanding as possible.” Amen brother again!! The idea that our spiritual paths are based on feelings is utterly false and…

~*~

…… runs counter to every page in ACIM. I posted at length on this in the first half of 2010. Do a search for “unity” or “pulpit” or “heart” at the “Personal Shares” and “Healing the Physical Body” threads if you care to read what I wrote. Feelings play a very important role, but “it’s all based on feelings” isn’t one of the reasons why Jesus wrote a thousand pages of intellectual ideas and mental practices.

You wrote “The problem is that it is WORK! I need to accept that the work will be well worth the time; maybe more than I can imagine right now.” Yup, it’s work. Does work have an unpleasant connotation? Look up the passage that says something to the effect that “all true pleasure comes from sharing the Holy Spirit”. If it’s not enjoyable at any particular point in time, if it’s not pulling you in, then ask the Holy Spirit whether he would rather have you doing something else at that point in time. Your emotions will tell you whether you are following the Holy Spirit.

You wrote “I am always tempted to make “shoot from the hip” posts, but I am learning that they can lead to some confusion and hinder progress because there are so many holes to fill.” The shoot from the hip approach has created vast problems in the ACIM community. I’m not saying don’t ever shoot from the hip. I shoot from the hip sometimes. But I would recommend that when you do so you preface your remarks with something to the effect of “my opinion” or “an idea that I’ve had” rather than making it look like a statement of definite truth. Take a look at my preface to my recent comments on “Universe of universes” for an example of what I’m talking about.

You wrote “I’ve only been through the text and lessons once now. I will start up both again on the 1st. I am thinking that to post the way I want, I will have to start off short and slow. My posts on heavy topics like this may be short and spread out in the beginning. However, I do sometimes find that a deep thought can be explained in a few words. I think it would be better to share a few great words, rather than a bunch of wordy words, if you know what I mean. Quality over quantity.” Second time through is marvelous. My first time through I recognized that I didn’t understand much of it but I wanted to know that I had read all of it once. I picked up a lot of new understanding my second time through. You can read it looking out for specific topics, such as “what is Jesus’ definition of miracle” and “does Jesus want our bodies to be healthy”.

You wrote “I understand there is always a place for light discussion, but if I want to keep up with the “big dogs”, I need to nip laziness in the bud.” Well, first I would say “U B U.” Some of us have been doing this for a long time. I personally am driven by the desire to address topics that I believe the ACIM community has ignored for a long time and the desire to address what I believe are errors that are holding ACIM students back. I think Maz might say something similar to that. But if I had been in a group like this when I was about to start my second time through, I would have written very differently. You are the only Daniel Tipton in this group and in this world. If you try to be Bart or Maz or Tony, then we won’t have the benefit of engaging with the authentic Daniel Tipton. When I was first starting ACIM what was HUGE to me was the way that it was transforming my personal relationships every day, not the theory. Now my relationships have been transformed so much and for so long that I don’t even want to discuss it. Sometimes I feel bad because I know Tony wants us to use this forum to discuss our day-to-day experience with ACIM, and I’m somewhat abusing it by posting about theory. So as I said, U B U. Post whatever you feel like posting. Someone may disagree, but I expect we’ll all be polite and I’m pretty sure everyone is juiced about your being among us.

With regards to laziness, I have a document that I’ve been building for years with regards to spiritual training, and one of the main things in it is “Learn to recognize distraction and ignorance as one of the main forms of attack in modern society. (DAIAA)” By all means make the effort to learn. If I were you I would try to make daily reading of ACIM a dedicated spiritual practice for about the next 100 years of your life. Reading is more important than posting.


~*~

*Daniel Tipton resides in Omaha, NE and is a member of  the Course in Miracles Society study group. He is enrolled in the ACIM Ministerial Program offered by the Community Miracles Center, attended the 2011 Annual ACIM Conference in San Francisco and is currently working on a masters degree in Counseling at UNO. Daniel will be assisting at the 2013 ACIM Conference which will be held in Chicago. More Conference Information here

Daniel Tipton