Pamela Silberman

Keep It Simple

By Pamela Silberman*
[as it appeared in the November 2009 Newsletter]


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to translate A Course in Miracles into “teen-speak?”  For example, instead of having sentences delving profoundly into the benefits of atonement, miracle mindedness, and forgiveness, perhaps Jesus would simply say, “Hey bro, You are Love, now get off your case!”  Definitely, if it were appropriate to our highest good, Jesus would have had Helen publish a pamphlet the size of a Chinese food menu.  Yet, since our “thought system has become so twisted and so complex,” he chose to introduce simple truth with dedicated fervor, knowing our confused mind “cannot see that [the ego] means nothing.”

Although the Course’s verbose style forces us to read slower, no matter how slow we read, the Course’s simplicity was never intended to become lost in the translation.  Despite its scholarly appearance, the main purpose was not to prolong complexity.  Beyond its perfect iambic pentameter and vivid verse, the Course has always intended to provide clarity where before the ego gives only shadows.  Any human being can admit how easy it is to become lost in shadows, especially when you do not know your way.  Likewise, any beginning Course student can share how sifting through sentence after sentence of the Course’s profound concepts appears to bring more challenges than solutions.  For this reason, I adhere to the adage “keep it simple” whenever I choose to explore the Text, Workbook or Manual for Teachers.

A Course in Miracles specifically states “This is a simple Course …Complexity is of the ego, and is nothing more than the ego’s attempt to obscure the obvious.”  Hence, as we determine to transfer our experience of the Course’s words into daily actions, our practice should remind us how simply one can apply a choice for Love over fear to every life situation.  Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I do not always want to drop my fearful imaginings for a more loving attitude.  With the world’s seeming facts and figures, it is often easier to rest with surface presentations than abandon the ego ship and sink deeper into what the eyes and ears may not perceive.  All Love is simple once we seek to remove each obstacle to its awareness.  Yet, my distance from peace is only measured by the depth of my claw-marks within each illusion. 

Basically, the only obstacle to love is our incessant argument against it.  Truly, this one statement completely summarizes the Holy Spirit’s central lesson and call for practice.  Would you consider it too complex to remember this one call within every life situation?  Please note there is no room for thoughts such as “Why do I choose to resist,” and “Help me understand the method to stop resisting.”  No, obstacles are only prolonged through such burdensome analysis.  Indeed the quickest way for us to gain peace is simply to be in deed or stop trying to argue for more understanding (that is, increase the arguing) and settle our mind with choosing only an acceptance of peace.

Let me detail the effortlessness of keeping it simple by using a current example from my life.  Recently, I have noticed myself experiencing more ego attacks then ever before.  Rarely have I felt so challenged by the ego’s attempts to twist each thought into strife.   Fortunately (for my own day to day functioning) I am able to moderately ignore these inner riffs without showing much outward exertion.  Yet, each time I feel the emotional lava begin to boil, a call to analyze the thought tempts my mind.  I think, “If I only knew why this was happening, I’d be able to move past it.”  Then, the wondering deepens, “Perhaps if I researched what the Course says about this trigger, maybe then I wouldn’t have so many ego attacks.”  Take this cookie and, not long after, doubt and guilt hurl daggers of judgment with “Why am I such a bad Course student,” and “When will I ever get this right?”

If you follow this example it is easy to see how in our longing for peace we have two options: invest in more longing or simply release for peace.   Frankly, any idea seeking solutions in outer answers will always leap the thinker into increased judgment rather than the compliance to simply surrender.  The Course testifies to a better way: accept the willingness to stop thinking, start surrendering and let each thought (no matter how perpetual or perverse) fade from your mind.

How does one apply the act of simple surrender in the middle of a booming parade of mental meanderings?  Personally, I am a huge fan of breathing.  Ask any Yogi how relaxing a deep cleansing breath can be to the mind asunder.  In my writing and experience of the book Simply Being: One Year with Spirit, Holy Spirit emphasizes the practice of “Breathe, Release and Rest.”  Here, through yet another simple statement, we are guided to let ourselves step beyond the entrapments of the mind and cleanly let go.  In this one practice, we need not analyze or thoroughly understand why we are experiencing these obstacles to Love’s awareness.  By taking a time-out for Holy Spirit, we briefly close our eyes to seeking outside and go within for the Light beyond our own current vision.  We breathe to bring balance to the fears in our body.  We release each story of confusion or distraction from our mind. Finally, we choose to simply rest in God’s loving arms of endless support.

The ego is enticed by the Course, seeing it as yet another answer to its outward based searching.  Any long-time student of the Course can attest to the ego’s progress through the Course: questions met with more questions.  Yet, maybe as an answer to this common bait, Jesus has cleverly disguised several eye-popping phrases throughout the Course. Not one of these clear statements can be accidentally misinterpreted.  Each brings the analyzer’s mind to a screeching halt.  Here we are asked to stop seeking and start doing.  For instance, consider many of the five words or less sentences such as: “Love always leads to love,” “Only perfect love exists,” “The decision is very simple,” and “Complexity is of the ego.”  I don’t know about you, but I’m picking up on a theme here.  Perhaps, when Jesus asks us to, “Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God” he really means it!

In summary, answering your own struggle with analysis only prolongs the same state of confusion.  Thus, it is not the words of A Course in Miracles that awaken us, but the practice.  As you meet each day hoping to integrate the Course’s wisdom into every situation, your success thrives on keeping it simple.  Peace, love and happiness are fully yours and wholly obtainable right now, without any further understanding necessary.  Truly, you need not worry that these inalienable rights can be deterred by a mindset only knowing confusion. “We are dealing only in the very obvious, which has been overlooked in the clouds of complexity in which you think you think.”  Translate this into “teen-speak” and you have: “Love is simple, now go and practice. Duh!”

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*  Pamela Silberman is the author of Simply Being: One Year with Spirit.  She is due to be a presenter at the 2011 CMC conference and additionally serves as co-organizer for the Be The Love conferences occurring in 2010.  Join her on Facebook daily for thoughts guided from Spirit which help us all to “Simply Remember.”