The Necessity for Mind-training

To structure this essay I chose a couple of definitions from Webster's dictionary that will best illustrate the workings of the mind as referred to in A Course in Miracles. I will attempt to make this essay easy to read and in harmony with my desire to express my experience and understanding of the necessity for the Mind-training that A Course in Miracles proposes. I will relate this necessity directly to the power of decision that our minds represent.

Mind is the mechanism of decision and with this knowledge Jesus is training our mind to make all the right decisions and lead us to a rebirth and a whole new place within our mind. We are given very specific instructions and revealed to us is a mind-training procedure, structured as a sequence of 365 sets of exercises, one for each day of the year. This workbook is an impeccable program for the mind's release from its self-inflicted imprisonment.
As a direct consequence the world is freed from the unrelenting pressure and distorting effect of the fear and guilt that was projected upon it. The workbook provides us with all the tools to regain the power of mind as it is given to us in heaven and on earth. Only by applying these workbook-lessons and their exercises do we truly become Jesus’ disciples.

How it works
The success of the workbook-lessons depends entirely on the mind's ability to make decisions. The first decision to be made is the resolve to accept the training exactly as it is structured and designed for the human conceptual mind. The mind needs to be undone from all its futile attempts to assert its separate identity as a self-willed individual. Our human separate thought-system has been found wanting. The way you perceived the world through eyes of judgment didn't deliver the joy and freedom that, deep down in your heart, is the thing you desire and deserve. Our human experience of severe and never-ceasing conflict, our dependence on sickness and death while existing in this futile plane of human endeavor has led us to the conclusion that within this frame of mind, no satisfactory solution is possible. We are therefore not asked to put new wine in old bottles. First the old wine is poured out of the old bottle than the old bottle is tossed and we are subsequently given a new bottle to be filled with new wine. The workbook is structured in this self-same way. The first part of the workbook rids us from our old way of thinking and we are emptied of all the misperceptions that were a result of a faulty conceptual framework. The second part of this workbook is geared toward acquiring real vision and solidifying our true identity and function within the universe that God created for, with and as us.

Mind as the mechanism of decision
So let us look at these definitions that are given in Webster’s dictionary to explain what the mind is and how it functions as the mechanism of decision in this mind-training procedure of A Course in Miracles Workbook.

1. “the element or complex of elements in an individual that feels, perceives, thinks, wills, and especially reasons
Mind is the element that reasons. We depend entirely upon the light of reason and the reason of light to motivate and direct the mind to make sound choices every moment of the day. We set aside certain intervals of time and use each of them to apply the idea given for that day to every situation and every thought that appears within the windows of our mind. The mind is sped up to the frequency of the miracle and awakens to its true nature and potential in order to accomplish the learning goals this course attempts to teach. “An untrained mind can accomplish nothing”. We train our minds to activate our ability to be reasonable and to make sane choices accordingly.What we experience is determined by what it is we desire. The only genuine desire you have is to be in full communication with the Source of all creation. To that end your mind has to be guided step by step to be freed from its meaningless and false conceptual thinking. We change the direction of our mind from horizontal to vertical thinking. From a ‘life’ spent in a progression from birth to death, we are reborn to a life dedicated to sharing with each other the eternal presence of living within God’s Mind. Broad is the way that leads to destruction, narrow the way that leads to life.

2. “to remind or to remember
Here we deal with the mind in its capacity to remember. The mind has to be opened and called upon to entertain an honest, disciplined and consistent attitude. It has to become aware of its responsibility for the effect that each choice to perceive a situation or person in a particular way has on a wide constellation of events. In this program, your mind is reminded every single day of the fact that you rule your own destiny and the well-being of the universe accordingly. Every time we practice these revelatory ideas we open up vistas where glimpses of reality are conveyed to us. We cultivate within ourselves a growing desire to return to our original state of beauty, vision, comfort, certainty and peace.

3. “Intention, desire
As stated in the introduction to the mind-training, only the time you take it is voluntary but you do not and cannot establish the curriculum. The lessons help you to get in touch with your shattered and deceptive intentions and replace them with your one true intent. They offer you ideas that motivate us to fulfill our true function which is one of being in a constant universal light communication…“To be the light of the world.” When the light seems to be absent for a moment you are trained to be in a mode of letting yourself be restored to sanity. Our function on earth therefore is to heal and allow ourselves to receive healing, as it is our function in Heaven to create. The exercises help us to facilitate our desire to let our erratic thought system be replaced with the Thought of God. We allow God to think for, as and through us. We so desire to be a whole and irreplaceable part of an entirety that doesn't make exceptions and refrains from introducing hierarchies of thought, so that essential qualities like light, love, joy, equality and a genuine sense of peace can abide within it.

4. “opinion, view
This description of what the mind consists of, is the fact that we choose, select and invest in certain beliefs and ideas. To take such an arbitrary position within a dualistic thought-system does not offer the true perpective that we are looking for. We are brought into contact with our desire for peace and are determined to let peace be manifested in our daily experience of the world and ourselves. In workbook lesson 190 of A Course in Miracles we read the opening sentence that pain is a wrong perspective. It thus states the inescapable emotion that results from our choice to be in the possession of an autonomous perspective towards life and our perception of the universe. Pain is the consequence of this attempt to be separate and to exist apart from the benificent experience of God’s love. Since mind is always active you are causing yourself pain. You have made a full demand on God and His universe, wanting it your way. Now give thanks to Him for giving you a mind-training procedure enabling you to make a different choice from the one you made before. This real and simple choice will free the energy compacted and frustrated within your futile thought system that you were protecting with all your might. Your thoughts are waiting to fly home and be loosed from your former decision to give expression to an imprisoned will.

5. “capitalized: God
God is the Mind that creates and permeates the universe and has made all decisions already. He created everything in His likeness and nothing separate from It exists. God is all powerful and shares His power with all His creations. He creates purely in order to extend Himself, never to limit Himself. He does not oppose His own purpose to love and appreciate. Everything that is created stems directly from this all-encompassing Creator. God is my source, I cannot see apart from Him. God is the light in which I see. God is the mind with which I think, the love in which I forgive, the strength in which I trust. God is the Voice that speaks to me all through the day and God is the Love that sustains me.

6. “a conscious substratum or factor in the universe.”
You are a conscious substratum of God’s Mind and are given the power of decision to return to your original function which is to create like the Father. On your acceptance of the Atonement the Universe depends. You are a concious part of His mind and therefore are called upon to be awake. Your mind needs to come out of its slumber. It cannot afford to be neutral. It cannot exist in a grey area. It is not created to reconcile good with evil. Your mind is always active and you always know what you are doing. “You are responsible for what you see. You choose the feelings you experience and you decide upon the goal you would achieve. And everything that seems happens to you, you asked for and receive as you asked.”

7. “to attend to closely, to regard with attention, consider important, to be careful, to be cautious about, to give protective care to.”
The goal of the mind-training is to become mindful of the actual power given you to create or miscreate. You are urged to be careful and become vigilant only for God and His Kingdom. Your mind cannot serve both God and Mammon. Stay watchful, because every moment could be the moment you are taken out of this field of separate existence and transported to higher ground. Give protective care to the Christ-child that is born within you and needs to be tended to. It needs to be guided towards the Source of its origin and sustenance. Be attentive to its needs and mature in your function to represent the Kingdom of Heaven which exist within you and is all about you. Make this mind-training your first and foremost priority and everything else will be added unto you. Your mind will experience release from the heavy burdens of guilt and fear. And you will see and actually enter into the light.

8. “to give heed to attentively in order to obey, to follow the orders or instructions of
“Because an untrained mind can accomplish nothing, we are embarking on an organized, well-structured and carefully planned program aimed at learning how to offer to the Holy Spirit everything you do not want. Do you not have greater reason to fear the world as you perceive it, than to look directly at the cause of fear and let it go forever?”

You are asked to follow exact instructions. You are asked to listen, learn and do. Since you weren’t able to find your own way out of misery, please trust in the mind of Jesus who did find his way out of the human drama. Here and now a true change of mind not only becomes possible but is accomplished. You are led with baby steps to the elevating universal experience that is not at all dependent on time or circumstance. You are free to be yourself and free to change your mind whenever you are tempted to not be yourSelf.

With devotion and love, Bastiaan Berende


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