1 – Brief Experience
“Sometimes a teacher of God may have a brief experience of direct union with God. In this world, it is almost impossible that this endure. It can, perhaps, be won after much devotion and dedication, and then maintained for much of the time on earth. (M64)”
2 – Awakening?
We are led to speculate what this direct union would actually mean, because it is not Awakening. Some do experience Awakening, and live for long years on earth. The Buddha was one such individual. And present day people live for a long time in Awakening as well.
3 – Mystical Experience
Direct union with God is a mystical experience of the highest magnitude. And one would be somewhat separated from others if this were to happen. God would be his/her experience.
4 – Glimpses
The brief experience of union with God is akin to the Eastern concept of satori, and it is also akin to glimpses of Awakening (much the same thing, for Awakening and enlightenment are the same experience with different names).
5 – Rare
“But this is so rare that it cannot be considered a realistic goal. If it happens, so be it. If it does not happen, so be it as well. All worldly states must be illusory. If God were reached directly in sustained awareness, the body would not be long maintained. (M64)”
6 – Will to Survive
In other words, we would die shortly afterwards. Most people, with the will to survive so strong, would not choose such a fate.
7 – Extend Helpfulness
“Those who have laid the body down merely to extend their helpfulness to those remaining behind are few indeed. And they need helpers who are still in bondage and still asleep, so that by their awakening can God’s Voice be heard. (M64)”
8 – Personal Experience
I do know of one case in which I believe that an individual died at a young age in order to help his immediate family survive well a series of catastrophic experiences. There has been much illness of long duration in that family, much sadness. And religion does not play a large part in what the members of the family believe, and so they lack this comfort.
9 – Eased Way
But if they have the eldest child in the family looking on with help, their way would be much eased. And I think that that is what is happening.
10 – Final Chapter
The final chapter has not been written, for the children of the family are peers of mine. But I have long thought that that eldest child was easing the burden of the ones remaining behind.
11 – Limitations
“Do not despair, then, because of limitations. It is your function to escape from them, but not to be without them. (M64)”
12 – Despair
We often despair when we are in pain and suffering, but these too are a form of limitation, and Jesus here says that we will not be without limitations in this world. We can get help to resolve the conditions that brought fear about, though, and it is this that we ought to pray for. Elsewhere Jesus says that he cannot properly remove the fear for us, because it is our minds which have brought it about, and the alteration of cause-and-effect would not be a good thing for us.
13 – Escape
So we are meant to escape from our limitations, as they arise. We can learn how to do this, but it does take patience and willingness to follow guidance. If a limitation is not removed after much prayer and trying different methods of cure, perhaps this is a “thorn in the side” that St. Paul speaks about in his letters in the New Testament. He believed that this thorn was meant for his good.
14 – Jesus
So Jesus would not have us despair. Help is always near, and we will receive healing, or we will receive the wherewithal to sustain our good will while caught by limitations. Faith is not often stressed in the Course, but this is the attribute that will enable us to withstand limitations. Know that Jesus and his Helpers are nearby, and be reassured.
15 – Saviors
“If you would be a savior, you must understand what needs to be escaped. Salvation is not theoretical. Behold the problem, ask for the answer, and then accept it when it comes. Nor will its coming be long delayed. All the ehlp you can accept will be provided, and not one need you have will not be met. (M65)
16 – Optimistic
Jesus gives us here a very optimistic group of statements. “All the help you can accept” will be provided. This fragment of a sentence notes that we ourselves may limit the help that we accept. We do not have to limit this help, and it would be wise of us to encourage help from beyond ourselves when in a quandary.
17 – Patience
We do need patience, but Jesus proclaims that the answer will not be long delayed. Surely the delay can seem long to us, because our notions of time are not those of eternity. But this delay is not actually long, and it is probable that Jesus is speaking in our terms when he says this. He knows our impatience, and what seems “long” to us. He does not mislead. Our needs will be met, and soon.
18 – Limitations
This passage also suggests that some of our limitations are given us so that we can be saviors; we can understand what others are going through. Certainly an individual who has experienced a given problem, and overcome it, is more likely to be able to help others. Shortly after this assertion, Jesus says once again that his Course is not theoretical. Elsewhere he has said that the Course is always practical. We can see this most clearly when we have overcome a limitation, and thereby be ready to help our brothers and sisters with the same limitation.
19 – Goals
“Let us not, then, be too concerned with goals for which you are not ready. God takes you where you are and welcomes you. What more could you desire, when this is all you need? (M65)”
20 – God
Yes, God takes us where we are and welcomes us. What more would we really ask? We have it all. Even in pain and suffering, God is there. He never leaves us, He never departs. He may usher in a dark night of the soul if He wants to have us seek Him for no ulterior motive—or our own inner Self may do so.
Pray long and hard, in depth, in many minutes. The way, regardless of what it is, will then seem smooth.
I am very aware of my limitations today. Help me not to be my own worst enemy. Help me to reach out to You and Your helpers, and be absolved of the current limitation under which I find myself.
I know that You want only good for me. Jesus says that we are meant to escape from our limitations, though we are not without them. Help me to escape from my limitations today.