Jesus in A Course of Love (ACOL) uses a wonderful metaphor to guide us toward the peace of God–that of a swimmer. A good swimmer has learned how to be relaxed in the water, floating, resting on the currents, going with the flow for sure. But a non-swimmer when plunged into deep water can “try to move in the water as he would on land,, thrashing around, wearing himself out, panicking even.
The swimmer is our true Self. Effortless abiding awareness of the peace of God! One with the surround, only God everywhere.
The non-swimmer is us in our separation confusion. This is the illusory ego self we made in that confusion.
Jesus says we were once effortlessly swimming in the unity of Heaven, but that we have temporarily forgotten how to do that. So we ONCE KNEW how to swim BUT HAVE FORGOTTEN HOW.
Jesus says that’s us–you and me, dear brothers and sisters. We’ve forgotten how to swim! Here is the Master speaking in one of the ACOL “swimming” metaphor references (Second Treatise, 4.6):
A first step in learning how to recognize when you are acting upon notions of who you think you are rather than on who you think you are rather than on who you truly are is the appearance of struggle or resistance. As a swimmer quickly learns, the only way to return to ease of movement is to cease to struggle or resist. The ability to let go of struggle is a learned ability for the swimmer, and it is a learned ability for you now as you journey back to your real Self.
So how do we get back in the flow in our lives as we are experiencing them here? I, for one, often feel that struggle, that resistance. How can I learn to relax and be taught by life effortlessly again? Jesus’ overarching theme in A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is forgiveness. I try to ask myself now when I’m fighting the current “what am I not forgiving right now?”
Often my grievance or lack of forgiveness is then apparent to me right away. One of the original ACIM students and distinguished ACIM teachers is Jerry Jampolsky. He is the author of Love is Letting Go of Fear and many other wonderful, short, pithy books, as well as the founder of the Center for Attitudinal Healing, a center to help people all over the world live forgiveness. He says so often that forgiveness is the whole key to feeling better right away!
We just have to (1). remember the choice or option of forgiveness is always there for us; and (2) be willing to choose it.
Simple, but hard! If we had truly learned that and were always living that, we’d already be in Heaven, I suppose!
This leads easily into a second key, spoken of often in both ACIM and ACOL: the willingness to be taught. When Jesus counsels us to “be willing to resign as our own teacher,” our egos will not be very flattered. That part of us has been for us a trusted adviser for as long as we can remember as our personal selves. But this is a real crossroads in all the great spiritual paths: to finally realize that we really need help from One who knows and who can help us. IF we listen.
Jesus is such a one, and because we find ourselves sincerely studying his teaching, we have indeed taken that first step, albeit falteringly. He can bring us along, can “keep gentle pace with us,” guiding us right here in the mess we often seem to experiencing here, leading us toward permanent relief! He says in the Second Treatise of ACOL ( 13.3), “. . .[T]his is my invitation to you, specifically, to enter into a holy and personal relationship with me, specifically. . . .. I know of this world and I am here to guide you through it.”
So, I, a swimmer who forgot how and am now being reminded how, am being instructed by Jesus on how to ease back into the great waters of unity itself! Jesus says in 4.7, Second Treatise:
The water is not taken for granted but always recognized as a condition of the swimmer’s environment. You are no longer confined to the conditions of separation, my dear brothers and sisters, and this is what it is time for you to learn.
So happy swimming to you!