Experience report: my second year of A course in miracles

On 11. Mai 2017 by Admin

This experience report is a continuation of my last experience report, which reflected on my first year of devotion to „A course in miracles“ and captures my second-year. This report is intended to give you insight into how the correction of wrong thoughts works, and what changes have resulted for me as a result of my correcting my thoughts. As learning goes on, it is a time-recording for those who are also very honest in their own way and who are experiencing some unpleasant learning situations. It should be a motivation to stay tuned. Good luck and have fun reading my second-year report!

My expectations for the second year

After completing my first year, I was very curious about what awaited me next. On one hand, there was always the doubt and the uncertainty as to whether I could do the lessons correct. My perception of the world still reflected a great deal of guilt, fear, and threat. However, I had glimpses into a new world through different (real!) perceptions every day. They flickered again and again, and strengthened my commitment to my learning immensely. I had no idea the gifts I would discover in my second year of the course.

Looking back on the first year

When I look back on my first year, I know now that I didn’t believe that I would manage to turn my learning into experience, and reap the fruits of a promise that sounded too good to be true. And in reality, I hadn‘t yet realized the full benefit of the course. Let me illustrate it with an example:

Suppose several people come together to build a house. A construction supervisor, a polisher, several masons, and a few helpers. Imagine there is also a neighbor kid, who is very interested in the project and asks if he can help, too. I was this neighbor kid in my first year. I was allowed to be on the construction site, to pull a few nails out of boards, bring drinks for the workers, and I was even invited to eat with the workers in the evening.

In my first year of practicing the course, I remained very uncertain because of my many layers of doubt and fear; I had to dissolve them before I could develop confidence about who I really am. In the several years leading up to my introduction to the course, I had been working on an EGO self-concept, which was simply anxiety that took different forms.

My anxiety presented itself through anger, aggression, sadness, boredom, pride, nervousness, loss, solitude, loneliness, helplessness, accusation, injury, disappointment, illness, jealousy, envy, have-wanting, confirmation-have-wanting, love-have-wanting, acknowledgment-have-wanting, and hundreds of other negative feelings. Even my love, recognition, joy, fun, compassion, kindness, and desire to help others were filled with anxiety – they were absolutely dishonest. My first year was spent like an apprentice practicing a trade that he knew nothing about. I had no idea what ​​life was about.

At the end of my second year, I re-read my first-year experience report, and realized that I had written with euphoria. I was overwhelmed at the time, and had only begun to realize the power of my thoughts. When I decided against the fear, the miracles about which the course spoke began to happen. But I still had no idea what would happen in my second year of study, learning, and devotion to my practice.

What is different in the second year?

A better question is: what was the same? Nothing! It was all different! It took learning the lessons twice for me to understand them for the first time; my second year was doing my first year over again, but this time, it was a much greater experience. Even though I read the textbook carefully, I needed almost a whole year of committed learning to become skillful in my understanding so that I could really start. The language, formulations and contrary meanings of my previous thought-patterns had to leak first. I had never read anything like it before in my life, and it often exhausted me to read just a single page.

Time and again, as I read the text, I thought that no man could have written it because no one could possibly know everything that was in the book. Anyone who knew the principles, and could practice them in everyday life would be eternally happy and peaceful. However, it appeared to me that it would take hundreds of lifetimes to gain all the experiences that are compressed into this textbook. I was only in the second year, and had become very aware.

Whoever studied the text and practiced its principles all the time could speak volumes to me; I wanted to learn so much. Often, I hung on a sentence for several minutes in fascination – and irritation — because what I read pointed out things that seemed so obvious when reading, but things that I had overlooked all my life.

In my second year, shrouds of blindness were lifted away, even though my ego would have preferred that I remain in darkness for the rest of my days. I realized that the most beautiful moments and successes in my life up until then were precisely un-beautiful and unsuccessful. Here are some specific areas where my second-year changes were more than evident in my life.

Friends

I ended friendships and ceased contact with people that pursued a purpose that I no longer wished to share. Some were very straightforward endings, and some simply dwindled away. Some rested and the few that remain have completely changed in purpose. They have become partnerships for the purpose of learning together. As a result, these friendships have become far more honest than they ever were in the past. I am very grateful that a few of my friends decided to take this step with me.

The course was a new beginning for me, and I did not want to sacrifice myself for a friend who wanted to dwell on sickness, suffering and death. Partially, it was a good lesson for me to accept that someone could suffer voluntarily. Still, I told my friends that I would be there for them when they need me most.

It also changed considerably the kinds of conversations I had with friends. Before the course, I gladly engaged in talk that didn‘t benefit anyone. After the course, I chose not to lead those kinds of conversations. They included usual conversations, such as:

  • Who had done evil things
  • Who was to blame for this or that
  • Who is good and who is bad in the world
  • Whining
  • Annoyance about anything and everything
  • Giving opinions and judging other people, situations and world events
  • My relationships were no longer based on negative and fruitless things, and instead centered on purpose and positivity.

Time

How do I spend my time? When I’m not teaching at the university, conducting seminars, or someone asking me for help, I spend my time alone. Sometimes, I spend entire days and evenings alone, and make the whole day, and often all night, when I can not sleep.

It was unusual in my first year to readily forgive others and to correct their thoughts in my mind, and now, forgiveness is a natural response to nearly everything in my daily life. I forgive what I read in the news, I forgive entertainment, I try to eat in a forgiving way. I drive in with the car in a forgiving way, etc. Foregiving has become my only function, and it is my life‘s purpose. In the past, I wanted to be occupied by entertainment, newspaper or television as I ate, for example. Now my experience is just the opposite. I no longer need to listen to the radio while driving, or watch TV while having dinner.

Idle time used to be difficult for me. It bothered me to not have a single appointment and no plans for three or four days. Now, I rarely plan events. I let myself be led by living in the present moment, and my days fill with valuable, meaningful experiences. Due to the correction, there are hardly any idle times, because just so much happens at every moment.

Instead of thinking, „Why doesn‘t anyone go with me?“ or „Why is it that nobody wants to have anything to do with me?“ I think, „I am grateful that everyone can get along well without me. “ Those who need me come into my life –I trust that this is always true – and this gives me peace.

Michael Ostarek’s sessions have become a fixed part of my life. For almost two years, I have been listening to his teachings every morning and evening. I download them so that I can listen while driving, on walks, during sports activities … wherever and whenever possible. These sessions help me identify thoughts to correct, and opportunities for foregiveness.

Practicing the course helped me clear my mind. As part of my study and growth, I read the textbook, apply its lessons, and listen to Michael’s audio sessions; these activities have become daily habits for me and impact the way I experience everyday life. Anyone who devotes himself to the course and clears his mind will know what his life’s purpose is – it becomes self-evident.

Coaching

I call it coaching. What it means is that I help those who have not freed themselves from suffering and pain, take a journey toward living a life without these burdens. I only coach people who want my help, and extend myself only to those who ask. When I see someone suffering, I offer loving thoughts and resist judgment. In my first year of the course, people casually sought my help, and they came from everywhere.

Each time I helped someone, something in me healed. Coaching others gave me opportunities to also reflect and heal myself. Often, I cleared my mind long after coaching a client because his truth was also my truth. We recognized in each other something that we each needed; our interaction was mutually healing.

Trust

My confidence in the course has grown steadily because I have experienced it. Although I remained uncertain and doubtful in the first few months, the lessons served their purpose and my life has been positively impacted.

The manual for teachers focuses heavily on developing confidence, and the qualities of a teacher. As time passes, I turn to the teacher’s manual more often. Honestly, I still cannot claim to have mastered the development of trust stage, but I continue to develop with patience.

Understanding

Although no understanding of the course’s intricacies is necessary, that which I simply could not understand in the first year became very clear to me in my second year. Everything is different for me now. I cannot rely on my former understanding of the world. If I do, I find myself judging, which leads to a life I do not wish to lead.

In the first year, however, I was frustrated that others didn’t understand me and the transformation that was occuring in my life. By the end of my second year, however, I gave up on my hope to be understood by others. I had grown to believe it is impossible for someone who does not study the course, and who lives in the world of judgment, to understand me and my experience. To understand requires one to abandon what he believes, what his eyes see, and what his ears hear. And thank God! If there were overlaps and compromises, one would be truly lost and confused.

Perhaps the most difficult thing for me to do was to accept that those closest to me didn’t understand me or my experience – and this included my parents, siblings, relatives, good friends, and others who suffered unnecessarily. They could not understand me because they didn‘t want to understand me. For if they wanted to, they could. , only then would the basis for the suffering and the disease be gone. Suffering and disease are powerful forces; they do not give up on their purpose, and when someone believes so deeply in the power of these negative forces, they persist.

I know it is difficult to understand, but when people ask me for help with serious illness, and I asked them what would happen if the disease were gone tomorrow, many are more afraid of the idea of being well than they are to continue experiencing their disease and symptoms. It is really a crazy world! When one gives up his misery, and replaces it with love, joy, enjoyment, etc., he is freed! I really believed that I would know what it would be like to live a life filled with love, joy, fun and beauty — and I do!

Books

I’ve shed hundreds of books. I didn’t need them any longer. Once I experienced the truth, I did not want to read books that clearly taught lies because the correction process in me starts with reflex. It was not a big deal anymore. Movies also lost their appeal. In my second year, I became bored after 10-15 minutes of watching films, and simply turned them off or fell asleep.

If one remarks by forgiveness that here all dreamed, my person dreamed too, then that makes absolutely no sense in the dream yet another dreamed dream (= cinema movie) to dream. That was even too much of an illusion to me. It felt like a waste of time. Why pay for movies when the world’s drama runs non-stop 24 hours a day? The deception is savvy. Life is full of meaningluess drama and, as if that isn’t bad enough, the newspapers retell the stories day after day.

Conversation

I rarely have a personal need for conversation, except when someone really needs my help. Everything else simply holds no meaning to me. I do not talk about popular issues because, honestly, I do not care about anything except foregiveness and love. Instead, I immediately rectify my thoughts, which I would like to communicate to another, and as soon as I have finished, the need is gone.

In my second year, a few people contacted me to learn more about my experiences because they read my experience report. I answered their questions, of course, but some conversations became bogged down with inquiries about the philosophy of the course. In those instances, I ended the conversations with courteousness and speed. I do not wish to waste others‘ time or my own with aimless discourse.

Although I attend family functions and celebrations, my presence is limited. Everyone in my family knows where to find me, and they know that I am always willing to help anyone in need. But I do not engage in meaningless discussions for hours, even with my own family. What is the purpose of this? To whom is it useful? For more than 30 years, my family celebrations and discussions have not changed. They talk about illness, suffering and death now, just as they did three decades ago! And there still is no cure for these things. In fact, the opposite is true: the suffering we reinforce becomes our reality.

Travel

I travel a lot because my self-employment offers me flexibility. I do not travel to look at things, but to extend forgiveness. Sometimes I stay for weeks in one place, and sometimes I allow myself to be guided to new places.

I usually spend three weeks in Asia every December. I just returned from this trip, and this time too, silence was an important part of my experience. I did not have conversations during the three weeks, with the exception of a coaching. Anyway, I would not know with whom, or why, I should have longer conversations.

It is not necessary to leave home to extend forgiveness. There are as many people who need you in your hometown as on the other side of the globe.

Other course classmates

In the course of my learning A course in miracles, I have met many other students. Some of them have been studying this course for a very long time. I had a perception that these long-time students had to be very far along in their development. But I have learned not to judge how far a student is in his course, or whether he is doing the course „correctly.“ I do not know how much time another person sets aside for his learning, and it is not my responsibility to assess it.

I have been very frustrated at times because I felt disappointed when I met other course students who worked on obvious matters, but who simply could not see simple truths. I was resentful because I was afraid that I might suffer their fate.

When I realize that I have not offered forgiveness fully, it is because I do not feel the effects of forgiveness — peace, tranquility, joy. When this happens,  I review the situation with THE WORK (by Byron Katie) to identify destructive thought-patterns that remain hidden in my mind, which allows me to clear them and find peace. If you are curious about this, I encourage you to read the method THE WORK by Byron Katie. Her writings have been very helpful to me and my clients, because the questions she poses can help to find causes for useless thoughts and painful experiences.

Because I spend a lot of time in coffee houses and restaurants, and often read the course textbook while there, I am often asked about the book. Most have never read it. I have found that few people genuinely take up the course. Many people are skilled with its terms, and can give great lectures on the course’s principles, but their true understanding is revealed when they get a phone call, or interact with a waiter. People reveal true character in how they live everyday life.

As I mentioned above, I have stopped discussing the course because it’s a pity to waste time. Discussing it doesn’t help anyone, and it is not about impressing others. But in this case, I also paid my apprenticeship in the first two years because I was just so impressed by this thing.

World affairs

There has been a great deal of sickness, suffering and death in the world this year. Just read the news; it’s rampant. At the beginning of the year, some events were pretty unsettling, and I fortified my learning through the practice of forgiveness. During my travels, I deliberately placed myself in situations that I have avoided in the past, and was strengthened when my forgiveness protected me from that which I had feared at one time.

I did not interpret these situations as negative, since forgiveness led me to them. Often, I realized that I had cleared a hurdle from my past that the situation represented. As I adjust my thinking and clear my mind, the effects (anger, anxiety, injury, disease, threat, etc.) completely subside or occur in a weakened form.

Diseases

This was a particularly sensitive issue for me because I had chronic bronchitis for 20 years, and I was helpless. Four to five times a year, I spent one to two weeks in bed ill. Before holidays and important events, I panicked hopeful that I would remain healthy. In my second year, I completely forgave the disease, and what resulted was eye-opening.

In my anxiety – conscious and unconscious – I drew illness toward me because without it, I did not get attention, the best food, rest, relief, etc. But this year, even though the symptoms came, I chose not to allow myself to be a victim of the illness, and did the exact opposite of what I used to do: I worked. Last year I had symptoms twice or three times, and each lasted only one day.

I was liberated to realize that I attracted it myself, and that just as I can bring illness to myself, I can also heal myself by changing my thoughts.

Body

Another important issue for me was my body image – the ultimate embodiment of the EGO. Throughout my life, I’ve watched my diet, participated in sports, fasted. I led a very „healthy“ life. I did not realize that this very thing was my biggest problem.

My judgments about diet have ensured that healthy food filled my cupboards, but it also led food to hurt me. My judgments about my body led me to perceive people with „healthy“ bodies, but many were unhealthy for me. My judgments about sports ensured that I was surrounded by athletic, attractive people, but those people were not better/kinder/happier than others who are unattractive and have imperfect bodies .

My thinking was madness – complete insanity! Through my judgments, I created food that harmed me instead of forgiving all the food that I restricted, which allowed it to serve me. When I recognized my downfall, I forgave myself and all that which I had judged, and the following happened:

For 15 years I spent an hour each day in sports or doing some other physical activity. I stopped cold-turkey.

In addition, I began to eat everything that I thought would hurt me again. Fries, schnitzel, meat, chocolate, sweets, cola, etc. I have made peace with my judgments about poor diet and began to integrate all the foods that I formerly judged as bad for me.

I was excited to observe that, despite my change in attitude about sports and my expanded diet, I gained only 3 kg.

My only complaint is that all my problems with food have disappeared. No bloating, no intolerances, nothing more! What I have in my fear, running kilometers, unwound and forcibly cut off fat rims in the ham. My fear is that I have not seen all that the forgiveness has uncovered.

Appearance

What I had not seen in the first year, happened in the second year. I have always been very vain about my appearance and concerned with what others say about me. Clothing has became increasingly unimportant, and I got rid of a lot of clothes. I’ve been wearing partial garments that I’ve not worn for years.

One of the ways I learned about how much I valued my appearance was by asking the hairdresser to shave my head bald. The reactions I got from those around me were mixed, and it took me a few days to get used to looking different. The reactions of the people exposed their judgments, and provided me yet more opportunity to forgive. I learned that I could betray myself even with something as simple as a haircut.

And then came my beard. All these experiments with my appearance and body illustrated something very important. While many looked at me like I was stupid and people stared with comic glares, I also discovered that some connected with me because they understood what the masses criticized.

Relationships and progress

Since taking up the course, I hardly go to anyone anymore. I also come back here. The women that have come into my life would never have caught my attention in the past. I would never have pursued them or chosen them for myself before my mind became clear.

In the first year of the course, I went out very little, if ever, in the evenings. I had no need at all because I always corrected my views about this activity and realized that it was meaningless.

In June I began to walk every day through the night and into the early in the morning – this daily practice lasted 70 days. Usually I came home at 5 o’clock in the morning, completed my morning lesson, and went to work or sleep. Often, I was not tired and didn‘t sleep. During these 70 days I attended nearly every event that occurred within a radius of 150 km if someone invited me. And if it was just a mailing slip.

I found opportunities for foregiveness at these events, discos and tent festivals, where so much was happening all at once. People were deeply concerned with dates, relationships, rejection, sex, dancing, love, friendships, etc. Most of the time, I stood with a drink in my hand until the early morning hours, and corrected my view about everything I saw, heard, smelt, and understood. I changed everything I ever knew about nightlife during this experiment.

Often I stood alone for hours, completely happy. I was so happy for others who spent time with a woman, or amused themselves with dancing. It was a joy I had not known in this environment in the past. I cannot remember ever feeling such joy, even in love. It was such an honest joy and I didn‘t need anything to make me feel the happiness.

I also searched and found many women during those 70 days. I talked to some, spent time with some, danced with some, and even happened to talk about the course with some. Some of them bought the course and became students.

I’ve been with those who have become students of the course, and have withdrawn. I did not want to become someone to talk to them about the course. I’m happy to connect spontaneously with them should they call on me for help.

To be honest, I observed a lot of suffering and despair in these people. After about 70 days, I ended this experiment. As fast as it began, it ended, and apparently, I had learned the lessons I needed to learn. My sleep patterns quickly returned to normal.

Job

There have not yet been any professional changes. I am still self-employed and have adapted my work environment to accommodate my desire to spend 90% of my time dedicated the clearing of my mind and studying the course.

I hope this experience report has served you in some form.

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