The thrill of my personal evolution has been finding materials in the world that not only resonate with me but allow me use them as tools for my own personal evolution. I also believe in the adage that the teacher arrives when the student is ready. When I was in my early twenties I was diligently working to help sup[port my family and pay the mortgage, a time where I had space between high school and eventually college, I wasn't lost but honestly I didn't know where I was going or how I would get there. I was fortunate to have a sense of spirituality all of my life and my parents and grandparents kept me moving through religions---Protestant, Baptist, Islam---so I was able to formulate what I liked about "God" and what I didn't.
One evening, coming home from my $5 an hour job at the Antique Boutique, I caught Oprah interviewing Ivana Trump and discussing the latter's divorce. Ivana mentioned how she'd needed something emotional to well her up form the transition and Oprah said she had a book for her that she'd been giving to all of her friends. The book was a Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. I had $20 to my name until payday but like a lightning bolt something in that moment struck me and I went out and bought the book the very next day. I read it from cover to cover in a couple of days and then re-read it again. My thought was "Yes! This makes sense!" but most importantly what seemed to be the sensible take on God and spirituality was the source book, A Course In Miracles that WIlliamson kept referencing and discussing as the origin of why she'd written this book which was examining the Course. My mission then became to find the Course.
This is where it gets a little strange, a little serendipity filled, a little God filled. It literally took me over a year to get a copy of ACIM. Every Barnes and Noble was sold out here in New York, other bookstores had "just" sold out their copies, even used bookstores. After a few months of this I thought---"hmmm,God is trying to tell me something"---so I continued to buy Williamson's work, lectures on ACIM and listened to those, preparing myself for one day the Course coming to me. In fact, I remember deliberately thinking---the Course is not something I can go "get", I have to work on myself, my thoughts and it will come to me as it will. I then went on to college upstate (no, no Course available at the campus bookstore and they couldn't order a copy) and returned with friends for a holiday break, wandered into a bookstore and there it was. I immediately snapped it up and started the reading process.
The Course is a book focused on "psycho-spiritual" therapy. It's written in language that contains lots of Christian--Jesus, God, Holy Spirit--language because the writer, Helen Schuchmann received it this way, channeled it. Simply the story is, she was a professor, started hearing a wonderful voice telling her all this spiritual stuff, thought she was freaking out and ran to a psychologist friend. He said to her is the voice telling you to harm yourself or others, if not, write down what it says and the first drafts of the Course was born. The simple precept of the Course is that only Love exists, God is love but we also have the perceptions of the Ego and we must learn to identify and eradicate the Ego for those thoughts are generally fear based or unloving. To this end there's a whole book on spirituality, then 365 lessons, and then a Manual for Teachers contained within the Course.
Of all the materials I've reviewed over the years in print and online, this is perhaps the most difficult because I think one's spirituality is ultimately so personal that I can't tell you what you'll "get" from the Course. But I can tell you it has radically changed my life, how I see myself, the world, other people. I live my life in joyous prayer and gratitude and more importantly, release/surrender about life. I accept and have practiced this point I've been able to codify from the Course for over a decade---"If time, space, the body and death don't exist, then why am I so upset?" The Course pushed me to examine my thoughts on all of those concepts and accept them as what they were not what I wanted them to be.
Thanks and enjoy! Don't forget to watch The Kyle Phoenix Show on Channel 56 (Time Warner), 83 (RCN), 34 (Verizon) and the Thursday/Friday 12am/midnight simulcast on http://kylephoenixsite.com/