PART II: A Course in Miracles and the Spiritual Community
Chapter 5 Arten and Pursah’s Keys to Understanding A Course in Miracles
Chapter 6 Arten and Pursah’s Take on Other Teachings
Chapter 7 A Course in Miracles – Teaching, Borrowing, and Compromising
Chapter 8 Those Who Seek Controversy…
Part III: The Quotes
Chapter 9 Jesus, Jeshua, Y’shua, or J, or How ‘bout J-Dog?
Chapter 10 Forgiveness as a Way of Life
Chapter 11 Forgiving What Gets in Your Face
Chapter 12 Unconscious Guilt: The Root of All Evil
Chapter 13 Definitive Statements
Chapter 14 The Crucifixion, Resurrection, the Second Coming
of Christ, and Oneness
Chapter 15 The Unreality of the Body
Chapter 16 The Illusory Nature of the Universe
Chapter 17 Spiritual Healing
Chapter 18 It’s About Time
Chapter 19 The Tools
Chapter 20 The Funnies
Wrapping this Puppy Up
Index of References
Excerpts from The Introduction to Dude, Where's My Jesus Fish?
Gary’s first two books are written in a dialogue format. Gary is the student, while his teachers, who are two ascended masters that go by the names of Arten and Pursah, were two of Jesus’ disciples two thousand years ago, Thaddaeus and Thomas, respectively. They refer to Jesus as J, as they did not know him as Jesus, but rather as Y’shua, and they say that a proper translation into Greek then into English would have been Jeshua, so they simply refer to him as J in order to cover both Jesus and Jeshua.1
Arten and Pursah promise in the first chapter of the spiritual masterpiece, The Disappearance of the Universe, that they will supply all the answers to life’s biggest questions: ‘You will find out what you really are; how you got here; exactly why you and all other people behave and feel the way that you do; why the universe keeps repeating the same patterns over and over again; why people get sick; the reason behind all failure, accidents, addictions, poverty, and natural disasters; the real cause of all of the violence, crime, war, and terrorism in the world; the only meaningful solution to all of these things; and how to apply it.’2
For those of you who are new to all this, well, to be perfectly blunt, I’m not here to blow sunshine up your ass as I’m not exactly a ‘people pleaser’ or a ‘yes man.’ There are plenty of candy-coated spiritual teachings out there for you to choose from if that’s what you want. I have no investment in people feeling warm and fuzzy about me, and have no political agenda, so, like Gary and his teachers, I’m free to just tell it straight up for those who are ready to hear it. As Pursah tells Gary in Disappearance, ‘People need to be educated, but if you really tell them the truth, then you’re bound to give up some popularity. But it’s better to tell them the truth and have some people walk out on you than to tell them only what they want to hear and have them stay.’3 So, that’s what I’m all about and where I’m coming from.
Anyway, it’s not my intention to be such a hard ass, but I wouldn’t be doing anybody any favors by compromising on Arten and Pursah’s, as well as J’s teachings, and I see the Course the same exact way as they and Gary all do. And Jesus wouldn’t be Jesus if He had compromised on these teachings. I have no interest, or desire, in making up my own thing,4 or incorporating dualistic teachings into the Course and telling people that those teachings are saying the same thing as the Course. I’m a straight shooter so you’re not going to get any bullshit from me, only a sincere desire to be truly helpful.
So, if you’re one who is seeking an intellectual truth, that, when applied, will eventually lead you to an experiential truth, then you’ve come to the right place. The message in Gary’s books is designed to help you save time, so I’m just passing along the message while reinforcing it for myself.
For all the newbies, now may be a good time for you to burn this book or run it through a shredder, or better yet, donate it to your local library or resell it on Amazon, because you don’t know what the hell you’re going to be getting yourself into here. This isn’t ‘fast food spirituality’5 as this particular spiritual path separates the men from the boys – metaphorically speaking, of course. For those of you who have already set foot on this spiritual path, well, there’s no turning back now!
Now, without further ado, here is a revised version of an article I wrote for my local newspaper, the Ashland Daily Tidings. It was printed in the March 7, 2009 edition. It explains what The Disappearance of the Universe is all about:
Of all the books I’ve read during my many years of feasting in the ‘spiritual buffet line,’6 nothing has explained the truth about God and our existence, and why we are seemingly here, any clearer to me than Gary Renard’s The Disappearance of the Universe.
Disappearance addresses heavy subject matter, while cutting to the chase in no uncertain terms, and doing so in a very entertaining and humorous fashion. I highly recommend it, though it is not intended for the squeamish7 nor the faint of heart, as the material is not sugarcoated.
Forgiveness is the theme of the spiritual path presented in Disappearance. Gary’s teachers tell us, ‘Forgiveness is where the rubber meets the road. Without forgiveness, metaphysics are useless.’8 Of course, they are talking about forgiveness in the quantum sense, rather than what traditionally passes as forgiveness in this world. As Gary’s teachers say, ‘The kind of forgiveness J used, and that his Course is teaching, is not the same kind of forgiveness that Christianity and the world sometimes participate in. If it were, then it would be a waste of time.’9
Disappearance is the unofficial ‘cliff notes’ to A Course in Miracles – or as Gary would call it, ‘street language’10 for the Course. A Course in Miracles is a spiritual, purely non-dualistic, self-study course, which is often referred to in Disappearance. The Course is over thirteen hundred pages long, and consists of the Text, Workbook for Students, Manual for Teachers, and the most recent edition includes two pamphlets called Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice and The Song of Prayer.
Written in Shakespearean blank verse and loaded with subtly humorous rhetorical questions, while being holographic in nature,11 the Course is Jesus’ teachings the way, I believe, they were intended to be – consistent and uncompromising, all about love and forgiveness, and absolutely nothing to do with sin, fear, guilt, sacrifice, and showing up to church on Sunday. As Gary’s teachers put it, ‘The Course is Jesus speaking as an artist correcting the Bible.’12 And as J states in his Course, ‘Those who seek controversy will find it. Yet those who seek clarification will find it as well.’13
The Course is all about the healing of the subconscious mind, which entails looking at your illusions, examining them, and eventually releasing them through the process of true forgiveness. As it states in the Course, ‘No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected.’14
The Course gives you the practical tools necessary in order to attain the objective of lasting inner peace and happiness, and ultimately enlightenment, regardless of what is going on in the world and with your own personal life’s circumstances. Through the application of true, or quantum forgiveness, you’re taking full responsibility for your life’s experiences, including the experiences that are not seemingly your fault, because on the level of the unconscious mind, you made it all up.
With quantum forgiveness, you’re not forgiving people because they really did something – you’re forgiving them because they haven’t really done anything. Whatever pushes your buttons and pisses you off on any given day is symbolic of what’s in your own unconscious mind. Once you really get that the world is not being done to you, but rather by you, then what you are really doing by practicing true forgiveness is forgiving the symbolic contents of your own mind. So nobody is ever really a victim in this world. As the Course puts it, ‘I am not the victim of the world I see.’15 Indeed, you are the maker of it – not always easy to accept, but it is definitely the truth. As Gary’s teachers ask, ‘Are you going to get that you’re not a victim and take responsibility for dreaming, or are you going to make it real and stay stuck here?’16 And as J states in the Course, ‘Beware of the temptation to perceive yourself unfairly treated.’17
This isn’t the most glamorous of spiritual paths, because it’s not about manifesting stuff; it’s about undoing the muck buried in the subconscious mind. So it’s not always pretty, dressed up with lipstick and powder, however, it does have teeth. As Gary’s teachers say, ‘The most striking evidence of this approach’s validity will be that it works.’18 And as the Course states, ‘No one who learns from experience that one choice brings peace and joy while another brings chaos and disaster needs additional convincing.’19 From my experience, I can assure you that true forgiveness does in fact work. It does, however, take practice to develop faith and trust in it, but once you start experiencing the benefits of doing this work, it encourages and inspires you to keep going, and eventually it does become easier.
Though the Course is presented in Christian terminology, it is very Eastern-like in its theology and practice, as it gets in touch with the power of the mind. I don’t recommend taking it on without having read Disappearance first, as it will save you much time while helping you to really grasp the heart of the Course.
All spiritual paths lead to God in the end,20 however, the Course does imply that this is a faster way. The Course is simple, however, it’s not easy, as we all have this thing called the ego, and it would much rather you be right, than be happy and at peace. And as J asks us in the Course, ‘Do you prefer that you be right or happy?’21
This path isn’t about fixing up your life, it’s about waking up from what you think is your life,22 and as Gary’s teachers would add to that, ‘…that’s not just a minor distinction.’23 Although it’s not about fixing up your life, it can, however, be a fringe benefit24 – and Mikey’s down with fringe benefits! Anyway, sticking to this path requires faith, trust, discipline, patience, vigilance, perseverance, as well as the willingness to question every motive that you have and every value that you hold,25 the ability to be objective with yourself, and the determination to face all of your fears. Oh, and did I mention faith and trust? Anyway, as Gary’s teachers put it, ‘Comfort is the goal, not necessarily the means.’26 With all that said, however, it’s not about giving anything up, as J puts it in the Course, ‘This course does not attempt to take from you the little that you have.’27 So, it’s really about letting go of your psychological attachment to it all, as well as forgetting not to laugh.
Excerpt from Foreword by Gary Renard
"What Mikey has done with this book is create a valuable tool for directly accessing Course concepts (as taught by Arten and Pursah) in a topic-based fashion. Additionally, he has added his rather colloquial insights which make this book a light, humorous read, a refreshing change from most Course-related materials. My first book, The Disappearance of the Universe, is frequently referred to as the 'can opener' that helps students open the rather heady A Course in Miracles book. Dude, Where's My Jesus Fish? is like a cheat sheet that helps you make the grade. If this book turns more folks onto A Course in Miracles - and I expect it will - then we have Mikey to thank for growing our beloved Course community and helping us all to get Home." ~ Gary Renard, Los Angeles, California, the best selling author of The Disappearance of the Universe and Your Immortal Reality
Fellow Disappearance of the Universe Junkie
"This book was written by my good friend, Mike Lemieux, aka Giddy Up Mikey, just Mikey, or as I sometimes call him Michael Robert! And let me tell you, thanks to Mikey, I'm getting all this God business on a deeper level! Mikey could have been nicknamed the Quote Master Flash because that guy can pick the quotes and arrange them in ways that'll blow your freakin' mind! This book is a gift to anyone who picks it up. Oh, and the other really cool thing about this book is you can judge it by its cover! Its got the coolest cover I've ever even seen, I tell you! I mean, who doesn't want a book called Dude Where's My Jesus Fish? laying around on their coffee table? I know I do, and here's an interesting historical fact, I was the very first customer! And I'm not only satisfied, I'm stratisfied!"
~ Dawn Sechrist-Burkett, Sherman, New York
Fellow Course Groupie
"I have been constantly amazed at the insight shown by Mike Lemieux as we have shared an ACIM/DU study group experience. The depth of his knowledge about the material in The Disappearance of the Universe, Your Immortal Reality, and A Course in Miracles surpasses many that I know who have been studying this spiritual path for years, myself included. Mike has a wonderful capacity for using his insights in daily life. His willingness to share those insights with this book blesses this upside down world."
~ Terry Miller, Medford, Oregon