Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Course in Self-understanding and Personal Integration

"Life is short and of uncertain duration. Plus, in a hundred years, no one will remember who you were. Seize the day, seize the morning, seize the hour, seize... right... now!"

The Course helps people get clear about who they really are, what they really wants out of life, and how to go about getting it. It does this by helping the student understand his or her fears, then acknowledge and take responsibility for his faith in himself.

The Course is in three parts. In the first part, the student learns how human beings actually function, as opposed to the way society tells us and insists we believe we function. In the second part, he learns how he actually functions, as opposed to how he has been taught he functions. In the last part, he learns how to resolve inner conflict and get into consensus. It is this consensus that then enables him to identify and achieve the life he truly wants. When students begin The Course, they are tyrannized by fear; by the time they complete it, they’re guided by faith in themselves. As this occurs, they become more pro-active, as opposed to reactive and, as a result, more effective and fulfilled.

The first part of The Course also deals with the untruths inherent in language, abstractions, and the rules and  conventions of society.. When the student begins The Course, he is in the habit of acceding to a variety of external authorities. As he looks at this, he comes to see that events don’t actually determine experiences, experiences determine events. Events occur; we perceive them in a limited and biased way; we interpret our perceptions based on our pasts; and we then respond to our interpretations of our perceptions of the events, rather than to the events, themselves. In fact, acquiescence is a choice and we are always our own sole authority. This breakthrough in understanding is experienced as a liberating epiphany.

In the second part of The Course, the student looks at the way his interpretations of his past experiences have led to his particular assumptions, how those assumptions have determined his present, and how his present will determine his future. In the process, he discovers that yearning for things is not the same as working for them, and trying to do things is not the same as actually doing them. As these insights are integrated, he becomes better able to acknowledge and take responsibility for both his strengths and limitations, which makes him stronger and less limited.

In the second part of The Course, the student comes to understand and appreciate himself more than ever before. In the last section, he acknowledges and takes responsibility for his spiritual or transcendent self. As he does this, he learns to open to, attend, or listen to himself, others, and the world with fewer intrusive thoughts and bias. He also comes to realize that this quality of pure attention is the essence of love, and that in learning to listen in this way he has learned to love – himself, then others and the world. In the process, he also learns to expect and ask for the same quality of attention/love from others.

Basically, what the student who completes the process has done is vanish the context of fear and hatred, and create a new context of faith and love. In doing so, he ceases contributing to the problems mankind faces, and begins contributing to the solutions to those problems.    

Robert Leaver teaches The Course to both groups and individuals. Different formats are available but the standard for individuals is one 2-hour class per week with 2-3 written assignments between classes. The process takes anywhere from three to eighteen months, depending on the student’s willingness to choose to acknowledge and take responsibility for his faith-in-self.

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