Paris in the
Most of us will not realize until it has been pointed out, that the word “the” occurs twice in the above phrase: “Paris in the the spring”. When we look again and realize there are two instances of “the”, we wonder how we could have possibly ever missed seeing both. Now, it is all we can see when we gaze back at the line – “…the the…” What could we have been thinking? It seems so obvious.
Now comes the challenge of seeing Divine Knowledge as something quite apart from worldly, human knowledge. Just as the lowercase “g” “god” is often applied to many mysterious or supernatural beings that impress and confound the human mind, and capital “G” “God” indicates a Oneness that has no beginning or end; the lowercase “k” knowledge is a synonym for facts or information, whereas the capital “K” Knowledge is a synonym for “Knowledge of God”. From A Course In Miracles, chapter 18:
What could God give but Knowledge of Himself?
Knowledge is a simple two-syllable word used quite frequently in A Course In Miracles (ACIM), yet its true significance can be elusive until and unless it is pointed out. We ask, what does the Course mean when it refers to the word “knowledge”? Does “knowledge” in the Course mean “facts and information” or does it mean “a means to directly experience the Eternal Oneness”?
The word “knowledge” is often underestimated by the reader or “the ego”, because the mortal human mind has a tendency to assume that most information or “knowledge” can fit within the human mind. The mind that has been trained to think of itself as the ultimate authority cannot imagine there is anything beyond mental comprehension. Mortal mind does not question its own authority and doubts there even exists a higher Authority. If mortal mind believes something, then it defines its belief as fact. Yet the realm of the mortal human mind is lowercase “k” knowledge, not uppercase “K” Knowledge. Divine Knowledge is the realm of Divine Mind and the finite mind comprehends it not. It is impossible to fit the ocean in a teacup.
Could the knowledge ACIM speaks of be the same Knowledge referred to in other scriptures? It appears to be. For instance, from the bible…
They will neither harm nor destroy
in all my holy mountain,
for the earth shall be full
of the Knowledge of the Lord,
as the waters cover the sea. – Isaiah 11
Then shalt thou understand the fear [awe] of the Lord,
and find the Knowledge of God. – Proverbs 2
Be still and Know that I am God. – Psalm 46
The Kingdom of God is within you. – Luke 17
What could God give but Knowledge of Himself? – ACIM 18
In most instances, when the course refers to knowledge, it means Knowledge of God, Knowledge of the highest degree, the capital “K” Knowledge. The capital “K” Knowledge refers to “know-how” – how to access a direct experience of the power we call God, God as Light, God as Love, God as Life Everlasting, something far beyond the human mind, an experience the human mind cannot reach, imagine, remember, recreate nor speak of. Awe tends to leave one speechless.
How to tell the difference between knowledge and Knowledge, when reading the course? I suggest substituting “Knowledge of God” for the word “knowledge”. In most cases, “Knowledge of God” will fit perfectly. If you simply search ACIM for the word “knowledge”, you will find that statement after statement tie together to give you an increasingly clear picture of what Knowledge means and has meant throughout the millennia – and why it is vitally important for the word to be read with a capital “K”. On page 92 of the document known as the “Urtext” is a tiny line that says it all…
The purpose of this course is
to prepare you for Knowledge.
Knowledge is important enough to Jesus for him to dictate over a thousand pages which comprise the course. It is important to us because it fulfills the promise of Lesson 101…
God’s will for me is perfect happiness.
Does “perfect happiness” merely mean an upgrade to our mundane human lives? A better job, a better house, a better spouse? Or could “perfect happiness” mean that God’s will for us is to have ready access – through Knowledge – to heaven, so that at any moment, here and now, no matter who is with us or not with us, no matter what is going on or not going on, no matter where we are or where we are not, we can choose to feel the Divine Love within us – at will, here and now? Imagine having that ability at your fingertips, available to you on a daily basis. There is something huge within you that can lift you out of all mundanity:
Beyond the body, beyond the sun and stars, past everything you see and yet somehow familiar, is an arc of golden light that stretches, as you look, into a great and shining circle. And all the circle fills with light before your eyes. The edges of the circle disappear, and what is in it no longer is contained at all. The light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity, forever shining, and with no break or limit anywhere. Within it, everything is joined in perfect continuity. Nor is it possible to imagine that anything could be outside. For there is nowhere that this light is not. – ACIM Ch 21.I
This is the very Light John referred to when he wrote, “God is Light.”
The either/or nature of the course is due to the distinction between knowledge and Knowledge. We are either in the world, a fleeting dream comprised of the perishable – of people, places and things that come and go – or we are in this beautiful, exquisite, immaculate, perfection; endless living, loving, flowing, glowing Light that is God. God is light. The infinite and finite, light and dark, love and fear, peace and chaos, Spirit and ego, are mutually exclusive pairs. One is absolute – cannot be threatened. The other is temporary, a “reality show”. When you learn to turn off your mental chatter for a moment and be still, the Forever arises. Knowledge provides the know-how for taking a giant step outside the mortal mind on a daily basis.
We are fortunate indeed to have in ACIM a handbook that prepares us for Knowledge of God, of Reality. We all have learned that the happiness of this world can turn on a dime, while the perfect happiness that is God’s Will for us, is always there, constant, true, exceeding any and all human imagination and expectation.
Why is it important to discern between knowledge and Knowledge in our reading of ACIM and other scriptures? We have been taught that heaven is where you go after you die, so we need to learn that heaven is not “then and there”, or as Jesus said, ” but is indeed “here and now”, available to us – during this lifetime – that we don’t need to wait until we “die”. From ACIM Workbook Lesson 188:
The peace of God is shining in me now.
Why wait for Heaven? Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes. The light is in them now. Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all. Light is not of the world, yet you who bear the light in you are alien here as well. The light came with you from your native home, and stayed with you because it is your own. It is the only thing you bring with you from Him Who is your Source. It shines in you because it lights your home, and leads you back to where it came from and you are at home.
This light can not be lost. Why wait to find it in the future, or believe it has been lost already, or was never there? It can so easily be looked upon that arguments which prove it is not there become ridiculous. Who can deny the presence of what he beholds in him? It is not difficult to look within, for there all vision starts…
As spiritual beings having a temporary human experience, we need to have the means to visit our heavenly home. Otherwise our time here seems long and lonely indeed. We forget who and what we are and we forget that we are never alone. But fact is, we are not apart from our Source, nor can we be apart from it. Our Source, God, the Life Force, is the Reality that all things are made from – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. It breathes us. The Kingdom of Heaven is indeed within us – is us – and we just forgot where we misplaced the key that opens the door. When we are shown how, we are able to open the door within us, during the day, whenever we wish, for heaven is within you, not outside, somewhere else:
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. – Luke 17:20-21
Some still teach that you might go to heaven after you die if you do things just right while you are here – and if you don’t do things just right, then God, which is Love, will send you to hell. Many toe the line, hoping to please God and go to heaven; others have despaired and given up, thinking they could never do things perfectly. But is it true? Are “good works” the ticket to heaven? Or is a sincere desire to know the Truth – beyond the truth – the key to the Kingdom? Can someone help us unlearn what we have learned that stands in our way and to learn how to return to the Beauty within? From the ACIM “Urtext”, page 365:
The Kingdom of Heaven is the dwelling place of the Son of God, who left not his Father, and dwells not apart from Him. Heaven is not a place nor a condition. It is merely an awareness of perfect Oneness, and the knowledge that there is nothing else. Nothing outside this Oneness, and nothing else within.
Perhaps you remember that once upon a time there was a fox who was unable to reach the grapes that grew high on the vine, so he had never tasted them, yet he stated authoritatively that the grapes were sour. A camel came along and ate some of the sweet, sweet grapes, for he was tall enough to easily reach them and he kindly allowed the fox to climb on his back up to the grapes, so he could enjoy them for himself. Once the fox tasted the grapes, he gave up his sad song. “Belief is as good as it gets,” say some. “Believe and you will be saved.” Others say, “You can know and I can show you.” Do not settle for less than Knowledge of God.
About five percent of the people in the world have had a near-death experience (NDE) in which they tasted Heaven. Some say they wanted to stay there forever and were sorely disappointed when they were told they still had unfinished business here on Earth. When they begged to stay, they were told to come back and to “receive Knowledge”. Most heard the word knowledge with a lowercase “k”, so they came back and enrolled in college. But nothing you can learn in college could possibly compare to what they experienced in their NDE. They didn’t realize there is such a thing as an uppercase “K” Knowledge that allows them to see the pure white Light they saw, to feel the unconditional Love and Peace they felt, on a daily basis – to experience here and now, in the body, what they experienced in their NDE. And so, without Divine Knowledge, this capital “K” Knowledge, they still long for what they felt when they visited Heaven. They, of all people. are acutely aware of the difference between this world and Heaven. The good news is, they too can taste the grapes. They can have it all. They can have worldly knowledge and access to Divine Knowledge and live in this world with the Love they love and that loves them.
And Knowledge is not just for those who have had a near-death experience. All our hearts constantly work to turn us back toward the Light. I remember feeling so much pain in my heart when I was a tiny child, feeling so lonely for the quality of Love that I had come from but which was not accessible to me here on Earth. I could not understand where it had gone. I felt I had been rudely dumped and deserted. Loneliness was my primary emotion throughout my childhood, teens and early adult years until I received Knowledge. I was not a student of the course for another fifteen years, but I am endlessly grateful that the course prepares me on a daily basis to practice Knowledge. At times I wonder how people can peacefully grasp the core message of the course before receiving Knowledge. One woman I met said she has torn up, burned and thrown in the river, several copies of the course – yet she keeps returning to it again and again. I too might have felt her frustration if I had begun studying ACIM before I received Knowledge.
The Course does indeed prepare its students for Knowledge. Several students in my study groups have received Knowledge, thanks to the course. It prepares us to admit to ourselves, through our entrenched denial, that we want to live with Knowledge of God, not to wait until we “die”. We want to feel His embrace and see His Light now. ACIM inspires us to pursue Knowledge and then, once we have sought, found, asked and received Knowledge, to practice it, for the course makes it clear that we cannot take our baggage – fear, anger, sorrow, etc – with us into that Beauty. Oil and water do not mix. And the course helps us to release fear in all its forms, to remove the blocks to our awareness of Love’s Presence.
As long as anyone has a sincere desire to know the Truth, the Holy Spirit will guide them kindly to the grapes, the keys to the Kingdom, the Knowledge. When we begin to practice Knowledge, we find that everything in life has led us to where we are now and we are grateful for all that has occurred. In ancient times, they say aspirants had to climb mountains and swim oceans to receive Knowledge. In these very challenging times, in a world full of distractions, our job, (should we choose to accept it), is to clear away the barriers in our minds – pride, fear, judgment, etc. This is no small task. The course helps.
The value of practicing Knowledge on a regular basis is that we begin to release our false identities – as bodies, feelings, thoughts, personalities and stories – and instead begin to identify more with our true Identity as Light, Love, Spirit, Wisdom and Joy. Unconditional love, non-judgment, compassion and appreciation become our way in the world and the world reflects our new way of thinking and being, back to us.
This article is to make clear that Knowledge is beyond knowledge, Truth is beyond truth, the Word is beyond words, that the Name is beyond names, Love is beyond love, Light is beyond light, and so on. From ACIM Ch 18.IX:
This course will lead to Knowledge, but Knowledge itself is still beyond the scope of our curriculum… Nor is there any need for us to try to speak of what must forever lie beyond words. We need remember only that whoever attains the real world, beyond which learning cannot go, will go beyond it, but in a different way. Where learning ends, there God begins, for learning ends before Him Who is complete where He begins, and where there is no end…
The readiness for Knowledge still must be attained… Love is not learned. Its meaning lies in Itself. And learning ends when you have recognized all it is not. That is the interference; that is what needs to be undone. Love is not learned, because there never was a time in which you knew it not. Learning is useless in the Presence of your Creator, Whose acknowledgment of you, and yours of Him, so far transcends all learning, that everything you learned is meaningless, replaced forever by the Knowledge of Love and its one meaning.
Patricia Robinett is a student of A Course in Miracles and of Knowledge. She has facilitated ACIM study groups for over 25 years. Her website is www.ACIMessentials.com and contains videos of the workbook lessons – and more. Patricia is the author of Knowledge, The Essence of World Scriptures, which is a compilation of quotes extolling the beauty of Knowledge, a book designed to help trigger our memory of what was, is and always will be within us, as well as inspire us to aspire to receive the Knowledge that is our birthright.