The New York Times Styles section had this great article on the growing hunger for spirituality as the new obsession for New York's Carrie Bradshaws. Sure, the pop culture reference is fun, but spirituality is a lot more than visualizing your perfect husband or landing an article in the Style's section. It's seeing love--God--in all situations, in yourself, in everyone you meet, something that takes serious practice, study, and dedication--especially in this city.
The best thing about this growing movement--yes, I've seen my friends replace retail therapy with meditation--is that it's introducing more and more people to A Course in Miracles (ACIM). Marianne Williamson and Eckhart Tolle, spiritual advisors on Oprah, derive their books and teachings from this life-changing course.
As someone who studies the written word, I've never seen writing like ACIM, and I studied psychology and intellectual history in college. The best way to describe it is thought-level writing. This is not a book written by man, "written down" yes...
In New York in the 1960s, Helen Schucman and William Thetford, Professors of Medical
Psychology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and
Surgeons in New York City, worked in a stressful office and had a lot of tension between them. Think of your most annoying co-worker drama--theirs was like that. Thetford finally said to her, in an impassioned speech: there must be a better way. To which Schucman surprised him by responding: "I agree with you, Bill, and I will help you find it."
In that moment, they chose peace instead of attack and all of heaven rushed to help them in strengthening that choice, as ACIM, the book they went on to produce, would explain.
Schucman then had a series of vivid dreams leading up to hearing a voice that told her: "This is a course in miracles. Please take notes." She knew she had to work with her colleague and make peace with him. She did, and at first they kept it secret as they worked as scribes for The Voice, afraid their colleagues in academia would be appalled. Over the years, writing down the teachings of The Voice, they produced the door-stopper sized text, which is Jesus Christ clarifying his original teachings, which, as we know, have been lost and twisted from their original meaning for many.
Though it's a huge book, which I like to use as my magic eight ball of answers, ACIM has a simple message it gently teaches in a coaching, loving Voice, in the Voice of Christ: you have two choices when it comes to your freedom of choice--fear and love. That's it--that's what every "problem" in the world boils down to. And fear cannot exist since it is not a part of God, because anything outside of God is death. Then you simply have one choice--and that is love. Love is life and peace, and a mind at peace communicates with God. Communication with God is life, creativity, limitless power. Anything that makes you feel small, jealous, angry, guilty, vengeful springs from fear, products of the ego that just want to destroy you. That is the only temptation, to resist attack in all its many forms. Because when you attack, you're attacking yourself and cutting off communication with God.
When people ask, how can there be a God when there's so much pain and suffering in the world, God didn't create that, we did. But the current darkness is falling away like eroded cliffs under the deluge of spiritual hunger. And this is one trend that will win out.
If you want to study more on ACIM, I recommend this helpful site: http://www.circleofa.org/index.php
Special thanks to: http://www.fromoutoftheblue.com/