by Robert Perry
A Course in Miracles tells us many times that we should turn to the Holy Spirit's guidance for our decisions. But how often should we do that? And is doing so truly important? Should we really be asking about what to do in a world that doesn't even exist?
These questions are resoundingly answered in the new material we include in the Complete and Annotated Edition (CE for short). Indeed, this perspective on guidance is one of the main ways in which this material has influenced the way I practice the Course.
It is quite striking just how much Jesus emphasizes the importance of asking for guidance in matters both large and small. Here are just a few examples (all reference numbers are from the CE):
- He tells us to "remember to ask" when to go back and review what we have read in the Course (T-1.15.3:3).
- He says, "If you need a coat, for example, ask me where to find one" (T-1.25.5:2).
- He says that he should be "asked to participate in the decision" of which romantic partner we should choose (T-1.48.9:6).
In the cameo essays in Appendix I, we see Helen following this teaching and asking for guidance about all kinds of everyday things:
- She asked (on at least three different occasions) if she should visit her friend Dave Diamond in the hospital (Cameo 10).
- She asked whether she should call Bill after a day in which there was friction between them (Cameo 14).
- One day, in response to a question she had asked in the morning, she was told to give miracles to her brother Adolph and to Art, a colleague at work (Cameo 18).
I admit that I find it challenging to ask for guidance in the kinds of small matters that we see in these examples, just because it takes more concentration than I usually devote to decisions (though Jesus says that my difficulty really comes from a fear of giving over control-see T-4.IX.4:1-3). Yet experience has shown me that asking yields wiser and more pragmatic decisions. It seems to be especially effective when I silently ask what to say in a tense situation or when someone needs my help.
And the good news is that, according to Jesus, making the effort to ask will eventually ingrain in me a habit that will allow me to receive guidance far more effortlessly:
It is possible to reach a state in which you bring your will under my guidance without much conscious effort, but this implies the kind of habit pattern which you have not developed dependably as yet. (T-2.IX.8:4)
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