For me I want a course that can be learned, is accessible, easy enough to understand, and can be applied without too much hassle. I think A Course in Miracles does this, and that Jesus is an excellent teacher. I think he knows what he's talking bout.
I think he is very masterful and wise and has taken huge efforts in the writing of ACIM to try to be as clear and obvious and relatable as possible, so that as many people as possible can learn the course and use it correctly. After all, it would be a pretty awful course if it was so obscure and difficult and hard to fathom that no-one could actually succeed at it.
"Contradictions in MY word mean lack of understanding, or scribal failures, which I make every effort to correct."
"...a host of related fallacies, including the misbelief that God rejected man and forced him out of the Garden of Eden, or that I am misdirecting you. I have made every effort to use words which are ALMOST impossible to distort, but man is very inventive when it comes to twisting symbols around."
For me, I recognize that Jesus makes some VERY SIMPLE straightforward statements. He states facts, in the clearest way possible. He uses words which are familiar to us, and which have associations with things in our world that we recognize. He isn't speaking some foreign gobbledygook language, or trying to make things obscure. He is very direct, factual, honest, obvious and clear.
So for example in the course he uses some terms such as "Earth". I think we ALL recognize that a reference to Earth is talking about the physical planet that we're on, the ball of rock, which is floating in space. Planet Earth. I think 100% of readers should agree that Earth refers to that object. If you think that it DOES NOT refer to that object, or that "Earth is NOT really a physical planet and has some other kind of reality", something is wrong.
Similarly he talks often about the body. Even already as I write this sentence you have an association in your mind which recognizes I just mentioned the human flesh-and-bones body. That's what the body is. My human body, your biological body, the bodies of people walking down the street.
This isn't rocket science. This does not have to be difficult or hard to understand. And it especially shouldn't call for us to have to perform massive mental gymnastics, get subtle nuances, re-word things, redefine meanings, shift things around, or have massive long debates about what it means. For fucks's sake, the body is just the body!
So for example if he gives a simple statement such as: "At no time does the body exist", we're supposed to learn that he really does mean that literally. The human flesh and bones body that we're used to walking around in, does not really exist. That's the teaching. That's the fact. That's his intention.
When he then also tells us for example that "The body is clearly a device for separation and therefore does not exist", the most obvious thing to learn is that once again, this human flesh and bones body does not really exist. Everything about it is geared towards separation, and it DOES NOT EXIST. NOTHING about it exists, in any way, to any degree, anywhere.
He goes on to reiterate the same simple truths in many ways, in many forms, in many statements. e.g. "As nothing, which it is, the body cannot be meaningfully endowed with the attributes of Christ." or "The body's nothingness", or "God did not create the body." etc. All of these tell us the same exact thing. The body is nothing, it doesn't exist, it's not really there. There is NOTHING ELSE to learn from this. There is NO OTHER MEANING.
You SHOULD be learning therefore that because of the many times Jesus has reiterated this simple teaching, one of many, you should be trying to learn and accept that "your body" is not really there, the bodies that you see around you don't really exist, and there are no real bodies. You should NOT be attempting to SKEW this, or to find loopholes, or ways to keep the body.
You should not be trying to explain how there is some VERSION of the body that is going to be kept. Or how references to the body are NOT really referring to the body. Or how the body is "not really physical" but is something else. Or how when he talks of the body he is only talking about it "as the ego sees it", or "as you perceive it". We have to stop tacking on all these extra clauses and exceptions and ways of DISTORTING the very basic most obvious teaching. The body is NOTHING. It's not there.
This means that all of the atoms, do not exist. It means that, the flesh and bones and organs and eyeballs and hands and feet, do not exist. Not one single part of its energy exists. None of its fluids or chemicals, none of the gut bacteria, none of the cells, nothing that gives it space, or takes up space, or is made of matter, or energy, or thought, or ANYTHING, none of it is there. That we should not be attempting to redefine it, keep it, view it differently in order to have it still exist somehow, or anything else. We need to learn to accept, THERE IS NO BODY. Zero. Totally non-existent in all places at all times in every way forever.
This is a simple teaching. It's not hard. It's not meant to be hard. You aren't required to study this course deeply for decades in an attempt to fathom the deeper mysteries of what these simple statements mean. It does not take for you to do the workbook lessons. It does not require for you too read the text 100 times. You should get it as soon as you read it the first time. The body is nothing and does not exist. It's not that hard. Jesus is not being obscure or clever or mystical or difficult or trying to tell us something in a very obscure context which only advanced students can ever get. This course is for YOU. ANYONE. To learn easily.
Statements about the body have implications. If the body is nothing, then it stands to normal sane reasoning, that anything the body is "made of" does not exist. For example if the body has carbon atoms in it, which it does, then carbon does not exist. And this by extension means, that trees which are also made of carbon, do not exist. Any if the skin cells fall from the body and become dust and contribute to the soil of the earth, then also the soil of the earth does not exist. And if the body breathes the air and depends on it, then so too is the air not real either. And as you take foods into the body and digest them and they BECOME the body, this must indicate that those foods, and their original forms, and the plants and trees and sources they came from, ALSO must not exist.
This is very simple reasoning, it's not rocket science. It's simple common sense. If your body doesn't exist as Jesus spells out clearly and easily, then it also MUST mean that anything around the body does not exist, the body's environment does not exist, and the entire cosmos does not exist. This is a very sensible and sane and rational conclusion. It's all made of the same stuff, so it applies to all of it. That means therefore that planet earth, does not exist. We could rephrase Jesus's statements to EASILY mean the same thing. e.g. "At no time does the planet Earth exist. It is either anticipated or remembered, but never exists just now." "The planet earth is a dream." "The planet earth's nothingness." "As nothing, which it is, planet earth cannot be meaningfully invested with the attributes of christ." "God did not create the planet earth."
The course is NOT meant to be ANY more complicated than this. All readers should be coming to the same conclusions. In fact there shouldn't even really be much of a process involved in "drawing conclusions". You should be seeing that Jesus has already done most of the work for you. He's already EXPLICITLY telling you outright, LITERALLY, that the body is nothing and does not exist. And he extends that in many ways to include the world as well.
"There is no world. "Earth, the other's sorry outcome, which is heaven's opposite in every way." "The place where it is reflected is not real." "The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it." etc. Very simple, the course teaches normal everyday readers that planet earth does not really exist. Which is a very profound teaching. And it's our job to ACCEPT this and recognize it. But it becomes incredible at times the lengths that some students will go to, to avoid this. It is driven in part by the STRONG belief that people bring with them TO the course, based on prior experiences, that the planet seems to them to be real. All the pain, all the misery, all the experiences, the memories, all the bodies, all the relationships, all the events, which all seem to contribute in our minds to suggesting that Earth really does exist. But ALL of that is FLYING IN THE FACE of what Jesus is telling us, and so we have a lot to learn, or rather a lot to UNLEARN. Because we've taught ourselves a lot of stuff that is NOT TRUE, and is NOT what the course is teaching us.
That means we have to be willing to be mistaken, we have to be willing to question our beliefs, we have to be open minded to consider an alternative, and we have to also keep sight of THE PLAIN AND OBVIOUS. And of what makes simple logical sense. When we are reading something like the body being nothing and not existing, and we can't quite bring ourselves to accept it is true, because of our commitment to identifying with the body, we will DEFEND AGAINST what Jesus is saying. And then even a simple statement such as "the body does not exist" will be met with doubt, suspicion, questioning, deception, distortion and attempts to have it NOT mean what it means. Our egos will try to CHANGE its meaning and NOT SEE the obvious.
"We will use this simple lesson in the obvious because it has results we cannot miss."
Even the most obviously, BLATANT statements can be distorted if the mind is not ready or willing to listen to it. We can quite easily project onto the course a vast array of false perceptions. We can mangle it out of all recognition. We can take even the simplest clearest statements and FIND WAYS in which we can try to justify that they DO NOT mean what they mean. We can even take statements and give them completely OPPOSITE meanings, and feel "okay with that", as if it makes sense to us. As if it doesn't seem to contradict OTHER things we believe, because in our arrogance we think we already know what is true and don't want to question it.
To accept even the most simple truths in the course sometimes may require us to go through a tremendous purification process, letting go of faulty beliefs and backgrounds, discarding old baggage and world views, even questioning our most deeply held beliefs about who and what we are. And we do not WANT to do that. So we will resist it, and will instead NOT SEE the most simply obvious truths in front of us. Because we don't want to. We want the truth to be something else. And we do not TRUST it, because we trust something else.
So we have to sort through and sort out ALL of our other beliefs and find out if they line up with what Jesus is telling us. And that's going to be some rough territory because we COULD start trying to educate ourselves as to "what he means", and teach ourselves things that he DOES NOT mean. After all, if we don't even really know what is true, and are supposed to learn from him, then we need to really be willing to put aside out OWN teaching of ourselves and open up to BEING TAUGHT and actually learning something new. Otherwise we're not really being students, we're just being spewers and projectors of what we already decided is true.
Not that it takes rocket science to grasp the basic facts. Many things in ACIM are NOT supposed to be difficult. It's just that sometimes the truth is so profound and deep and intense that we do not LIKE it and do not WANT it. So we avoid it with an incredible array of creative means. An incredible arsenal of distortions, twists, defenses, manipulations, bandaids, and all manner of other strategies to not directly see or recognize or accept the simplest facts. No one with an ego wants to accept "there is no world" at its fullest intensity. And no one who believes they are a body REALLY wants to accept fully that their bodies don't exist.
But even with all these obstacles, even with learning disabilities, self inflicted filters, and all manner of unwillingness and denial, there are STILL some very, VERY basic aspects to Jesus's teaching that we all should really learn and agree to. The SIMPLEST of truths. Such as that the human physical biological body has absolutely no reality, value, existence, or meaning. It is NOT THERE. And also by extension, that this planet, the physical world, which is like the body and of the body, also is NOT THERE. These are fundamentally two cornerstone principles of ACIM. To not at LEAST accept them intellectually is going to produce a huge array of distortions of the course's teachings, and it has already done so.