Concepts and theories are helpful in learning about the ego so you can undo it

Monday, Aug 07, 2017 480 words 2 mins 7 secs
An A Course in Miracles Blog  © 2017 Paul West

Sometimes people say that concepts have to be let go. The course even says that concepts have to be let go. The course even says to let go of the course and come to God with empty hands.

Yes. However, the entire ACIM "Text" is conceptual. It's entirely theoretical. The workbook is part conceptual and part practical. And the manual for teachers is also conceptual.

Concepts are needed to help people's minds to adapt to a new paradigm of thought. I think there is even somewhere in the Text where it says you should do the text first in order to alleviate the likelihood of becoming afraid when you do the practice, because without a firm footing in the theory you are likely to come to a number of false conclusions and become frightened.

It seems that even with the Text under people's belts, moving on to the workbook in many cases still gives rise to a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. That's partly because the Text is not well understood and the Course's metaphysics are not well understood.

I'm no saying to be purely conceptual or to get totally obsessed with theory, but it sure does help to clarify what the course is saying and what it means.

At some point the concepts will give way to experience, given that even in course terms a universal theology is impossible. But concepts help to pave the way to the truth and are important in learning to clearly perceive the workings of the ego mind so that you are not so easily deceived by it.

It's not possible to teach "love", because love is an experience without words or symbols. So if anything is going to be taught, it's going to have to be a concept about not just the truth but about the nature and behavior of illusions. To teach the concepts is to learn how to identify illusions, how to look at blocks to awareness, and discovering what your hidden motivations are. Concepts help you with your "work" of undoing the ego.

Obviously at some point they will be no longer useful when reality dawns on the mind. But until then, it is definitely helpful to have a firm footing in the metaphysical "theory" and to be informed about how the ego functions. Without that you're likely to take a lot longer to find your way to the truth and will be more easily confused or mistaken about how to get there.

Concepts that can be applied are especially helpful. It's all part of learning to discern what is true and what is false. The truth is taken first on faith, which means, believing in it conceptually and not as a direct experience. We need to be careful of course not to get lost in the concepts or spin our wheels in the intellect, but so long as it's helping us to move forward it's all good.

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