The course is more than words
While ACIM, as a book, is a collection fo words, these words are twice removed from reality. They are symbols of symbols.
Jesus, who wrote the material, was not operating on a level of symbols upon symbols, or even a level of symbols. He is operating from a level of total awareness and experience of truth. He is in heaven, and wrote the course material from that perspective.
What you have to realize then is that the words in the book are just expressions from a higher state. They are a sort of translation. So if there is some kind of truth or principle and it's talked about in the book, it may be presented in several different ways, using various words. Because the words aren't the starting point of the truth.
For example Jesus touches on the topic of forgiveness hundreds of times, and many of those statements say practically the same thing. There are even some sentences which are worded almost identically. Yet they appear different in form just because they use different words.
It's important to realize that the words in the book are NOT the highest level of truth, or the origin of that truth. They are expressions OF truth, turned into symbolic form.
For example if Jesus is expert on the topic of forgiveness, he could write literally 1 million books solely on that topic, all using a plethora of words and coming at the same teaching from a variety of angles.
Although he might choose certain words to try to represent the subject matter, that doesn't mean the words chosen are doctrine or some kind of perfect representation. Because you have to remember that they are not only removed from reality, they are part of a strange ego-generated language and is trying to work within their confines so that the people who speak that language will be able to get some measure of coherent meaning from it.
Many of us begin learning the course from the bottom up, starting in the darkness and trying to find our way to the light. We have some pieces of the puzzle but not all, and based on various clues and consistencies we gradually piece together a clearer picture of what it's saying or means. And that can take a long time to sort out what it means without any contradictions or confusion.
Just because the course says something in one passage that doesn't mean that's the whole truth either. Because Jesus may say something in another passage which either clarifies it or seems to contradict it. This is because each set of words are jut one form or expression, and each expression may have nuances or implications or suggestions of meaning which, if taken too out of context or in isolation, may lead to false conclusions.
You can try to think that the words are the meaning, but this isn't always true, and quite often you'll see people quoting isolated passages as if they are the whole story. Since Jesus is coming from a singular whole truth, the course should be considered a kind of holographic projection of that, and that means there is fragmentation and differences and in some cases there may appear to be things which don't seem to add up.
Jesus has gone to great lengths to try to ensure that the course words are as unambiguous and consistent as possible, but the nature of the beast is that words are limiting and sometimes this adds some confusion.
It's important to gradually realize that beyond the words, and prior to the words, there is a state of truth and an entire logical system of metaphysics. For example the idea that the world was made as an opposite to reality. That's a simple metaphysical concept and you could put that into a million words to express it.
As you "see through" the words, read between the lines, and look to the deeper meaning, you're gradually going to find yourself moving beyond the words of the course entirely. Once you SEE the underlying metaphysical basis for what he's saying and why he's saying it, and therefore what his statement MUST mean regardless of their words, then you are really starting to see the "course beyond the course". The higher form of it.
In a way, this means that you have to "forgive the course", you have to overlook its forms and not be deceived by the appearance of its words. Just as much as anything else. It's easy to get hung up on trying to preserve the perfect words or read the earliest edition or whatever but that's all surface fluff. The real meaning behind it is way deeper than any of the words and any of the editions.
This is also why it's important to foster a personal relationship with Jesus and Holy Spirit and to get truth from the horse's mouth rather than getting lost in the book. Logically it makes more sense to speak to the author who is an expert, than to get lot in confusion based solely on some words on a page.
Once you grasp the logical concepts, they transcend the words. And then you can look at the words and you can see where Jesus is expressing FROM and what he's getting at and therefore, logically, what the words must mean. And this can be quite eye opening because then you'll start to compare and contrast the clearly logical meaning of the metaphysics against the English-languge expression or discussion "about" that metaphysics. And this begins to highlight the ways that they can at time be a little different in form. But the higher metaphysics is more accurate than the language-form of it.
One of the problems people have with the course is the sheer mass of words, the holographic scattering of subject matter, the seeming visiting and revisiting of topics, and the difficulty getting through the density of all that language to try to really get a clear view of what's behind it all. And what's behind it is actually very simple and organized and clean. What began as seemingly a huge collection of cryptic statements, few of which were believed or made sense, you end up with a massively stripped down and very simple foundation.
It takes a lot of sifting through the sheer weight of the course material to come to realize just how simple and logical the underlying metaphysics is. It's kind of like a sculpture where you have to continually chisel away at the rough details and the seeming differences until gradually a clear picture forms. And what them emerges is simple and beautiful and clear and well formed.
This is why it's important to learn not to get too hung up on what is written in the book. The form of the words can become a distraction away from the meaning. Some people get really hung up on what it says, taking words and phrases in isolation and thinking that they represent the whole meaning. This is because the ego believes that form IS meaning. The form of the course is not its meaning, however. Its meaning comes from where it CAME FROM, and the form it took in it expression is just a symbolic version of that.
There is a truth beyond words. There are structures and relationships between things that underly their English-language expressions. There is a metaphysics deeper than any page of the text. And as you move closer toward the deeper meaning you also more closer toward experiencing it. This is all part of the purification process. All part of undoing the seemingly elaborate complexities of the ego and replacing them with the sheer simplicity of God's truth.
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