Expressions with Ben Andriessen: Being the Bridge
I am so pleased to welcome Ben Andriessen to the Expressions page. Ben first contacted me nearly four years ago. He told me the story he shares with you (below) of “finding” A Course of Love, and also shared this response to his first reading: “I have not been able to stop reading/studying it ever since. Some of it is rather challenging, almost goading my ego, while other sections are as clear as light and profoundly helpful, revelatory almost. Thank you Jesus!” We have been communicating ever since and have witnessed the depth of our understanding growing as we’ve shared. This witnessing of our changed state is one of the many ways in which we support each other in discovering all of who we are. Ben’s poetic visage of ACOL is an enriching example of a new way of seeing, and one of the many reasons for this page dedicated to the sharing of our unique expressions of A Course of Love. Welcome~
One of my favourite holiday activities is browsing in second-hand bookshops in search of surprises. It was in June 2012 when I found myself visiting the largest second-hand bookstore in Wigtown, Galloway, also known as Scotland’s book town. Prosaically called “The Bookshop,” it boasts having over one mile of shelving, supporting over 65,000 books. I made my way to the “spirituality” section which, disappointingly, was comprised of less than fifty volumes, one of which immediately caught my attention.
“A Course of Love” it said on its spine. What … !?
Having been a teacher/student of A Course in Miracles for 30 years, my instant reaction was: “How dare they!… a new Course?” As I read the Table of Contents and leafed through the book, I got an immediate flavour of the power and authority of the words, very similar to my first encounter with A Course in Miracles, way back in 1983. Puzzled and curious, I bought it, having stayed only 5 minutes in that bookshop.
I wondered how a book, channeled from Jesus, became part of a second-hand bookshop’s inventory. Who would possibly discard it or sell it and why? Ah, the ways of Providence are mysterious indeed: A Course of Love (ACOL) became available in the UK in 2002 and took ten years to find me during a chance visit to a small town in Scotland. What a blessing it turned out to be!
One of the statements that grabbed me was that, with the ego gone, the time for learning was over, meaning I had graduated from ACIM and was now ready for a Post-Graduate Course, ACOL, that required no study or following lessons. Says C32.4: “Think not. This Course requires no thought and no effort.” This becomes possible when mind and heart join in relationship and are experienced as part of the Identity of Divine Self.
One of the remarkable discoveries I made is that many of the sections (or “verses”) can be printed and read as poetry, in “open verse,” to allow the deeper meaning of the words to become apparent. I give you two examples, and encourage anyone to find their own “poems.”
As with the poetry of Rumi and Hafiz, one allows oneself to “enter” the poem to explore, from within, the Spacious Self that we are:
Your being here is not
futile or without purpose.
Your being here is itself
all purpose, all honor, all glory.
There is no being apart from being.
There is no being alive and being dead,
being human or being divine.
There is only being.
is in relationship
Thus your purpose here,
rather than being one of finding meaning,
is coming to know through relationship.
It is in coming to know through relationship
that you come to know
There is, of course, no space here to explore the many concepts presented in this self-contained “poem.” My favorite is one from the third volume of ACOL, Day 39 of The Dialogues, verse 46, called The Bridge. A fellow member of the ACOL Facebook Group, Anne Solveig Elmberg from Sweden, designed the marvelous background to this. Thank you so much, Anne.
A few months ago I was listening to the Commons debate on Syria (2nd Dec ’15), and I was acutely aware of this line: “You will also be the bridge between war and peace.” Will the depth of that statement ever be grasped? I feel that it is not the yes/no of doing that matters, rather the awareness of . . . the bridge between.
May your journey with A Course of Love be blessed.