Announcing a brand new edition of A Course in Miracles
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Complete Courtesy:
A Very Healing Habit to Acquire
by Greg Mackie
One of the things I like about our new Complete and Annotated Edition of A Course in Miracles (“CE” for short) is that we’ve included nuggets of everyday-life guidance from Jesus that were originally for Helen and Bill but are clearly useful for everyone. One example that has become a real touchstone for my life is this sentence from Chapter 3 of the CE Text:
“You should know that all God’s children are fully worthy of complete courtesy. There are ways of treating others in which only consistent courtesy, even in very little things, is offered. It is a very healing habit to acquire.” (T-3.VIII.6:2-4)
The original context of these lines—which we describe in one of the cameo essays in the CE, Cameo 14—is a couple of very ordinary incidents in the lives of Helen and Bill. In one, Jesus told Helen that she shouldn’t have laughed at a colleague behind her back because “all God’s children are fully worthy of complete courtesy.” In the other, Jesus told Helen that she shouldn’t have told another person that she was inviting Bill to a lunch date the other person was attending, presumably so Bill wouldn’t have felt pressured to go. This is an example of the “consistent courtesy, even in very little things” that Jesus was encouraging Helen to offer.
This material on courtesy jumps out at me for a couple of reasons. First, it is so behavioral. Many Course students tend to think that the Course isn’t interested in behavior, but in the early dictation Jesus was full of behavioral advice for Helen and Bill. Indeed, at one point, Jesus even says that “This course is a guide to behavior” (T-9.V.12:1). True, changing our minds is paramount for the Course, but our change of mind is meant to be expressed to others through changed behavior—the “expressions of love” (T-1.3:1) that the Course calls miracles.
Second, it deeply moves me on an emotional level, so much that I’ve been trying to put it into practice. I’ve been striving to express love in the form of genuine courtesy in all the “little things,” and while this is still a work in progress, it has made a real difference in my relationships with others. In the mean-spirited atmosphere that has been so prevalent in the wake of the recent US election, I think we would all do well to cultivate this habit. It could be just the healing habit we need.
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