Tom Carpenter’s extraordinary work “Dialogue on Awakening” provides the greatest insight I know of into Jesus’ own awakening journey. In this book he recounts an extensive dialogue between himself and Jesus, the awakened Christ. The New Testament give us some idea as to the events of Jesus’ short life and his teachings, but little insight into his inner-journey and nothing about his personal practice. There are several references throughout The Gospels to Jesus taking himself off to pray, but certainly no mention is ever made of meditation.
In Appendix 1 at the end of the book, (tantalisingly called “Where Jesus found God”), Tom explains:
“Always curious as to how Jesus’ awakening had unfolded here on earth, I asked how this had occurred. The answer was very interesting.”
Jesus, it seems, was baffled by a single question: If God created the world, which was the accepted belief, and if He was all loving, why could he find no evidence of that in the world? And so he began to meditate, at his favourite place “beside a small stream in the nearby hills”.
In Tom’s words “It was as he focused on these issues which his perception could not fathom that he first broke through the boundary of that perception and became aware of a Presence within his mind; a source of knowing unrelated to anything he had experienced before. He “heard” an inner Voice say to him that his perception of a loving God was correct, but he was looking for Him in the wrong places“.
So this is how Jesus learned how to become a Christ. Through the practice of meditation. He learned to become so silent (beside a small stream in the nearby hills), that the whole turmoil of his mind disappeared and he tuned into the still, small voice of God within him. Jesus learned to be a listener, a receiver, to allow his own thinking mind to disappear so completely that something totally different could arise. The Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount were not thought up by Jesus, they were received by him in the stillness of his own silence. He was merely the vehicle.
Meditation is rarely mentioned in the Course by name, but this is what it is really about. Learning to identify the voice in your head as ego, and learning to still that voice, and enter into silence, so that another voice will arise. The Workbook guides us, step by step, through gentle mind training exercises which help us to identify the ego, and then gradually meditation instructions are introduced. The purpose of ACIM is to get us to a place where we can actually hear the voice of Holy Spirit, to tune in to His personal guidance. The epilogue of the Workbook makes it very clear that this is its purpose.
“No more specific lessons are assigned, for there is no more need of them. Henceforth, hear but the Voice for God and for your Self when you retire from the world, to seek reality instead. He will direct your efforts, telling you exactly what to do, how to direct your mind, and when to come to Him in silence, asking for His sure direction and His certain Word. His is the Word that God has given you. His is the Word you chose to be your own”.