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Setting Goals 

by Jane Tipping


Personally, I have been "allergic" to setting goals. I'm not sure exactly why other than it feels linear and restrictive. This doesn't mean I lack ambition or the ability to accomplish things, it just means I need something a little more organic that allows  space to move and change. The Course in Miracles believes in setting goals , but the Course’s ideas about goals are quite different and certainly allows for many unknowns and events  seemingly not in our control.  The Course does not recognise the things we create from our egos and are related to living in an illusion. Weight gain or loss? More exercise? Better job? Even changing our behaviour or attitudes towards someone or something, the Course would say "Go ahead, knock yourself out, if you believe it will make you happy.” But a goal as described by the Course, has far less to do with what we want or changing our behaviour and far more to do with leading us to integrity, authenticity, to a full knowing of what we are. From this place of changing our thinking, behaviour effortlessly flows. Furthermore, when we have aligned ourselves with a goal of experiencing Truth, the Course tells us we need not plan – when we live in trust, we simply have to watch, listen and act accordingly.

What is the Truth that you have forgotten about yourself? Perhaps you have forgotten your worthiness, your ability to love unconditionally, your innocence, your true abundance. Whatever it is that resonates with you – articulate what you would like to experience and fasten your seatbelt because the Universe will gear into action to bring it to you.

As a personal example; I was driving along one day thinking to myself “I really would like to be more grateful – I am so concerned with what is wrong or what can go wrong, I don’t take the time to acknowledge what I have and simply say thank you.” An innocent enough thought. The universe heard me and within a month we lost our water supply, our electricity went on the blink, a power line came down and fried all our electronic equipment – need I say more?

Everyday I would go out to the front garden where there was a well. I felt like a throw back to the pioneers. Meanwhile, traffic streamed by to further exaggerate the picture. I had a bucket and a rope and I would lower my bucket, fill it and bring back to the house, just to be able to flush toilets. I was flabbergasted – but I got it – I learned how to be grateful for the little things many of us now take for granted; running water, heat, electricity. Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humour? I was able to experience gratitude and abundance in a very basic form.

If you read the section of the Course entitled "Setting the goal" (Chapter 17 Section VI), you will see that it is about setting an intention and being humble. We need to understand that our plans do not work for many reasons, the biggest one being that we don’t know what anything is for, and we do not know what is in our best interests – we think we do but 9 times out of 10 it is our ego and our desire to be in control that is speaking – not the voice of love or trust.

When we set a goal in terms of the Truth we want to experience, every situation becomes evidence of the Universe in action helping us achieve it. When something happens we don’t like that seems to be the opposite of our goal, rather than ask "Why is this happening to me?" we are told to ask "What this is for”? The ego likes to analyze and find reasons to prove something or someone is wrong. Remember the Course is about unlearning – about discovering the blocks we have placed in front of the awareness of love’s presence and allowing them to be removed, choosing to see love instead.

In asking “What is this for?” we can learn that everything is for our good, everything is taking us to a place of greater love, understanding and forgiveness. When something appears to be an obstacle, we can see that it is instead a stepping stone leading us to the achievement of our stated goal. The Universe is much more creative than we are and much wiser. How many times have you looked back on a certain situation that seemed all wrong at the time and said ”that was perfect – now I get it”. If you look, you will see you are brought to the perfect situations, people and lessons to enable you to relearn the real Truth about you.

My earlier example was a bit extreme and may have you doubting whether this is an exercise in which you really want to engage. I think the demonstrations were extreme because I had been dozing. My thought about gratitude seemed to be a random idle thought and I certainly was not awake to the things I could be grateful for. As I get better at this and more awake to how the Universe seems to work, I realize how many signs there are all around me letting me know that my requests to experience the Truth about me are heard. Right now, I am working on remembering my innocence. The lessons are certainly abounding and they are gentle.

So – relax, develop a sense of humour, if you can, and trust that your prayers have been answered.


Jane Tipping


Dedicated to the practical application of A Course in Miracles