Who Wrote A Course in Miracles? Part II

This is the second part of an article exploring the authorship of the Course. In the first part I said that this issue is relevant because it profoundly affects how we see three issues: the authority of the Course, our ability to contact Jesus through the Course, and how actively and specifically spirit can help us in this world. Who Wrote A Course in Miracles? Part I

I also established that the goal of this article is not to decide who actually authored the Course, but merely to ascertain what the Course itself claims on this question. In other words, where do the words that Helen heard claim they came from? Once we solve this question, we can decide whether or not we personally believe that claim. To find out what the words that Helen heard claim about their origin, I am turning to the words of the Course itself, as well as to the personal guidance that Helen received for herself and Bill, which is recorded in Kenneth Wapnick’s Absence from Felicity.

In Part I, I dealt with the role of Jesus. I settled on five conclusions which will be reviewed near the end of this article. Now, in Part II, I will turn to seven conclusions about the roles of Helen and Bill. At the end I will put all twelve conclusions together into a total picture and discuss the implications of that picture.

The role of Helen

Now we will turn to Helen. What was her role? What part did she contribute? Whereas the role of Jesus is clearly communicated in the words of the Course itself, this is not so with Helen’s role. To ascertain her role, we will have turn outside the Course to personal guidance that is recorded in Absence from Felicity.

6. A scribe

As we saw in Part I, the Course’s author called Helen (as well as Bill—we will return to him later) his “scribe.” As we also saw, this word refers to someone who is copying down words. It comes from the Middle English word, scribere, which means “to write.” Even the more exalted sense of the word employed by Jesus, “one of a group of Palestinian scholars and teachers of Jewish law and tradition” (Webster’s Dictionary), includes this idea of copying words, since this group “transcribed…the Bible.”

Just by using this word to describe her, then, Jesus is implying that Helen is copying down his words. This is certainly consistent with all that we have seen above. This will be our sixth point:

6. Jesus said that Helen was his “scribe,” which implied that she was copying down his words.

7. Scribal errors

In the early months of the Course’s dictation Jesus frequently corrected what Helen had written down, saying that she had not heard him correctly. I think this is one of the most fascinating things about the personal guidance recorded in Absence from Felicity. I have read volumes of channeled material and I have never seen anything like this. It has done a great deal to reinforce my confidence in the integrity and accuracy of this material.

My favorite instance of this is with what would become miracle principle #20. It is recorded on pages 227-228 in Absence from Felicity. It is difficult to follow and so in my discussion of it here I have taken my best shot at making sense of it. Here is what Helen initially heard:

Miracles are cobwebs of iron. They unite human frailty [symbolized by cobwebs] with the strength of God [symbolized by iron].

Later, Jesus corrects this, saying that the part about human frailty and the strength of God is all right, but that the part about cobwebs of iron is upside down. He says that “cobwebs are associated with frailty and iron with strength” (emphasis mine). Yet in truth it is reversed. The iron stands for the body, crude and heavy, while the cobwebs stand for spirit, airy yet “really stronger than the iron” (a thread of spider web, I believe, is actually stronger than the same thickness of iron).

He goes on to explain that the cobwebs also stand for “how the body should be regarded, i.e., as an airy and very temporary home, which can just be blown away with a slight breeze.” The cobwebs now symbolize the body’s fragile and temporary nature in the face of the breeze—presumably a symbol for spirit. Having explained all this, he gives the proper wording for miracle principle #20:

The point should read “A miracle reawakens the awareness that the spirit, not the body, is the altar of Truth. This is the recognition that leads to the healing power of the miracle.”

Isn’t this fascinating? Jesus is implying that this latter wording is what he originally said, and that Helen distorted it into something else entirely. He was talking about spirit and altars, and she heard cobwebs and iron. He then explains why. As best as I can make out, he suggests that both Helen and Bill feel like fragile physical cobwebs in danger of being uprooted by their attraction to the “breeze” of spirit. He then says, “This fear is why you couldn’t get the point straight, too.”

In other words, Helen had a fear that her bodily identity was being threatened by the intense pull of spirit. This led her mind to distort Jesus’ point. His point was that the body is illusion and that the spirit is the truth. Her distortion of that point confused the body with the spirit. By associating iron with the spirit she subtly elevated the body—which, like iron, is heavy, crude and ultimately weak—to the level of strength and truth. This apparently came from her unconscious desire to protect her body from strength and truth.

Another fascinating example is when Helen heard Jesus using incorrect grammar (p. 256). She heard, “Neither you nor Bill have thought about it very much…” Can you spot the mistake (I wouldn’t have)? The proper grammar would have been, “Neither you nor Bill has….” Helen notices this and writes, “This real grammatical error makes me suspicious of the genuineness of these notes.”

Notice that she is assuming that the specific words are coming from Jesus, and since it is Jesus Christ, she expects him to use flawless grammar. If he does not, then it cannot be Jesus. Note also that this is an issue purely of form. Whether it is “have” or “has” does not affect the content at all. It is solely about Jesus using the proper grammatical forms. Jesus’ response says a world about the actual process of the scribing:

What it really shows is that you are not very receptive. The reason it came out that way, is because you are projecting…your own anger, which has nothing to do with these notes. You made the error, because you are not feeling loving, so you want me to sound silly, so you won’t have to pay attention. Actually, I am trying to get through against considerable opposition, because you are not very happy, and I wish you were. I thought I’d take a chance, even though you are so resistant, because I might be able to make you feel better. You may be unable not to attack at all, but do try to listen a little, too….

His explanation is that she inserted the incorrect grammar, because she wants thereby to discredit the notes. His remark, “I thought I’d take a chance” is very revealing. He knows she is resistant and might distort his words, but he is not sure if she will choose to do so. He is not sure what her mind will choose to do with his words. So he takes a chance.

Note also that Jesus does not contest Helen’s basic assumption at all. By saying that he used proper grammar, that she inserted the bad grammar, and that she did so to throw suspicion on the source of the notes, he implies that he buys her whole theory. He implies that the words are coming from him, that since he is Jesus they are coming in proper grammar, and that if they were not in proper grammar their source would be up for question.

Jesus’ implication here is that Helen’s mind is able to insert words that he did not say. She can replace his words with hers. This same idea is supported by other examples. For instance, Helen was once told that of the two parts of a message she received, “The second part was put in by you, because you didn’t like the first” (p. 237).

There is a saving grace here, however. Jesus is apparently aware of Helen inserting her words in place of his. And later, when she is more receptive, he can go back and give her the proper words, the ones he actually said. He states all this clearly in the following paragraph:

As long as you take accurate notes, every word is meaningful. But I can’t always get through. Whenever possible, I will correct retroactively. Be sure to note all later corrections. This means that you are more receptive than you were when I tried before (p. 234).

Another time he said that, “Contradictions in My words mean lack of understanding, or scribal failures, which I make every effort to correct” (p. 231). Note that both this statement and the preceding one imply the same three things:

* The words come from him.
* Helen’s lack of receptivity (or understanding) can distort those words.
* He will try to correct them later.

To me, the above examples suggest an entire process behind the scribing of the Course, which I will attempt to summarize. The following process is not explicitly described in anything Helen heard, but it is the only explanation I know of that fits what was explicitly described.

Jesus formulated both the content and the form, the specific ideas and the particular words. Having done so, he then had to introduce the result, which we could call “word/idea packets,” into Helen’s mind. This must have occurred at some level below consciousness, because she did not always consciously hear the actual words and ideas he gave her. Apparently, in these deeper regions of Helen’s mind, she had to accept the entire packet; she had to join with the words and ideas. If she did not, for one reason or another, the packet would be altered, replacing his words with hers and distorting his content. As a result, what she would consciously hear and write down would be a scribal error. However, Jesus would be aware of this scribal error, and when she was open to hearing better, he would correct it, replacing her words with his. Let’s make this our seventh conclusion:

7. Jesus would introduce “word/idea packets” into Helen’s mind. If her unconscious mind was unable to join with these, she would consciously hear a distorted version, in which her words had replaced his, distorting his content. He, however, would be aware of these scribal errors and try to correct them later, when she was more receptive.

8. The level of thought

There is a very important message that Helen received during the scribing of the fifth chapter of the Text:

You will note that a lot of terms are used in the beginning that are later clarified. This is because the beginning was written by a Scribe whose ego was in strong dominance, and whose Soul [spirit] was dissociated most of the time. You may not realize what a strong testimony to truth these notes are without remembering that.

The sharp ascent upward in thought which the development of the notes shows, and it is astonishing in human terms how steadily they evolve toward unity, is due to only one sign of assent. I asked her to take notes, and she did (p. 294).

Our previous point was about Helen actually distorting the words and ideas Jesus gave her. This message adds another dimension onto how she affected the material coming through. It says that in addition to distorting it, she could allow through varying quality or levels of thought. As she became more willing, the level of thought in the Course took a sharp ascent upwards; its various ideas steadily evolved toward unity. This will become our eighth conclusion:

8. Helen’s willingness not only affected the accuracy of the words she heard, it also affected the quality or level of thought that was able to come through her.

9. Where did the forms of the Course come from?

I have focused a great deal on the question of where the specific words of the Course came from. Let us broaden that question to other forms of the Course. It has often been noted that many of the Course’s forms seem to be traceable to Helen’s own interests, background and abilities. The Course is in English, her native tongue. It uses Christian symbology; Helen had an abiding connection with Catholicism. It is deeply psychological; she was a psychologist. It comes in a curricular format; she was an educator. It uses copious logic; she loved logic. Much of it is in Shakespearean blank verse; she not only loved Shakespeare but had aspirations of being a great poet.

These facts are often cited to show that something in Helen’s mind must have placed these forms onto the Course. Some kind of formless content must have flowed into her mind, which she must have unconsciously shaped using the forms she knew well. How else can we explain the Course’s forms looking so much like hers? Certainly Jesus does not normally go around speaking in iambic pentameter. What are the odds that he would be in the habit of using so many forms that just happened to be favorites of this particular person?

However, there is another explanation for the exact same set of facts. What if Jesus consciously chose to use forms that Helen could relate to, forms that would be familiar to her, meaningful to her, and that would help his message sink into her? This also makes sense. So here we have two hypotheses to explain the same set of facts. The first says that Helen’s mind somehow put her familiar forms onto the Course’s content. The second says that Jesus intentionally put the Course’s content into forms familiar to Helen. Both hypotheses have just as much ability to explain the same set of facts. However, the second hypothesis has one crucial advantage: It is the one that Jesus himself uses.

You could not have a better example of the Holy Spirit’s unified purpose than this course. The Holy Spirit has taken very diversified areas of your past learning, and has applied them to a unified curriculum (p. 482).

In this quote the Holy Spirit is clearly the active party. He “has taken,” He “has applied.” This quote, in fact, expresses our second hypothesis precisely: To produce the Course the Holy Spirit (Who in this sense would be synonymous with Jesus) intentionally shaped His content into forms that were familiar to Helen. This brings to mind another advantage in this hypothesis: It is a specific application of a major principle in the Course. This principle is that the Holy Spirit takes what we have made for ego and uses it for our awakening.

Even Ken Wapnick, who believes that Helen supplied the form of the Course, admits that Helen’s experience was different: “Helen’s experience, as we have seen, was that Jesus used her particular talents and abilities” (p. 482, italics mine). Yet this was not only Helen’s experience, it was what the words she heard claimed. And it was a specific application of the overall thought system she heard. This, then, will be our ninth conclusion:

9. In order to reach her, Jesus intentionally shaped his content into a “language” familiar to Helen. That explains why the Course uses so many of Helen’s forms (English language, Christian symbology, psychodynamics, curricular format, and Shakespearean blank verse).

The role of Bill

This concludes my exploration of Helen’s role as scribe. My last points will explore a truly significant aspect of the Course’s scribing, yet one which has, to my knowledge, been completely ignored. This is Bill Thetford’s role. He, too, was a scribe. Jesus called him that, as we saw in Part I in his “just scribes” remarks (conclusion #5). But how was he a scribe?

In the common view, Bill was a scribe because it was his joining with Helen that gave birth to the Course, it was their joining that the Course specifically came to shepherd and heal, and it was their physical collaboration that brought the Course into written form—she took shorthand notes and he typed them up. In this typing he even fulfilled a literal scribal role, albeit of a secondary sort.

However, Jesus’ actual statements to Helen portray Bill as a more intimate part of the actual transmission of Jesus’ words through Helen.

10. Bill’s special language

I need to qualify the last conclusion. There I said that Jesus chose the Course’s forms, including its language, because of what Helen was familiar with. Actually, that is only one of the reasons that he gives. Jesus talks openly about the language he uses, using the phrase “special language” to describe the particular vocabulary and phraseology he chose for the Course. And what he says is that he shaped the Course’s special language to reflect Bill’s language as well as Helen’s:

Note also that the special language here is a combination of both yours [Helen’s] and his [Bill’s]. You two came together in My name (p. 228-229).

Later, Jesus speaks about Bill unconsciously pretending to not understand the notes Helen was receiving:

Bill acts as if he does not understand even his own special language, let alone Mine… (p. 258).

Notice here that the Course’s special language is also Jesus’ special language (“Mine”). Apparently, the language that Jesus used was a three-way melding of Helen’s, Bill’s and his own (whatever that means).

Finally, Jesus at one point gives Helen and Bill a kind of riddle (p. 225-226). He says, “Miracles rest on flat feet. They have no arches.” He then adds, “Bill will be better with this than you.” And, just as he suspected, Helen did not have a clue as to what it meant and even suspected that communication had broken down. Then Jesus said,

Clue—it has something to do with “here I am, Lord.” Bill knows [this is a prayer that Jesus had given Bill]. The idea is that I don’t want to emphasize your special language too much.

The riddle here is consciously designed to reflect Bill’s special language. Helen doesn’t get it at all, and this is appropriate in a way, because Jesus has formed this riddle so as not to emphasize Helen’s special language too much. Jesus apparently wants to maintain some kind of balance between Helen’s special language and Bill’s. Let’s draw our tenth conclusion, then:

10. Jesus also shaped the Course’s special language to reflect Bill’s language.

11. Bill limiting the quality of the material

Just as Helen’s lack of willingness could limit the quality of the material that came through, so apparently could Bill’s. At one point, Jesus says through Helen that Bill would not have made a particular error

…had he not been already literally “off the beam.” Be sure to tell him that this pun is to reassure him that I am not angry. If he does not get it, or does not like it, I know it is not very good. The reason is that he put Me in a position where I can really give him very little at the moment (p. 263).

Whatever this pun actually means (and I sure don’t get it), the point is that Jesus is admitting that the quality of the material Helen was hearing here was limited by Bill’s willingness. In essence, Bill was limiting what Helen could hear. Now this may be very specific to this case. After all, this material was personally addressed to Bill. Yet remember, the entire Course was personally addressed to both Helen and Bill. Here, then, is our eleventh conclusion:

11. Bill’s willingness, like Helen’s, was also able to affect the quality of the material coming through Helen, at least at times.

12. Bill’s scribal error

I can find one place in which Helen apparently heard a scribal error because of Bill. Jesus is telling Helen and Bill (p. 265) that they wasted a lot of time that day and that he would have liked to use the time to correct some past notes. He then says, “A major point of clarification is necessary in connection with the phrase ‘replacing hatred (or fear) with love.'” The notes then leave off and pick up later, with Jesus again speaking:

…Bill later suggested that “correct” or “correct for” should be used instead of “replace.” At the time, he was quite sure about this, and he was perfectly right. The reason why it was essential that he make this correction was that the word “replace” was his choice originally, and reflected a temporary misunderstanding of his own (p. 265).

I find this incident amazing—so much so that I have doubted if it really means what it seems to. For instance, Jesus does tell Helen not to “check this against the prayer that Bill very kindly typed for you on the card” (I understand that Bill was given to copying portions of Helen’s dictation onto note cards). Maybe, then, the error was not in Helen’s notes, but in Bill’s typing. Yet Jesus specifically said that this error was in “the past notes”—meaning, in Helen’s dictation of the Course. And anyway, why would Jesus be interested in correcting a prayer that Bill had typed up for Helen? The most likely explanation is that Bill had typed onto the card the very portion of Helen’s dictation in which the error occurred.

I have also wondered if the error might not have been in the typed version of the Course. It might have been a typographical error in which Bill incorrectly typed out the notes Helen read to him. Yet in that case Helen and Bill could have simply checked the typed version against Helen’s shorthand notes. As it happened, Jesus promised a clarification, Bill came up with an inspired solution, and Jesus confirmed Bill’s solution. None of that would have needed to happen if the error was purely typographical and they could have just consulted Helen’s notes.

I conclude that the most likely explanation for this is just how it sounds: Bill’s unconscious mind was somehow involved in Helen’s scribing process. Note that Jesus says the word “replace” was Bill’s “choice,” which reflected a “temporary misunderstanding of his.” This implies that something in Bill’s mind could choose the wrong words, and that Helen would then hear Bill’s words instead of Jesus’. His choices, his misunderstandings, could throw off the words she heard. Just as her mind could distort what she heard, so his mind could also distort what she heard.

This point should not be too shocking, for it is closely related to our last conclusion. There we decided that Bill’s mind could limit what Helen heard. Here we see that his mind could distort what she heard. These two ideas seem to go together, just as they did in Helen’s case (see points 7 and 8). Yet think what this implies. If Bill’s mind could both limit and distort what Helen heard, then his mind must have been involved somehow in Helen’s receiving process. While her mind was receiving words from Jesus, Bill’s mind was in there too, joined with hers. Together, her mind and his either faithfully passed on Jesus’ words, or, like curved glass, bent and twisted them—all before those words reached Helen’s conscious mind.

We can now formulate our final conclusion, which is a bit more tentative than the other ones, but still seems fairly solid to me:

12. Apparently Bill’s unconscious mind, like Helen’s, could also distort Jesus’ words, causing Helen to hear Bill’s words instead of Jesus’. Thus (to summarize the last two points about Bill), Bill’s mind was to some degree present inside Helen’s mind as she received dictation, and was at times able to influence that dictation.

Now we can draw all of these points together into a single summary statement.

Where the words that Helen heard say they came from

The role of Jesus

(1) The words Helen heard in some sense come from the individual known as Jesus of Nazareth. (2) Jesus, though awakened, has remained with us in a personal way and thus is able to do things within time and space, such as author a book. (3) He has remained with us as some kind of distinct identity, who is one with all other (physical and non-physical) saviors, yet is still in some way distinct from them and is their leader. (4) He carefully chose the specific English words of the Course, which is reflected in the acute awareness of words that he displays in the Course. (5) In the case of the puns he makes, the specific content expressed depends on the multiple meanings of particular English words, suggesting that he formulated both the content and the words together.

The role of Helen

(6) Helen was his “scribe,” which implied that she was copying down his words. (7) He would introduce “word/idea packets” into Helen’s mind. If her unconscious mind was unable to join with these, she would consciously hear a distorted version, in which her words had replaced his, distorting his content. He, however, would be aware of these scribal errors and try to correct them later, when she was more receptive. (8) Helen’s willingness not only affected the accuracy of the words she heard, it also affected the quality or level of thought that was able to come through her. (9) In order to reach her, Jesus intentionally shaped his content into a “language” familiar to Helen. That explains why the Course uses so many of Helen’s forms (English language, Christian symbology, psychodynamics, curricular format, and Shakespearean blank verse).

The role of Bill

(10) Jesus also shaped the Course’s special language to reflect Bill’s language. (11) Bill’s willingness, like Helen’s, was able to affect the quality of the material coming through Helen, at least at times. (12) Apparently Bill’s unconscious mind, like Helen’s, could also distort Jesus’ words, causing Helen to hear Bill’s words instead of Jesus’. Thus, Bill’s mind was to some degree present inside Helen’s mind as she received dictation, and was at times able to influence that dictation.

This, of course, is a fairly traditional view of the genesis of the Course: Jesus dictated words through Helen. Jesus is the author in the fullest sense. He formulated both the Course’s ideas and its specific words. I would argue, however, that this is not a simplistic or naive view. A simplistic view would be that Jesus is simply speaking words into Helen’s conscious mind. Yet in the view I have described there is a vast middle ground in between his words and her conscious hearing of them, a middle ground in Helen’s unconscious through which these words must worm their way. In this middle territory is a variety of subtle winds and climates that can affect the depth and accuracy of what she consciously heard. These include her fear and anger, her desire to discredit Jesus, the depth of her willingness, even Bill’s resistance and misunderstanding. Notice that these factors relate primarily to her (and Bill’s) resistance to the content that is communicated, not merely to the words.

So, rather than merely having Jesus speak words into her conscious mind, this view sees words and content travelling first through her unconscious mind, where she had to actually join with the words and the content behind them. Only if this happened did those words make it into her conscious mind whole and intact.

Perhaps I am naive, but I honestly don’t think that the words Helen heard can easily give an impression too different from what I have described. What those words claim is relatively straightforward. The question is: Is what they communicate true? Once we grant that these words claim they were written specifically by Jesus, we still must decide if we believe that claim.

Many people, of course, will decide that they do not believe it, that what those words say could not possibly be true. And they may be right—it may not be possible for the real Jesus of Nazareth to author a book through a human “scribe.”

However, I want to state one caution about this. Many Course students will decide that this view cannot be true, even though they believe the Course is true—in fact, because they believe the Course is true. They will decide that this view of authorship is impossible because it does not fit the Course’s overall thought system. For, they maintain, Jesus simply cannot come down that far. For one reason or another he cannot conceive a thought system, design a book to teach it, formulate the specific English words of that book, telepathically transmit those words into the mind of a living human, and then monitor and correct how accurately she writes them down. He just cannot act in the world like that. Therefore, whether the Course claims this happened or not, it simply cannot be. It contradicts the Course’s overall teaching. And therefore, in those places I have quoted, the Course must not be really saying what it seems to be saying. Those passages can’t really mean what they appear to mean.

In my opinion, such a view is skating on extremely thin ice. Let me share my reasons for saying this. The view that I have described here represents a large and highly consistent web of thought, one that runs throughout the Course, and throughout the personal material to Helen and Bill. Furthermore, it hooks into larger webs of thought in the Course: into the Course’s overall view of Jesus, of the Holy Spirit, of God’s relationship to the separation, of our role in our salvation, of our special function, of the holy relationship—the list could go on. Ultimately, this view of authorship is an inextricable part of the entire web of the Course’s thought system. Further, I know of nothing that Helen heard that presents any sort of different view whatsoever. Nowhere, for instance, does what Helen heard describe how her mind shaped Jesus’ abstract love into specific forms.

If we are to rule out such a consistent web of thought, then our reasons for doing so must be incredibly strong. If we are ruling it out because we know that Jesus cannot act in the world in this way, then as Course students we had better be completely certain that the Course does in fact teach this. We must find this view to be extremely well-attested in the Course, and to be absolutely central to its entire system. Is this the case? Strangely, it is nowhere near the case. The view that Jesus cannot act in the world does not have a single line of support in the Course that I can find (and I have been looking for ten years). The same is true with the view that the Holy Spirit cannot act in the world. So far as I can tell, the only support for these ideas is a logical inference, which goes something like this: If form is an illusion, then Jesus and the Holy Spirit do not take on form, do not express themselves through form and do not act in a world of form. This inference sounds plausible, yet it is one that we must make on our own authority. The Course provides no direct support for it.

This brings up the following questions, which I will leave in your hands: In the absence of any direct support from the Course, is this inference so strong, so sure, that we are willing to use it to rule out entire webs of consistent thought that are openly stated in the Course? Is that how we really want to approach the Course? Are we that sure of our own logic? And, at that point, is it not more honest to simply admit that we disagree with many of the statements in the Course?

Implications

By now you can tell what my opinion is. I believe the view that I have distilled in this article. I buy every word of it. The human mind has a hard time thinking that spiritual realities are real and immediate. Our tendency is to either dismiss them entirely, or better, to make a compromise in which we maintain that they are real but very far away. Perhaps the hardest thing of all is to believe that they are not only real, but up close and personal. And since my mind has this same tendency, it is difficult for me to fully accept that Jesus of Nazareth dictated the Course, word for word. And yet the Course is my authority, and it tells me that this is in fact what happened. So I believe it. Now if I can only believe the rest of what it says; for instance, that my brother is sinless.

So what does this mean? In the beginning of this article I sketched three points of relevance for the question of authorship:

* The authority of the Course
* Our ability to contact Jesus through the Course
* How actively and specifically can spirit help us in this world?

So what are the implications of these three points for someone who accepts that Jesus did in fact dictate the Course? Being such a person, I will use myself as an example.

Since I believe that Jesus did consciously and intentionally write A Course in Miracles, word for word, for me it carries every bit the authority that he does. It carries as much authority as his words from 2,000 years ago, except that the Course’s words are contemporary, and we know what they are. Who knows if we will ever accurately identify what he said back then? And the Course carries more authority than anything Jesus might say to me personally, because I think Helen’s scribal abilities were light years ahead of mine. The risk that his message has been contaminated is far greater in my case than in Helen’s.

Further, he does speak to me personally in the Course. He teaches me, persuades me, counsels me, challenges me, encourages me, promises me, and implores me. He does so in words like I have encountered nowhere else, words that are enveloped by clouds of meaning and power, words that carry with them the fragrant cloud of his presence and that reach right into me. Through the Course I have come to know him. Through it I experience him relating to me.

And therefore I believe that spirit can step itself down to my level. I don’t have to hike myself up to its level and then translate its formless, unconcerned light into useable forms. In other words, I have not been left alone here. And as a concrete example of this, Jesus is quite literally with me all the time. Whether I can see him or hear him, he is still there, seeing everything I see, knowing all I think and feel, helping me quite actively and specifically, constantly shining on me his vision of me as a sinless Son of God, always offering me his friendship.

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