In October, 1983, I was in a depressed state of mind and could find no external cause for this down feeling of despair and sense of hopelessness. I had no financial worries or physical health problems. My relationships were fine and so was my marriage. I could not figure out why I felt sad and unhappy. I had been a Truth student on the path searching for spiritual understanding since 1942 when I started attending lectures to find the understanding of life and its deeper meaning.
My search for Truth went on to yoga and I became a vegetarian for 14 years. I studied the occult and spiritualism and just about all of the New Age religions and metaphysical thought-systems, including Unity.
Then in 1969 I was introduced to the Infinite Way—the writings and teaching of Joel S. Goldsmith. I studied Joel's teachings very seriously with great interest and dedication for 15 years. I conducted a study group and taught classes for over 5 years and felt I had found the spiritual principles that would lead me into spiritual illumination and freedom.
Then one day in October, 1983, while in this depression and feeling stuck in my spiritual growth, I was walking in the woods with a good friend, Harry Dives. Harry was also a student and teacher of the Infinite Way. Walking in the woods and discussing spiritual principles and ideas, then stopping to meditate, were regular activities for both of us over a period of 15 years.
This particular day we stopped and sat under two evergreen trees and went into silent meditation as was our usual habit. After about 10 minutes an inner voice spoke to me and said, "You will be shown another path to illumination. However, be careful you do not pass it by and make the same mistake the Jews made 2,000 years ago."
About 10 or 15 minutes later when we both came out of meditation, I said to Harry, "I want to share with you what was told to me in the Silence." So I repeated exactly what I was told by the Voice. He was very interested and we discussed it further. I remember saying, "How could there be another way to spiritual awakening that could be better than the path we are now on?" So it was a puzzle, like a dream without a clear-cut meaning or purpose.
The depression I was experiencing continued. In December, 1983, my wife, Susan, and I decided to go to Hawaii for Christmas to visit some Infinite Way friends and attend an Infinite Way class which was taking place in Honolulu in late January, 1984. At the class I met a fellow classmate who was working at Unity Center in Honolulu. When she found out I was Canadian and also studied Unity for 10 years, she asked me if I might know the Unity Minister, David McClure, as he was also Canadian. I replied that I knew him quite well while he was the minister in Vancouver. Also we both were living at Unity Village in 1965-66. She then suggested that I should drop over to the church for a visit.
The following day I went to the church. I told the receptionist that I was a friend of the minister's from Vancouver, B.C. and would like to have a visit with him. She replied that he was about to teach a class in a few minutes. I asked about the subject matter of the class and was told it was on A Course in Miracles. I asked if I could sit in on the class and she said that would be fine, and that I could visit with David afterwards.
It was January 27, 1984, and the class was my first real contact with A Course in Miracles. I had heard about the Course from two or three people who were reading it, but I took no interest in looking further. However, while listening to David and studying the visual aid charts for about an hour, I had a tremendous experience of light, love and joy that lifted me immediately into a happy and joyful state of being. The heaviness of my depression was lifted completely and this newfound joy and enthusiasm stayed with me for months to come. I purchased the Course and some related books and started to study immediately.
When I returned to Kailua, where Susan and I were staying, I related the experience to Susan with great excitement. I drew one of the visual aid charts for her and explained it in detail. She was impressed and encouraged me to go further into the study of A Course in Miracles.
On February 1, 1984, Susan and I returned to our home in the greater Vancouver, B.C. area. As soon as possible I visited my good friend, Harry Dives, at his home on Bowen Island. I proceeded to tell him about my experience in Hawaii and the meeting with David McClure, whom Harry also knew from David's ministry in Vancouver. I then drew for Harry the visual aid chart and explained it. He was very impressed. He acquired the books immediately and started studying the material with great vigor and enthusiasm. When we got together one week later, he exclaimed with excitement, "Robert, have you realized that this Course is exactly what the Voice told you about last October, while we were meditating in the woods together?" I realized instantly that, of course, this was what the Voice was telling me. This was the new way I was to follow. I remained peaceful and joyous and continued to read and study.
The Events that Followed
In June, 1984, Susan and I sold our health food store, something we had been trying to do for two years. In November, 1984, we returned to Honolulu, Hawaii to attend a four-day Course in Miracles Festival sponsored by the Unity Church and David McClure. There were 16 presenters, including all of the original people who were involved in bringing the Course into being and getting it published. The only exception was Helen Schucman who had already passed on. There were also over 400 students from different parts of the world. Needless to say, it was a great experience for all who attended. My wife, Susan, was so impressed, she decided to make a serious study of the Course. While I had been reading the Text and the Manual for Teachers during 1984-85, on January 1, 1986, Susan and I started doing the daily Workbook lessons together and completed the Workbook by the year's end.
All the while we continued conducting our Infinite Way Study Center, conducting two classes a week based on the writings and teachings of Joel S. Goldsmith. In March, 1986, we changed our class work to reading and sharing A Course in Miracles. In February, 1987, we registered the East-West Foundation for A Course in Miracles, and have conducted weekly meditations and classes at the Center up to the present time.
In 1985, my friend, Harry Dives, was invited to teach a weekly class on the Course at the Unity Church in Vancouver, which was well attended. He also started and conducted a study group in West Vancouver. Both groups are still meeting and holding weekly classes to this present time.