The Celestial Speedup

Question: Does Jesus say anywhere in the Course why he came at this time? Does he say why Helen and why 1965? Does this have anything to do with the "celestial speedup," and have you written any commentary on that?

Answer: At the time that the Course began coming through, Helen was given a mental explanation of why the Course was coming through her at that time. Here is what she wrote down, as recorded in Ken Wapnick's Absence from Felicity:

According to this "information," the world situation was worsening at an alarming pace. People all over the world were being called back to help, and were developing what to them were highly unexpected talents, each making his individual contribution to an overall, prearranged plan. I had apparently agreed to take down a course in miracles which the Voice would dictate to me as part of the agreement, and my doing it was actually my reason for coming. It did not really involve unexpected abilities, since I would be using abilities I had developed very long ago, but which I was not yet ready to use again. And that was why I would have so much trouble doing it. However, people had reached a point where they were losing more than they were gaining. Thus, because of the acute emergency, the usual slow, evolutionary process of spiritual development was being by-passed in what might be called a "celestial speed-up." (Absence from Felicity, p. 200)

I have heard this "speedup" idea dismissed as something that cannot be literally true. After all, if time is not real, how can we even speak of a celestial acknowledgment of time, let alone a celestial speedup? This dismissal, however, ignores two vital facts. One is that the Course says that, even though time is unreal, God's plan does work in time: "It is apart from time in that its Source is timeless. Yet it operates in time, because of your belief that time is real" ( W-pI.99.5:2-3; see also T-1.I.25:2 and T-26.VII.4:3). The Course's teaching, in other words, gives us no grounds on which to dismiss the literalness of the celestial speedup. The other fact is that Jesus mentioned the speedup repeatedly in the early dictation to Helen. He discussed it in five passages, which extended all the way into Chapter 4. Three of these are still in the Course, even though the word "speedup" was removed in the final editing (after surviving two previous editing processes).

These additional passages help us flesh out this notion of the celestial speedup. If we combine them with the information Helen originally received, we get something like the following (all references below are either from Helen's original comments about the celestial speedup or from the five Urtext discussions of it):

The world situation is worsening dramatically. People are actually going backward in their development. To reverse the alarming slide, the celestial helping forces (for want of a better term) have gone into high gear; they have speeded up their efforts. This may call to mind images of people hearing more heavenly voices or having more angelic encounters, but these manifestations are not mentioned. The only manifestation that is mentioned (and mentioned repeatedly) is certain people being "called back to help." These people are "special agents" with "special talents which are needed for the Celestial speedup." Although in eternity, "no special agents will be necessary," we should "not underestimate the power of special agents now, or the great need there is for them."

These special agents, however, will not remember why it is they came or remember their special talents. Yet at some point during their lives, they will unexpectedly stumble upon these talents. They will discover their calling and then (hopefully) devote themselves to playing their part in the "overall, prearranged plan."

Edgar Cayce was one such special agent. His work was "a major step in the speedup." It was, however, hampered by a number of "essential errors" which grew out of errors in his own psyche. Jesus wanted to see Cayce's contributions immortalized, and even "promulgated as a faith," but not before "they have been purged of their essential errors."

Helen Schucman was another such special agent. She fit the bill perfectly. One day she stumbled upon some highly unexpected talents and discovered that she had come to earth to play her part in the celestial speedup. Yet speeding things up to counteract the crisis was not without consequences. Helen was like an old soldier being called out of retirement to help in a war—even though she had the ability, she had been out of training for a very long time. She "was not yet ready to use" her old talents again.

This was true of both her and Bill. Both had agreed "to cooperate in a concerted and very commendable effort," but both were deeply conflicted about it. They were torn between the purpose they had originally agreed to and the egos they were still attached to. Thus, when Jesus sought to undermine their egos, they reacted like babies, who "scream in rage if you take away a knife or a scissors, even though they may well harm themselves if you do not." They were thus unprepared to assume the role which they nevertheless had to assume. Regardless of their resistance, they had come here to take down A Course in Miracles, which we can presume was, like the Cayce work, "a major step in the speedup."

Their mission, however, went deeper than just taking down the words of the Course. They were also called to embody the Course. As we saw, they were called to emerge from their conflicted state and become true miracle workers. In fact, the "real meaning of the speedup" was for people like Helen and Bill to "choose right sooner" and thus become the "chosen ones" that God would use to save the world. If they and others could do that, if they could "free themselves from fear sooner than would ordinarily be the case," then they would be able to "bring peace to the minds of others." And if "a sufficient number" of them could do this, the time until the world's final awakening could be shortened immeasurably.

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