ACIM Reading for December 14
The Voice: A Historical Moment with Helen
Helen Schucman talks about “The Voice”
That Conveyed A Course in Miracles to Her
In a rare recording featured here, Dr. Helen Schucman describes how she scribed A Course in Miracles and “The Voice” that conveyed it to her. The audio selection below was excerpted from a private interview she gave in 1976, the only one in existence today.
…There’s nothing that I would call ordinary audition about this at all. It doesn’t really…It’s a curious thing that will be very difficult to explain. Somebody asked me, “Was it as though your hand was moving?” No. I wrote perfectly voluntarily in response to…I call it a voice, but “a voice” has sounds…or sounds as though it has something to do with hearing. And I didn’t hear anything. I think it’s the sort of hearing that you can’t really describe. It doesn’t have anything to do with ears, or waves hitting a drum or anything on that order. I don’t really know, I think maybe I’m using the wrong word when I say “hear.” I sort of recognized it, it was very rapid, I could even….if I didn’t catch a phrase, I could sort of say, “Would you mind doing that again?”
…this was strictly mental. Otherwise I would consider it hallucinatory activity. I don’t feel it was that. …It wasn’t my voice. It couldn’t have been because it talked about a whole area with which I am entirely unfamiliar.
…I think “knew” may be a better word than “heard.” I did not know consciously at the beginning of the sentence how it was going to end. And that puts me under a further handicap in terms of ordinary language. Because ordinarily, I think, if you’re going to say a sentence you know what it’s going to be, you sort of get the Gestalt immediately. But I didn’t. And it came very easily, very rapidly, very smoothly. I guess even painlessly, except that it annoyed me to death, but that’s irrelevant. I guess “hear” isn’t the right word. I could stop anytime or pick it up anytime, and I did it in cabs and subways and anywhere, or sort of between telephone calls.
…The only curious thing that I do know, and this is curious, I am used to doing pretty much what I want to. And I do make my own decisions. But for some reason or other it never occurred to me not to do this. I thought that this should be done. I made every effort to keep it without me. I did not want to intrude on it. And I felt that it was a matter of personal integrity not to. I really did not interfere with it. I think the thing that I found upsetting about it was that it went against everything I believe, which is very hard to do. But…I felt it was much more important. I know what I believe, but I didn’t know what this was going to do next. And I was very pleased with its coherence, and with its being very consistent, which is something I would regard as a mandatory criterion. It read very well. And I know the pain with which I manage to get something to read halfway as well as that, which is very agonizing. And this came out very quickly. It talked about a system I don’t know anything about, and confused me no end. I’m still cross-eyed.
To Hear the Audio Interview, Click HERE
ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 14
I have no cause for anger or for fear,
For You surround me. And in every need
That I perceive, Your grace suffices me.
Father, let me remember You are here, and I am not alone. Surrounding me is everlasting Love. I have no cause for anything except the perfect peace and joy I share with You. What need have I for anger or for fear? Surrounding me is perfect safety. Can I be afraid, when Your eternal promise goes with me? Surrounding me is perfect sinlessness. What can I fear, when You created me in holiness as perfect as Your Own?
God’s grace suffices us in everything that He would have us do. And only that we choose to be our will as well as His.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #691: Discerning the Voice of Holy Spirit is a most important but very ambiguous issue in practicing A Course in Miracles. Helen heard this Voice clearly and unambiguously. I’m inclined to think that many lessons of the workbook took this capability of Helen into account. The designed short period of practice (one year) reinforces that in my opinion. One year seems to be too short for radically reversing the thought system of the average person. What made Helen so sensitive and attuned to this Voice? Could we be helped by inquiring into this, so that we might develop this capability?
A: Kenneth talks about Helen’s “hearing” ability in his biography of Helen, Absence from Felicity. Her hearing was somewhat “rusty” at first, he reports, but then the interferences that were there initially cleared up and the Voice was heard in its purity from then on. The lessons began about three and a half years after the scribing commenced in 1965. What made Helen “so sensitive and attuned to this Voice” was her willingness to set aside her ego completely and be in her right mind. She did not regard this as anything exceptional that she alone could do. She always told people who were tempted to see her as spiritually blessed that they could do exactly what she did; all that was required was the willingness to set aside their ego, if only for an instant. The abstract presence of love is part of everyone’s mind and hearing the Voice is only one form in which that love can be experienced. Each of us will experience it in the form we can best relate to and accept without excessive fear. The form is illusory and will fade when enough fear subsides to allow the full experience of that love into one’s awareness. Therefore, it would not make sense to make the form into a big deal.
Moreover, there is no way of our knowing where we are on our Atonement path, or where anyone else is, either. Comparisons therefore are not likely to be spiritually beneficial. Learning and practicing this Course is carried out in the context of the relationship between the student and the Holy Spirit or Jesus. The events and circumstances of our lives are meaningful, thus, only to the extent that they reflect back to us whether we have chosen the ego or Jesus as our teacher.
Finally, there certainly are lessons and parts of lessons that assume an advanced spiritual state, yet there are many others that explicitly refer to a process of learning and practice that could extend over many years, even lifetimes. And then at the very end of the workbook Jesus tells us that “this course is a beginning, not an end” (W.ep.1:1). Similarly, toward the end of the text, the beginnings of chapters 30 and 31, Jesus is basically telling Helen that she is moving along well but has not yet reached the end of her process. The ability to hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit is simply the process of learning to let go of one’s ego, as Jesus so clearly states in this passage, to single out one of many such passages: “You can defend your specialness, but never will you hear the Voice for God beside it. They speak a different language and they fall on different ears” (T.24.II.5:1,2). That was the essence of Helen’s process and is ours as well.
Q #1330: Ken has indicated in both writing and on tapes that Jesus does not provide guidance regarding specifics in the world; yet he writes extensively about very specific guidance given to Helen in Absence from Felicity . There is a line on page 244 that I’m very drawn to and that I frequently say each day: “If You tell me what to do, I will to do it.” It is a prayer that Jesus tells Helen is the door that leads out of the desert forever. Yet, I wonder if it’s inappropriate for me to ask Jesus this. Is it possible that Jesus was providing specifics to Helen and Bill because of their involvement with the scribing of A Course in Miracles ? Can you help reconcile the seeming inconsistency of Jesus providing highly specific guidance about worldly concerns to Helen (and Bill) and the statements that Ken has made about Jesus not providing this type of guidance?
A: We have addressed the topic in some Questions asked by other students — see, for example, #437, #477, #538, and #626. It has been a source of confusion for many. In Chapter 17 of Absence from Felicity , Ken actually explains why Helen experienced Jesus as guiding her in specifics. There he shows that it is really not a question of Jesus doing anything different with Helen and Bill than with others, but rather what Helen did with her mind’s fear of accepting the fullness of love symbolized by Jesus. This is instructive to all of us. We all have tremendous fear of melting into love’s presence, our true Identity, and so we unconsciously determine the form in which we will accept that content of love. Thus, Helen allowed herself to experience his love only in the form of guidance with specifics, as many of us do. But, as Ken makes clear, Helen also knew that Jesus was the reflection of Heaven’s love, and so there were times when she transcended all limitation and no longer identified with a limited self, separated from love and fearful of it. This is what the Questions cited above discuss in depth. But none of this means that you should not continue to say the prayer you like so much, or to ask Jesus to help you. Just try to remember that it is the love that Jesus is that you truly want. That way, you won’t stay on the level of specifics, which is only the lower level of the ladder that leads us back to eternal, unlimited peace and love in which we were created.
Q #1055: In all the years that Helen Schucman was “talking” to Jesus, did she ever ask him any questions about historical data that concerned his life on earth?
A: No, Jesus’ life on earth seemed to be of no interest to her. At one point when he was speaking to her about the fruitlessness of studying the past, he said to her. “Even My personal history is of no value to you except as it teaches you that I can help you now ” ( Absence from Felicity , p. 287).