On Helpfulness

For a long time I believed it was possible to be “right” or “wrong” about A Course in Miracles. If you wanted the spiritual benefits, then you had to toe the appropriate lines – intellectually, theologically and even socially. A lot of my early reading and thinking was shaped by this belief. I developed strong opinions about certain teachers and certain textual editions. It was very intellectual, very judgmental. Then, when I was introduced to Tara Singh’s teaching one summer night, I pretty much gave up everything else on the spot. This was it.

And so it was. And, in some important ways, so it remains. Yet after a couple years of reading and studying Tara Singh, it was clear that I was still resistant to awakening. I knew the course in a sincere and deep way, but I remained largely incapable of bringing it into application in my life. Something was missing.

Gradually, I began to look again at some of the first students whose work I had read – Gary Renard, Marianne Williamson, Kenneth Wapnick. I revisited the urtext and the sparkly edition. I spent some time with people whose approach to the course was quite different than mine. I talked. I listened.

It struck me that what we all had in common was greater than that which appeared to divide us. I don’t mean that in a Kumbaya sort of way. I’m not trying to rally ACIM students to a common cause. Far from it. By all means follow whatever path makes sense to you. I mean simply that what I learned at the feet of Tara Singh transferred pretty smoothly to what I learned while reading Ken Wapnick. Once you got past the drama of Gary Renard’s ascended masters, Disappearance of the Universe was pretty straightforward and practical, very much in the Wapnickian mode.

It cannot be said enough: we are in this together, all of us, and we need one another. We really do.

In other words, I was beginning to see the content of the course – not the form in which it was presented.

Thus, my focus shifted from “right” and “wrong” to “helpful” and “not helpful.” The Holy Spirit can and will use just about any tool to facilitate our awakening. Generally, the best thing we can do is get out of the way. I listen carefully to Jesus and the Holy Spirit – those symbols of the healed mind instructing all of us with gentleness and love. I am not guided to one teacher, the way some people root for one baseball team. I am partial to Tara Singh, but would be lost without Ken Wapnick’s clear, consistent and culturally resonant writing. I am touched and inspired by the sincerity of many emerging teachers and students. To the healed – to the healing – mind, it’s all helpful. It’s all good.

It cannot be said enough: we are in this together, all of us, and we need one another. We really do.

The writing and related material that is offered on this site is offered in that spirit. I want to be helpful. If I am, then I am grateful. If I am not helpful, then I hope you will quickly seek out someone whose work is resonant and clarifying. No hard feelings! I’ll be here – one way or the other – if you need or want to come back.

Over the years, as my practice has deepened and my understanding changed, this site has changed as well. I shudder at some of the early writing. As a writer, I see those posts in terms of craft – seeking out and exploring the terms and conditions of a given project. As a student of A Course in Miracles, they sometimes strike me as shallow and egocentric. I think about deleting old posts all the time but never quite get around to it. Perhaps they testify to how the course works – inspiring us, lifting us, enlightening us, healing us. I have a long way to go. Forgive me.

It seems after a lifetime of writing and praying and studying that there might be a bit more wisdom here. But I remain as I have always been – a benign but wordy bastard. Perhaps in another lifetime I’ll pull the whole teacher/prophet thing together. In this one, these sentences will have to do. Take them with a grain of salt and keep a kind thought for me. Without you, it wouldn’t mean a thing.