While I do not think it is necessary to believe that the historical Jesus dictated A Course in Miracles to Helen Schucman, or to believe that Jesus is an enlightened Son of a Divine Father, or in any other way special or separate from us, I do think that it is helpful to have a personal relationship with Jesus in order to fully enter into the course and give it the internal space to fully unfold its miraculous shifts in thought.
On this journey you have chosen me as you companion instead of the ego. Do not attempt to hold on to both, or you will try to go in different directions and will lose the way (T-8.V.5:8-9).
This is not a matter of faith or belief as we encounter it in the church of formal religion. There is no ritual to it. We are talking about a relationship with Jesus that is in truth a relationship with Christ and we are the Christ.
Christ is God’s Son as He created Him. He is the Self we share, uniting us with one another, and with God as well . . . Christ is the link that keeps you one with God, and guarantees that separation is no more than an illusion of despair, for hope forever will abide in Him (W-pII.6.1:1-2, 2:1).
So when we relate to Jesus in this way, we are reaching the truth of the Self that God created, and that we share with one another as God’s Creation.
What does this mean practically?
It is not an error to talk to Jesus – to relate to Jesus – as if he were a body with whom we are sharing a worldly experience. Though I do not do it as often as I once did, I still offer verbal prayers to Jesus. I still sometimes fall to my knees to say wordy versions of “please” and “help” and “thank you.” This is not spiritually immature. It is not naive or foolish.
Even if we are not ready to enter that space of silence and stillness – that centerless center of inner peace and happiness – we can still sense its presence, and we can sense the welcome it offers all of us, being for all of us.
To adopt Jesus as a model for decision-making in the world can be a very fruitful practice. It can smooth out stressful moments and clear an interior space in which to deepen our understanding and application of right-minded thinking, or forgiveness. For many years I prayed the rosary several times a day, not because I was particularly invested in the so-called promises of such prayers, but because they were calming and quieted the egoic chatter that creates such pressure and confusion.
To relate to Jesus in this sense is to render him very much a symbol. To say that in no way denigrates his fundamental helpfulness. It is not an insult, though obviously many sincere people will perceive it as such. There are helpful symbols and unhelpful symbols in the world of illusion, and turning to those that resonate in peaceful and happy ways is how we heal. This includes Jesus, as it can include everything from walks in the woods to kirtan to biking.
Any of these symbols – and there are countless others – are akin to seams in the veil through which the very light of Christ and Heaven stream, blessing us even in our spiritual exile.
The light becomes ours, and you cannot abide in darkness any more than darkness can abide wherever you go. The remembrance of me is the remembrance of yourself, and of Him Who sent me to you (T-8.IV.2:12-13).
Gradually, we become comfortable in the knowledge that when we turn to “Jesus” we are not turning to a superior being favored of God but rather a symbol of our unity with God. We project our holiness and divinity; relating to Jesus personally is a way of reclaiming that holiness, essentially by extending it to our brothers and sisters. That is always the benefit of loving Jesus: we are made better lovers for the world in its delusions. We heal as we are healed.
We begin to sense, in other words, the oneness with our Creator to which Jesus alludes. We begin to sense the Christ, which is the totality of God’s Creation without limit or specialness. Christ is not Jesus; Christ is all the separated Sons and Daughters remembering their unity with God. That is why I always say that we are in this salvation thing together. I cannot do it without you. You lift and take me with you. There is no other, no better way to say it.
When we consider our relationship with Jesus in this sense, we are talking about something that reflects a deeply personal level of sharing and experience, because it is abstract and internal. But it is increasingly the space into which we settle as our relationship with Jesus itself settles. What is happening externally matters less and less because it is either an expression of our Love for all, or it is an expression of our continual call for Love from all.
In either case, we know that it is never the egoic self that answers, but rather the knowledge of Christ flowing through that self that answers. We aren’t really doing anything outside of being willing. So we relax a little and we don’t take the external world of events and personalities so seriously, because we know it is in better hands than ours, so long as we are attending to the foundational relationship that underlies the all.
That sounds very poetic and mystical, doesn’t it? Well, I am partial to that kind of language so I tend to write that way. But it is important also to see that this connection to Jesus is a very natural and gentle relationship. It is a way of seeing that is not aggressive, that does not rush to conclusion or definition. It is like I know that bluets are called “bluets” or “Quaker ladies” or whatever, but mostly I am just happy to be in the presence of their soft blue and violet petals. The intellect can be a useful tool in its place but it is hardly a necessary precedent to the experience of joy.
Even if we are not ready to enter that space of silence and stillness – that centerless center of inner peace and happiness – we can still sense its presence, and we can sense the welcome it offers all of us, being for all of us. Just knowing that we have a home that is not this world, the way the world understands and defines home, is very healing. There is no expiration date on salvation.
So our relationship with Jesus – which, again, can be very simple and ordinary, and the form of which is a matter of what works for us as individuals in the time and space in which we perceive ourselves – really becomes a reflection of the Holy Relationship, a perfect union of God, Self and shared will, that transforms our perception of all life. It is not the only relationship that does this, as A Course in Miracles is not the only path that facilitates this remembrance, but if it is our path, then it is a good relationship to give attention to in a nurturing way, a loving way, such as we are able in a given moment.