In a response to a comment on my recent blog, “Sitting at the feet of my teacher,” I mentioned an article I had written about my favourite song, “Try to Remember.” The article appeared in the October 2008 issue of Tone, our local spiritual magazine. It followed on a CCC blog I wrote called, “A little wisp of melody” (posted on Feb. 26, 2008). Chris asked me to post it, so here it is. It was written for spiritual seekers as an introduction to the Course.
My favourite song is “Try to Remember” from the musical “The Fantastiks.” I start to cry almost as soon as I hear its lovely melody and poignant call to try and remember a time “when life was so tender” and then to “follow… follow.” It seems to awaken a deep longing in me for what might be called a “lost innocence.” Who of us does not yearn for something pure and innocent, and for a time and a place when we felt safe and secure, totally loved and loving, and completely at peace?
A Course in Miracles has become the way for me to remember and follow, and through my work with it, I find that I am remembering and following more and more. However, it’s not about remembering and trying to recreate a supposed innocence of my worldly childhood or following an earthly inner child. Rather, it’s to remember the eternal innocence of the child of God that I really am, always have been, and always will be, and follow that to my real home. I haven’t lost my innocence; how could I, having been created by God and in God’s likeness? However, I have forgotten my innocence.
You have not lost your innocence. It is for this you yearn. This is your heart’s desire. This is the voice you hear, and this the call which cannot be denied. The holy Child remains with you. His home is yours. (Lesson 182)
The Course speaks of a “forgotten song,” an ancient state of happiness once experienced, a state dearer to us than anything in this world and for which we long (you could call it Heaven). Of that song, we still carry deep within us a “wisp of melody,” which we have almost completely forgotten, but which still calls to us unceasingly to come home. I recently had a dream about such a call:
I am in a house with members of my family. I notice some in particular: aunts, cousins, and grandmothers, some of whom are now deceased. I am surprised to see that they are from both my mother and father’s sides of the family, and that there are even some in-laws there. They all have almost an ethereal look about them. There is an air of serenity and peace about everything, and such a strong feeling of love. And quiet, such quiet. There is a hush about everything. There is no noise, and people are moving about so softly, almost as if they are floating. I look over to my grandmother-in-law, who has something in her hand that she is showing to a little girl. She turns a little handle and music starts to play. The melody is so beautiful, so poignant, like nothing I have heard before, yet somehow familiar to me. It is exquisite, perfect. I am instantly filled with the deepest emotion and something that I cannot even identify. I am so overwhelmed with the beauty of the melody and with such a deep sense of yearning that tears spill out of my eyes and start to stream down my face.
At that point, I woke up with tears actually streaming down my face. I felt an ache in my heart and was filled with such a sense of both longing and loss. I had heard such a little snippet of that exquisite song and now it was gone and I couldn’t remember it. I realized almost instantly that what I had heard in my dream was that “little wisp of melody” of “the forgotten song” that calls us home. I felt so grateful to have had this experience and heard the melody, even if only in a nighttime dream, and I went about my day’s activities filled with joy.
There was something else significant about the dream: I wasn’t alone in this place of serenity and peace filled with love. All of my family members were there with me, and they too heard the “ancient song.” They were all going about their business, completely at peace and in harmony with one another. If all of these family members had actually been all together in the same place in this world, this would not have been the case! This was our real home to which the forgotten song calls all of us, not just me. In this home we are completely at one with God, with one another, and with our true Self, living and loving in harmony and endless peace.
A Course in Miracles was born of a desire to find “another way,” a way of being together in harmony and peace. That way turned out to be the way of love and forgiveness. The Course’s teachings and spiritual practices are meant to help us learn to remember and follow that way, and thus hasten our homecoming, our awakening to the full remembrance of the forgotten song.
Since I had that dream, a line from the song, “Try to remember,” has taken on a deeper meaning for me. “Try to remember…that love was an ember about to billow.” I felt that until then my love had only been an ember, a glowing spark giving off some warmth but not as much as it would if I fanned it into flame. Now I see that as I truly remember and follow, my love will billow into a great flame, lighting up and warming everyone who crosses my path or my mind.
A Course of Miracles calls all of us to remember and follow the way of love and let our love light up the hearts and minds of all our “family members,” helping them to remember and follow too. In this way, one day we will all hear that forgotten song and follow it home together.