The following is a message from Circle founder, Robert Perry, delivered each week to Course Companions members. Course Companions is our global community of students and teachers walking through the Course, section-by-section and lesson-by-lesson, together as friends. For access to any classes, handouts, and additional commentaries referenced in these posts, we invite you to join Course Companions by visiting CourseCompanions.com. Please note that partial and full scholarships are available and no one is turned away from Circle of Atonement programming for an inability to pay.
August 29, 2020
In yesterday’s Song of Prayer class, I was summarizing the ladder of prayer and called one side of that ladder “mystical ascent.” The idea was that our journey up the ladder was in large part an ascent in consciousness, in which we use methods of prayer and meditation to rise higher and higher toward the ultimate state of union with God. This quest, of course, is an ancient one, which traditionally goes by the name of mysticism.
I was struck in the class by how much people responded to this idea. My impression was that it was a welcome idea that the Course was urging us to go on its own version of the age-old mystical journey.
Something in us, I believe, knows that this is the journey that calls to us. Even while we spend our lives immersed in the things of the world, we sense that we are meant to rise far above them in pursuit of the ultimate goal, which the Course simply calls “the goal of God.”
It is news to most of us that the Course overtly encourages this pursuit, yet there is no real doubt about it. The Course has a major focus on prayer—prayer that is about relating to God and connecting with God, not about asking Him to meet our earthly needs. And even more to the point, the Workbook takes us through extensive instruction in its own methods of meditation, instruction that aims at bringing us “far enough along the way to alter time sufficiently to rise above its laws and walk into eternity a while” (W-157.3:2).
Given that this is a central element of the Course’s path, we need to ask ourselves: What is our relationship with the mystical quest? To what degree have we embraced this quest as ours? How serious are we about our prayer life and meditation life? How much do we desire—and actively pursue—the goal of God?
We are inspired by mystics such as St. Teresa of Avila, Meister Eckhart, Ramana Maharshi, and Paramahansa Yogananda, and well we should be. But even better, we should aspire to be like them; we should aspire to be mystics ourselves.