We at the Circle of Atonement are very pleased to announce our new Story Project, where we will be publishing real-life stories that exemplify Course principles.
As we all know, the Course is a very abstract document. It speaks of realities that are fundamentally different from what our eyes see, and it advocates principles that run directly counter to what our culture has taught us.
We need to hear stories, then, in which people actually experience those nonphysical realities and in which those principles are actually shown to work. We need stories in which the Course’s promises come true.
The Course itself tells us that it is through these sorts of experiences that we can know its teachings are true. It says, “If you do [this course], you will see that it works. Its results are more convincing than its words” (T-9.V.12:3-4). It admits that our normal experience makes it seem natural to believe we are all different and then says, “Therefore it is necessary that you have other experiences more in line with truth, to teach you what is natural and true” (T-22.IX.5:6).
Course students all over are having these “other experiences.” They are experiencing that giving and receiving are the same. They are having holy encounters. They are undergoing powerful inner shifts. They are having experiences of spiritual healing. They are receiving guidance from the Holy Spirit. They are having moments of what the Course calls true vision. They are even having experiences of God.
I find these stories to be both confirming and inspiring, and I know I’m not alone. Exactly as the Course says, they give us confidence that all of the Course’s otherworldly ideas and lofty promises are true, that the whole thing is true. How can this not inspire us to embrace these teachings and put them into action?
I have long felt this way, and we at the Circle have made small efforts in this direction over the years. We had a “Students’ Experiences” section on our old website, and we featured a number of such stories in our old Circle Course Community.
But this year, a much more formal and sustained project fell naturally into place. The project is headed up by two gifted writers with successful careers behind them: Sue Pearson and Nancy Pickard. They themselves are a continual fount of such stories, ranging from the heartwarming to the genuinely otherworldly. And they are excited about opening up an avenue through which the stories of others can reach a receptive audience. Publishing these stories, of course, will often require editing and hand-holding along the way, something that their skills are well-suited to. While Sue and Nancy are mainly carrying the ball, Emily and I are closely involved, and all four of us have found the project to be a real joy.
We are looking forward to all the inspiration that readers will gain from these pieces. And we are also looking forward to what the contributors will gain. We are already experiencing cases in which people have held deeply sacred experiences close to their hearts for years, fearing that they will be a source of derision, and now those experiences can be brought out into the light where they can instead become a source of blessing.
In the piece that follows, you can learn more about the project as Emily and I interview Sue and Nancy. We would both like to express our immense gratitude for their willingness to take on this massive project. And we would like to thank in advance all those of you who will contribute your personal and deeply meaningful experiences to this ongoing collection.