Not Mixing the Course with Other Paths, Part 2: Summary of a Class Presentation

Yesterday we had part 2 of my series on not mixing the Course with other paths. In the previous class, I covered several Course passages that either imply or directly say that we shouldn’t mix the Course with other paths, such as, “You are not making use of the course if you insist on using means which have served others well, neglecting what was made for you.” In this class, I attempted to explain this topic from a slightly more practical standpoint.

My main point was that the Course is a system of ideas and practice in which everything is designed to fit together, in which every part is consistent with the whole. In this sense, the Course’s system is like a car, and we all know that it just doesn’t work to try to put a part from one kind of car into another kind of car. As an example, I read what would happen if you put gasoline into a diesel engine. Even though both are flammable, petroleum-based fuels, if you put gasoline into a diesel engine, it could easily lead to the physical destruction of the engine parts!

I then went through three ideas or approaches that one could easily mix with the Course but that Jesus carefully distinguished from the Course: reincarnation, the “historical approach,” and psychological testing. (I’ll only summarize two here.)

With reincarnation, Jesus clearly thinks it happens, yet does not think it should be considered part of the Course, because it is not necessary to salvation and can easily be used for ego. This takes the form of pride over past lives, a belief in suffering at the hands of others, or a belief in being a product of past choices.

The “historical approach” is the idea that our history explains us. In other words, how we were treated, especially in childhood, is the explanation of our makeup now, and therefore healing lies in an exploration and uncovering of these past events. I quoted from two different discourses in the early dictation of the Course where Jesus speaks directly to this widespread approach and quite bluntly discourages it. For example, “You both went over your childhoods in some detail and at considerable expense, and it merely encouraged your egos to become more tolerable to you. I would hardly want you to repeat that same error.”

There are, however, inevitable gray areas. So I shared about my extra-Course involvements. For instance, I am deeply into the research into the historical Jesus and his teachings, trying to discern what he really taught. But then the Course itself has a similar focus. It quotes the gospels and explains what those sayings really meant. I’m also into near-death experiences, not as my path, but as a phenomenon that I see as supportive of the truth of the Course. I am also into a wide range of paranormal phenomenon, because I see such things as concrete evidence regarding the nature of reality, and thus, like near-death experiences, as key supports for what I believe. And I’m also into a particular class of synchronistic events, which I call CMPEs (Conjunctions of Meaningfully Parallel Events), which I lean upon as a vital source of guidance from the Holy Spirit. I see these as harmonizing with the Course because Helen and Bill experienced a classic CMPE, one that fits all my criteria, in their Mayo Clinic experience in 1965. Not only was it a turning point for them, but Jesus treated it as guidance and even provided the interpretation.

So there will be gray areas. We shouldn’t just rule out anything remotely spiritual because it’s not the Course. Rather, we need to handle all such things sensitively, ideally with guidance, making sure that such things are not supplanting the Course and making sure we interpret and use them from a Course standpoint.

Finally, I said that I see following the Course as following its author, who claims to be Jesus and whom I truly believe is Jesus. If we trust this and trust what he says in the Course, then he is seeing things from a vantage point that no one on earth has, and no one still in the learning process on any plane of existence has. As a result, he repeatedly tells us that he has been placed in charge of the world’s salvation and told Helen and Bill that he is “the only completely True Witness for God.” He is able to see the salvation process with a clarity that no one still in the fog of earth can do. That’s why so many of the Course’s core truths are ideas you just can’t find elsewhere.

I don’t say such things very often, but it informs all of my involvement with the Course. I believe I am following the leader in God’s plan, whose grasp of the salvation process is deeper than any other available. If he tells me that his course is one in which “nothing is lacking that is needed,” if he tells me “You are not making use of the course if you insist on using means which have served others well, neglecting what was made for you,” then why would I water his pristine system down with elements that are just not cut from the same cloth?