Visions of the Chalice

I came across a fascinating passage in Helen Schucman’s shorthand notebooks recently:

“The Atonement can only be accepted within you. You have perceived it largely as external thus far, and that is why your experience of it has been minimal. You have been shown the chalice many times, but have not accepted it for yourself. Your major improper use of defenses is now largely limited to externalization. Do not fail to appreciate your own remarkable progress in this respect. You perceived it first as a vessel of some sort whose purpose was uncertain, but which might be a pisspot. You did notice, however, that the inside was gold, while the outside, though shiny, was silver. This was a recognition of the fact that the inner part is more precious that the outer side, even though both are resplendent, though with different values.”

Three points strike me about this. First, even while Helen was receptive and open enough to have inner visions of the chalice of Atonement, she still defended herself against the chalice by externalizing it, by seeing it as outside of her.

Second, she had no idea what the purpose of the chalice was, but she thought it might be a “pisspot” (did Jesus just say “piss”?), a chamber pot, which one urinated in at night back when the toilet was much further than a few feet away. This is humorous, but let’s not ourselves use the defense of externalization and think this applies only to Helen. There is undoubtedly something in us, too, that views the chalice of Atonement as merely something to urinate in.

Third, notice the relationship between the inside and the outside of the chalice. Both are valuable, but the inside is more precious. It is gold while the outside is silver. This to me is a beautiful symbol of the relationship between a healed mind and its outer expression. Let us not make the mistake of thinking that one is important while the other is irrelevant. Rather, “both are resplendent.” Yet even so, “the inner part is more precious than the outer side.”

When a mind is filled with the Atonement, its outer expression shines like polished silver, but its inner state is pure gold.