Not Mixing the Course with Other Paths, Part 1: Summary of a Class Presentation

In yesterday’s class, I looked at the places in the Course that signal its intention that its students (presumably, those who consider it their path) follow it by itself, without mixing it with other paths.

“I Need Do Nothing”

This section says that “Your way will be different” from those who wrestle with sin or those who focus on long periods of meditation. Your way will be focused on experiencing holy instants through the thought “I need do nothing” (differing from the traditional idea that you need to make yourself holy) and on holy relationships—joining with another in a common goal (differing from the traditional solitary pursuit). These two things come together in joint holy instants, like Helen and Bill experienced in their June 1965 “better way” experience. If we are not focusing on means such as these, but are using the means of other paths instead, here is what Jesus has to say: “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.”

“The Sane Curriculum” (T-12.V)

This section tells us that because our egos are so against love that we have literal learning disabilities when it comes to learning love. Like anyone with learning disabilities, we therefore “require a special Teacher and a special curriculum.” This special curriculum is surely the Holy Spirit’s curriculum that He is attempting to teach everyone, but it must also refer to the Course. After all, Jesus sees the Course as one concrete expression of the Holy Spirit’s universal curriculum. The point is that we can’t be in charge of designing our own mix-and-match curriculum. “Poor learners are not good choices for teachers, either for themselves or for anyone else. You would hardly turn to them to establish the curriculum by which they can escape their limitations.”

Lesson 42: “nothing is lacking that is needed”

This lesson contains a key sentence: “The idea for the day is a beginning step in bringing thoughts together, and teaching you that you are studying a unified thought system in which nothing is lacking that is needed, and nothing is included that is contradictory or irrelevant.” If this claim is correct and “nothing is lacking that is needed,” then the Course is a complete path, providing all we need, leaving us with no reason to turn elsewhere to augment our journey.

“Do not take another’s path as your own”

Once, when Helen was judging someone whose spirituality she felt was “inauthentic” (haven’t we all been there?), Jesus told her, “Don’t take another’s path as your own; but neither should you judge it” (Absence from Felicity, p. 450). The message here is obviously twofold—don’t judge it and don’t walk it. Or: It’s not yours, so neither identify with it nor condemn it.

How Jesus handles other teachings

Especially early in the dictation of the Course, Jesus addressed a number of teachings that were important frames of reference for Helen and Bill. These included: Christianity and the Bible, Freud, psychology in general, Carl Jung, and Edgar Cayce. His comments on these other teachings typically included three elements:

1. Affirm: “Freud’s identification of [defense] mechanisms was quite correct”

2. Correct: “But…He made two kinds of errors”

3. Creatively reinterpret: Fixation is not an inescapable pull back to an infantile stage in this life. Rather “You were eternally fixated on God in your creation, and the pull of this fixation is so strong that you will never overcome it.”

Interestingly (and I didn’t point this out in class), Jesus’ corrections and reinterpretations are typically not about metaphysical issues, but about practical ones. For example, with Edgar Cayce, he didn’t say, “Cayce’s teachings treated the world as real and as created by God.” Rather, he criticized Cayce for implying that we are imprisoned by the past: “When he said ‘mind is the builder,’ he did not realize that it is only what it is building now that really creates the future. The past, in itself, does not have the ability to do this. Whenever we move from one instant to the next, the previous one no longer exists.”

We also talked about those claiming to channel the author of the Course. First, realize that with any channeled teaching that becomes popular, people will claim to channel that same source. Second, in my experience, the many materials I have read: 1) tend to focus on a few ideas, leaving out most of what the Course teaches, 2) contain many things that don’t agree with the Course, 3) lack the depth and profundity of the Course. And if all of that is true, then the main attraction is probably just fascination with the idea of someone channeling.

I am going to continue with this same topic in next week’s class (a Teacher Member class), where I’ll be going through some specific case studies (about reincarnation and about healing childhood wounds), talking about gray areas, and talking about the importance of seeing Course study as following Jesus as our teacher.