There’s Nothing Like This Anywhere Near Here

This is another post in a series of posts comparing and contrasting A Course in Miracles with Steps to Knowledge.

A Course in Miracles is written in the language of historic Christianity.  All human suffering can be traced back to human choice for human independence (the “separation”).  Human suffering is described in terms of the suffering of Jesus.  Redemption from human suffering is described in terms of atonement, and so on.

Just as there are occasional, infrequent instances of poetic language in Steps to Knowledge, there are occasional, infrequent references to Christianity, like this one:

“Upon each hour today, repeat this statement [“Today I will not judge another”] as you witness yourself and the world around you. Repeat this statement and feel its impact. Release your judgments for a few moments, and then feel the contrast and the experience that this will provide for you. Do not judge another today. Allow others to reveal themselves to you. Without judgment you will not suffer under your own crown of thorns. Without judgment you will feel the presence of your Teachers assisting you.” (Step 76, “Today I will not judge another”)

I have a suspicion, a hypothesis, that there are occasional, infrequent references to all of the world’s major religions in Steps to Knowledge, but that I’m just not literate enough to notice them.  Fortunately, great literacy is not a requirement for studying Steps to Knowledge.

*

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

How Much Of The Message Is The Medium?

This is another post in a series of posts comparing the books “A Course in Miracles” and “Steps to Knowledge.”

Many people have found the literary style of A Course in Miracles worthy of investigation.  The style element I recall the most is the use of iambic pentameter, or “da-Da da-Da da-Da da-Da da-Da” as the rhythm of a line

Every lesson in the Workbook for Students of A Course in Miracles after lesson 99 is written in iambic pentameter.  It was not something I was expecting.  I didn’t even know what iambic pentameter was when I studied A Course in Miracles.  I remember thinking “It’s curious that many lessons have the same rhythm.”

There are occasional, infrequent instances of poetic language in Steps to Knowledge, like this one:

“It [the power of Knowledge] can be seen in the innocence of a child’s eyes; it can be imagined in the greatness of the movement of galaxies.” (Step 235, “The power of Knowledge is becoming evident to me.”)

My experience of the literary style of Steps to Knowledge is that of simple, direct, forthright declaration.  Right or wrong, true or false, it means what it says.  And that is a style consistent with this description of Knowledge:

“All things you truly need will be provided. It is when you want things that you do not truly need that your awareness of this becomes confused, and this leads you into dark speculation and grave disappointment.What you need will make you happy; what you don’t need will make you confused.This is very simple, very straightforward and very direct. Knowledge is always like that. Knowledge affirms that which is essential. Here your approach to life becomes simple and direct.Thus, you experience life as simple and direct.” (Step 253, “All things I truly need will be provided for me.”)

Just like the song on my lips and the song deep in my soul have to be the same song for me to progress, the literary style of a book and its content have to be singing the same song.

*

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

Some Literary Comparing and Contrasting

This is another post in a series comparing and contrasting the books “A Course in Miracles” and “Steps to Knowledge.”

One significant difference is that A Course in Miracles includes a text of roughly 290,000 words, while Steps to Knowledge does not.  The Workbook for Students of A Course in Miracles contains 365 lessons, as does Steps to Knowledge.  Some people might consider it reasonable to compare Steps to Knowledge with the Workbook for Students.

I find Steps to Knowledge and the Workbook for Students to be roughly equal in readability, both relatively free of idioms.

I had a thought today which I have never had before.  The thought is, since different people read the text of A Course in Miracles at different rates, the people will have many different states of mind when they study a particular lesson.  Therefore, there will be a wide range of outcomes when students study A Course in Miracles.  There might not be as wide a range of outcomes when students study Steps to Knowledge.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?  Is this a bug or a feature?

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

Compare And Contrast: Who, Where, When, How, For Whom

This post is continuing the thread of comparing and contrasting the books “A Course in Miracles” and “Steps to Knowledge.”  I don’t seek to prove anything in particular in this thread, I plan to put information that is kept in different places in one place.

Data points can be seen as similar or different depending on the scope in which they were viewed.  For example, both A Course in Miracles and Steps to Knowledge were written in the 20th Century, but one was published in 1976, and the other was published in 1989.  I’m going to give the data, and leave the decision about the significance to you.

I am using the ACIM website, the New Message from God website, and the introduction to Steps to Knowledge as data sources.

Who: Helen Schucman (1909-1981) was the scribe of A Course in Miracles.  Marshall Vian Summers is the messenger of Steps to Knowledge.

Where: A Course in Miracles was scribed in New York City.  Steps to Knowledge was received in Albany, New York. (What is it about New York?)

When: A Course in Miracles (the text, the workbook for students, and the manual for teachers) was scribed over a period of almost seven years (October 1965 to September 1972).  Steps to Knowledge was received over a period of 20 days (May 26, 1989 to June 14, 1989).  I find that significant.

How: Helen Schucman describes her experience:

“The Voice made no sound, but seemed to be giving me a kind of rapid, inner dictation which I took down in a shorthand notebook. The writing was never automatic. It could be interrupted at any time and later picked up again. It made obvious use of my educational background, interests and experience, but that was in matters of style rather than content. Certainly the subject matter itself was the last thing I would have expected to write about.”

The shorthand was later transcribed by William Thetford.

Steps to Knowledge was originally recorded on audio cassettes, and later transcribed.  Marshall Summers describes various days of his recording Steps:

May 27: “Felt so much pressure. Two intense sessions of recording. Felt really “out there” afterwards. It was difficult to be with people.”

June 1: “49 Steps in 4 hours with several breaks. Very powerful.”

June 8: “77 Steps today. Felt the Presence all day. I could not do much after this.”

For Whom: The voice dictating A Course in Miracles identified itself to her as the voice of Jesus.  The voice speaking through Marshall identifies itself as the voice of a group of unseen spiritual teachers who describe themselves as Teachers of the Greater Community.

I hope this helps.

*

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

Please Compare And Contrast

I’m making a mental note to show this image to someone who uses the phrase “You’re comparing apples to oranges” to suggest a valid comparison is not being made.  Venn diagrams have proven to be an invaluable tool for describing relationships between things.I hope to fill in the details for a Venn diagram like this showing what Steps to Knowledge and A Course in Miracles share in common, and the ways they differ.

I hope that this will help.

*

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

An Offering Of Gratitude

In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams, a character had immortality thrust upon him by some highly improbable events.  Unfortunately, he didn’t take it very well, and eventually decided to use his gift to insult the universe.  That is, he would insult everybody in it. Individually, personally, and in alphabetical order.

Why am I sharing this with you?  Because if I were in Bowerick Wowbagger’s position, I would (among other things), visit each and every past and current student of A Course in Miracles, thank them for their efforts, and offer a sincere and heartfelt invitation to study Steps to Knowledge.  This blog post will have to do for now.

I have opined that a step in Steps to Knowledge recapitulates material in A Course in Miracles here and here.  I recently got the idea that it might be a good thing to write a few posts comparing and contrasting A Course in Miracles with Steps to Knowledge, and the larger body of material, the New Message from God, of which Steps to Knowledge is a part.  But I didn’t want to write anything without first writing “Thank you.”

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

Who Has My Best Interests At Heart?

When I read Step 41 of Steps to Knowledge (“I am not afraid of the power of God.”), I recall various sections of A Course in Miracles.  I think this step recapitulates significant chunks.  In order to get Eve to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the serpent had to make the suggestion, unsupported by any of Eve’s experience, that God didn’t really have her best interests at heart.  Someone, somewhere, suggested to the Prodigal Son that his father didn’t have his best interests at heart.  Here’s how the step describes it;

“It is painful to be separated from that which you love beyond all things, and the only way to maintain this separation is to malign that which you love, to give it an evil intent and then to engender guilt within yourself.”

People tend to get invested in their choices.  Fearing their choices are weak, they engage in various activities and relationships to fortify their choices.  Even when people are persuaded that a previous choice was an error, it takes a certain amount of time and effort to divest one’s self of the series of investments and fortifications related to that choice.  The price for separation is living in a twisted, confused, upside-down world.  Eve had to curse all the happy moments in the garden.  The Prodigal Son had to malign the kindnesses of his father.

It’s going to take some work to walk this back.

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.

“Ye Shall Be As Gods”

For reasons I don’t understand, the Bible decided not to elaborate on the thought processes of Eve, between the serpent’s temptation in Genesis 3, and the time Eve and Adam ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

For reasons I don’t understand, the Bible decided not to elaborate on the thought processes of the Prodigal Son, between the time he first heard there was even such a place as the far country, and the time he said “Father, give me my share of the estate.” (Luke 15:12, New International Version).

I believe Eve entertained the thought, “If I ate the fruit, I’d be different than any creature in the garden.  Different from any plant, different from any animal, even different from Adam. I would be something that never before existed in the universe.  I would be special.”  I believe the Prodigal Son entertained the thought, “No one in my family ever been to the far country, not my father, not my older brother.  I’d be different from everyone in my family if I traveled to the far country.  I would be special.”

A Course in Miracles describes the human condition as having separated ourselves from God in pursuit of an experience of being special. Furthermore, because this experience of being special is an unreal illusion, we go to great lengths to defend the value of this experience, engaging in relationships (“special relationships,” either special love relationships or special hate relationships) for the purpose of reinforcing the idea of being special.

Step 13 of Steps to Knowledge, “I want to be separate to be unique,” recaps a good bit of the material in A Course in Miracles in a remarkably few words, in my opinion.  I consider the word “unique” to be but a synonym for “special.”

While being special has a certain buzz to it, our choice of it has had much greater costs than the benefits.  Eve must have thought “Maybe I should have asked God to elaborate when he said ‘Ye shall surely die.'”  The Prodigal Son recognized this as he was doling out the husks to the swine. I’ve been told that if I realize my motivation for separation, I will know that I want to come home, just like the Prodigal Son did.  Let this comment on Step 13 from a fellow student supply the exclamation point:

OK OK! I admit it. The whole thing of wanting to be God in my own life didn’t work out so well. I’m sorry for throwing that temper tantrum and storming out like that. It was brash and childish. Thank you for letting me experiment until I made a fool of myself and was forced to face the inevitable. I was sufficiently distracted for a few billion years and tried to pretend that I could manage on my own but I’m over it now. A better plan for Creation has failed to present itself to me. I have a hard enough time with the shopping list.

Can I come Home now? I miss my bed.

* * *

Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.