Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
It goes without saying that I do not want people to feel guilty if they buy or read the other versions. People should do whatever they want, as long as it is not hurtful; and contrary to what some people might say, there is no “Pope of the Course.” So, whatever you do with the Course, what is most important is that it be done without anger, judgment, or feelings of unfair treatment. Those responses are always of the ego. Thus, whatever you do, try to have the motivation be ego free. In that way, whatever you do will be loving.
While some may be tempted to argue about the merits of the different versions, all that is really important is where the Course comes from: everyone’s right mind, which each of us can choose at any point. If you find yourself getting caught up in controversy, thinking the arguments mean something, you will argue and see differences, where in truth there are none. Differences undoubtedly exist in form (the body), but never in content (the mind). Thus there can be no significant differences among those who represent different positions. Seeing differences and making them into something serious is when the ego catches us, for we are remembering not to laugh at the “tiny, mad idea” of separation (T-27.VIII.6:2).
What motivates people to stir up controversy is the need to have there be conflict; and when there is conflict, you know the ego has been invited in. There can be no conflict in one’s right mind, because there everyone is perceived to be the same. Whatever differences exist, again, are only on the illusory level of the body. Bodies differ. People write different books and say different things; but if you make these differences significant and the object of controversy and conflict, if not war, then you know which voice you are listening to. Our only responsibility is to hear the Voice of peace, and when we do, we recognize that controversies are like boys and girls playing in a sandbox. But you cannot get sand in your eyes unless you sit down with them and play in the sand. If you stand up as an adult, with Jesus by your side, then whatever is happening in the sandbox is of no consequence to you, which means that nothing that goes on in the world can change the experience of God’s Love in your mind.
Whether or not you agree with the issues generated by the differing versions of A Course in Miracles is irrelevant. Obviously everyone has a position, but that position should not affect your peace, nor your vision that sees everyone involved in the issue as the same. That means that what is going on now with the Course is just another classroom; another way of seeing whether you want to get your hands, feet, and eyes filled with sand, or to be able to stand with Jesus and be at peace. When you choose vision instead of judgment, as Jesus is always asking us to do, you will see that everyone is involved in the same quest for returning to the mind and choosing again, and that everyone is tempted to be afraid of this journey. When people are afraid, they get caught in the sandbox and start playing with its toys as if they were weapons.
The point here is that people should take whatever stand they think is right, but to try not to let it amount to anything. The only position that is truly right is that we all made the same mistake of choosing the wrong teacher, and now we can make the correction by choosing again. That is the only thing that is important. What is happening now is just another opportunity to choose differently—to see shared instead of separate interests.
Your perspective on A Course in Miracles will be warped if you see it in any way as part of the world of separation and form. It is said that the Buddha once remarked: “What are known as the teachings of the Buddha are not the teachings of the Buddha.” And the same can be said for the Course. In other words, A Course in Miracles is not really a book, nor even a body of specific teachings. It is a symbol for the Atonement, the correction for the thought of separation that is in everyone’s mind. When we recognize this, it would be impossible to judge other students, teachers, or the Course vis a vis itself or other spiritualities. We would not accord it any meaning that is fragmenting or separating. This means that we realize that what is holy is not the book, or Helen—her notebooks, pen, or the fingers that held the pen. It is the thought system in our equal minds that is holy. Otherwise the Course becomes just another symbol of specialness and a means of justifying the ego’s projection of guilt in the form of judgment, division, and conflict. Just as Christianity ended up as a religion of hate and even murder, this course could end up like that, too. Unfortunately, its short history already reflects some of the same dynamics of separation, judgment and exclusion. Yet what else would one expect from the ego? In other words, A Course in Miracles is written by the mind, for the mind—that it correct itself.
Yes, it is important that this communication from Jesus be transmitted accurately, as accurately as is possible, although perfect communication is impossible within the illusion. Yet keep in mind, to say it one more time, that the true communication is not the words, but the love with which Helen joined in her mind, and which is in our own as well—a love that reflects the perfect love and oneness of Heaven. And so, work with whatever symbols are meaningful to you, but do so in such a way that you have no investment in the outcome. Fulfill your function of forgiveness as purely as you can, and what happens after that will not be your concern; otherwise you fall into the ego’s trap of substituting form for content, one of the prime characteristics of special relationships. That is why I keep insisting that A Course in Miracles is not A Course in Miracles—at least not the book or its words. If we can remember the love that is the Course, we will not be taken in by the ego’s seductions of differences and controversy. And when we are able to keep that love pure in ourselves, we will not make the seeming purity of the form so important, recognizing that we are one in content, albeit different in form. And learning to remember that shared content of love in all God’s Sons is the sum and substance of A Course in Miracles.