By Sheri Baker
“This is a course in miracles. Please take notes.”
It was a simple instruction given to Helen Schucman in October 1965 by what she referred to as an inner voice. She had no idea what this so-called course was about, how long she would be expected to take notes, or why she had been selected to assume the role of scribe in the first place.
At the time she received this mysterious directive, Helen was working as a research psychologist at the prestigious Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. Seven years earlier, she had been hired for the position by William Thetford, director of the Psychology Department.
As is typical in many work environments, Helen and Bill often found it difficult to relate to each other and their colleagues in a harmonious way. The two professors were highly educated in the field of psychology, but apparently it would take more than their PhDs to understand how to manage the ongoing conflicts in their personal and professional relationships. They definitely needed a new template for human interaction.
A few months before the “voice” issued its curious request of Helen, Bill had given her a heartfelt speech about the general inability of people to get along with each other. Exasperated over this dilemma, he insisted “there must be a better way.” Without hesitation, Helen responded, “I’ll help you find it.”
Unbeknownst to either of them, that instant of joining sealed a powerful agreement to usher into the world an extraordinary spiritual document that turns many psychological assumptions upside down. This “better way” of relating to others would ultimately emerge as A Course in Miracles.
Not surprisingly, the realm of the miraculous was not confined solely to the content of the book. From inception to birth, the story of the Course plays out like a divinely-orchestrated dance with a stellar lineup of participants keeping perfect step to the beat.
It was a miracle itself, later defined by the Course as a shift in perception from fear to love, that launched Helen and Bill’s incredible venture when the two agreed to set aside their separate interests and perceived differences to come together for the greater good. It would take many more miracles to bring the Course to publication and beyond.