Answering the call (Sheri Baker on ACIM: Article #5)

By Sheri Baker

Sheri Baker

Sheri Baker

Have you ever sensed a higher calling, a lofty mission only you can fulfill? If experience has taught me anything, it’s that when Divinely-inspired forces place that call, it’s usually a good idea to answer on the first ring.

Amidst all her fear and trepidation about serving as scribe of a mysterious document with unspecified parameters dictated by an inner voice, Helen Schucman pursued the task anyway because she felt called to do so. The document she scribed would become known as A Course in Miracles, and she would eventually consider it her life’s work.

In an interview published by The Foundation For Inner Peace, copyright holder for A Course in Miracles, Helen said, “It made me uncomfortable, but it never seriously occurred to me to stop. It seemed to be a special assignment I had somehow, somewhere agreed to complete.” 

That assignment began in earnest shortly after she and her colleague, Bill Thetford, expressed their intention to unite their efforts to find a better way for people to relate to each other. Helen began to experience a series of visions and dreams of spiritual significance. She found them rather disconcerting, but felt they were preparing her for something. For what, however, she didn’t know.

As a research psychologist, Helen was naturally more comfortable with scientific inquiry than thinking of an esoteric, mystical nature. Needless to say, she found it distressing to take notes from an inner voice she knew could not have been her own.

Bill assured Helen that if she didn’t like what was coming through her, she could simply stop scribing. She followed his advice to use shorthand to take down the inner dictation, and then read it back to him so he could type it up. In a truly collaborative venture, Bill kept an ever reluctant Helen on track throughout the project, allaying her constant apprehension.

Helen described the process of hearing the “voice” to be much like an internal tape recorder that could be started and stopped at any time, allowing her to pick up wherever she left off, even in mid sentence. This was all the more remarkable considering that much of the Course is written in perfect iambic pentameter, a unique symphonic Shakespearean style that stretched far beyond Helen’s own writing abilities, not to mention those of the world’s most celebrated authors.

One has only to read a brief passage from the Course to appreciate its inspired writing style. Also impressive is the account of its journey from completed manuscript to worldwide distribution. When the seven-year scribing process was completed, the right people and resources simply showed up on cue to fulfill their roles, serving as an exquisite demonstration of the Course principle to “stand back and let Him lead the way.”

Everyone answered their call, but who or what was on the other end of the “phone?