New Realities Magazine – March 1982
By Judith R. Skutch
We were enjoying a pleasant visit in my New York City apartment a few years ago- Willis Harman, Helen Schucman, and I. The topics of conversation ranged from scientific protocols to world affairs and back again. Charming, chatty, warm and responsive, it was clear that Helen, “scribe” of the spiritual writings called A Course in Miracles, was enjoying the company. We had lost track of time when suddenly Willis – senior futures scientist at SRI International and president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences – realized he had to catch a plane westward.
“Helen,” he remarked, “we’ve talked of just about everything except what I’d like most to discuss, your true feelings about A Course in Miracles. Would you object to sharing your opinion of the A Course in Miracles with me?”
Helen looked at Willis thoughtfully as if to assess how open she could let herself be. Then with a penetrating glance, she replied, “You see, Willis, I know it’s true, but I just don’t believe it!”
Recalling this incident now I realize how much that ambivalent statement summed up Helen’s attitude toward the self-help system of spiritual psychotherapy she agreed to “scribe.” She often told me half in jest, “I promised to take it down, but I never said l’d practice it.” Somehow Helen’s slightly irreverent approach made the Course less threatening to me as a student of it-to start unlearning everything I thought I’d been taught by the world. And what a teacher she was! “Do as I say, not as I do” became the rule. I was given so many opportunities to be startled by her profound understanding of the lofty belief system represented by the Course, which was in constant contrast to her thoroughly consistent ego reactions to the world.
I still remember how thrilled I was later when Helen first decided to let me read her inspired poetry. I knew she felt it was an intimate glimpse into her hidden self, and I felt grateful for that gesture of friendship and trust. Although the Course was a collaborative venture entered into by both Helen and her close associate Dr. William N. Thetford (then tenured Professor of Medical Psychology and her boss in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University), the poetry represented a much more private expression of her spiritual search. I treasured particularly the emotional impact of specific poems and found here and there a special turn of phrase which would leap out and grab my heart.
“Peace is a woman, mother to the world” she wrote, and I knew I would echo that thought often when I spoke publicly. “Hold out Your hand my Lord. I am not far/From home. But still I do not see the way/As yet. . .” reminded me poignantly that it was not just Helen who sometimes felt despair. And then when I read the lines, “It happens suddenly. There is a Voice/That speaks a Word and everything is changed,” I felt an early childhood mystical experience was validated. I was especially touched by the poem “Long Darkness,” which begins “Father, Your child is crying in the night/Because she thinks that she is all alone/In darkness and in fear.” I felt transported from anguish to the comfort of the closing, “She is afraid. But let her hear the sound/Of Heaven’s reassurance, and the years/Of almost helpless waiting and despair/Shrink to a holy instant and are gone.” Helen’s final “assignment” as a “scribe” came in the form of a very long poem in iambic pentameter entitled, “The Gifts of God.” A soaring sense of flight engulfed me as I repeated this paragraph to myself:
“Rest could be yours because of what God is. He loves you as a mother loves her child; her only one, the only love she has, her all-in-all, extension of herself, as much a part of her as breath itself. He loves you as a brother loves his own; born of one father, still as one in him, and bonded with a seal that cannot break. He loves you as a lover loves his own; his chosen one, his joy, his very life, the one he seeks when she has gone away, and brings him peace again on her return. He loves you as a father loves his son, without whom would his self be incomplete, whose immortality completes his own, for in him is the chain of love complete – a golden circle that will never end, a song that will be sung throughout all time and afterwards, and always will remain the deathless sound of loving and of love. ”
When Helen Schucman died last year, she knew by the welcoming response to A Course in Miracles that she and Bill had left a loving legacy to countless seekers throughout the world. However, her revealing poetry had been seen by very few. After her death, when some of us gathered to recall Helen in love and gratitude, we recited a few of our favorite verses. As we reflected and felt the impact on our emotions engendered by the words and rhythm, it impressed itself upon us that the entire collection of poetry was indeed a miracle, too, and was now to be shared with all as a book – “The Gifts of God.”
Here, then, are selected samplings from The Gifts of God containing 114 of Helen’s poems, just published, seen here publicly for the first time.
My soul is still. It does not know the thoughts
My mind imagines. It does not perceive
My meaningless endeavors, nor the goals
Of sin and madness in which I believe.
Immovable my soul remains, and sure
Of immortality, in peace so deep
That all the shocks I feel can not come near
Its limitless tranquility. I sleep,
And dream of evil and decay and death,
Of which my soul knows nothing, Perfectly
It rests in its Creator and in me.
SONG TO MY SELF
I cannot be replaced. I am unique
In God’s creation. I am held so dear
By Him that it is madness to believe
That I could suffer pain or loss or fear.
Holy am I; in sinlessness complete,
In wisdom infinite, in love secure,
In patience perfect, and in faithfulness
Beyond all thought of sin, and wholly pure.
Who could conceive of suffering for me?
Surely the mind that thought it is insane.
I never left my Father’s house. What need
Have I to journey back to Him again?
THE HOLY RELATIONSHIP
I am God’s Son, His mother, father, friend,
His brother and His love. For all of this
Is He to me, and thus am I to Him.
The world is His. And being His is mine.
My holiness extends from Him, to be
His holiness, by love complete in me.
To heal it is not needful to allow
The thought of bodies to’ engulf your mind
In darkness and illusions. Healing is
Escape from all such thoughts. You hold instead
Only a single thought, which teaches You
Your brother is united with your mind,
So bodily intrusions on his peace
Cannot arise to jeopardize the Son
Whom God created sinless as Himself.
Think never of the body, Healing is
The thought of unity. Forget all things
That seem to separate. Your brother’s pain
Has but one remedy; the same as yours.
He must be whole, because he joins with you,
And you are healed, because you join with him.
MOTHER OF THE WORLD
Peace is a woman, mother to the world,
Whom God has sent to lay a gentle hand
Across a thousand children’s fevered brows.
In its cool certainty there is no fear,
And from her breasts there comes a quietness
For them to lean against and to be still.
She brings a message to their frightened hearts
From Him Who sent her. Listen now to her
Who is your mother in your Father’s Name:
“Do not attend the voices of the world.
Do not attempt to crucify again
My first-born Son, and brother still to you.”
Heaven is in her eyes, because she looked
Upon this Son who was the first. And now
She looks to you to find him once again.
Do not deny the mother of the world
The only thing she ever wants to see,
For it is all you ever want to find.
THE CIRCULAR WAY
The transient things are not of God.
For He Creates like to Himself. How can it be
That what the One Eternal calls His Own
Has but a little life, with breath on loan
And mortgaged unto death? We seem to go
From birth to certain death, and do not know
What goes before or after. Yet we tread
A golden circle, and are surely led
Back to the Source of our infinity,
To which we will return as certainty.
The world knows not of quiet. Restlessness
Is its abiding law. From there it goes
To pain and joylessness, and back again
To the unceasing restlessness on which
It stands, uncertain, insecure and frail,
Prey to illusions, victimized by guilt.
Yet quietness comes over it at last.
For when forgiveness comes, its certain gift
Is stillness, in which all the world is hushed;
A silence where the littleness of sin
Shrinks into nothingness before the Love
Forgiveness represents. And in His Name
Is everyone acknowledged as the same.
Say but “I love you” to all living things,
And they will lay their blessing over you
To keep you ever safe and ever sure
That you belong to God and He to you.
What but “I love you” could the greeting be
Of Christ to Christ, Who welcomes but Himself?
And what are you except the Son of God,
The Christ Whom He would welcome to Himself?
I did not know Your Voice. And what I heard
I did not understand. There was a Word
In which was everything. Yet all I found
In its immensity was but the sound
Of meaningless contention. I passed by
A thousand waiting angels, And as I
Rushed along vain detours I did not see
The hosts of holiness surrounding me.
Yet I will certainly return. For You
Have promised that whatever I may do,
Angels arid holy hosts will wait; the Word
Will hover over me till it is heard.
Strange was my Love to me. For when He came
I did not know Him. And He seemed to me
To be but an intruder on my peace.
I did not see the gifts He brought, nor heard
His soft appeal. I tried to shut Him out
With locks and keys that merely fell away
Before His coming. I could not escape
The gentleness with which He looked at me.
I asked Him in unwillingly, and turned
Away from Him. But He held out His hand
And asked me to remember Him. In me
An ancient Name began to stir and break
Across my mind in gold. The light embraced
Me deep in silence till He spoke the Word,
And then at last I recognized my Lord.
You are not asked to sacrifice the good
Or the desirable in any way.
You are asked only to renounce all things
That would destroy your peace. For God is Love.
Center your thoughts on Him, and you will see
He gives you everything, with neither more
Nor less conceivable from this time forth,
And on to the eternal. Sorrow is
Inaccurate perception; pain is but
A sad mistake. Renounce but this, and you
Call unto Christ to pardon and renew.
THE HOLY PURPOSE
There is no death. What God creates must be
Eternal, changeless, incorruptible
And safe forever. Can the holy die?
And can the Son of God be made as he
Was not created? Heed the body not.
It serves its purpose and is given up.
It cannot suffer if the mind invests
It with a holy purpose. Miracles
Are always ready to restore and heal
The mind’s intent, if it forget its goal.
Communication, then restored, will be
The Holy Spirit’s single remedy.
There is a singing underneath the world
That holds it up, and enters in behind
All twisted thoughts, and comes to set them straight.
There is an ancient melody that still
Abides in every mind and sings of peace,
Eternity, and all the quiet things
That God created. Angels sing with joy,
And offer you their song, for it is yours.
You sing as ceaselessly. The Son of God
Can never sing alone. His voice is shared
By all the universe. It is the call
To God, and answered by His Voice Itself.
Angels are Thoughts that come from God to you.
Secure in their protection may you rest;
Quiet in certainty that comes from them,
At peace in mind and heart and holiness;
Unmindful of the world, and sure that they
Are with you, watching over you, and fixed
In their determination to maintain.
Copyrighted material. All rights reserved. Used with permission.