I even had a very powerful
dream of Jesus coming to me the night before I went to Jerusalem for the
first time. And yet all the while, I never once consciously thought of
the figure associated with these places, not to mention his central place
in the monastic life to which I was aspiring.
. . . summer of 1973, I made
plans to visit the Abbey of Gethsemani, the Trappist monastery I had originally
thought to enter, and many of whose monks I had become friendly with. .
. . as I was about to leave for the airport, Bill [Thetford] gave me an
index card with one of the workbook lessons typed on it. I arrived in Louisville
late that evening, and reached the monastery the next morning . . .
I ended up spending a week at the monastery,
during which time Jesus finally 'showed up' for me. It occurred very early
Sunday morning. I was up about an hour before the monks' first prayer service,
which was to begin at 3:00 A.M., and was continuing my first-time reading
of the Course manuscript. That morning I was reading the closing pages
of the text. As I began the paragraphs beginning with the words "Deny me
not the little gift I ask," it suddenly dawned on the conscious, non- intellectual
part of my mind, who the first person of the Course truly was. I had known,
of course, but not really. And now suddenly I did know. Tears welled up
inside me as I made my way down to the Church for Matins.
The Abbot had given me a stall
midst the monks to allow me to participate directly with them during prayer,
and at the close of the service I remained in the dark and silent church
while the monks filed out for their period of private prayer. It would
be about two more hours until the next service would begin, and I looked
forward to being alone in the church. After a time I began to hear what
was now becoming a familiar inner voice, which I always identified with
God. But now, all at once, it occurred to me in a moment I shall never
forget, that the voice was more personal than I had ever before experienced,
and that the person was Jesus, the same Jesus whose gentle, loving, and
authoritative voice was the source of A Course in Miracles. I could not
contain the tears that streamed down my face, nor the inner joy I felt.
It clearly had been, and still has remained, the central experience of
my existence here on earth.
I remained at the monastery a few more
days, basking in the warm glow of this new friendship with my ancient friend,
whose name I have known for all time. The day I was to leave the monastery
I stood in the visitor's lounge, awaiting the monk who was to drive me
to the airport. I stuck my hand in my jacket pocket and discovered the
index card Bill had given me. I could scarcely believe what I read, from
Lesson 303 . . .
As I continued the second part of the lesson,
I knew that in my heart of hearts I had finally welcomed the Son of God
known as Jesus, as well as my true Self: two selves here, yet one Self
The holy Christ is born in me today.
Watch with me, angels, watch with me today. Let all God's holy Thoughts
surround me, and be still with me while Heaven's Son is born. Let earthly
sounds be quiet, and the sights to which I am accustomed disappear.
Let Christ be welcomed where He is at home. And let Him hear the sounds
He understands, and see but sights that show His Father's Love. Let Him
no longer be a stranger here, for He is born again in me today." [W-pII.303.1]
[Upon returning to Israel Ken planned to
dig in a cave where Helen and Bill thought some important relic might be
Your Son is welcome, Father. He has come to save me from the evil self
I made. He is the Self That You have given me. He is but what I really
am in truth. He is the Son You love above all things; He is my Self as
You created me. It is not Christ That can be crucified. Safe in Your
Arms let me receive Your Son. [W-pII.303.2]
[Bill] thought perhaps there was an
important scroll to be found there, buried in a cylinder. . . . While the
full details of this should perhaps await another book, I shall briefly
summarize my experience with the cave.
There was an interior entrance within
the cave itself, that led, so we hoped, to the buried resting place of
this unknown object. The abbot planned on sealing this entrance, which
would then become the tabernacle and home of the Blessed Sacrament. I persuaded
him, however, to delay this sealing for a couple of weeks, to allow me
to do some exploring. He graciously consented, and so I began a four-day
"dig" (August 9-12). . . .
But I found nothing after three days
except some old coins and pottery shards . . . .
Nonetheless, the process itself was
an extremely meaningful one for me; my awareness of Jesus' presence deepened
as I dug deeper into the inner recesses of the cave, obviously a personal
symbol of going deeper into my mind. . . .
I decided on Saturday, the third day
of digging, that Sunday would be my final attempt, regardless of what was
found or not found. And then, as we had arranged previously, I would call
Helen and Bill on Monday. I awoke early Sunday morning from a very happy
dream . . . I then walked up the small hill on the way to the cave. The
sun was just rising, and in its pristine brightness I could almost see
the risen Jesus, and felt the rising joy of his resurrected life in me.
I knew this morning would bring something.
I entered the interior of the cave for
the last time, and not too long afterwards, while digging in an area I
had already been through, found a stone-carved ring. It had etchings on
it that I could neither decipher nor recognize, though it seemed ancient
indeed. I felt a great joy, even though this was clearly not what Helen
or Bill envisioned. But I felt then that the ring symbolized a gift from
Jesus to me, symbolic of a wedding between our two selves. For me it was
the culmination of the entire summer, beginning with my Gethsemani experience.
I left the cave shortly afterwards, overflowing with gratitude for my wonderful