WHAT IS A COURSE IN MIRACLES®?
It is a practical, self-study spiritual curriculum
designed to lead us out of a thought system based
The great classic work, A Course in Miracles, is devoted to teachings about who we are, our relationships to God and with each other, and the actually mental nature of our bodies and the world. There are three constituent parts to the Course: The Text, a Workbook for Students, and the Manual for Teachers. The Text lays out the theoretical foundation for the metaphysical system of the Course. The Workbook contains a series of 365 Lessons to be practiced daily for the purpose of retraining the mind and healing our perception. Finally, the Manual contains information for and about advanced teachers of God. The Course is also about miracles, which students understand to be, in part, a shift in perception to healed vision. But miracles are more than a shift in perception, because the shift has consequences in the world as we see it. The Course is a self study educational program for retraining the mind that is spiritual, rather than religious, in its perspective. Although the Course uses Christian terminology, it expresses a universal experience, and its underlying ontology is reminiscent of ancient refrains, echoing the world's most hallowed traditions.
How it came
A Course in Miracles® began when two people joined in a common goal. They were both professors of Medical Psychology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. The Course came as a kind of rapid, inner dictation which Helen Schucman took down in shorthand notebooks and later read to William Thetford, who then typed the original manuscripts. This inner dictation came from a "Voice" which identified itself as Jesus. Many students of A Course in Miracles® believe that the Course stands on the merit of its contents and not by the claim of its authorship.
The Course provides a way in which some people will be able to find their own Internal Teacher, The Holy Spirit. There are both similarities and differences between the teachings of A Course in Miracles® and the teachings of the Bible. The differences include the teaching of A Course in Miracles® that we are not guilty or sinful before God, and that God requires no sacrifice or punishment in order for us to be united with Him. While we acknowledge these and other differences, we also acknowledge our respect for the Bible and encourage the study of it.
What It Is
First published in 1976, the Course is arranged throughout as a teaching device. It consists of three books: a 669-page Text, a 488-page Workbook for Students, and a 92-page Manual for Teachers. The curriculum is carefully conceived and is explained step-by-step at both the theoretical and practical levels. It emphasizes application rather than theory, and experience rather than theology.
Although Christian terms are used, the Course deals with universal spiritual themes. It embraces much of eastern philosophical thought combined with western modern psychology. It emphasizes that it is but one of the many paths which all lead to God in the end. The Course makes no claim to finality and at the end, the reader is given into the hands of his or her own Internal Teacher, Who will direct all subsequent learning.
What It Says
Nothing real can be threatened
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.
This is how A Course in Miracles® begins. It makes a fundamental distinction between the real and the unreal, between knowledge and perception. Knowledge is truth, under one law, the law of Love or God. Truth is unalterable, eternal and unambiguous. It can be unrecognized, but it cannot be changed. It applies to everything that God created, and only what He created is real. It has no opposite, no beginning and no end. It merely is.
The world of perception, on the other hand, is the world of time, of change, of beginnings and endings. It is based on interpretation, not on facts. It is founded on the belief in scarcity, loss, separation and death. It is learned rather than given, selective in its perceptual emphases, unstable in its functioning, and inaccurate in its interpretations.
From Knowledge and perception respectively, two distinct thought systems arise which are opposite in every respect. The thought system based on knowledge, love and truth, leads to peace. The thought system based on perception is made by the belief in opposites and separate wills, in perpetual conflict with each other and with God.
Every step in the Course is designed to enable the student to gradually shift from seeing the world through eyes of fear to seeing the world through eyes of love. The Course has its own definitions for many terms. "Sin" is defined as lack of love. "Forgive" means to recognize our perceptual errors and to look past our distorted self-concepts to the Self that God created in us and as us. Through a process of "forgiveness" as taught in the Course, we learn to accept our brothers and at last to forgive ourselves. Similarly, old words such as God, Christ, Holy Spirit, Heaven, Atonement, and others, are defined differently than we learned in the past.
About A Course in Miracles
A Course in Miracles is a complete self-study spiritual thought system. As a three-volume curriculum consisting of a Text, Workbook for Students, and Manual for Teachers. It teaches that the way to universal love and peace is by undoing guilt through forgiveness. The Course focuses on the healing of relationships. It says it is but one version of the universal curriculum, of which there are "many thousands." The Course represents a non-sectarian, non-denominational spirituality. It is a universal spiritual teaching, not a religion.
A Course in Miracles states that "its goal for you is happiness and peace." (T-13.II.7:1) The Text explains the basis for fear and guilt, and how they can be overcome. Miracles are a shift in perception from fear to love.
The "Workbook for Students" consists of 365 lessons, an exercise for each day of the year. The "Manual for Teachers" is written in question-and-answer form and provides answers to some of the more likely questions a student might ask.
A Course in Miracles was "scribed" by Dr. Helen Schucman through a process of inner dictation she identified as coming from Jesus. A clinical and research psychologist and Professor of Medical Psychology, she was assisted by Dr. William Thetford, her department head, at Columbia University School of Medicine in New York City.
The Course was first published in 1975 by the Foundation for Inner Peace. There are currently over one and a half million copies of the Course in circulation worldwide. Translations in Spanish, Russian, Finnish, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, German, Hebrew, Italian, and Portuguese are available, with eleven other translations now in progress.
The summary introduction for A Course in Miracles appears in its Text.
"This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite. This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way: Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.
Some quotations from A Course in Miracles
There is no order of difficulty in miracles.
I seek a future different from the past.
If you bring the past to the present you make a future like the past.
This day I choose to spend in peace.
This is a course in how to know yourself.
Can you imagine what it means to have no
cares, no worries, no anxieties,
I could see peace instead of this.
Knowledge is not the motivation for learning this course. Peace is.
Seek only this and do not let theology delay you.
You are the work of God, and His work is wholly lovable and wholly loving.
[Excerpted from http://www.miraclescenter.com/WhatIsACIM.htm]
A Course in Miracles is not affiliated with any church.
The following is from Ken Wapnick's tape entitled "An Overview of A Course in Miracles."
There is an important line in the text that says: "Into eternity, where all is
one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to
laugh." This tiny mad idea was the belief the Son of God, could be separate from
his Creator and Source. In reality again, this never happened. There is a line
in the Manual that speaks of the separation and says: "In time this happened
long ago, in reality it never happened at all." It just seemed to have happened.
And what seemed to have happened was that the Son of God, basically said to his
Father: "What you have given me is not enough, I want something more. I want
something more than everything. Your love is not enough because your love does
not recognize me as an individual. I want to be recognized. I want to be paid
attention to. I want you to notice me, because in a non-dualistic world of
spirit, there is no notice." As the workbook says: "There is no place where the
Father ends and the Son begins as something apart from Him.