When you have learned how to decide with God, all decisions become as easy and as right as breathing. There is no effort, and you will be led as gently as if you were being carried down a quiet path in the summer.
—A Course in Miracles
A Course in Miracles was “dictated” to Helen Schucman in the mid 1960’s and was first published in 1976. With teachers such as Marianne Williamson, Robert Perry, David Hoffmeister and Kenneth Wapnick its popularity has increased considerably.
A Course in Miracles is a three-volume book that offers a complete system of spiritual psychotherapy. It uses familiar Christian terminology to express universal spiritual themes. Unlike much of Christianity, it is more a philosophy such as Vedanta or classical yoga. A Course in Miracles has the sole aim of helping students remove the psychological blocks that prevent us from experiencing love and joy.
The three volumes are the Text, the Workbook and the Manual for Teachers. The Text is the first book in the three-volume series. It is the foundation on which ACIM rests. It is by far the largest portion of A Course in Miracles at 669 pages. It is also the most abstract of the three books. Reading and studying the Text allows the student to understand some of the basic concepts that A Course in Miracles teaches. The Text redefines just about every common Christian term with each of these concepts presented in a new light, devoid of the guilt with which these terms have so often become associated.
The second volume, the Workbook, is a practical expression of the concepts in the Text. It provides 365 daily lessons to train the mind to perceive correctly. It is the tool that is used to “remove the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence”. The Workbook is divided into two sections. The first section works to undo the thought patterns we currently hold. The second replaces those patterns with a more accurate thought system. Over the course of a year, these simple yet profound lessons reshape the way the student thinks. By using these lessons, a new vision of the world is achieved, and the student begins to see through eyes of peace and forgiveness, rather than through the eyes of doubt, fear and prejudice.
The third volume, the Manual, is A Course in Miracles’ way of preparing its students to bring their newfound peace of mind to others. A Course in Miracles states over and over that we are all teachers to each other. Either we teach a message of fear or one of love. The Manual helps us to present a message of love in a clear and direct way. The Manual also includes a Clarification of Terms, which shines light on some of the basic concepts in the Course material.
WHERE DID ACIM COME FROM?
The answer to this question depends on who you ask. According to the writing in the three volumes, the author was Jesus, speaking through Helen Schucman. Some people believe the book came from her subconscious and others believe that Jesus wrote it directly through her. The nice thing about A Course in Miracles is that you don’t need to believe in Jesus, or believe that he wrote it, in order to benefit from it. There are many people who ignore the claim that Jesus was involved altogether, and still experience the peace that A Course in Miracles promises. Like all spiritual paths, A Course in Miracles should be evaluated based on its effectiveness. Like all thought systems, it should be free of contradictions. Where it came from or how it was inspired is of little consequence either way when you judge the material on its other merits.
IS ACIM RIGHT FOR ME?
A Course in Miracles is a great path for a lot of people, but it is not for everyone. I recommend that you read A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, or Path of Light by Robert Perry. They are both easy to read, and they both outline the basic tenets of A Course in Miracles. Also, you may want to find a study group in your area or join one of my online groups. Many people find that joining a study group helps them understand the material more easily. A list of study groups throughout the world can be found through The Miracle Distribution Center. If, after doing these things, you feel like A Course in Miracles is going to be a part of your life, I recommend you purchase a copy of the book and begin to study it on a daily basis.
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH ACIM?
I have been a student of A Course in Miracles since 1991. Like yoga and meditation, it has become a fundamental part of my spiritual life. Not only has it has helped me to move beyond much of the bitterness I once held toward Christianity, it has helped me look at the world in a new way. I read from A Course in Miracles almost every day and use it a great deal in my spiritual couching work. I have also found it is a wonderful bridge between Eastern and Western philosophy.