What is A Course In Miracles?
A COURSE IN MIRACLES is the unearthly contemporary body of work given to the mind as one form of the answer to anyone’s call for a “better way”.
The primary purpose of the course is to undo the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence and bring about a consistent state of joy and peace reflective of our natural state. Anyone willing to follow the instructions given and apply the principles and lesson plan laid out in the Text, Workbook and Manual for Teachers are assured of the change of mind the course affirms.
A brief history of A Course In Miracles:
In 1965 two well-respected New York psychologists, (Helen Schucman Ph.D. and William “Bill” Thetford Ph.D.), reached an impasse in both their personal and professional lives. The two colleagues who worked together, were professors of medical psychology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Tired of the dysfunction which permeated these relationships, Bill uncharacteristically made a speech declaring to Helen, “There must be a better way!” Helen, to her surprise immediately agreed to join him and help him find that way.
At that moment, unbeknownst to either Helen or Bill, Helen was to become the “just scribe” for dictation and instruction from the Christ mind of Jesus of Nazareth and Bill to be entrusted with making editing decisions as to what of the material Helen received, would be included and excluded in what would later be published as the generalized version of A Course In Miracles.
Approximately four months after Helen’s decision to join with Bill, she began hearing an “inner Voice” which she identified as the voice of Jesus. The inner Voice instructed Helen, saying, “This is a course in miracles, please take notes.” Helen rather distressed by this occurrence, turned to Bill for counsel about the matter. To Bill’s credit, he advised Helen to follow the instruction and together they could look at the material and see what it had to say.
As Helen listened to the voice of Jesus, she took notes in her own personalized version of ‘shorthand.’ The notes began with the promise, “You will see miracles through your hands through Me.” While Helen generally took the ‘notes’ down in the evening, the VOICE could and would speak to her at any time she asked or made herself available.
The dictated notes Helen scribed were shared with Bill each morning before both Helen and Bill began their daily work at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. Helen would read the notes to Bill and as she did so, would often receive extra notes or corrections. As she read, Bill type them in type written format. The result which is in the public domain, became commonly known as the “Urtext.”
Throughout the period of time it took Helen to scribe Jesus’s discourse and instructions, the communication between Jesus and Helen contained not only direction for what would become the generalized from of A Course In Miracles but also personal information, guidance and instruction not only for Helen but for Bill and others.
Since the first generalized publication became available in 1976, there have been a number of versions of A Course In Miracles made available, the later versions including material that was edited and changed from the original edit completed by Bill Thetford.
What does A Course In Miracles consist of?
Use of Terms:
In the Use of Terms, Jesus, as the author, gives explanations of what he means when HE uses specific words and terms throughout A Course In Miracles.
He uses traditional vocabulary as a means of expression throughout the body of work but many of the terms used, point to and mean something quite different or have a broader application than the way they are commonly used within the human mind and our past learning.
In the Use of Terms, Jesus redefines those words so as to have us think, within the context of his masterpiece, along the same lines HE is he uses these terms and therefore have us understand what HE is saying.
The Text is the theoretical framework that provides us with an understanding of the “purpose” for A Course In Miracles and its application.
In it, Jesus speaks to us and tells us how consistent inner PEACE can be obtained through the implementation of “forgiveness”. He explicitly informs us as to how we are currently using our hearts and minds in a manner that does not serve our best interests if we truly desire to be happy and at peace and learn to use our minds purely constructively reflecting our natural state of mind in creation.
Through the utilization of his theory and lesson application, Jesus gives us a way in which our hearts and minds learn to open in order to operate and cooperate in a new way that brings about the end of any sense of isolation, vulnerability and purposelessness, replacing it with a sense of certainty, wholeness, lasting peace, inner joy and true purpose.
The Workbook contains 365 lessons… one for each day. It’s application initially undoes our past way of thinking, releasing our old way of thinking to open our mind and change how and with what we perceive. This new way of seeing brings about a contemporary or new understanding freeing us from repeating and reliving the past, revealing an innocent state of mind, present to the newness and aliveness of each moment.
Manual for Teachers:
The Manual for Teachers helps us extend what we are learning and demonstrates to ourselves and others through direct experience the natural state of mind. Jesus tells us, “We teach what we need to learn and the Manual for Teachers helps us understand this in a practical manner, emphasizing the importance of sharing and joining with our brothers as we go about our affairs here in the world. This changes the focus of our life within our perceptual experience, from a focus centred only on death, protection and pleasure of the body, to one based on being reborn a-new in spirit, purpose and awareness of what LIFE truly is.
“The aim of our curriculum, unlike the goal of the world’s learning, is the recognition that judgement in the usual sense is impossible. This is not an opinion but a fact.
In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things, past, present, and to come. One would have to recognize in advance all the effects of his judgements on everyone and everything involved in them in any way. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception, so that his judgement would be wholly fair to everyone on whom it rests now and in the future. Who is in a position to do this? Who except in grandiose fantasies would claim this for himself?
Remember how many times you thought you knew all the “facts” you needed for judgement, and how wrong you were! Is there anyone who has not had this experience? Would you know how many times you merely thought you were right, without ever
realizing you were wrong? Why would you choose such an arbitrary basis for decision-making? Wisdom is not judgement; it is the relinquishment of judgement.
Make then but one more judgement. It is this; there is Someone with you Whose judgement is perfect. He does know all the facts, past, present, and to come. He does know all the effects of His judgement on everyone and everything involved in
any way. And He is wholly fair to everyone, for there is no distortion in His perception.
Therefore lay judgement down, not with regret but with a sigh of gratitude. Now are you free of a burden so great that you could merely stagger and fall down beneath it. And it was all illusion. Nothing more. Now can the teacher of God rise up unburdened and
walk lightly on. Yet it is not only this that is his benefit. His sense of care is gone, for he has none. He has given it away, along with judgement. He gave himself to Him Whose judgement he has chosen now to trust instead of his own.
Now he makes no mistakes. His Guide is sure. And where he came to judge he comes to bless. Where now he laughs he used to come to weep.
It is not difficult to relinquish judgement. But it is difficult indeed to try to keep it. The teacher of God lays it down happily the instant he recognizes its cost. All of the ugliness he sees about him is its outcome. All of the pain he looks upon is its result. All of the
loneliness and sense of loss; of passing time and growing hopelessness; of sickening despair and fear of death; all these have come of it. And now he knows that these things need not be. Not one is true. For he has given up their cause, and they, which never were but the effects of his mistaken choice, have fallen from him.
Teacher of God, this step will bring you peace. Can it be difficult to want but this?” – A Course in Miracles Sparkly Edition