A Course in Miracles
I began studying A Course in Miracles around the time I turned forty. It has been my spiritual path – for lack of a better term – ever since. The course had been circling the periphery of my awareness for a couple decades before I turned to it with an open mind. You can’t force this sort of thing. When it’s time – and when it’s right – you’ll know. A time in which to focus – and a need for focus – presented themselves and, as if on cue, ACIM offered itself to me as a means of learning that I was not separate from God.
What is A Course in Miracles? It depends who you talk to. One of its finer qualities is its ability to meet students where they are. I identify as a Christian, albeit one who is deeply and helpfully influenced by eastern religious traditions, as well as the western philosophic traditions. Bill Thetford once called the course “Vedantic Christianity.” That makes sense.
Yet others disagree – sometimes strenuously. They believe the course is the true words and teaching of the historic Jesus. Or that it’s the perfect blend of spirituality and Freudian psychology. Or it’s Christianity for the new age. And so forth. I have long taken the position that there are no wrong readings of A Course in Miracles – only more and less helpful readings. Is it working? Then use it. What works is what’s helpful and what’s helpful is what is true. If you find the course too dense or too orthodox or too conservative – no problem. There are many paths, none inherently better than another.
You might notice that my own thoughts and beliefs about the course have shifted over the years. It’s tempting to edit those early posts, or delete them altogether, but in general I’ve resisted the urge. It’s nice to know where you’ve been, and good to be reminded that you’re in motion. One of my goals is honesty – with myself and, by extension, with those who visit and read here. Nothing I write is gospel, but it may be helpful, if only to the extent that you recognize a friend stumbling along beside you.
All that said, it’s fair to ask what I do in fact believe about ACIM. My practice is grounded in both the text and the workbook lessons. The text is a massive tome that Helen Schucman wrote (or scribed, if you like) first. Approximately the early fifth of that material has been significantly edited. I experience the text as eloquent and internally consistent, relatively speaking. It is not a normal book in any sense of the word – at least not in my experience. It is more akin to a sacred text or scripture, especially in the sense of its fundamental helpfulness.
For many years I practiced the lessons daily. I have been through them several times and – slow learner that I am – continue to study them, albeit in a less intense way than when I began. The lessons ground me in a way the text does not, offering pragmatic opportunities to apply the main ideas of forgiveness. The workbook – and the ACIM daily lessons it offers – are an opportunity to bring the course’s ideas into application. In the end, we’re not really called to “think” or “talk” about miracles – we’re meant to live in and through them. Thus the workbook.
While I have read the related material – the Manual for Teachers, Schucman’s poetry, etc. – it is the text and workbook to which I return most frequently. What the course has done for me is introduce me in a practical and tangible way to Jesus Christ as a symbol of Love and Teacher of Forgiveness. That relationship – which is mysterious and complex and deeply personal and thus hard to talk about in language – has in turn opened a vast space of healing inside of me. It has nurtured an interior relationship with God that is vivid and intense. It is my daily practice and – as imperfect a student as I am – I am never not grateful for its presence in my life.
Is A Course in Miracles right for you? I don’t know. Maybe. Are you interested in what you read here? There are no accidents! Why not try it? Or, if you’re in a dry spell, try it differently? Read a new teacher. Stop doing the lessons. Do the lessons. If you meditate sitting, try meditating while walking. Open an ACIM soup kitchen. Who knows?
A Course in Miracles is a self-study course. Though teachers and coaches and fellow students abound, it is really about what happens on the inside. You and Jesus, you and the Holy Spirit, you and God, you and the Nothing-showing-up-as-Everything. Are those the relationships you want to deepen? Are those the relationships that call to you? If the course is right for you – which is not to say that it will always be easy or fun – then (at least in my experience) nothing else will ever bring you closer to God. And you can always turn back.
I’ve collected those articles here that relate to A Course in Miracles. Perhaps you will find them helpful. Perhaps not. I’m one student among many – many of whom are writing and teaching. Don’t take my word for the course. Find your own. And thank you – thank you! – for reading and sharing with me.