A Course in Miracles
I began studying A Course in Miracles around the time I turned forty. It had been circling on the periphery for a couple of decades before that. But you can’t force this stuff. 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 on cue, ACIM offered itself as a means.
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.
Others disagree – sometimes strenuously. It’s the true words of the historic Jesus. Or it’s the perfect blend of spirituality and 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. Is it working? Then use it. If it’s too dense or too orthodox or too conservative – no problem. There are many paths.
Readers will 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 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. 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 – a massive tome that Helen Schucman scribed first (the early fifth of which is quite heavily edited). It is an eloquent, relatively internally consistent and wordy pieces of writing that I’ve turned to. It is not a normal book in any sense of the word – at least not in my experience. To me, it is a sacred text, in the sense that it is deeply helpful.
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 earlier. The lessons ground me in a way the text does not. 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. That relationship – which is mysterious and complex and deeply personal and thus hard to talk about in language – has in turn opened space inside of me. It has nurtured an interior relationship with God that is so vivid and intense and even frightening. 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 it 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 it while walking. Open an ACIM soup kitchen. Who knows?
A Course in Miracles is a self-study course. Though teachers and coaches 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 dropping by.