Is A Course in Miracles Dangerous?

For a long time my answer to this question was: don’t be silly. And in a sense, that’s still my answer. It’s just a book with a year’s worth of lessons that most people never even finish, let along bring into application. What’s the risk? What’s the harm?

But I think a better answer might be that A Course in Miracles can be dangerous, especially if you’re settled into a way of thinking about life and God that you don’t want disturbed, and you’re actually committed to looking into that way of thinking in a sustained and serious way.

Even half-hearted students tend to find the course disruptive to their established belief system. And this is not always welcome, and can often feel like an attack. And attacked people usually feel like they’re in danger.

Yet this sense of the course only arises because we are scared of love – and, in particular, of the world’s symbols of love, especially God.

. . . you see love as destructive, and your only question is who is to be destroyed, you or another? You seek to answer this question in your special relationships, in which you seem to be both destroyer and destroyed in part, but able to be neither completely. And this you think saves you from God, Whose total Love would completely destroy you (T-15.X.7:4-6).

So when you ask if A Course in Miracles is dangerous, it might be helpful to go a step further and ask: of what am I scared? God? Love? The death of ego? The end of the world?

In the context of the body and the world – and the egoic belief system undergirding both – these questions appear reasonable. So in that context, it’s important to ask them and the go deeply into the various answers. A Course in Miracles is a way – not the way but a way – to do this.

It’s not a cult. It’s not a shallow New Age fantasy for non-serious people, though like all paths and traditions and methods, some people work it harder and more effectively than others.

The course is simply a means by which to challenge established patterns of thought that are bringing about results – guilt, anxiety, unhappiness, fear et cetera – that we don’t want. In that sense, it is a pragmatic framework for psychological healing in a spiritual context.

Now, does A Course in Miracles always work? No. Can it confuse people in unhelpful ways? Sure. Sometimes. But that is the nature of healing – there are no sure things. We find a program or technique that feels resonant and we give attention to it for a while. If it works, great. If not, that’s okay, too.

Becoming happy – in a deep and sustainable way – is a reasonable goal in the context of our bodies in the world. A Course in Miracles can be a fruitful means of reaching that happiness. The “danger” it poses reflects the radical shifts in thought that – upsetting at first blush – actually produce a quiet joy and inner peace.

And, of course, if everything goes haywire, we can always turn back.

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