The Nuts and Bolts of the Course…

The Foundation for Inner Peace’s version of A Course In Miracles is a thick navy blue book (over 1000 pages) that contains three books within it (3 for the price of one : )  They include the Text, Workbook, and Manual for Teachers.

This is a mind training course with the intent to guide us experientially.  In other words the intent of its teaching is to take us beyond theology and into an experience (Peace.)  It is spiritually themed and is aligned with universal spiritual truths.  It has no central organization nor does it set forth a dogmatic style – it’s NOT a religion.

Its central theme is that we are ONE, perfect and never separated from our creator.  It is a spiritual training program with an intent to guide us back to that realization.  It teaches us that through the means of forgiveness we can undo the blocks that keep us from our natural inheritance (Love.)

Its Introduction reads:

“This is a course in miracles.  It is a required course.  Only the time you take it is voluntary.  Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum.  It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time.  The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught.  It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance.  The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.

This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:

Nothing real can be threatened.  Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.” – A Course In Miracles

The Text Book

This is the longest component of the three books at 669 pages.  The text lays out the thought system in which the Course is based.  The Course uses Christian language.  This was a struggle for me at first.  Growing up Catholic I had associated Christian terms with meaning that is not necessarily aligned with the way the Course uses the terms in its text.  In fact this can appear challenging for many people who are not used to or comfortable with Christian terminology.  However, once one gets used to the language and comes to the understanding that words are but symbols (of symbols,) the reading becomes enjoyable and enlightening.  That said, many students find it helpful to use complimentary resources such as the web, teachers and study groups to aid in learning.  Or better said, aid in the “unlearning” of worldly thinking that prevents us from experiencing what the Course aims to teach.  The text provides the theoretical framework of the Course.

The Workbook

The workbook puts the Course’s philosophy into a comprehensive practice.  The Workbook consists of 365 lessons, one for each day of the year.  This is by far my favorite part of the Course and what I believe inspires the experience of the Course’s teaching (Peace.)  The workbook is the “training” for the mind.

Manual For Teachers

The Manual For Teachers is for those of us who wish to continue our experiential study of A Course In Miracles and its principles.  The Course maintains that the role of student and teacher is reversed in the thinking of the physical world.  So the curriculum in the manual isn’t laid out in the traditional sense (as the world would define a teacher’s manual.)  The manual also serves to answer many questions that may arise out of completing the text and workbook.

All Roads Lead To Rome…

The Course does not claim that it is the only path to awakening.  It is one path among many others.  In fact it acknowledges that the course may not be for everyone.  That said the Course does make it clear that all paths lead to the same place and every one must take the course (eventually unlearn the illusory thinking that obscures the Reality that only Love is real.)

“There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome” (Manual, 1.4:2)

Who Wrote it?

The Course was scribed by Helen Schucman.  The material was channeled through her.

It all started at Columbia University where Helen and her colleague William Thetford (both Professors of the Medical Psychology) weren’t getting along.  Out of anger and aggressive feelings Bill concluded that, “there must be another way.”  They agreed to come together and find it.  That small willingness was enough to allow Him (Holy Spirit) to use the situation to His (Love’s) purpose.  Shortly after, Helen heard an inner Voice and began to take down the inner dictation.  The first words she wrote were “This is a course in miracles” – the rest history.

Helen and the collaborators take no authorship for the Course, nor do their names appear on the cover of the book.

In my opinion if Jesus came back today to clarify what previous generations had misunderstood about his original teachings this would be the book he’d write.

It’s important to note that there are a few different versions of the Course in circulation.  The 4 major versions include:

  1. Shorthand Notes – Helen’s handwritten scribed notes from Jesus
  2. Urtext – the manuscript
  3. The Hugh Lynn Cayce Version also known as  The Original Edition, The “Sparkly” Book or Jesus’s Course in Miracles (which is available for free download by following the link.)
  4. A Course In Miracles – published by Foundation for Inner Peace

Regardless of their differences it is my personal opinion that each is a helpful resource in gaining a deeper understanding of our true purpose. The above “Nuts and Bolts” section is referencing the Foundation for Inner Peace’s published version of A Course In Miracles.