Books have made me who I am today. Books have healed me. Books have opened my heart. Books have saved me in more ways than one. But there is one book that stands above all others for me, and that is A Course in Miracles. This book Transformed me on a such a deep level that there was my life before this book, and my life after it. I have never been the same since starting my journey with A Course in Miracles. (Note: You can typically find a copy of this at Half Priced Books for a steep discount)
The Backstory of A Course in Miracles
There are many experts on ACIM who will tell you all about the backstory of how this book came to be. It’s also in the front matter of the book. I’ll just give you the cliff notes.
An athiest psychologist named Helen Schuman began hearing a voice which said “this is a course in miracles. take notes.” She began taking notes and writing down what the voice said, and brought it to her fellow psychologist collegue, Bill Thetford. She thought she was going nuts, but after reading her transcriptions, Bill encouraged her to keep going. Over the course of seven years, Bill and Helen transcribed A Course in Miracles.
When reading it, it’s very clear that the voice of ACIM is Jesus. At the very least, it has the essence of Christ conciousness. It’s definitely not from ordinary conciousness. There is something sacred and special about the energy of this book. It takes but a cursory look through the text to discern that it is a powerful and sacred scripture.
What is ACIM About?
A Course in Miracles is about bringing you to the “miracle” of living life from a peaceful, loving place. It does this through the daily lessons, of which there are 365. Each daily lesson acts as a meditation to be practiced throughout the day, and retrains the mind towards love and equanimity, as well as being in the present moment.
ACIM states that there are only two choices in life: 1) Serve the ego and fear OR 2) Serve God and Love. When we start living from love, and stop living to placate the fears of the ego, we experience the miracle of true inner shifts.
Many of us seek to change the people, circumstances, relationships, and everything else in life. We try to get the world to be a certain way so that we can “finally” feel peaceful and content. Yet the ego never ever reaches that state. The ego constantly moves the yard stick farther away, until eventually we realize our entire life has been spent in resentment, judgement, fear, and dissatisfaction. The miracle is coming home to the truth…You are free and loved and whole in this present moment, without qualifications.
How to Read ACIM
There are three books within The Course. The text, the workbook for students, and the manual for teachers.
Start by reading some of the text each morning, any amount is fine. Just listen to your intuition. Then go on to a lesson from the workbook, and practice that lesson throughout the day.
It’s important to read ACIM from your soul, and not to read it with the goal of trying to “figure it out”. You will only understand the words of the course if you let go of trying to read it with the ego. The ego hates hearing things like this, but that’s true of any sacred scripture. When reading sacred scripture, we’re not trying to acquire knowledge. We’re opening ourselves to the teachings, and allowing them to Transform us.
A Heads Up on The Christian Language
Being that ACIM is a trascription of the words of Jesus, or a Christ-Like conciousness, it is heavy in Christian language. This is a turn of for some people, and I know it was for me. It was one of the reasons this book sat on my bookshelf for 12 years before I finally committed to reading it. However, it’s important to note that the way ACIM uses this sacred language will help you to have a better understanding of the teachings of Jesus.
When stripped of the dogma and ideaology of the fundamental Christian church, the true meaning behind Christian language is quite beautiful.
A Course in Miracles has actually healed my relationship with Christianity, and helped me to understand that it is actually a stunning way of interacting with the world. At its roots, Christianity is the art of loving all beings unconditionally, loving onesself, and loving the present moment just as it is. There is nothing more to it than that. And all the other bells and whistles were added by mankind to control and manipulate the masses.
When you read ACIM, let go of your ego’s judgements of the Christian language, and look deeply into the meaning behind the words. When you read ACIM this way, it is a truly transcendant experience.
Here are some ways of relating to traditionally Christian language
Sin – The literal translation of this word means to miss the mark, or to misunderstand.
Holy Spirit – This is the part of you that is always in touch with the divine creator. It is the aspect of you that “knows better”. It is the part of you that somehow knows exactly the right thing to say or do in certain situations.
Son – All of us. Every living being, sharing in a oneness of being created by a divine creator. We are all different aspect of the same hand, different rays of the sun. You are me, and I am you, and we are one with God.
Father – The energy of love that animates all of life. This is also called “God” or “prana” or “Brhama” and many other names. It is the simple and profound Everything That Is. It is the energy that animates your cells and breathes you.
Christ – The aspect of all human beings that is inherently perfect. The Christ lives in us all. It is the conciouness of total love and acceptance of others, total forgiveness, total peace and joy.
Atonement – Can also be read as “AtOne-ment”. To atone means to come to peace and love in any situation. We don’t atone because we are “sinners”….we atone because we want to be in a state of peace and love as often as possible. This is the gift we give to ourselves. There is no “punishment” that happens if we don’t atone. Atonement is good old fashioned life hygiene.
A Heads Up on No Feminine Pronouns
ACIM doesn’t use a single feminine pronoun. It’s all “he” and “father” and “son”.
I was perturbed by this at first, but I’ve come to understand that it is inconsequential. The Christ conciousnes that is coming through in the text is not concerned with semantics. And though I’ll admit that I wish Jesus would’ve dropped a “daughter” in there once or twice, I can understand why he didn’t. There is no gender in the eternal, and perhaps to jump back and forth between pronouns would’ve created the illusion that gender matters in deep work like this.
Much like seeing past the Christian language, once you get past the exclusively masculine pronouns, you start to read it on a deeper level. You’ll likely experience what I did, and that was a falling away of the gender idea altogether while reading ACIM. It never crosses my mind anymore, and I can clearly see and feel that the overall message and contents of ACIM are purely loving in nature. There is no mysogyny in it.
What to Expect
You might experience a seismic shift in many area of you life, and a dissolution of things you once held up as important pillars.
You might also experience a deeper sense of love and appreciation for every person you meet.
You might experience a shift in the way you handle conflicts and challenges.
You might experience a deep sense of peace, joy, and love.
I can’t tell you for sure what you’ll experience when you embark on A Course in Miracles. What I can say for sure is that when you give this material your whole heart, what you’ll get in return will be a Miracle.
A Course in Miracles states “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” I pray that every person on this planet will experience the direct knowing of this profound truth. And I pray that I know it on a deeper level each and every day of my life.
May you know the peace of God today and every day.