Review of a course in miracles (ACIM)

A Course in Miracles is a psycho-spiritual teaching text which claims to be authored by Jesus Christ, channeled through the medium of two psychologists in the 1960s and 70s Whether you find the tome enlightening or heretical will depend on how you view both Jesus and channeling as a reliable source of gaining information.

A Course in Miracles (or more simply, the Course) is indeed a year-long daily lesson plan for the expansion of consciousness, along with an extensive text (622 pages) explaining the tenets and philosophy of the Course, and finally, includes an 88 page Manual for Teachers, or additional material for implementation. The primary focus of the Course is on achieving peace through forgiveness, self-knowledge and healing, although it also deals extensively with personal relationships.

Basically, the Course aims to rewire our connection to reality, self and divinity through first questioning our default assumptions and perceptions about what is real and who we are, then moving into learning to not automatically accepting or projecting those assumptions, and then replacing our erroneous assumptions with observational-based vision.

The Course teaches that there are actually only 2 human emotions: Love and Fear. So if what you are feeling is not Love, then it must be some form of Fear. However, Fear does not have a real existence, so therefore, when we are in a state of Fear, according to the Course, we are hallucinating.

Nothing real can be threatened.

Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.

The Course is one of the most widely-known approaches to the Law of Attraction, although the Course does not describe itself as a Law of Attraction teaching. The Course teaches that our thoughts and perceptions create the reality we experience, so if we worry and are fearful, we will attract experiences that justify worry and fear. The Course teaches that we are all created perfect and guiltless, but that we accumulate beliefs that we are guilty (the ego) , causing us to no longer perceive ourselves as perfect, even though from God's point of view, we never changed. As a result of perceiving ourselves as flawed, we open the door to seeing ourselves as vulnerable to a host of fears and ills. The Course seeks to correct this flawed perception and to replace it with true vision.

The Course teaches that all relationships are lessons, and that once the lesson is learned, the relationship will change. And if the lesson is not learned, it will be repeated with different teachers (partners) until we finally get it. The Course says that we can choose when to learn, but we cannot choose to avoid learning altogether. According to the Course, the body is a creation of the ego and is used as a weapon to hurt ourselves and others, but that we can learn to use the body with love. Likewise, the physical world is seen by the Course as a hallucination, or nightmare, from which we must endeavor by our own efforts to wake up. In this light, then, salvation (and healing) is understood as awakening. Of course, the text goes much further and deeper than I can go in a short review, but this provides at least a taste of what the Course teaches.

I have found the Course to be invaluable to my spiritual growth and practice, although I had a very had time relating to the Course at first. The language is heavily Christian and sometimes impenetrably dense. (See more about my introduction and initialy difficulties with the Course in my review of Marianne Williamson.) There is also a history of squabling and in-fighting over the publications rights of the tome, which are extremely distasteful. But I have done the Course 5 times now, and have found it to be an effective change agent in my life. It can be difficult to stick with the daily lessons, which start off as a couple of minutes with a preset thought, and gradually progress to a full 20 - 30 minute daily meditation. After several months, the lessons can get a bit grueling. But the rewards if you stick with it are well worth the effort. It is an excellent starting place for those who wish to learn to meditate.

I'm still not sure what to make of the whole channeling Jesus thing, but I find the material and wisdom contained to be of exemplary quality, and that is what I use as my standard. The text is chocked full of insights, epiphanies and great quotes.

Visit A Course in Miracles offical website.

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