A Course in Miracles by The Foundation for Inner Peace

A Course in Miracles is a set of self-study materials published by the Foundation for Inner Peace. The book’s content is metaphysical, and explains forgiveness as applied to daily life. Curiously, nowhere does the book have an author (and it is so listed without an author’s name by the U.S. Library of Congress). However, the text was written by Helen Schucman (deceased) and William Thetford; Schucman has related that the book’s material is based on communications to her from an “inner voice” she claimed was Jesus. The original version of the book was published in 1976, with a revised edition published in 1996. Part of the content is a teaching manual, and a student workbook. Since the first edition, the book has sold several million copies, with translations into nearly two-dozen languages.

The book’s origins can be traced back to the early 1970s; Helen Schucman first experiences with the “inner voice” led to her then supervisor, William Thetford, to contact Hugh Cayce at the Association for Research and Enlightenment. In turn, an introduction to Kenneth Wapnick (later the book’s editor) occurred. At the time of the introduction, Wapnick was clinical psychologist. a course in miracles After meeting, Schucman and Wapnik spent over a year editing and revising the material. Another introduction, this time of Schucman, Wapnik, and Thetford to Robert Skutch and Judith Skutch Whitson, of the Foundation for Inner Peace. The first printings of the book for distribution were in 1975. Since then, copyright litigation by the Foundation for Inner Peace, and Penguin Books, has established that the content of the first edition is in the public domain.

A Course in Miracles is a teaching device; the course has 3 books, a 622-page text, a 478-page student workbook, and an 88-page teachers manual. The materials can be studied in the order chosen by readers. The content of A Course in Miracles addresses both the theoretical and the practical, although application of the book’s material is emphasized. The text is mostly theoretical, and is a basis for the workbook’s lessons, which are practical applications. The workbook has 365 lessons, one for each day of the year, though they don’t have to be done at a pace of one lesson per day. Perhaps most like the workbooks that are familiar to the average reader from previous experience, you are asked to use the material as directed acim . However, in a departure from the “normal”, the reader is not required to believe what is in the workbook, or even accept it. Neither the workbook nor the Course in Miracles is intended to complete the reader’s learning; simply, the materials are a start.

A Course in Miracles distinguishes between knowledge and perception; truth is unalterable and eternal, while perception is the world of time, change, and interpretation. The world of perception reinforces the dominant ideas in our minds, and keeps us separate from the truth, and separate from God. Perception is limited by the body’s limitations in the physical world, thus limiting awareness. Much of the experience of the world reinforces the ego, and the individual’s separation from God. But, by accepting the vision of Christ, and the voice of the Holy Spirit, one learns forgiveness, both for oneself and others.

Over 40 years ago, a psychologist from Columbia University began to channel revelations from a spiritual entity that she was convinced was Jesus himself. She and her assistants produced teachings that filled hundreds of empty pages over a period of seven years which later became “A Course In Miracles.”

The psychologist was a Jewish lady named Helen Schucman, and she told people that Jesus Christ himself was her own spirit guide for these lessons and teachings. These lessons were supposed to provide credence for people to learn that they were the only ones in control of their own feelings, attitudes, actions and destinies. The teachings took many penalties of actions out of the equation. Indeed, a hallmark of the ACIM course is that evil itself does not exist. The ACIM teachings insist that by training your mind properly, you can learn that there is no such thing as evil, and that it is just a perception or something that other people have set up to frighten and control the actions and thoughts of those who are not capable of thinking for themselves. ACIM insists that the only thing that does exist is pure love and that innocent minds and spiritually right thinking will not allow anything like evil to exist.

These ideas and beliefs angered many people who belonged to some of the major faiths because, while they espoused many of the same principles, this course also sought to have people believe that evil is not real and therefore sin is also not real. ACIM itself tries to have people believe in the sanctity of right and wise beliefs and behavior and in the fact that nothing can harm you unless you believe that it can. New Age gurus were quick to grasp onto these concepts because many of the New Age religions are based not on sin and redemption but the power of one’s own mind and spirit.

ACIM does offer some teachings about how to rid yourself of angry and negative emotions that are flooding your life with problems and creating illness and unhappiness day by day. A Course In Miracles teaches you that you are responsible for these feelings and they are only hurting you. Therefore, it is up to you to rid them from your life for your own happiness and prosperity.

When people use the lessons learned and the precepts of A Course In Miracles, they find that they come to a new understanding of forgiveness. They are able to study and learn why you hurt yourself and others when you do not forgive.

This is why it is so important that when another person hurts you, you must forgive. Often we hear someone say, “I can never forgive him/her for this.” Oh, but they must! The one who needs to forgive is affected just as much as the one who needs to be forgiven, if not more deeply! You can forgive the wrongdoer whether he asks for forgiveness or not. By doing so, the pain that the person caused you will be lifted from you and you can be freed from any anger and negative emotions. This will be the first of the miracles that is granted and obtained by the power of forgiveness learned from A Course In Miracles.

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