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The phrase, A Course In Miracles, has practically become a household term. But the fact is, few people know what it actually is. What follows is a concise overview in twenty summary statements.


What It Is


  1. 1. At the most basic level, A Course In Miracles is simply a three volume set of books:  (1) The theoretical ‘Text,’ (2) The ‘Workbook For Students’ and (3) The ‘Manual for Teachers.‘ Also, there are two supplemental pamphlets: ‘Psychotherapy’ and  ‘The Song of Prayer.’


  1. 2. At its core, the Course is a unique discipline that directly addresses the love component of spiritual practice. Its central theme strikes at the heart of every human being’s primary wish––to love others more fully. It offers immediate freedom from any and all suffering and demonstrates how anyone, in any circumstance, can live a life characterized by an authentic, boundless joy. Toward this end, it prescribes countless practices, carefully assisting the practitioner at every stage of his development.


  1. 3.The Course is an astonishingly effective, non-traditional form of psychotherapy. Practitioners are able to make enduring, substantive changes in their relationships with other people. Few if any psychological tools embody the Course’s therapeutic power.


  1. 4.The practices of the Course relentlessly zero-in on the practitioner’s day-to-day interpersonal encounters.


  1. 5.The single most difficult aspect of the Course––and yet, its most important principle––is its all-inclusive element. One’s love must include everyone without exception. ‘Hold back but one offering, and love is gone.’ 1


  1. 6.6.A Course In Miracles is a dogma-free practice. One can hold any set of beliefs––be of any religious persuasion––practice any other spiritual path––and still derive the maximum degree of benefit from the practice of the Course.


  1. 7.7Contrary to the popular view, the Course isn’t a set of lessons to be done at predetermined points throughout the day. But rather, i’s a twenty-four / seven, every minute of every day,  lifetime project.


  1. 8.A Course In Miracles teaches students how to establish a relationship with their own Internal Teacher.


  1. 9.9.The Course offers a remarkably wide range of interpersonally oriented psychological and spiritual practices, and encourages students to follow a personally meaningful, individually tailored practice strategy.


  1. 10.The Course has no association with the ‘New Age’ movement, historically or otherwise. But rather, it’s a modern-day expression of the philosophia perennis, the universal core wisdom and principles underlying every great spiritual tradition the world has known. 2


  1. 11.The Course is the quintessential “always/already” spiritual tradition.3 Always/already paths––also referred to as ‘paths of recognition’––teach that we’re already who we are trying to become.  From this perspective, practice is simply the means by which we recognize the pre-established fact of our awakening. Paths of recognition are generally viewed as the apex of spiritual practice. 4


  1. 12.The Course is a stunning literary work of art. Hundreds of pages are written in a form of verse known as iambic pentameter also known as Shakespearean blank verse.


  1. 13.If there’s one complaint that  students occasionally express–the Course is lengthy,  and it has it’s own idiosyncratic vocabulary. The everyday joe walking down the street has to be  motivated to study it. It’s not an easy read.


  1. 14.People who are motivated to maintain a disciplined study of the Course are motivated due to their own struggle with a crisis or another. (This isn’t always the case). Sometimes is social isolation and unrelenting despair. Most groups I’ve hjoined here and there are composed of the lederly who are struggling with illness or  and watch friends and loved oned die and they’re aware – more acutely than many of us, death is not so far away.


  1. 15.    Apropos tp this same idea, a fundamental theme throughout the Course rvolves around the issue of personal suffering. One of the Course’s most basie princiles is that our suffering is not cause bt external circumstances;   ––consciously or unconsciously, most of us believe  that––our suffering is the product of some circumstance in the external world, whether it’s a financial, interpersonal or some other difficulty. Whereas the Course points out, this simple isn;’t true. A part of the mind termed the  ego that is masteful as it continues to ocnvince us the origins of our suffering reside in the expernal world and other people. However, this is a deception. In fact,  the ego’s very existence depends upon it’s success at deceiving us into the belief that other people cause us to suffer. Insofar as we aren;’t deceived by, the ego begins to fade awway. As one begins to penetrate the deepest levels of the Course – and they deeper level that may be difficult ott adequately explain in this sumary, the ego doesn’t even actually exist. It only appears to exist.


  1. 16.More importantly, Suffering  resides in one’s own mind. mind. It’s the proeduct of the mind’s ability to engage in self deception nd it’s dependent upon the decisions we ourselves make. Ul;timately, as we grasp the core principles of the Course, we begin to understand,   no matter what your circumstances, no matter who you are, freedom from suffering is not only possible,  it’s possible today, this very moment,   through an act of choice.



  1. 17.The single most impressive feature of the Course is that it’s effective. Through practice, our perceptions of the external world and of other people in particular, become imbued with feelings of appreciation; a sense of peace  becomes a consistent companion and finally, practitioners begin to grasp ideas that, in the past, may have seemed irrational. For example, its radical views of death, personal suffering, time, love, and the nature of reality


  1. 18.These changes are reflections of a more profound transformation, variously described as ‘waking up from the dream’ and ‘awakening to reality.’ A central element of ‘home’ is a central element of this transformation. We’re at home when we’re happy. And when our lives are characterized by the absence of fear; and by the presence of a sense of peace, and certainty.


  1. 19.Importantly, our ‘home’ exists outside of time, and yet, it resides in every moment of every day including and especially this moment. Otherwise stated, home is eternity itself.


  1. 20.According to the Course, as we reach our final goal, we’re able to let go so completely, our last steps are taken––not by us––but rather, by a divine reality we’ve been yearning to see and embrace. As it turns out, that which we’ve been yearning for, has always been right here in front of us, closer than our very breath.





References


  1. 1.A Course In Miracles: T-24.I.1:4


  1. 2.Aldous Huxley (The Perennial Philosophy, 1945) popularized the term, philosophia perennis in his book of the same name. Huxley writes,  “Philosophia Perennis – the phrase was coined by Leibniz; but the thing––the metaphysic that recognizes a divine Reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with, divine Reality; the ethic that places man’s final end in the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent Ground of all being––the thing is immemorial and universal.”


  1. Ken Wilber, the contemporary philosopher and theoretical psychologist, notes: “...all of the world’s great wisdom traditions are basically variations of the perennial philosophy” and characterizes it as “ the single most accurate reflection of reality yet to appear.” (The Eye Of The Spirit,” Shambhala, 1998, Chapter 1, p 43; A Theory Of Everything, Shambhala 2000, Notes for Chapter 4, p. 158)

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  1. Roger Walsh, MD, PhD describes the perennial philosophy as “the common core of wisdom and philosophy at the heart of the world’s great religions...” See his article, Assessing The Course .


  1. 3.Ken Wilber is primarily responsible for popularizing the term, “always/already.” It appears throughout his published work.


  1. 4.See Dr. Walsh’s reference to Ken Wilber in his article, The Perennial Wisdom of A Course In Miracles.


  1. 5.A Course In Miracles: S-3.II.6:4

The Basics: What Is

A Course In Miracles?


Peter Solon, Ph.D. (BIO)