Tag Archives: A Coure In Miracles

A Course In Miracles

A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is a worthwhile undertaking for anyone who feels angry more than they would like to, feels afraid, feels victimized, tends to blame and shame others and/or is inordinately inclined to attack. It is also great for those interested in spiritual transcendence.
The author’s use of the Jesus construct frightens some off. It shouldn’t. In substance the work is more Vedic than Christian. Paradoxically, it is also more Christ-like than are most organized forms of Christianity.
The Jesus narration is powerful for a couple of reasons.
First, it removes current human agency. There are no teachers, gurus, or prophets to potentially corrupt the reader’s connection to the divine message. ACIM’s author Helen Schucman guarded her anonymity as author for her entire lifetime for this purpose. She purported to have received the complete text from a higher spirit whom she believed to be Jesus. She did not want to allow her own ego – with claims of ownership and authorship – or any other human frailties to sully what she perceived as revelations made to her to share.
Second, Jesus is a particularly apt source for such revelations. Many studies have linked his core messages to then-existing Vedantic philosophies. One such study is The Gospel According to Jesus by Eastern philosophy translator Stephen Mitchell. (Incidentally, Mitchell also wrote a wonderful translation of the Tao Te Ching). Mitchell notes that while much of what Jesus imparted was touched on before him, nothing before or after Jesus emphasized or drove home more effectively the related teachings of unconditional love and forgiveness. No work treats these teachings more thoroughly than ACIM. That includes the Bible and gnostic philosophies and such works as the Christian-rejected Gospels of Thomas and Mary Magdalene.
ACIM posits the ego (self-created self-identity) as the source of pain and suffering. It does so in a more thorough, understandable manner than any other philosophic, religious, or psychological work I’ve read. Schucman’s background in clinical psychology results in her attempting to bring Christ’s message in modern terms. It has downsides too as we’ll see below.
What makes ACIM more effective is an accompanying manual of 365 daily meditative exercises. Like many Eastern practices, ACIM explains how transcendent experience and revelation cannot be done justice by words or logic. They require experience and that requires practice. The exercises help the reader recognize the constricting construct nature of time and space. They assist with recognizing and separating out from ego. They help with letting go of hostilities, grievances, and regrets.
My personal view is that the exercises are quite effective up to somewhere around between day 70 and 80. Around there the work shifts from via negativa (wisdom achieved by removing untruths) to positive conditioning. While self-programming one’s subconscious is not necessarily inherently unworkable, by day 70 to 80 it becomes repetitive, doctrinaire, and even inconsistent with some of the work’s more important earlier imparted truths. By the time one gets to the Teacher’s Manual (written several years after the initial revelations) it speaks in a voice unrecognizable to the original text.
Another flaw in ACIM is its confusion about spirit; perhaps stemming from Schucman’s secular psychology training. You may need to exercise patience as the author alternatively refers to it as spirit, soul, and holy spirit – sometimes inferring differences amongst the three. If you do the practical exercises it all becomes academic as clearly the agent deciding to and then carrying out the exercises is who it is – regardless of what the author calls it.
All in all, read while doing the practicals, ACIM is a map that affords experiences of the territory (higher mind, universal consciousness, Oneness, God, etc). When one settles on one map regardless of its purpose having been served one often loses touch with the territory. To become ever more familiar with the territory, it is advisable to master many maps. Once you get into defending a particular map it might serve as indication that it is time to study another. You will find that good maps tend to validate and reinforce recognitions and abilities attained with earlier ones while showing you the territory from a new perspective. ACIM can deliver that.