THE BASICS:

WHAT IS A COURSE IN MIRACLES?


Peter Solon, Ph.D. (BIO)

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 fourteen 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) a theoretical “Text,” (2) a “Workbook For Students” and (3) a “Manual for Teachers.” There are also two supplemental pamphlets: “Psychotherapy” and “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 important and yet, most difficult aspect of the Course is its all-inclusive component. The Course teaches: To understand the meaning of the term “love,” one’s love must include everyone without exception. “Hold back but…one offering, and love is gone.” 1


  1. 6.A Course In Miracles is a dogma-free transformative 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.Contrary to the popular view, the Course is not merely a set of lessons to be done at predetermined points during the day. A Course In Miracles is a twenty-four hour, seven day-a-week, every minute of everyday, lifetime project.


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


  1. 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. Rather, A Course In Miracles represents 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 enlightenment. 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.The single most impressive feature of the Course is that it’s effective. Through practice, students begin to perceive other people as they actually are––apart from their projections. Over time, a sense of peace becomes a consistent companion; relationships are imbued with a sense of appreciation and practitioners begin to grasp ideas that in the past, may have seemed irrational. For example: The idea that freedom from suffering is not only possible, it’s possible now, today, this very moment, through an act of choice.


  1. 14.Such changes to one’s internal life, however, are mere reflections of a much more profound, all-encompassing transformation, variously described as “awakening to reality” and “waking up from the dream;” and more fully elaborated as our return home. We return to a home that always “stands ready,“ 5         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 (BIO) describes the perennial philosophy as “the common core of wisdom and philosophy at the heart of the world’s great religions...” See Dr. Walsh’s article, Assessing The Course on this website.


  1. 3.Ken Wilber, the contemporary theoretical psychologist and scholar of comparative religion, popularized the term, “always/already.” It appears throughout his published work.


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


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




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