A Course in Miracles is a complete self-study spiritual thought system. As a three-volume curriculum consisting of a Text, Workbook for Students, and Manual for Teachers, it teaches that the way to universal love and peace—or remembering God—is by undoing guilt through forgiving others. The Course thus focuses on the healing of relationships and making them holy. A Course in Miracles also emphasizes that it is but one version of the universal curriculum, of which there are "many thousands." Consequently, even though the language of the Course is that of traditional Christianity, it expresses a non-sectarian, non-denominational spirituality. A Course in Miracles therefore is a universal spiritual teaching, not a religion.
The "Text" presents the theory of the Course and has built into its study the development of the experience of forgiveness that is the Course's goal for the student. In this regard, A Course in Miracles states that "its goal for you is happiness and peace." (Text, p. 241) (T-13.II.7:1) The Text also explains the basis for fear and guilt, and how they can be overcome through miracles, which are defined as maximal "expressions of love." The miracle is defined as the shift in perception from fear to love.
The "Workbook for Students" consists of 365 lessons, an exercise for each day of the year. This one-year training program begins the process of changing the student's mind and perception, though it is not intended to bring one's learning to completion. As stated in the Preface to the Course, "At the end, the reader is left in the hands of his or her own Internal Teacher, Who will direct all subsequent learning as He sees fit." (Preface: ix)
The "Manual for Teachers" is written in question-and-answer form and provides answers to some of the more likely questions a student might ask. It also includes clarification of a number of terms the Course uses, explaining them within the theoretical framework of the Text and for their practical application through the Workbook.
A Course in Miracles was "scribed" by Dr. Helen Schucman through a process of inner dictation she identified as coming from Jesus. A clinical and research psychologist and tenured Associate Professor of Medical Psychology, she was assisted by Dr. William Thetford, her department head, who was also a tenured Professor of Medical Psychology at the Medical Center where they both worked.
A Course in Miracles was first published in 1975, the year Dr. Schucman assigned copyright of the Course to the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP). In 1996 FIP assigned the copyright and trademark to the Foundation for A Course in Miracles (FACIM). There are currently over one and a half million copies of the Course in circulation worldwide. Translations in Africaans, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovene, Spanish, and Swedish are also available, with many other translations now in progress.
What exactly, then, is A Course in Miracles? The summary introduction, which appears in its Text, is quite succinct and brief. It reads:
"This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.
This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:
Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God."
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