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7 years ago  ::  Oct 22, 2007 - 4:02AM #1
jjesseph
Posts: 178
A Course in Miracles is not very prominent on Beliefnet. If you happen to be interested in the Course, here is the location of the ACIM Forum: http://community.beliefnet.com/forums/f … .php?f=151

And here is the location for an ACIM Discussion Group: http://community.beliefnet.com/index.ph … oup_id=140

You are welcome to join both or either, but I anticipate that the Forum will eventually be the most active.

Joe Jesseph
Beliefnet Host for A Course in Miracles
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 23, 2007 - 7:41PM #2
jjesseph
Posts: 178
This Introduction is taken with permission from the Web site of the publisher of ACIM, The Foundation for Inner Peace: http://www.acim.org
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"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
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 23, 2007 - 8:25PM #3
jjesseph
Posts: 178
(The last post got cut off somehow. Here's the whole introduction, hopefully.)

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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7 years ago  ::  Oct 24, 2007 - 11:46AM #4
jjesseph
Posts: 178
The Preface to the ACIM Text is an excellent explanation of the Course as well as a summary of its body of teachings. It is in three parts: "How It Came," "What It Is," and "What It Says." Below is the first part to be followed in subsequent posts by the other two.
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How it Came

A Course in Miracles began with the sudden decision of two people to join in a common goal. Their names were Helen Schucman and William Thetford, Professors of Medical Psychology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. They were anything but spiritual. Their relationship with each other was difficult and often strained, and they were concerned with personal and professional acceptance and status. In general, they had considerable investment in the values of the world. Their lives were hardly in accord with anything that the Course advocates. Helen, the one who received the material, describes herself:

    "Psychologist, educator, conservative in theory and atheistic in belief, I was working in a prestigious and highly academic setting. And then something happened that triggered a chain of events I could never have predicted. The head of my department unexpectedly announced that he was tired of the angry and aggressive feelings our attitudes reflected, and concluded that, "there must be another way." As if on cue I agreed to help him find it. Apparently this Course is the other way."

Although their intention was serious, they had great difficulty in starting out on their joint venture. But they had given the Holy Spirit the "little willingness" that, as the Course itself was to emphasize again and again, is sufficient to enable Him to use any situation for His purposes and provide it with His power."

To continue Helen's first-person account:

    "Three startling months preceded the actual writing, during which time Bill suggested that I write down the highly symbolic dreams and descriptions of the strange images that were coming to me. Although I had grown more accustomed to the unexpected by that time, I was still very surprised when I wrote, "This is a course in miracles." That was my introduction to the Voice. It made no sound, but seemed to be giving me a kind of rapid, inner dictation which I took down in a shorthand notebook. The writing was never automatic. It could be interrupted at any time and later picked up again. It made me very uncomfortable, but it never seriously occurred to me to stop. It seemed to be a special assignment I had somehow, somewhere agreed to complete. It represented a truly collaborative venture between Bill and myself, and much of its significance, I am sure, lies in that. I would take down what the Voice "said" and read it to him the next day, and he typed it from my dictation. I expect he had his special assignment, too. Without his encouragement and support I would never have been able to fulfill mine. The whole process took about seven years. The Text came first, then the Workbook for Students, and finally the Manual for Teachers. Only a few minor changes have been made. Chapter titles and subheadings have been inserted in the Text, and some of the more personal references that occurred at the beginning have been omitted. Otherwise the material is substantially unchanged."

The names of the collaborators in the recording of the Course do not appear on the cover because the Course can and should stand on its own. It is not intended to become the basis for another cult. Its only purpose is to provide a way in which some people will be able to find their own Internal Teacher.
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 24, 2007 - 11:48AM #5
jjesseph
Posts: 178
What It Is

As its title implies, the Course is arranged throughout as a teaching device. It consists of three books: a 622-page Text, a 478-page Workbook for Students, and an 88-page Manual for Teachers. The order in which students choose to use the books, and the ways in which they study them, depend on their particular needs and preferences.

The curriculum the Course proposes is carefully conceived and is explained, step by step, at both the theoretical and practical levels. It emphasizes application rather than theory, and experience rather than theology. It specifically states that "a universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary." (Manual, p. 77) Although Christian in statement, the Course deals with universal spiritual themes. It emphasizes that it is but one version of the universal curriculum. There are many others, this one differing from them only in form. They all lead to God in the end.

The Text is largely theoretical, and sets forth the concepts on which the Course's thought system is based. Its ideas contain the foundation for the Workbook's lessons. Without the practical application the Workbook provides, the Text would remain largely a series of abstractions which would hardly suffice to bring about the thought reversal at which the Course aims.

The Workbook includes 365 lessons, one for each day of the year. It is not necessary, however, to do the lessons at that tempo, and one might want to remain with a particularly appealing lesson for more than one day. The instructions urge only that not more than one lesson a day should be attempted. The practical nature of the Workbook is underscored by the introduction to its lessons, which emphasizes experience through application rather than a prior commitment to a spiritual goal:

    "Some of the ideas the workbook presents you will find hard to believe, and others may seem to be quite startling. This does not matter. You are merely asked to apply the ideas as you are directed to do. You are not asked to judge them at all. You are asked only to use them. It is their use that will give them meaning to you, and will show you that they are true.

    "Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy. But do not allow yourself to make exceptions in applying the ideas the workbook contains, and whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than that is required" (Workbook, p. 2).

Finally, the Manual for Teachers, which is written in question and answer form, provides answers to some of the more likely questions a student might ask. It also includes a clarification of a number of the terms the Course uses, explaining them within the theoretical framework of the Text.

The Course makes no claim to finality, nor are the Workbook lessons intended to bring the student's learning to completion. 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. While the Course is comprehensive in scope, truth cannot be limited to any finite form, as is clearly recognized in the statement at the end of the Workbook:

    "This Course is a beginning, not an end...No more specific lessons are assigned, for there is no more need of them. Henceforth, hear but the Voice for God...He will direct your efforts, telling you exactly what to do, how to direct your mind, and when to come to Him in silence, asking for His sure direction and His certain Word" (Workbook, p. 487).
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7 years ago  ::  Oct 24, 2007 - 11:50AM #6
jjesseph
Posts: 178
What It Says

    "Nothing real can be threatened.
    Nothing unreal exists.
    Herein lies the peace of God."

This is how A Course in Miracles begins. It makes a fundamental distinction between the real and the unreal; between knowledge and perception. Knowledge is truth, under one law, the law of love or God. Truth is unalterable, eternal, and unambiguous. It can be unrecognized, but it cannot be changed. It applies to everything that God created, and only what He created is real. It is beyond learning because it is beyond time and process. It has no opposite; no beginning and no end. It merely is.

The world of perception, on the other hand, is the world of time, of change, of beginnings and endings. It is based on interpretation, not on facts. It is the world of birth and death, founded on the belief in scarcity, loss, separation, and death. It is learned rather than given, selective in its perceptual emphases, unstable in its functioning, and inaccurate in its interpretations.

From knowledge and perception respectively, two distinct thought systems arise which are opposite in every respect. In the realm of knowledge no thoughts exist apart from God, because God and His Creation share one Will. The world of perception, however, is made by the belief in opposites and separate wills, in perpetual conflict with each other and with God. What perception sees and hears appears to be real because it permits into awareness only what conforms to the wishes of the perceiver. This leads to a world of illusions, a world which needs constant defense precisely because it is not real.

When you have been caught in the world of perception you are caught in a dream. You cannot escape without help, because everything your senses show merely witnesses to the reality of the dream. God has provided the Answer, the only Way out, the true Helper. It is the function of His Voice, His Holy Spirit, to mediate between the two worlds. He can do this because, while on the one hand He knows the truth, on the other He also recognizes our illusions, but without believing in them. It is the Holy Spirit's goal to help us escape from the dream world by teaching us how to reverse our thinking and unlearn our mistakes. Forgiveness is the Holy Spirit's great learning aid in bringing this thought reversal about. However, the Course has its own definition of what forgiveness really is just as it defines the world in its own way.

The world we see merely reflects our own internal frame of reference
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 06, 2008 - 11:26AM #7
jjesseph
Posts: 178
Hello "prodgical son." You've quoted the very important last lines from the Introduction to the Text of "A Course in Miracles." -- one of the most profound statements ever written, in my opinion, and one that bears considerable reflection.

Here's the entire Introduction:

"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."

(A word about the idea that this is a "required course:" That does not mean that everyone must eventually study "A Course in Miracles." What it means is that everyone must eventually learn to forgive and that learning forgiveness will eventually lead to acceptance of the "Atonement principle" that separation from God is not possible, therefore sin is not possible in truth. Acceptance of that principle in one's mind and heart returns our seemingly separated mind to the One Mind of God. And then all of us prodigal sons return Home!
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 25, 2008 - 9:56PM #8
christinegrace
Posts: 1
Hello, I am a new member from Vermont.  Would you please explain what Level 5 means to me.  My understanding of the course is that there is no seperation.  How do I know what level I am on.  Reading and studying for two and one half years.  Love it, and you for writing so much about it.  Thank you and blessings from this frosty abode today!
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 26, 2008 - 12:53PM #9
jjesseph
Posts: 178
Hello "christinegrace."

There are several places for ACIM students on Beliefnet. The purpose of this particular forum is basically to give people an overview of the Course. Another site welcomes ACIM students and give links to the ACIM Discussion Group and the ACIM Forum on Beliefnet. That Welcome Site is located here: http://community.beliefnet.com/forums/s … php?t=1520

As for your question, I do not know what you are referring to as "level five". Perhaps you're thinking of the stages in the development of trust discussed in the Teacher's Manual?

I suggest that we continue this discussion on the ACIM Group found here: http://community.beliefnet.com/?page_id … oup_id=140

There are many resources on the Internet for students of the Course. First of all, see the Web site of the Foundation for A Course in Miracles: http://www.facim.org/  You can explore that large site by using the tabs at the top of the page. In particular, see the "ACIM Teaching Materials" and the "Electronic Outreach."  Also, see the Miracle Studies Web site which has its home page here: http://www.miraclestudies.net/  You can use the navigation box at the bottom of that page to explore the offerings of that Web site. In particular see the "Commonly Asked Questions" and the discussion of "The Fift Miracle Principles."

When I understand a little more about what you mean by "level five," I'll attempt to reply, but let's do that on the ACIM Group.

By the way, you might like to check out my blog which is mostly about ACIM. It is found here: http://www.xanga.com/ralphjos  In the left hand column there is an explanation about how to search through and find posts on various topics in that blog.

Joe Jesseph
Beliefnet Host for A Course in Miracles
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 26, 2008 - 2:44PM #10
jjesseph
Posts: 178
It's probably obvious, but just to be sure, "The Fift Miracle Principles" above should be "The Fifty Miracle Principles."

That's a great discussion for giving an in depth picture of the whole ACIM thought system It's located here: http://www.miraclestudies.net/50PrincPreface.html
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