A Course in Miracles (ACIM) Review
Posted by seomypassion12 on May 30th, 2023
Described by the acim New York Times as an “esoteric bible,” A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is a major influence on the growing number of people who identify themselves as spiritual but not religious. Its teachings encourage a radical reversal of perception, acknowledging spirit as the only reality and viewing the physical world as a massive illusion.
What is A Course in Miracles?
A Course in Miracles, or ACIM as it is known, is a three-volume book set consisting of a 669-page Text, a 466-page Workbook, and a 92-page Teacher’s Manual. It is based on an earlier UrText, which was a series of shorthand notes claimed to have been “dictated” by Jesus and transcribed during 1965-1972 by Helen Schucman, an associate professor of psychology at Columbia University. The Standard edition of the Course has sold more than three million copies, making it one of the most successful channeled works in history. Since its publication, the Course has also been translated into 26 other languages.
It is the Bible of the so-called “spiritual but not religious” movement, and it has influenced millions of people worldwide. While it uses Christian language and references, the Course is ecumenical and does not claim to be the only way.
In fact, its metaphysics is closer to Eastern mystical teachings like Buddhism and Hinduism than traditional Christianity. Bill Thetford, a long-time teacher of the Course, once referred to it as the “Christian Vedanta.” The course challenges some significant aspects of contemporary Christianity, including its doctrines of sin and the crucifixion.
Although the Course is widely regarded as an extraordinary spiritual text, it remains a controversial book because of its emphasis on the role of the ego. This is especially true of the Workbook lessons, which are designed to help students identify and release their own ego identifications. Many people find this approach alienating and limiting, particularly those who have been raised with nondual spiritual traditions that exalt the Divine Self over the ego. Nonetheless, the Workbook lessons are the heart of the Course’s teachings on forgiveness and love, and they remain the most popular part of the entire curriculum.
In the world of spirituality ACIM stands out as a profoundly different kind of teaching. It is a metaphysical system that challenges the beliefs of many established religions. Its mix of reinterpreted Christian language, modern psychological thought, and Eastern metaphysics make it a new kind of spiritual teaching for our time. It encourages a complete reversal of perception, acknowledging that the world we see is a mass illusion (similar to the Buddhist and Hindu concepts of samsara and maya). ACIM’s ultimate lesson is that we are called to teach only love.
Unlike most traditional religious books, the ideas of ACIM are not to be believed but rather used and practiced. This allows the teacher of the Course to be a person’s own experience of the truth. The standard edition of ACIM consists of a 622 page textbook and a 365 page daily workbook. It has sold over 3 million copies, and is translated into 26 languages. Its popularity and success has not diminished with time, in spite of its controversies.
As a result, there have been some erroneous claims about ACIM and its teachings. These misunderstandings have created confusion and doubt for many potential students. To avoid these pitfalls it is important to understand the thought system of ACIM. A good place to start is with Gary Renard’s book The Disappearance of the Universe which helps us understand ACIM’s unique teachings.
Once you have a firm grasp on the fundamentals of ACIM it’s a good idea to move on to A Course in Love. This is a continuation of ACIM and contains the same thoughts but in a more accessible form. ACOL teaches the same lessons that are contained in ACIM but is more focused on healing and forgiveness. It is also written from the perspective of Jesus and offers a powerful experiential healing process.
As a spiritual teaching, ACIM encourages the transformation of our perception of reality by replacing fear with love. It is unique among contemporary spiritual teachings in its focus on forgiveness as a moment-by-moment practice that transforms attitudes, behavior and relationships. It also promotes the idea that we are eternally loved by God and share a oneness with all life. Its heady mix of reinterpreted Christian language, modern psychological thought and Eastern metaphysics makes it unlike any other book of its kind.
For the millions who read and apply ACIM’s teachings, it is a revolutionary way of looking at the world and their place in it. As its preface states, “ACIM aims at nothing less than the complete restoration of your own peace of mind and therefore of your natural relationship to God.”
While ACIM recognizes all paths to God as equally valid, it is particularly well suited for use alongside traditional religious beliefs. It celebrates those who have reached a state of peace and love by calling them “the accomplished,” suggesting that the ego has been eliminated and that the true Self is now manifest on earth.
It is not easy to understand or practice ACIM, which is why most readers sooner or later join a study group or seek out an experienced teacher of the Course. These people are known as ACIM students and there are no official statistics on their number, although it is estimated to be in the millions worldwide.
A key problem is that many of the available versions of ACIM are too lengthy, adding hundreds of pages to the version originally authorized by Helen Schucman for publication in 1976. The resulting text is confusing and hard to read. This inspired and enhanced edition corrects this problem by providing a decoded manual that unlocks the meaning of each chapter. It also enables the reader to gain greater understanding of the Workbook’s 365 lessons.
Described by the New York Times as “an esoteric bible that has gone mainstream,” A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is the spiritual text that has given rise to what is sometimes called the “spiritual but not religious” movement. It has also had significant influence on popular spiritual teachers like Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, and Gabrielle Bernstein. Despite its often difficult to comprehend language and demanding discipline of its Workbook of 365 daily lessons, ACIM is a global phenomenon with a wide and growing following.
Although a profoundly challenging teaching, its message is simple: God and love are all that exist. Its radically uncompromising approach can be difficult to accept, especially for those suffering from abandonment or victimhood, but it is very effective in healing them. It encourages forgiveness as a moment-by-moment practice that shifts one’s perception from fear-based thinking to a thought system based on love.
The Course was scribed between 1965 and 1972 by Helen Schucman, a Medical Psychology professor at Columbia University, with the help of Bill Thetford, Ken Wapnick, and Judith Skutch Whitson. It was first published in 1976. It has since been translated into 25 languages, with sales of over 3 million copies a year worldwide. The Foundation for Inner Peace now manages a large and ever-growing community of Course students.
Unity has two ACIM study groups that meet regularly during the course of the book’s reading time frame – the ACIM Discussion Group and the A Course in Miracles for Unity discussion group. Both are open to all and welcome new members. In addition to these groups, there are many small groups that form outside of the book study time frames and meet throughout the year.
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Joined: August 18th, 2020
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