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Five Attractions to A COURSE IN MIRACLES

                                         This is a course in mind training.

If

A Course in Miracles

was a church, I wouldn’t attend. If it was a week long retreat in some exotic locale, I

really

wouldn't attend; and if it was a school, I’d rather sleep in. To me, the greatest thing about

A Course in Miracles

is that it’s a book. Apparently, I’m not alone. Without an advertisement campaign—simply by word of mouth—nearly two million copies of

A Course in Miracles

have sold worldwide since its publication in 1976. The Course has been translated from English into countless languages.

A Course in Miracles

was first published as a set of three hardbound books but is now sold as a single three-volume book. Contained within the Course is a Text, which sets forth the theoretical foundation of this spiritual thought system

,

a

Workbook

for students with 365 lessons, which guides students through a year of daily application of those tenets, and a

Manual for Teachers

, which answers questions students might have. In addition, a short paperback containing two supplements were published three years after the Course:

Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice,

and

A Song of Prayer: Prayer, Forgiveness, Healing.

I think the best place to begin to understand

A Course in Miracles

is with Freud who, after years of brilliant research, concluded that only a radical psychological re-education would get us out of the mess we’re in. In other words, if we want to be happy, we need to change the way we think.

A Course in Miracles

is just what the good doctor ordered. The Course agrees with Freud’s statement, except the Course would say it’s going to take a radical psychological

undoing

.

The Course could be described as a process of "undoing" in the framework of a spiritual psychotherapy. “Spiritual” because it combines universal spiritual themes, uses spiritual language, and is a path that leads to Spirit, God (or Oneness as the Course defines God), Truth, Nirvana, the Divine or whatever you want to call that spiritual apex. “Psychotherapy” because that journey is treaded through the psyche—by examining and changing, or undoing, thoughts.

This process of undoing requires the relinquishment of a thought system based on fear and replacing it with a thought system rooted in love. That shift in perception—from fear to love—is how the Course defines a “miracle.”

A Course in Miracles

is not a course in manipulating the world—making an ex-lover appear or your boss disappear or winning the weekly lottery. It is a course in attaining inner peace, not stuff. Changing your life, in Course terms, means changing your mind about your life. For that reason,

A Course in Miracles

calls itself a “mind training.”

I believe it is the content—the Course's totally radical message

—that is its number one main attraction. But over the years of teaching

A Course in Miracles

I've noticed five primary reasons people are drawn to its form.

1.

It’s a book.

Ultimately, the Course is a self-study program. You need not attend anything or utter the word “miracle” to anyone. The study and application are done on your own time, in your own head.

2.

It's a practical step-by-step guided, daily spiritual path.

The Course stresses

application rather than theory, and experience rather than theology.” If you can read and follow directions, you can obtain the goal of

A Course in Miracles

: peace. Simple, right?

3.

It does not dictate rules of behavior.

 You can keep doing whatever you’re doing. The Course does not change behavior, it changes meaning—why you’re doing what you’re doing. Along with that new perspective, however, it is not unusual for external circumstances to change. But again, that’s up to you. If your lifestyle changes, it will be because you want it to, not because you have to.

4.

It’s a beautiful communion of universal spiritual themes.

And more than that, the Course is a revolutionary fusion of psychology and spirituality. Spirituality and the intellect have often been at cross-purposes--each terrified of the other.

A Course in Miracles

, however, breathes new life into the finest ideas of Plato, Gnosticism, Schopenhauer and Freud, while delivering its own message.

5.

It has immediate results.

Doing one Workbook Lesson changes you—your day, your feelings, and your experience.

Being a student of the Course doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. If you are more of a social butterfly than a hermit, don’t despair. Many people find that discussing the material with others helps them better understand the principles. As a result, there are more than 2,000 study groups around the world—1,700 in the United States alone. On any given night, in any given state, Course students gather.

There are no churches are officially associated with

A Course in Miracles

, but as it gains popularity its message is finding its way onto more liberal pulpits (and its hard to find a mainstream spiritual book that doesn't reference it). This is partly due to the Course’s use of Christian terminology. But it should be noted that the Course redefines traditional Christian terms and concepts in very non-traditional ways. Essentially, it threw out the baby and kept the bathwater. (I will talk more about this and how the Course could be considered a correction to Christianity in a later article.)

A Course in Miracles

does not claim to be every person’s path. And it does not claim to be the

only

path to God. It says it is but one of thousands, all leading to the same outcome. In a world of religious righteousness what is refreshing about the Course is its humbleness. That'd be #6.