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Introduction to A Course in Miracles

Updated on July 8, 2011

The Author

A Course in Miracles was written by two people, Helen Schucman and William Thetford, both Professors of Medical Psychology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.

The author of the book is the Holy Spirit.These two people were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the course as a result of their willingness to allow the Holy Spirit to write through them. It took them seven years to complete the course which comes in three parts, the text, workbook for students and manual for teachers.

The purpose of the course is to guide people to find the Holy Spirit within and to trust this inner source of wisdom as our inner teacher.

A Beginning

The course is Christian in statement but deals with universal spiritual themes. It does not claim to be the one and only right way back to God but simply states that it is one way to get us back on track to HIM. The course is but a beginning and once the student has found the inner teacher all subsequent learning will be directed by the Holy Spirit.

Real and Unreal

Truth as real perception is unreal. Truth is independent of the observer, unchanging and eternal. Truth may not be recognised by everyone but it also cannot be changed. Only what God has created is real and what God created is beyond anything that can be conceived by the mind and simply is.

Perception on the other hand depends on interpretation and is learned. Perception is founded on belief in opposites and separate wills in perpetual conflict with each other and with God.

Perception appears to be real because it allows the perceiver awareness of only that which fits in with the belief system of the perceiver. The world of perception is an illusory world we defend and get caught in. We are living in a world we believe is real the way we experience our dreams at night.

There is way out of this dream and God has provided His voice for us to follow to freedom. This is the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Forgiveness Is The Way Out Of The Dream

To escape does not mean death but rather living your life between two worlds, knowing the truth and at the same time recognising the illusions that keep people dreaming their unreal world and not believing in them.

The Holy Spirit seeks to teach us how to unlearn what we have taught ourselves to think. Forgiveness is the tool used by the Holy Spirit to enable us to achieve this. Recognising that what we see is not real and therefore not true we learn to forgive ourselves and the projections from ourselves that we believe are separate from us.

Sin is Ignorance of the Truth

Sin is the mistake we make in believing our perceptions to be true. When we do this we close our eyes to God who is truth. There is only one reason why we have chosen to close our eyes and dream of a world separate from God and in perpetual conflict and that is lack of love. Sin is not an evil to be punished it is a mistake or a distortion in our awareness to be corrected.

As a result of this distortion we believe in lack and inadequacy. We look for in others what we perceive as lacking in ourselves. We love another in order to feel complete. True love is unconditional and asks for nothing. The distorted awareness of the “I” we think we are looks outside of itself for everything it feels it needs to become complete and to be happy. It seeks external approval to validate itself, it requires the accumulation of possessions to feel secure, and seeks external love oblivious to the ocean of love within.

The Higher Self

The real self or Higher Self is the Self that God created and needs nothing. It is complete and gives and receives love unconditionally. The real self loves all and serves all without asking for or requiring anything to feel complete.

It is in using the illusions that we have created as a means to learn forgiveness that we can eventually awaken from our dream of imagining we are separate from God. An illusion isn't real so when you judge yourself or another you are dreaming. By imagining that any relationship is any more special than another is a trick to maintain the separateness necessary to sustain the dream. The Holy Spirit teaches us to learn how to automatically forgive and in doing so we no longer invest in the illusion. By forgiving everything we perceive we withdraw our projections and the truth will finally reveal itself as we awaken from the dream we ourselves have created.

Christ's Message

The body is the vehicle through which we perceive the illusion. The body like everything else we perceive is used by the mind to achieve what it wants. When the mind stops seeking external fulfilment and turns instead to the Holy Spirit that is when the distortion in awareness begins to be corrected and we begin to come out of our dream of separation.

Christ's message was the voice of the Holy Spirit. He came into this world of illusion to direct us out of our sleep. He sought to teach us to stop believing in a reality of sin, guilt and death. He proclaimed a way of thinking that made a return to God an inevitability for all. By changing our mistaken way of thinking he said that we would no longer perceive injustice as anything other than a cry for help. We would not see conflict, illness or sin as anything other than a cry for love. We would stop imagining attack and tear down the walls we have built between each other to defend ourselves from an attack than does not exist. We will come to realise that the needs of the world are our own needs and everyone we perceive in our dream world is on the same journey back to God and we need each other to find our way home.

A Course in Miracles is a Step toward God

Forgiveness is necessary in this dream world in order to correct the mistakes we have made in a thinking that keeps us separate from ourselves and from God. Forgiveness is the key to us remembering the truth and reclaiming our place with God.

When we take one step toward God He will take ten steps toward us. A Course in Miracles is a step toward God.

The Book - A Course in Miracles

Follow the linkbelow to read the reviews made by readers of the course:

A Course in Miracles - Combined Volume (Hardcover)

The ONLY Complete Edition published by the Foundation for Inner Peace


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    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Mr Happy, these are very good questions and deserve better treatment than a short answer in a comment box so I will write a hub to answer them (if that is acceptable to you, of course.) I won't use your name in my hub answer unless you want me to and if you do I will link back to your profile. Please let me know.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      "It does not claim to be the one and only right way back to God but simply states that it is one way to get us back on track to HIM." - Are you sure HE is not a HER? Could you elaborate? - I'm half serious. I am half serious here because you made the "HIM" claim and half unserious (I think I just invented a word) because as I previously said somewhere else I believe that in a sense, everything is equally important and equally meaningless thus, nothing really matters. You can answer my question and all is good or you can not answer my question and all is still good. This is just my opinion.

      "True love is unconditional and asks for nothing." - I love this sentence! There is no other way to put it.

      With the following, I have a problem: "The Holy Spirit teaches us to learn how to automatically forgive". I can forgive, once, twice, three times, four times, five times ... maybe ten times but there is a point where I will let the nasty wolf come out. When confronted with pure negativity, I can eat-it-up and dissolve it within myself. Doesn't a negative plus a negative become a positive? I can intake some "poisons" and overcome them.

      "Forgiveness is necessary in this dream world in order to correct the mistakes we have made in a thinking that keeps us separate from ourselves and from God." I can agree with this statement too, although I just think forgiveness is necessary in order to grow as self. I leave it at that.

      I dislike prophets ... I am not fond of Jesus or Mohammed or anyone else who claims to be the voice of the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit is in us all. I can listen to that silence within me which is older than time or thought ... I do not need the voice of others who claim to hear the voice within myself better than I do.

      All opinions. Thank you.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Hi kimh039 I don't think you are alone when it comes to how we judge ourselves and others. I really appreciate your honest feedback and would suggest that you read my hub The Disappearance of the Universe as I found that a great preparation before ever starting A Course in Miracles.

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 

      7 years ago

      great hub, spirit whisperer. I found the course difficult to read and grasp; and grandiose. I would say blasphemous but I have a lot of guilt about judging others... and I could be mistaken because I am imperfect.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you Nell and Cashmere. I appreciate you both taking the time to read this hub and to comment. It is an amazing journey and not quite like any other I have ever taken. The emphasis of the course is on doing rather than just thinking about the ideas and the experience is what creates the shift in thinking.Please let me know how you both get on with it.

    • cashmere profile image


      7 years ago from India

      I've been doing some spiritual reading the past five years and its been an interesting experience. I've not heard of this book, but you sure make it sound interesting.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      Hi, anything like this gets my interest, whether it is real or based on psychology, I will have to go take a look! thanks nell

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you epigramman I very much appreciate your kind words and support.

    • epigramman profile image


      7 years ago

      ..actually, your hub subjects and writing are an introduction to a course in miracles - I just gave you a real nice shout out on Janet's hub and you have supported not only the epi-man but so many others here at the Hub with your amazing insight, wisdom and spiritual and intellectual enlightenment......

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you Janet. It is always a pleasure to have you read and comment.

    • tumblintumblweed profile image


      7 years ago

      Very interesting read,SW.I truly do believe in the Holy Spirit! Very informative and useful hub,Spirit,sir!

      Thank you for sharing this!


    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thanks for coming back RH and I have started a blog on my website. I left a link above if you are interested. Take care.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      SW - oh ok - sorry I missed that point. Well it sounds very interesting. I am always for exploring new things. You should keep everyone posted on how it's going!

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you Alastar for reading this and I appreciate you very kind words. You can describe what you yourself recognise and what does that say about your "high level for an earth person"?

      BTW you might be interested in Slarty O' Brian's memoirs. His spiritual quest is documented brilliantly in his series "Yes, it's all about me."

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      There are/have been, healers in Brazil for example, who are not charlatans, have been scientifically studied and filmed. Some say they go into a trance and a deceased doctor for example takes over the healing work and yet they may line their cure seekers up under a picture of Jesus. Whatever name a good work is done under, the results are what really matter. Spirit, you are the real conduit for this information on the site and your sharing with your fellow humans something you've found beneficial is greatly appreciated here my friend. In my opinion, your 'Spirit' is on a high level for an Earth person.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Hi RealHousewife thank you for reading this and I am glad it has piqued your interest. In the same way we sometimes need others like doctors to help us there are things we find difficult to do by ourselves. The Holy Spirit is that inner help you can turn to if you have a mind to. I bought the book and I am doing the exercises. The exercises are very simple and and only take a few minutes each day. Each lesson teaches you how to change the way you have been conditioned to think and is quite a liberating experience. It is not a religious course.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I love the way you write SW - but I just don't understand why we need a Holy Spirit to help us realize important things in our lives? I wonder how much this course costs? I'm just sayin.....! I voted you up and useful:)

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Hi Bob thanks for your comment. Though I have to say I still have the use of my fingers for typing! lol Haven't ever typed with my voice .... yet!!!

    • diogenes profile image


      7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      I had thought Shucman was actually reporting the Words of Jesus, or so she said. As a psychologist, she would have diagnozed a patient hearing words like this as suffering from mental illness. She was not a charlatan as she obviously believed she was hearing the voice of Christ and that her schizophrenia was actually divinely inspired. It's curious that the narrator (Jesus) could not prevent her from dying of pancreatic cancer.

      Discredited by all except those who choose to believe this type of phenomena. Good article, well written by you with only, apparently, your own voice! Bob


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