Summary of Beliefs, Principles and Practices in A Course in Miracles.
“The way to God is through forgiveness here. There is no other way.” W. 256
The kingdom of God and the glory of His Son has been lost to us but remains inviolate and complete deep within us. The separation from God is an impossible occurrence that has become possible and real in the mind, the consequence of which has brought about the fall, or sleep, resulting in the perception of a dualistic world where God is absent. This is the dream of separation, bodies and the world in which we are born, live a little life and die, it is the world of perception as opposed to the knowledge of oneness which is the Kingdom of Heaven.
The world has become a prison for the mind, which is kept in place by the unconscious mechanisms underlying perception and the dynamics of the ego-self construct. There is no escape from this all-encompassing existential condition of life experienced as a human being, without the Help God has provided in the Holy Spirit. It is His Voice which guides us through the personal lessons of forgiveness and healing that bring about the release of the mind from this prison.
The Introduction to the Text of A Course in Miracles states simply:
“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.”
The God of the Course is a wholly loving and benign God who only gives to His creation endlessly and perfectly in timeless eternity. He is incapable of judgment or anger or cruelty. He is also incapable of understanding any condition that does not share His divine, immortal and unlimited attributes. That is the basis of the miracle. Through the power of God in the mind, miracles undo the cause, in the mind, of the effects of separation and suffering. As these false causes are undone, through forgiveness, the mind starts to remember the true nature of God’s Love. Finally, once forgiveness is complete in them, the mind is made ready for reconciliation with Him where the illusion of separation disappears and the only reality is the one we share with the Father. We return to the Heavenly Kingdom of God’s Creation.
The Course lays great emphasis on the overarching need of the individual to accept the Atonement for themselves. As each individual accepts the Atonement for themselves, their perceptions are transformed, the inner light is released and the power and glory of God is felt. They learn, through direct experience, to accept a whole new identity, to know themselves as the perfect and Holy Sons of a perfect and Holy Creator. A central tenet of the Course is expressed as “To know your Self is the salvation of the world.” As each one joins in the experience of a true identity in Christ the circle of Atonement spreads across the world and throughout the mind of the dreaming Son of God to expedite the great awakening and fulfill God’s plan for Salvation.
God did not create the world, space/time or bodies. They all arise in perception as a result of accepting the false belief in separation from God, our unchanging Source. They were made and not created therefore they are illusory and not the truth. They appear real in the dream of separation but atonement undoes the cause of separation and re-establishes the true Cause, God, as the creator of all things that are like Himself. The only thing like Himself is His Son, His Creation, everything else is not real and disappears when reality dawns upon the awakening mind.
Atonement, through true forgiveness, heals the mind of its incessant search outside itself, in its belief in specialness, victimization and lack. True forgiveness removes all grievances and sense of injustice, anger and sickness. Miracles demonstrate the ego is not your true identity, your eternal Self that God created and loves is your true identity. This is the Self at one with Jesus in the resurrection, in eternal life.
With Jesus, or the Holy Spirit as guide, the journey back to God is undertaken. It undoes the ego and re-establishes truth, God’s truth, in awareness.
The Course in Miracles, uniquely for a spiritual tradition, expresses its understanding of the sophisticated psychological devices the ego uses to defend itself from God. These are interpersonal dynamics which have developed to maintain the sense of a separate individual who lives a private life with private thoughts apart from everything and everyone and God. This drama of existence, with the Teacher of Miracles as our guide, becomes the classroom where we learn to forgive ourselves for what is impossible and could not occur, yet in our mind definitely seems to constitute our reality.
Forgiveness is the means for undoing our mistakes and correcting the mind and the belief in separation with all its sorry consequences. We have not left the place where God established us to enter into a joyless world. Forgiveness is the way we learn this is so, and as we do our minds and bodies are healed, relationships become a means of salvation and we remember the joy that we had forgot so very long ago. Forgiveness removes the obstacles to peace and the condition in which God can be remembered is attained.
In A Course in Miracles God is calling to the sleeping Son of God asking him to accept a new purpose for his life and relationships. God wants His Son to wake up, to realize he is the light of the world, with power to bring peace to every mind. He is offering a truly exciting vocation in time, to fulfill a divinely inspired function in the world and then to come Home to God.
“O my brothers, if you only knew the peace that will envelop you and hold you safe and pure and lovely in the Mind of God, you could but rush to meet Him where His altar is. Hallowed your Name and His, for they are joined here in this holy place. Here He leans down to lift you up to Him, out of illusions into holiness; out of the world and to eternity; out of all fear and given back to love.” C-4.8
What we Believe
We believe in one true God the Creator of all life. Who creates all things like Himself, extending perfectly and infinitely in timeless and dimensionless eternity without beginning and without ending. He is our Source, our Life our Love and our abiding place. In Him there is no opposite, His perfect love, joy and peace are without limit and are the One reality shared by His Creation. In truth there is no other condition or state. The silent stillness and power of His Love and glory are entirely beyond human comprehension but not beyond knowing. For everything that exists is known to Him in His Love, in His Light, in which they share.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, given to bridge the gap of seeming separation and un-truth. In Him all errors are corrected and all illusions disappear in truth. He is God’s gift to everyone, the Teacher of transformation, that perception may be healed and knowledge restored to present awareness. His is the Voice in a far country to whom we turn for Help to bring about the end of dreams. He calls to everyone to hear the Word he brings that we may learn to look with wholly forgiving eyes upon our brothers. The redemption song He sings replaces an ancient enmity that had taken hold in fearful dreams, and then the memory of our Father’s love will come again to teach us we are One with Him.
We believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the existential drama of the human ego-body identity and the birth-death cycle, to the illuminate reality of eternal life in God. In overcoming death, Jesus demonstrated the way for us to follow, that we may join Him in the resurrection. He is the Christ, the Son of God, the Light of the World, who has remained with us, until we turned to Him for help. He offers us His light and the way to escape from the miserable dream of sin, separation and guilt we had made for ourselves, and to accept instead, the reality of our true identity as the Sons God created perfect and holy and like God Himself in limitless power and peace.
We believe A Course in Miracles comes from Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit and the human scribe, Helen Schucman, to teach us how to see the face of Christ in all our brothers and remember God. He came to take us Home with Him and to walk the world with us as a brother and Friend a little while. He shows us how to heal and bless, to comfort and forgive, just as He did when He walked the world so many years ago.
We believe in the Love of God, the Love that is not of this world. Every miracle is its effect and all healing is its result. We believe in the Peace of God, the “peace that passeth understanding“. This is the goal and aim of all our living here, our function, our purpose and our life.
We believe in the great commandments:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” and “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
We believe that each and everyone is entitled to miracles because of What they are:
“You are entitled to miracles because of what you are. You will receive miracles because of what God is. And you will offer miracles because you are one with God. Again, how simple is salvation! It is merely a statement of your true Identity.”
W- Lesson 77
We believe that miracles are perfectly natural through our recognition and admission that we are as God created us. And, that they are manifested by an outflowing of unconditional love that will enlighten our minds, heal our bodies, and restore us to the Kingdom of Heaven.
We believe that through the transformation of the individual by true forgiveness, not only is it possible to reach God directly, it is in fact the most natural thing in the world.
We believe that through our individual unqualified acceptance and practice of the teachings of forgiveness and love of our Saviour, in A Course in Miracles, a spiritual revival of a totally unprecedented dimension is occurring that will expand to encompass all the world.
“Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”
From the Introduction to the Text
Love, the perfect love of God has no opposite. It cannot be changed or destroyed, it is forever unchanging and unchangeable. What seems to be its opposite is fear, yet what is all-encompassing cannot have an opposite. This is the basis for every miracle. All the forms of fear, no matter what, no matter how intense, chronic or seemingly hopeless, are overcome in exactly the same way, they will all yield to the love beyond – “perfect love casts out fear”.
We do not need to seek out love, we cannot learn what it is, for that is beyond what can be taught. It is a pure transcendental experience of the nature of God. However, to know this love, we do need to uncover and recognize all the obstacles to its awareness so that they can be undone. The way they are undone is through forgiveness here, there is no other way.
The human condition is a dream and not reality. Its underlying, most fundamental cause is the sin of separation. All guilt, fear anger and attack, hatred, jealousy, greed, lack and loss, injustice, misery and suffering of all kinds are its consequence. The world is a place of endless suffering, despair and futility despite the momentary glimpses of love and happiness because of the false idea of separation from God, which seems to be so complete.
It is because the world, the dream, seems so completely true and real to our minds, and our experience of problems, sickness and death seem so real and inevitable that we need help from beyond ourselves in order to find the love of God and our way to the resurrection and eternal life. The Holy Spirit is the means within our minds that is God’s agent within the dream. He is the Help we need to find a way of undoing this fixed belief in separation and sin etc. In order to find peace, the peace of God, we must undergo a process of recognizing all the problems, all the obstacles, and forgive them all. That is, to accept responsibility for them in our minds, so that the Holy Spirit can undo them at their source and we can be free of the fear and guilt our problems kept in place.
Forgiveness then is the home of miracles because it is the one thought that leads away from fear and demonstrates the truth, that God’s perfect unchanging love is the only reality and nothing else, no other state or condition is reality.
“Each lily of forgiveness offers all the world the silent miracle of love.” W-pII.13.3.4
The attainment and maintaining of the state of peace is the motivation for undertaking the Course. In the state of peace the mind is quiet and untroubled, obstacles have been removed through the miracle of forgiveness and the condition in which God is remembered has now been attained.
To have peace you must teach peace. To have peace, peace must become the preferred choice in place of attack, judgment, fear etc. Peace must be the justified response to every situation. Only forgiveness can offer this possibility. Only forgiveness can undo the fearful self-image we call ego, the separated state of mind. Only forgiveness leads to peace, and by offering forgiveness, God’s forgiveness is accepted and the guilt of separation in our minds is removed. Once it has gone only truth remains, the true Self that is holy and guiltless in freedom and One with God is recognized as our original and unchanging perfect state.
A Course in Miracles is laid out as a self-study work, with a Text, Workbook and a Manual for Teachers.
It lays out the theoretical foundation in the Text, where all the complexities of the ego dynamics are laid bare, the in-depth expounding of forgiveness and the development of the vision of Christ as the means to accept the Atonement for oneself, and a constant re-affirmation of the irreconcilable nature of truth and illusion. The ego can never be reconciled with truth and the True Self, and vice versa. Only one is real, the other has no meaning at all and will disappear when the truth is realized. The Text lays out practices just like the Workbook but within a greater context of the development of themes within its Chapters.
The Workbook explains at the outset that doing the exercises it contains will make the goal of the Course possible. Its purpose is to provide a step-by-step approach in training the mind to a completely different perception of everyone and everything. The goal is ‘true perception’, seeing in the light of truth, as opposed to seeing with the body’s eyes, whereby in the mind it becomes possible to look upon the holiness and complete sinlessness of each and everyone you meet.
The purpose of the Course is to lead each individual back to God. However work is necessary first in the undoing of the general tendency to judge and condemn others and in removing the causes of fear that have kept God and His love obscure to us. Preparation is required in order to approach the Holy of Holies, the Holy Christ and the Holy Father.
The practice of doing the 365 daily Workbook lessons is part of the ‘required curriculum’ as the Course states, in the Introduction to the Text. The final 124 lessons of the Workbook are all presented as prayers. We can say that the Course is elucidating our need to pray, the correct motivation, and how to pray as a foundation for the post-workbook days without the structure of the lessons as we continue our spiritual development.
The Manual for Teachers presents the development of the characteristics of a teacher of God and attempts to answer and clarify some of the questions and address some of the pitfalls that arise as the student-teacher advances. Throughout the Course the student is being called upon to “take their place as a Savior of the world”, to help Jesus complete the mission he started so long ago in Palestine.
Prayer, Forgiveness & Healing
The practice of the Course is simply prayer, forgiveness, and healing. You first pray, then forgive and consequently are healed.
It is an intensive inner work that excludes nothing and no-one. The focus is on our interpersonal relationships, which offer a microcosm of our relationship with God. Therefore the practice of forgiveness, of loving our brothers, to know your brother as yourself, is how this Course brings each one Home to the Love of God. The practice of consistently forgiving and learning to let go of the past with its grievances and injustices and mistakes is the way the mind is released from the powerful hold of guilt, sin and separation from God. Each miracle affirms that only God’s truth is true and any condition, state or experience that does not share the joy of His truth can be undone in the mind by the miracle of true forgiveness.
There is no more powerful statement of its practice in the Course than the following from Workbook lesson 161. We are asked to choose one brother for the purposes of the exercise, and to ask this of him:
“Give me your blessing, holy Son of God. I would behold you
with the eyes of Christ, and see my perfect sinlessness in you.”
And Workbook lesson 257:
“Forgiveness, truth’s reflection, tells me how to offer miracles, and thus escape the prison house in which I think I live. Your holy Son is pointed out to me, first in my brother; then in me. Your Voice instructs me patiently to hear Your Word, and give as I receive. And as I look upon Your Son today, I hear Your Voice instructing me to find the way to You, as You appointed that the way shall be: “Behold his sinlessness, and be you healed.””
Our relationships are the Church, the temple of the Holy Spirit where God is worshipped by first honoring His Son. The holy altar to the Father lies within the mind of every one. Those who learn to look with wholly forgiving eyes upon their brothers have learned to see with Christ and recognize the immortal within a dream of death. Vision is healed perception, it is the means this Course employs to bring about the recognition of God in everyone and everything.
“The way to God is through forgiveness here. There is no other way…Here we can but dream. But we can dream we have forgiven him in whom all sin remains impossible… God is our goal; forgiveness is the means by which our minds return to Him at last.” W-256.1
“The forgiven are the means of the Atonement. Being filled with spirit, they forgive in return. Those who are released must join in releasing their brothers, for this is the plan of the Atonement. Miracles are the way in which minds that serve the Holy Spirit unite with me for the salvation or release of all of God’s creations.” T-1.III.3
“Forgiveness, salvation, Atonement, true perception, all are one. They are the one beginning, with the end to lead to oneness far beyond themselves. True perception is the means by which the world is saved from sin, for sin does not exist. And it is this that true perception sees.” C-4.3
“And think how holy he [your brother] must be when in him sleeps your own salvation, with his freedom joined! However much you wish he be condemned, God is in him. And never will you know He is in you as well while you attack His chosen home, and battle with His host. Regard him gently. Look with loving eyes on him who carries Christ within him, that you may behold his glory and rejoice that Heaven is not separate from you.” T-26.IX.1.
“Is it too much to ask a little trust for him who carries Christ to you, that you may be forgiven all your sins, and left without a single one you cherish still? Forget not that a shadow held between your brother and yourself obscures the face of Christ and memory of God.” T-26.IX.2