ACIM Text Reading for January 4
A Course in Miracles
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.
Text – Chapter 1
The Meaning of Miracles
I. Principles of Miracles
1. There is no order of difficulty in miracles. One is not “harder” or “bigger” than another. They are all the same. All expressions of love are maximal.
2. Miracles as such do not matter. The only thing that matters is their source, which is far beyond evaluation.
3. Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.
4. All miracles mean life, and God is the giver of life. His voice will direct you very specifically. You will be told all you need to know.
5. Miracles are habits, and should be involuntary. They should not be under conscious control. Consciously selected miracles can be misguided.
6. Miracles are natural. When they do not occur something has gone wrong.
7. Miracles are everyone’s right, but purification is necessary first.
8. Miracles are healing because they supply a lack; they are performed by those who temporarily have more for those who temporarily have less.
9. Miracles are a kind of exchange. Like all expressions of love, which are always miraculous in the true sense, the exchange reverses the physical laws. They bring more love both to the giver and the receiver.
10. The use of miracles as spectacles to induce belief is a misunderstanding of their purpose.
11. Prayer is the medium of miracles. It is a means of communication of the created with the Creator. Through prayer love is received, and through miracles love is expressed.
12. Miracles are thoughts. Thoughts can represent the lower or bodily level of experience, or the higher or spiritual level of experience. One makes the physical, and the other creates the spiritual.
13. Miracles are both beginnings and endings, and so they alter the temporal order. They are always affirmations of rebirth, which seem to go back but really go forward. They undo the past in the present, and thus release the future.
14. Miracles bear witness to truth. They are convincing because they arise from conviction. Without conviction they deteriorate into magic, which is mindless and therefore destructive; or rather, the uncreative use of mind.
15. Each day should be devoted to miracles. The purpose of time is to enable you to learn how to use time constructively. It is thus a teaching device and a means to an end. Time will cease when it is no longer useful in facilitating learning.
16. Miracles are teaching devices for demonstrating it is as blessed to give as to receive. They simultaneously increase the strength of the giver and supply strength to the receiver.
17. Miracles transcend the body. They are sudden shifts into invisibility, away from the bodily level. That is why they heal.
18. A miracle is a service. It is the maximal service you can render to another. It is a way of loving your neighbor as yourself. You recognize your own and your neighbor’s worth simultaneously.
19. Miracles make minds one in God. They depend on cooperation because the Sonship is the sum of all that God created. Miracles therefore reflect the laws of eternity, not of time.
20. Miracles reawaken the awareness that the spirit, not the body, is the altar of truth. This is the recognition that leads to the healing power of the miracle.
21. Miracles are natural signs of forgiveness. Through miracles you accept God’s forgiveness by extending it to others.
22. Miracles are associated with fear only because of the belief that darkness can hide. You believe that what your physical eyes cannot see does not exist. This leads to a denial of spiritual sight.
23. Miracles rearrange perception and place all levels in true perspective. This is healing because sickness comes from confusing the levels.
24. Miracles enable you to heal the sick and raise the dead because you made sickness and death yourself, and can therefore abolish both. You are a miracle, capable of creating in the likeness of your Creator. Everything else is your own nightmare, and does not exist. Only the creations of light are real.
25. Miracles are part of an interlocking chain of forgiveness which, when completed, is the Atonement. Atonement works all the time and in all the dimensions of time.
For a Free Downloadable Audio of The 50 Miracle Principles, Click HERE
ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 4
These thoughts do not mean anything.
They are like the things I see in this room
[on this street, from this window, in this place].
Unlike the preceding ones, these exercises do not begin with the idea for the day. In these practice periods, begin with noting the thoughts that are crossing your mind for about a minute. Then apply the idea to them. If you are already aware of unhappy thoughts, use them as subjects for the idea. Do not, however, select only the thoughts you think are “bad.” You will find, if you train yourself to look at your thoughts, that they represent such a mixture that, in a sense, none of them can be called “good” or “bad.” This is why they do not mean anything.
In selecting the subjects for the application of today’s idea, the usual specificity is required. Do not be afraid to use “good” thoughts as well as “bad.” None of them represents your real thoughts, which are being covered up by them. The “good” ones are but shadows of what lies beyond, and shadows make sight difficult. The “bad” ones are blocks to sight, and make seeing impossible. You do not want either.
This is a major exercise, and will be repeated from time to time in somewhat different form. The aim here is to train you in the first steps toward the goal of separating the meaningless from the meaningful. It is a first attempt in the long-range purpose of learning to see the meaningless as outside you, and the meaningful within. It is also the beginning of training your mind to recognize what is the same and what is different.
In using your thoughts for application of the idea for today, identify each thought by the central figure or event it contains; for example:
This thought about ___ does not mean anything.
It is like the things I see in this room [on this street, and so on].
You can also use the idea for a particular thought that you recognize as harmful. This practice is useful, but is not a substitute for the more random procedures to be followed for the exercises. Do not, however, examine your mind for more than a minute or so. You are too inexperienced as yet to avoid a tendency to become pointlessly preoccupied.
Further, since these exercises are the first of their kind, you may find the suspension of judgment in connection with thoughts particularly difficult. Do not repeat these exercises more than three or four times during the day. We will return to them later.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #857: I am currently facilitating an ACIM group and was wondering if there is a guide available which relates chapters in the text to lessons in the student workbook! If there is, could you identify it, and /or let me know how to get one.
A: There really is no one-to-one correspondence between chapters and lessons. The structure of the text is more along the lines of a musical composition with themes, sub-themes, and variations rather than the more traditional text book with subject matter progressing in terms of difficulty and complexity. In that sense, the same ideas are developed in different ways depending on the context of the discussion. Therefore, sections, paragraphs, and even passages could apply to several lessons or parts of lessons.
We are preparing for publication (as of February 2005) an eight-volume commentary on the workbook — lesson by lesson — that includes references to the text, the manual for teachers, the two pamphlets (Psychotherapy and The Song of Prayer), and the poetry of Helen Schucman (The Gifts of God). This work is based on the transcript of our tape albums on the lessons in the workbook. This certainly would not be an exhaustive listing of all conceivable cross-references, but we hope it will help students of A Course in Miracles gain a more comprehensive grasp of its thought system and the means of implementing it in their daily lives.
Q #1341: Is there a point at which the intellectual comprehension of the Course only has the benefit of aiding in communicating ideas? I recently heard someone make a loose comparison between the Course and Buddhist mind-training, in that both have the main goal of altering the student’s perceptions through their repeated practices. So, it would seem the foundation of the Course (or text) is only to help the student understand why such practicing is necessary. In other words, trying to understand the Course intellectually through study of the text and other means only serves to help refresh one’s sense of context once they have committed themselves to its mind-training, and doesn’t actually further enlightenment in itself. Is that correct?
A: Neither the text nor the workbook stands alone; together they comprise the spiritual path of A Course in Miracles , as the introduction to the workbook explains: “ A theoretical foundation such as the text provides is necessary as a framework to make the exercises in this workbook meaningful. Yet it is doing the exercises that will make the goal of the course possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of this workbook to train your mind to think along the lines the text sets forth” (W.in.1). Thus, an understanding of the Course’s metaphysics and general principles would ground the lessons so that their full meaning could be better integrated in their practice. Moreover, doing the exercises without ever studying the text, although not wrong and not without some benefit, can actually be misleading in terms of knowing what the Course is really about.
We would agree that the study of the text in itself does not lead to enlightenment, if the focus is solely on the text as a conceptual thought system. On the other hand, however, the text of A Course in Miracles is not the typical text book devoted exclusively to the systematic presentation of theory. Written more along the lines of a symphony with themes and variations, the text invites and encourages its readers, in the midst of expounding its theories and ideas, to process the material in a very personal way. There are many profound, deeply meaningful, and moving passages in the text that can engage the mind open to spiritual transformation. Of course, not all readers would respond positively to its teachings, as they are not compatible with traditional biblical teachings and practices. Yet, for those who relate to its message, there often are transformative experiences of the loving source of the message they are reading. Such instants usually initiate a life-long process that advances through the application and generalization of the principles, which is the aim of the workbook exercises.