ACIM Text Reading for January 2
A Course in Miracles
What It Is
As its title implies, the Course is arranged throughout as a teaching device. It consists of three books: a 622-page Text, a 478-page Workbook for Students, and an 88-page Manual for Teachers. The order in which students choose to use the books, and the ways in which they study them, depend on their particular needs and preferences.
The curriculum the Course proposes is carefully conceived and is explained, step by step, at both the theoretical and practical levels. It emphasizes application rather than theory, and experience rather than theology. It specifically states that “a universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary.” (Manual, p. 77) Although Christian in statement, the Course deals with universal spiritual themes. It emphasizes that it is but one version of the universal curriculum. There are many others, this one differing from them only in form. They all lead to God in the end.
The Text is largely theoretical, and sets forth the concepts on which the Course’s thought system is based. Its ideas contain the foundation for the Workbook’s lessons. Without the practical application the Workbook provides, the Text would remain largely a series of abstractions which would hardly suffice to bring about the thought reversal at which the Course aims.
The Workbook includes 365 lessons, one for each day of the year. It is not necessary, however, to do the lessons at that tempo, and one might want to remain with a particularly appealing lesson for more than one day. The instructions urge only that not more than one lesson a day should be attempted. The practical nature of the Workbook is underscored by the introduction to its lessons, which emphasizes experience through application rather than a prior commitment to a spiritual goal:
“Some of the ideas the workbook presents you will find hard to believe, and others may seem to be quite startling. This does not matter. You are merely asked to apply the ideas as you are directed to do. You are not asked to judge them at all. You are asked only to use them. It is their use that will give them meaning to you, and will show you that they are true.
“Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy. But do not allow yourself to make exceptions in applying the ideas the workbook contains, and whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than that is required.” (Workbook, p. 2)
Finally, the Manual for Teachers, which is written in question and answer form, provides answers to some of the more likely questions a student might ask. It also includes a clarification of a number of the terms the Course uses, explaining them within the theoretical framework of the Text.
The Course makes no claim to finality, nor are the Workbook lessons intended to bring the student’s learning to completion. At the end, the reader is left in the hands of his or her own Internal Teacher, Who will direct all subsequent learning as He sees fit. While the Course is comprehensive in scope, truth cannot be limited to any finite form, as is clearly recognized in the statement at the end of the Workbook:
“This Course is a beginning, not an end…No more specific lessons are assigned, for there is no more need of them. Henceforth, hear but the Voice for God…He will direct your efforts, telling you exactly what to do, how to direct your mind, and when to come to Him in silence, asking for His sure direction and His certain Word.” (Workbook, p. 487)
ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 2
I have given everything I see in this room
[on this street, from this window, in this place]
all the meaning that it has for me.
The exercises with this idea are the same as those for the first one. Begin with the things that are near you, and apply the idea to whatever your glance rests on. Then increase the range outward. Turn your head so that you include whatever is on either side. If possible, turn around and apply the idea to what was behind you. Remain as indiscriminate as possible in selecting subjects for its application, do not concentrate on anything in particular, and do not attempt to include everything you see in a given area, or you will introduce strain.
Merely glance easily and fairly quickly around you, trying to avoid selection by size, brightness, color, material, or relative importance to you. Take the subjects simply as you see them. Try to apply the exercise with equal ease to a body or a button, a fly or a floor, an arm or an apple. The sole criterion for applying the idea to anything is merely that your eyes have lighted on it. Make no attempt to include anything particular, but be sure that nothing is specifically excluded.
Each of the first three lessons should not be done more than twice a day each, preferably morning and evening. Nor should they be attempted for more than a minute or so, unless that entails a sense of hurry. A comfortable sense of leisure is essential.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #6: Can you please explain how and why the Course is unlike any other spiritual path? I have studied other non-dualistic teachings but seem to always come back to the Course.
A: First, let us say that by non-duality we mean that A Course in Miracles recognizes only one dimension of reality — spirit and the state of perfect oneness, what the Course refers to as the realm of knowledge. Everything else — the dualistic world of separation and perception, of form and matter, of thinking and concepts — is illusion, and thus does not really exist.
This non-dualism is what you find in the higher teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism, but rarely in the West. What makes A Course in Miracles unique as a spiritual system — ancient and contemporary — is its integration of this non-dualistic metaphysics with a sophisticated psychology, heavily based on the insights of Freud and his followers. This means essentially that at the same time that the Course teaches that the world is an illusion and is nothing but a dream, outside the Mind of God, we are urged to practice our daily lessons of forgiveness, paying careful attention to our everyday experiences here. Key to this integration is the Course’s emphasis on purpose, the introduction of which idea sets A Course in Miracles apart from other spiritual paths. The Course teaches that not only is the world an illusion, but that it is a purposive illusion; the purpose being to make a world of bodies, thoroughly focused on solving the myriad number of physical and psychological problems that beset us daily, clamoring for attention and solution. In this way the mind, the true source of our problems, is kept hidden from awareness.
In addition, A Course in Miracles is unique among spiritualities in its insistence that we look at the ego — the dark side — as the way of moving beyond to the light. Its focus, therefore, is not on the truth, but on removing our ego’s thought system of guilt, fear, and attack, which allows the light of truth to shine. As Jesus teaches in one representative passage: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false” (T.16.IV.6:1,2).
512ii. Why are some words italicized and some capitalized in A Course in Miracles?
A: Words italicized in the Course are ones Helen underlined in the scribing process because, in her experience, Jesus had placed greater stress or emphasis on those words or phrases when he dictated the Course to her. An excessive number of words had been underlined originally, and so they were reduced to include only those that seemed to require added emphasis (Absence from Felicity, p. 354)
Words in general are capitalized when they refer to God, Christ or the Holy Spirit. Son in Son of God is always capitalized, at Jesus’ request, even when it refers to the Son in the separated state (and so, not Christ), “to emphasize the inclusion of all of us as part of God’s one Son” (Concordance of A Course in Miracles, p. ix) as a correction for traditional Christianity’s use of the term only for Jesus. For further discussion of the rules of capitalization in the Course, see the “Guide to the Use of the Concordance” at the beginning of the Concordance.