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on 27 July 2011
I came across this book about a dozen years ago in the mind-body-spirit section of a bookshop and picked it up out of curiosity. I only had to read the Introduction and the first half-page of the Text before carrying it straight to the till - no mean recommendation, as I was at the time a university student on a shoe-string budget. Having finally got myself a Kindle, this copy of A Course in Miracles was one of the first books I bought for it.

How can I describe the Course? It is a psychological approach to "enlightenment", non-dualistic in nature, emphasising forgiveness. It regards the entire physical world as an illusion, made not by God, but by us. It tells us that our reality is pure spirit, at home and safe with God. It can be summed up by these words from the Introduction: "Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God."

In many ways, its format reminds me of the physics textbooks I read whilst studying for my degree. It begins with the Text, which sets out the theory, followed by a set of exercises (the Workbook for Students) to help you understand and apply that theory. Then there is an FAQ (the Manual for Teachers) to answer some of the most basic questions about the Course, and a glossary (the Clarification of Terms) to explain how some of the most important words and expressions are being used. This ebook also has the supplements "The Song of Prayer" and "Psychotherapy" included at the end, a little like appendices.

The Text is not an easy read - partly because of the almost Shakespearean language, but also because of the sheer density of information it contains. Trying to read it straight through (as you would read a novel) will probably have the same effect as reading a revision guide straight through - the brain will scream "too much information!" and will be unable to take it all in. Even read slowly, although the beauty and meaning of some paragraphs will leap out at you immediately, others will not make sense until you re-read them later with the benefit of having learned a little more of the Course's theory and system. It's not uncommon for people to find this book difficult and to put it aside for a while, only to return to it some years later when they are a bit more ready for it.

The practice of the Course is based solidly in forgiveness - total, uncompromising forgiveness of yourself, the world, and everyone in it. No exceptions. As you might imagine, this is tough. It requires you to be unflinchingly honest with yourself, and it certainly doesn't happen overnight. The Workbook is designed to lead you gradually towards this goal. This is one of the reasons why the Course is for long-term study - if you simply dip into it every now and again when it suits you, there's a pretty good chance that you will end up ignoring some of the more difficult concepts which are vital to the overall message.

The Course uses some Christian terminology and language, and makes no apology for the fact that its author is the voice of Jesus, as heard by Helen Schucman in the 1960's and 70's. However, many of these familiar terms are used in a startlingly new way. The Course is not Christianity - nor was it ever intended to be! The theology set forth in its pages is incompatible with the Apostles' Creed, and is a separate, self-contained system.

This version of A Course in Miracles is the combined third edition of the official version as approved by Helen Schucman and published by the Foundation For Inner Peace. They have so far translated the Course into about twenty languages, with more to come (a very time-consuming process, as the translators must understand every line of the Course in order to avoid distorting its message). If you are not a native English speaker, you might want to visit to see whether the Course is available in your first language.

Lastly (and I cannot emphasise this enough), this is very definitely a "try before you buy" book. A Course in Miracles (by its own admission) is not for everyone, and many will find the text simply impenetrable. Either by using "click to look inside" or by downloading the sample to your kindle, it is a *very* good idea to take a look at what the Course is like before buying it. The sample includes:

* The table of contents
* The Preface (contains background and summary)
* The Introduction
* The first seven chapters of the Text

You should be able to get an idea from this whether or not the Course will be helpful for you.

Recommended further reading material:

If you are unsure about the differences between Christianity and A Course in Miracles, then I recommend "A Course in Miracles and Christianity: A Dialogue", which is a discussion between Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D. and Rev. W. Norris Clarke S.J., Ph.D. on the similarities and differences between the two thought systems. (Kindle edition available)

If you would like help understanding the principles of A Course in Miracles, and are not put off by blunt speech or information from unusual sources, then "The Disappearance of the Universe" by Gary R. Renard is an excellent introduction. A more concise and somewhat more polite summary can be found in "A Talk Given on 'A Course in Miracles': An Introduction", by Kenneth Wapnick. Either one should be able to help you to decide whether or not the Course is for you, and get you off on the right foot if you do decide to study the Course. (Kindle editions available)

If you would like to know more about the story of A Course in Miracles than is contained in the Preface of the Course itself, then you can find it in "Journey without Distance" by Robert Skutch. A much lengthier and more scholarly treatment can be found in "Absence from Felicity", Kenneth Wapnick's biography of Helen Schucman, which contains a lot of the extra messages and conversations between Jesus and Helen, and puts them into context.

I hope you find this review helpful!
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on 13 November 2010
For 20 years all attempts to read "A Course in Miracles" bore little fruit. The writing seemed obscure and the concepts vague. Being female I had difficulty thinking of all of us as the "Son of God." A year ago, to my dismay, the book suddenly made sense and became a life changer.
I now believe we have a choice between two parallel "worlds." One is physical and the other spiritual. We can look at the world through ego, the mind of man, or through spirit, the Mind of God. One is external the other internal. Since God truly is all love all knowing and all powerful the concepts of hell, Satan, sin and separation are illusions created by man. "Sin" is a mistake that can be corrected. Everything in the universe is God. Time and space do not exist. In eternity there is nowhere that is not God.
Pain, guilt and fear result when the mind of man views us as separate from God, from each other and all creation. When we identify with the Mind of God we know we were never born and we will never die. When the mind of man identifies with the body there is birth and death. The Mind of God leads to truth, life, love, joy and peace. The mind of man leads to illusion, fear, vengeance, pain and death. Viewing myself as the "Son of God" now feels right for there's no gender in the Mind of God.
Jesus' teaching "Judge not, lest ye be judged...and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again" took on new meaning. I now understood why forgiveness is the path to truth, love and peace. When we judge another we judge God and ourselves.
"A Course in Miracles" says right mindedness listens to the Mind of God, merely overlooks and forgives what never happened. Wrong-mindedness listens to the ego and makes illusions. Ego perceives sin, guilt, disease and death as real and justifies anger. Whenever we respond to the ego we experience guilt and fear of punishment. The ego's purpose is fear. The opposite of the mind of man is a miracle. Where we saw evil and darkness we now see light and holiness. The miracle forgives: the ego damns. There is no need for help to enter Heaven for we have never left. We see a kindly world and walk in gentleness.
The introduction to "A Course in Miracles" says it all: "This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take 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."
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on 18 October 2009
This is an all inclusive book, packed with wisdom and uplifting pages that will inspire you every time you pick it up. It is a very long read however and it will take for you to read it quite a few times before you will understand fully all of the metaphysical ideas contained within it. It covers everything from life after death, to thoughts creating the world we see, to living in the present moment (or the holy instant as the course calls it) and much much more. It is now a classic of spiritual literature and should be studied by anyone who is deeply interested in the true nature of the self and reality as a whole. A good supplement to this book is THE ONE  which presents similar ideas but is more easily understood.
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on 9 July 2008
It is not very often we come across a book that says so much about who we are and why we are here. The error in perception, the illusion of separation, and why there is no such thing as guilt and sin are all central to its theme, and yet there is so much more. The wording of the text is almost biblical in tone, but such is the strength of its message it cannot fail to inspire those who open its pages. If you are genuine in your desire to understand the true meaning of your existence, including the cause of all your pain and suffering, then this really is the beginning of a journey that will change your life forever.

`Truth is restored to you through your desire, as it was lost to you through your desire for something else. Open the holy place that you closed off by valuing the "something else," and what was never lost will quietly return.'

It is a truly inspirational book without comparison. My only advice is that you take your time and understand the true depth of its message.
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on 10 October 2013
The Course in Miracles is a deeply profound set of teaching based on the theme of Forgiveness. It aims to set us free from fear; free from fear of the future, free from fear of other people and above all free from fear of God.

It is mainly a set of 365 lessons (one per day for the year) plus the text which helps create an understanding of the lessons. As for myself, I did not read the text for the first couple of years. I just keep working through the lessons and repeating them. When I eventually read the text I laughed with delight at how it turns things around and sets things to rights.

Some may not be keen on the Shakespearean style of the wording, but once you get used to it I find this adds to the power of the words. It helps take me into another way of thinking and feeling. The unusual wording helps awaken thinking outside of the usual as well.

I first came across Course in Miracles in the late 70's and have studied it again and again at different phases of my life. It has been invaluable. I bought this version as I wanted the whole thing in a compact size for traveling. I wanted a physical book so this works for me splendidly.

Course in Miracles has a somewhat Christian flavour and some might be put off by that. But I have met a number of non-Christians who have adapted to it with no problems and have gained immensely, as as it has a universal appeal.

Even so, although I have written a book about Forgiveness I avoided quoting a Course in Miracles (or the Bible, or indeed any authoritative sources) as my work is meant to be religion-neutral so that anyone can use it and adapt the exercises to their needs (religious or not).

William Fergus Martin, Author
Forgiveness is Power: A User's Guide to Why and How to Forgive
Kindle Version
Forgiveness is Power: A User's Guide to Why and How to Forgive
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on 12 March 2014 understanding how we work....but, the why? comes first. Some fundamental issues examined here, and for many if not most, other books that lead to this one would probably be more helpful. As an example Gary Renard's "The Disappearance of the Universe" identifies and looks at our current selves and our acceptance of our selves as a starting point, warts and all. However be warned, there are some incredible revelations as to how this particular volume originated in itself!

The underlying message is we are all of and from love and it is only our current twisted ideas that cloud our vision, and I have plenty of them myself to work through yet!

If you get this book and don't 'get it' be sure that it will be just that you are not ready for it - the key message then would be not to be disheartened by the discovery, for you will eventually and inevitably find your way back to it - one day.
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on 15 August 2008
In my 8 years of spiritual studies studies I can't believe I'm only just reading this book...I was inspired by the Neale Donald Walsch, conversations with god books (the theory is the same as this) but only decided to read this because I kept noticing other authors I love, such as Doreen Virtue and Louise L Hay, were quoting from this book like it was the 'law'...This book is course to rid (maybe not rid but help you to understand and control) you of your ego and retrain your mind to listen to the loving guidance of the voice that was given to you by god..Then once you have healed yourself, you are invited to help others to 'heal themselves'. The text is absolutly inspiring and lifts the spirits as its like sombody telling you the truth that you have been looking for all your life. If you are a disgruntled Christian who rejected their religion (like myself), not inspired by the judgemental application of his teachings, this book gives christs' teachings back to the people he always wanted to help, which is everyone...If you are not christian it doesn't matter at all.

A truly holy book...
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on 22 April 2010
I'd been put off "A Course in Miracles" for a number of reasons: I thought I knew it already (ego speaking - I do know it but this book puts it across in a wonderfully detailed way; I knew some people I didn't particularly rate studied it; I thought it might be to "religious". How wrong I've been for years. Not to worry. This is now my daily spiritual practice - reading the relevant passages. And I just love it. I read James Twyman's The Art of Spiritual Peacemaking every day and missed it when I finished and was sent off on my own. I'm so glad I got this tome - prompted by going to see Marianne Williamson a second time on 3 April 2010 in London.
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on 19 December 2008
I have been seeking and searching for truth all my life. The last ten years i have read countless scientific and spiritual books. My search have led me to a collective major shift in human consciousness. In science; The Quantum Leap, and in spiritual language; The Endtimes.
What is fun about it is that it has started to occur now, with the financial crisis as only the beginning.
This is no doomsday, only a shift in human consciousness, a jump in evolution.
It is the human race waking up to grasp in their souls the depth of the term Oneness.
It is fun to see how the two books, one spiritual and one scientific, which i feel describes the new paradigme perfectly, say exactely the same thing. If you relate to science, the book is "Theory U" by Otto Scharmer (2007 - MIT). But if you, as me, relate to spiritual language, the book is "A Course in Miracles". I recommend you read them both, to see that science and spirit is at the same point.
The truth is in no book, it is in you.
But the most valuable book to me, in opening my self to truth, is without a doubt this beautiful book. I will hold it dear and close to my heart for the rest of my life.
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on 20 February 2013
Oh, how I'd love to write a rave review of this book! I know that the contect - once you have ruminated, cogitated, translated and digested it - is sound and profound. But in parts it is almost incomprehensible. The lessons in the 'Workbook for Students', are mostly readable, but the rest of the book can be very challenging to make sense of - not least because it is written in the style of language that would have been prevalent over 2000 years ago.

This is not a book that most people would read comfortably cover to cover, but then it is probably not a book most people would be attracted to in the first place. Personally I have it bedside and dip into it from time to time, when most times I do gain something valuable from it, but it does take a bit of patience and perseverence.

Whilst I wouldn't go as far as to say "Don't buy this book", I have learnt recently that other books have been written that outline the messages from ACIM in more modern, accessible language. Anyone considering buying this book might want to 'Look Inside' and do a bit of research on the alternatives first.
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