A Course in Miracles
by Michael Braunstein
1983 seems long ago. And it would be — if there were such a thing as time. Though it’s common in metaphysical circles to dismiss the notion of “time” as a construct of human egocentricity, I’ll indulge my less metaphysical side and pretend 1983 is a long time ago. That year, I introduced a friend to sushi for her first time. She returned the favor by introducing me to A Course in Miracles.
I learned more about A Course in Miracles with weekly gatherings at Carolyn and Harvey Fuqua’s home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Nichols Canyon. At the time, A Course in Miracles was a relatively new publication, first officially printed in 1975. The Course has no listed author— only a publisher: Foundation for Inner Peace. The Course made sense to me right away.
Courses for horses. My interest in the esoteric view of reality started at an early age when I learned that what we see with our eyes is merely physical illusion. Oh,to sight and touch the world may seem to be solid matter but when you stop and think, you know better.
Basic science confirms that everything we see, touch, smell or hear is explained by the tiny world of nuclear physics. The more we admit to the science, we find our universe is made of nothing but energy. Let me be clear about that. There is no solid matter. There is only energy. It’s science.
That was clear after reading a book about atomic energy at the old Omaha Public Library at the ripe old age of 10. But don’t misunderstand. I didn’t spend the rest of my childhood wondering about it. I played with toy trucks, rode my bicycle, played sports. I tolerated Catholic grade school, high school and university and grew grateful for that introduction to a spiritual view of the world.
But religion still led with too much emphasis on the physical. I was interested in energy. Eventually I recognized that thought itself is a form of energy. We just have not learned to measure it fully. Western science doesn’t recognize anything it can’t quantize and measure. As far as Western science was concerned, cosmic rays, electricity, radiation, light and even sound didn’t exist until we learned to measure them. Western science is barely beginning to understand that thought is energy.
Putting that energy to work. With a basic tenet that “thought is creative,” the Course was a natural for me. And with its stated goal of peace of mind, who wouldn’t want to pursue that? The Course then looks at the only real law of the Universe: the Law of Cause and Effect. And if thought exists as a non-physical entity, then what caused physical ones? It’s easy to see that any and all physical things are always preceded by a thought. Therefore the flow of cause and effect goes from thought to form, not the other way around. That may require a slightly lengthier explanation and that’s available if one wants it. That’s part of what the Course explores.
The Books. The Course was published in three volumes as a Text, a Workbook for Students and a Manual for Teachers. The words contained in each were received by a woman named Helen Schucman, a psychology professor at Columbia School of Medicine. An inner voice dictated the writing to her and responded with “Jesus” when she asked his name. Regardless of the provenance, even skeptics acknowledge that the Course unquestionably follows a solid line of logic and is based firmly on psychology and physics, not to mention spirituality.
The Text provides an academic underpinning. The Workbook provides a series of 365 lessons that serve as a tutorial designed to reverse the false belief that cause is outside us and that we are the effect of the world. Following the lessons, one learns that thought is cause and therefore our mind is the best tool we have to achieve peace. The Course then proceeds to teach how to use the mind. Finally, the Manual for Teachers elucidates the goals of the Course, basic interpretations of roles and suggestions for application.
For today. The ideas in the Course are not new. They are timeless teachings that resonate through many forms of spiritual study common to both Eastern and Western mindsets. What the Course does is teach a path for mankind’s conscious search for peace by couching it in modern terms. Longtime students of the Course recognize that it is Christian-based because Christianity is a prominent theology at this moment in history. Students also recognize that the Course uses terminology common to current Western culture. One could say that the Course is eternal teachings suited and typecast for our 21st century experience.
The Course has no central leader or organization. There is no figurehead. The Course has now even entered public domain so there is not even a recognized official publisher. The Foundation for Inner Peace remains the original publisher and was endorsed by Schucman and her closest collaborators so that provides a certain imprimatur.
Sometimes the public mistakes certain New Age popular figures as the “authors” of the Course. While some of those have managed to make a career of promoting their interpretation of the Course, the Course best stands on its own. It is a unique instrument for self to rediscover Self. And, of Course, peace of mind.
California Rolls and tempura are not sushi. Marianne Williamson’s books are not the Course. Authenticity cannot be watered down. Both nigiri sushi and A Course in Miracles are worth experiencing. For more on the Course, go here.
Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.