I am Jan O’Kelley, and I teach A Course in Miracles alongside my husband and partner, Timothy Holmes. Welcome to my blog!
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This Post is dedicated to Introducing The Background of A Course In Miracles
so you can interact with A Course In Miracles online.
Please consider sharing this post so more people can find accessible, online connection to A Course In Miracles
Topics in this post:
- What is the main point, or metaphysics of A Course In Miracles?
- A Course In Miracles is in 3 separate books: Text, Workbook and Manual for Teachers
- Wait, What!? Jesus is the author of A Course In Miracles!?
- How was A Course In Miracles written?
- I’m done reading and want to join a free online study group!
If you have been searching for inner peace and healing, relief from a world of pain and loss, or a reliable, consistent and effective spiritual path, I encourage you to look sincerely and with an open, inquiring mind, into A Course In Miracles.
The Little Garden Website has a free version of the Course so you can connect to A Course In Miracles Online.
I find it helpful to write informal explanations and examples from daily life to help you find answers to questions, such as:
- Why am I here?
- What am I?
- Is there any hope?
- How can I help the world to heal?
- How can I possibly forgive?
- Is God really listening?
- …and so much more.
The Metaphysics of A Course In Miracles
A Course In Miracles makes a fundamental distinction between reality and perception. Only spirit or higher mind is real, unalterable, constant and loving. It never changes. That goes for God, your spirit, and the spirit underlying the world.In the world our senses perceive, on the other hand, there is constant change, flux, arising and dying, ups and downs. Nothing is truly stable. Even stars will go out as new worlds are born.
Fear of loss and desire for more – more of anything! – characterizes perception.
There is a continuous experience of lack, need, and suffering. This can’t be the world God created! It’s not, says the Course… but miracle-mindedness can show you the reflection of Spirit even here.
Learning the fundamental distinction between reality and illusion is the basis of forgiveness and the mechanism of miracles.
Step-by-step, the Course teaches us how to move from the world of change, fear, pain and loss into the perception of Love’s reflection, through teaching and learning.
We learn through study and practice of the three books that comprise the Course: Text, Workbook and Manual for Teachers.
We learn that we can perceive reflections of our true Self and ultimate Spirit even in this physical world.
Our power of choice is simply binary: we choose either the thought system of Love or of the ego.
You will recognize ego’s thought system here: fear, worry, anxiety, anger, competition for “scarce” resources, betrayal, secrecy, striving for position, victimhood, etc. Pretty ugly, huh?
And you know these ways of thinking don’t bring happiness.
In contrast, the thought system taught by the Course brings relief through a new perception of What you are, and What everyone is. The lynchpin of this new thought system is a new and deeper understanding of what forgiveness is.
The Course teaches us to wake up to the miracles, peace, power and happiness we are entitled to by our very Being.
A Course In Miracles Quote: “God’s will for me is perfect happiness.” Workbook lesson 101.
Love’s desire for our perfect happiness can be thwarted only by our own unconscious desire for pain. That’s amazing, isn’t it? Yet we can prove this to ourselves as we change our perceptual framework.
We can live in a world where we are powerful instead of helpless, a world where we have no enemies and literally cannot sin. Gradually, we let go of fear of our own power when we learn through experience that real power is the power of love and forgiveness.
And it can transform the world.
To forgive we need help, because while we are caught in the ego’s thought system, we can’t see a way out. A very short and effective prayer in this regard is, “HELP!” No more is needed. Help is on the way.
For many, that help takes the form of study and practice of A Course In Miracles.
God Says, “I love you! Come Home!”
Let’s start at the very beginning…a very good place to start is withthe story of Adam and Eve.
Here is an interpretation of the facts of the case, as seen through the eyes of a curious Course student: When the two innocents Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they entered into the belief in judgment. If God is actually Love, and not the big meany He is portrayed as, this is how the events may have actually transpired:
The boy and girl (stand-ins for you and me) instantly entered into the story of guilt, of separation, of the fear of God, and a bad dream for a life.
As they ran in dread and terror from the Garden, God was calling them back. “You didn’t do anything real, my dear humans. You just tried out what it would be like to live in a world of contrasts, opposites, conflict and judgment. I am not judging you. You ate the fruit of the Bad Dream Tree. No harm done! Come back into the garden, my dears. And for heaven’s sake, take off those fig leaves!” Adam and Eve acted out the very human habit of blaming one another. They projected the worst thing that could happen —losing God’s Love— and they feared Him.
To these scared and guilty people, He looked to them pretty much like the old, unfeeling pagan gods, smiting left and right.
“He drove us out” the newly ego-tized humans shouted as they ran away from Unconditional Love.
You see, they were mesmerized by the drama of separation they had chosen… and life for the humans became a struggle, full of conflict and of pain. In the ancient Jewish version of the story that Rabbi Joseph Gelberman told, the feminine aspect of God known as Shekhinah said at this point, “Well, I’m going with them.” And so She did.
There have been messages from God for us humans all throughout history. Now we are ready psychologically for the deeper teachings of A Course In Miracles.
Remember that Jesus said, “All these things I do, you will do and more,” and that the hearts of his disciples were not at that point in time ready to hear, and so he would be back.
“Belief is not necessary”: A Course In Miracles Quote
“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.”Learning to choose and experience only love requires mind-training. Try it! You are worth it!
Are we in a Holodeck?
The discovery that we can change our moment-to-moment experience from fear to love by shifting some deep cognitive gears was, for me, akin to discovering the codes to enter Star Trek’s Holodeck.
For those who have not seen Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Holodeck is a virtual world complete in all details, which the characters order up to fit their desires. The Course tells us that our minds are very powerful, and every thought we have produces form on some level. We will recognize the power of our choices through the training the Course provides.
The Course itself says at one point, “What if you recognized that this world is an hallucination?” Its whole training is to help us recognize the illusory nature of perception, and to wake into a lucid, happy dream.
The Course says that God does not forgive because He never has condemned. Why should we continue to condemn ourselves? Let’s agree with God and manifest a loving, nurturing experience for ourselves and others instead of siding with the fearful ego.
Important Information on the Course’s Language
Some people object to the Course’s Christian and traditional masculine language. But language is used only to bring us to an experience, and does not imply rigid dogma or old, outworn beliefs.
A cursory reading will show that familiar words have a new and nuanced meaning.
- Sin for example, is reinterpreted as an error.
- Christ is defined as the one Self we all share
- Forgiveness is identical with healing.
My friend, a native speaker of Hebrew, tells me that where the English edition uses the word Christ, the Hebrew edition uses the word Messiah (see above). In the Hebrew translation, the Holy Spirit is called Shekhinah, the feminine aspect of God, and is referred to throughout as “She.”
Symbolism and mythology are simply used as teaching devices, and used only to help us have a new experience.
Its title is A Course In Miracles, not THE Course in Miracles, since there are innumerable paths to the reunion with each other and our loving Source. Amazingly, a big proportion of both the Text and the Workbook are written in almost perfect iambic pentameter, and flow like poetry.
In some places, the density of fresh concepts can be challenging for a new student, but our long experience teaching has proven this to be correct: “Close reading pays rich rewards and anyone can do it.”
Our materials, especially our YouTube zoom Text classes, provide a model for close reading, and can be a benefit to those who do not have an in-person teacher or home group.
Wait, Seriously!? Jesus wrote A Course In Miracles?
It may take a leap of faith to open your mind to this possibility, but it isn’t necessary to believe this. The Course stands on its own. It says you don’t have to take it on an unsupported faith. Try out its ideas, and see what happens.
Also, the author, who identified himself as the historical Jesus, says you don’t need to have a personal relationship with him for the ideas to benefit you.
I, for one, was not at all into Jesus for the first many years I studied and worked with the Course. But that’s a different story.
How did the Course get here?
Two professors of psychology at Columbia University Medical Center got fed up with dissatisfying interpersonal patterns at work, and together agreed to find a better way.
Soon after that, Helen Schucman heard a distinct inner voice which said (after some introduction), “This is A Course In Miracles. Please take notes.” Of course, Helen thought she might be going crazy or have a brain tumor or something, and she confided in her boss, Bill Thetford. Bill encouraged her, and gently calmed her nerves as she took notes from a clear inner voice over a period of about 7 years.
Helen would read the notes to Bill before they started work, and he would type them up. They bound the pages in binders, and hid them away for a number of years. When it was published, no author was given.
Helen did not want to teach it, and she did not want it to become the basis for another cult. There is no hierarchical organization. Anyone can read ACIM for themselves and understand it without an official interpretation or ritual.
The whole point of A Course In Miracles is to help you find your own Inner Teacher.
Thank you so much for reading!
The Little Garden
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