FOREWORD to A COURSE IN MIRACLES
A Course in Miracles (often called just “the Course”) is a self-study course for retraining the mind that is spiritual, rather than religious, in its perspective. Although it uses Christian terminology, it is ecumenical in its approach, and its underlying ontology is reminiscent of ancient refrains, echoing the world’s most hallowed traditions.
The Course is pragmatic in its method, and its aim is a peaceful mind: “Knowledge is not the motivation for learning this course. Peace is. Nevertheless, the Course frequently emphasizes its simplicity.
The story of the Course began when, in the midst of an environment of intense competition and negative attitudes, Columbia University clinical psychologist Dr. William T. Thetford decided he had had enough and declared to his colleague, Dr. Helen Schucman, “There must be another way, and I’m determined to find it.” Dr. Schucman vowed to help him.
What ensued was a dramatic progression of waking dreams for Schucman, which culminated in October 1965 with her experience of a voice which spoke clearly in her mind, saying “This is a course in miracles. Please take notes.”
With Thetford’s support and assistance in transcribing her shorthand notes, Schucman took down some fifteen hundred typewritten pages of A Course in Miracles over a period of seven years.
Schucman did not claim to be the author of the material herself. As she often explained, she heard a kind of inner dictation and she felt compelled to write it down, even though at times she disagreed with the content and resisted the process. The voice which spoke through Helen clearly identifies himself as Jesus. Nonetheless, one need not be Christian nor accept Christianity’s traditional doctrines to benefit from the teachings of the Course. Indeed, traditional Christians will at first find many of the pronouncements contained in this work to be startling and perhaps unbelievable. Persistence and open-mindedness will nevertheless be rewarded.
The dictation of A Course in Miracles was completed in September 1972 and resulted in three volumes—the Text, the Workbook for Students, and the Manual for Teachers. As the development of the material progressed, Schucman and Thetford faced the formidable task or organizing the original typescript (often called the “Urtext”) into what would become A Course in Miracles. They divided the Text into chapters and sections and gave titles to each, and they removed a great deal of material from the early chapters, material they believed was meant for them personally, not for the Course. The edition that resulted from those efforts is the book you hold in your hands.
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