New Realities Magazine, July-August 1984

"A Course in Miracles, The Untold Story"
(Parts I and II)

Robert SkutchAuthor's Personal Note

To me, one of the most interesting aspects of the story of  A Course in Miracles is that the events give credence to the belief that nothing in life happens by chance. Although some readers may explain many of the events as coincidences, it is my feeling, after documenting the story, that there are no coincidences in life, and that lives that are meant to be joined for a significant purpose cannot avoid being so joined.

Indeed, the miracle of the birth of A Course in Miracles could not have occurred as it did without every single one of the cast being in the right place at the right time.

On the surface the Course is a three-volume set of hardcover books that list no author. Beneath the surface, however, it is obviously much, much more. For from June 1976, when it was first published by a small, nonprofit foundation, until today, over 150,000 sets of these books have been sold without benefit of any paid advertising. The books have been purchased by people in all 50 of the United States and in 46 foreign countries. And they have been purchased by people from all walks of life, people from all income brackets, people of every major religious faith.

Why has this material had such a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of so many people from such a wide variety of backgrounds? And why do those who study the Course become such avid enthusiasts that their word of mouth recommendations have been responsible for the continuing demand for this material? The answer to these and other related questions is a pragmatic one: the material seems to provide the answers to numerous questions that people have been asking themselves for thousands of years, foremost of which is the question of how can one achieve the inner peace and tranquility that can help make one's life a continuing conflict-free experience that is filled with harmony and joy.

There have been, of course, over the centuries countless spiritual as well as secular training programs, theories, courses, and approaches that have sought to help people achieve a state of being that would allow them to feel confident, peaceful, joyous, and fulfilled. The approaches have ranged from the teachings of the Hindu Vedanta, which are probably at least 3000 years old, all the way to current disciplines such as Yoga, Mind Control, and Transcendental Meditation. And although all approaches have had their fervent devotees – and in some cases their followers have been in the millions – there were others who felt they were looking for another form. The one the Course offers combines current psychological approaches with the Christian tradition in a way that can help an individual find a sense of completeness in one's feelings about one's self, one's associates, one's personal relationships and one's "private" world, as well as about the universe itself.

The promise of finding this sense of unity through such an approach is one of the great attractions of A Course in Miracles. And although the 1100-page document is a self-study course containing 365 lessons, it is not unusual for a student, after looking at the first three pages of the Text, to say, "This is what I have been searching for all of my life."

If one were to try to express succinctly what the Course's central thesis is, the emphasis would be on helping to change one's perception of self and others by providing a means for healing relationships that may be causing one pain. The means that the Course offers to provide such changes is called "forgiveness." As used by the Course, the term has a different meaning than the one we usually associate with it. In the context of the Course, "forgiveness" means recognizing "what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. Forgiveness does not pardon sins and make then real. It sees there was no sin."

By changing one's perceptions in this way, one can remove the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which the Course says is our natural inheritance. To put it another way, one might say it is a course in spiritual psychotherapy – or perhaps simply a course in how to love.

Whatever way one wishes to describe it, one thing is certain; according to the principles of A Course in Miracles, the way it came to life was surely a miracle.

~Robert Skutch

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