IONS Presentation Series
Thursday June 11
7:00 PM at the Bohemian Grange Hall ( click for map)
A Course in Miracles
Sarrah ‘Patty’ Somerville
A Course in Miracles is a spiritual and psychological path designed to change our perception through forgiveness and thus heal our minds. It teaches that we are all divine beings who, upon separation from the Creator, created this universe, which is really just an illusion, as a place to hide, until one day we remember who we truly are, and all return home to the Creator.
The Course teaches that no one will be left behind.
Shawna Noble has been a student of the course for eight years. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Idaho State University with postgraduate study in ultrasound at the VA Hospital in La Jolla and UCSD. She has been doing ultrasound for 35 years in the Boise, Idaho and Kalispell areas. She and her husband, Roger, have two children.
Jim Lockwood has been a student of the course since 1995. He was brought to the course through MaryAnn Williamson’s book, “Return to Love” which was a father’s day present to him from his son, Devon. Jim is a retired corporate attorney, with two sons, Devon, and Aaron.
Judith Battaglia has been a nurse for 40 years, currently working in hospice. She has been a student of the course for 25 years, and finds the philosophy useful for life’s challenges. Her husband, Markus, joins with her in applying the principles of the course to their lives.
Sarrah ‘Patty’ Somerville has been a student of the course on and off for 20 years, having been introduced to it by a 12 step recovery friend. It became an influential part of her eclectic spiritual exploration. She has worked as a Licensed Addictions Counselor for the last 20 years incorporating the principles of the course into her practice.
A Course In Miracles (ACIM)
What is it and from where did it come?
A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is a spiritual and psychological system designed to change our perception through forgiveness and thus heal our minds, our relationships and our seeming separation from God. The Course is not religious but a statement of universal spiritual themes. The Course is a self-study program of spiritual psychotherapy contained in three parts; the Manual which is 669 pages of text, a 488 page Workbook for Students and a 92 page Manual for Teachers, which is actually a summary of the course. It is published by the Foundation for Inner Peace and is available in all major bookstores. More than three million volumes of ACIM have been published and disseminated worldwide since 1975, and it has been translated into nineteen different languages with eight new translations underway. The work is designed to change our wrong-minded perception, which is based on notions of sin, guilt and fear, to right-minded perception which is the part of our separated mind that listens to the Holy Spirit, or the Universal Inspiration.
The message was first channeled to Helen Schucman beginning in 1965 and continued over a seven-year period. She was a Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University at a time of great personal and professional stress and upheaval. The whole process, to include editing, took about ten years, to first copyright in 1975. Helen was assisted in editing the text by William Thetford, Chairman of the Department at Columbia University. Helen was an atheist, and Bill was an agnostic. They were not involved in any religious or spiritual path. But the voice they heard spoke with profound authority causing them to spend the rest of their lives transcribing the message, word for word, to the best of their ability. Helen died in 1981, and Bill died in 1988.
In the years since Helen’s death, the foremost voice for ACIM has been Ken Wapnick, a Ph.D. Psychotherapist, who was a close friend and associate of Helen. Ken died in 2014. In 1991, he wrote the story of Helen’s life titled “The Absence of Felicity. It was followed in 1992, by a book by Marianne Williamson titled “A Return to Love” which brought many millions to the Course, which was featured on Oprah Winfrey. More recently, a book by Gary Renard titled “The Disappearance of the Universe,” published in 2002, has brought many more to this path.
II. A Course In Miracles definitions of separation and forgiveness
Separation: The separation or what is known as the “dream of separation” is described in ACIM on page 586 of the Text. “Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects. Together we can laugh them both away, and understand that time cannot intrude upon eternity. It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity, which means there is no time”. The Course offers us a way back from the dream that is the wrong-mindedness of the chosen separated individual self, motivated by fear. “The Holy Spirit is the Christ Mind, which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception. The Holy Spirit came into being with the separation as a projection, inspiring the Atonement principle at the same time” (page 74 Text). The atonement is the restoration of the integrity of the mind, offering us right-mindedness, the link back to unity as extensions of God motivated by what is real, Love. “Fear and Love cannot coexist.” (page 72 Text) There are only ever two expressions we offer at any time. We are either extending love, peace and joy from right-mindedness or calling for love from wrong-mindedness by an expression of fear, guilt, condemnation or “lack of love”.
The Course explains that because we carry severe unconscious guilt for choosing to split our mind and separate from God we are always projecting that guilt, (fear of punishment, lack of love) onto what seem to be our individual brothers outside of us. There is only one Son of God — we are all it in reality, which includes Jesus. The Course tells us that in God’s eyes, we are no different than Jesus, except that he was born knowing who he was, and as one who simply does not give any reality to the illusion and the dream of separation, as does the rest of the sonship.
Forgiveness: ACIM says we are never in need of forgiveness from God because God knows nothing of this illusion of separation from Love and has therefore never first condemned or judged his one son. God’s one son (all of us including Jesus) has never, in reality, left unity as extensions of GOD’S LOVE and can never, therefore, be guilty of sin. “Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin”, (Page 401 of the WBFS)
Our ticket home to Unity and Love is to do as God does and see no guilt in our brother, and to refrain from judgment or condemnation of anyone or anything. We are always projecting our original unconscious guilt for choosing to separate part of our mind from God by projecting our guilt outward onto another. The ego wrong mindedness tells us that this the way to our salvation, but it is, in fact, part of the prison of separation from love. “Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world. I would fulfill my function that I may be happy” (Lesson 62 in the Workbook for Students).
“Today I will judge nothing that occurs. Father, today I leave creation free to be itself. I honor all its parts, in which I am included. We are one because each part contains your memory, and truth must shine in all of us as one”. (Lesson 243 WBFS). “God’s Will for me is perfect happiness. There is no sin, it has no consequences”, (Lesson 101 WBFS). “I can be hurt by nothing but my own thoughts. If ever I am sad or hurt or ill, I have forgotten what You think, and put my little meaningless ideas in place of where Your Thoughts belong, and where they are.” (Lesson 281 WBFS)
We command our experience by either, love or fear, perceiving heaven or hell. When we stray into the belief that hell is real we can choose again, “I choose the joy of God instead of pain. It is your thoughts alone that cause you pain. Nothing external to your mind can hurt or injure you in any way.” (Lesson 190 WBFS) The Course goes on to say that in actuality there is nothing outside your mind; that is the illusion of the world of form. There is no need to change the world but to change our minds about the world.
III. What is its purpose?
ACIM is not intended to become the basis for another cult or religion. Its only purpose is to provide a way in which some people will be able to find their own internal teacher. The Course teaches that it is just one of many paths to truth. If it is your path, you will know it very quickly once you open the book and begin reading.
Helen heard an inner voice which she identified as the Jesus spoke of in the New Testament, but his message to her was very different than that set out in the Old Testament and ascribed to by most Christian religions. The curriculum the Course proposes is carefully conceived and is explained step by step, at both the theoretical and practical levels. It specifically states that “a universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. Students must do the work themselves. There is no priest, no preacher … no one to tell the student what to think or believe – only the voice from within.
The Introduction to the Course says that “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” The Course teaches that we are Divine creatures, without whom the Godhead is incomplete. In Chapter 6 beginning on page 92 of the Text, the Spirit speaks in the first person stating, “I have made it perfectly clear that I am like you and you are like me, but our fundamental equality can be demonstrated only through joint decision…….Believe with me, and we will become equal as teachers. … ….No one is punished for sins and the Sons of God are not sinners…..” Sin is defined by the Course as “lack of love” (Text page 11). Since love is all there is, sin in the sight of the Holy Spirit is a mistake to be corrected, rather than an evil to be punished.
Upon seeming separation from our Godhead source, as divine beings we created this world of illusion; a dream which will one day disappear, as mist at daybreak, and from which we will awake to remember our divinity. The world we see merely reflects our own internal frame of reference – the dominant ideas, wishes and emotions in our minds. Projection makes perception. We look inside first, decide the kind of world we want to see and then project that world outside, making it the truth as we see it ( Text Preface, page xi).
The inherent nobility of the Course is evident in every chapter:
No one is left behind. Our change in perception comes through forgiveness when we recognize that what we thought was done to us by others we truly did to ourselves, since in spiritual reality, we are all part of the Christ.