REFLECTIONS on the LESSON
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
A theoretical foundation such as the text is necessary as a background to make these exercises meaningful. Yet it is the exercises which will make the goal possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of these exercises to train the mind to think along the lines which the course sets forth.
The exercises are very simple. They do not require more than a few minutes, and it does not matter where or when you do them. They need no preparation. They are numbered, running from 1 to 365. The training period is one year. Do not undertake more than one exercise a day.
The purpose of these exercises is to train the mind to a different perception of everything in the world. The workbook is divided into two sections, the first dealing with the undoing of what you see now and the second with the restoration of sight. It is recommended that each exercise be repeated several times a day, preferably in a different place each time and, if possible, in every situation in which you spend any long period of time. The purpose is to train the mind to generalize the lessons, so that you will understand that each of them is as applicable to one situation as it is to another.
Unless specified to the contrary, the exercise should be practiced with the eyes open, since the aim is to learn how to see. The only rule that should be followed throughout is to practice the exercises with great specificity. Each one applies to every situation in which you find yourself and to everything you see in it. Each day's exercises are planned around one central idea, the exercises themselves consisting of applying that idea to as many specifics as possible. Be sure that you do not decide that there are some things you see to which the idea for the day is inapplicable. The aim of the exercises will always be to increase the application of the idea to everything. This will not require effort. Only be sure that you make no exceptions in applying the idea.
Some of the ideas you will find hard to believe, and others will seem quite startling. It does not matter. You are merely asked to apply them to what you see. You are not asked to judge them, nor even to believe them. You are asked only to use them. It is their use which will give them meaning to you, and show you they are true. Remember only this-you need not believe them, you need not accept them, and you need not welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter nor decrease their efficacy. But allow yourself to make no exceptions in applying the ideas the exercises contain. Whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than this is required.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 2
I have given everything I see in this room
[on this street, from this window,
in this place] all the meaning that it has for me.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
The exercises with this idea are the same as those for the first one. Begin with the things that are near you, and apply the idea to whatever your glance rests on. Then increase the range outward. Turn your head so that you include whatever is to either side. If possible, turn around and apply the idea to what was behind you. Remain as indiscriminate as possible in selecting subjects for its application, do not concentrate on anything in particular, and do not attempt to include everything in an area or you will introduce strain. Merely glance easily and fairly quickly around you, trying to avoid selection by size, brightness, color, material, or relative importance to you.
2 Take the subjects simply as you see them. Try to apply the exercise with equal ease to a body or a button, a fly or a floor, an arm or an apple. The sole criterion for applying the idea to anything is merely that your eyes have lighted on it. Make no attempt to include anything particular, but be sure that nothing is specifically excluded.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
I have given everything I see in this room
[on this street, from the window, in this place]
all the meaning that it has for me.
We now continue from the previous lesson. Each lesson builds on the one that comes before. We now focus the mind on the fact that nothing has meaning except that which we give it. No thing has meaning in and of itself. Each of us looks at the forms of this world and gives them meaning based on past associations, unique for each of us. None of us sees anything in exactly the same way because our past associations and experiences are different from each other. For this practice, we look at what is around us and declare that what we see is given meaning by our own minds. This means we have the power to change the meaning it has for us. Thus, the meaning that we give to what we see is ever changing.
I have many albums of photographs of my life, activities, and travels that I have taken around the world. At one time, they were all very important to me. Someone asked me what I would take in the event of a fire and the answer at that time was my albums. Then one day, I asked myself: What is it all for? Why are these albums so important? Clearly, there are obvious responses I could make to these questions, but when I went deeper than the obvious, I found that this, and many other things I had given meaning to, had shifted for me. Their importance had fallen away. Now, as I watch events in my life and what seems to be happening around the world, I can use the same process to help me see that I have given everything the meaning it has for me. In applying this lesson, we can see that it is a very empowering idea. If we have given everything the meaning that it has for us, then we can also withdraw that meaning. The power of decision is our own.
Early in our reading of the Text, Jesus asks, "Do you really believe you can devise a thought system that can separate you from Him [God]? " (T.5.VII.1.2) (ACIM OE T.5.IX.90) Now we are learning that the process of undoing our thought system that seems to have separated us from God is within us. The Holy Spirit waits for us to decide for God when we are ready. He is there to help us, and the more we accept His help, the more help is available to us. When we are not at peace, we can decide:
I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace. I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise. I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace. I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him. I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.
(T.5.VII.6.7-11) (ACIM OE T.5.VII.96)
When we understand purpose, we understand everything. The only thing we should ask of anything is, "What is it for?" (T.17.VI.2) (ACIM OE T.17.VII.58) It is amazing that just by asking this question many things have changed in my life. For example, think of some activity in which you are engaged such as going to the gym every day or eating only vegetarian. Look at all the expectations you put on it and all the things that are considered important in this process. When we look at it all and ask this question of everything, it is interesting how this starts to open us to questioning all the forms of this world. What is the meaning we have given them? What do we want to come from them? What grievances do we hold if our demands and requirements are not met? What is it that we really want from this situation?
Here, on day two, we continue to question our conditioned minds. Our minds have been held in the bondage of years and years of programming about what we have come to believe is real and important. Now we are going through a step-by-step process of thought reversal. We are learning to watch our minds and bring a gentle discipline to our thoughts. The Course starts on this process slowly and demands very little of us. We are asked not to strain, but to stay relaxed in applying the Lesson today.
This Lesson may appear to be very simple, but simple does not mean meaningless or trivial. We have indicated a willingness to open ourselves to this process of being released from the bondage of the ego and the prison of this world. It is about opening to the possibility that what we assign meaning to is what creates all our stress, disappointments, anguish, pain, and pleasure. Perhaps there is another way of seeing. I honor the decision you have made to commit to a better way.
"The body's eyes see only form. They cannot see beyond what they were made to see. And they were made to look on error and not see past it. Theirs is indeed a strange perception, for they can see only illusions, unable to look beyond the granite block of sin, and stopping at the outside form of nothing."
(T.22.III.5.3-6) (ACIM OE T.22.IV.33) There is a world of forms, standing between us and the truth. It is like a veil drawn over our eyes behind which is the true meaning. Many places in the Course talk about how our eyes were made to see without seeing and ears to hear without hearing, and brains to think without thinking. We have been programmed not to see past the forms to the content. This will become clearer as we proceed, yet this is a lesson that helps us in the undoing of our investment in form.
In the practice today, we are told not to discriminate by telling ourselves that one thing is more important than another, or that one thing does not mean anything but another does. Yet we are not to include everything, as that would be a strain. So, in other words, it is not to ritualize these Lessons. He wants us to see that all things are equally meaningless and that we are really looking at content and not the form. We are beginning to look at the fact that there is nothing real in this material world.
Love and blessings, Sarah
You are as certain of arriving home as is the pathway of the sun laid down before it rises, after it has set, and in the half-lit hours in between. Indeed, your pathway is more certain still, for it cannot be possible to change the course of those whom God has called to Him. Therefore obey your will, and follow Him Whom you accepted as your Voice, to speak of what you really want and really need. His is the Voice for God, and also yours. And thus He speaks of freedom and of truth. 
With these words, A Course in Miracles concludes its prescribed curriculum of 365 daily lessons, and it is with these words, too, that we begin our study.
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.
 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.
The edition of A Course in Miracles that is reproduced in this volume is sometimes referred to as the Hugh Lynn Cayce version because, upon completion, it had been delivered to Hugh Lynn Cayce, son of the renowned psychic Edgar Cayce, in 1972, before the manuscript was subjected to the substantial editing process that is described below.
This Original Edition faithfully reproduces the original transcript of the book that was produced as a result of the collaboration between Schucman and Thetford, whom many believe were involved with each other in the "holy relationship" described in Chapters 17 through 22 of the Text. This edition preserves the original language of the dictation of those chapters, which were addressed to the two collaborators as they worked together to produce the manuscript. Later editing of the manuscript changed the focus of these important chapters and addresses them to a solitary reader, removing the mutuality that is explicit in the original dictation.
It seems clear that this Original Edition is what Schucman and Thetford originally intended to be A Course in Miracles. However, in 1973 Ken Wapnick, who had joined their small circle and received a copy of the 1972 manuscript, expressed his belief that further editing was needed. Thetford withdrew from further detailed editing work, and Schucman and Wapnick resumed the editing process. Along with changes in paragraphing, punctuation, capitalization, and section titles, there was a great deal of line-by-line editing. In addition, about one-fifth of the material in the first five chapters was removed. Finally, a new section, the Clarification of Terms, was added. The resulting edition, published in 1975 by the Foundation for Inner Peace, became the Course with which the world would become familiar.
While we honor that edition of the Course, we believe that the additional editing resulted both in shifts of meaning and a change in the over-all tone of the work. When encountering Schucman and Thetford's Original Edition, students often find fresh clarity as they read its wording or new understanding as they encounter passages that were not included in the later 1975 edition. In the case of editing, it seems to us that the "less-is-best" rule applies-the less tampering with the eloquent and carefully worded dictation that Schucman received, the better.
In this Original Edition, we have taken great care in dealing with the editorial issues presented by the original typed manuscript. Our focus has been upon reproducing as nearly as possible the content as it was originally given to Schucman and Thetford. It is to be noted, however, that there are a few occasions where we encountered material from the original dictation that appears to have been inadvertently or mistakenly dropped in the early retyping. In those instances, we have re-inserted the missing lines, noting our addition by placing the inserted material in square brackets. Otherwise, the only changes that have been made to the original manuscript of the Course as completed by Schucman and Thetford have been to correct obvious typographic errors and misspellings, to standardize punctuation and capitalization, and to format the material for print publication. Apart from the simple section and paragraph numbering which we include for ease of reference and navigation, nothing has been added to or omitted from the work.
We would be remiss were we to fail to acknowledge the selfless support provided to the Course in Miracles Society by its members and others. From its earliest days, the work of the Society has been enabled by tireless contributions of labor and generous financial support provided by many individuals whose only compensation has been the satisfaction of fostering the circulation of this sacred writing in the world. Publication of this edition, in particular, has been underwritten by a substantial grant from a member who wishes to remain anonymous. To those supporters and all of our members, we extend a sincere "thank you." We are most grateful.
Course in Miracles Society
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