Graphic by the late Carmen Cameron
one of the co-founders of CIMS
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 1 "THE INTRODUCTION TO MIRACLES"
I. PRINCIPLES OF MIRACLES
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 5
I am never upset for the reason I think.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
This idea, like the preceding one, can be used with any person, situation, or event you think is causing you pain. Apply it specifically to whatever you believe is the cause of your upset, using the description of the feeling in whatever term seems accurate to you. The upset may seem to be fear, worry, depression, anxiety, anger, hatred, jealousy, or any number of forms, all of which will be perceived as different. This is not true. However, until you learn that form does not matter, each form becomes a proper subject for the exercises for the day. Applying the same idea to each of them separately is the first step in ultimately recognizing they are all the same.
When using the idea for today for a specific perceived cause of an upset in any form, use both the name of the form in which you see the upset and the cause which you ascribe to it. For example:
But again, this should not be substituted for practice periods in which you first search your mind for "sources" of upset in which you believe and forms of upset which you think result.
In these exercises, more than in the preceding ones, you may find it hard to be indiscriminate and to avoid giving greater weight to some subjects than to others. It might help to precede the exercises with the statement:
Then examine your mind for whatever is distressing you, regardless of how much or how little you think it is doing so.
You may also find yourself less willing to apply today's idea to some perceived sources of upset than to others. If this occurs, think first of this:
Then search your mind for no more than a minute or so, and try to identify a number of different forms of upset that are disturbing you, regardless of the relative importance you may give them. Apply the idea for today to each of them, using the name of both the source of the upset as you perceive it and of the feelings as you experience it. Further examples are:
Three or four times during the day are enough.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
I am never upset for the reason I think
What is it we get upset about? Anxious about? Worry about? Hate? Fear? Resent? Get disgusted about? What kind of a day have you had? Did a news story upset you? Did a driver cut you off in traffic? Did you drop something? Break a nail? Get on the scale and see you have gained weight? Have an angry exchange with someone? Felt betrayed by a friend? Has your computer crashed? Missed a call? Forgot an appointment? Hundreds of things upset us in a day. We try to find ways to do life better only to end up feeling depressed because we can't get this thing called life to work for us, no matter how hard we try. And this leads to disillusionment.
We think there are myriad causes for our upsets, all outside of ourselves. The forms of the upsets seem different. However, the form does not matter for purposes of this exercise. We are asked to apply the Lesson to each form of upset that shows up in our day. Ultimately, we are learning that all upsets are the same.
As Jesus reminds us in the Introduction, while we are applying the Lessons to the specifics in our lives, ultimately our learning is eventually generalized. This will come to us when we see that every form of upset is the same because all upsets are disturbing to our peace of mind. We also see that nothing comes from outside of our own minds. We think our upsets are generated by things in the world, but in fact, they are all generated by our own minds. Thus, the mind is the cause of every upset, rather than what is thought to be coming from outside of ourselves. Our upsets come from the way we look at everything and the interpretations we give to what we are seeing.
The truth is, nothing outside of the mind causes us to be upset. When we are disturbed by something in the world it is because we have already made a decision to be upset. The decision comes from the belief we hold that we are innocent victims of outside events. We see ourselves in that way because we actually want to be upset by events seemingly outside of the mind. This is because we actually don't want to assume responsibility for how we feel. We want to make others responsible.
When the decision was made in the mind to run away from God, guilt was accepted by the mind. It is the guilt in the mind that is the actual source of all our upsets. We think we know the cause of our upsets, but Jesus tells us we really don't. Everything comes from inside of us, not from outside. We have made the events "outside" real. To us, they are as real as the monsters in our nightmares while we sleep. When we awaken, we see they don't exist. It is the same in this illusory dream where no matter what the nature of our daily experience is, it all comes from our own minds. But now we can choose how we see it. "The power of decision is your one remaining freedom as a prisoner of this world." (T.12.VII.9.1) (ACIM OE T.11.VIII.70) "When you want only love you will see nothing else." (T.12.VII.8.1) (ACIM OE T.11.VIII.69) In other words, what we see is a witness to what we are holding in the mind.
The exercise starts by having us look within. We look at whatever thought or feeling we are holding about anything or anyone. "I am not angry at _____for the reason I think. I am not afraid of _____for the reason I think." (W.5.2.3-4) We search our minds for "sources" of upset as we perceive them so that we can start to recognize they come from within ourselves and then show up as forms of upset we project "out there".
We may think some upsets only cause a slight irritation and there is no point in spending time on them, while the things that make us really angry seem more important to us. Thus, "You may also find yourself less willing to apply today's idea to some perceived sources of upset than to others." (W.5.6.1) We are cautioned not to do this. If we want to exclude anything, we are urged to remind ourselves, "I cannot keep this form of upset and let the others go. For the purposes of these exercises, then, I will regard them all as the same."(W.5.6.3-4)
To us, there is an order of difficulty with regard to our upsets. We place a hierarchy of importance on what upsets us. We experience some as bigger and harder than others. What we are learning is that there is no difference in the nature of our upsets. The goal of the ego is to keep us invested in the world, constantly working to solve the myriad problems in our lives. The ego wants to keep us from recognizing the real problem, which is the guilt in our minds. By keeping us distracted from the real problem, the ego ensures our allegiance to it. Jesus gives us the only answer to every problem. It is to heal the guilt in the mind, which is where the real problem is. Only then can the love we are, shine forth. The love in us is currently blocked by our wrong perspective. When we bring our dark thoughts to light, we make space for the love, peace, and joy already in us, to shine through. This should be sufficient motivation to commit to this mind training. It requires we stay vigilant in undertaking to practice these lessons as they are laid out.
We are reminded that we don't believe this idea and we don't need to. We don't even need to accept it or welcome it. All we are asked to do is apply it. When I started the workbook, I found that even though I hardly understood what was being said, simply doing the lessons, to the best of my ability, resulted in my mind being shifted in miraculous ways. It just happened in spite of my very limited understanding of the metaphysics of the Course as laid out in the Text.
I approached the lessons with a naive perspective but a significant hunger to learn. The willingness was generated as a result of the desperation I felt about my life. I had so much angst and distress in my life that I was very receptive to anything that might work to shift my perspective. It seemed that everything I had tried up to that time, and I did try very hard to be happy in the world, was just not working for me. Oh yes, I looked successful as the world determines success, but inwardly, it seemed to me that nothing was working. I was jealous of what others seemed to have and felt deprived at my inner core. Only now I see that this is the state for everyone here, regardless of appearances. We all came here to seek and never find. That is the nature of this world until we start on a path of awakening to who we really are.
All we need is to be willing to be taught. Are we willing just to do the lesson and accept that we don't know? If we think we already know, our minds are not open to being taught. Really take in the idea that you don't know, and what you think is the reason for your upset, your worry, or your jealousy is not the reason. Are you willing to let go of being in charge, of taking the leadership role, of thinking you know something and just accept the "know nothing" mind? Are you willing to fall on your knees as the song says? What is asked of us is to be willing to be obedient to the truth. It is a state that is difficult for those of us who want to be in charge.
Do not overlook any upset. Start the exercises by reminding yourself, "There are no small upsets. They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind." (W.5.4.3) Our decision to overlook an upset is actually a decision to keep it. Jesus continually asks us to make no exceptions. Don't keep anything for yourself. Don't keep it apart from this healing process.
While we are to be gentle with ourselves and not push through resistance, clearly mind training such as this does take discipline and attention. This may be a simple course, but it is not an easy Course to undertake. We may wish it were soft and magical, without doing the disciplined work it calls for. Some walk away from the Course because it seems too hard or too much work. There may be a temptation to start shopping for other spiritual paths, but it is all a rationale for keeping our ego intact. Why? Because the ego is significantly threatened when something that might be its undoing shows up. Clearly, the ego is threatened by the power in us to change our minds and choose against its lies. The ego does not love us. Yet this path will take us all the way home to the love we are. I can't attest to that with certainty, but I have had enough demonstration of its power to stay very committed to this path.
Love and blessings, Sarah
A Course in Miracles
Chapter One: Introduction to Miracles
I. Principles of Miracles
30 Miracles represent
freedom from fear. "Atoning" really means "undoing." The undoing of fear is an essential part of the Atonement value of miracles.
31 The purpose of the Atonement is to restore everything to you, or rather to restore it to your awareness. You were given everything when you were created, just as everyone was. When you have been restored to the recognition of your original state, you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself. As you share my inability to tolerate lack of love in yourself and others, you must join the Great Crusade to correct it. The slogan for the Crusade is "Listen, learn and
do": Listen to my voice, learn to undo error, and
do something to correct it.
32 The power to work miracles
belongs to you. I will provide the opportunities to do them, but
you must be ready and willing since you are already able. Doing them will bring conviction in the ability since conviction really comes through accomplishment. The ability is the potential; the achievement is its expression; and the Atonement is the purpose.
33 A miracle is a universal blessing from God through me to
all my brothers. It is the privilege of the forgiven to forgive.
34 The disciples were specifically told to be physicians of the Lord and to heal others. They were also told to
heal themselves and were promised that I would never leave them or forsake them. Atonement is the natural profession of the Children of God because they have professed me. "Heaven and earth shall pass away" simply means that they will not continue to exist as separate states. My word, which is the resurrection and the light, shall not pass away because light is eternal.
You are the work of God, and His work is wholly lovable and wholly loving. This is how a man
must think of himself in his heart because this is what he
35 Miracles are a means of organizing different levels of consciousness.
36 Miracles come from the below or subconscious level. Revelations come from the above or superconscious level. The conscious level is in between and reacts to either sub- or superconscious impulses in varying ratios.
Consciousness is the level which engages in the world and is capable of responding to both. Having no impulses from itself and being primarily a mechanism for inducing response, it can be very wrong.
37 Revelation induces complete but temporary suspension of doubt and fear. It represents the original form of communication between God and His Souls, involving an extremely personal sense of closeness to creation which man tries to find in physical relationships. Physical closeness
cannot achieve this. The subconscious impulses properly induce miracles, which are genuinely interpersonal and result in real closeness to others. This can be misunderstood by a
personally willful consciousness as impulses toward physical gratification.
38 Revelation unites Souls directly with God. Miracles unite minds directly with each other. Neither emanates from consciousness, but both are
experienced there. This is essential since consciousness is the state which induces action, though it does
not inspire it. Man is free to believe what he chooses, and what he
does attests to what he believes. The deeper levels of the subconscious
always contain the impulse to miracles, but man is free to fill its more superficial levels, which are closer to consciousness, with the impulses of this world and to identify himself with them. This results in
denying himself access to the miracle level underneath. In his actions, then, his relationships also become superficial, and miracle-inspired relating becomes impossible.
39 Miracles are a way of
earning release from fear.
40 Revelation induces a state in which fear has
already been abolished. Miracles are thus a means, and revelation is an end. [In this sense, they work together.] Miracles do not depend on revelation; they
induce it. Revelation is intensely personal and cannot actually be translated into conscious content at all. That is why any attempt to describe it in words is usually incomprehensible. Revelation induces
only experience. Miracles, on the other hand, induce [interpersonal]
action. Miracles are more useful now because of their
impersonal nature. In this phase of learning, working miracles is more important because freedom from fear cannot be thrust upon you.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
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