Anyone who has ever opened A Course In Miracles knows that the book is not exactly a light read.
The language is extremely dense and often technical, referring to a number of Biblical ideas and terms in a way most people haven’t ever seen before. If you were to judge by the writing style alone, the course seems almost impossible to decipher, let alone serve as a guide to live by.
Fortunately, the main points of A Course in Miracles are not very difficult, and in this post we’ll distill down the core concepts in a way you can internalize and understand.
How To Study ACIM
Before we get into the details of what ideas you can apply to your life, I want to take a moment to talk about how to study A Course In Miracles.
Setting a clear plan for how you approach this book can be the difference between throwing it away after reading the first chapter, and giving it the time and attention needed to have a positive impact on your life.
Take Your Time
Firstly, be upfront about your goals and timeframe. This is not a book you sit down and read cover to cover. It is meant to be savored, and studied, not simply read.
While people work through it at a variety of paces, I recommend you set a schedule that works for you. It’s better to read two or three pages a day than to try to blast through entire chapters in one sitting.
Also remember to take breaks from your studies. You might find you’ll read it every day for a month, only to become tired and weary of the dense, sometimes repetitive language. If that happens, take a week or two off, and come back to it when you feel ready.
Slow and steady wins the race.
Work Through The Daily Lessons
Another tips for reading A Course in Miracles is to put as much focus into the daily lessons and exercises as you do into the main text.
Even if you don’t have time to read some of the text everyday, try to at least read through and complete an exercise. Again, work slowly. The workbook lessons are often only a paragraph or two, and each of them centers around only one idea.
To help you out, we’ve put together some additional guidance on how to apply the lessons, which I encourage you to check out.
Consider Joining a Community or Taking a Class
Lastly, I encourage you to work through the course with others. Whether you start a local ACIM book club, work side by side with a friend or partner, or take a class, having the support of a small community and/or instructor can go a long way in helping you to make the most of the course.
You can view our ACIM Class: Insights On Love to learn more.
Main Points and Summary of A Course In Miracles
Now that we’ve discussed how to read ACIM, I want to give a brief overview of the main points. As I mentioned above, the course is, fundamentally, quite simple, and has just a few core ideas that you can easily apply to your daily life.
Everything Is Love
If you take away only one idea from the book, it should be that everything is love.
Everything in the universe is an expression of divine love. This love can take a number of different forms, but it is all part of the fundamental energy of joy-bliss-love-light, which permeates all.
You Are a Part of God
Not only is everything fundamentally an expression of love, but everything is interconnected. This energy has a number of different names, but ultimately can be conceived as a divine presence or divine unity.
Since this love is all-encompassing — God is ALL THAT IS — you, too, are a part of this energy. This means that in a very real sense, you are God. You are the creative life force, and thus you have an ability (and, indeed, a responsibility) to emanate the energy of love as you live your life.
Your Mind Prevents You From Understanding God
You are probably not used to thinking of yourself as God, nor are you used to thinking that everything is love. After all, you can point to clear examples of hatred or fear in your world, and perhaps even in your own life.
Thus, it is also important to understand that your mind does not see “truth.” The illusions you see before you are constructions of your mind, as your mind creates meaning and interpretation to your experience.
So long as you insist on developing your own judgments, you will be unable to see the universal love-energy that is already before you.
Atonement is the Process of Learning to Love
Fortunately, you are learning how to see this energy, and are learning how to recognize yourself as a part of God. This does not have to be a religious idea in the traditional Christian sense.
Christ is a metaphor for the idealized version of yourself, who responds only with love. Sin is judgment based in fear, and your atonement is your process of learning to love in the same way that Christ does. As you learn to experience more love, you learn to move without judgment, forgive others, and lead a more peaceful, compassionate life.
A Miracle Is The Choice To Love Rather Than Fear
Lastly, recognize that you are making this choice of atonement every day. A miracle, according to the course, is simply the act of choosing to respond with unconditional love.
There is no order of difficulty in this, which simply means there are no large or small miracles. There is only the consistent choice to respond with love or to respond from fear.
The entire aim of the course is to help you choose love, all of the time.
When you choose always to respond to the world with love, you enter into a peaceful experience and an ecstatic life. This is the kingdom of heaven.
In the next post, we’ll talk about how to apply these insights to your daily life.
If you want to discuss the course further, you might also consider joining the A Course in Miracles Study Group on Facebook.