A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is a step-by-step system of spiritual thought that consists of a three-volume set of channeled literature. It includes a 622-page Text, a 478-page Workbook for Students, and an 88-page Manual for Teachers. Students may decide themselves how they choose to read and study these texts. The workbook is comprised of 365 lessons, one for each day of the year. Students may complete the lessons at their own pace, sometimes staying with one lesson for more than just one day. It is recommended not to attempt more than one lesson a day in order to fully be present with it. The Teacher’s Manual is written in question and answer form and includes a Clarification of Terms for specific terms used in the Text.
Even though ACIM uses Christian terms and language, it is focused more on universal spiritual themes. It is a teaching device at both the theoretical and practical levels. It emphasizes experience instead of theology and application instead of theory. ACIM expresses a non-sectarian, non-denominational spirituality. ACIM teaches surrender to God, finding God within the self, owning our feelings and thoughts and releasing others from blame. ACIM teaches us to take control of our perspective and outlook and change it, no matter what is happening, since our inner landscape is the only thing we have control over…
Lesson 31: “I am not the victim of the world I see.”
Today’s idea is the introduction of your declaration of release. Again, the idea should be applied to both the world you see with out to the world you see within. We will use a form of practice that will be used more and more, with changes as indicated. The form includes two aspects, one in which you apply the idea on a more sustained basis, and the other consisting of frequent applications of the idea throughout the day.
Two longer periods of practice with the idea for today are needed, one in the morning and one at night. During that time, look about you slowly while repeating the idea two or three times. Then close your eyes, and apply the same idea to your inner world.
You will escape from both together, for the inner is the cause of the outer. This is also particularly useful to use as a response to any form of temptation that may arise. It is a declaration that you will not yield to it, and put yourself in bondage.
Lesson 32: “I have invented the world I see.”
We are continuing to develop the theme of cause and effect. You are not the victim of the world you see because you invented it. You can give it up as easily as you made it up. You will see it or not see it, as you wish. While you want it you will see it; when you no longer want it, it will not be there for you to see.
The idea applies to your inner and outer worlds, which are actually the same. However, since you see them as different, the practice periods will include involving the world you see outside you, and it. Involving the world you see in your mind. Try to introduce the thought that both are in your own imagination.
We will begin the practice periods for the morning and evening by repeating the idea for today while looking around at the world you see as outside yourself. Then close your eyes and look around your inner world. Try to treat them both us equally as possible. Repeat the idea for today unhurriedly as often as you wish, as you watch the images your imagination presents to your awareness. Select a time when few distractions are anticipated, and when you feel reasonably ready. Continue these exercises during the day, as often as possible.
The idea for today should also be applied immediately to any situation that may be stressful to you.
“I have invented the situation as I see it.”
Lesson 33: “There is another way of looking at the world.”
Today’s idea is an attempt to recognize that you can shift your perception of the world in both its inner and outer aspects. Devote some time to this in a morning and evening application. The idea should be repeated as often as you find comfortable, though unhurried applications are essential. Alternate between surveying your outer and inner perceptions, but without an abrupt sense of shifting. Merely glance casually around the world you perceive as outside yourself, then close your eyes and survey your inner thoughts with equal casualness. Remain equally uninvolved in both, to maintain this detachment as you repeat the idea throughout the day.
Specific applications of today’s idea should also be made immediately, when any situation arises which tempts you to become disturbed.
“There is another way of looking at this.”
Remember to apply today’s idea the instant you are aware of distress. It may be necessary to take a minute or so to sit quietly and repeat the idea to yourself several times. Closing your eyes will probably help in this form of application.
Lesson 34: “I could see peace instead of this.”
This idea begins to describe conditions that prevail in the other way of seeing. Peace of mind is clearly an internal matter. It must begin with your own thoughts, and then extend outward. It is from your peace of mind that a peaceful perception of the world arises. Three practice periods are advised: one in the morning and one in the evening with an additional one at any time that seems most conducive to readiness. All applications should be done with your eyes closed. It is your inner world to which the applications of today’s idea should be made.
Search your mind for fear thoughts, anxiety-provoking situations, “offending” personalities or defense, or anything else about which you are harboring unloving thoughts. Note them all casually, repeating the idea slowly as you watch them arise in your mind, and let each one go, to be replaced by the next. Continue to repeat the idea in an unhurried manner, without applying it to anything in particular. Be sure not to make any specific exclusions. The purpose is to protect yourself from temptations throughout the day. If a specific form of temptation arises in your awareness, the exercise should take this form:
“I could see peace in the situation instead of what I now see in it.”
If the inroads on your peace of mind take the form of more generalized adverse emotions, such as depression, anxiety or worry, use the idea in its original form. If you find you need more to change your mind in a specific context, take time to repeat the idea until you feel some sense of relief. Tell yourself specifically:
“I can replace my feelings of depression, anxiety or worry [or my thoughts about the situation, personality or event] with peace.”
This is an excerpt from one of the 40 required bachelor’s courses in the University of Metaphysical Sciences curriculum.