Bringing the Course to Life
For thousands of seekers, the words of A Course in Miracles carry a depth of truth and meaning they have encountered nowhere else. Yet these same words have also proven to be a stumbling block, seeming convoluted, rambling and hard to understand. This book is designed to teach the student, through instruction, example and exercises, how to read the Course. It is designed to instill new reading habits, which can turn the reading of the Course from a dry, frustrating experience into a living, personal encounter with truth.
In this e-book you will learn, among other things:
- how to understand perplexing passages
- how to follow the Course's logic
- how to spot and make use of visual imagery
- how to apply passages to the specifics of your life
In short, you will learn how to unlock the meaning of A Course in Miracles for yourself.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Reading and Study are Fundamental
Chapter 2 The Course's Unique Style of Writing
Chapter 3 Guidance for the Beginning or Bewildered
Chapter 4 An Overview of the Techniques
STEP I: OBSERVATION
Chapter 5 Observation Techniques A-G
Chapter 6 Observation Techniques H-K
STEP II: INTREPRETATION
Chapter 7 A. Being Context-Sensitive
Chapter 8 B. Plugging in the Meaning of Terms, Phrases and Pronouns
Chapter 9 C. Getting the Meaning of the Sentence
Chapter 10 D. Following the Logic
Chapter 11 E. Recognizing When Passages Address Specific Situations, Issues or Beliefs
Chapter 12 F. Identifying Irony and Statements of False Arguments
Chapter 13 G. Understanding and Appreciating Biblical References
Chapter 14 H. Summarizing the Message
STEP III: APPLICATION
Chapter 15 A. Experiencing and Visualizing the Passage
Chapter 16 B. Reading the Passage as Personally Addressing You
Chapter 17 C. Identifying in Yourself Thought or States of Mind the Course Speaks About
Chapter 18 D. Applying What You Are Reading to the Specifics of Your Life
Introduction by Allen Watson
A few years ago, Robert and I began to realize that in our study of A Course in Miracles we had developed a large number of techniques that had brought the words of the Course to life in a new way for both of us. Some of these techniques were things one or the other of us had stumbled upon ourselves. In my case, many of them were things I had picked up from master students of the Bible during my years of Bible study. When put together, all of these techniques had helped us both to mine new riches from the Course.
In preparing for our Text Study classes, Robert and I were using these techniques regularly. What we were not doing, however, was imparting these tools for study to our students. We resolved that, if we were to be good teachers, we had to begin to do exactly that. And so we put together a weekend intensive on study methods, entitled "Bringing the Course to Life." We wrote down all of the techniques we could think of, found examples of how to apply them, and presented them to about twenty students in Sedona, during one long weekend.
Many of the students who attended that class have told us that it revolutionized their relationship with the Text. Perhaps for the first time for some, they had begun to feel that they themselves could study and really understand the Text. We have continued to see this happen as more students listen to the tapes from that intensive. The overall impact of that weekend was so great that we decided to turn the material from the intensive into a book.
Experience has convinced us that these techniques can transform how you approach the reading of the Course. There is so much more in the Course than students have guessed. There is a wealth of transformative meaning waiting to be uncovered. In this book, we attempt to show how to do that, through instruction, examples and exercises. In our examples and exercises, we go into minute detail, detail that you may find imposing. We urge you to not let this deter you. We are not suggesting that you go into Course passages in the same level of depth and detail. Some of the techniques—for instance, understanding biblical references - are ones that you may not personally find meaningful. We are simply trying to show what is possible. We are trying to show just how much meaning is in those passages. This realization alone can change the way in which one reads the Course.
We offer these techniques to you in the hope that they do for you what they have done for us—that they enable you to unlock the meaning of A Course in Miracles for yourself.
Excerpt from "You Will Understand It"
As you begin to read the Text, be comforted in knowing that nearly everyone who reads it finds it hard to understand at first. Besides the resistance of the ego to understanding the Holy Spirit's message, the language the Course uses is definitely more difficult to understand that your average daily newspaper. The ideas being presented are profound. The discussions of the devious strategies of the ego, which the Course insists we need to expose to the light and understand to some degree before we let them go, can be complex and confusing. They are meant to be confusing; the ego does not want you to understand its game.
The author of the Course recognizes the difficulty beginners have, and he addresses the issue in the following paragraph, from Chapter 22:
Of all the messages you have received and failed to understand, this course alone is open to your understanding and can be understood. This is your language. You do not understand it yet only because your whole communication is like a baby's. The sounds a baby makes and what he hears are highly unreliable, meaning different things to him at different times. Neither the sounds he hears nor sights he sees are stable yet. But what he hears and does not understand will be his native tongue, through which he will communicate with those around him, and they with him. And the strange, shifting ones he sees about him will become to him his comforters, and he will recognize his home and see them there with him. (T-22.I.6)
Think of how things must appear to a baby girl who has not yet learned to talk. All around her are these "strange, shifting ones," who keep putting their faces in front of her and making odd sounds with their mouths. Sometimes she thinks the sounds mean something. Sometimes she thinks they mean something else. Sometimes she is sure the sounds are meaningless (and sometimes they are!). She is confused. When she tries to make her wishes known with her own sounds, she does not get the results she wants, and cries. Sometimes crying seems to work the best.
Yet somehow, through that confused and muddled process, the baby girl eventually learns to talk, and to understand those who are talking to her. The strange, incomprehensible sounds eventually become her native tongue. She speaks it and understands it without even thinking about it most of the time.
The comforting idea for us is that we are like babies in learning the Course. There is much we do not understand yet, but that is perfectly natural. Relax, let the process take its course, and eventually this strange language of the spirit will become your native tongue, as much a part of you as is the language you learned as a child.
You will understand!
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