16-Point Summary of the Teaching of A Course in Miracles

by Robert Perry

1. Our home is reality, Heaven, the Kingdom of God, a spiritual realm of pure oneness and boundless joy which can never be threatened.

  • Since nothing real can be threatened, then the world is not real.
  • Reality is formless, spaceless, timeless oneness, beyond all limitation, opposition and distinctions
  • God is a Being of limitless, changeless Love Who is incapable of anger or attack.
  • God extended Himself to create His Son, the Christ, Who is one with God and is the single Self of the Sonship.
  • Extension is the dynamic of reality, in which reality timelessly extends itself and eternally increases.
  • Reality is maximal; it is the supreme joy; it is absolute perfection.
  • Reality is home, the longing of our hearts, the object of all our desires.

2. We tried to attack reality, to separate from it, thus making a separate identity—the ego—and the world of space and time.

  • We tried to separate, motivated by a desire to elevate ourselves above our brothers and above God.
  • The ego is the belief behind the separation; it is our core self-concept which says we are separate, autonomous beings.
  • When we tried to separate, we seemed to shatter reality into countless separate fragments.
  • We made the world by selecting and organizing the fragments.
  • The world we made is the diametric opposite of Heaven in every way.
  • God did not make the world; we did.
  • The ego has one need: to stay in business, to confirm itself, to reinforce its reality, to protect itself from God's Love.
  • We made this world of separate places and different moments to confirm the ego by "proving" that separation is an objective reality.

3. But the separation occurred only in our minds; in reality it never happened.

  • The separation had no effect, for nothing can change the Will of God.
  • We did not actually separate; we merely withdrew our awareness from reality into a private mental state.
  • The world is not an objective reality; it is only a dream, a projection of our belief in separateness.
  • We are not who we think we are; we are the Sons of God with amnesia.
  • We are not here in this world or in these bodies. We are in Heaven dreaming that we are here.
  • The instant the separation seemed to occur, God created the Holy Spirit, Who awakened us that same instant. We are now only reviewing a journey that is over.

4. Yet we believed we had really done it. We thought we had sinned and had thereby thrown our happiness away forever.

  • We thought that we had separated ourselves from all that we loved and consequently experienced a state of lack.
  • We thought that we had sinned against God, that we had launched a real attack which caused real destruction.
  • The result of sin was a massive sense of guilt, which we denied and so pushed into the unconscious.
  • Guilt says that we deserve punishment. This belief is the source of all of our suffering.
  • We project our belief that we deserve punishment onto God and so perceive a punitive, fearful God.
  • Guilt, then, gives rise to fear, which really is the expectation of punishment. Fear is the dominant emotion of this world.

5. We then projected the cause of our suffering onto the world, producing the illusion that it had sinned against us and had robbed us of our happiness.

  • A law of mind is that mind causes its own experience.
  • Projection is the dynamic whereby causation is thrown outward: what our mind has caused now seems thrust upon us from without.
  • Projection is motivated by the desire to get rid of our guilt, but its deeper motivation is the desire to make us powerless to change our beliefs.
  • Projection produces a world that seems to have enormous power over us.
  • Through projection, our self-imposed pain appears to come from an attacking world.
  • Our guilt, projected outward, has produced a punishing world.
  • Our primary experience of this world is that it attacks us in manifold ways, that it has done us wrong, that it has taken our happiness from us.

6. Our solution: acquire happiness by rearranging our external world.

  • Our conscious self-image is "the face of innocence," that of a good self trying to make its way through an unjust world.
  • We respond to the world's attacks by defending ourselves.
  • We attempt to fill our needs with external things, situations, and events, based on the belief that we are inherently lacking.
  • A major need we seek to satisfy is the need to feel innocent.
  • Another major need is the need to feel special.
  • In our search for happiness, the body is both a means and an end.
  • The crowning gift we seek, which incorporates all of the other gifts, is special love.
  • All of our seeking attempts to get something from the world, for which we generally must pay something back.

7. Our search for happiness is actually an expression of resentment and a quest for vengeance on the past.

  • Underneath our conscious face of innocence is the victim level, a place in us where we are enraged over what we think the world has done to us.
  • The victim's primary perception is that other people are sinful.
  • In this place we believe that past injustices have given us the right to resentment, restitution, and revenge.
  • Our attempt to rearrange the world is based on anger, resentment, grievances.
  • In our giving and in our suffering we constantly send the message, "I suffered because of you. Therefore, you owe me."
  • We seek vengeance through subtle attempts to re-enact the past and reverse past "injustices" against us.

8. Our "solution" is an attack and so, like the original problem, is an attack on ourselves.

  • Beneath the victim level is the ego proper, which is pure, unprovoked attack.
  • The victim level is an excuse to attack, produced by projecting our own attack outward.
  • The ego promises that attack will get us safety and happiness. This simply tricks us into accumulating guilt, to which it is attracted.
  • The ego promises that getting will fulfill us and defending will protect us. This tricks us into accumulating lack and vulnerability.
  • The ego promises us joy through bodily pleasure. This tricks us into making separation real.
  • The special relationship is the biggest false promise of all, the one that motivates us to pursue all of the ego's false promises.
  • Through our normal daily activities the ego is carrying out its ancient attack on God.
  • All that the ego does is really designed to attack us, kill us and send us to hell.

9. We have lost touch with reality and so need the Holy Spirit's help to be restored to sanity.

  • God created the Holy Spirit to bridge the gap in communication between Him and His children.
  • The Holy Spirit's function is to heal our minds by leading us into a thought system that reflects reality. This is how He guides us home.
  • The Holy Spirit bridges the distance between reality and illusion. By seeing our illusions in light of reality, He places them in true perspective.
  • All that we made for ego He takes and uses for our awakening.
  • We accept Him as our Teacher by resigning as our own teacher.

10. The Holy Spirit's message is that we never sinned, never changed ourselves. We need only change our minds.

  • The guilt and pain produced by the ego is stored in an unconscious level of mind which also contains our call for God's Love and help.
  • The Holy Spirit's answer to our guilt is that we did not do it, that we are still as God created us, because the separation never occurred.
  • The journey home is an illusion. We need not purify ourselves or make sacrifices. Instead, we can wake up at any time we choose.
  • The holy instant is a moment when this is realized, applied, a moment of doing nothing.
  • The miracle is a free deliverance from the imprisonment of the human condition. It is our right, because we never sinned.

11. Changing our minds means allowing the Holy Spirit to heal our perception.

  • To awaken in Heaven all we need is a change of perception.
  • Projection makes perception.
  • Step one: Identify the cause of your pain as your own perception, and bring this illusion to the light of truth.
  • Step two: Let go of your perception; have a little willingness for the Holy Spirit to remove it and replace it with truth.
  • Step three: The Holy Spirit will replace your perception with His; He will give your mind a miracle.

12. We heal our perception by forgiving the world for what it did not do.

  • Forgiveness is the answer to our separated condition.
  • Forgiveness is the Course's unique and original message, yet is also the heart of the Holy Spirit's message to humanity.
  • Conventional forgiveness, in which we forgive another for his sin against us, is not real forgiveness.
  • Real forgiveness is a shift in perception, in which we let go of the perception that a sin occurred.
  • The Course's thought system is one big rationale for the idea that sin is unreal and that forgiveness is justified.

13. Extending forgiveness to others reveals to us that we too are forgiven. This becomes our one function.

  • Forgiveness releases us from our fixation on our separate self and allows our love to flow out to the world.
  • We first allow forgiving perception into our minds and then extend this perception to others.
  • Extending forgiveness to others heals them in mind and body. This is the main sense of the word "miracle."
  • Extending forgiveness to others is a psychological device for convincing us of our own innocence.
  • Extension will become our only function. The Holy Spirit will give us a special form of this called our special function.

14. Forgiveness also undoes the blocks that separate us from others, allowing us to experience the fact that we are one.

  • Forgiveness wipes away that which maintains our sense of separateness from others.
  • Forgiveness looks past differences and reveals our underlying sameness.
  • The holy relationship is a gradual reversal of the special relationship, in which two people slowly realize their sameness.
  • When two or more people join in a truly common goal, holiness enters the relationship at a deep level and makes it a holy relationship.
  • The relationship will go on a journey, as the holiness that entered it slowly rises and transforms the relationship.
  • As the relationship's holiness rises to the surface, it will then reach out beyond the two people. They will be given a joint special function.
  • The journey to God is not a lonely journey. Through joining with others we discover our own wholeness and clear the way for uniting with God.

15. With forgiveness as our practice, we journey toward the goal of true perception.

  • True perception is a different mode of perception which looks past bodies to the light of Christ in everyone and everything.
  • True perception looks on the real world, which is composed of the holiness in all minds and the loving thoughts in those minds.
  • Looking with true perception on the real world is the happiest experience we can have here. It is the goal of the spiritual journey.
  • The spiritual journey is the gradual making of a single choice, which slowly restores us to our right mind.

16. When we and the entire world have attained true perception, God Himself will take the final step and lift us home.

  • Eventually, we will collectively devote ourselves to applying forgiveness and returning home.
  • The Second Coming of Christ is when the world collectively awakens to the Christ, the Self we share.
  • The Last Judgment is a process by which we judge all past thoughts and retain only the pure.
  • When we are perfectly healed we are ready for God to take the final step. In that step we remember God and our true Identity.

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