Regarding the Goal of A Course in Miracles

Excerpted from  Chapter 14, pp. 350-352, "The Closing of the Gap," 
in the book THE JOURNEY HOME
by Kenneth Wapnick,
copyright 2000 by the Foundation for A Course in Miracles, Temecula, CA. 
Reproduced here with permission of the author and the copyright holder.

The goal of A Course in Miracles is not the dissolution of the separated self, but only the dissolution of the wrong-minded aspect of this ego self, leaving the individual self in a state of happiness and peace:

This course has explicitly stated that its goal for you is happiness and peace 

Forget not that the motivation for this course is the attainment and the keeping of the state of peace. Given this state the mind is quiet, and the condition in which God is remembered is attained (

The self is not annihilated; our ego identity simply disappears. The loss of self, of which we are so terrified, is what we believe will be the dissolution of the body, or loss of self-identification, and this comes from our equating the ego with the body, or better, the ego with our self. Yet that personal self-identification is but one of guilt, attack, separation, depression, sickness, loss, and death, and it is only that self that goes at first. What therefore remains when we learn to forgive is the right- minded self that ultimately becomes the basis for our being in the real world. At that point, this loss of our individuality is no longer feared but welcomed. This state is beautifully described in the sections "The Forgiven World" (T-17.11) and "Where Sin Has Left" (T-26.IV). In Lesson 155, "I will step back and let Him lead the way," we find perhaps the clearest expression in A Course in Miracles of this gentle phase of the process of returning to our true Self:
There is a way of living in the world that is not here, although it seems to be. You do not change appearance, though you smile more frequently. Your forehead is serene; your eyes are quiet. And the ones who walk the world as you do recognize their own. Yet those who have not yet perceived the way will recognize you also, and believe that you are like them, as you were before.
The lesson continues by discussing the illusory nature of the world whose purpose is to perpetuate the ego's thought system of individuality, and we are asked to make the Holy Spirit's truth our reality while we yet appear to walk this world. It is these illusions about our identity we are asked to give up, not the world itself, so that we may be models for others who have yet to make the same choice:
If truth demanded they give up the world, it would appear to them as if it asked the sacrifice of something that is real. Many have chosen to renounce the world while still believing its reality. And they have suffered from a sense of loss, and have not been released accordingly. Others have chosen nothing but the world, and they have suffered from a sense of loss still deeper, which they did not understand.

Between these paths there is another road that leads away from loss of every kind, for sacrifice and deprivation both are quickly left behind. This is the way appointed for you now. You walk this path as others walk, nor do you seem to be distinct from them, although you are indeed. Thus can you serve them while you serve yourself, and set their footsteps on the way that God has opened up to you, and them through you.

Illusion still appears to cling to you, that you may reach them. Yet it has stepped back. And it is not illusion that they hear you speak of, nor illusion that you bring their eyes to look on and their minds to grasp. Nor can the truth, which walks ahead of you, speak to them through illusions, for the road leads past illusion now, while on the way you call to them, that they may follow you.

This is the attainment of the right-minded self, where the student still experiences an individuality, albeit now a happy and peaceful one. Yet, the journey is not over, for true unity has not yet been achieved. The thought of the end of the separated self, however, is no longer experienced as threatening, as we just commented on above, for there is no guilt to be cherished and protected.

The remainder of this beautiful lesson deals with the journey's close:

Yet at the journey's ending there will be no gap, no distance between truth and you. And all illusions walking in the way you travelled will be gone from you as well, with nothing left to keep the truth apart from God's completion, holy as Himself. Step back in faith and let truth lead the way. You know not where you go. But One Who knows goes with you. Let Him lead you with the rest.

When dreams are over, time has closed the door on all the things that pass and miracles are purposeless, the holy Son of God will make no journeys, There will be no wish to be illusion rather than the truth. And we step forth toward this, as we progress along the way that truth points out to us. This is our final journey, which we make for everyone. We must not lose our way. For as truth goes before us, so it goes before our brothers who will follow us....

Your feet are safely set upon the road that leads the world to God. Look not to ways that seem to lead you elsewhere. Dreams are not a worthy guide for you who are God's Son. Forget not He has placed His Hand in yours, and given you your brothers in His trust that you are worthy of His trust in you. He cannot be deceived. His trust has made your pathway certain and your goal secure. You will not fail your brothers nor your Self (W-pl.155.1, 4-6, 10-11, 13; italics mine).

In conclusion, therefore, we can say that the goal of A Course in Miracles is the transformation of the ego self and the attainment of the real world, not the transcendence of the self and return to Heaven. Actually, the term "self " at the end of "The Closing of the Gap" could even be spelled with a capital "S." This same point of Jesus' goal for us in his Course is made in some beautiful passages in "The Lifting of the Veil," to which we now return [i.e.: in the next chapter of the book - #15] .
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