Question 62  from
The Most Commonly Asked Questions About 
A Course in Miracles

By Gloria and Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.


62) Does A Course in Miracles have to be studied, or is it enough just to do the workbook and read the text randomly, in whatever way I feel guided to do?

Again, there is no right or wrong in pursuing A Course in Miracles as a spiritual path. However, there are certain guidelines we can present that can help ensure that one's work with the Course is not being guided by the ego. One such guideline is always to return to Jesus' own instructions for his curriculum. The three books are set up as a college course, in which, to summarize this again, there is the basic textbook, which contains the theoretical material that the instructor (here of course it is Jesus) wishes the class to study, learn, and understand; the workbook, which as in a laboratory course for example, is the practical application of what is learned in the text; and the manual, which offers guidelines for all pupils, who in this curriculum are also teachers.

What does this mean for Course students? Simply, that they are asked by Jesus to study, learn, and understand his teaching material, as well as to practice the Course's principles of forgiveness. That is why, for example, he does not require that students understand what is said in the workbook, as we have already seen in the quotation cited above (W-in.8-9). But he does not let his students off that hook when it comes to the text. Near the end of Chapter 1, he states very clearly:

This is a course in mind training. All learning involves attention and study at some level. Some of the later parts of the course rest too heavily on these earlier sections not to require their careful study. You will also need them for preparation. Without this, you may become much too fearful of what is to come to make constructive use of it. However, as you study these earlier sections, you will begin to see some of the implications that will be amplified later on (T-1.VII.4; italics ours).
In fact, during the Course's dictation, Jesus was quite insistent to Helen and Bill that they study these notes, as he referred to the material. He was speaking in the manner of a college professor insisting that his students pay careful attention to what was being taught, and to study the lecture notes he was giving. It would be in direct contradiction to the wishes of Jesus not to study the text, as he specifically asks. To ignore these very specific instructions at the end of Chapter I provides still another example of students' authority problems, wherein they believe that they know better than Jesus what is in their own best interests, not to mention how they should proceed with his Course.

Regarding the workbook, since it is not meant to be the teaching aspect of the curriculum, it need not be read nor studied in the manner that the text should be. Certainly, however, it needs to be practiced as the instructions indicate.  This being said, we nonetheless believe that students would do well in their work with A Course in Miracles -- to enhance their understanding of it -- to read carefully through the workbook itself at some point after they have gone through the lessons, as they would do with the text. Many would be astounded at what they would find there: a depth of teaching that can easily be overlooked as one does the lessons in the one-year training program.

Reproduced with the kind permission of Gloria and Kenneth
Wapnick and the Foundation for A Course in Miracles

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