A Course in Miracles (ACIM)—the self-study spiritual-thought system that teaches the way to love and forgiveness—has captured the minds and hearts of millions of people, and delivered inner peace where fear and pain once prevailed. Its universal message is unsurpassed in its power to heal. Yet many students report that they have difficulty grasping the principles, or encounter resistance to the lessons. So, even while they yearn for the spiritual freedom the Course offers, they put the book aside, hoping one day to get to it.
A Course in Miracles Made Easy by Alan Cohen Review
Quite Simply a Book to Transform Lives
I may bill myself as a positivity guru, however I have never gone down the A Course in Miracles route. Its reputation has always proceeded it. And not just for me, but for countless others too. We have unfairly labelled it a literary gym. We give up before we get started, procrastinate over turning that first disciplined page for that first ‘confusing’ exercise. We resist putting in the ‘work’ when we know it would change our lives for ever.
So when Hay House sent me a copy of Alan Cohen‘s A Course in Miracles Made Easy, I was over the moon. This sounded like it would do just what it said on the tin. Coming from such a prestigious Mind, Body and Spirit publisher and such a well-respected author, how could it not? Finally, the magic and secrets of the course would be explained to me in a simple but effective way and I would drink up every drop of wisdom.
Now for anybody unfamiliar with the mysterious sounding A Course in Miracles, the spiritual study guide upon which Alan Cohen’s book is based, what can I tell you? Firstly, its words will always appear in a reader’s life at the exactly the right moment. And what is particularly interesting about the author’s guide to the original course is this: I first read it rather quickly… just before the Paris attacks had even happened. And then I read it again in depth, really savouring the uplifting messages in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. I know this cannot be a coincidence. For even my usually glass half full view of the world had been shaken, and definitely stirred. Secondly, Alan Cohen tells us “A Course in Miracles is the ultimate answer to the question ‘How easy could my life be?’… A Course in Miracles is quite simply a map out of hell…‘ to ‘...dissolve the illusions that keep you small.”
I think the map out of hell analogy would appeal to so many of us right now. I for one, was ready to be navigated home.
According to ACIM, the truth can be summed up in just a handful of words:
Nothing real can be threatened
Nothing unreal exists
Herein lies the peace of God
But we are human. We have egos… and all of the baggage that comes with them. And so we need more. We like evidence; wordy, lengthy evidence. And we cling to the hope that is proof.
When, how and why was the original ACIM written?
The original A Course in Miracles was interpreted – channeled – through Dr Helen Schucman, a highly respected psychologist at Colombia University. Dr Schucman was, perhaps understandably given her academic stance, rather disturbed by the voice asking her to write. But fortunately for us she did, and she chose to interpret the voice she was hearing as that of Jesus Christ… in a nutshell the purpose of his message is to re-explain to humanity the real essence of the Bible. But in truth ACIM is for all religions yet belonging to no religion. As Alan Cohen tell us, many are those who walk away from the patriarchical and supposed religious connotations, however oneness, not segregation, is integral to the course. The author writes at length about this and urges all to trust their intuition, drop their ego and give it a go. For the peace the course brings is well worth the curiosity and open mindedness.
So what does Alan Cohen’s guide to ACIM bring to the party?
Well, Alan is something of a rare master of the course. Yet even he wouldn’t confess to being so. But compared to those of us who haven’t even got started on the journey, of course he is – he’s studied and taught its principles for over thirty years. But what I love is his genuinely humble nature. He does an amazing job of putting the course across to us in layman’s terms. He explains the lists of excuses such as resistance and confusion, that the ego conjures up in its never ending quest to prevail over spirit, with great humour and panache. In fact his refreshingly comedic approach makes what could be a heavy book even lighter; its message even easier to absorb.
By the authors own admission, he’s no model student. Fear has gripped him… as well as resistance. But when he has leaned in the direction of love, applying lessons from the course, the sense of peace and ease of miracles has been overwhelming.
The author shares stories – proof – of how ACIM has deeply changed his life and the lives of others. With a Chicken Soup for the Soul quality (a publication he has penned many a piece for) they resonate, coming from the heart and speaking to the heart. They uplift and inspire. You can literally feel the fear melt away as you read them. And that’s quite simply the ultimate message of the book: everything is either love, or it is fear. And WE get to decide which kind of world we personally want to experience.
The book is broken down into chapters which cover all sorts of concepts – from Identity Theft (which begins soon after we arrive on planet Earth) to Playing Victim, the Illusion of Sin to the Inner Voice, and Health to Wealth.
One of my absolute favourite quotes from the book has to be this:
“When people say ‘Get real,’ they mean Get small. Get stuck. I am trapped in my little fear-bound world, and your expansive vision is threatening to me. So I demand that you grovel in the mud with me. How dare you rock my tiny world with greater possibilities!”
I told you he was funny too.
Who is this book for?
One word: humanity. And never more so than right now, in the current earthly climate of perceived mass hysteria, fear and hatred.
“Let’s remember what makes life worth living and let all else go back to the nothingness from which it came.”
To the untrained eye such a statement seems preposterous, ignorant even. To the disciplined eye which looks for love, and love only, it makes the ultimate sense and is the only way forward.
Will I ever read the actual A Course in Miracles?
After falling in love with Alan’s depiction of the book, the answer is a resounding yes. However, I am an all or nothing kind of girl, and at this stage in my life (here we go… that old chestnut: the excuse) with two young children whose unpredictable routines cannot guarantee I stick to my own, it just isn’t going to happen. But you know what, that really doesn’t matter. The right time to really throw myself into ACIM will come. Because I love the expanse that comes from learning more about my spiritual self. And what’s more, Alan Cohen’s guide serves as a most brilliant foundation for the course’s principles. It’s a little like eating porridge (or oatmeal) for breakfast… it brings sustenance, it’s a building block.
At the beginning of A Course in Miracles Made Easy, the author declares:
“I want to extricate you from any confusion about ACIM, dissolve its apparent density, demystify its lofty truths and show you how utterly simple it really is.”
Alan Cohen, you have succeeded.
A Course in Miracles Made Easy is published by Hay House.