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The Story of

A Course in Miracles

The following is a quote from the book Gifts From A Course In Miracles by Frances Vaughn, Ph.D. I encourage you to take a look at this book if you are a beginner to the Course, as it is a much easier read than the original text.

"Although written in Christian Language and style, A Course in Miracles clearly embodies the perennial wisdom found at the core of the world's great religions. Because of this universal nature, it's significance and appeal transcend traditional boundaries and extends to all who seek answers to the deepest questions of human existence.


Some Buddhists feel that the Course echoes the words of the Buddha: yogis have remarked that it expresses the wisdom of the Vendanta; and psychologists have found it offers insights comparable to some of the best contemporary thinking about perception, belief and identity."

 The Course was written through a process of inner dictation by a very reluctant academic psychologist, Helen Schucman. Born to a non-practicing Jewish family, she had an intense childhood yearning for religious understanding but had long ago despaired of finding it.



Helen was assisted during the writing by her colleague William Thetford. Both successful professors of medical psychology at Columbia University in New York. Neither had any intention of writing anything religious. Indeed their lives and work were hardly models of spiritual well-being.


They were caught up in the harried and often vicious competition and infighting that can occur in prestigious academic centers. Their relationships were certainly in need of healing, and they lived with significant personal and interpersonal strife. Yet as the Course says, "Tolerance for pain may be high, but not without limit. Eventually, everyone realizes, however dimly that there must be a better way."


That realization came to Bill Thetford one day when he suddenly announced to Helen, "There must be a better way of living, and I am determined to find it."

A few weeks later, Helen started having a series of intense visual images. So vivid were these images that initially Helen feared she must be losing her sanity. However with Bill's encouragement, she allowed them to unfold, and they proved to be personally meaningful and helpful to others.


Finally, at the end of three months, Helen heard a voice saying, "This is a Course in Miracles. Please take notes." Terrified once again that she was losing her mind, Helen resisted at first, but Bill finally convinced her to take down shorthand the words she was hearing.


Thus began a six-year collaborative process of transcribing and typing Helen's dictation and A Course in Miracles was born. With its emphasis on healing, and particularly on healing relationships, the Course was clearly the guide to a better way of living that Helen and Bill had agreed to seek together. Since she felt she was the scribe, not the author of the material, Helen chose to remain anonymous. In her own words she said:


"Three startling months proceeded the actual writing...Although I had grown more accustomed to the unexpected by that time, I was still very surprised when I wrote, "This is A Course in Miracles...." That was my introduction to the Voice. It made no sound but it seemed to be giving me a kind of rapid, inner dictation. which I took down in a shorthand notebook.


The writing was never automatic. It could be interrupted at any time and later picked up again. It made me very uncomfortable but it never seriously occurred to me to stop. It seemed to be a special assignment I had somehow, somewhere agreed to complete. It represented a truly collaborative venture between my friend (William Thetford) and myself, and much of it's significance, I'm sure lies in that...The whole process took about six years."