The book’s origins may be traced back again to the early 1970s; Helen Schucman first experiences with the “inner voice” generated her then supervisor, William Thetford, to contact Hugh Cayce at the Association for Research and Enlightenment. Consequently, an introduction to Kenneth Wapnick (later the book’s editor) occurred. At the time of the introduction, Wapnick was clinical psychologist. After meeting, Schucman and Wapnik spent over annually editing and revising the material. Another introduction, now of Schucman, Wapnik, and Thetford to Robert Skutch and Judith Skutch Whitson, of the Foundation for Inner Peace. The initial printings of the book for distribution were in 1975. Ever since then, copyright litigation by the Foundation for Inner Peace, and Penguin Books, has established that the information of the initial edition is in the general public domain.
A Course in Miracles is a training device; the course has 3 books, a 622-page text, a 478-page student workbook, and an 88-page teachers manual. The materials may be studied in the order chosen by readers. The content of A Course in Miracles addresses the theoretical and the practical, although application of the book’s material is emphasized. The text is mainly theoretical, and is a basis for the workbook’s lessons, which are practical applications. The workbook has 365 lessons, one for every single day of the year, though they don’t need to be done at a rate of one lesson per day. Perhaps most just like the workbooks which can be familiar to the common reader from previous experience, you are asked to utilize the material as directed. However, in a departure from the “normal”, the reader is not required to believe what is in the workbook, as well as accept it. Neither the workbook nor the Course in Miracles is intended to complete the reader’s learning; simply, the materials really are a start.
A Course in Miracles distinguishes between knowledge and perception; truth is unalterable and eternal, while perception is the world of time, change, and interpretation. The world of perception reinforces the dominant ideas in our minds, and keeps us separate from the truth, and separate from God. Perception is bound by the body’s limitations in the physical world, thus limiting awareness. Much of the ability of the world reinforces the ego, and the individual’s separation from God. But, by accepting the vision of Christ, and the voice of the Holy Spirit, one learns forgiveness, both for oneself and others.