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500 of 537 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2011
11/28/2012: revised to reduce annoying CAPS, and add explanatory notes
This is the deepest and most profound book I've ever read. And I have a ridiculously large collection of books.
It also contains breathtaking concepts, that resonate with the simple, ironic beauty characteristic of profound universal truth. Even the physicists, cosmologists, mathematicians have remarked they use the same criteria of beauty and elegance as a helpful evaluation to help vet new candidate laws of nature.

ACIM presents spiritual truths so concise and raw, so pure, that one must often spend days or weeks (or more) studying + praying + meditating upon a single passage. Then one may begin to achieve first insights into a passage, and begin to apply it directly to one's life. With insight revealed by each passage, you'll become more and more aware of the miraculous spiritual world which is true life (all else being false dream).

This book DOES teach miracles. I will offer you an example.

In everyday life you cross paths with countless strangers. Many you meet for a moment, and never again. For example, you'll exchange a few casual words of courtesy with the grocery store cashier, as your items are rung up. Somehow it became "normal" to view such interactions as inconsequential; most of us eventually became a bit numb to the souls around us. We don't notice their spiritual and emotional needs. We forgot how to truly see others and to love.

Haven't we had enough of "normal" mundane existence!

Let's now re-imagine our "inconsequential" daily interactions in a new, deeply spiritual and profound way, transforming these interactions into most consequential miracles.

That cashier ringing up your groceries may be quite happy - OR she might be hiding severe depression which has her that very moment thinking about how she'll commit suicide later that evening after work. Her soul may be in that much pain. She needs a miracle encounter, and without it she'll be dead later that evening.

First, you understand you can never personally "make" miracles happen. Miracles are never under your command. You can only ready your consciousness through purification, making yourself a willing channel / vehicle through which God performs miracles.

We start by caring, extending that care even to random "strangers" we encounter. We open our heart and hold precious a deep concern for the well-being (and advancement) of other souls. That spiritual intent awakens one to sense the pain in other souls, even when hidden under many layers. Meditation & prayer, tools of spiritual purification awaken us to see the true beauty and purity of other souls, even when they themselves do not see it, even when others may perceive them as "unattractive" in appearance or personality.

This book teaches how to be a willing channel through which miracles can be worked (and that is only one aspect of the overall spiritual development the book cultivates). This is fundamentally NOT an intellectual exercise of reading a concept, memorizing, analyzing it logically, and then thinking that rote approach will turn you into a "miracle worker" It doesn't work that way. This is a non-rational, non-intellectual, non-linear workshop for your soul, a process for which intellectually reading each sentence is only the very first step. Next comes convulsions of prayer and meditation in which you humbly surrender, quieting your ego and will, and pleading God to fill you, and to reveal the meaning of the passage to your heart. You may find yourself on the floor in tears, out of spiritual longing to know God, or at least to know the spiritual meaning a sentence. Beyond saying that, the process is intensely personal, and beyond words' ability to describe it.

CLARIFICATION: some reading this have misunderstood why I've described a helpful mindset (or heartset) for approaching God as a humbly begging and pleading for God's intervention.

I'm not implying God is an anthropomorphic Being who ignores you until you've prostrated yourself sufficiently and only then grants you mercy. Always remember ACIM concepts are death to your ego (ego being nothing anyway) so the ego always wants to "hijack" your spiritual process, stalling it. A humble admission that your ego and will are useless to your spiritual growth, and your resignation, entreating God to intervene, is a prerequisite (along with meditation) to quiet your ego, preventing it hijacking the process. We willfully walked away (from God's love) long ago. We forgot the path back. The ego depends upon keeping the path forgotten, avoiding the path back. We must humbly beg God to be shown the path back. It is the only Way.

A helpful suggestion is to use each sentence in ACIM as a meditation, where pondering a concept will often bubble up to your conciousness, to your heart, your longing to again know God's love. It is very good thing to reawaken how much we long to know God; immediately let that sacred longing move you to directly entreat God in personal prayer, speaking to God that your paramount desire is no longer some ACIM sentence, BUT INSTEAD YOU CARE ONLY TO ONCE AGAIN KNOW AND FEEL GOD'S LOVE! Nothing else matters. That is a purity of prayer and intent. Trust me: that is the most direct path, because true knowing of the ACIM concepts is a natural outcome (biproduct) of direct movement of your Consciousness back to God.

Does God see us, perceive us walking a path back to God? No! God knows no separation from anything. ACIM devotee's with egos that have hijacked their spiritual process, are often heard making attack remarks to others such as: "You DON'T need to walk back to God; you're already there! Stop praying TO God. You're already ONE WITH God!"

We must start with honesty about where we are: in our ego consciousness we view ourselves as separate from God. You cannot short-cut the spiritual work of unwinding that by tritely remarking "OK, I'm ONE with God now...well because I've said that I am."

How many steps are needed to gently reveal to the pysche the blinding purity of God's love that we turned away from, and then subequently forgot to avoid remembering that unbearable loss? It can be done in one step; you just have to miss God's love so much that you'll let fall away the entire complex structure of your identity as you now know it, including ego and will, all in one convulsive step! I think you get my point. In most cases, we resign to walk back to God in our hearts, step-by-step with God's help, progressively shedding, deconstructing our ego, our identity, our self-determined will, each step of the way.

Let's return to our example involving the cashier.

God KNOWS the precise sentiment and the exact few words you must communicate to that cashier, in order to miraculously lift her soul and prevent her suicide. This will not merely prevent her suicide that evening, but will transform her life in a matter of a few seconds. She will forever think of herself on a higher level, more clearly seeing her own spiritual perfection, and that will change her life. That is the miracle! And it is reciprocal: our soul is lifted as we help others.

Your heart is open, allowing you to sense the pain of another soul, in this case a total stranger ringing out your groceries. You have made yourself ready for this moment through prayer, meditation, and reading ACIM.

You see the cashier with spiritual seeing, as one looks at a beautiful sunset, meditatively. You don't see his or her "depression." Instead you see perfect, precious Spirit; that is, you see absolute truth about the angelic nature of another, and God can help you let that person see that in your eyes, in your soul!

In the moment of your love, and your deep willingness to help, your mind clears as you wait fearlessly for God to work a miracle through you. And God does.

You'll hear sentences come out of your mouth that you did not intellectually formulate from any ego or logic-driven process. You'll understand those words came from Above. Those sentences were so perfectly matched to meet the needs of the soul of that cashier in that moment, you could not possibly have originated those words in your intellect. Often the words will even reference secret events or feelings in the life of the stranger that you have no prior knowledge of!

The reaction of that person to those spontaneous words will be most amazing, because that person is stunned to see and feel that you (a total stranger) has out of LOVE, looked into the hidden recesses of their heart and soul, and - despite seeing their secret pain - has instead seen their true angelic beauty shimmering like a million stars!

Often the total stranger will immediately burst into the happiest of tears of joy. They may look up at you with tears streaming down their face, but with their face glowing with a huge, happy smile, as if you've just saved their life and they are eternally grateful. And in some cases you may have in fact saved their life, preventing a suicide. However, all the work was by God, acting through you.

You may find yourself spontaneously embracing that person with a warm hug and sharing their tears of joy - all done with countless strangers watching on, perplexed by it.

Then you walk out of the store. The miracle has happened and you know it will work spiritual power in the life of that person blessed by it.

Now it often happens, not always, but sometimes, you'll encounter that same person many years later. Twenty years later you might be running an errand or whatever, and suddenly a "stranger" walks up to you and looks at you lovingly as if you are a long-lost sibling, and says with heartfelt intensity:

"Long ago, you saved my life by speaking a few words to me in a grocery store! I could NEVER forget you! Thank you!"

And of course you remember and recognize that person; impossible to forget a miracle!

If you understand that example, and you have started to understand what is inside this most miraculous book.

NOTE: this review is NOT intended to suggest I understand most of what is in ACIM, or have in any sense "completed" the spiritual workshop that the Course is. Very optimistically, maybe I "understand" (intellectually) say 5% of the sentences in this book, and maybe (who knows) I've managed to start applying maybe 1% of the book into my daily life. And that's a lot. And that little is life-transforming. This is the kind of book you work with for multiple lifetimes. I'm not sure the concept of "completing" even applies to this book!
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423 of 459 people found the following review helpful
A COURSE IN MIRACLES is an astonishing set of three books that are now available in one combined volume printed on "bible-thin" paper. For those unfamiliar with "the Course" (as "students" are inclined to call it), it is not a class, a cult, or a religion. The Course is set up in the format of a class, with a Text, a Workbook For Students, and a Manual for Teachers and is primarily intended to be studied on one's own. But many students like to form "study groups." Neither approach to studying the Course is "right" or "wrong."
The Course is a non-dual system of spiritual psychotherapy. Non-dual means that there is no "good" or "bad," there are no opposites. A common mistake people make in interpreting the non-duality of A COURSE IN MIRACLES is to think it means that only the "good" things in the world are real and that the "bad" things aren't. The Course could therefore be seen as just an extension of "New Age Positivism." A next logical step in this misunderstanding of Course theory is to focus on the "good" things in the world and to be contemptuous of those who do not agree with you about what is good. This is where we can get caught in the trap of attempting to "enlighten" others. What the Course's non-duality really means is that the very concept of "good" and "bad" is an illusion. This points to the profound metaphysical teaching that our personal identities themselves are illusions. And since the Course aims at "removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence" (Introduction, p. 2), it could even be thought of as a type of "negativism." Ultimately, Love is all that is real. But the Course teaches that this world was not made by Love and is not a loving place. Trying to make this world loving is futile.
Many people have commented that the Course really is not all that "new" in this point-of-view because Hinduism and schools of Buddhism have been teaching non-duality for millennia. But the Course even goes beyond those forms of non-duality by saying that the world is not only an illusion, it is an illusion made by the ego as an attack on God (workbook p. 403). God is all perfect, loving, eternal, changeless, formless, and no division or opposites reside within Him. (The Course uses the masculine term for God exclusively, but acknowledges that this is just a symbol. Since God is formless and timeless and is not anthropomorphic, God does not have a body and cannot be either male or female.) If we look around the world we will see that everything in it will either change or die, has an opposite, and has a physical form. God cannot have created the world we see since God only creates like Himself. The Course says this is a dream world, and there is no difference between our "waking" and "sleeping" dreams. Both are insane.
Everything the Course says is on the level of content, not form. The Course only offers advice on how we should "perceive" things, not how we should "do" things. When the Course says to be defenseless it is really just pointing back to its metaphysical teaching that we are not our bodies but are Spirit. If we are Spirit then we are defenseless because Spirit is eternal and changeless. When the Course says to be defenseless it means to "remind ourselves" that our true reality is not in this world but in the "Real World" of Spirit. And that is what the Course refers to as a "miracle": a change in perception. We are to change our perception of ourselves. No behavior in this world, no rituals, no amount of group study, no advertising the Course itself, will bring us salvation. The Course teaches that "my salvation comes from me," and it means that only we can "save" ourselves by changing our minds about ourselves.
The Course is not "literally" channeled from Jesus. In A COURES IN MIRACLES "the Name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol. But it stands for a love that is not of this world" (Manual For Teachers p. 58). Jesus in A COURSE IN MIRACLES could easily be replaced with the words "Higher Mind" "Christ Consciousness" "Cosmic Consciousness" or any other name to denote Eternal Love. When Helen Schucman said the Course was channeled from Jesus, she meant it came from that place in her mind that is still in touch with the completely abstract non-temporal and non-physical awareness of only Love. The reason she chose the word "Jesus" to denote that awareness is because there is so much pain centered on the word and figure of Jesus ("Some bitter idols have been made of him who would be only brother to the world." Manual for Teachers, p. 88). Jesus is the most powerful and important man and concept in the western world. Indeed, even our calendar marks the days since his death. If we in the Western world are to truly heal from the pain we are in and the mess we have made of things we will need to look at our most powerful symbols and teachers. As the Course teaches, individual identity is ultimately illusory and so Jesus is just an illusion as well. But in the Course he is used as a symbol for our Inner Teacher and for Eternal Love. This helps to correct the idea that our supreme symbol of love, as indeed Jesus has been purported to be, wants us to suffer. Ultimately, all concepts of Jesus only exist in our minds and we therefore need to change our minds about Jesus.
The Jesus of A COURSE IN MIRACLES is not the Jesus of the Bible, and the Course is not Christianity. The Course is actually an erasing of 2000 years of Christian doctrine because it says we got it all wrong from the start.
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268 of 290 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 1, 2009
Of the several Kindle versions of A Course In Miracles available this is by far the best one. It has a working table of contents and includes the full text of the combined books that make up the CIM including Text, Teacher's Manual, Workbook, Clarification of Terms and Supplements. In case this review gets combined with other reviews for different versions of the book as sometimes happen I'll mention I'm referring to the version that has an ASIN of B0018A01L4.
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163 of 179 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2011
I love the Course and highly recommend it to anybody searching for a little sanity in this world. All totally great and transforming stuff. This review relates not to the content of the Course but to the physical dimensions of this particular printing of the book. Warning: this edition is a new, smaller book with much smaller print than all previous versions of the blue book. The dimensions are 8 x 5 x 1.5 inches versus the usual 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.5. The pagination is the same as the most recent versions so the only difference is the smaller font. This might not seem like much of a difference - indeed, this might be preferential for somebody wanting a smaller book to carry about - but it results in pages with much smaller print making it even harder to read ;-)
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147 of 162 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2008
"You will not see the Father until you first see the perfection of your holy brother". The language is that of classic western theology, but that's where the similarity ends. I read this work years ago, and with considerable effort. I haven't been the same since. It lead to other books and teachers that I had previously thought to be unbalanced or worse. This book marks a turning point in the lives of many because by the time you finish it, you are able to perceive and understand much which had previously escaped you. And this has a domino-effect which changes the way that you experience reality. Of course, everyone's experience will be at least somewhat different, if not totally different. This massive and powerful volume was not a pleasurable read for me, it hurt. I felt an almost continual and irrational fear in my gut throughout most of it. My ego was terrified by the intense exposure. As cliche as it may sound, it felt like a part of me was dying. But here I am, and certainly the better for it. The greatest benefit for me has been the elimination of confusion, who should I believe, what should I believe. I no longer look outside of myself for answers. This review is for anyone for whom it may resonate. If you get this book and find that you hate it, or don't understand it, or just can't handle it for some reason, just put it aside, store it in a safe place. Don't ever part with it.
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158 of 175 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2002
There has been a great deal written about ACIM and it all pales in comparison with the experience of the Course itself. That would include this introduction!
ACIM is not for everyone. As the Course says, many are called but few choose to respond. If you're ready, your soul will be hungry and ACIM will come to you. Read the Introduction carefully and see how it resonates with your Spirit. There should be no doubt if you're ready.
ACIM requires dedication and commitment. There is so much information in each paragraph of text that frequently one must stop and contemplate each sentence in turn! It is counter-productive to read on past sections one has not internalized, so patience is a must.
There is a meditation sequence that requires a minimum of one year to complete. Even if you are an experienced meditator, you will probably take a quantum leap in your spiritual awareness and for the first time comprehend the true nature of meditation. This meditation is required in order to grasp the underlying message of the Course and the ability to put oneself instantly into the Presence of God is emphasized throughout the text.
ACIM is a two-way street. Along with the peace and confidence that accompanies learning to see the world through the eyes of Christ comes the awesome responsibility of becoming a Teacher of God.
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84 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2008
I am well educated by modern western standards - I have a masters degree in electrical engineering, and a masters degree in business (MBA)...I am middle-aged so I have had plenty of time to witness life on earth...I was also in the US Navy at an early age...I hope this gives you a context for my review........I have to honestly say, without any reservation, from the bottom of my heart - that this is the single MOST IMPORTANT book - rather EDUCATION - of my entire life...Nothing else comes close....If you are seeking true happiness, inner peace, would like to really internalize "why you are here", this is the best work around....If you want to learn how to deal with your resentment, prejudices, and maybe most-importantly, ego - this book will do it for you. And if you don't think you have any of these issues - perhaps you need this book even more!...This book goes beyond formal religion (which I do not partake in), beyond meditation (which I've practiced for ~30 years), and beyond the Bible (which I've read but didn't really "internalize")....I am about half way through the lessons (this is the part you should focus on - the other parts are optional), and I look forward every morning to reading a new lesson - or internalizing the previous lesson...I like this book so much I am going to give out about 7 copies for the holiday's to family and friends......And for any of you with significant health challenges (like me) - what you learn from this book will help you.....Start with lesson one, practice each lesson, have patients, and before you know it - you will see the light....As far as some of the reviews on here that were not so kind, I will not pass judgment of these folks - but wish them well in there journey to "seeing the light".
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73 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2011
Does A Course in Miracles really work? Isn't that possibly the heartfelt question, the bottom line request that a potential buyer and student might ask? One must have some understanding of just what the goals of the Course are before an honest answer to your question might be offered.

Many interested individuals naturally lean towards the customary definition of the word "Miracles" but the goal is not healing of the body. There are a multitude of words within the Course book that are defined differently from what you'll find in Webster's dictionary. "Forgiveness" is perhaps the greatest of these. You'll soon realize that like "Miracles", "Forgiveness" has a whole new meaning.

"Miracles" are shifts in perception in your mind not a restoration of sight or hearing etc. "Forgiveness" is not letting someone off the hook for what you think they did to you or failed to do for you. Rather it is realizing that what you see in others is always a projection of what you think you are yourself and a willingness to have the "Holy Spirit" change your perception. Again, even "Holy Spirit" has its own definition for although the Course uses Christian terminology, it is independent of any organized religion.

So if you are interested in healing your thoughts rather than your body, in taking responsibility for your judgments rather than blaming others, and in establishing a whole new way of thinking about the world including yourself, then consider buying this book. In these goals A Course in Miracles is quite effective.

I wrote this review at a time when I felt Guided by holiness. One might consider this mind state as a result of prolonged practice of forgiveness as redefined above. For most students it is indeed a lengthy process, a year minimum if you consider just the 365 lessons of the Workbook section of the book, usually much longer to comprehend the Text. (Took me many years, I was really miserable lol) The language differences are again apparent in that the third section, The Manual for Teachers, does not relate to the usual academic terms "Students and Teachers". Buy ACIM with the expectation of a long term commitment to a life altering experience, rather than a "Quick fix".

What it did for me. I realize that God has nothing to do with the occurrences of earthquakes or bad weather, nor the uncertain healing of the kid I backed over in the driveway. In other words the book offers a solely constant loving God unrelated to the either way syndrome that "It was God's Will". What a sense of clarity, relief and peacefulness this learning brings. God is 100% loving, how could we assign traits otherwise? (The answer by the way is that we project our fears onto Him, love and fear cannot coexist.)

The ardent study Course has given me a new perception of "Life and death." Since we are solely spiritual beings, death of nothing (the body) is nothing. I recall an instant at my grandmother's funeral when my mom consoled me that Gram's spirit was in Heaven now, not to cry. My response to an unsatisfactory answer, "Where the hell was her spirit while she was alive? (light smack on the back of my head, age 6) and where was it before she was born?" (I had to get the last word lol). I didn't realize it then but I was already being prepared for ACIM back then. I know now there is nothing to fear in life or in death as we perceive ourselves on earth.

Think you want to buy this book? I'm sure glad I did. I hope my comments were helpful, even light hearted for there is nothing to fear. Experience Love and Peace. Get to know why the book is often called "earth shattering") Thank you for reading. Jim
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2008
I received my copy of this book back in the early 1980s when the Foundation for Inner Peace gave them away for free to those who couldn't afford it which, at the time, I couldn't. After a few false starts over the next few years, I finally read the text, workbook and manual for teachers. And, after much stalling, I was then compelled to do the exercises which I did, daily, for 365 days in a row. This book is useful only to those who are inwardly compelled to read it to the point where it won't let you alone until you do. It states that it is directed to a particular audience. If you are one of them the book will seek you out or, having run across it, you will feel a resonance that will compel you to read it. If it turns you off, don't read it and don't worry. There are as many paths up the mountain as there are people on Earth.

This evening I happened to be browzing Amazon looking for George Carlin DVDs and just wondered how much the Course is selling for these days. I am absolutely shocked to discover that there are various "editions" of it up for sale. That undoubtedly results from the well known copyright feud between Judith Skutch and Wapnick fighting over which one is entitled to sale royalties. Apparently, neither have the means to support themselves with a day job and both have latched onto A Course In Miracles as a lifetime profit center. I know they sued each other and some court accommodation was made allowing each to make enough money to bury the hatchet.

However, neither of these people nor others who claim to be Course preachers and give lectures for profit (Ms. Williamson take note) "based on the Course" are worthy of serious note. Perhaps they skipped the part of the book that contains an absolute injunction NOT to disseminate any summaries of it. I take that to mean either written or oral. Some time ago I checked the web and discovered that Wapnick runs a Course In Miracles retreat center and blatently hawks his summary of the entire Course. I wonder how rich the Virgin Mary would have been had Jesus copyrighted The Sermon On the Mount.

The book also states that it is a SELF-STUDY course and there are reasons for both injunctions. The shift in thinking that the Course generates is "person-specific"; i.e., what the Course describes as "wrong thinking" manifests itself differently in each person. The unique terminology and sometimes complex reasoning it employs need to be studied by each person carefully, in quiet and with much introspection. That can't happen by listening to paid lectures that, by nature, must be concepts filtered through the mind of the speaker, taken out of context and not in the order of learning dictated by the structure of the Course.

Attempting to summarize the Course is patently harmful to genuine seekers of the truth. Reading the text is a painstaking mental process requiring the devotion of much time and sometimes painful introspection. And it is through that ordeal that people learn. Human nature dictates an inclination to take the path of least resistance when presented with a difficult learning task. Presenting the public with what is essentially a Cliff Notes summary of the Course discourages the actual doing of that which is required to grow in understanding and knowledge.

There is also a reason why the true author of this book (you have to read it to find out who it is) has dictated that it be used as a "self-study course". It doesn't teach anything remotely similar to a religion that can be memorized and mimmicked. Different words, sentences, passages and chapters will have different effects on each reader but they are all written and designed to bring everyone together in "right thinking" in the end. No one on Earth has the qualifications to "teach" or summarize the Course and no one in any study group has any right to tell others what is important to them and what is not. It is an ordeal that can only be undertaken alone.

A Course In Miracles is not a book that one can pick up, scan a few chapters, read the last page and then judge whether or not it is suitable for him. A prospective student is one who believes that this entire world is somehow headed in the wrong direction, is very dissatisfied with the usual pat answers, philosophies and religous tenents developed by men over the past thousands of years, possesses a burning desire to learn the truth, is willing to detach significance to every material thing and pre-existing thought that he has and is fearless (or desperate) enough to take a free-fall backwards into space believing that the entire universe is there to catch him. And it is.
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58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2005
When I saw there were only six reviews for perhaps the greatest book every published I was a bit shocked, so I decided I had to do my own review.

I first did A Course In Miracles about 20 years ago. That means that I went through the workbook exercises, one each day. Only it didn't take me a year -- it took four years. But the results were astonishing because my life totally changed and it really did produce miracles.

I'm now doing the course for the second time and this time its like a whole new course. That's probably because I perceive it on a different level. WHen I first did it, I was having trouble with concept like I create what happens in my life. Now I teach that concept as part of my business. But now I get to deal with a new way to do forgiveness and making that a part of my life.

Anyway, this course is amazing. I would challenge you to do the first 100 exercises in the workbook without seeing a MAJOR change in your life. Perhaps that's enough said.

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