on November 28, 2008
Which course version is best to use?
"What the mind is trying to figure out, the heart already knows."
After reading Robert Rosenthal's thoughts on my last course comments, I have revised them. I hope whoever you are that is reading this, that these thoughts will be of value to you. I have included my email at the end.
There is a lingering question for some, which is: which "Course In Miracles" version is best to read, the HLC (Hugh Lynn Casey) version, also called the original version, or the Foundation version?
Let me start by saying, I have both the foundation and HLC versions.
But I won't advise which version of the course is best for someone to read, because who can say with certainty what another should read? Or what another needs . . . other than love, which is the "only message of the course," no matter the version, and we would all agree, no matter one's spiritual path, or we could say, even if there is no spiritual path.
A fellow named John Dryden said it this way: "Love is its own reward." And reduced to 5 words, that is what the course teaches, no matter the version.
And the course teaches that it is just as important to our spiritual learning, to our psychological and spiritual well being, to learn that fear, guilt, doubt, worry, anger, stress, revenge, and so on, also birth their own rewards.
It is our practicing to see the love in our "everyday life events and in others," in as gentle a way as possible, without sacrificing our dignity or integrity, it is finding a way to do that, to see the love behind all events, no matter how we may judge them, it is that "finding" which is important, rather than what version of the course, or of any spiritual path we choose to use.
In learning to find and see this way, I would mention the word "Namaste," the Spirit in me, sees the Sprit in everything."The course teaches this. And importantly adds - and asks us to notice that - the ego in me (the non-spiritual side) teaches and sees the ego in everything, and that we can learn, we can practice learning, to let go of that ego way of seeing.
And we can because the "Namaste" way of seeing is already present in our minds, we have just learned to forget that . . . and so we can learn to remember. You could say this is another way of saying what the course teaches. And the course text and manuel, present the theory behind this type of thinking.
The lessons make the "everyday practical application of course theory possible" - if we take to it - in our everyday practical lives, not on a mountain top somewhere. And if we don't take to it, we should look for something else. The course does not say it is the only way, it says there are many others, as many as their are people. It says some of us just need to read the text, others, the manuel, some the course tells us, just need a (more below) smile. It took me 10 years from the time I first heard about the course, to buy the book.
Thinking along this line, again, the course itself does not even tell us we must use it because there is no other way. It does not even tell us how to begin using it, or really how to use it, it leaves it up to us to choose.
For example from the introduction: "The order in which students choose to use the books, and the ways in which they study them, depend on their particular needs and preferences.'
And from the manuel section: "In some cases, it may be helpful for the pupil to read the manual first. Others might do better to begin with the workbook. Still others may need to start at the more abstract level of the text. Which is for which? Who would profit more from prayers alone? Who needs but a smile, being as yet unready for more?
It even emphasizes that it is "but one version of the universal curriculum. There are many others, this one differing from them only in form. They all lead to God in the end." And then from the preface: "It (the course) emphasizes that it is but one version of the universal curriculum. There are many others, this one differing from them only in form. They all lead to God in the end."
And not many books, or people, say that about their spiritual path.
Course Info On LIne
To see what you think about the course (no matter the version) for yourself before buying it, it is now possible to read the complete foundation version on line, n/c, with the exception of the Psychotherapy and Prayer sections. The P and P sections are included in the most current foundation version, the one with the gold seal on the front cover. And I would suggest that it is not necessary to read those to make a decision, to get a feeling for the content, unless perhaps, you are a therapist. And if so, you can purchase either at: acim.org at $5.50 each, or check Amazon. I do not make any $ if you buy anything (:--).
More on the HLC and some of its differences from the foundation course book, a little later.
- If you would like to review the official course web site you can go to acim.org. It has great course information, how the course came, what it is, what it says, as well as the "Workbook or Lessons" section available to read and/or download, n/c.
Then there is miraclecenter.org. This site also has the "Workbook or the Lessons," as well as the text, and the manuel for teachers, n/c. Significantly, it also has an extensive listing of study groups, general course events, and a newsletter you can sign up for.
For insights on the HLC version and the book itself: jcim.net.
For all of the above it goes without saying you can go to books, at Amazon.
- And even though Ken Wapnick, who heads up the "Foundation For A Course In Miracles," and was someone who worked on the course editing, recommends the foundation version, he said in a paper about the course, that we should not have any guilt about which version we use. And that people should do whatever they want, as long as it it not hurtful.
It might be helpful for you to see Mr. Wapnick speak about the course on "You Tube" or by going to facim.org. This site is also a gold mine of information, with many, many answers to often asked questions about the course. Some love this site, others do not take to it.
Changes In First Hundred Pages
Most changes in the HLC version, vs. the official or foundation course book, are in the first 100 pages of the HLC version, as Mr. Rosenthal pointed out. As I said, I have both books. Also you can read about additional changes that someone said were made in chapters 17 - 22, (below) I have not reviewed this myself.
And it should be said that we can carry this "which version thing" much to far. We can wait in the spiritual train station to get the right train for our journey, for a long time, Or as it was much better stated: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao-tzu. Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC) We have to begin somewhere.
What Mr. Rosenthal did not point out were the depth of some of the changes in the first 100 pages, the sentences, the paragraphs, the thoughts that were moved, changed, re-worded, and moved to other places within in the text, which is why I have both.
I want to also "highlight" that the first 100 pages, as many others have written about in these comments, are much, much more conversational and less formal than the foundation version, and seem easier to read and understand. "To me" and others who have written about this, the first 100 pages can be very helpful.
For example: there are 53 miracle principles in the HLC, not 50 as in the foundation version. And for me, you can decide for yourself, the in depth explanations that go with many of the miracle principle's are not in the foundation version with the principles, they along with many other sentences, have been moved to other places.
I found those explanations very helpful where they were in the HLC version and worth buying, now we can get them, download them, on line. The additional miracles principle explanations were the primary reason I bought the HLC version.
And again, you can find out more about the HLC version: jcim.net. You can check it out, without buying it, and see what you think
Another example regarding the editing during the first 100 pages is the use of the word `obedience."
First here is the foundation version: "An elder brother is entitled to respect for his greater experience, and obedience for his greater wisdom."
And here is the HLC version: An elder brother is entitled to respect for his greater experience and - a reasonable amount of - obedience for his greater wisdom."
There is a world of difference between "obedience" in the foundation version, and "a reasonable amount of obedience" in the HLC version. What do you think?
Again, I found it very helpful buying the HLC version for the first 100 pages, to better understand the foundation version, now we can find the HLC on line.
Plus you can read this Amazon review here (mentioned above) I have cut and pasted: By Karen Wright, I have not checked it out. Karen wrote:
I've read all the edits of A Course in Miracles and find this Original Edition easier to read and understand, especially the first five chapters. In the Foundation's version of ACIM, 1/5 of the material dictated to Helen S. was edited out, which makes these early chapters very choppy because large sections of material are missing. I spent years trying to make sense of them, until I finally got a copy of the Original Edition of ACIM.
Also, this original edition preserves the original language of the dictation of Chapters 17-22 on the Holy Relationship, which were addressed to both Helen and Bill T. as they collaborated to produce the manuscript. Later editing changed the focus to a solitary reader, removing the mutuality that is explicit in the original dictation and I believe an important element of the Course's teachings about Holy Relationships.
How The Course Came To Be
If you have interest on the course origins, I suggest, "Journey Without Distance" by Robert Skutch, someone who was there, Some sections may appeal more than others, but all and all it is a heartfelt, and informative remembrance. And as time has passed, I find it more and more interesting. Go to acim.org ($12) or try Amazon.
Again, I do not make any $ no matter what you buy (:--) .
Course Teachings And Which Version
The course, no matter the version, helps us train, or re-train our mind to see; that no matter what our life choices and their results, we can only see or experience life, or choose to see or experience life, in one of two ways . . . in only one of two ways . . . we can `choose' to see with peace of mind, or with non-peace of mind, with love or with non-love, with forgiveness, or with non-forgiveness, with our Inner Teacher, or Guide, or without.
The course teaches that learning to see with peace of mind or love, rather than fear, stress, doubt, worry, anger, or guilt, and so on, is partnering with or "remembering" our True Self, our Christ Self. The same self that the Hindu's call Krishna, that Jewish people call Elohim, that others call the Buddha.
You could say the course teaches us, or better yet, helps us remember how to "love our neighbor as our self . . . but . . . not less than our self, or more than our self, or less than our self . . . but as our self, because: our neighbor is our Self. And so as we love or forgive our neighbor, we are loving and forgiving ourselves at the same time.
The course in practical, it is helpful in helping us live an everyday life, "if," if you take to it. It helps you (myself included, I am not writing this from the mountain top) to remember as I suggested at the start of my comments . . . what the mind is trying to understand, to figure out, what the mind is trying to make sense of, the heart already knows.
So "happy dreams" to each of us as egos, and to all of us, as "Us," on our mutual "journey without distance," no matter the version of the course, or the spiritual path we choose. firstname.lastname@example.org