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Study Group Guide

Course Companions
Week 1

"They too have not attained the necessary understanding as yet,

but they have joined with others. This is what sets them apart from the world,

and it is this that enables others to leave the world with them.

Alone they are nothing, but in their joining is the power of God."

ACIM (CE) M-26.1:6-8


welcome.
Thank you for your enthusiasm and commitment to this path.

I know it may seem daunting to read the Text of A Course in Miracles in one year,
but thats precisely why we have each other. To provide support, insight,
encouragement and, when needed, even a little spark.

That said, please remember the finish line is your own.


So dont read out of obligation. Read out of love.

You are not here to check boxes -


you are here toallow what you areto teach you what you are.

There is no gift more sacred than that.


So lets get started.

XO,
Emily
WEEK ONE
READING SCHEDULE

DAY 1: CAMEO 1: THIS IS NOT


A SELFISH GIFT

DAY 2: T-1.1-3
BONUS VIDEOS
THESE CAN BE FOUND IN THE FACEBOOK GROUP UNDER
"VIDEOS" OR VIA THE WEBSITE BELOW.
DAY 3: CAMEO 2: MY
STRENGTH WILL SUPPORT #1
YOU WHY ARE THERE SO MANY
VERSIONS OF THE
COURSE?

DAY 4: T-1.4-15

DAY 5: CAMEO 3: YOU MUST


LOVE THE CHILDREN AND
HELP THEM

DAY 6: T-1.16-19 #2 #3
THE IMPORTANCE OF ROBERT PERRY ON THE
BEGINNER'S MIND. ISSUE OF AUTHORSHIP.
DAY 7: CAMEO 4: AN
EXAMPLE OF THE SHOCK
EFFECT

WWW.EMILYBENNINGTON.COM/COURSECOMPANIONS
COURSE COMPANIONS
WEEK 1

YOU WILL SEE MIRACLES THROUGH YOUR HANDS THROUGH ME.


ACIM (CE) T-1.1.1:1
DAY 1
CAMEO ONE: THIS IS NOT A SELFISH GIFT

The first cameo essay provides excerpts from She goes on to take down the following regarding
Helen's journals before she began writing the Bill: ...He doesn't have much real confidence that I
Course in earnest. will get through. He never just claims his rights."

At this point she is communicating with Jesus in a Do you ever feel that you miss the voice of your
way that is described here as like a new shoot just own inner wisdom because you don't listen long
starting to push through the soil. One thing that enough or claim your right" to guidance in the
caught my attention at this early stage is a line first place? If that sounds familiar, Jesus offers a
Helen wrote and then crossed out that read: suggestion for Bill that is relevant to all of us:

If you do not get an answer it is always because He has to learn better concentration. His mind
you ask amiss. flints about too much for good communication.
Suggest a very short phrase, like Here I am, Lord"
According to the cameo, this is what Helen heard and don't think of anything else. Just pull in your
after she asked for guidance on behalf of her mind slowly from everywhere else and center it on
colleague, Bill Thetford, who wanted to know how these words."
to establish his own connection after being
intrigued by Helens experience. Lets try this today and see what happens.
Here
I am,
Lord.
PRAYER JOURNAL: Meditate on the phrase "Here I am, Lord" (or just
"Here I am" if the Christian terminology isn't for you) for at least five
minutes every day this week. Write any observations in the space below
and please be sure to share any insights on our Facebook page.
DAY 2
T-1.1-3
In a part of Helen's notebooks that many This leads us to a question that is central to
students haven'tseen before now, we are starting our Course journey on the right foot.
asked to review the first three miracle
Namely, what is a miracle?
principles frequently throughout the day.
While we have all heard of miracles defined as
Here they are for your reference:
shifts in perception, and while that does come in
later, in these principles we see miracles defined
1. The first principle of miracles is that there is no
exclusively as expressions of love from one person
order of difficulty among them. One is notharder"
to another. This is their sole meaning at this point
or bigger" than another. They are all the same.
in the Text, and indeed it is their main meaning
throughout the Course.
2. Miracles themselves do not matter; they are
quite unimportant.
Accordingly, when we see the word miracle here,
we need to consciously think of it as an expression
3. Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.
of love. If we dont, the principles will lose their
The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In
intended meaning - and some of them wont make
this sense, everything that comes from love is a
sense at all.
miracle.
On the second principle, it certainly seems
strange to have a path called A Course in
Miracles which tells you at the beginning that
miracles do not matter.

What are we to make of this?

In the words of Robert Perry, the thing to keep


in mind is that Love itself is the real miracle.

It is so divine, so beyond
human evaluation that, in the
big picture, the miraculous
work it does in this world is
inconsequential. Its the love
itselfbefore expression,
beyond formthat really
matters. While Im in this
world, then, all I need to do
is touch this love and I will
see miracles flow through my
hands.

When viewed through this lens, the very first


line of the Course - You will see miracles
through your hands through Me becomes all
the more beautiful.
MIRACLE PRINCIPLES
DAY TWO EXERCISE

Since we are asked in the Text to read and reread the first three miracle principles, we can assume that
this is a very important assignment. To make it easier, please print this page and display these
principles in a place where you will see them throughout your day. Really make an effort to take in the
message of each one, while at the same time thinking about what they all mean together as a unit.

1. The first principle of miracles is that there is no order of difficulty among them.
One is not "harder" or "bigger" than another. They are all the same.

2. Miracles themselves do not matter; they are quite unimportant.

3. Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that
inspires them. In this sense, everything that comes from love is a miracle.
DAY3
CAMEO 2: MY STRENGTH WILL SUPPORT YOU

This essay opens with a conversation between Helen and Jesus where she dictates
the ways in which she is distracted from what he'strying to teach her.

If you've been having difficulty meditating on the phrase Here I am, Lord", perhaps you can relate. It seems the more we try to
harness our own mind, the more we tend to find it anywhere but here.

That said,maybe there's something more going on than just undisciplined thinking. In the essay, for example, we learn that
Helen feels guilty about doubting the material coming through. As a result, her doubt has also caused her to feel embarrassed
about the process of scribing the Course and that embarrassment has led to an inability to focus.

Does this sound familiar as well? If so, Jesus' response to Helen may be of benefit:

"Do not feel guilty about the fact that you are doubting this....I love you. And I am not afraid or embarrassed or doubtful. My
strength will support you, so don't worry and leave the rest to me."

As we'll learn a bit later in the Text, distraction and outright dismissal are what we often do to a message that frightens us
precisely because we're so powerfully drawn to it. In other words, it's far easier to say this can't be true" than to evolve into
the people we'd need to be to know it is.
REFLECTION
QUESTIONS
DAY THREE

Are you ever embarrassed by


your faith?

Do you ever find yourself getting


distracted in times youve set
aside to study?

Are you all in when it comes to


the Course or are you holding
back because a part of you is
afraid to believe it?

Write what comes to youon the


next pageand, when youre
finished, take a few moments to
prayerfully turn over any fear or
resistance you have to Jesus (or
your inner guide if you prefer
that language) knowing that his
strength will support you.
DAY4
T-1.4-15
Now that we know miracles are defined as Second, given how frequent miracle-giving is meant
expressions of love, the main idea captured to be, the results are very striking. The miracles
in these principles is that we are supposed we do heal others. They supply a lack in others.
They reverse physical laws, which is presumably
to be giving miracles to others all the time.
why they could be confused with magic. They are
impressive enough that they could be regarded as
In fact, a key part of today's reading is that
spectacles (though they should not be). They
miracles are so natural that when we arent giving
abolish time. They undo the past. They release the
them something has gone wrong. In Robert's
future. They supply the receiver with love and
words:
bring conviction in their wake.
Miracles are supposed to be so habitual that they
Indeed, in this section we find the recurrence of a
are actually involuntary. We should devote each day
theme that runs throughout the Course, i.e. love is
to giving miracles, and so should start each day
the most powerful force in the universe and our job
with a prayer for help in doing the specific miracles
is to be a clear channel for the expression of that
we're meant to do. Indeed, this is what time was
love to others.
made for. The only reason time is here is so that
we can use it to give miracles. All those other
What else could possibly be more important than
things we fill time with are at best secondary and
that?
at worst counterproductive.
DAY5
CAMEO 3: YOU MUST LOVE THE CHILDREN AND HELP THEM

I'm not Catholic but I spend at least a week These days, however, I see faith less as
worshipping a divine and more as seeing the
each year in Catholic monasteries.
divine in others.

Theres a quiet discipline and elegance to the life of


Less vertical, more horizontal.
a monk that I find deeply inspiring. It's an
existence based on ritual - e.g. prayers at 3am, in
This perspective, I've discovered, has allowed me
bed by 8pm - and what I'velearned is that these
to participate in traditionally Christian rituals while
rituals are a form of purification.
at the same time having a completely different
experience of them.
In other words, they are a way of preparing the
mind and the body to receive God, and every
As an example, today's essay refers to the chalice
moment of the day is structured around this goal.
of Atonement not as the gift of Gods mercy
through the sacrificial blood of Jesus, but as our
While I have enormous respect for the monks, I
gift of forgiveness to others. To put it another
often find myself somewhat saddened by their
way, its not only that God knows us as innocent
isolated existence.Prior to my work with the
that paves the way for our healing, but its our
Course, I suppose I would have considered them to
knowing others as innocent that paves the way for
be the pinnacle of faith in action.
theirs.
God serves
others through
us which is why
- to the point of
this cameo - we
must love the
children and
help them.

Still in order to help others


we must consistently purify
our own mind through a
practice of forgiveness, thus
allowing us to be ready for
any opportunity in which we
are called to serve those who
are on our chalice list.
DAY FIVE
REFLECTION QUESTIONS

WHAT DOES
FORGIVENESS MEAN TO
YOU? HOW DO YOU
DEFINE IT? ARE YOU
QUICK TO FORGIVE
YOURSELF AND OTHERS
OR DO YOU HOLD ON TO
GRIEVANCES LONGER
THAN YOUD LIKE? HOW
DOES FORGIVENESS
DIFFER WHEN VIEWED
THROUGH PHYSICAL
SIGHT VERSUS SPIRITUAL
VISION?
DAY6
T-1.16-19
In Robert's words:
As you've been learning from the Text so far,
in the Course finding God is deeply What we want, it seems to me, is for others to see
connected to seeing God in all beings including value in us and for us to believe in it ourselves. As I
yourself. look around me, that seems to be the big prize
that we are all chasing after. We tend to chase it in
In today's reading, this is perhaps best summarized twisted ways, but when it shows up in true form,
in miracle principle 18 which reads: The doer we are unable to resist it. It is the core desire that
recognizes his own and his neighbor's inestimable drives us.
value simultaneously.
To recognize that value, though, I need to look past
Let's think about what this means for a moment: the body, past the visible (principle 17), for
Inestimable essentially translates to inestimable value does not exist on the physical
immeasurable and so what we're being asked to level. No physical body has that kind of value.
recognize here is our own worth and everyone Seeing past the body and recognizing the
else's as - quite literally - beyond measure. inestimable value in another (and in myself) is
the inner content of the miracle. When my behavior
And at the end of the day, isn't being recognized is motivated by that recognition, then I am giving a
as valuable what we're all really seeking? miracle.
Once I do, I will heal the recipient (principle 17).
I will supply her with the strength she has so
sorely needed (principle 16). And I will expand
my own reserve of strength (principle 16).
Even if I feel somewhat drained in the moment,
my giving will have deepened the overall
reservoir of strength I have to draw from.

These miracles, these expressions of love, will


do more than heal the receiver. They will allow
the giver and receiver to cooperate with each
other. Doesn't this fit with our experience?

Isnt love the secret


ingredient that makes
cooperation possible? And
without this cooperation, how
can we really accomplish
anything together?

And so... out of miracles comes cooperation,


and out of cooperation comes industry, i.e.
collective accomplishment. Thus, if we are to
build anything in this world together, it must be
built on miracles.
DAY7
CAMEO 4: AN EXAMPLE OF THE SHOCK EFFECT

In this cameo Jesus is still trying to get Helen guiding Helen and Bill through the study of the
to really look at the miracle principles he is material he is dictating to them. His emphasis here
on reading and rereading the Text is priceless
giving her.
because it shows us exactly how he wants students
So rather than just urging her to read and reread to approach the Course.
them, he raises the stakes and gives her a miracle
principle in the form of a riddle. She gets angry Back to the riddle though, it's an interesting
and tells him he could have done this a better way. concept to think of miracles as standing firmly on
I don't see why, she says, I should get a message eternity versus caught on the arch of time. This is
in a way that makes me miss the point and then ideally how we would view all of our interactions -
have to go into a mental coma to get it. both with ourselves and with others- because
without this understanding we are far too easily
He then comes back with this perfect retort: distracted by whether we deserve" an expression
of love or whether its been earned" by someone
You've been doing that all along. You have not else.
even bothered to look at the others, which are very
clearly stated. I just thought I'd give you this one in Thus, deserving and earning can only be based on
a way you couldn't overlook it. It's an example of time because they're rooted in past behavior and
the shock effect sometimes useful in teaching fluctuate according to perception. What we are left
students who won't listen. It compels attention." to assume then is that our own perceptions, by
virtue of the fact that they are not eternal, cannot
Here we see Jesus acting as a hands-on mentor, be the foundation for miracles.
I NEED THE
CHILDREN OF
LIGHT NOW.
AND I AM
CALLING YOU
TO BE WHAT
YOU ONCE
WERE AND
MUST BE
AGAIN.
ACIM