Workbook for Students: Introduction


Here is the Introduction quoted in its entirety, with my comments in italics:

“A theoretical foundation such as the text provides is necessary as a framework to make the exercises in this workbook meaningful. Yet it is doing the exercises that will make the goal of the course possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of this workbook to train your mind to think along the lines the text sets forth.” I feel a rising sense of excitement as I read the first paragraph of the Introduction to the Workbook of A Course in Miracles. I’ve always enjoyed being a student, especially if I love my teacher. The workbook promises to train my mind, and my appetite is whetted. I place my mind in my teacher’s hands. And yet, the ego feels very sticky, black and tar-like. As much as I turn myself over to the Holy Spirit, the ego distracts me with something meaningless that seems very important in the moment and next thing I know, I’m dissatisfied, emotionally hungry, impatient, uncomfortable and consumed with the pressing “needs” of my body, relationships and individual life.

“The exercises are very simple. They do not require a great deal of time, and it does not matter where you do them. They need no preparation. The training period is one year. The exercises are numbered from 1 to 365. Do not undertake to do more than one set of exercises a day.” I can do this. I’ve done it twice before, and a year is much shorter than it used to be. What is it that motivates me? It must be the memory of God in my Mind, calling me Home. I’ve had a number of hard-earned accomplishments in my life that leave me feeling satisfied with myself and this is good. I’ve proven a few things to myself and fulfilled the mission of realizing my potential. I haven’t done everything I would have liked, but enough. And for fifteen years and more, Spirit has been calling me. I recall a few childhood experiences where I was still effortlessly in touch with Spirit. Nothing dramatic; just convincingly incontrovertible to me. And so here I am, putting Spirit first, again.

“The workbook is divided into two main sections, the first dealing with the undoing of the way you see now, and the second with the acquisition of true perception. With the exception of the review periods, each day’s exercises are planned around one central idea, which is stated first. This is followed by a description of the specific procedures by which the idea for the day is to be applied.” [bold mine] The first section deals with undoing the way I see now … how wonderful. And the second part deals with the acquisition of true perception. How exciting. When I finished the Workbook the first time, I had a vivid sense of Jesus holding me upside down by the ankles. In his hands I was a robust, naked baby. Being Jewish, it took a long time before I realized I was reborn. And, of course, ACIM tells us that the ego thought system reverses everything so we believe love is fearful and fear is loving. I was having upside-down perception and noting that no form was real; only the abstract idea of love was real. Love wasn’t an emotion. Love was a state of Mind.

“The purpose of the workbook is to train your mind in a systematic way to a different perception of everyone and everything in the world. The exercises are planned to help you generalize the lessons, so that you will understand that each of them is equally applicable to everyone and everything you see.” The exercises are to train my mind, to generalize the lessons, so that I love everyone and everything in the world fully and equally. To the ego this seems absurdly idealistic, impossible, undesirable and highly disloyal to my nearest and dearest. It becomes clear to me that I’m meant to spend more time with certain people, but that doesn’t preclude me from loving everyone equally.

“Transfer of training in true perception does not proceed as does transfer of the training of the world. If true perception has been achieved in connection with any person, situation or event, total transfer to everyone and everything is certain. On the other hand, one exception held apart from true perception makes its accomplishments anywhere impossible.” I get it–no exclusions, no exceptions, everybody.

“The only general rules to be observed throughout, then, are: First, that the exercises be practiced with great specificity, as will be indicated.” [bold mine] This appeals to the writer in me–I’m in. “This will help you to generalize the ideas involved to every situation in which you find yourself, and to everyone and everything in it. Second, be sure that you do not decide for yourself that there are some people, situations or things to which the ideas are inapplicable. This will interfere with transfer of training.” [bold mine] Transfer of training. Transmission. The Holy Spirit transmits God’s Love to and through me, and I Light Up with Love and radiate that love through me to other people completing transfer of training … ? “The very nature of true perception is that it has no limits. It is the opposite of the way you see now.”

“The overall aim of the exercises is to increase your ability to extend the ideas you will be practicing to include everything. This will require no effort on your part.” [bold mine] Hmmm, the third miracle principle at the beginning of the text begins, ‘Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.’ “The exercises themselves meet the conditions necessary for this kind of transfer.”

“Some of the ideas the workbook presents you will find hard to believe, and others may seem to be quite startling. This does not matter. You are merely asked to apply the ideas as you are directed to do. You are not asked to judge them at all. You are asked only to use them. It is their use that will give them meaning to you, and will show you that they are true.” Thank you, Jesus. What a relief–just do as I’m told, a codependent’s dream come true. This is the proper use of obedience.

“Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy. But do not allow yourself to make exceptions in applying the ideas the workbook contains, and whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than that is required.” Amen to that. Here I go 🙂

To see the entire Workbook for Students, get a copy of the book, A Course in Miracles, or visit the original publisher, Foundation for Inner Peace, go to To have the lesson delivered daily to your email box for free, sign up with