The Workbook for Students

The introduction of the “Workbook For Students” begins with this simple and dynamic statement.

A theoretical foundation such as the text provides is necessary as a framework to make the exercises in the workbook meaningful. …It is the purpose of this workbook to train your mind to think along the lines the text sets forth. [WpI,in.1:1+4]

From this we can see the for the Workbook to be most useful, that students first study the Text.   Sadly, my experience with Course in Miracles “groups” is that many students do the workbook independently, and seldom include the Text and its “necessary framework” as a part of their Course study.

Without the “theoretical foundation …the text provides,” workbook lessons will, in my opinion, lead to misunderstanding of Jesus’ new message.  The most common cause of misunderstanding is to not realize that many workbook lessons are allegorical. This leads to confusing the level of our existence here in our dream of separation with the level of our true eternal life with God in Heaven.  Also, many of the prayers in the workbook are phrased in a way that makes it seem we can connect directly with God.  That confusion will be less apt to occur when we know that the Holy Spirit is the “Voice for God,” In the Text and Clarification of Terms Jesus teacher that “God’s Voice,” is The Holy Spirit, not God’s actual voice.

Also, differences between some of Jesus’ statements cause problems.   The following excerpt from the Preface to the Course seems to contradict his statement in introduction to the Workbook.

The order in which students choose to use books, and the ways in which they study them, depend on their particular needs and preferences. [Preface, viii]

My experience after 26 years of study of the Course, is that the workbook becomes more and more meaningful after study of the Text and the Manual for Teachers. 

"In my book; There is,"another way," A Companion Guide to A Course in Miracles: Jesus' Gift to Humanity,” I focus primarily on the Text and Manual for Teachers.  Thought and study during my writing about the Course gives me deeper insight into the Workbook lessons. For more information on my book, please click here.

Even after considering what Jesus says in the above quote from the preface to the Text, I still strongly urge students to become as familiar as possible with the Text before delving into the Workbook.   Moreover, I recommend reading the Clarification of Terms first, then the Text and Manual for Teachers, and then the Workbook.  But as Tevia, the Papa of five daughters in “Fiddler on the Roof” often said to himself, “On the other hand...”   So do as you feel is best for you, but with your mind open to our guide: the Holy Spirit/Jesus.  

For an in depth discussion of the problem we have with statements where Jesus seems to contradict himself download the Spring 2007 issue of the FACIM newsletter, “Lighthouse.”  In his main article Ken Wapnick discusses this topic.