The central teaching of A Course in Miracles is that we are home with God right now, asleep to our true nature and dreaming about life on earth. We are like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, dreaming a horrific nightmare that we are lost and can’t find our way home. Like Dorothy, we long for home, also called heaven (or Kansas). Even though Dorothy thinks Oz is a beautiful place, she keeps trying to find her way home. When Dorothy awakens, she finds she is indeed at home with her loved ones. Moment to moment we have the opportunity to click our heels and go home, to choose between love and fear, between the truth that we are still with God or the illusion that we have separated from Him. The Course refers to this as the choice between the ego’s way of thinking and the Holy Spirit’s view of the world.

This world, since it is filled with fear, is an illusion, as God creates only love. All problems arise from one error, the mistaken belief that we are separated and alone and that God has abandoned us. This false belief appears to cut us off from our Source, much like a kink in a water hose prevents the source of water from flowing to its destination. We are unable to receive God’s love when there are kinks in our thinking. Forgiveness is the primary tool that opens us to the flow of love and peace. Forgiveness is stressed over and over in ACIM as the main way we find our way back home.

A Course in Miracles states that God is pure Love, and as Love would never create hell or punish his beloved children. Because this earth is a dream, and dream occurrences aren’t real, no one has ever sinned. However, in the illusion we see ourselves as flawed individuals, guilty of numerous sins. We think ugly thoughts and do ugly things. But that comes from our false self, the ego, and therefore it is not real. The ultimate truth is that only God and Love, which are the same thing, exist. Love is actually another name for God.

We are taught in the Bible that man’s sin keeps him from God, so God had to send Jesus to die in atonement. However, ACIM says that Jesus did not die as a sacrificial atonement for man’s sins, because God was never angry with us to begin with. Since we have never separated from God, there is no sin to be atoned for. It’s all our bad dream. Jesus willingly chose to be crucified to teach us that the body and death are not real. He did not suffer on the cross because He knew He wasn’t his body, and his mind was solely identified with God.

This article was excerpted from my book Breaking Free: How Forgiveness and A Course in Miracles Can Set You Free.

Author's Bio: 

Lorri Coburn, MSW, worked for 25 years as a psychotherapist, specializing in substance abuse, depression and anxiety, and spirituality. She is now an Interfaith minister and teaches weekly classes on A Course in Miracles. She is the author of Breaking Free: How Forgiveness and A Course in Miracles Can Set You Free, which easily explains ACIM, using examples from her psychotherapy practice. She asserts that self-help and psychotherapy will only take one so far, as they are limited to managing the world of duality. Only the release of the ego self and awareness that we are dreaming our lives will bring permanent happiness.

She is a public speaker on the topics of spirituality and psychotherapy. She can be reached through her blog at or 734.428.8539.