The Fifty Miracle Principles of A Course in Miracles
by Kenneth Wapnick

Principle 13, part 1

Miracles are both beginnings and endings, and so they alter the temporal order. 
They are always affirmations of rebirth, which seem to go back but really go
forward. They undo the past in the present, and thus release the future.

The best way of understanding this is in terms of this diagram.  We can think of this path as a carpet that reflects the entire span of our experience in this world. What the miracle does is take certain aspects of this experience, all of which are predicated on the belief in separation or on our guilt (here is where the beginning and the ending would come from), and in a sense, isolates them as problem areas that we have to deal with.

Let us say that we are having a particular difficulty in a relationship. The miracle would cause us to focus on that relationship and to forgive it. In that sense, the miracle will be a beginning and an end because it circumscribes what the problem is. When we heal the problem, which means we forgive the one person who has been the greatest difficulty for us, or when we truly let go of a situation that has brought about tremendous feelings of separation, anxiety, guilt, anger, etc., what happens then is that this whole aspect of time has been shrunk. That is what is meant by saying that miracles "alter the temporal order."

The Course teaches that when the separation began, in that one instant, all of time, the entire world of evolution occurred at the same time. In that one instant that we believed that we had separated from God, a huge carpet spun out. This is the carpet that would constitute the entire world of evolution -- past, present, and future.

A Course in Miracles also teaches that in that same instant that seemed to occur, God created the Holy Spirit, Who undid the very belief that gave rise to this carpet. It is like the separation occurred in an instant, and in that same instant it was corrected. The problem is, however, that we still believe that this world of time and space that we are living in, which really is a dream, is reality. That is why the Course speaks of the Holy Spirit as a Voice. He is God's Voice Who extends into the dream so that He can awaken us from the dream, and the entire world of evolution is all part of this dream.

One of the ways that the ego has rooted us in this dream, into believing that the dream is reality, is that it has made up the notion of time as linear -- past, present, and future. This is the key stumbling block in trying to understand how the Course sees time and how the miracle operates. Our minds are so structured in the belief that time is linear that it is impossible for us to recognize that time is really holographic, which is a model that quantum physics has given us. Holography teaches that within each part of something is contained the whole, which means that within each of our minds, despite what we consciously believe, is the entire history of the ego, which is the entire history of not only this planet, but the entire physical universe. What makes this such a mind-boggling concept is that the mind (and therefore the brain) has been so severely limited by the construct of time that we made up, which is a linear view: past, present, and future.

What really happens is that at any given moment we choose to experience a particular part of this hologram; we dip into our mind and choose to go through or experience a part of this entire dream. That is what the Course means when it says that we walk through a script that is already written (workbook, p. 291; W-pl.168.3,4). This is the script. The Holy Spirit does not write the script. The Holy Spirit does not cause things to happen to us in the world. What the Holy Spirit does do is join with us in this script and teach us there is another way of looking at it. There is a line in the workbook where the Course speaks of the Holy Spirit as the One "Who wrote salvation's script in His Creator's Name" (workbook, p. 316; W-pI.169.9:3).

Salvation's script is the ego script turned around. Where the ego script had as its purpose to reinforce the belief in separation, the Holy Spirit uses that script, which means all the relationships and situations in our experience, so that we can learn that we are not separate. He uses the world as a classroom; the ego uses the world as a prison. It is the same world, but the ego's way of looking at it roots us even further in it. The Holy Spirit's way of looking at it releases us from it.

What keeps us on this carpet is guilt, which means that the way that we awaken from this dream, or get off the carpet, is to be free of this guilt. That is what forgiveness does. The one claim that the Course makes for itself is that it will save time. It says this repeatedly. For example, Jesus tells us that if we do what he says, it will save us time (text, p. 363; T-18.VII.4-6), and many times he says we can save a thousand years (e.g., text, p. 6; T-1.II.6:7).

A Course in Miracles does not specifically talk about the issue of reincarnation or past lives, except in one place, and there it does not take a stand (manual, p. 57; M-24.3:1). It certainly does imply in many references, however, that this is not the first time that we have come. When it says that we could save a thousand years, it is really saying that we could save many, many lifetimes. This then means that if we have a huge problem of guilt that we have expressed in a certain area of our relationships, there is something that we are continually doing that reinforces our own hatred of ourselves and our own belief in separation. In the ordinary span of time, it may take us ten lifetimes to work that through, to keep coming back over and over again until we have worked that through. If, however, we choose to work this difficult problem out, which means, usually, a relationship or situation that the world would judge as being very heavy, filled with a lot of pain, anguish, and suffering, and we could really look at it differently, which basically means realize that we are not victims of this other person or victims of ourselves, then in one lifetime we could just take this problem and erase it. That is what the Course means by saying we could save time or we could save a thousand years. That is what it means when it says of the miracle that it abolishes time, or it "alters the temporal order." It does not abolish the whole span of time; that it does not do. What it does do is collapse the amount of time it would have taken us to work through the huge problem of guilt we have.

It is not necessary, certainly, to understand or even agree with this whole metaphysical view of time. What is necessary is to realize, when you find yourself in a very difficult and painful situation, that there is a purpose that you could identify within that situation. The purpose is that you could learn not to see yourself as a victim, and to the extent that you learn that, to that extent you will heal all this guilt in yourself. That is what saves you time.

(continued - go to part 2)

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