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

Principle 13, part 2

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.

(Discussion continued from part 1)

Q: I understand what you are saying, but it is hard to view this in terms of the collective ego, of which there are many parts. Some parts of this ego are on their way back, rolling up the carpet, and some are rolling it out farther. It is like one step forward and two backwards. How does this carpet ever got rolled back?

A: The Course says that "the outcome is as certain as God" (text, pp. 18, 52; T-2.III.3:10; T-4.II.6:8). I think that within the illusion it would take a long, long time. As the Course teaches, there is a tremendous amount of fear in this world.

Q: It perpetuates itself.

A. It seems to. When Helen first started receiving this material from Jesus, he gave her a brief explanation of what was happening. He described the terrible situation that the world seemed to be in, and he said that there was a celestial speed-up. He said that people were being asked to come back into the world to lend their talents on behalf of this plan as a way of helping others change their minds more quickly. A Course in Miracles would be one of the parts of the plan. Helen and Bill played their role in bringing it into the world to help people change their minds more quickly. Also, the Course fits in perfectly with the age in which we now live, an age still dominated by a Christianity that is not very Christian, despite many of the radical changes of the last twenty years, and an age of psychology. Above all, it is an age wherein we have gotten far away from the sane idea that salvation does not lie in attack, and much more insane in terms of believing that separate interests -- both personally and internationally -- are the way out of hell. Moreover, we live in an age that seriously questions the values of our authorities --political, religious, scientific, social, educational, etc.-- and so would be relatively open to new ideas. Because of this, many would see A Course in Miracles as part of the New Age, although in its message it far transcends New Age thought and is more a part of the great ancient traditions of spirituality.

Q: But if time does not exist, why would it be necessary to speed things up?

A: That is true. However, suppose your child is having a nightmare. You know it is a nightmare, but within the nightmare your child is still suffering. So, as a parent you would want to diminish your child's suffering, even though you know it is not real. That is basically the way that the Holy Spirit would look at it, or Jesus would look at it. It is not that our pain is real, but that we believe it is real, and so this is a way of helping us out of our pain.

Q: Can you say something about where guilt comes from?

A: The basic source of guilt is our believing that we attacked God and separated from Him. That is what the Course means by sin, and certainly is the same idea as original sin. From the belief that we attacked God and separated from Him we will feel guilt, and guilt is a psychological experience that tells us we have sinned. Coming from that is the fear of what God will do in retaliation. We attack God; now He is going to punish us. This is the basic core of the ego system. That is where all of our guilt stems from: the belief that we have victimized God, which then we project onto all the other situations in our lives, believing we victimized other people. Very quickly that gets turned around and we believe that people victimize us.

Q: Does not the Course say that if you forgive one person, you have forgiven them all?

A: Yes. Since all difficulties stem from our guilt, if we truly forgive one person totally, we have in effect forgiven all people, because ultimately it is all the one problem.

Q: It is like hitting the head pin in bowling; all the other pins then fall down.

A: Right; that is a good analogy. There is a lovely workbook lesson that says, "I will be still an instant and go home" (workbook, p. 331; W-pI.182), which seems to suggest that you could just kind of do it like that (snap of fingers), and you are all finished. The problem is that the amount of fear that is trapped in this system is so immense. The basic source of that fear is the fear of love or the fear of God. The ego would teach if you really let go of all this fear, God will destroy you. That is what keeps us from being still an instant and going home. In principle we could do that, because it is all the same, it is all one problem. But because our fear is go immense what we really do is chop away at it, so A Course in Miracles gets us through the chopping a little more quickly.

Q: And the fear is unconscious all the time?

A: It is unconscious because repression is the only way we could tolerate this amount of fear.

Q: I get the impression every once in a while that this is not as serious as everyone seems to think it is; some level of me always says, "Do not take this so seriously!"

A: That is absolutely right. There is a line in the Course which speaks of the separation as that time when the Son of God remembered not to laugh (text, p. 544; T-27.VIII.6:2). But that is exactly the problem. The separation was the time when the Son of God remembered not to laugh. The whole problem was that when we separated from God we took it seriously. If we had just giggled at it and realized how silly it was to try to create like God, usurping His role as Creator, none of this would have happened. What we do is make up problems, and then we take them very seriously. Then we spend the rest of our lives trying to solve the problem that is not there. It is like the Wizard of Oz; he is nothing but a little man in back of a huge amplifying system. That is what the ego is. In other places, the Course talks about how the ego seems to be a roaring lion, but is really a frightened mouse that roars at the universe (text, pp. 431, 446; T-2l.VII.3:11; T-22.V.4:3). If we could learn not to take our egos so seriously, we would be much better off. What you have to watch out for, however, is that you do not deny a problem that you have made real. That is the trick, because we are very easily deluded into believing that we have let go of a problem when all we have done is cover it over.

Q: How do you know?

A: If you are doing it right, eventually you feel better, more peaceful. Earlier, we talked about the idea that "miracles are both beginnings and endings, so they alter the temporal order." This can be understood to mean that they isolate problems and say, "This is where you focus," and working that through shifts the temporal order. What you really do, since all of our problems are rooted in the past, is to say the problem is not in the past. It is really right now in the present, right here at the moment I am choosing, and I could now choose differently. Then they become the "affirmations of rebirth, which seem to go back, but really go forward." This is what the Course would mean by "to be born again," the phrase that it uses later on (e.g., text, p. 234; T-13.VI.3:5). This does not mean being born again in the way the fundamentalist Christians mean it. It means born again in the sense of choosing to live following the Holy Spirit rather than the ego. Following the ego leads to death; following the Holy Spirit leads us back to eternal life.

The miracle, really, is the affirmation of that eternal life, which then becomes being reborn in terms of our thinking differently. It seems to go back because it heals the past. If I am angry at you right at this moment, it is because I am not living with you right in this moment; I am bringing something from the past. The section later in the text that is called "Shadows of the Past" (text, p. 330; T-17.III) explains how we always see people in terms of the past, whether it be things that we believe they have done to us or to other people, or based upon our past and the kind of needs that we believed we had. So, the miracle undoes the past in the present, and that releases the future.

Therefore, the miracle takes the ego's view of time and frees us from it. The ego's view of time, which again is linear, takes the guilt of the past and projects it into the future. Because of my guilty past, I now become afraid of what the future will bring. I will feel insecure about having enough money when I am older, or I will feel insecure or fearful that something terrible is going to happen to me. All of these fears are rooted in the guilt that is in the past, which ultimately is rooted in the belief that I have sinned against God.  What the ego does in its use of time is to use the past, project it into the future, and thereby totally ignore the present.

There is a section at the beginning of Chapter 15 called "The Two Uses of Time" (text, p. 280; T-15.I) that is a very nice statement of how the ego uses time and then how the Holy Spirit does. What the Holy Spirit does is tell us that the past is nonexistent, because it is predicated on guilt that is not real. Therefore, there is nothing we have to fear in the future. Then it teaches us that the only time that is, is now; the present is the only time there is, a statement that the Course makes later (workbook, pp. 13, 236; W-pI.8.1:6; W-pI.132.3:1). That then allows the Holy Spirit to extend through us and, thus, the future becomes an extension of the present so that the peace, love, and unity we feel now become extended through us. That is what determines everything else.

Q: Would all this mean that you have to stay in a relationship?

A: No, of course not. That has to do with form or behavior, and there is nothing in A Course in Miracles that would ever suggest what you should do in any given situation. It simply provides the means -- forgiveness -- whereby you can get your ego out of the way so you can be guided by the One Who does know what is best for you in that situation. Ask the Holy Spirit first, before you do anything; but before you ask "What should I do," you should first ask His help in removing your ego investments in the outcome -- one way or the other -- that would interfere with your hearing His answer.

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