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

Principle 17

Miracles transcend the body. They are sudden shifts into invisibility,
away from the bodily level. That is why they heal.

"Miracles transcend the body" because they teach us the body is not where "it's at." The body is not what the problem is and, therefore, by changing our minds we can transcend the laws of the body. That is why for example, people who may have serious problems with cancer, one day go to the doctor who says, "I do not understand it; everything is all cleared up." There are lots of different examples of that kind of process.

There is a lesson that says, "I am under no laws but God's" (workbook, p. 132; W-pI.76). That lesson mentions some of the laws that the world holds dear, such as the laws of nutrition, immunization, friendship, economics, and religion, and says that none of these laws means anything at all, and by shifting to the miracle (right-mindedness), one can transcend these laws and not be bound by them. It was the mind that made up the physical laws. That is why it is so important to realize, if you are going to work with A Course in Miracles, that it teaches that God did not create this world. The laws of this world, the laws of gravity, death, sickness, and nutrition -- all the laws -- are "man-made"; they are all part of the ego mind. The ego made them, and we give those laws power by virtue of our allegiance to the ego. By shifting that allegiance, we could then transcend all those laws.

There are certain people such as Sai Baba, the famous Indian guru, who transcends the physical world by manifesting and materializing things in his hand. He will just wave his hand and, all of a sudden, come out with a diamond ring or whatever it is he wants to do. And one does not have to believe, by the way, that he is authentic to accept that the principle is authentic. That is really what he is demonstrating: that by proper use of your mind you can actually do anything in this world. As Jesus says later on in the text, your faith can move mountains (text, p. 421; T-21.III.3:1), and I think he means that very literally. Since our minds made up the mountain anyway, why can we not play around with it or move it around if we so choose? Since everything is made by our minds, it should not be any surprise that we can change what we have already made. What is the big deal? We made cancer; why can we not change our minds about it? It is not the Holy Spirit who heals cancer. He merely reminds us that we can make another choice, appealing to the power of our mind to change itself. The forms are magic, but the purpose with Sai Baba certainly appears to be the demonstration, to minds that are closed to their power, of what the mind can do. And it is this purpose that makes it spiritual, not psychic, a distinction we will return to later (see discussion of principles # 24 and #41).

Another example is the one that Ram Dass cites in terms of his guru. Then called Richard Alpert, the Harvard psychologist who collaborated with Timothy Leary on psychedelic research and experimentation, he traveled to India in search of his guru and finally found him. After a few days, the guru asked him to bring his suitcase, which was filled with LSD and whatever else, supposedly unknown to the guru. Alpert tried to conceal it all, but finally, upon the guru's prodding, had to hand it over to him. Without batting an eye, the guru swallowed what Alpert states was an incredible amount of the "white stuff." It had no effect on the guru whatsoever. It was an example of psychic ability or magic, but its purpose was certainly different. And it had quite an effect on Alpert.

These are illustrations of the first principle -- that there is no order of difficulty. A lot of people are able to train their minds so that they can move a glass or a cup from one part of the table to another. That is not very hard to do if you really are dedicated and disciplined in your mind. And, if you can move a cup, why could you not move a mountain? This could be a way of explaining how the ancient Egyptians moved all those heavy stones to construct the pyramids: that they had somehow learned to master their minds. To deny this as a possibility is to state that there is an order of difficulty in miracles.

Such mastery, however, does not bring you peace, and it does not bring you closer to God. All that it does is enable you to get back in touch with the power of your mind. But it is the misuse of that power that got us into trouble in the first place. So, the only remedy for that misuse is to place your mind under the guidance of the One Who will never misuse it. This is why the Course is so clear and emphatic about how we are to do things in the world -- we ask the One Who does know; we do not do them on our own. Otherwise, we could use our minds as a way of achieving power over other people, hurting them and ourselves.

When the principle says that the miracle "shifts into invisibility," it is talking about shifting to the mind rather than to the body. And that is why the miracle can heal, because it brings the problem back to where the problem really is, which is the mind and not the body. There is a lovely line near the end of Chapter 12 which says: "When you made visible what is not true, what is true became invisible to you" (text p. 217; T-12.VIII.3:1). Therefore, we need help in shifting away from what appears visible -- the body -- to what we have made invisible -- the truth in our minds.

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