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

Principle 22

Miracles are associated with fear only because of the belief that darkness can hide. 
You believe that what your physical eyes cannot see does not exist. 
This leads to a denial of spiritual sight.

Let me spend a little time on this one. The ego teaches us that the core of our being is this dark sinful spot which is our guilt, and that this is who we really are. There is a workbook lesson that says that if you really looked within, you would believe that if people saw you the way you believe you are, they would recoil as if jumping back from a poisonous snake (work- book, p. 159; W-pI.93.1:1-2). We feel that we are wretched, sinful persons. Then we believe that somehow we could be protected from the horror of ever getting too close to this by defending ourselves with all the things the ego uses. These are what Freud called the mechanisms of defense, and most important of these are denial and projection. We make believe this is not what we are, after we first made believe that it is exactly what we are. Then we try to hide from it by putting a cloak of unconsciousness around it and projecting it out. Finally, I no longer see that dark spot of guilt in me; I see it in others and I attack them for it.

This means that we believe that this defense can hide what is underneath. By projecting onto someone else, I believe that my guilt can be hidden from me. This is the belief that darkness can hide. The "darkness" in this statement can be equated with the word "defense." My defense can hide this, which means that I need my defense to protect me from my own guilt. The ego teaches me that if I give this up, I am going to have nothing to protect me from my guilt, and I am going to be in a lot of trouble. The ego teaches that defenses protect us; darkness can hide. This, then, builds up the fear that if I give the darkness up, I am going to be thoroughly exposed to this guilt and I will be in trouble. The ego never tells us that defenses do not hide: the fact that I do not see the guilt does not mean it is not there.

An important line that occurs later on in the text says that "defenses do what they would defend" (text, p. 334; T-17.IV.7:1), which is a very important principle. The reason that we invest such time and effort and energy into maintaining defenses is that we believe they will protect us from what we are afraid of. The purpose of all our defenses is to defend us against our guilt. What the ego never tells us is that the more that we invest in a defense, the more we are saying there is, indeed, something horrible inside us. If I did not have this horrible guilt, then I would not have to bother with the defense. Therefore, the more that I invest in having a defense against my guilt, which I am afraid of, the more fearful I am going to get because the fact that I have the defense is telling me, "You had better watch it; there is something inside of you that is vulnerable." That is what Course in Miracles means when it says that "defenses do what they would defend." Their purpose is to protect us from fear, but they really reinforce the fear. The ego never tells us that.

In a very powerful section in Chapter 27 of the text called "The Fear of Healing" (text, p. 628; T-27.11), the Course makes it clear why the ego teaches us to be afraid of the miracle and healing. The ego teaches that if you choose the miracle and give up the defenses of attack (i.e., see your brother as your friend and not your enemy), you will have no place to project your guilt. It will then remain with you and destroy you. And then the fear really grows.

That is another example of what the Course means a little later on when it says that when you begin to hear the Holy Spirit's Voice and pay attention to what He says, your ego will become vicious (text, p. 164; T-9.VII.4:4-7). The ego's viciousness is always some expression of fear, of terror, which then gets projected into anger, disruptiveness, etc. The ego teaches us that if we let go of our defenses, then all hell will break loose, literally. Psychologists fall into the same trap when they teach that if you do not have defenses you will go psychotic. It is really the opposite. If you do not have defenses you will go sane; you will not go psychotic. But that does not mean that you strip people's defenses away. The process has to be very gentle and loving, and the therapist often has to be very patient. To repeat, this does not mean that we should strip all the defenses away. What it does mean is that if you follow the Holy Spirit's guidance, the goal will be to have no defenses. And then when you look within, you will not see sin; you will see that there was no sin. That is the end of the journey.

"Miracles are associated with fear only because of the belief that darkness can hide." Once you can recognize that darkness cannot hide, that defenses do not do what they say that they do, then you are ready to take the next step, which is explained later on in Chapter I of the text. Then you realize that there is nothing that has to be hidden because this guilt is not anything terrible; it is just a silly belief system that will disappear. This is why we are afraid of choosing a miracle, which translates to why we are afraid to truly forgive someone, to really let go of the past and realize that we are not victims, no matter how convincingly the experiences of the world would teach us that belief. We all are very good at rationalizing why we do not want to give all of this up. The real reason we do not want to give it up is that we do not want to be peaceful. That is what the Course talks about later as the ego's attraction of guilt (text, p. 382; T-19.IV.A.i). We would rather be guilty and make guilt real; then we have to defend against it.

We believe that what our physical eyes cannot see does not exist. This is really the principle of the ostrich, which is the principle of repression or denial. If I do not see a problem, it does not exist. If I cover over my guilt, then it is not there. That is the idea again that darkness can hide. This then leads to a denial of "spiritual sight," the term the early sections of the Course use for "vision." And, when A Course in Miracles talks about vision, or spiritual sight, it is not talking about seeing with one's eyes. It is talking about seeing with the Holy Spirit's eyes, which is an attitude. It has nothing to do with physical sight.

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