The Fifty Miracle Principles
of A Course in Miracles
The miracle compares what you have made
with creation, accepting what is in accord with it as true,
Here is the distinction between "making" and "creating." The miracle compares what we have made, which is this world, with creation. This is similar to what is expressed in Principle 38. There are certain things that we do in this world that are in accord with creation, such as joining with people. It is not creation, but it is in accord with it because it follows the principle of oneness and of joining. Anything we do that unites us with each other from the Holy Spirit's point of view is truth. It is not truth on the level of Heaven, but it is truth because it reflects the truth of Heaven. If it is out of accord with that principle of unity, which means that we are separating ourselves from other people, then it is false. This is one way of recognizing or seeing the distinction between the two levels that I spoke about.
On Level One, truth is only of spirit,
what God created. Falsity is everything else. On Level Two, truth is what
the Holy Spirit can use to teach us what is true, and falsity is what will
teach us that the ego is true. On Level Two, the truth is anything that
is in accord with the Holy Spirit's will, which is anything that joins
us with someone else. Falsity is something that would continue to separate
us from someone else. If you see someone about to attack another person,
on Level One, the whole thing you are seeing is an illusion. On Level Two,
the illusion would be that this person is evil and sinful and is about
to attack. That is the wrong-minded perception. On Level Two, what is true
is that this person who seems to be attacking is really calling out for
help. You do not deny what your eyes see; you just shift your interpretation.
That is the crucial thing; you shift your interpretation. You see the seeming
attack as a call for help. That is the vision Jesus had on the cross. He
did not deny what people did. He denied what the ego would have said people
were doing. He denied that people were evil, sinful, vicious, and were
murdering him. Rather, he saw that they were calling out for the help and
love they did not believe they deserved. That is the shift from the false
perception of the ego to the true perception of the Holy Spirit, and that
is what this principle is talking
Q: Could you say something about the holy instant?
A: The "holy instant," like many terms in the Course, is used in two different ways. One way would be a more individualized expression, which is that a holy instant is any instant in which we choose a miracle instead of a grievance, to join instead of separate. For example, there is someone that you are really furious at, and suddenly you are able to shift your perception and ask for help. That is a holy instant. It is defined as the interval of time in which the miracle is expressed. But then, there are other references where "the holy instant" is used for the end of time, such as that one big holy instant when the body is totally let go, when we reaffirm our identification with spirit and we are all home again. The word is used both ways, both in a much larger sense as well as in a more individual sense. And remember that choosing the holy instant only takes one, not necessarily both people in a relationship. It is always nice when both agree, but it is not necessary for healing to occur. Thus, while it takes two people to have a disagreement or argument, it only needs one to forgive. Both are forgiven for their belief in the reality of the separation when one remembers that he or she is not separate from the other.
Q: Does the Course say that once you experience a holy instant you will come back here and never feel the same? Am I just reading into this?
A: It teaches that once you have totally accepted the truth of this thought system, you will never look at this world the same way. The experience of most of us is that we do not totally accept it. We may accept it in one specific instance or a specific period of time, and then all of a sudden we go right back to the old way.
Q: But could you stay here?
A: If He asked you to. I am not sure that you would want to otherwise, but if you have done all your work, you have done what you came to do, and He asked you to stay for a while, well of course you would say yes, right?
Q: There is also a section in the manual that addresses that specifically: "Can God Be Reached Directly?" (manual, p. 61; M-26). It says that there are those who have reached God directly and then sustained that awareness in this world. Needless to say, these are few, but it is basically the same idea. It is possible, but it is very rare.
A: Yes; for most of us, we still have lots of work to do.
Q: Can you do this in one lifetime?
A: In principle, yes, Since the whole world and our experience here in the body is all a dream, then all that we need do is awaken from the dream and it is gone. That would be a Level One perspective. However, on Level Two, in the world we believe we are in, the degree of fear that roots us here -- the fear that God would destroy us if we ever relinquished our hiding place, which is the body -- is so extreme, we require a gentler awakening process, as the Course frequently states (e.g., text, p. 542; T-27.VII.13:4-5). Within the illusory world of time, this process will take a long, long time, as A Course in Miracles also says at one point (text, p. 30; T-2.VIII.2:5). The Course says, as I mentioned before, that if we can forgive one person totally, we will have forgiven all of them. This is the same kind of statement. Our experience, however, is that we need to forgive many people, and the same person over and over. Our guilt, in effect, gets chipped away, rather than made to disappear in one huge chunk.
That is why it is important, if one works with the Course as his or her path, to have a healthy respect for the ego. A danger many people fall into is thinking that the ego can be done away with, one-two-three. All that really happens then is that people deny the ego rather than look at it and then change their minds about it. Thus, many choose to overlook the more difficult passages in the material that deal with special relationships and say instead that A Course in Miracles is about love, period. The Course is not about love; it is about guilt. By recognizing our guilt we are then able to let it go; then the Love of God is restored to our awareness. But we cannot skip over steps. This is one major advantage of being a psychologist -- having this healthy respect for the ego, and understanding how deeply rooted we all are in its dynamics.
A Course in Miracles says, as we have seen, that when we come closer to the ego's foundation, when we begin listening to the Holy Spirit more than to the ego, the ego retaliates and becomes vicious (see above, p. 71). The Course means this literally. The ego's goal is murder, the Course says (text, p. 460; T-23.III.1:5), and it means this literally as well. To ignore these references is to miss the heart of the Course. And, it is also to miss the specific role of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in helping us through these painful periods of unsettling, as the Course in one place refers to this process (manual, p. 9; M-4.I.7:1). We need Their help in holding our hand, leading us through, when the ego's viciousness becomes so overwhelming. Then we can begin to experience the illusory nature of our guilt and fear, the "seeming terror" the Course refers to (text, p. 367; T-18.IX.3:7), and to know the Love of God that truly does uphold us.
Q: The body, the ego, the identification with the body as yourself -- I am confused. Can you discuss that?
A: Essentially, A Course in Miracles talks a great deal, especially in the earlier chapters, about the ego-body equation. We are always equating ourselves with the body. One thing which is helpful to keep in mind is that the ego is more than the body. After the body dies, the ego is still around. Remember the ego is a thought system that is predicated on guilt. The body is merely the embodiment of the ego; the thought of the ego taking form, or the thought of separation taking form. The body is merely a learning instrument. It can either reinforce the teachings of the ego or it can reinforce the teachings of the Holy Spirit, which would ultimately teach us that we are not the body. We come into this world so we can learn certain lessons. We come into this world with a lot of excess baggage, our suitcases filled with all kinds of dirty clothes; our guilt, fears, etc. Whatever it is that we have not emptied out while we are here, whatever guilt we have not released or forgiven when our bodies die, we still take that with us. The name of the game, basically, is to get rid of as much of the dirty linen as possible -- in other words, to let go of as much guilt as we can. Whatever we do not let go remains with us.
Once again, A Course in Miracles does not specifically treat the whole issue of past lives or reincarnation, but it certainly does imply it, and I think would therefore teach that whatever it is we do not forgive or let go of we take with us, and then we come back again. There is a very wonderful and moving passage which talks about the lifting of the final veil, the last obstacle to peace, which says: here you stand before this final veil, and you make the choice whether to pass through or wander off, only to come this way again (text, p. 393; T-19.IV.D.10:8). This is saying that you have the choice of really working this through now, or wandering off and coming back in whatever the form the lesson will take, to then learn that same lesson. Whatever it is that has not been healed, we take with us; the ego survives after the body dies. The ego is more than the body, and we just choose whenever we wish to -- this is our choice -- to come back into the world of the body so we can work through whatever parts of the hologram we have not worked through.
This is really a mind-boggling idea. Just because we believe we are in this particular dimension of time and space in New York State in 1985, does not mean that in another aspect of our mind we are not in ancient Greece or Palestine or some place 300 years from now. All that it means is that we are just tuning in to a certain part of the television set in our mind, and whatever it is we are tuning in to we are making real. What makes that seem so mind-boggling is the belief that time is linear. It is not linear. And certainly, some of the quantum physicists are teaching us the same thing. The linearity of time is just part of the same ego ploy to convince us that the guilt of the past is real and is projected into the future in terms of fear, and that that is what our reality is.
Q: I want to get back to the resurrection of the body. That is an article of faith in the Catholic Church. Is the Course saying that that particular article of faith is in error?
A: Yes, it is. Another article of faith in the Catholic Church states that God created the world, and that He created us in His own image and likeness. The Course would say all this is part of the same system. From the point of view of the Catholic Church, A Course in Miracles is in error. That is why I think one of the real benefits of the Course is that it is so clear that it is not the only path. It says at one point that "a universal theology is impossible" (manual, p. 73; C-in.2:5). It would have to be impossible because it is dealing with forms, symbols, and language, and no one shares all the same forms, symbols, and languages. It does say, however, that "a universal experience is not only possible but necessary" (manual, p. 73; C-in.2:5). To reach that universal experience the Holy Spirit must use different theologies, and theologies will conflict. But, if you are looking for trouble you will find it, and you will find conflict.
Q: I do have a conflict with the idea of God not being in the world. It has something to do with the influence of Teilhard de Chardin and how matter is spiritualized -- we are all one, and we cannot separate body and spirit. I guess I am really finding a lot of meaning in that, and then the Course is saying something else.
A: I understand that. It is a different system. Many people, and Teilhard would certainly be among them, would say that you can unify mind, body, and spirit, that kind of holistic idea. That would not be the approach of the Course because the body does not exist outside of the mind. The Course really has a totally different conceptual system.
I gave a workshop recently, and someone brought up the example of Mother Teresa. She obviously seems to be guided by Jesus, who is guiding her in a way totally different from the way he has guided the Course. The question was, "How would I reconcile that?" I said that he gives people different messages in different forms that work for different people. I have had the good fortune of meeting her several times, and I do think she is guided by Jesus. I think that she is a very holy lady, within the context of what we mean by that, and I think hers is a totally different path from the Course: one of suffering, sacrifice, and following the teachings and doctrines of the traditional Roman Catholic Church. But the world needs her and what she is doing, just as it needs the Course.
Q: The plan of Atonement is for all paths?
A: Yes, A Course in Miracles is part of the plan of the Atonement. It is not the plan of the Atonement.
Miracle Studies Navigation Table
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|Biographical: Helen, Bill, Ken||Unauthorized Manuscripts||The Story of A Course in Miracles||The Psychology of ACIM|
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