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

Principle 5, part 2

Miracles are habits and should be involuntary. They should not be under conscious control. 
Consciously selected miracles can be misguided. (Discussion continued)

Q: I am finding this very difficult. As a nurse, I am supposed to respond to pain and suffering, and I pray that in emergency situations I do the right thing.

A: That is basically what I am talking about. This does not mean, by the way, that if you are a nurse and someone comes rushing in and is bleeding to death, you say, "Oh, hold it a moment; I have to go and meditate and ask what I should do." That is really not a loving thing. You basically assume that you want to do the right thing; you want Jesus to act through you, and then you just act. If I am seeing people in my office, I do not stop every fifteen minutes and say, "Hold it, I have to check in with the Boss before I can tell you what to do or what I think." I just naturally trust that my reactions or what I say will come from Jesus rather than my ego. What I then try to do is always monitor my own feelings and thoughts, so that if I feel something that I know is coming from my ego and not from him, at that point I ask his help that that be taken out of the way. I do not focus on what I say, because if I did I would always be tripping over my words and I could not say anything. My focus is not on what I say, but on getting myself out of the way.

Q: That is the thing with laying on of hands and praying for someone who has an illness.

A: That does not mean you should not do that ...

Q: Is that reinforcing, though?

A: No. It depends on why you do it. In other words, if you find that people can be helped by your laying on of hands, then there is nothing wrong with your doing that as long as you realize that that is just a form through which the Holy Spirit is joining you with someone else, and that the healing is not coming because of the laying on of hands. I mean, what happens if your hands are broken, or you are a quadriplegic? Does that mean you cannot heal? No, it is not the form; it is the meaning that you give the form.

Let me read something from the section, "Healing as Release from Fear" (text, p. 19; T-2.IV), that specifically talks about the difference between magic and healing. Anything that is of the body is magic. Anything that we do on this level to help solve a problem is magic because it is seeing the problem in the body, and then applying the remedy to the body. This holds whether you are talking about traditional medicine, New Age forms of medicine, laying on of hands, or saying prayers. They are all part or forms of magic. But then it says that this does not mean that all this is sinful. The last paragraph on page 20 (text, p. 20; T-2.IV 5:1) states, "The value of the Atonement does not lie in the manner in which it is expressed." The "Atonement," which we will talk about a little later, is the Course's word for the correction of the ego, which means that the principle of the Atonement refers to joining, because the ego is based on separation. What we are saying is that the value of the Atonement, the principle of joining, does not lie in the manner in which it is expressed. "In fact, if it is used truly, it will inevitably be expressed in whatever way is most helpful to the receiver. This means that a miracle, to attain its full efficacy, must be expressed in a language that the recipient can understand without fear" (text, p. 20; T-2.IV.6:2-3).

If people come to you and believe that by your laying on of hands they can be healed, then of course you should do that. Just as, if I come to a surgeon and believe that by this person cutting open my body and taking out this or that I will feel better, then, yes, of course I should do that. If people believe that by your saying a specific prayer they will be helped, then of course you should do that. But what the Course would say is just recognize that what you are doing has nothing to do with the form, because a form limits. What it has to do with is the underlying meaning of what you do: joining with people. As this passage says, the Holy Spirit does not care about the way you join. Since we live in a world of symbols and we live in a world of bodies, we have to use the symbols and we have to use our bodies. As it says in "The Song of Prayer" (a pamphlet that Helen had scribed after the Course): it is a mistake to believe that you have some healing gifts that others, such as spiritual healers and physicians, do not have (pp. 17f).*

This does not mean you should stop doing whatever it is that you are doing. That probably is not what the Holy Spirit would be asking you to do. All that He would be saying is stop thinking that the form of what you are doing has any healing properties whatsoever, because once you do that you are saying that there is something of this world that is real; there is power in a word. There cannot be any power in a word. A word is made up. As I said before, the Course says that "words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality" (manual, p. 51; M-21.1:9-10).

Krishnamurti worked out a very clever way of making this point. He said that if you want to make something holy, do a little experiment. Put whatever the object is on your mantel-piece, and every day for thirty days go before it. Bring it flowers, put incense around it, say a little phrase. It could be "Shalom"; it could be "Coca Cola"; it could be whatever your favorite mantra is. At the end of thirty days, that object will become holy for you, not because there is any inherent holiness in the object, but because you have given it the holiness by believing it is holy.

That is why this idea is so central to the Course's thought system. There is absolutely nothing in this world that has holiness attached to it, because there is nothing in this world. It is all a product of what is in our mind. If we believe something is holy, then it will become holy for us. If we feel there is a certain power coming from a person or from a thing in the world, it is because we have put that power there. The one power in this world is universal, and that is the power of Christ which is inside each of us. We all share in that power equally. Once you believe there are certain things in this world that are holier or more powerful than others, or certain people who are holier or more powerful than others, you are saying there is a hierarchy of illusions. That, again, is the first law of chaos (text, p. 455; T-23.11.2:3).

That is why that is the first law of chaos, because all the other laws rest upon that one. This also applies to A Course in Miracles. The only thing that is holy about this book is that it can lead you closer to God, but that could be said about anything. The book itself is not inherently holy. Sometimes people come to approach this book with reverence and almost genuflect in front of it, and feel it and touch it. There is nothing wrong in doing that. Often it seems kind of sweet, but they are really projecting something in their mind onto the book.

There is nothing in this world, the world of form, that means anything. That is the purpose of the early workbook lessons which say that nothing in this world means anything. What is really being said is that the only meaning something can have is the meaning that you give it. If it is the ego in you giving it meaning, then it is meaningless. If it is the Holy Spirit in you giving it meaning, then it is meaningful. Again, this does not mean you should give up whatever specific forms in this world work for you. That is not what A Course in Miracles is saying. All it is saying is: just realize that the reason the form is working is that you believe in it; and therefore it may be the way that Jesus or the Holy Spirit is using to help you recognize what the true Source of all meaning is, which is God. That is what the miracle does -- it shifts the misbelief of the ego that there is something real out here, either a problem or the solution, and it teaches us that the only thing that is real is the use that we give it, and that use comes from God. Everything in the world, then, can be used to bring us closer to Him.

Q: You need to clarify that for me.

A: It is very easy to go off on this point. A lot of people work with A Course in Miracles and misunderstand what this is saying. To say that magic is not healing is not to say that magic is evil, or magic is sinful. In this world you cannot avoid magic. Magic is anything that is on the level of the world. This Course, then, is magic. What changes it to a miracle is the purpose you give it.

Q: Sunset, sunrise, and you are not real? Are they not God's creation?

A: No. The only thing that is real about a sunset is that the Holy Spirit can use it as a way of helping you draw closer to God. But the sunset itself is inherently illusory. What makes the sunset? Colors? God did not create the sunset, or the sun, or the world. The Course's basic teaching is that the ego made the world. We put it there. Some things we did, we did pretty well. We did okay with sunsets and sunrises; we did not do okay with scorching suns that kill people. We did well with gentle rains that make the grass grow; but we really fluffed it with hurricanes and floods. Everything in this world is a two-edged sword, you see, which the Course teaches is how you know God could not have created it.

Basically, the principle is that God, being spirit, could only extend or create what is like Him. He could not have created the body or the form which is not like Him. That came from the ego: the body is the projection of the thought that we are separate.

Q: Was there ego before body?

A: Yes. There was a thought of separation and a belief that we could be separate from God. That is the ego. When the thought of separation became projected out of the mind, the world and the body arose.

* The Song of Prayer: Prayer, Forgiveness, Healing (Glen Ellen, CA: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1978)

Click here to return to Index

Miracle Studies Navigation Table

Index of Resources Discussion Group FAQ about ACIM 50 Miracle Principles
Biographical: Helen, Bill, Ken Unauthorized Manuscripts The Story of A Course in Miracles The Psychology of ACIM
The Course's Use of Language What is Forgiveness?  Copyright Related Info Question/Answer Service