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

Principle 7


Miracles are everyone's right, but purification is necessary first.

"Purification" is not a word that is frequently used in the Course. It is certainly a word that has more connotations in Judaism and Christianity, which is why I think it appeared here. The earliest sections and chapters in the Course, in particular, use biblical references to a great extent because Helen knew the Bible rather well, especially the New Testament, and it was a way of Jesus helping her bridge a gap. What A Course in Miracles means by "purification" is nothing that you do with the body.

Q: You say Helen knew the Bible, especially the New Testament, because she studied it?

A: Why did she know it? She liked reading it. She liked the way it was written. She always had a wonderful sense of style and language. She had a love-hate relationship with Christianity, and the Catholic Church especially, but there was a part of her that was very much attracted to it, as well as to the New Testament. She could quote whole passages. She was also very familiar with the dogmas, doctrines, and teachings of the Catholic and mainstream Protestant Churches. But she never formally studied the Bible.

"Purification," as the Course uses it, has nothing to do with the body. You do not purify a body or deprive a body, because the body is not impure. If the body is inherently an illusion, as A Course in Miracles teaches, then there is nothing you have to do with the body. What makes the body sinful, impure, or unholy, are our thoughts, which means it is our thoughts that have to be purified, not the body. That is why it would certainly not be the Course's method to do anything with the body. Asceticism could not be the Course's form of spirituality, for asceticism's purpose is to purify the body. The Course's idea is that you purify the mind. As St. Augustine said, "Love and do what you will." If love is in your heart and in your mind, then everything you do will be an extension of that love. Therefore, you do not have to worry about the body; that is worrying about the wrong thing. That is not where the problem is. What you worry about are the thoughts in your mind. The one thought that has to be healed is the thought of guilt; that is what has to be purified. So, when the Course says that miracles are everyone's right -- it is saying that miracles are for all of us.

Another important implication here is that miracles are not things that certain people do. One of the big mistakes that formal religions make is to ascribe certain spiritual powers or properties to some people and not others. There are some people who can work miracles and not others; these are the holy people. These are the people who have been chosen by the various religious institutions as being able to do certain things that everyone else cannot do. What the Course is saying here is that miracles are something that we can do; in fact, we all should do. A miracle is not parting the Red Sea or walking on water; the miracle is shifting from the ego's perception to the Holy Spirit's. That is what the miracle is; and this is everyone's right. This then means that any person can be the instrument for the Holy Spirit or Jesus, extending Their Love through him or her in whatever form is the most helpful and most loving. Our focus, then, is not on the external miracle. Our focus is on purifying the impediments to this miracle, on removing the obstacles to the awareness of love's presence. What has to he purified are our thoughts of separation, our thoughts of guilt. What purifies them for us is asking the Holy Spirit to forgive through us.

Q: How would you judge or measure progress in the Course?

A: I would not try to measure anyone's progress except my own, and that progress would just be the extent of peace I feel. Each of us would have within our own lives a beautiful way of measuring that. In other words, if you are in a situation that five weeks ago or five years ago drove you up a wall, or you are in the presence of someone who filled you with instant hate or instant fear, and suddenly you could be with that person and feel at peace, that would be an indication that you are doing all right. It is always a real mistake to try to judge another person. There is a line in the text which says that what we judge to be our greatest successes have been our greatest failures, and what we have judged to be our greatest retreats have been our greatest advances (text, p. 357; T-18.V.1:6), which is a nice, gentle way of Jesus telling us that we do not know what is going on. And if we do not know what is going on in ourselves, how are we supposed to know what is going on in anyone else?

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