The Fifty Miracle Principles of A Course in Miracles

by Kenneth Wapnick

Introduction continued - Part 3

One of my favorite lines in the Course, which really is a perfect definition of a miracle even though it does not use the word, says that "the holiest of all the spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love" (text, p. 522; T-26. IX.6:1). Someone whom we hate, hatred being the ego's way of looking, becomes someone whom we love, and that vision of love is given to us by the Holy Spirit. What we are talking about are two different ways of looking at the world and, more specifically, looking at the relationships in our lives. One is the ego's way of looking, which is a way of seeing more and more separation, anger and guilt, justifying our anger, and making sickness real here in the body. All these perceptions really reinforce the basic ego premise that we are separate from each other and from God. The correction for that is to go from the ego's way of looking to the Holy Spirit's way of looking, and it is that shift from the ego to the Holy Spirit that is the miracle. The identical word for that process of shifting from the ego's perceptions of someone else to the Holy Spirit's, is "forgiveness."

When we do forgive, what we are really doing is healing the problem, because the basic source of the problem is our interpretation of it, and this is based on our guilt. So all of our problems -- whether they be physical, financial, or social -- are not found out here in the world of the body but are found, rather, in our minds, and they all can be traced back to a problem of guilt. Another term for guilt would be "lack of forgiveness." It is when we forgive that our problems are healed, so we can then say that the words "miracle," "forgiveness," and "healing" represent basically the same process.

We can see, therefore, that a miracle is the answer to the problem, which is guilt, and we can define this even further and say that all of guilt comes from the belief that we are separate. So, these two words, "separation" and "guilt," are also virtually synonymous, because one comes from the other.

Are there any questions at this point, before we actually start with the principles?

Q: When you speak of forgiveness, are you speaking of forgiveness of self, and then others?

A: The basic Course process is that we forgive ourselves through forgiving others, so that, technically, you forgive someone else and that, correspondingly, enables you to forgive yourself. In our experience it is a reciprocal process. The more that I forgive you, the more forgiven I will feel. The more forgiven I feel, the easier it is for me to forgive other people. But, in terms of the basic paradigm A Course in Miracles sets forth, we forgive someone else, and then, correspondingly, we forgive ourselves because it is the same thing. Once we accept the idea that there is nothing out there in the world except what we put there, we recognize a direct link between what is in our minds and what we see. If you recall, the early workbook lessons are very clear in training us to think that way, and they make it very clear that there is no distinction between what we perceive outside and what we perceive inside -- that it is our thoughts that make up the world.  So we are really talking about one and the same thing.

The importance of recognizing the primacy of forgiving someone out there is that most of this guilt in our minds is unconscious -- we are not aware of it. This means that if we do not see a problem, we cannot do anything about it. But usually we can become aware of the negative feelings we feel towards other people, so that if I find myself getting annoyed with you out here, and I am looking at you properly, I am letting the Holy Spirit guide me in how I am perceiving and understanding what is happening.  Then He will tell me that whatever it is that I am holding against you is really what I am holding against myself, except that I did not know that I was holding it against myself. This is because, again, most guilt is unconscious. By your coming into my life and being such a problem for me, you are enabling me, by virtue of your being a mirror, to look at you and see reflected back exactly what is inside myself.  By changing my mind about what I have accused you of, what I am really doing is changing my mind about something I have accused myself of.  However, the form can be different. So what we are really talking about is the very important term which does not appear in this first section at all, and that term is "projection": we project what is in our minds onto the world.

Q: Would you say, in order to be open to this and to understand it that you would really have to be asking the Holy Spirit for help all the time?

A: Yes, A Course in Miracles makes it very clear that it impossible to truly forgive someone without the Holy Spirit's help because our egos are so strongly entrenched in our mind.  This is really saying that our investment in maintaining the illusion of separation and guilt is so entrenched in our minds, that it is almost impossible, if not completely impossible, to actually change our minds without outside help.  That outside help, the Holy Spirit, is really inside.  As the Course frequently quotes from the gospels:  Of ourselves we can do nothing (e.g., manual, p. 67; M-29.4:2).

Q: In talking to my friend here, I found that I was projecting something onto her, then I found that there was an inner projection within myself, but I found that it was not within myself in relation to her, it was within myself in relation to God, an entirely different subject, but the same projection.

A: The bottom line, always, is our relationship with God. The bottom line in the ego system of anyone is the belief that we are separate from God, that we have attacked God, and God is angry at us and is going to punish us. That constellation of thoughts is central to everyone's ego, and in order to escape from the wrath of God, we endure all kinds of peculiar things, the most peculiar of which is the belief that by attacking someone else -- in other words, projecting the problem from ourselves onto someone else -- we could be free of the problem. So that the interpersonal problems we experience, when you really examine them, all have to do with somehow believing that the other person is separate from us. From that, then, follows the belief that this other person has victimized us, or we turn around and feel guilty because we believe we have victimized them.

Those experiences we can all identify with. We all have lots of different opportunities in our lives to recognize how that works. But all of them come back to the basic problem which is that we believe we are separated from God, which in turn means we believe we have attacked Him, and this means we believe we have victimized Him, that He is the victim of us. Then we turn that around, because projection always follows from guilt, and we believe that God is victimizing us. So within the ego system, death, for example, becomes the most glaring witness to the reality of God's wrath. God created a body, which on one level is what the ego believes, and then He punishes the body by destroying it -- He makes the body suffer, etc.

That, again, is the rock bottom line in everyone's unconscious, and then all we do is project that over and over again onto everyone else.  As the Course teaches, you cannot get right back to Heaven because the amount of fear and terror that is contained here is awesome. What we can do is begin nibbling away at that thought system, and we begin the nibbling with all the people with whom we are currently in a relationship. And we can be in a relationship with people whether we are physically with them or we just think of them. So, someone who died twenty or thirty years ago may still be very present in our minds because we are still carrying around past hurts, or past illusions about that person.

Anything else? Okay, let us start, then, by talking about the fifty principles.

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