The Fifty Miracle Principles of A Course in Miracles

by Kenneth Wapnick

Principle 1

There is no order of difficulty in miracles.
One is not "harder" or "bigger" than another.
They are all the same.
All expressions of love are maximal.
While I said that this is not my favorite section, I think that the first principle, really, is a gem. It is one of the most important statements in the whole book, and I think Jesus thinks so too, because it is a principle that occurs over and over again in all three books in many different forms. If we could thoroughly understand what it means, that "there is no order of difficulty in miracles," we would understand everything else in the Course, because that principle contains within it the seed of the entire thought system. That "there is no order of difficulty in miracles" is the same thing as saying that all the problems in the world are really the same -- the seemingly major ones and the seemingly minor ones. There is no difference among them.

This can be thoroughly understood only when you recognize that there is no world out there. If you believe in the reality of the perceptual, physical, or separated world, then you must believe that there are gradations: there are bigger things and there are smaller things. Our entire world, which really is to say the entire world of perception, is based upon orders and differences. We all have concepts of large and small, fat and thin, beautiful and ugly, male and female, night and day, light and darkness, large problems, small problems, and on and on and on. Our idea of colors is also based on that: different wave lengths of light. These are all inherent parts of the ego's world of separation -- that there are differences in this world.

Once we believe that the body is real, we will then believe that there are certain problems that are more critical than others. If a person has a sickness that is "life threatening," then that is a serious problem. If a person has a mild headache, then we say that that is not such a serious problem. There is no one in this world who does not fall into that trap. It also takes the form of asking the Holy Spirit's help for some problems and not others; or believing that He is too busy to bother with our inconsequential and silly problems; or believing that we can take care of this by ourselves. In truth, however, we are afraid of His solution, for that would mean the undoing of the ego.

However, the purpose of studying A Course in Miracles is not to have us feel guilty because we fall into these traps. The whole idea of the Course is to let us know just how insane we are and how insane this thought system is, so we could change our minds about it. You cannot change your mind about something if you do not know it is there. So, the idea of exposing the ego's thought system is not to make us feel even more guilty than we do, or more stupid than we may feel, but to help us realize that, in fact, we do believe this, so we then can change our minds about it. And this first principle really starts us off with a bang.

What this means, then, is that it is just as easy to heal a cancer as it is to heal a mild headache. It is just as easy to heal a threat of nuclear war as it is to heal an argument between two little kids, because they are all the same thing. They all stem from one center point, which is the belief in separation or the belief in guilt. The problems are never out there in the world, but within our minds. The things that we do in this world to alleviate pain are all done on the symptom level, which means they are all done on the level of form, One of the key principles in the Course is the distinction that we are always asked to make between form and content.  A Course in Miracles teaches that there are only two basic contents in the world: God or the ego; love or fear; spirit or the body. There are only two basic perceptions in the world: one is the ego's way of looking at a problem, the other is the Holy Spirit's way of looking at a problem.

What happens is that these contents then come in a myriad number of forms. When we say that the basic content in the ego's world is separation, then it is obvious to us just how many different forms this belief takes. Some things we call negative, like pain, suffering, death, etc. Some we call positive, which usually means that we get what we want, or that people are free from external suffering. But the issue is never the form, which is on the right side of the chart; the issue is always the underlying thought, on the left (see diagram).

In Chapter 23 there is a section called "The Laws of Chaos" (text, p. 466; T-23.11) which is a very difficult section and one of the most important ones in the text. "The Laws of Chaos" describes the five laws that comprise the ego's thought system, which actually are the counterpart for the fifty miracle principles. ([Said with a smile] You can tell which side Jesus is on because he gives fifty miracle principles and only five laws of chaos.)

The first law of chaos is the exact counterpart to the first miracle principle. It states that truth is relative and that there is a hierarchy of illusions. Some illusions are worse than others, or some illusions are better than others. This, again, is exactly what we are talking about. Once you believe that certain problems are larger than others, you must believe there are different levels of solution for the different levels of the problem. Certainly, somebody who is in the medical field knows that if there is this symptom, you do "A," and if there is another symptom, you do "B," and if there is a third symptom, you do "A!' and "B," or something else. They are all very specific things that we do to heal or solve the various problems that we believe we have. By the way, the Course makes it very clear that this does not mean that you should not do these various things, but I will elaborate on that later when it comes up with the miracle principles (see discussion of principle #5).

The only thing that truly heals is undoing the belief that we are separate from God, which is where our problem of guilt comes from. As we will see later on, another way of saying what healing is would be "joining." If we recognize that the only problem that exists is the belief that we are separate, this must mean that the only solution to all other seeming problems is to join.

Another thing that will become apparent as we work with this material if; that A Course in Miracles teaches that the way we define a problem automatically establishes how we resolve the problem. That is why it is very important in working with the Course that you always keep in mind that it recognizes only one problem, and that is the belief that we are separate. If you say that the problem is anything else, then you are automatically saying that the solution will be something else.

Workbook lesson 79 makes the point that there is only one problem, therefore there is only one solution. The one problem is guilt, separation, or holding grievances, and the one solution is a miracle, forgiveness, or joining. This first principle, then, really sets that up: "there is no order of difficulty in miracles." Regardless of what we believe the problem is, all our problems can be solved the exact same way, merely by changing our minds about them.

Discussion of Principle 1 continues - click here for part two

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