Reading A Course in Miracles: Miracles as True Perception

One of my favorite “definitions” of a miracle is summed up by the title of this section: miracles are true perception. When we are in our right minds, we are effectively seeing with Jesus who lends us his wholly loving vision. What is there to see then but Truth?

And yet . . .

This section is also one of the first in the text that feels flat out impossible to achieve. I come away from it thinking, “I can’t do that.”

It is impossible to conceive of light and darkness or everything and nothing as joint possibilities. They are all true or all false. It is essential that you realizeĀ  your thinking wil be erratic until a firm commitment to one or the other is made (T-3.II.1:3-5).

I can fathom willingness, I can fathom picking myself up and trying again, and I can fathom the slow blossom of progress. But I cannot fathom the totality of commitment that Jesus clearly envisions here. When he says that “innocence is not a partial attribute” (T-3.II.2:1), I feel as if all I’ve ever known is partial attributes.

And yet . . .

This section also calls to mind several early principles of miracles. Twenty-three, for example.

Miracles rearrange perception and place all levels in true perspective. This is healing because sickness comes from confusing the levels (T-1.I.23:1-2).

And again, in thirty:

By recognizing spirit, miracles adjust the levels of perception and show them in proper alignment. This places spirit at the center, where it can communicate directly (T-1.I.30:1-2).

These principles help me sort through my resistance – which takes the form of discouragement – to this section. They remind me that the Truth is true (W-pI.152.3:1) and thus does not depend on me. In effect, the miracle has the effect of removing us from the equation. It’s not about what “I” can do, or must do, or want to do – it is what Jesus does, through me, without my effort, because we are not separated.

The most I can do is deny this reality; I cannot change it. I cannot destroy it.

In the end, this section is simply a restatement of Principle thirty-six:

Miracles are examples of right thinking, aligning your perception with truth as God created it (T-1.1.36:1).

And we cannot force ourselves into right-mindedness. It’s not like a rubic’s cube or a treasure hunt, where if we can just square the right combination or decipher a long series of mysterious clues then we’ll find what we were looking for. It’s more in the nature of a gift, one that arrives unexpectedly for no reason other than that we have cultivated a state of readiness. It is as if we have this garden space but no seeds to grow anything. What do we do? If we want to be miracle workers then we clear the weeds and we make compost and we turn the soil and lime it and enrich it and we wait and then – no warning – Jesus shows up with handfuls of seed.

And that appearance can feel like the payoff, but it’s not. It’s only meaningful because of all the work we did to make growth possible.

I guess what I am saying is that discouragement is part of the process – as unreal as the days when we feel like we’re one sip of water from becoming the Buddha. We turn our thoughts and our intention to awakening. We try to sustain that intention. We accept that we’re not the ones making it happen – and we’re not the ones to whom it’s going to happen.

One foot after the other, one little prayer on top of the last one. Our willingness is always answered with a corresponding capacity to find – and fit into – our right minds.

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