Before I move on from the first section of the text of A Course in Miracles, I want to touch base with two other miracle principles that I find extremely helpful. As I mentioned yesterday, I plan to revisit this section from time to time because it is so integral to understanding and appreciating this thought system.
The two principles I’m thinking of today are numbers 35 and 45:
Miracles are expressions of love, but they may not always have observable effects. (T-1.I.35:1)
A miracle is never lost. It may touch many people you have not even met, and produce undreamed of changes in situations of which you are not even aware. (T-1.1.45:1-2)
These principles remind me that the miracle – understood as a natural expression of love – is not necessarily about me, as I traditionally understand myself. It’s bigger than me, more impersonal.
There is a tendency amongst spiritually-minded people to become invested in their personal spiritual growth. Their intentions are usually kind – and the results are often quite helpful – but the net result is not so different from somebody who eschews personal development of any kind. They’re still stuck with this body, in this world at this time, affixed to this particular narrative.
A Course in Miracles is a chance to break free of that, to leave it behind forever. Most of us don’t want it because we sense – usually in the deepest recesses of our consciousness – that it means the end of the self as we have known it.
Very few of us – me included – are ready for that. These two principles are conciliatory, helping us bridge the gap between our selves and God, enabling us to feel less frightened about the transition.
How do they do this?
Principle 35 reminds that miracles don’t have to have observable effects. This is another way of asking us to depreciate our expectations of the miracle. We often have very specific – even if unacknowledged – ideas about what miracles look like, how they’re going to make us feel, how others are going to respond to them. This hinders, rather than helps, the miracle.
Thus, this principle suggests that we forget all about measuring the success or failure of miracles. They’re beyond that. We extend love – we express our willingness to extend love – and then we let go. It doesn’t matter if the results conform to our expectations or if they don’t.
Our expectations – which are always grounded in our bodily identity – are not part of the miracle.
Principle 45 is similar but – in the rhetorical style of the Course generally – adds another layer, reinforcing the original meaning while lending it new depths.
The miracle might not look like a miracle – at least so far as we understand it, which is probably not very far. Yet by its nature it is at work in the world, in all dimensions of time, healing and extending the atonement.
Jesus is telling us in this principle that the big picture – the big plan of atonement – is too vast for us to comprehend. It surpasses our understanding. Thus, not only are we to forgo our expectations of miracles but also our understanding of them. Our job is to take direction from Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The results – and interpreting the results – are out of our hands.
Both of these principles then are gentle reminders that we don’t have to worry about effects – for the simple reason that we’re not qualified or capable to worry about them. Taken together, they underscore a concept that Jesus repeats throughout the Course:
The sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the atonement for himself. (T-2.V.5:1)
It’s an inside job, waking up – between us and Jesus – and all we need to do on our end is show up.