The Thirty-Fifth Principle of A Course in Miracles

Miracles are expressions of love, but they may not always have observable effects (T-1.I.35:1).

Most traditional understanding of miracles implies observable effects that are usually supernatural. Jesus walking on water, say, or turning water into wine. Closer to home, we win the lottery or get the ideal parking space.

But A Course in Miracles teaches us that mirales are shifts in perception away from fear and towards love, reflecting in turn a shift in our our mental and emotional orientation that brings us closer to our true self, the self that God created.

That transformative shift does not always mean that we can “see” it or otherwise take note of it with the body’s senses. Love is not merely an emotion but rather the ground of our identity. How do you “see” seeing? How do you “see” attention?

The changes induced by the miracle occur at the level of the mind. Their outward effect can be negligible or even non-existent. For example, we might forgive a brother we have long considered too greedy or aggressive. Our behavior is always polite and efficient but our feelings were often hurt. Our forgiveness liberates him from our judgment. Nothing changes and yet internally, everything has changed. We aren’t angry anymore. We aren’t hurt.

The change is meaningful in our experience but this does not automatically mean that it will lead to observable changes in our external situation or in the behavior of the various people with whom we are in relationship.

ACIM’s emphasis on internal change reflects its overall teaching that the external world is a reflection of our internal state. Therefore, the primary goal is not to change the world, but to change our perception of the world. This is why miracles can still be effective even though they do not appear to change the world in any way.

A true miracle transforms perception, leading to internal peace and understanding that we experience but which need not “appear” externally. Our practice is devoted to this change of mind, independent of the world “out there.” It might change and it might not, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the shift in the interior towards love.

The Thirty-Fourth Principle of A Course in Miracles

Miracles restore the mind to its fullness. By atoning for lack they establish perfect protection. The spirit’s strength leaves no room for intrusions (T-1.I.34:1-3).

Miracles – which are shifts in perception away from fear and toward love – testify to what mind is and therefore also witness to the creative power of the mind. The split mind heals itself by recalling its wholeness; every miracle attests to this.

When the mind is full, it does not recognize lack. When nothing is missing, then the mind is free to create as God creates – that is, in love, for love and as love. It does not perpetuate the separation in any way, but rather sees beyond the error to what is true.

Healing is not fixing, and atoning is not ownership of the effects of sin. Rather, healing and atoning are both right-seeing – which means that they do not recognize the illusion of separation nor any of the illusion’s apparent effects. They do not see and overlook – they simply do not recognize them at all.

It is another level of being and of thinking and of knowing oneself.

When our minds rest in God, without lack and thus with no need to project unfulfillment of any kind, we remember the Holy Spirit’s strength. It is the Holy Spirit who clears our mind and brings us to peace. When we say that the Holy Spirit abides no intrusions in our mind, we are saying that the ego no longer has a means of raising its bad arguments and mean-spirited logic.

Ego is the part of the mind that believes in duality, reinforces separation, and always knows lack. Something is always missing with ego. It is the part of us that feels isolated, alone and incomplete. Ego needs this sense of lack to keep us alert to its voice. Ego promises freedom from suffering, it promises abundance – but it never delivers. Never deliving is what the ego is.

In contrast, the Holy Spirit knows that we both have and are everything. Therefore, miracles are effectively shifts in thinking away from the ego’s view and towards the Holy Spirit’s. To “atone” is to allow an error to be corrected. We are not, in fact, separate, isolated or incomplete but are instead interconnected aspects of a unified whole that does not admit division.

When we identify with the ego, we feel vulnerable and threatened. But when we shift our identification to the holy spirit, we realize that nothing can actually threaten what we are in truth. We are invulnerable to attack and have no need of defense. We are no longer susceptible to the fear and guilt caused by taking on ego’s perspective of self and world.

We rest in the peace of God, and extend the Love to others, that God extends to us. Our natural state of being can only reflect peace and wholeness, acceptance and love. This is our identity.

The Thirty-Third Principle of A Course in Miracles

Miracles honor you because you are lovable. They dispel illusions about yourself and perceive the light in you. They thus atone for your errors by freeing you from your nightmares. By releasing your mind from the imprisonment of your illusions, they restore your sanity (T-1.I.33:1-4).

When A Course in Miracles refers to “illusions,” it is pointing to our perceptions – and the beliefs that arise with and sustain those perceptions – which are based on duality, and thus reinforce the ego’s argument that we are separate from the world and from each other.

Naturally, this division includes the categorization of things into good and evil, right and wrong, our tribe and that tribe, and so forth. The appearance of these dualities is not the problem; the problem is that we believe they accurately reflect reality.

In turn that mistaken belief keeps us separated from our true self which does not know division at all, especially not from our Creator or Creation.

In this principle, the Course is pointing directly at its intersection with nonduality. Nonduality suggests that everything is a single, interconnected whole. There is no separation anywhere.

Thus, when ACIM refers to miracles dispelling illusions and thereby restoring us to sanity, it is basically talking about shifting our perception from a dualistic understanding of the world (where we see ourselves as separate from God, others and the cosmos) to a nondualistic understanding in which we both recognize and accept our interconnectedness with all things, living and nonliving alike.

This is the radical shift in perception that miracles by definit are, and their application brings about a profound peace and understanding. We become happy in ways that cannot readily be described but which can be shared.

This happiness is not otherworldly. From a traditional mental health standpoint, the effects of the miracle allows us to release a lot of pent-up fear and guilt, and their cousins such as anger, jealousy, greed and lust. As fear and guilt are relieved, and as their symptoms lessen, a renewed sense of inner peace and quiet joy begin to emerge. We do not feel trapped by our feelings nor confused by our thoughts.

The miracle allows us to redefine our lives in ways that make us more functional and productive. It’s true that underneath these shifts in living, there are deeper currents being addressed – our separation from God, our recognition of the equality of all life, for example. However, the two levels are not separate. Our psychologicl wellness at the level of the body and the world are natural reflections of the underlying coherence that is our true self, when it remembers itself as God’s Creation.

We are fundamentally lovable. We are not sinners, we are not trouble-makers, we are not alien in the Kingdom of Heaven. The miracle simply reminds us of what we are in truth, which naturally aligns our will with God’s Will, undoing illusions and promoting a calm quiet mind that knows it is one with Love. This is a shift from dualism to nondualism, which is transformative at all levels.

The Thirty-Second Principle of A Course in Miracles

I inspire all miracles, which are intercessions. They intercede for your holiness and make your perceptions holy. By placing you beyond the physical laws they raise you into the sphere of celestial order. In this order you are perfect (T-1.1.32:1-4).

The implication here, of course, is that there are orders where we are not perfect – or, at least, do not believe we are perfect. And what the Holy Spirit does is transform our perception so that we realize we are perfect – perfect, that is, when we remember what we are in truth.

In this way, the miracle effectively bridge the world brought forth by our limited perception and transform it via the divine truth of our nature as God created us. By showing our real self to our self – by bringing us into direct contact with truth – the miracle teaches us our own holiness.

Indeed, the miracle advocates for our holiness. When we recognize our holiness, we simultaneously recognize our truth. Healed perception always aligns us with the truth as God created it.

When the Course says that miracles place us “beyond the physical laws” and raise us “into the sphere of celestial order” (T-1.I.32:3), it is saying that the miracle allows us to transcend the limitations of the body’s perception, and instead remember that we are minds, which are Love.

And Love holds everything.

Our perceptions of the physical world, along with our ego-based thoughts and beliefs, make an illusory experience of separation – we forget ourselves, we believe we are in adversarial relationships with others, the world is neither fair nor loving. In that world order, of course we are not perfect.

Yet in the celestial order – the order revealed by the shift in perception from unholiness to holiness, which is the miracle – we remember that we are whole and perfect, united in oneness with all of life.

When we remember what we are, then we remember that we are perfect. We do not make mistakes, we do not commit sins. We are not guilty, and need neither to be punished nor to punish. This is salvation! The remembrance of what we are, never to be forgotten or set aside again.

Review Period VI: ACIM Workbook

We have now completed the frist 200 lessons of A Course in Miracles. Their cumulative lesson – which they have emphasized in various forms, over and over – is simply that we are not bodies, and that this truth represents our liberation.

The suffering that we have long endured, whatever form it takes, has always been driven by our identification with the body, and its vulnerabilities and weaknesses. The body is not the problem! The identification with it is.

It is this identification – or misidentification, really – that the Course is given to correct.

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me

It is these three thoughts to which we return now, as often as possible, as deeply as possible, and as willingly as possible because “each contains the whole curriculum if understood, practicted, accepted, and applied to all seeming happenings throughout the day” (

The critical aspect here – because it is the critical aspect of all our practice all the time – is to make no exceptions. There can be no “seeming happening” which we exclude from these ideas. Nor can we prefer one idea over the other. Love is inclusive; anything held apart from healing makes healing impossible.

A Course in Miracles is a beautiful spiritual path because it reminds us that we “have a function that transcends the world we see” ( Our work is simply to relinquish “everything that clutters up the mind, and makes it deaf to reason, sanity and simple truth” ( It is enough because it is the literal practice of remembering – and practicing – wholeness.

Critically, we are beginning a phase of our learning that moves us beyond language and all other “special forms of practice” ( This is the letting go of prior learning and personal prerogative; when we release our program we naturally become open to the Holy Spirit’s, Whose program moves from fear to Love, which is the remembrance of what we are in truth.

This “formless” practice obligates us to be aware of when “idle thoughts” appear that would distract us from the Holy Spirit’s teaching. These thoughts are always fear-based, and they always involve the personal sense of entitlement, protectiveness and hunger that accompany the body. Bodies do body things – that’s not a problem. The problem is when we think we have to do body things.

These idle thoughts can be impatience with a co-worker, a desire to eat the last cookie rather than save it for a friend or partner, a memory of injustice from childhood that we savor or whatever. When these occur, we recognize them as distractions from healing and choose love instead.

Choosing love in this context means declaring to ourselves that we choose “patience” or “generosity” or “understanding.”

Beyond such special applications of each day’s idea, we will add but a few formal expressions or specific thoughts to aid in practicing. Instead, we give these times of quiet to the Teacher Who instructs in quiet, speaks of peace, and gives our thoughts whatever meaning they may have (

Jesus speaks increasingly rarely in the first-person as the Workbook progresses. I find it comforting and significant when he does. Here, Jesus makes clear that it is the Holy Spirit, not him, in whose care and guidance we rest. The Holy Spirit makes our practice – here and always – a gift to the world we both give and receive.

The declaration Jesus not so subtly makes here is that the point is not to follow him but rather to accept the Holy Spirit as our Teacher, and consent to the transformation He brings about on behalf of God. That transformation always undoes the personal, leaving only Christ. In the Course, Jesus is inviting us to do what he did, so that we might remember – as he did – the truth about our identity and function.

Christ is our function, because Christ is what we are in truth.

A Course in Miracles Lesson 200

There is no peace except the peace of God.

When we learn that nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists then we know the peace of God, and when we know the peace of God, there is nothing left to seek because there is nothing left to know. Nothing is missing.

This is the final point to which each one must come at last, to lay aside all hope of finding happiness where there is none; of being saved by what can only hurt; of making peace of choas, joy of pain, and Heaven out of hell. Attempt no more to win through losing, nor to die to live (W-pI.200.2:1-2).

We do not need to suffer. Suffering is optional. If there is anything A Course in Miracles aims to teach us it is this. If we want to know peace and happiness, and if we are willing to recognize that the only obstacles to knowledge are the ones we impose on our own self, then we will remember peace.

Why is the law? Because it is how God created us. It is the way life is, when we no longer resist life, when we no longer insist it appear this way or that. To ask for what we already have must succeed (e.g., W-pI.200.3:3).

This world is not where you belong. You are a stranger here. But it is given you to find the means whereby the world no longer seems to be a prison house or jail for anyone (W-pI.200.4:3-5).

All that we need to do is change our mind about the purpose of the world. It is not given to bind us in chains of sorrow and loss but rather to learn that we cannot be bound. This is a gift that we give to ourselves, and we do so every time we give it to a brother or sister.

We remember what we are in truth when we realize that all we want to extend to the world is blessing – we don’t even have to extend the blessing. Simply acknowledging that love is our will, and that we share that will with God, is sufficient. Peace is the bridge that we all cross as we leave the world of suffering and pain (e.g., W-pI.200.8:1).

Today’s lesson invites us to hold no goal but the goal of happiness, and it also invites us to remember that the way to reach the goal – to BE happy – is to give happiness to others, without qualification or condition. Nothing else is worthy of us.

The idols to which the lesson refers are the false gods of social status, possession, past grievances, and personal ambition. Can we – for a few minutes – set them aside? Can we discover what is real when what is unreal is laid gently to rest?

Is it possible that when we set the gaudy trinkets and false goals of the egoic self down that we will no longer want to pick them up? And even when we do, find that they no longer fit our hands?

. . . we have found a simple, happy way to leave the world of ambiguity, and to replace our shifting goals and solitary dreams with single purpose and companionship. For peace is union, if it be of God (W-pI.200.11:5-6).

There is nothing left to find, and there never was. There is only – there was always only – the peace of God. Together we make it so.

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