Miracles are Effects, Not Causes

A miracle, as that word is brought to application by A Course in Miracles, is not a cause of anything but rather an effect. It is an effect of a decision to give attention to the present moment without bringing either the past or the future into it. The miracle denies nothing and accepts the wholeness of whatever arises. Thus peace, thus joy.

Each day, each hour and minute, even each second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection; between the ego and the Holy Spirit (T-14.III.4:1).

We are given the power to choose between peace and conflict, which decision is internal and altogether unrelated to what is external. What is external has nothing to do with anything; it is merely a canvas on which our thoughts leave faint trails of either joy or sorrow, according to our internal decision. The external is the trail of wind across the lake, faint ripples bearing witness to the greater passage. The miracle serves us by witnessing unto how we have exercised our capacity for decision in favor of love.

The miracle teaches you that you have chosen guiltlessness, freedom and joy. It is not a cause, but an effect. It is the natural result of choosing right, attesting to your happiness that comes from choosing to be free of guilt (T-14.III.5:1-3).

“Choosing right” in this instance relates only to what is going on inside of us – at the level of thought, and the levels that are beyond thought. “Levels” is a misleading term, because it suggests both a physical space (in “here” and out “there) and a linear progression from conflict to peace. But if we give attention to thought, we will see that there is a great deal beyond the egoic chatter that seems to define and contain and restrict us. And that “beyondness” – somewhat like descriptions of the material universe – is forever expanding. Its limits are literally incomprehensible. We cannot reach the end of what is within.

“Thought” in this case does not mean ideas or what can be rendered in language: that is the surface, that is the shallows. We can’t think our way to what A Course in Miracles calls the thoughts we think with God (W-pI.51.4:4). As Tara Singh pointed out in Nothing Real Can Be Threatened, God’s love is “a state superior to thought.”

There is no peace or love at the thought level. Thought merely projects the outer world of unreality and lives in that abstraction (164).

Nor is this a new idea limited to ACIM. Consider, for example, William Samuels.

In its most intellectual presentations, metaphysics merely states the impossibility of an actual fallen state; but, alas, it still leaves us attempting to play the part of a self-righteous pseudo-identity healing a personal view of the universe, calling everything seen “via the senses” a dream “that isn’t going on in truth,” and it leaves us still having to see the nothingness of that dream . . . there is no peace in this (A Guide to Awareness and Tranquility 54).

When we choose – however briefly, even unintentionally – to let go of this pseudo-identity (which is the egoic self), then we know peace. The miracle enters perception as a witness unto this “right” choosing: we feel it – a sense of happiness, quiet contentment, inner peace, a singular desire to continually serve our brothers and sisters. And over time, the miracle teaches us – because we are not nearly as complex and mysterious as we think – to choose rightly more and more often for no other reason than we really like how miracles make us feel. Reflexively, we do what makes us happy. We are, it turns out, naturally inclined to grace.

Attention to the truth of this speeds up awakening. When I talk about giving attention, I am simply saying to be aware of when miracles are and when they are not and then be miraculous. Work miracles. Be miracle-minded. We can’t learn this through the acquisition of facts or ideas, but we can see it and bring into application, not unlike learning to swim or play guitar or bake bread.

All of which is to say that there are neither secrets nor mysteries. There are only miracles attesting to the power of choice upon which all our joy is founded.

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  1. Hi Sean, I’m running out the door, but just wanted to say that you have two lovely daughters that look full of joy. I also see you’ve been reading Samuel.

    1. Thanks, Eric – they’re good kids and a lot of fun.

      Yeah, I’m reading Samuel – I like him though I suspect he was a more effective teacher in person.

      I’ll be curious to hear what you think of Singh’s “How to Raise A Child of God.” It’s my least favorite of his books and his own experience of parenting/biological family was my biggest challenge/biggest resistance with respect to giving him attention and learning from him.

  2. Hi Sean,

    Why was this your least favorite book? I read just a smidge of the intro and read something about being kind of against school. Is that part of it?

    1. Oh gosh no. I’m against school myself for the most part. Our children are home-schooled and always have been. I don’t think any child should go anywhere near an institution of learning until well into their teens and maybe even beyond.

      No, it’s not that. It’s that Tara Singh had a family in India – a wife and children – that he walked away from to pursue his own enlightenment and world experience. The circumstances of his departure have always troubled me – I have always judged him for it. He wrote about this – I believe – in Remembering God in All You See. I understand that we cannot judge another life but I am still learning how to do this. In this sense, it is a gift – it forces me to look carefully and closely at his teaching and not fall merely into idolization. But still. When I read that book I kept thinking, okay but did you practice what you preach?

      I say all this very carefully – it probably belongs in a quiet conversation rather than in a comment on a website. My debt to Tara Singh is so large – nobody has guided me the way he has. I read him a little every day and am never not grateful. And yet I remain troubled by that aspect of his life. Family has been so instructive for me – it save me in a way and taught me so much. It is hard for me not to judge those who approach it as anything less than sacred and holy.

      So, you know, my own beliefs and so forth enter into it . . . But there you go, in a nutshell.

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