The Twenty-Fifth Principle of A Course in Miracles

Miracles are part of an interlocking chain of forgiveness which, when completed, is the Atonement. Atonement works all the time and in all the dimensions of time (T-1.I.25:1-2).

Forgiveness here refers to right seeing. It refers to the process of correction in our minds, whereby perception is aligned with reality – with Creation as created – to the maximal extent possible.

Miracles facilitate this process by effectively cleansing our minds of error, especially in the very contexts that we find ourselves. So if there is a dispute in our life, or if there is a grievance or a conundrum, then the miracle is what heals that.

Miracles are not necessarily comforting, at least not at first. In fact, we may experience them as discomforting, because they are shifting our thinking away from the familiar (which is ego, which is dominanted by fear and chaos, and misdirection).

We are accustomed to separation, and it can take time and energy to investigate it in a truly healing way.

The references to time here have to do both with the experience of Atonement in time – e.g., I have to study A Course in Miracles, I have to practice forgiveness, I have to go to therapy and yoga, I have to avoid using food to ignore my feelings et cetera. They encompass the so-called life hacks that can be very helpful in our acceptance of the Atonement for ourselves.

But it also – especially in the phrase “dimensions of time” – makes clear that Atonement transcends our limited ideas about what we are and what the world is. Atonement can heal the past in the present; it can heal the future in the present, and it does all this by restoring the present to our awareness.

When we are fully capable of living only in the present moment, which the Course calls the holy instant, then we recognize the way in which time is a construct – it is always relative to an observer, to an ego – and it becomes easier to perceive beyond it.

There are no mysteries that A Course in Miracles is given to solve. It is not introducing us to some supernatural codex with the secrets of the universe encoded within.

It is simply restoring to memory our true self, in a way that cashes out in awakening from the dream of separation. Once awakened – once knowing oneself only in terms of Atonement – then the need for time and learning ends. That we are not there yet is not a problem; it is not a crime against God or nature.

Rather, it is an opportunity to embrace uncertainty and imperfection, and to accept without qualification or condition experience as it is given to us. This is healing; and nothing else matters.

The Twenty-Fourth Principle of A Course in Miracles

Miracles enable you to heal the sick and raise the dead because you made sickness and death yourself, and can therefore abolish both. You are a miracle, capable of creating in the likeness of your Creator. Everything else is your own nightmare, and does not exist. Only the creations of light are real (T-1.I.24:1-4).

Claims that miracles will enable us to heal the sick and raise the dead are dramatic. They are not new age – a common charge against the Course. They are, rather, deeply and authentically Christian. They call us to become Christ, as Jesus did.

Wait – you’re saying you’ve actually literally raised the dead? I understand the objection. But the Course is clear; we aren’t bodies. Therefore, death is not real. There is nothing to raise.

So “raise the dead” reflects the understanding that our suffering – all of which comes to down to our identification with bodies – is a thing we are doing to ourselves, which means it is a thing that is happening at the level of the mind. The physical world is like a canvas or a screen at which the ego throws mud but which the Holy Spirit lovingly translates into light.

What we are in truth is a miracle, capable of creating as God creates – only in love. Whatever we make that is not love, is simply a bad dream which disappears easily upon waking, never even to be remembered. What haunts you now will not exist when you are awake.

Therefore, we can look at our lives in the world – see the challenges, the failures, the successes, the good stories and the bad – and realize we don’t have to feel guilty. We don’t have to fix anything. We are free to be as happy as God created us to be.

“Light” here is a metaphor. It means that which is created in the mind, that which is brought forth in the mind, when the mind remembers it is God itself. It is held by God, it reflects God back to God, all it knows is God.

All it truly can create is Love, and all healing is an effect of Love, reflecting Love back to Itself. Only the creations of light are real is therefore a solace, a prayer we utter to remember – when we are scared or angry, defensive or aggressive – that all of this is a bad dream, soon to be over, remembered no more.

The Twenty-Third Principle of A Course in Miracles

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).

Note that this principle subtly points out that miracles are occurrences in the context of separation – the healing they produce (here defined as the end of level confusion) still relies on perspective, i.e., a distinct observer of the world.

Yet the perspective is still ordered – it is still functional – because it is no longer confused about its primacy. It understands that perspective is always partial, and therefore reflects separation. When we no longer insist that our perspective is right, then perception begins to shift from body to mind, there to become attentive to love rather than fear.

Miracles are fundamentally shifts in how we understand ourselves and the world, and they always involve seeing a relationship in a clearer light, because we are no longer looking through a lens of fear but of love, which means acceptance, recognition of our shared equality, and mercy.

This is a commitment we make – to see this way, to act this way in anticipation of being transformed in this way, and then – as a result of this practice – being transformed. We see beyond the illusion of separation and remember our true nature as one with God in Creation.

“Levels” here refers broadly to the physical and the spiritual, though it is possible to see both as having sub-levels. Emotion and intellect, for example, are body levels. Intuition and understanding are more mind levels, mind and spirit being basically synonymous.

When we are healed by the miracle, we no longer mistake one level for another. We aren’t trying to force the physical world into a spiritual posture it can’t adopt. We aren’t over-investing in the spiritual in order to deny the physical.

Miracles realign perception, so that the levels remain distinct and clear, lessening our confusion, and allowing us to remember again our unity with all life.

We call this “healing” because believing in separation – and suffering its myriad effects, such as level confusion – is a form of sickness. The fix is right-seeing, which in A Course in Miracles, we call forgiveness.

To forgive is to see reality as clearly as possible, i.e., with as little judgment and emotional investment as possible. We want to see what is true, not what we prefer be true.

The more we do this, the more freedom we experience, and the more freedom we experience, the less guilt and fear, anger and hate, pervade our awareness. They simply begin to disappear, like morning fog as the sun rises. We don’t heal them, we simply look at them without fear.

In practice, this means that when our co-worker yells at us, or when we are given a task we don’t think we can do, or when our child is sick or when our dog dies, we see it not as a chance to play the victim, but as a chance to remember we are Christ by committing to seeing differently.

The body’s eyes lose their centrality, as the mind begins to realize its power, which is the power of creativity. This begets yet more healing, and yet more peace.

The Twenty-Second Principle of A Course in Miracles

Miracles are associated with fear only because of the belief that darkness can hide. You believe that what your physical eyes cannot see does not exist. This leads to a denial of spiritual sight (T-1.I.22:1-3).

The ego advocates for reliance on physical perception as the sole means of understanding reality. If the body cannot sense it, then it does not exist. Only the body and the material world – each of which brings the other forth – are valid. Anything else does not exist.

Spiritual sight and understanding are denied, dismissed and devalued.

On the ego’s view, darkness obscures people, places and things from our physical sight, making it difficult or impossible to see them. This makes it seem reasonable that what cannot be seen cannot actually exist.

If we cannot “see” God, then God cannot exist. If we cannot “see” Love, then Love cannot exist.

Miracles – which occur at the level of the mind, at the level of thought – cannot be seen and therefore – on ego’s view – do not exist.

Thus, our awareness of reality becomes distorted. We lose our appreciation for our true nature in Creation. The interconnectedness of all life – and the underlying knowledge that love holds everything – are lost to us, because all we see is the gap between us.

We are effectively depriving ourselves of true power, true creativity, and actual knowledge when we think this way. And the effect in the world is scarcity and judgment, suffering and pain.

This principle teaches us not to forsake our spiritual sight by hiding from ourselves the transformative power of the miracle. Darkness cannot hide anything, much less reality. Miracles are effectively a light in self-imposed darkness that reveal the underlying unity and love that is always present.

As our acceptance of Christ Vision, or spiritual sight, is enhanced, we naturally begin to perceive the world as extending beyond the limited reach of the body’s senses. We learn – and begin to live – the truth that nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists (T-in.2:2-3).

The Secret to True Safety

True safety resides in our willingness to offer only empathy and compassion to our brothers and sisters. When we love even our enemies – when we are even willing to love our enemies – then we no longer have enemies. Love is our protection.

Love is the secret to true safety. And Love holds everything.

Love is the protection of the other as well. If we refuse to indulge conflict – if we decline both attack and defense – then conflict no longer exists, and the other is as safe as we are, even if they don’t believe it.

Defenselessness is strength. It testifies to the recognition of the Christ in you . . . Defenselessness can never be attacked, because it recognizes a strength so great attack is folly, or a silly game a tired child might play, when he becomes too sleepy to remember what he wants (W-pI.153.6:1-2, 4).

Given the option of nonviolence, people often ask: “does this mean I should let people walk all over me?”

It’s a fair question. But it only makes sense from the vantage point of the body, and the separated self that is supposedly indelibly associated with that body. In other words, it only makes sense if what we are can be walked on. If it can’t, then it doesn’t matter what happens to the body.

Which – surprise surprise – is exactly the point A Course in Miracles makes in its framing of Jesus’s crucifixion.

The message the crucifixion was intended to reach was that it is not necessary to perceive any form of assult in persecution, because you cannot be persecuted. If you respond with anger, you must be equating yourself with the destructible, and are therefore regarding yourself insanely (T-6.I.4:6-7).

Turn the other cheek indeed.

I elected, for your sake and mine, to demonstrate that the most outrageous assault, as judged by the ego, does not matter. As the world judges these things, but not as God knows them, I was betrayed, abandoned, beaten, torn and finally killed (T-6.I.9:1-2).

I want to be clear here. If somebody punches you, walk away. If somebody moves to hurt your child, protect your child. If you need help getting away from violence, ask for help. Ask me. I will help you. Refusing to suffer means refusing to let others be a cause of suffering – it is a gift we give, not a privilege we protect.

A Course in Miracles is a response to an identity crisis. It is a correction to the erroneous perception that we are bodies in a world. The deal is, we work together to minimize harm and maximize happiness in order to remember what we are in truth.

In my experience of studying and practicing ACIM, nonviolence is the quickest means by which to remember that we are not bodies and there is no world and thus to properly contextualize this dream and no longer be troubled by it.

Nonviolence starts with not hurting others. Yet we have to notice how much of “hurting others” occurs outside our awareness. It’s easy to realize that when we shout at somebody or cheat on somebody that it’s bad. It’s easy to say “I”m sorry.”

What is hard is realizing the way in which our deepest thoughts and biases are themselves violent, and that because of them – and because we are not investigating them – they feed the communal nightmare by which school shootings, Jesus grifters, factory farms and conspiracy-thinking gain traction and momentum.

I am suggesting there are levels of being where you realize not only that you are doing this to yourself (e.g. T-27.VIII.10:1) but you are also doing [insert heinous act here] to others.

We do not want to see this about ourselves – we do not want to wade through an endless fog of confusion to reach fetid swamps anger, hatred and fear.

And yet.

When we do this – when we reach the juncture where we are utterly repulsed by our own self – then suddenly (as if all along we were attended by a loving friend) we will discover that we can no longer hate anybody. The worst of all of us is inside us. We see that we are the problem, and then (as if all along we were attended by one who has already walked this walk), we feel only compassion for our brothers and sisters – especially the ones, near and far, who threaten us the most.

This is Love, and this Love will direct us in very specific ways (e.g., T-1.1:4:2-3).

I say this a lot because it is a core principle of our spiritual practice as students of A Course in Miracles: there is only love and the cry for love. And the response to both is the same: love.

I speak here only to my own experience. I am a friend saying “this worked for me,” not an expert saying “this is the law and the prophets.” Be kind to yourself, for you merit kindness, and don’t be afraid to face your ghosts and demons, and their facsimiles in the world. They are nothing before the light of what you are in truth.

The Twenty-First Principle of A Course in Miracles

Miracles are natural signs of forgiveness. Through miracles you accept God’s forgiveness by extending it to others (T-1.I.21:1-2).

Again, the emphasis here is that miracles are natural – they are not supernatural. They are not spectacles. They are tools used by God to strengthen the faith of believers, or persuade the undecided.

Miracles are simply shifts in perceptions that occur when we see the world, our self, and others rightly. Forgiveness is not pardoning somebody for a bad thing they did. Rather, it is not seeing good or bad at all, but only a brother or sister who is out equal in the eyes of the Creator in the context of Creation.

Thus, when we “forgive” according to A Course in Miracles, we recognize the inherent unity and innocence of all beings, and let go of the illusion of separation, which letting go naturally undoes our guilt and fear. When we forgive, we remember – and agree to not forget again – that our true identity is not defined by ego and its limited perception.

Thus, the miracle effectively opens us to the Love and oneness that are our divine state.

Our brothers and sisters are essential to miracles. We cannot remember our innocence alone, and we cannot remember the innocence of others if we do not remember that God created us innocent. Miracles insist on our interconnectedness in Creation, and also that this unity is a function of our Creator, who cannot know us as other than unified.

Thus, this principle encourages us to recognize the ego can do nothing but perpetuate the illusion of separation, and to accept only the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of experience. This acceptance is a miracle, becuase it does not depend on our own judgment, it does not feed our grievances.

Rather, it restores to our awareness that our identity lies in unconditional love and acceptance. This naturally leads to a deeper and more sustainable peace, one that we can extend to all the world, extending the range of our shared awakening.