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 towards 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 own wholeness; every miracle attests to this.

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

Healing is not fixing, and atoning is not ownership of, the effects of sin. Rather, healing and atoning are both right-seeing – they are synonyms for forgiveness in A Course in Miracles – 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 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.

The Holy Spirit will not abide its diseased obsession with conflict.

Ego is the part of the mind that believes in duality, reinforces separation, and always knows lack. It promotes forms of behavior which justify its belief system. 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 and 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. There is no cause for conflict anywhere at all – only the Cause for joy and peace. 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. It is to consent to the miracles. 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 the ego’s perspective of self and world.

Miracles show us – and allow us to remember – that 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.

That division – self from Creation – begets a literal cosmic daisy chain of additional fragmentations. Judgment enters in an attempt to enforce some order on the illusion. Things are categorized as good and evil, right and wrong, our tribe and that tribe, and so forth. Suddenly, “vs.” appears everywhere. The appearance of these dualities is not the problem; the problem is that we believe they accurately reflect reality. Then the “vs.” stops being play and becomes a cage match to the death.

That single 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, rather than duality. Nonduality suggests that everything is a single, interconnected whole. There is no separation anywhere, notwithstanding any appearances.

Thus, when ACIM refers to miracles dispelling illusions and thereby restoring us to sanity, it is 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 accomplish, bringing about in us a deep and abiding peace and understanding. We become happy in ways that cannot readily be described but which can be shared. Indeed, must be shared. How else could they relate to happiness?

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 begins to emerge. We do not feel trapped by our feelings nor confused by our thoughts. We are liberated from the tyranny of false thinking.

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, deeper currents are being addressed – such as our separation from God, or our recognition of the equality of all life, both of which instantiate a true commitment to living nonviolently. However, the two levels are not separate. Our psychological wellness at the level of the body and the world is a natural reflections of the underlying coherence that is our true self, when it remembers itself as God’s Creation.

We are fundamentally lovable beings. We are not sinners, we are not trouble-makers, and 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 and 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 in which 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 bridges the world brought forth by our limited perception and transforms it via the natural truth of being 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. It teaches us our own perfection.

Indeed, the miracle advocates for our holiness. It advocates for perfection. When we recognize our holiness, we simultaneously recognize our truth. We recognize that truth is true and remains as God created it. This allows perception to be healed because nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists. 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 the world’s bland conditioning, and instead remember that we are minds, God-lit and pure, which together are Love.

And Love holds everything.

Our perceptions of the physical world, along with our ego-based thoughts and beliefs about that world, make an illusory experience of separation – we forget ourselves. We lose our confidence and trust. We believe we are in adversarial relationships with others, and that the world is neither fair nor loving. In that world order, of course we are not perfect. Everything we do and everything that is attests to imperfection.

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, and we do not commit sins. We are not guilty, and need neither to be punished nor to punish. This is salvation! This is what it means to be born again! This is the remembrance of what we are, never to be forgotten or set aside again.

The Thirty-Ninth Principle of A Course in Miracles

The miracle dissolves error because the Holy Spirit identifies error as false or unreal. This is the same as saying that by perceiving light, darkness automatically disappears (T-1.I.39:1-2).

In A Course in Miracles, an error is a perception or belief that does not align with reality as God created it. It perceives fear instead of love, fragmentation instead of unity, and lies instead of truth. Errors arise from a belief system grounded in separation and guilt; they distort our understanding of our true self and our real relationships with one another and with God. They extend conflict, not peace.

The correction of this error allows us to perceive love predicated on unity, and to feel the happy effects of that perception.

Critically, this shift is under the direction of the Holy Spirit, who remembers Creation even as it sees the misguided world of the ego. What the Holy Spirit does is teach us the difference between the two ways of seeing – one premised on love and union, the other on fear and separation. It teaches us the latter is an error, and can be gently laid aside. When we realize that our fear-based beliefs are not grounded in reality as God created it, they lose their power over us. We become open to a new way of seeing and living.

This principle relies on the metaphor of darkness and light. Darkness is error, truth is the light. When the light appears – a candle lit, a switch thrown, the sun rising over the eastern hills – the darkness is undone. It is the same with erroneous thinking. As the light of truth dawns in our mind, our mistaken beliefs dissolve and disappear. The Holy Spirit is our teacher and guide in this process; our role is simply to be devoted students.

The way that this principle is brought into application is through questioning every belief that we hold, and accepting nothing less than happiness and peace in our living. We cannot do this alone. We need the Holy Spirit in a very literal way and we need our brothers and sisters to share the learning experience with us. Fear and conflict are forms of confusion which can be corrected in relationships given to the Holy Spirit.

Forgiveness as A Course in Miracles reframes it is an ongoing process of releasing our grievances and judgments and being willing to perceive the world and all its inhabitants as God created them. We cannot do this alone; our part is simply the “little willingness” upon which all salvations rests.

Thus, when we notice that we are experiencing fear – and doubling down on it through fear-based behavior – we can remember that miracles are natural and always on hand. We can invite the Holy Spirit to show us a different way of seeing, one that restores to awareness the fundamental unity that governs Creation.

The more “light” that we allow in to our minds, the more the errors of perception – and their apparent effects – are gently undone.

The Thirty-Eighth Principle of A Course in Miracles

The Holy Spirit is the mechanism of miracles. He recognizes both God’s creations and your illusions. He separates the true from the false by His ability to perceive totally rather than selectively (T-1.I.38:1-3).

A Course in Miracles characterizes the Holy Spirit as that part of our mind which knows both the world of illusion constructed by ego and the real world created by God in love. Because the Holy Spirit knows both, it can helpfully bridge the one to the other.

Miracles move us from fear to love, according to the Holy Spirit’s understanding of the gap between our illusions and the truth as God created it. In a sense, what the Holy Spirit does is open our mind to the light of truth, allowing it to shine away the shadows of fear perpetuated by ego.

Our understanding of ourselves as limited and limiting is undone accordingly. We realize we are not alone in a world where our survival is uncertain, but rather one with God in a Creation where nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists (T-in.2:2-3).

On our own, we are not capable of truly discerning between fear and love, between guilt and innocence. We might be able to do so one day but not another. Or do it a little but not a lot. The Holy Spirit always remembers the reality of love, unity, and perfection. It never falls for our illusions; it never buys into the mistaken perceptions and beliefs that drive separation and its attendant negative effects.

Because it can discern between the two, the Holy Spirit can teach us how to discern this way as well.

The Holy Spirit “separates the true from the false by His ability to perceive totally rather than selectively” (T-1.I.38:3). When we are listening to ego, our perceptions are selective and fragmented because we are operating from a separation, or scarcity, mindset. The body’s eyes see a part of the world, and we conflate that with “all.” This is an obvious error that can only yield misunderstanding and conflict.

On the other hand, the Holy Spirit does not accept the body’s limitations as our own. By perceiving only lovingly, it naturally perceives only love, and thus knows the whole of God’s creation as God created it. What appears separate to the body’s senses become symbols of interconnectedness, attesting to the unity which underlies the cosmos.

Because it can perceive in this way, the Holy Spirit can help us discern the true (the reality of unity and love) from the false (the unreality of separation and fear).

It takes time to learn how to learn from the Holy Spirit. And it takes time to learn that all we really want is to learn from the Holy Spirit. Before we know it as salvation, wholeness is frightening. Alignment with love is natural but we are accustomed to an upside-down view of the world and of ourselves. Miracles are gentle and reliable corrections, taking us precisely as far as we are able in a given moment and context.

Miracles induce gratitude, not discomfort. They affirm the Teacher whose only need is our own need to remember our Creator’s Love.

The Thirty-Seventh Principle of A Course in Miracles

A miracle is a correction introduced into false thinking by me. It acts as a catalyst, breaking up erroneous perception and reorganizing it properly. This places you under the Atonement principle, where perception is healed. Until this has occurred, knowledge of the Divine Order is impossible (T-1.I.37:1-4).

This principle illustrates the Course understanding that miracles reflect transformative changes in perception, initiated by Jesus. Miracles correct false or ego-based thinking, realigning it with God’s Truth. In this way, they allow for a healed perception of reality, which A Course in Miracles refers to as the Atonement.

“False thinking” refers to thoughts which arises from the ego’s thought system, which is premised in separation, fear and guilt. On this view, the self is alone in the world, separated from all people and things, and in a grim battle for its own survival. God is nowhere to be found.

It is a painful way to live.

The Course describes this as false, or erroneous, because it misrepresents the true nature of our existence as being part of the interconnected whole of Creation, in which we cannot be separated from God or from one another. Creation is seamless.

We can think of the miracle as a kind of spiritual intervention, which enables us to recognize our dysfunctional reliance on perception, and become to a new way of thinking. Miracles are catalysts, causing the mind to shift from fear to love, and from conflict to peace. Miracles rearrange our thoughts by teaching us to recognize the underlying belief system from which they arise.

We are taught to disregard the egoic emphasis on separation, and to rely instead on the Holy Spirit’s gentle insistence on unity and oneness, which are gifts from God to us.

To the extent we accept and participate in this realignment of perception, we rest with one another under the Atonement principle. We acknowledge our true selves and refuse to deny our Creator. We recognize that fear and guilt arise in misperception, and are sustained by our unwillingness to correct that misperception. We see clearly that we are doing this to ourselves.

The Atonement principle is the recognition that separation is an illusion and that we are, in fact, eternally united with God and with each other, where “other” includes black bears, bumble bees and atoms.

Healed perception allows us to attain “knowledge of the Divine Order.” This means we understand and experience reality as it truly is – as an expression of God’s Will, endlessly bringing forth love. The world is seen as it truly is – perfectly innocent – and all our brothers and sisters share in that innocence with us. Only the false thinking of the ego stands in the way of this understanding.

In summary, this ACIM passage suggests that a miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love, from separation to unity, enabled by divine influence. This shift heals our perception, aligns us with the truth of our oneness with the Divine, and allows us to experience and understand the world as an expression of this divine unity.

Finally, Jesus clearly identifies himself as an intercessor in this principle. Ego is no joke, and the work we undertake cannot be done alone. We need help. By reminding us of his presence, Jesus also reminds us that none of us are alone. The Atonement principle is not exclusive – it is for all of us. Otherwise it would merely be another tool of the ego.