The Thirty-Sixth Principle of A Course in Miracles

Miracles are examples of right thinking, aligning your perceptions with truth as God created it (T-1.I.36:1).

Thinking can be given to the Holy Spirit or to the ego. Ego uses it to make and extend conflict, ever reinforcing the grounds for division and competition. The Holy Spirit uses it to emphasize unity and peace.

“Right” thinking is thinking that is guided by the Holy Spirit. It takes the world we perceive – the world brought forth by the body – and uses it to demonstrate that nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists.

Ego-based thinking is rooted in fear, judgement and separation. Spirit-based thinking is founded on love, forgiveness and oneness. It is easy to dismiss these as mere abstractions, but they have psychological and behavioral correlates. The one we choose guides our behavior, shapes our relationships, and – through the principle of recursion – shapes our ongoing experience of both self and other.

On this view, a miracle is the shift in our thinking away from fear and towards love. It arises from the decision to listen to the Holy Spirit rather than the ego. In concrete and context-specific ways, when we are aligned with love, we perceive our brothers and sisters as both loving and worthy of love. Regardless of their actions, individually or collectively, we know we are one with them.

The miracle always emphasizes interconnectedness and innocence. And the emphasis always yields nontrivial transformations of behavior – not because that is the site of healing, but because of the underlying belief system upon which we are relying to guide our perception.

We can either perceive a world that is fragmented and violent – one in which only survival matters, and survival is always up to us – or we can perceive a world which God created, in which Love awaits our shared remembrance, and all things become symbols not of separation but the end of separation. The ego does not want us to remember our Creator, much less our place in Creation.

Aligning our perceptions with “truth as God created it” means embracing – and extending – our inherent nature as expressions of God’s Love.

The world itself is beyond change, being merely a momentary perception. In the final sense, this is the true cause for peace. But in the interim, miracles transform our experience of the world, allowing us to perceive a home in which there is no cause for fear, guilt and separation.

Remembering what we are in truth means having our function t heal restored to our awareness. We reclaim our inheritance in Creation – not through fear but Love.

The Forty-Third Principle of A Course in Miracles

Miracles arise from a miraculous state of mind, or a state of miracle-readiness (T-1.I.43:1).

The question is always what do we want? And how do we know we want it?

It is easy to say we want miracles, but it is hard to clear our mind of the conditioning of the brain, its distractions, biases and confusion. The Course teaches us how to undo that which obstructs Love, but the necessary precedent is our willingness that it be done. Are we ready?

That is the question posed by this principle. Are we ready? But also, how do we know? Most of us will say we are ready. Most of us want to want miracles. But to really want them is to be clear what they will undo – the personal, the private, the privileged – and that is not so easy. Miracles are not about what we get, but what we give up, in order to learn how create the way God creates.

How do we know we are not lying to ourselves?

When we practice A Course in Miracles, in time, we learn that we do not know what we do not know. We realize there are depths to life that we are not yet aware of, and it humbles us. It makes us realize that the utility of our thinking is always conditional; it’s always prone to error, which means it’s always in need of correction.

And this is not a crime against God or nature but it is an opportunity to ask if there is not another way, one that does not seek to know all but rather to live peacefully and resonantly with not-knowing. This is the question the saints and the mystics resolve, not by finding an answer but by living lovingly without the answer.

There is nothing we can do to generate the miraculous state of mind. All we can do is see that we do not presently have it, or that we have it but are unsure if we truly have it, and then see what happens. We see that our will is not perfectly aligned with God, and with Love, and so we ask for help. We become open. “Not my will Lord but yours be done.”

To say that and mean it is a great grace, and a lot of healing is accordingly engendered. It creates a state of conscious awareness – of intentionality – characterized by kindness, gentleness, mercy, curiosity and a willingness to see beyond the surface appearances to the divine truth of our shared unity and interconnectedness.

When we live this way, we are ready to see as the Holy Spirit sees, and not the way the ego sees. We can readily gaze past the fear-based illusion of separation, and see instead the love that underlies Creation and is Creation. We are no longer alone, because everything is given.

We all have this capacity; it is inherent in us because of what we are. As we explore it – as we become willing to let go of anything that obstructs it, even a little – we begin to experience shifts in perception, moving us from fear to love, and into the bountiful peace and happiness that is Love’s gift and effect.

The Forty-Second Principle of A Course in Miracles

A major contribution of miracles is their strength in releasing you from your false sense of isolation, deprivation and lack (T-1.I.42:1).

The human experience includes loneliness and frustration. We often feel deprived of love or companionship. Hardships abound – people go without food, are subjected to violence, suffer and die. We all know this; we all see this. If it is not our experience today, it might be tomorrow.

We live with uncertainty, and we fear what might happen to us and those we love, and in our fear we make a world in which fear is reasonable. We are, as the Course makes clear over and over, doing this to ourselves.

Miracles teach us that this understanding of ourselves and the world is upside-down. It’s a way of seeing that reflects confusion rather than clarity; it is a distortion of reality rather than a revelation of reality. By gently shifting us from fear-based to love-based modes of thinking, miracles enable us to know reality as God creates it. We don’t have to accept poor translations or painful alternatives

Miracles correct the error that we are incomplete. They undo the belief that God creates unequally. And they heal the mind that seeks to meet its own needs through competition and conflict rather than through communication, coordination and cooperation.

These are actual felt experiences in our lives – they are moments when we rise about petty grievances, or decline to indulge argument, or ask ourselves sincerely if there is another way to look at a situation that feels troubled or broken. We live them out in ways that make us happy and allow us to share our happiness without a lot of drama or conditioning.

Miracle-minded thinking often shows us that we are not alone but in relationship. We are not isolated but connected, joined at levels that bring forth life rather than death, and joy rather than sorrow. We are not problems in need of fixing, but perfect creations of a loving Creator who need only realize their perfection. Love holds everything.

We tend to want bright light experiences. There’s a reason ascended master literature sells the way it does. It reflects our desire for something grand and special. Which is not a crime against God or nature! But miracles are not like that.

Imagine that the world is hard to see. It is cloudy and dark; everything is blurred. You bump into things a lot; you miss opportunities to meld. This is a lonely and painful way to live.

The miracle gently points out that the lens we are using is the problem – the world is not as it appears and so our reaction to it is not real either. And when we accept this, then we can accept a new lens. That is what ACIM does for us – it offers us the Holy Spirit’s translation of our life in the world rather than ego’s.

This is why the miracle is more like switching our a pair of broken glasses for a pair that works. It’s like updating our prescription from one that doesn’t work to one that does. And when we can see clearly, then our response to the world also clarifies. Miracles are ordinary; you work them every day. What the Course does, is allow us to do this more intentionally, and more inclusively.

The move from fear to love corrects our misconception of reality by undoing the effects of fear. In the context of separation, it is given us to remember wholeness and to share the effects of that remembrance with all our brothers and sisters, and all of life.

It’s closer to a party than a therapy session, and closer to a therapy session than surgery, and closer to surgery than suffering. Love holds everything; the miracle has no other lesson to teach us.

The Forty-First Principle of A Course in Miracles

Wholeness is the perceptual content of miracles. They thus correct, or atone for, the faulty perception of lack (T-1.I.41:1-2).

One of the hallmarks of separation is a sense of lack, and a corresponding sense of scarcity. There always seems to be something missing – some person or thing, some feeling or idea – that would complete us. We are seekers who do not realize that WHAT we seek is given and present.

Corresponding to – and reinforcing – this experience of lack is a sense of scarcity. What is missing is rare – there’s not enough to go around – and so we have to find it now. When we think this way, we enter into competition with our brothers and sisters. They are seen as threats to our safety and well-being.

This is an obvious error crying out for correction.

The miracle demonstrates wholeness, which is the end of lack and the undoing of scarcity. What is whole is not missing anything, and what is not missing anything cannot be concerned about ideas like scarcity and abundance. God provides, and provides perfectly. We are complete. We have no problems.

But our completion must include a remembrance – and a deep abiding acceptance – of the wholeness and perfection of the other as well. God does not create unequally. If we perceive a reality in which inequality seems justified or logical, then we are perceiving from a state of confusion. Fear-based thinking can only beget separation and its attendant harm.

Love is the other way and, for some of us, A Course in Miracles is the path on which we remember this and bring it into application.

Thus, miracles remind us of wholeness. This reminder might be a glimpse of that unity, it might be a coherent idea about unity, or it might be a dialogue in which we are restored to unity. Either way, a shift in perception occurs – our old thinking is updated and healed, and our will is brought gently into alignment with Creation, in which nothing is missing, and so nothing need be sought or hoarded or hidden away.

When we perceive ourselves as lacking, we can remember this is an error. Errors can be corrected. We can ask the Holy Spirit to restore to awareness that incompletion and fragmentation are ego-driven illusions that serve the cause of conflict rather than peace. We can be open to changing our mind. We can let our living reflect a new belief system, premised on our inherent wholeness which is our relationship with all of existence.

It’s helpful to note the way that miracles “correct” or “atone” for faulty perception. We are not punished; there is reprimand. It is a simple question of adjusting our thinking so that it naturally accords with reality as God created it. It’s more like polishing our glasses so that we can see better than anything else.

Miracles are simple and clear, but their effects have long range and impact. Our shared willingness to see ourselves and others as God knows us allows us to to experience our inherent wholeness, itself a mark of the kinship of all beings. What else would we want when everything is given?

Review Period VI: ACIM Workbook

We have now completed the first 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 there is no world, and that together, these statements form a single truth, the recognition of which is 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. It has always take the world seriously as the body’s home, and both the threat against – and the source of any meaningful defense against – its survival. But the body is not the problem! The identification with it is.

Fix that and the world will cease to matter at all.

Therefore, 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 ACIM 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 of the three over the others. Love is inclusive; anything held apart from healing makes healing impossible. This is a law.

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” ( This 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 personal, ego-driven 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. We don’t.

These idle thoughts can take the form of impatience with a co-worker, a desire to eat the last cookie rather than save it for a friend, a memory of injustice from childhood that we savor. 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” in lieu of obsessing over harm and other illusions.

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 God which 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 A Course in Miracles, Jesus invites 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. That is what we know now; that is what will guide through the next phase of our learning.

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. All our thoughts and beliefs to the contrary have merely obscured what was always true. Nothing is missing; everything is given.

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, not inevitable. 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, 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. What we are in truth transcends the limitations of the body and the world. This understanding is a gift that we give to ourselves, by giving it to our brothers and sisters.

The question is never how do we see ourselves, but rather how we see our brothers and sisters. Are we willing to see them as God does? Are we willing to not see them as God does not?

We remember what we are in truth when we realize that all we want to do is extend to the world a 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 cross together 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? They are not real and they obscure our awareness of what is. Can we discover what is real when what is unreal is laid gently to rest? Is it a question of willingness, not secret knowledge or supernatural strength.

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? Because they never satisfied our desire to know ourselves as God does.

. . . 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; there never was. Nor is a day coming when there will be. There is only – there was always only – the peace of God. Together we make it so.

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