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 – to make room for miracles. A Course in Miracles 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 – they will undo what is personal, they will undo our sense of privileg, they will undo the illusion of privacy. For most of us, those things are not easy to give up! Miracles are not about what we get, but what we give up, in order to learn how create the way God creates. But at least at the beginning, miracle-mindedness appears difficult, even impossible.

We say we want the peace that surpasses understanding, and we say we are ready, but 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 of which we are as yet unaware, and this realization humbles us. It makes us realize that the utility of our thinking is always conditional because it’s always only partial. Therefore it is always prone to error. Therefore, we need correction at a very fundamental level. We need to reboot the self; we need to be born again.

To engage in self-deception is not a crime against God or nature but, because it will not make us truly happy, it is an opportunity to ask if there is another way, one that does not seek to know 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 rather by living lovingly without the answer.

And yes, paradoxically, no-answer is the answer. But it’s no good saying it. We have to come to the insight through application.

There is nothing we can do to generate the miraculous state of mind. Or rather, the only thing 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. When we are no longer willing to stunt like ACIM experts, what happens? We see that our will is not perfectly aligned with God’s Will, nor with Love, and so we ask for help. We become open. “Not my will Lord but yours be done.” We have to reach this juncture in an authentic way. We really have to become willing.

The power to work miracles belongs to you. I will provide the opportunities to do them, but you must be ready and willing (T-1.III.1:7-8).

To accept those words of Jesus and truly reach the state of readiness and willingness is a great grace. 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 instead of 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, and given equally.

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 both 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 our fear makes a world in which fear appears reasonable. It appears justified. We are, as A Course in Miracles makes clear over and over, doing this to ourselves (T-27.VII.10:1). But also as A Course in Miracles points out – echoing Bill Thetford’s inaugurating insight – there is another way.

Miracles teach us that the traditional 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 align our perception of reality with reality as God creates it. We don’t have to accept poor translations or painful alternatives. We can have a direct encounter with love.

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. In this way, miracles teach us that we are fundamentally worthy, and that our worth is reflected in all that we perceive. God doesn’t make mistakes.

These are actual felt experiences in our lives! A Course in Miracles appears in and functions in the context of separation. So we have these 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 our lives in a way that makes us happy and allows us to share our happiness with each other without a lot of drama or self-involvement. We want to help, and being helpful is not difficult, once we understand that it is helpfulness that makes us truly happy.

To heal is to make happy . . . The light that belongs to you is the light of show . . . Joy calls forth an integrated willingness to share it, and promotes the mind’s natural impulse to respond as one (, 4, 6).

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 remember their perfection. Love holds everything.

A lot of us want bright light experiences. There’s a reason ascended master books sell the way they do. They reflect our desire for spiritual extravagances that befit our sense of specialness. This is not a crime against God or nature! But miracles do not work like that because God doesn’t work like that. All his creations have all his love, always (T-1.V.3:3).

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 connect and join. A lot has to go undone. Over time, it gets worse.

This is a lonely and painful way to live.

The miracle gently points out that the problem is the lens we are using to view ourselves and our world. The world is not as it appears and so our reaction to it is not real either. It’s not properly calibrated and therefore not helpfully resposive. When we accept this, then we can accept a new lens. We can let some light in. 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. The Holy Spirit is the new lens. It’s the new lens and it’s also the last lens we’ll ever need.

This is why the miracle is more like switching 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; we work them every day. What the course does is allow us to do this more intentionally and more inclusively. We come to rely on our miracle-mindedness. We trust the Holy Spirit and, by extension, ourselves.

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.

What does this look like?

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. And there is nothing else for us to learn.

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. And when we try to get that something, we can’t find it, or we find it but somebody else has it. Or there’s not enough of it to go around. We are seekers who do not realize that what we seek is already given and present and totally sufficient.

. . . God created you as part of Him. That is both where you are and what you are. It is completely unalterable. It is total inclusion. You cannot change it now or ever. It is forever true. It is not a belief, but a Fact (T-6.II.6:2-8).

When we experience lack and run headlong into the seeming crisis of scarcity, we enter into competition with our brothers and sisters. We have to defeat them in order to survive – to get what we want. They become threats to our safety and well-being. We forget all about God, or try to enlist him on our side against our brothers and sisters.

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 or abundance. God provides, and provides perfectly. We are complete. We have no problems (W-pI.79.1:4).

But our completion must include a remembrance – and a deep abiding and respectful 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, even a little, then we are perceiving from a state of confusion. Fear-based thinking can only beget separation and the harmful feelings that attend it.

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

Miracles remind us of wholeness which is another name for love. 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. The other is not an enemy but a friend. We are called not to compete but to collaborate and cooperate. Communion, not chaos, is the law.

When we perceive ourselves as lacking, we can remember that thinking this way is an error. Errors can be corrected! We can ask the Holy Spirit to restore to our 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 the new belief system which the Holy Spirit teaches us, which is 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 for wrong thinking; there is reprimand for having made an error. 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. We are participating in a gentle correction, not a stern upbraiding or punishment.

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.

←Lesson 199
Lesson 201→

The Fortieth Principle of A Course in Miracles

The miracle acknowledges everyone as your brother and mine. It is a way of perceiving the universal mark of God (T-1.I.40:1-2).

Miracles occur in the context of separation in order to facilitate the undoing of separation. This can also be understood as scenes from a dream that facilitate awakening from the dream. They are baby steps on a journey from fear to love.

Miracles are moments of invitation in which we realize both our separation from reality but also our natural capacity to bridge that gap, as if it had never existed. Our inclination to oneness is inherent; it appears across the human experience, independent of era and culture. It can be recognized and nurtured. It can, literally, be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Critically, we neither remember nor enact this inclination alone. Oneness is a reflection of mutuality and inclusion; it is an effect of remembering our deep equality which we share with all life. This equality and its connection to oneness is what the miracle makes clear for us, over and over and over. What is holy does not exclude anything; what is sacred is not partial.

Knowledge never involves comparisons. That is its main difference from everything else the mind can grasp (T-4.II.11:12-13).

Thus, the “universal mark of God” is our shared perception of wholeness, regardless of the language we use, and it manifests as remembering that the other – a human being, a black bear, a sunflower or a quasar – is our own self. The cosmos forever gazes at itself in love. We share one function, and have a single shared interest. This is what Love is. The miracle cannot point to any other truth because there is no other truth.

Hence, we are called by our study and practice of A Course in Miracles into relationship. We are called to a state which acknowledges everyone as family, including Jesus, the elder brother who inaugurated this particular adventure in holiness, whose work we are called to extend in our living.

This state of being remains a state of separation, but it is given now to transition, to undoing. It does not accept the perception of separation as reality but rather knows it is a distortion of reality. It seeks what is true and unchangeable beyond the mutable lies of preference and the personal. It beholds a kinship that transcends the narrow limitation of the body and the world; it begets a service that reinforces that kinship, and opens the mind to relationship with God.

This is easy to talk about! And that is not necessarily a crisis. Intellectual understanding often precedes application. But truly, living it is also easy, so long as we do not insist on holding onto old prerogatives. We have to be humble and willing to change, at depths that are sometimes frightening and discomforting. Everything that sustains the illusion of separation – including religion, nationality, ethnicity and personality – must be surrendered. Our attachment to it must be undone. We cannot carry anything with us when we go to the well, when we finally enter the Cave of the Heart.

Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which is is ashamed. Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, or one believe you ever learned before from anything. Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God (W-pI.189.7:2-5).

In other words, everything that makes us special and unique must be surrendered. Only then can we discover what is actually holy. Only then can we discover what is true for all of us, pointing unerringly at the unity that underlies the whole of existence.

Miracles are the mechanism of this surrender and the correlated discovery. When we move from fear to love, we naturally give attention only to what joins us, discarding as unreal that which would separate us. We realize that what is true for one is true for all, and in this realization our shared divinity is raised from a spark to a flame and from a flame to a divine conflagration.

Practically, this sugars out in service, nonviolence and our ongoing commitment to transformation into the image of Christ. We are called to meet all of life with equanimity and openness – to see not with the ego but with the Holy Spirit. Love, peace and understanding cease to be only words or merely concepts. They become a lived reality, pointing the way to the state of coherence and resonance that is our shared identity and home.