The Fourteenth Principle of A Course in Miracles

Miracles bear witness to truth. They are convincing because they arise from conviction. Without conviction they deteriorate into magic, which is mindless and therefore destructive; or rather, the uncreative use of mind (T-1.I.14:1-3).

The miracle represent a shift in perception, away from fear and towards Love. The miracle is an effect of allowing the Holy Spirit rather than ego to interpret the world for us. Because the Holy Spirit knows the Mind of God, its “interpretations” are the functional equivalent of Knowledge. They lead to peace, not conflict.

When we know, there is no doubt or confusion. Miracles remove the need to guess or estimate. To know is to be in relationship with truth, which does not include opposites not subject itself to this or that interpretation. What do you know?

According to A Course in Miracles, miracles are a natural expression of love and truth. They convince us of their efficacy because they arise from the Holy Spirit’s confidence in the power of love and compassion, which together point to our unity with all our brothers and sisters (broadly defined to include mosquitos, crows and drops of rain) in Creation. When we share the Holy Spirit’s conviction, which is an extension of its trust in God, then miracles occur naturally and extend this conviction into the minds of our brothers and sisters.

However, if we do not share the Holy Spirit’s conviction, and instead rely on the unstable foundation offered by ego, then miracles as such are degraded. They devolve into “magic,” which is the Course’s word for the use of thought to try and achieve results in the world without first establishing our shared reality in and with God. When we want a better parking spot or winning lottery ticket, we are asking mind to be magical rather than miraculous. And mind can do this! But shifting outcomes in the external world will not bring us joy. It will not bring us peace.

Magic is fundamentally the uncreative use of the mind (e.g., it “makes” rather than “creates”) because it relies on the ego’s ideas about separation and sacrifice, rather than on the Holy Spirit’s conviction about the power and presence of Love. Because it does not recognize our underlying equality, which is our oneness with God and Creation, this kind of thinking can and often does lead to destructive behavior that reinforces rather than undoes the separation. The appearance of violence in any form means we are not thinking with God, which means we are listening to ego rather than Holy Spirit.

And while it’s well and good to address the external violence – please do do this – the real healing, the real solution, comes from healing the mind that believes it is separate from God. And for that, we need a teacher.

Indeed, this principle is basically a cautionary note about the importance of staying close to the Holy Spirit before attempting to work miracles. Humility is essential, because it teaches us not to overly rely on our own thinking, which cannot help but bring forth confusion about and distortions of reality. We are good at self-deception! We are good at convincing ourselves that outcomes we desire represent healing rather than harming.

The Thought God holds of you is perfectly unchanged by your forgetting. It will always be exactly as it was before the time when you forgot, and will be just the same when you remember. And it is the same within the interval when you forgot (T-30.III.7:6-8).

It is a fundamental principle of A Course in Miracles that our thoughts, beliefs and convictions shape our experience of reality. When we deliberately study with the Teacher who teaches Love, forgiveness and unity – because it teaches only as an extension of the Mind of God – we naturally experience – we naturally create – miracles. This miracle-minded thinking manifests a world in which our interconnectedness is obvious and desirable, thus inspiring yet more willingness to work together to undo both the perception and the effects of separation.

In this way, miracles serve to strengthen our faith and remind us of the power of love and compassion in our lives. Inner peace and happiness are not accidents. They are effects of a decision to become responsible for salvation, by accepting the Atonement for our own selves.

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