The Sixteenth Principle of A Course in Miracles

Miracles are teaching devices for demonstrating that it is as blessed to give as to receive. They simultaneously increase the strength of the giver and supply strength to the receiver (T-1.I.16:1-2).

An early and essential tenet of A Course in Miracles is the understanding that miracles represent shifts in perception from fear to love. They are not physical or supernatural events; they are not spectacles designed to affect the belief of observers. They are changes in the way we think about perception and knowledge in order to undo our mistaken belief in the so-called “reality” of separation.

The miracle always promotes a recognition that all life is interconnected because it was created by God in and as Love. Glimpses of this unity are evident even at the level of the body, when the mind is aligned with the Holy Spirit. So when the Course refers to miracles as “teaching devices for demonstrating that it is as blessed to give as to receive,” it means that miracles are literally examples of how the extension of Love benefits both the giver and the receiver because of their fundamental oneness.

This is connected to the principle that we “keep” ideas by giving them away. Sharing is the way we remember what is true. True abundance is always empty-handed as the world understands these things.

The Holy Spirit is the idea of healing. Being thought, the idea gains as it is shared . . . It is strengthened by being given away. It increases in you as you give it away to your brother (T-5.III.2:1-2, 6-7).

Miracles have to be shared; that is what miracles are. And the mind that is giving the miracle is not separate from the mind that is receiving it. We can experience this in the sense of relief that the miracle induces in us, and the peace that attends it. It feels personal but it’s not because it’s shared. The invitation is to focus on the “shared” part, rather than the “this is how it feels to me” part.

The “strength” to which the Course refers here is not physical strength – like being able to withstand physical pain or run a marathon. It is not even emotional strength – like being stoic in the face of injustice.

Rather, it refers to a spiritual and psychological resilience that is born of reliance on spiritual rather than physical principles. To attend the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of experience, rather than ego’s, naturally creates strength. In the context of ACIM, this strength reflects awareness of our true nature as extensions of God in Creation. It can’t be shaken; it grounds us no matter what occurs. The miracle allows us to remember this and to share the remembrance with our brothers and sisters. Together we support and encourage one another in learning what we are in truth.

In this way, we create peace and happiness both with and for one another – a happiness that is reliable and durable and a peace that surpasses understanding.

The memory of the Self-as-Love is an idea; the form it takes in the world will shift and change, according to the shared learning needs of both the giver and the receiver. It might be deep listening; it might be doing the dishes on the night it’s not our turn; it might be going to therapy.

The form is not the point; the form is in not even under our control. Our work is to remember what we are, which we do by giving attention to all our brothers and sisters, and loving them as we love our own self. This requires becoming responsible for projection, which is easier to say than to do. But when we practice this way, the form our learning takes will consistently reinforce our connection to God and all Creation. The form is nice – truly it is more than nice – but still. It is the underlying idea – that we have to do the work of attending only the lessons of the Holy Spirit – for which we are responsible.

As we give and receive miracles (we are called to do both), our spiritual “strength” is increased and buttressed because we are aligning our will with God’s Will, and thus refusing the ego’s narrow and bitter interpretation of what we are. Separation, and the fear that is separation’s calling card, are thereby dissolved and undone in us.

Together we remember what we are in truth, because it is together that we perceive correctly what is true: our shared interest in becoming Christ. Love holds everything; fear is incapable of any real effect at all.

The laws of the world teach us that sacrifice is real, that scarcity is the law, and that only competition can truly protect our interest in survival. A Course in Miracles gently undoes that confusion by teaching us how to cooperate in order to bring forth together the Vision of Christ, which does not perceive differences at all.

As we practice forgiveness, and as fear gives way to the Love that is our inheritance, we naturally accept the Atonement which brings to an end our meaningless sojourn through the world of separation. The world is not our home; Love – which gives and receives without qualification or condition – is.

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