The Sixth Principle of A Course in Miracles

Miracles are natural. When they do not occur something has gone wrong (T-1.I.6:1-2).

The suggestion that miracles are natural is important. It is an implicit argument against miracles being supernatural. In A Course in Miracles, we do understand miracles to mean walking on water, turning water into wine, or traveling through space and time, our fingers grazing the wings of ascended masters. We are not new age Ebeneezer Scrooges.

We are ordinary men and women in relationship with one another, remembering our potential for a radical, transformative love and bravely facing the interior obstructions and resistances to the free expresson of that love.

“Miracles are natural” means that they are predictable and understandable and therefore replicable. In this way, they are not fundamentally different than baking a pie or flying a kite. Everybody can do it. We don’t need any special training; we don’t need to devote ten thousand hours to practice; we don’t need to crawl through the desert on our knees repenting.

Be happy, for your only function here is happiness. You have no need to be less loving to God’s Son than He Whose Love created him as loving as Himself . . . you are joining with God’s Will in doing this (W-pI.102.5:1-2, 4).

This understanding of miracles is helpful to our overarching practice of A Course in Miracles because it facilitates keeping the focus on the mind, rather than on continually projecting external solutions to our apparent problems. We aren’t waiting for God to intervene in the world. We aren’t waiting on some lesser-known but still divine entity to up-end the laws of physics. We aren’t waiting on magic.

What we need is given to us – is inherent in us – awaiting only our decision to bring it into application.

What does this look like in practice?

Together, we are remembering that we are not bodies and that there is no world, and this can be understood as certainly and clearly as we understand that flying kites and baking pies are fun and communal and thus meaningful. A few basic instructions, some willingness and away we go.

In this way, we become responsible for our own happiness, and that of our brothers and sisters as well. We remember that we have something to give – that we can be of service by sharing the cause for peace and happiness – and that giving this cause away is how we keep it.

We may be confused about what constitutes “natural” in this context. Indeed, the Course asks us to consider some dramatic possibilities – the reversal of cause-and-effect and the illusory nature of the material world, for example. But the absence of understanding here is not a gap into which the supernatural flows. People thought the earth was flat once; people thought that phlogiston was an indispensable element of combustion.

What challenges us – especially when it takes the form of what we do not yet know or understand – is simply an invitation to become humble and to deepen our shared learning.

We want to be what we are in truth, not what we would be if the ego could write, direct and producte the movie of our lives. Indeed, our addiction to fantasy and other forms of distorted thinking rests on the ego’s desire to always keep us focused on and believing in impossible futures. How else can it so consistently hold our attention?

Our work is to disregard the ego’s penchant for fantasy and drama, and instead return to the simplicity of our lives in the world, where miracles gently remind us – in the very context of separation – that separation is an illusion unbecoming God’s creation.

It is because miracles are natural that their absence reflects an error. However, the error is one of thought; we are confused and our confusion leads to misdirected and unproductive behavior. The error is looking for the miracle outside of us, instead of changing our mind about what miracles are, and then seeing what happens. The miracle may or may not have apparent external effects, but it must reflect a mind that changes – willingly, humbly, happily – from fear to love.

A Course in Miracles is clear: neither Jesus nor the Holy Spirit will help us change the world, but they will help us change our minds about the world (T-2.VI.4:1-3). The miracle is each and every moment that we accept that help, turning away from the world as a source of either solace or suffering, and instead embrace our shared spiritual Teacher within.

Remember: our default state is understanding and holiness. We are creations of Love and our natural state is the state of extending love in the same way that love creates us and extends itself through us. Miracles are both evidence of this and effects of this. Miracle-minded thinking begets more miracle-minded thinking, which in turn begets a happy dream that only gets happier. This happiness touches all life; its effects do not expire.

Thus, if we find ourselves facing an apparent absence or scarcity of miracles – if we are are estranged from the inner peace and joy that miracles routinely offer – then we simply turn our gaze to the unhealed mind within and ask for help in changing it. Doing so aligns us with the natural flow of God’s Will. We are not called to suffer.

The prayer is, “help me to see this differently, that I might remember I can see differently. And in the remembering, remember what I am in truth.” In this way, the miracle restores to our mind its natural power of creation, which is its power to create as it was created.

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