The Thirty-Ninth Principle of A Course in Miracles

The miracle dissolves error because the Holy Spirit identifies error as false or unreal. This is the same as saying that by perceiving light, darkness automatically disappears (T-1.I.39:1-2).

In A Course in Miracles, an error is a perception or belief that does not align with reality as God created it. We perceive fear instead of love, fragmentation instead of unity, and falsity instead of truth. These errors arise from a belief system grounded in separation and guilt. They distort our understanding of our true self and our real relationships with one another and with God. They make conflict; they do not create peace.

The correction of this error allows us to perceive love predicated on unity, and to feel the happy effects of that perception. This correction occurs in the context of separation.

Critically, this shift is under the direction of the Holy Spirit, who remembers Creation even as He also perceives the misguided world made by the ego’s lies and misdirection. What the Holy Spirit does is teach us the difference between the two ways of seeing – the one premised on love and union, and the other on fear and separation. He teaches us that the latter is an error, and can be gently laid aside. When we realize that our fear-based beliefs are not grounded in reality as God created it, they lose their power over us. We become open to a new way of seeing and living.

The Holy Spirit teaches us by showing us what we want – inner peace and happiness – and how to get it.

This principle relies on the metaphor of darkness and light, which is common across many religions, including Christianity. Darkness is error; truth is the light. When the light appears – a candle lit, a switch thrown, the sun rising over the eastern hills – then the darkness is undone. This natural feature of the external landscape is mirrored in our minds. As the light of truth dawns in our thinking, our mistaken beliefs are dissolved. We remember who we are and in the remembrance is a cause for joy. The Holy Spirit is our teacher and guide in this process; our role is to be devoted students.

Your only calling here is to devote yourself, with active willingness, to the denial of guilt in all its forms. To accuse is not to understand. The happy learners of the Atonment become the teachers of the innocence that is the right of all that God created (T-14.V.3:5-7).

The way that this principle is brought into application is through questioning every belief that we hold and refusing to decide in advance what the right or best answer will be. We let it all go. We hold onto nothing, which paradoxically is the way to acccept nothing less than happiness and inner peace. We cannot do this alone. We need Jesus and the Holy Spirit in very literal ways, and we need our brothers and sisters to share the learning experience with us. We need them to bolster our courage, let us lean on them as we go, and remind us that we are strong by asking us to help them. This is the way that fear and conflict – which are effects of our confusion about what we are – are corrected by giving everything to the Holy Spirit.

Forgiveness as A Course in Miracles reframes it is an ongoing process of releasing our grievances and judgments and being willing to perceive the world and all its inhabitants as God created them. This means that we don’t decide in advance what Creation looks like or feels like. We surrender all our preconceptions. We are “born again” as blank slates. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit does the heavy lifting. Our part is simply the “little willingness” upon which all salvation rests.

Thus, when we notice that we are experiencing fear (in any of its forms) – and doubling down on it through fear-based behavior (in any of its forms) – we can remember that miracles are natural and always accessible. We can ask the Holy Spirit to show us a different way of seeing, one that restores to our awareness the fundamental unity that governs Creation, including us.

The more “light” that we allow into our mind, the more the errors of perception – and their apparent effects – can be gently undone.

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