The Twentieth Principle of A Course in Miracles

Miracles reawaken the awareness that the spirit, not the body, is the altar of truth. This is the recognition that leads to the healing power of the miracle (T-1.I.20:1-2).

The confusion that A Course in Miracles is given to correct is our identification with the body rather than spirit, and the various arguments and rationales that we consciously and unconsciously adopt in defense of this position.

Miracles restore to awareness our actual identity. Spirit represents what we are in truth, which cannot be contained in a body. A Course in Miracles does not deny the body or its experiences, it simply invites us to reconsider our conviction that we are the body. It recontextualizes the body away from our familiar understanding, thus allowing us to experience the self in a new way.

This principle effectively invites us to shift our focus from the physical and temporal realm of the body to the spiritual and eternal, which is the level of mind, and to remember that it is the latter level that reflects our actual identity and true nature.

The phrase “altar of truth” is used symbolically here. We are conditioned to think of altars as physical objects, sites capable of channeling divine or spiritual energy and meaning. A Course in Miracles reverses that emphasis. Love and peace are found in non-material domains; healing occurs as we allow the miracle to correct our misperception of body and spirit, and essentially realign them with the truth as God created it. In this sense, the altar is everywhere and all things. It is a way of being, rather than a place in which to be.

It is important to remember that A Course in Miracles is not advocating for conflict between body and spirit. Spirit does not change; the body does. Spirit cannot die; the body must. Perceiving a conflict between these two domains is a confusion both sponsored and egged on by ego. Our work is not fight the body or privilege the spirit; it is simply to give attention as directed by the Holy Spirit, Who is ever devoted to clarifying our perception of reality. There are lessons to learn, confusions to undo, and even problems to solve. None of that is a crisis, so long as we remember it is all given to help us remember – by teaching one another – what we are in truth.

Thus, the fundmenatal clarification – that we are not bodies and there is no world – happens in a body in the world. Again, this is not a problem! It is, rather, a solution. As the Course makes clear, everything that appears to occur to us in the world is a lesson given to help us remember our true home and self (e.g., W-pI.193.h).

Miracles are a means by which the memory of truth dawns in the mind which yet sleeps and remains unaware of what is true. Healing is the process by which the mind that believes it is a body, remembers that it cannot be a body, and thus is free to create as God creates.


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