Miracles are everybody’s right, but purification is necessary first (T-1.I.7:1).
The seventh principle of A Course in Miracles is both lovely and confounding. It reflects the course’s semantic affinity for Christianity and – I say this carefully and lovingly – the Course’s sometimes maddening habit of being poetic and abstract to the point of convolution.
In traditional Christianity , to purify or become pure was to cleanse one’s body through ritual, usually washing of some kind. Baptism is a classic example. Washing one’s feet or hands before a meal or upon waking are another. These rituals can be very meaningful and helpful in religious context, but they are not what A Course in Miracles is taking about.
In the context of the Course, “purification” does not refer to the body. It has nothing to do with waking early, sleeping in hair shirts, becoming celibate or vegetarian, praying more, studying the Course more, washing up before prayer or anything like that.
Rather, purification reflects our increasing capacity to discern between the thoughts that we think with God – which are loving thoughts, which are extensions of Creation – and those that we think with the ego. Thoughts that have an egoic root induce guilt and fear, loneliness and angst, while those we think with God induce inner peace.
To become purified is simply to discern between ego and the Holy Spirit, and to give attention only to the latter.
Do not attept to give the Holy Spirit what He does not ask, or you will add the ego to Him and confuse the two. He asks but little. It is He Who adds the greatness and the might . . . It is your realization that you need do so little that enables Him to give so much (T-18.IV.1:6-8, 10).
Miracles reflect a shift away from thinking with the ego and towards thinking with God, through the Holy Spirit. This is a matter of giving attention to what is going on inside us, at the level of mind. The Course is about the interior rather than the exterior landscape.
When we are aware of our thoughts we naturally become aware of what impedes love because it is not love. We become aware of those habits of thinking that lock us into fear and guilt and we become interested in an alternative because we no longer want the pain and grief associated with thinking that way.
In a sense, when we do this, we are “purifying” our mind. We are bringing it into greater alignment with its natural inclination to love.
There is another aspect to this principle that bears mention. It emphasizes a critical idea in A Course in Miracles: miracles are inclusive. They are for everybody. To think otherwise is to confuse the healing intention of the Course.
It is easy to get caught up with traditional notions of “purity” and “purification.” They imply that we are insufficient and dirty, that some people are more spiritual than others, that a spiritual hierarchy has value (people who make rituals, people who enforce them) and so forth. But valuing this kind of thinking is really just another form of resistance. It is another way of keeping at bay the very help for which we long in our loneliness.
So as always, our focus is not on what keeps the mind looking at external problems but rather on what is inside of us: the egoic thoughts that one by one, two by two, we bring to the Holy Spirit in order that what is loving in them might be saved, and what is unloving might be set aside as illusory.
There is no peace in illusions: only in surrender of illusions that enable us to encounter reality as God created it.