A Course in Miracles Blog

What is a miracle in A Course in Miracles?

  • By Paul West
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  • In Healing, Law, Love
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  • 21 minutes 14 seconds
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I'd like to try to explain from my point of view what a miracle is. However, I have to acknowledge that there are still some aspects of miracles I do not understand. So this is a work in progress. Take what you like and leave the rest.

Firstly, there are two levels. A higher level and a lower level. Think of each level as a realm of existence. The higher level is where God hangs out. In-between them is the idea of separation, and then below is where the ego hangs out. You could equate these to heaven and earth.

In truth, the higher level is the only causal power. In this higher level sits the Son of God who is dreaming, and in His dreaming he makes the lower level. He sort of projects it downwards from above. Mind, as cause, produces the picture of the world, an effect.

This picture of the world contains *everything* in the world, and he simultaneously puts in place everything that moves or seems to have affects on other things, plus the effects that those causes seem to have.

There are no causes inside the dream, only effects. So he is actually like a puppeteer pulling the strings to make BOTH the "causes and effects" or "victims and victimizers" do everything that they seem to do, and the "story" of how one causes the other is FICTIONAL.

In this perspective, cause and effect are VERTICAL. What is above, causes what is below. So this means everything in the world below is only an effect of the dreamer above.

Within the world below, however, there are illusions of separation, and many of these illusions make it SEEM as if there are independent causes within the dream. An example would be that the wind blows and makes the leaves on the tree move. Or a person kicks a ball.

The wind DOES NOT blow the tree - the wind AND the tree moving are BOTH dreamed SIMULTANEOUSLY by the higher level mind. The person does NOT kick the ball, the person kicking and the ball moving are BOTH dreamed simultaneously by a single mind, to create an ILLUSION of cause and effect when viewed in "linear time".

In this perspective, cause and effect are HORIZONTAL. Or in other words, there is an ILLUSION that something in the dream is able to "cause" something else in the dream to be an effect. In essence, this turns the "effect" of dreaming into a cause in its own right. So then we believe that this world contains "causes" which produce "effects". In the horizontal, causes are VICTIMIZERS, and effects are VICTIMS. And it is possible for victimizers to be affected as causes transform into effects and back again, because they are all the same ILLUSION.

Someone kicks you in the leg and you develop a bruise. If you are a body, this puts you AT THE EFFECT of the world, making you an instant VICTIM. Being born "by" the world into a body is an ILLUSION which makes you an instant victim, but in truth you are NOT at the effect of the world, and you are NOT "created by" your parent's bodies.

This horizontal perception of cause and effect is ENTIRELY illusory, because even the things which seem to "cause" other things, and the "effects" of those causes, are actually BOTH EFFECTS of the higher level mind which is the only cause of them. The higher level mind, in its vertical causality, manifests both the person kicking the leg, and the bruise on the leg, simultaneously, making it SEEM as though there was a horizontal cause of the bruise.

In the horizontal perception, we come to believe there are thus illusory "laws" which SEEM to describe what we are seeing happen from within this level, without being awakened to the true nature of cause and effect. It SEEMS to us that every action (cause) has an equal and opposite reaction (effect). The laws of physics are based on this. Science has gone to great lengths to describe the APPARENT way in which stuff happens at the level of being inside the dream, unaware of the higher level.

All of these ego laws, horiziontal laws, are SHOWN to be completely false and illusory, when the higher level decides to DEMONSTRATE that IT is the cause of everything. It is therefore possible for the higher level to decide to project a different image or dream, below, which is unlike the condition it was in previously, WITHOUT OBEYING any of the lower level illusory laws. Because the higher level "overrides" the lower level, any illusions of how things are supposed to happen, or what is supposed to be possible, are completely ignored.

The higher level is the level of love. But it is not just love as we think of love "separate from" other qualities. It is also joy, peace, life etc. In particular, it is ALIVE. God's love is a LIVING PRESENCE, which contains within it life-giving, eternal-life giving qualities. It is able to extend life forever. It is able to express SO MUCH "livingness", that it is permanently in a state of incorruptible "health", it is absolutely impossible for it to become sick or die, and it is therefore a state of immortality.

The life-giving quality of God's love, naturally EXPRESSES at all times. God is therefore ALWAYS giving life and continuing life. God's love is so life-giving and restorative and absolutely refuses to include any form of death or problem, that if any kind of illusion of sickness or death were "exposed" to it, it would be so INFUSED with life, that all signs of decay or sickness or death will be completely reversed. Health (light) will totally obliterate suffering (darkness), shining it away permanently.

This life-giving quality of God, is what we refer to as MIRACULOUS. It literally is 100% unlimited in what it can do, and there is absolutely nothing that can deter it or prevent it from healing, ie being in a permanent state of perfection. God is PERMANENTLY MIRACULOUS. Permanently life-giving. And so is His Son. It is completely NATURAL for God and His Son to be permanently miraculous. If they were to seem to be not miraculous, something must have gone wrong! Miraculousness does not ever stop. It is an eternal aspect of God's creative power.

With this in mind, when we "descend" into the darkness, going down to the lower "level", into the ego world, hell, we are attempting to put distance between ourselves and God. The further we become distant from God, as though descending further downwards towards death (eventually to be buried in the ground), the more we will be blocked from the life-giving properties of God's loving expression. This will result in a mind which believes sickness and death are reality, and it will project a body which is sick and later dead.

Death, in the ego's world, is the final statement that God's life has ended, or that we are so distant from God's Will to Live, that "our" will to live is no longer a will to live, but a will to cease living, ie to die. This means we believe we are becoming *completely* separate from God. Death of the body and mind is the ego's final attempt to completely escape the realm where God's light shines. Only complete "non-existence" can seem to fulfill the ego's wish to be separate from where God is.

In the dark, our mind is believing in separation, and is therefore sick. We have blocks to awareness, so do not see the light very well. This causes us to attack ourselves and our body will show this. Forms of sickness will appear, and eventually the body will die because we have attacked it. In order to UNDO this and reverse it, even to reverse what shows up as physical death, we need a miracle. We need some of the miraculous life-giving radiance of God's love.

Exposure to such radiance will RESURRECT us back to life, first a restoration of health and life in the mind and body, and then later the completion of the resurrection in which the body disappears, because the mind has become SO pure that it can no longer be bound by a body image. There are degrees of darkness and because the body is an outward picture of an inner condition at all times, if the mind resurrects, the body will also. Any "symptoms" (fake effects) from the illusion of horizontal causality, will be UNDONE by the shift to vertical perception (true causality - mind over matter).

A "miracle" as we tend to think of it, seems to be a step towards God. Or as some people call it, a "shift in perception" from death to life. However, we need to be clear that God is permanently miraculous and so is His Son. The miraculous life-giving property of God never stops. The ability to do absolutely anything never comes to an end. The creative power of the mind never ceases. And God is ALWAYS being loving. Anything that comes from love as an expression of love, IS MIRACULOUS. This means that God is ALWAYS MIRACULOUS.

A miracle then, CANNOT BE defined as the shift from death to life itself. The miracle is the LOVE which EXPRESSES in order to PRODUCE a shift from death to life. The shift is an EFFECT. The shift takes place entirely in the realm of the ego's world, the lower level, the level of EFFECT, because a miracle is an expression from the higher level of love, shining down onto what is below, and lifting it upwards towards God.

A helpful analogy, is when Jesus says beautifully:

"Miracles fall like drops of healing rain from Heaven on a dry and dusty world, where starved and thirsty creatures come to die. Now they have water. Now the world is green. And everywhere the signs of life spring up, to show that what is born can never die, for what has life has immortality."

What this is saying is, miraculous healing love shines "down from above" onto the illusory world below where stuff seemed dead, giving it life, pulling it closer to itself, and "life" erupts to show SIGNS (symbols) of the immortality that has been extended from love. Love expresses, the dead come back to life, even forms and bodies and objects come back towards life. As far as forms of life can, being limited as symbols in a dream.

Corresponding to this then, realize that miracles come down from heaven, from the higher level, FROM LOVE, as an expression of Love, and BLESS what is below (the dusty dead world), bestowing upon it the MIRACULOUS radiance of love's life-giving properties, and therefore "bringing life" to what is there, RESTORING to being "more alive".

Jesus says in his analogy that the signs of life now spring up. Simply, what once was seemingly dead or even partly dead, has had some measure of its "dead-ness" lifted away, that thing has been RAISED upwards, vertically, towards God, and therefore is now in closer proximity to the life-giving power of God's love, and therefore COMES BACK TO LIFE. This even means that ROADKILL can be brought back to life, all "effects" of war can be undone, and all death reversed. The body can even be made immortal, incapable of sickness and death, because it is SO infused with the life-giving power of love. A miracle indeed.

Miracles are also referred to as a shift in perception - FROM HORIZONTAL TO VERTICAL PERCEPTION. As I described, when the mind changes how it sees things, and no longer sees things entirely in a "horizontal" way in terms of cause and effect, is no longer believing that one thing in the dream caused another thing, it shifts its VIEWPOINT by moving awareness VERTICALLY up towards God.

Vertical perception is the awareness that the higher level (love) is the ONLY CAUSE, and everything "below" that seems to be in the world - bodies and such, is ONLY EFFECT. This so-called shift into alignment with how God operates, is a shift into the recognition that cause is inside you not outside you, or to put it another way, cause is above, and all effects are below.

The "shifting" itself IS NOT the miracle as such. The shifting itself, the transition from darkness to light, is not really what causes healing. What causes healing is God's LOVE expressing FROM above, shining down onto what is below, causing what is below to be partly dissolved, such that the mind seems to shift upward.

This has to be true, because if the miracle itself - the miraculousness of love - were ONLY the shifting from horizontal to vertical, then once the "shifting" itself had been completed, the miracle would be ENDED, and that means, love would stop being miraculous. Love is PERMANENTLY MIRACULOUS. It cannot stop being miraculous.

What happens is, once a shift to vertical has taken place and healing has been RECEIVED FROM ABOVE, and the level of communication has been raised (oneness increased, separation decreased), there are simply LESS BLOCKS to the extension of love. More love is allowed to SHINE from above, through the mind, and to extend outward.

It extends outward completely naturally because that is what love does all the time. So when you remove your block to awareness, whether you call it a shift or not, you REVEAL the presence of love in the mind, you open up to the higher level and allow it to shine through you, and therefore love can now EXTEND THROUGH YOU.

Removing blocks to love, is an act of removing blocks to the AWARENESS of love's presence, because love is ALREADY FULLY PRESENT, being miraculous all the time. Correction, shifting, purification, or removal of blocks, simply UNCOVERS the love which was trying to express, allowing it to express more.

Shifting perception DOES NOT CAUSE A MIRACLE and DOES NOT CAUSE LOVE TO EXIST. Love, miraculousness, already exists. That is the *ego's version of miracles*, which it thinks IT causes, because IT thinks that IT has power over love to make healing happen! The shift is seen by the ego as a cause, but it is an EFFECT from a higher level. A gift. A sign that the mind is WILLING TO RECEIVE LOVE, not an ability to 'make love happen'.

The shift merely puts us closer TO it and allows us to EXTEND it, thus RECEIVING healing FROM love. "We" do not cause healing by shifting perception, LOVE DOES ALL THE WORK. And this also means, that being open to RECEIVING LOVE from God is important in healing, not just doing stuff with your mind on your own. You do not have to do everything yourself, God WANTS TO HEAL YOU FOR YOU.

The INCREASE in the expressability of that love through you is what HEALS YOU. The shift does not heal, the unblocking does not heal, LOVE IS THE ONLY HEALER. Love is the miracle.

After a while, when you have removed enough blocks to love that you are starting to RADIATE LOVE on a more constant basis, or at least something approaching towards love, YOUR MIND is now being restored as a conduit or medium through which love can naturally extend.

This means you will now be willing and able to extend love outward. And since you're still in the body at the moment, that means you will be able to DO GOD'S WILL ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN, ie you will be able to express the LOVE OF GOD, here, which means expressing God's LIFE-GIVING POWER, here, to HEAL and undo absolutely any sign of "non-life" you encounter.

In other words, you do not simply perform a miracle in order to shift your mind towards love. You shift your mind towards love SO THAT you can be miraculous. Otherwise it would mean that someone who is heavily steeped in ego lies, upon making their first little shift, is suddenly a full-blown miracle worker. That is pretty much impossible.

"Miracles are everyone's right, but PURIFICATION IS NECESSARY FIRST". This means that your purification efforts will have to happen first, possibly over a prolonged period of time, BEFORE you will GAIN ACCESS TO the right to perform miracles. This is because you need to remove quite a lot of blocks to love BEFORE love can flow through you fully enough to show up as miracles in your life or on behalf of others. If you have a lot of blocks to love, you are GETTING IN THE WAY of the extension of love and therefore are blocking miracles.

You are not miraculous just because you start studying the course or doing the workbook, or "shifting your perception". Miracles come LATER, after much purification work ie correction of your mind, letting go of ego, applying forgiveness etc. Shifts in perception are not miracles, but eventually they LEAD TO miracles. If you could suddenly shift your perception very much to a highly vertical perception, you could conceivably perform a miracle right now. But it is uncommon. Usually we have to "prepare" to be able to do that.

You will OPEN UP TO miracles over time, the more you release blocks to love, because you will be placing yourself closer to God and therefore regaining access to love, a willingness to extend it, and therefore miracles can work through you from God. You can then perform God's WILL, but you are not going to be able to perform God's will after a few perceptual adjustments.

However, at some point, you WILL get to the point where you are spending much more of your time IN vertical perception, not believing in the horizontal ILLUSION of causality, and will become much more miraculous. When miracles are not happening ALL THE TIME, something has gone wrong. This means that miracles are a PERMANENT PART of the NATURE of the Son of God. And of God. It is a natural part of love and life. When we are not being constantly miraculous, constantly loving, we are not performing miracles all the time, so something is wrong.

When we do become more consistently aligned with God's Will, the Power of God will now extend through us. We will now be ABLE to EXPRESS LOVE. And since we're still in this world, this means, we are able to render the MAXIMAL SERVICE to our brothers, which is what every miracle does. At this point, "miracle working" does NOT simply entail shifting someone's perception towards truth. It entails utilizing the vertical perception of the higher level (God/Love/Life) to OVERRIDE any and every illusory "effect", or "cause" in this world.

This means your holiness is very powerful and there is literally nothing that it cannot do in the world. Miracles expressing from the higher level, love, do not see orders of difficulty because they do not believe the lower-level illusion of cause and effect. They overthrow ALL physical laws because all laws on the horizontal level are FICTION. What appears to be a cause in the world is NOT A CAUSE. Any state or condition or sickness or form of suffering or even physical death, CAN BE REVERSED.

Why would you do this? Well, you're going be expressing a LOT OF LOVE. And it is NATURAL for love to be miraculous. It is NATURAL for love to want to HEAL, to reverse suffering, to undo ego pain, to heal the SEPARATION, and so if separation is showing up as physical sickness or broken bodies, LOVE WANTS TO HEAL IT. It is not God's will that ANYONE suffer or die. It is God's Will that EVERYONE experience perfect health and resurrection and permanent happiness.

Why express miracles in a world which isn't real? First of all, that's level confusion. Second of all, it's because this is what LOVE WANTS TO DO. Love wants to HEAL THE WORLD to resurrect everything to a reflection of perfect health and incorruptability, and to then bring everyone home across the tiny gap between that "real world" and heaven. The world NEEDS miracles of healing from love. And third of all, it is our FUNCTION in this world to HEAL, a function which we share with the holy spirit, and while we are here, it is our natural RIGHT and PURPOSE to heal at all times.

This means PERFORMING MIRACLES EVERY SINGLE DAY. God wants us to BE MIRACLE WORKERS, in the world, helping our brother, healing our brother SUPERNATURALLY through the Holy Spirit, DEMONSTRATING that vertical perception is the truth, demonstrating that ego laws DO NOT APPLY, and teaching everyone by EXAMPLE what the TRUTH OF LOVE IS. We ARE supposed to be going out and healing the sick and raising the dead and teaching everyone that God is Love and all limitations are fictional. Miracles are the MAXIMAL SERVICE you can render your brother, and that means, extending God's love TO EVERYONE, which WILL HEAL THEM.

And what will the nature of these miracles be, will it be that we help someone to see differently? Perhaps. ANY expression of love is miraculous. But love is also capable of healing the sick, raising the dead, reversing death, undoing all suffering, curing all incurable diseases, even transforming bodies into different bodies. Love has so much power that it also is capable of DEFYING ALL PHYSICAL LAWS, including laws of gravity and space and time and size and mass and properties of matter and anything else which is an ILLUSION on this level.

This means, if necessary, you will have the ability to DO ANYTHING if it is helpful and loving. If it demonstrates that the egos' horizontal laws are COMPLETELY UNTRUE, and easily proven to be false, you will be willing to do it. If that means, lifting up a car with your mind to show that gravity means nothing, so be it. If it means, moving an entire physical mountain in order to show that the mind has power over the world, so be it. If it means manifesting food out of thin air to feed 5000 people, so be it. If it means making your body walk on water to prove that the laws of physics are bullshit, so be it.

You will walk this earth PROVING that cause and effect are VERTICAL, proving that love has the power to GIVE LIFE to the dead, curing what everyone says cannot be undone, proving that resurrection is God's Guarantee, and there will be literally NOTHING that your holiness cannot do. You will heal sick people, you will raise the dead, you will move mountains, and you will SAVE THE WORLD.

Saving the world does not so much mean that you save it FROM some attacker, but rather, that you save it from itself, because it is an ILLUSION. The ultimate healing of all the world will be the restoration of "immortal bodies" temporarily, the total undoing of all sickness across the entire planet, the recognition of the real world by the entire sonship, and then the complete DISAPPEARANCE of the universe, revealing that ONLY HEAVEN IS REAL.

Miracles are the MEANS of the atonement - how YOU get there, but because they are expressions from a higher level of love, you will also BECOME PART OF THE ATONEMENT by continuing to express love even as you are about to accept the atonement, still in a body, walking the earth. You become part of the atonement by becoming part of LOVE, part of God's Will, and DOING WHAT GOD WANTS YOU TO DO, which is to extend love and healing to everyone who needs it!

This is why you will join the "great crusade" and be part of the plan of atonement long-term, because it is YOUR NATURAL FUNCTION when you have received healing and naturally desire to alleviate the suffering of others. You will not have any willingness to support or keep sickness in yourself OR in others. You will be miraculous ALL THE TIME, EVERY DAY. Being miraculous is a PERMANENT QUALITY of the Son of God and all of God's creations. Being constantly miraculous in this world is NORMAL. Being un-miraculous is ABNORMAL. You will also have no desire to "opt out" of this crusade. Jesus needs active miracle workers to bring about the resurrection!

Miracles raise everyone towards God's eternal life. We are to use them WHILE it seems there is a "need". But miracles really acknowledge that "there is nothing to heal" just as forgiveness recognizes "there is nothing to forgive" and God's power recognizes "there is nothing to have power over". So long as illusions persist however, miracles HEAL the illusion, forgiveness UNDOES the ego, and God's power DEMONSTRATES what is true.

Miracles mean life. Resurrection of "what is dead" and brought back to life is the goal of the atonement. Miracles lead to revelation and atonement as the ultimate healing. We are in a state of semi-death right now, in this dream world, separate from God. We NEED miracles. The whole world NEEDS miracles from God. This world NEEDS LOVE.

And love will restore life, to turn the world into a SYMBOL of life, and then the symbol will give way to REAL LIFE. The lower level will disappear (since it was never real) and all that will be LEFT will be the higher level of God/heaven/truth. This is a course in CAUSE, not effect, a cause in how to express the miracle of love from that higher level, not to suffer as a victim of fake effects of death in an ego illusion!

Then we will simply extend God's love forever, which has been happening all along, continuing the miracle of eternal life.

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