“The miracle is the means, the Atonement is the principle, and healing is the result”
I understand that, for many people, the religious language of A Course in Miracles can be off-putting; words like ‘the Atonement’ conjure up images of a vengeful God, ruling by fear rather than a higher power leading through love. While I consider myself to be a spiritual person – whatever that really means – I do not consider myself religious. Despite being raised a Catholic, the teachings never resonated with me. I do believe in a higher power and I generally refer to that as the Universe.
All that being said, I do recommend readers of the text stick with it. Try to negate the contentious language while taking in the central message of A Course in Miracles, that is, Love.
If you believe that we are created ‘perfect’ then you will accept that there is no real emptiness inside. In reality, we are unaffected by all expressions of lack of love. Read that sentence again, it’s an important one.
“Peace is an attribute in you, you cannot find it outside”.
I love that, because I genuinely believe that miracles are natural, corrective, healing and universal.
“True denial is a powerful protective device”.
When it comes to the correction of errors, understand that this is part of evolution. Evolution is a process, by which we move from one level to the next. The very act of moving forward corrects any previous missteps. The Atonement is simply the device by which you can free yourself from the past as you move yourself forward. It undoes any past errors.
“It is hard to believe that a defense that cannot attack is the best defense…A two-way defense is inherently weak precisely because it has two edged and can be turned against you very unexpectedly.”
“Tolerance for pain may be high but it is not without limit. Eventually everybody begins to recognise, however dimly, that there must be a better way.”
This recognition is essentially a turning point; it ultimately reawakens spiritual vision, simultaneously weakening our reliance on physical sight. Corrective learning always begins with the awakening of spirit.
Chapter 1 of A Course in Miracles
As summarized by www.CarolTallon.com from the original text of A Course in Miracles
Revelation, Time and Miracles
While revelation unites us directly with our higher power; miracles unite us with each other. Neither emanates from consciousness but both are experienced there. Consciousness is the state that induces action, but it does not inspire it. Revelation induces only experience; miracles induce action. Awe should be reserved for revelation only. Miracles are a sign of love among equals. Spirit is the bridge between us and our higher power.
Atonement and Miracles
To ‘atone’ is to un-do. Spirit cancels out errors that we ourselves cannot correct. Our role is to listen to spirit, learn to undo errors and act to correct them. A Course in Miracles clearly states:
“The power to work miracles belongs to you”
We are wholly lovable and loving. But having been forgiven, we must forgive in return. The impersonal nature of miracles is an essential ingredient because it allows Spirit to direct its application. Under Spirit’s guidance, miracles lead to personal revelation. Error cannot threaten truth, which is:
“Spirit is in a state of grace forever.
Your reality is only Spirit.
Therefore, you are in a state of grace forever.”
When you project upon others, you imprison them but only to the extent of reinforcing errors they have already made i.e. errors in their perception. If your perception of yourself is distorted, this makes you vulnerable to the perceptions of others. You respond to what you perceive, as you perceive so shall you behave.
The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
This calls for appropriate behaviour, for this, the perception of both people must be accurate.
Miracles arise from a mind that is ready for them
When you bring in the stranger, he becomes your brother.
Miracles are selective only in the sense that they are directed towards those who can use them for themselves.
The Escape from Darkness
There are two stages for this: Firstly, awareness that darkness cannot hide; secondly, a recognition that there is nothing you would want to hide, even if you could.
If a mind perceives without love, it perceives an empty shell and is unaware of the Spirit within. But Atonement restores Sprit to its proper place. The mind that serves Spirit is invulnerable.
As a lapsed Catholic, I have always rejected the notion of sin as I felt it simply does not sit with the human experience. A Course in Miracles teaches us that sin is no more and no less than a “lack of love” or more loosely, a rejection of self. It has no unique properties of its own and is an example of the scarcity belief from which only error can proceed. Truth is always abundant.
“The purpose of the Atonement is to restore everything to you; or rather, to restore it to your awareness. You were given everything when you were created, just as everyone was.”
Wholeness and Spirit
“You can wait, delay, paralyze yourself, or reduce your creativity almost to nothing. But you cannot abolish it. You can destroy your medium of communication, but not your potential. You did not create yourself.”
The basic decision of the miracle-minded is not to wait on time any longer than is necessary.
Specialness does not come from exclusion but from inclusion.
If we believe that we are deprived of anything, our perception becomes distorted.
Whatever is true is eternal.
“All shallow roots must be uprooted, because they are not deep enough to sustain you. The illusion that shallow roots can be deepened, and thus made to hold, is one of the distortions on which the reverse of the Golden Rule rests. As these false underpinnings are given up, the equilibrium is temporarily experienced as unstable. However, nothing is less stable that an upside-down orientation. Nor can anything that holds it upside-down be conducive to increased stability.”
For me, this passage explains the enduring myth of family.
The Illusion of Needs
You who want peace can find it only by complete forgiveness.
No learning is acquired by anyone unless he wants to learn it and believes in some way that he needs it.
Lack does not exist in creation, although it is very apparent in what we ourselves have created – in fact, this is the essential difference between creation by a higher power and our own creation.
What we create, we believe in, even if what we create in fear or lack.
Distortion of Miracles Impulses
Distorted perceptions produce a dense cover over miracle impulses, making it hard for them to reach our awareness. Actions that stem from distortions are literally the reactions of those who genuinely don’t realise what they are doing.
Chapter 1: The Meaning of Miracles
As summarized by www.CarolTallon.com from the original text of A Course in Miracles
Principles of Miracles
- There is no order of difficulties in miracles.
- It is not the miracle, but rather its source, that matters.
- Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.
- Miracles mean life; life is from God or your Higher Power; you will be told what you need to know, learn and do.
- Miracles are habits; they are involuntary and therefore not consciously controlled.
- Miracles are natural, when they do not occur, something has gone wrong.
- Miracles are everyone’s right, but purification is needed.
- Miracles are performed by those who temporarily have more for those who temporarily have less. They heal the perception of lack.
- Miracles are an exchange; love goes to the giver and the receiver
- The purpose of miracles is not to induce belief.
- Prayer is the medium of miracles.
- Miracles are thoughts (akin to Law of Attraction teaching).
- Miracles are beginnings and endings; they undo the past in the present in order to release our future.
- Miracles bear witness to truth. They are convincing because they arose from conviction.
- Each day should be devoted to miracles; time exists solely that we might learn how to use it constructively.
- Miracles are teaching devices; they simultaneously strengthen the giver and they receiver.
- Miracles transcend the body; this is how they bring about healing.
- Miracles are a service; reinforcing our worth and the worth of others.
- Miracles make all minds one in God.
- Miracles reawaken awareness that truth is in Spirit, not body.
- Miracles are natural signs of forgiveness; and forgiveness must be extended and accepted ourselves.
- Believing that ‘what your eyes don’t see does not exist’ leads to a denial of spiritual sight.
- Miracles rearrange perception into its true level, that is, after truth.
- Miracles enable you to heal what you yourself created. You are a miracle, capable of creating and only creations of light are real.
- Miracles are forgiveness; forgiveness is instrumental in Atonement i.e. to undo.
- Miracles represent freedom from fear.
- It is the privilege of the forgiven to forgive.
- Miracles are a means, revelation is an end.
- Miracles praise God through you.
- Miracles, by rearranging perception in levels of alignment, place Spirit at the centre.
- Miracles should inspire gratitude, not awe.
- All miracles are intercessions.
- Miracles honour you because you are lovable.
- Miracles restore the mind to fullness.
- Miracles are expressions of love, yet they might not always have observable effects.
- Miracles are examples of right thinking.
- Miracles correct false thinking.
- Spirit is the mechanism of miracles.
- Miracles dissolve errors.
- Miracles acknowledge everyone as brothers, or equals, and as one.
- Miracles are wholeness; they correct the perception of lack.
- Miracles release us from any false sense of isolation, deprivation and lack.
- Miracles arise from a miraculous state of mind; be miracle-ready.
- Miracles are an expression of awareness of a higher power and Atonement.
- A miracle is never lost, it touches many people.
- The Holy Spirit is the highest communication medium. Miracles do not involve this type of communication because they are temporary communication devices. When you return to direct revelation, the need for miracles is over.
- Miracles can be learning devices that lessen the need for time.
- Following on from this, miracles are the only device for controlling time.
- Miracles hold that there is no distinction between degrees of “misperception“.
- The miracles compares what you have made with creation, accepting what is in accordance with it as true and rejecting what is out of accord with it as false.
This is a course in miracles.
It is a required course.
Only the time you take it is voluntary.
Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at any given time. This course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does, however, aim at removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance.
The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.
Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.
About A Course in Miracles
Carol Tallon, www.CarolTallon.com
The original text was delivered by Professor Helen Schucman and Professor William (Bill) Thetford, both professors of Medical Psychology at Columbia University back in the 1970’s. I am using the term ‘delivered’ as neither took credit for being the authors, but rather, Helen was the channel for the work, assisted by Bill.
If it is of interest, I recommend that you watch this YouTube video that gives a bit of personal and professional background on both professors. By their own admission, neither was a believer; they were not living particularly spiritual lives. In fact, their relationship was described as being far from harmonious. But perhaps therein lay the potential…
Together, they set out to find an alternative way for their academic department to co-exist without the “aggressive and angry” attitudes that were, at that point in time, being reflected. As it transpired, A Course in Miracles was and is that way.
In the Preface
A Course in Miracles is a way to find your own inner teacher.
While it is blatantly Christian in statement, it deals with universal spiritual themes. It aims to reverse thoughts, to bring us through a journey of unlearning so that we might get to our state at the time of our creation.
The book is comprised of three parts: Text; Workbook for Students; Manual for Teachers. The text is broken down into 27 chapters, which I will summarise over the next month. Please note that the summaries and any interpretations are personal to me and another reader will surely have another interpretation. I am interested to hear other interpretations and I would hope that by approaching A Course in Miracles in this way – regularly and through the ExplosiveSpirit.com website – it will lead to a discussion among readers of the text.
Upon reading of the text in its entirety, the workbook has 365 lessons, one for every day of the year. A year of miracles, how amazing does that sound? The text asks that you suspend judgment as you apply the lessons. The course is a beginning only, not an end in itself.
Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.
Truth versus Perception:
Truth is unalterable, eternal and unambiguous. It can be unrecognised but it cannot be changed.
Perception is learned rather than given, selective in its perceptual emphases, unstable in its functioning and inaccurate in its interpretation.
Knowledge is truth. Truth and perception are two distinct thought systems, opposite is every respect. Perception leads to perpetual conflict within ourselves and with our higher power, whether you believe that to be God or the Universe or some other entity.
We are living in a world of illusion; much of what we ourselves have created is simply not real.
“When you have been caught in the world of perception you are caught in a dream. You cannot escape without help, because everything your senses show merely witness to the reality of the dream”
We need to recognise our illusions without believing in them. To escape this dream world, we must reverse our thinking and unlearn our mistakes. This happens through forgiveness.
“Projection makes perception”. This refers to the truth as we see it, i.e. it is made true only by our interpretations.
We use perception to justify our own mistakes, our anger, our impulses to attack, our lack of love. We must learn to forgive, not because we are good or charitable beings, but because what we are seeing or perceiving is not true. We have distorted the world by our twisted defenses and are seeing what is not there. We need to recognise and look past or forgive our errors in perception. By forgiving others, we forgive ourselves.
As a lapsed Catholic, I have always had a difficulty with the word sin, as defined by those Catholic teachings. A Course in Miracles defines sin as “lack of love”. Sin is a mistake to be corrected, not a wrong-doing to be punished.
Our sense of inadequacy, weakness and incompletion comes from our perception of scarcity. This scarcity principle, or concept of lack, governs the whole word of illusion.
We seek in others what we feel is wanting in ourselves. We ‘love’ – but not in the true sense of the word – another in order to get something for ourselves. This is a mistake, for love is incapable of asking for anything.
“The ‘little I’ seeks to enhance itself by external approval, external possessions and external ‘love’. The Self that God created needs nothing. It is forever complete, safe, loved and loving.”
Therefore, real love has no needs and wants to join with others out of their mutual awareness of abundance.
Special relationships are too often destructive, selfish and childishly egocentric. Yet, they can, in truth, become the holiest things on earth; miracles and miraculous.
Each one can be the opportunity to let perceptions be healed and errors corrected. Each one is a chance to forgive oneself by forgiving the other.
Perception is a function of the body, that is, we see what our physical eyes and hear with our physical ears; truth abides inside each of us. It is a function of spirit. Often times, we struggle to hear and see the truth over our egos.
Under the law of Heaven, giving and receiving are the same. The only way to receive forgiveness is to offer it. Forgiveness is a necessary correction for all the mistakes we have made. Acknowledging good in others helps us to see it in ourselves. Forgetting all of our misinterpretations and with nothing from the past to hold us back, we can remember our higher power.
When we are ready God and the Universe will take the final step in our return to him and to love.