"It is God’s strength in you that is the light in which you see, as it is His Mind with which you think. His strength denies your weakness...” ACIM, Workbook page 159, Lesson 92.
Because we rely on the body’s eyes for sight and on the body’s brain for thought, we eventually come to the conclusion that we are weak. After all, eyesight does deteriorate with age and sometimes the brain does too. Needing reading glasses and becoming forgetful are testimony to this. Yet, Lesson 92 is trying to get us to stop identifying with the body’s eyes and brain, and to identify, instead, with the strength of God within us; God’s strength is within us because we are extensions of Him and, therefore, a part of Him. It follows that we have His strength if we can only tap into it.
Jesus tells us that it is very difficult for us to understand that the body’s eyes can only show us darkness— not light; we rely on what we see and believe that it is real. But Lesson 91 reminds us that, “The body’s eyes do not perceive the light.” So, how can we access the strength that is within us? “Remember that all sense of weakness is associated with the belief you are a body, a belief that is mistaken and deserves no faith.” W157. Lesson 91 assures us that we are supported by God’s strength and that our strength will come from His Thoughts. It is through God’s strength that we will see miracles.
But what exactly are miracles? They are expressions of love. “Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.” T3. Yet, in order to be able to give miracles to others we have to completely change our perception of this world. We have to correct all the erroneous beliefs of the ego and listen to the Holy Spirit in the right part of the mind instead of the ego. “A miracle is a correction. It does not create, nor really change at all. It merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false. It undoes error… A miracle inverts perception which was upside down before, and thus it ends the strange distortions that were manifest. Now is perception open to the truth. Now is forgiveness seen as justified.” W473.
Jesus frequently reminds us in A Course in Miracles that our thinking is upside down because the ego has created a world that is the complete opposite of Heaven. The ego believes its world of form and time to be real, and it is fearful and guilty because of its belief in the separation from God. As a result of this, the ego projects its negative thoughts and fears out into the world of form so that it now it believes others are to blame instead of itself. If we can recognise that this world is an illusion, and forgive ourselves for having miscreated it, then we are able to heal our perception and offer the miracle of love to others. We now recognise that those who attack us (either verbally or physically) are simply mirroring the contents of our mind back to us, and they deserve our forgiveness because they are simply the mental projections of our own minds and they have, in reality, done nothing wrong (although in our dream world they may have.)
“Forgiveness is the home of miracles. The eyes of Christ deliver them to all they look upon in mercy and in love…Each lily of forgiveness offers all the world the silent miracle of love….” W473. Yet, Jesus points out that, at first, we need to have a lot of faith in miracles, because we cannot actually see them or understand them. But we should trust him because, “…the miracle will justify your faith in it, and show it rested on a world more real than what you saw before; a world redeemed from what you thought was there.” W473.
An interesting point to note about miracles is that they shorten time for us. Firstly, Jesus tells us, “Time is under my direction, but timelessness belongs to God. In time we exist for and with each other. In timelessness we coexist with God.” T28. Secondly, we are told that miracles shorten time for us because, “The miracle is a learning device that lessens the need for time. It establishes an out-of-pattern time interval not under the usual laws of time. In this sense it is timeless.” T6. That seems amazing! The mechanism by which miracles shorten time is explained further on in Chapter 1. “…the miracle entails a sudden shift from horizontal to vertical perception. This introduces an interval from which the giver and receiver both emerge farther along in time than they would otherwise have been. The miracle thus has the unique property of abolishing time to the extent that it renders the interval of time it spans unnecessary. There is no relationship between the time a miracle takes and the time it covers. The miracle substitutes for learning that might have taken thousands of years. It does so by the underlying recognition of perfect equality of giver and receiver on which the miracle rests. The miracle shortens time by collapsing it, thus eliminating certain intervals within it…”T8.
That remarkable paragraph needs to be carefully studied; it is difficult for us to comprehend with our linear minds but, essentially, it points out that when we give the miracle of love and forgiveness to someone both of us will benefit because of our complete equality with each other—remember we are all sons of God, one with each other and with God. “The miracle substitutes for learning that might have taken thousands of years,” implies that through the normal, gradual process of spiritual growth from one lifetime to the next, it might take thousands of years before we achieve liberation, but miracles have the advantage of collapsing whole chunks of time and speeding up the whole process of spiritual growth. For those spiritual seekers who are keen to achieve liberation in this lifetime this is something definitely worth thinking about.
To return to Lesson 92, we are told that if we insist on believing what we see with our body’s eyes, we will behold, “…the small, the weak, the sickly and the dying, those in need, the helpless and afraid, the sad, the poor, the starving and the joyless. These are seen through eyes that cannot see and cannot bless.” W159. So, how do we reduce our reliance on our physical sight? We overlook appearances and we try to use Christ’s vision instead or our body’s vision. This means recognising the divine light or divine spark within everyone, instead of seeing others as separate physical bodies in a world of form where there is so much weakness and suffering. “Strength overlooks these things by seeing past appearances. It keeps its steady gaze upon the light that lies beyond them…In darkness you perceive a self that is not there. Strength is the truth about you…” W159.
When we use Christ’s vision we will offer miracles to all we meet by extending love and forgiveness to them. The key is to try to remember that our physical bodies have no reality. It may help if we repeat Lesson 201 frequently throughout the day, every day. “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.” The more we tell us ourselves this, the more likely we are to believe it.
We should not become discouraged if this seems like a mammoth task because Jesus stresses that, “You can escape the body if you choose. You can experience the strength in you.” W156. We just need to have a lot of faith in him and incorporate his teachings into our daily lives.
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