What is a miracle?
Our special theme says, “A miracle is a correction. … It undoes error, but does not attempt to go beyond perception, nor exceed the function of forgiveness. Thus it stays within time’s limits. Yet it paves the way for the return of timelessness and love’s awakening, for fear must slip away under the gentle remedy it brings.”
Once again, we see the theme of a gentle awakening from ego consciousness to consciousness, and finally to truth. Forgiveness and its effect, a shift in seeing or knowing, is the medium that prepares us for the final awakening, but the shift that is the miracle is not the final awakening. Many shifts or miracles may occur before the final awakening dawns. (Sometimes these shifts are referred to as awakenings.)
While reading Bernadette Roberts’ book, The Experience of No Self, I noticed she went through a number of shifts. I also noticed that with each shift, she thought she had arrived at the final seeing, and yet months or years later, another shift would occur. Bernadette was not attempting to fool herself, yet each shift in seeing was so dramatically different than the one before it—and she had no idea about what was yet to come—that she perceived each shift as the final shift until the next one came, and the next, and then the next.
She made this observation in retrospect:
One way to look at this journey is to see it as a process of acclimating to an unselfconscious mind, or as a transition from a relative to a non-relative way of knowing.
Ego consciousness is a fully self-conscious and relative mind, meaning that it is always thinking of itself in relationship or comparison to everything that is not it. Truth has no sense of self, so it is fully “unselfconscious.” Also, it only knows its Self, so there isn’t one in relation to or compared to another. Each miracle, or shift in perception, carries us further from the fully self-conscious and relative mind that is ego to the unselfconscious, non-relativeness that is truth.
As our special theme goes on to say, “[The miracle] illustrates the law of truth the world does not obey, because [the world] fails entirely to understand its ways. The 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.“
The miracle moves us, one shift at a time, from the sense of self relative to something else, including relative to God, to the edge of unselfconscious or no sense of self. At this edge, which we gradually acclimate to one shift at a time, we are ready for the final movement beyond any sense of self or other. As our special theme says, “Now is forgiveness seen as justified.”
I’d like to look at that last sentence for a moment before we move to today’s workbook lesson. It says that when we are at that edge, which is sometimes referred to as the edge of a cliff—also referred to as the edge of the bridge in previous tips—“forgiveness is seen as justified.” If we need to get all the way to that edge before we see forgiveness as justified, then prior to that final perception we will sometimes (or often) think forgiveness is not justified. We will think we have a right to feel affected, offended, afraid, hurt, angry, controlling, etcetera. However, if we believe we are fully right about our right to be affected, we refuse the miracle.
That is the purpose of faith. Before we arrive at the edge of perception and see clearly that all forgiveness is justified, we need to have faith that forgiveness is justified. Even if we cannot understand how it is justified, we need the faith to forgive anyway. This faith, followed by a conscious choice, is how we open up to the miracles that usher us gently to the threshold of truth.
I am not asked to make a sacrifice to find the mercy and the peace of God.
As already seen, at times along the way we may feel that we are making a sacrifice by choosing forgiveness over some other option, like fear, anger or control. The ego may even jump up and down screaming, “This isn’t fair; something valuable is being taken away!!”
That isn’t true. That is only the ego’s perspective as it tries to stay in control of you. By practicing the Loving All Method or Rest, Accept and Trust with this idea of sacrifice, you make way for a miracle, which will take you one step closer to truth, eternal awareness-love-bliss.
Today, pay close attention to the mind. Be open to seeing something the mind does not want you to forgive, let go, accept, allow or love. When you find it, you also find the opportunity to take another bite out of the ego by practicing the teachings instead of practicing the ego.