I. Principles of Miracles, P 1
1 There is no order of difficulty among miracles. One is not “harder” or “bigger” than another. They are all the same. All expressions of love are maximal.
Jesus started off with a bombshell. This just blew up all my preconceived ideas about miracles, and about life in general. Certainly, I had always assumed that it would be a greater miracle to raise the dead than it would be to cure a headache. I mean, who wouldn’t? This is a world of separation, differences, and contrasts. And my resistance to this idea has been strong and persistent.
I am finally beginning to see things differently, and the reason I can do this now is that I understand the last sentence. All expressions of love are maximal. Miracles are an expression of love and there are no degrees of love. Love is whole, eternal, and unchanging. Love heals and it doesn’t require more love to heal bigger errors.
The reason for this is two-fold. The first is because love is complete in itself; there is neither more nor less of love. This is hard for us to understand because there is nothing in this world we can hold to that standard. I can’t think of a metaphor because what would I use? There is no meeting place between the world and reality.
The second reason this is true is that there are no bigger errors. Cancer is not a bigger error than a headache. It appears so but appearances are not the truth. All forms of suffering occur because of an untrue belief. Beliefs don’t come in sizes. I believe that pain is real, or I believe that pain is not real. I simply choose the belief that I want to be real, and what I believe is true for me.
One of the reasons it has been hard for me to accept this idea is that I still seem to have use for some forms of suffering. Before I can let go of the idea of suffering, I have to realize why I value it, and then I have to change my mind about that. I have to realize that suffering does not actually get me what I want. I do this by asking the Holy Spirit to heal me when I see this belief in my mind.
The Holy Spirit has been working on this with me. This year when I read Lesson 190, which says that it is my thoughts alone that cause me pain, and that nothing external to my mind can hurt or injure me in any way, it seems that I was ready to go deeper into this lesson. The Holy Spirit used physical pain to teach me that this is true.
I opened my mind to the possibility that this is meant literally for all forms of pain. Into the crack I made in my firmly held belief that pain was caused by something outside me, the light of truth began to permeate my thoughts. I became willing to see differently.
It took months of looking at my beliefs and allowing love to heal me before I began to generalize the lesson. At first I thought of the different kinds of pain as being different because they felt different. Some felt worse than others. Some seemed to be connected to one thing and some to another and so I thought they were different.
What I eventually discovered is that none of these differences mattered because they were just the way my belief took form. One of the reasons it was time to go more deeply with Lesson 190 is that I was beginning to accept that I was not the self I had always assumed as my identity. I was starting to believe that I am Self, and that Myron was not real. So when I read the following lines, I was more open to receiving them.
But it is you who have the power to dominate all things you see by merely recognizing what you are. As you perceive the harmlessness in them, they will accept your holy will as theirs.
With this promise in mind I found another passage in this lesson that served as a mantra I could use when I became aware of a thought in my mind that came from a belief in pain. Any time I felt physical pain or emotional pain, I would use that moment as an opportunity to remind myself of the truth by reciting my mantra, with a willingness to accept it as true even if I did not currently believe it.
If God is real, there is no pain. If pain is real, there is no God.
As I used that mantra over and over I saw the miracle take form. The miracle was the change in my belief, and the form was the pain dissolving right before my eyes. I saw this happen many times.
But pain is such a useful belief that I would pick it back up over and over again. Because I am ready to learn this lesson, the Holy Spirit is helping me to see the value I place in the belief in pain. I noticed one day that I use sickness to get out of things I don’t want to do, so I stopped doing that. I changed my mind as I realized what this cost me.
He showed me how I use pain to get attention from those who I thought were not giving me what I needed in attention and affection. That was an embarrassing revelation, but I forgave myself and accepted the benefits of letting that go. There was another whole lesson there that I will talk about another time.
Yesterday, I had a headache and this is a form of pain that I had not given up. I know it is not any bigger or different than any other form of the belief in pain and I think because I have a magical solution for it, and because it is bearable, I decided to keep this one for the value it has for me. As that realization was given me, I asked Holy Spirit to help me see why I was choosing pain over love this time.
Suddenly I had the thought that I was working late and that I was very tired and feeling put out. I felt like the company demanded too much of me, and that they should not expect me to work extra hours. It was a lot of thoughts along that line. Then I noticed the feeling that came with these thoughts and realized that I felt like a victim. It was a “poor me” feeling, and I blamed the company and my boss, because projection is the way we get out of responsibility and how we avoid change here in the world.
As soon as I saw the reason for holding onto this form of pain, I returned to my mantra. I remembered that sickness is a decision I make. I remembered that nothing can be done to me, but only by me. I remembered that pain is not real so I must be imagining this and now I understand my motivation for doing so, I choose to let it go. I am not a victim of the world I see and I cannot really believe that anymore. It is just a habit I fall back into from time to time.
With a simple change of mind, love healed me. My mind was healed, and the form the madness took (this time a headache) dissolved away into nothingness. The ego questions this, saying I am just asking for worse pain, that I would not find this so easy if it were a serious illness, but I hold that Jesus meant what he says in the Course. He said that there is no order of difficulty in miracles and that all expressions of love are maximal. I believe him.