A Course in Miracles

Chapter 3 - Retraining the Mind

This is a course in MIND TRAINING.

All learning involves attention and study at some level. Some of the later parts of the course rest too heavily on these earlier sections not to require their study. You will also need them for preparation. Without this, you may become much too fearful when the unexpected does occur to make constructive use of it. However, as you study these earlier sections, you will begin to see some of their implications, which will be amplified considerably later on.

The reason a solid foundation is necessary is because of the confusion between fear and awe to which we have already referred and which so many people hold. You will remember that we said that awe is inappropriate in connection with the Sons of God because you should not experience awe in the presence of your equals. However, it was also emphasized that awe is a proper reaction in the presence of your Creator.

I have been careful to clarify my own role in the Atonement, without either over- or understating it. I have also tried to do the same in connection with yours. I have stressed that awe is not an appropriate reaction to me because of my inherent equality.

Some of the later steps in this course, however, do involve a more direct approach to God Himself. It would be most unwise to start on these steps without careful preparation or awe will be confused with fear, and the experience will be more traumatic that beatific.

Healing is of God in the end.

The means are being carefully explained to you. Revelation may occasionally reveal the end to you, but to reach it the means are needed.

Special Principles for Miracle Workers


The miracle abolishes the need for lower-order concerns. Since it is an out-of-pattern time interval, the ordinary considerations of time and space do not apply. When you perform a miracle, I will arrange both time and space to adjust to it.


Clear distinction between what has been created and what is made is essential. All forms of correction (or healing) rest on this fundamental correction in level perception.


Another way of stating the above point is: Never confuse right with wrong- mindedness. Responding to any form of miscreation with anything except a desire to heal (or a miracle) is an expression of this confusion.


The miracle is always a denial of this error and an affirmation of the truth. Only right mindedness can create in a way that has any real effect. Pragmatically, what has no real effect has no real existence. Its effect, then, is emptiness. Being without substantial content, it lends itself to projection in the improper sense.


The level-adjustment power of the miracle induces the right perception for healing. Until this has occurred, healing cannot be understood. Forgiveness is an empty gesture unless it entails correction. Without this it is essentially judgmental rather than healing.


Miraculous forgiveness is only correction. It has no element of judgment at all. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” Luke 23:34 in no way evaluates what they do. It is strictly limited to an appeal to God to heal their minds. There is no reference to the outcome of their misthought. That does not matter.


The biblical injunction “Be of one mind” 1Peter 3:8 is the statement for revelation-readiness. My own injunction

“Do this in remembrance of me” Luke 22:19

is the request for cooperation from miracle-workers. It should be noted that the two statements are not in the same order of reality. The latter involves a time awareness since to remember implies recalling the past in the present. Time is under my direction, but Timelessness belongs to God alone. In time we exist for and with each other. In Timelessness we coexist with God.



A Course in Miracles

Chapter 3 - Retraining the Mind

Atonement Without Sacrifice

There is another point which must be perfectly clear before any residual fear which may still be associated with miracles becomes entirely groundless.

The crucifixion did not establish the Atonement. The resurrection did.

This is a point that many very sincere Christians have misunderstood. No one who is free of the scarcity-error could possibly make this mistake. If the crucifixion is seen from an upside-down point of view, it does appear as if God permitted and even encouraged one of His sons to suffer because he was good. Many ministers preach this every day.

This particularly unfortunate interpretation, which arose out of the combined misprojections of a large number of "would-be" followers, has led many people to be bitterly afraid of God. This particularly anti-religious concept enters into many religions, and this is neither by chance or coincidence.

Yet the real Christian would have to pause and ask, "How could this be?"

Is it likely that God Himself would be capable of the kind of thinking which His Own Words have clearly stated is unworthy of man? (Bible says "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:36)

The best defense, as always, is not to attack another’s position but rather to protect the truth. It is unwise to accept any concept if you have to turn a whole frame of reference around in order to justify it. This procedure is painful in its minor applications and genuinely tragic on a mass basis. Persecution is a frequent result, undertaken to justify the terrible misperception that God Himself persecuted His Own Son on behalf of salvation. The very words are meaningless.

It has been particularly difficult to overcome this (misperception) because, although the error itself is no harder to overcome than any other, men were unwilling to give this one up because of its prominent "escape" value.

In milder forms a parent says, "This hurts me more than it hurts you," and feels exonerated in beating a child.

Can you believe the Father really thinks this way? It is so essential that all such thinking be dispelled that we must be very sure that nothing of this kind remains in your mind.

I was not punished because you were bad. The wholly benign lesson the Atonement teaches is lost if it is tainted with this kind of distortion in any form.
"Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord" Romans 12:29 is a strictly karmic viewpoint. It is a real misperception of truth by which man assigns his own evil past to God. The "evil conscience" from the past has nothing to do with God. He did not create it and He does not maintain it. God does not believe in karmic retribution. His Divine Mind does not create that way. He does not hold the evil deeds of a man even against himself. Is it likely, then, that He would hold against anyone the evil that another did?

Be very sure that you recognize how utterly impossible this assumption really is and how entirely it arises from misprojection. This kind of error is responsible for a host of related errors including the belief that God rejected man and forced him out of the Garden of Eden. It is also responsible for the fact that you may believe from time to time that I am misdirecting you. I have made every effort to use words that are almost impossible to distort, but man is very inventive when it comes to twisting symbols around.

God Himself is not symbolic; He is fact. The Atonement too is totally without symbolism. It is perfectly clear because it exists in light. Only man's attempts to shroud it in darkness have made it inaccessible to the unwilling and ambiguous to the partly willing. The Atonement itself radiates nothing but truth. It therefore epitomizes harmlessness and sheds only blessing. It could not do this if it arose from anything but perfect innocence. Innocence is wisdom because it is unaware of evil, which does not exist. It is, however, perfectly aware of everything that is true.

The Resurrection demonstrated that nothing can destroy truth. Good can withstand any form of evil because light abolishes all forms of darkness.

The Atonement is thus the perfect lesson. It is the final demonstration that all of the other lessons which I taught are true. Man is released from all errors if he believes in this. The deductive approach to teaching accepts the generalization which is applicable to all single instances rather than building up the generalization after analyzing numerous single instances separately. If you can accept the one generalization now, there will be no need to learn from many smaller lessons.

Nothing can prevail against a Son of God who commends his Spirit into the hands of his Father. By doing this, the mind awakens from its sleep and remembers its Creator. All sense of separation disappears, and level confusion vanishes. The Son of God is part of the Holy Trinity, but the Trinity Itself is one. There is no confusion within Its levels because they are of One Mind and One Will. This single purpose creates perfect integration and establishes the peace of God.

Yet this vision can be perceived only by the truly innocent.

Because their hearts are pure, the innocent defend true perception instead of defending themselves against it. Understanding the lesson of the Atonement, they are without the will to attack, and therefore they see truly. This is what the Bible means when it says, "When He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (1John 3:2)

The Lamb of God

Sacrifice is a notion totally unknown to God. It arises solely from fear. This is particularly unfortunate because frightened people are apt to be vicious. Sacrificing another in any way is a clear-cut violation of God's own injunction that man should be merciful even as his Father in Heaven. ("Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:36) It has been hard for many Christians to realize that this commandment (or assignment) also applies to themselves. Good teachers never terrorize their students. To terrorize is to attack, and this results in rejection of what the teacher offers. The result is learning failure.

I have been correctly referred to as, "the lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world." John 1:29

Those who represent the lamb as blood-stained, an all-too-widespread error, do not understand the meaning of the (lamb) symbol. Correctly understood, it is a very simple parable which merely speaks of my innocence. The lion and the lamb lying down together refers to the fact that strength (lion) and innocence (lamb) are not in conflict but naturally live in peace. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God" Matthew 5:8 is another way of saying the same thing.

There has been some human controversy about the nature of seeing in relation to the integrative powers of the brain. Correctly understood, the issue revolves around the question of whether the body or the mind can see (or understand). This is not really open to question at all. The body is not capable of understanding, and only the mind can perceive anything. A pure (innocent) mind knows the truth, and this is its strength. It cannot attack the body because it recognizes exactly what the body is. This is what “a sane mind in a sane body” really means. It does not confuse destruction with innocence because it associates innocence with strength, not with weakness.

Innocence is incapable of sacrificing anything because the innocent mind has everything and strives only to protect its wholeness. This is why it cannot misproject. It can only honor man because honor is the natural greeting of the truly loved to others who are like them.

"The lamb taketh away the sins of the world" John 1:29 only in the sense that the state of innocence, or grace, is one in which the meaning of the Atonement is perfectly apparent.

The innocence of God is the true state of the mind of His Son. In this state, man's mind does see God, and because he sees Him as he is, he knows that Atonement, not sacrifice, is the only appropriate gift to His Own altar, where nothing except true perfection belongs.

The understanding of the innocent is truth. That is why their altars are truly radiant!


Until the "separation," which is a better term than the "fall," nothing was lacking. This meant that man had no needs at all. If he had not deprived himself, he would never have experienced them. Miracle Principle #51


Darkness is lack of light, as sin is lack of love. It has no unique properties of its own. It is an example of the “scarcity” fallacy, from which only error can proceed. Truth is always abundant. Those who perceive and acknowledge that they haveeverything have no need for driven behavior of any kind.
Miracle Principle #40



A Course in Miracles

Chapter 3 - Retraining the Mind

Miracles as Accurate Perception

We have repeatedly stated that the basic concepts referred to in this course are not matters of degree. Certain fundamental concepts cannot be meaningfully understood in terms of coexisting polarities.

It is impossible to conceive of light and darkness, or everything and nothing, as joint possibilities.

They are all true or all false. It is essential that you realize that behavior is erratic, until a firm commitment to one or the other is made.

A firm commitment to darkness or nothingness is impossible. No one has ever lived who has not experienced some light and some thing. This makes everyone really unable to deny truth totally, even if he generally deceives himself in this connection. That is why those who live largely in darkness and emptiness never find any lasting solace. Innocence is not a partial attribute. It is not a real defense until it is total. When it is partial, it is characterized by the same erratic nature that holds for other two-edged defenses.

The partly innocent are apt to be quite stupid at times. It is not until their innocence becomes a genuine viewpoint which is universal in its application that it becomes wisdom.

Innocent (or true) perception means that you never misperceive and always see truly.

More simply, it means that you never see what does not really exist. When you lack confidence in what someone will do, you are attesting to your belief that he is not in his right mind. This is hardly a miracle-based frame of reference. It also has the disastrous effect of denying the creative power of the miracle.

The miracle perceives everything as it is.

If nothing but the truth exists (and this is really a redundant statement because what is not true cannot exist), right-minded seeing cannot see anything but perfection. We have said many times that only what God creates, or what man creates with the same will, has any real existence. This, then, is all the innocent can see. They do not suffer from the distortions of the separated ones. The way to correct all such distortions is to withdraw your faith from them, and invest it only in what is true.

You cannot validate the invalid. I would suggest that you voluntarily give up all such attempts, because they can only be frantic. If you are willing to validate what is true in everything you perceive, you will make it true for you. Truth overcomes all error. This means that if you perceive truly, you are canceling out misperceptions in yourself and in others simultaneously. Because you see them as they are, you offer them your own validation of their truth. This is the healing which the miracle actively fosters.




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