"Miracles arise from a mind that is ready for them.
By being united, this mind goes out to everyone,
even without the awareness of the miracle worker himself."
A Course In Miracles
You are surrounded by miracles. They are happening everywhere, all the time, including in this very moment. Miracles are always available for you. The question is, are you available for them?
Let's step back a bit and bring forward some important threads from last week's post to see how we get to this conversation about miracles and how it relates to you.
My post last week, "Does Life Always Conspire For Our Highest Good?" generated a lively discussion. If you haven't read that post, you might want to go back and catch up then join us below.
Readers' comments ranged from Cynthia Occelli's:
"My theme for 2010: Life conspires to help me when I help myself."
Opening our minds and hearts to the universal truth that all things work together for good, even when we can't understand or see how, is an act of trust and hope that changes the trajectory of our lives.
No, I do not think life always conspires for our highest good. I understand you may be stretching the term "highest good" to somehow mean that I came in for some path that I don't consciously recognize. But when life hands you nearly a decade of heart-wrenching difficulties, including 9 surgeries for my son, my other son almost dying from sudden onset Type 1 diabetes, bankruptcy, living under the poverty line,legal hassles, etc., you sorta begin to lose all your naive notions of "it's all good."
Now my life consists of trying to make ends meet and trying to stay on top of my son's ongoing battle with bone tumors. I do my best to keep my chin up for my kid's sake. (We are facing another surgery, the tenth, in the spring to remove two more bone tumors in my son.
I wish to god I could place faith in some benevolent universe that has my back and has some amazing plan for me. I have always worked at my spirituality, aimed to be a kind and caring person and mother, given help whenever I saw a need. But this has worn me down. I have lost faith in people, lost faith in myself and my ability to cope and just plain feel lost. Could this really be life conspiring for my good? If so, please stop, life. I just want a bit of peace, some security and some stability for my boys. Please?!
Canyondreams' comment touched many readers who reached out to offer their support. In response, she wrote:
(Names of people), thank you for writing to me from your hearts with caring and compassion. I am deeply touched and I appreciate you so much. I do love being a mom and I am grateful I have my sons. I know not everyone is so fortunate. I will continue to look for brighter days and I will continue to love.
Canyondreams had no idea that out of her sharing, she would touch countless hearts. I suspect a few were even cracked open. Mine was! She generated an outpouring of caring and compassion from readers, even those who disagreed with the premise of the article. Strangers extended their hearts and offered words of compassion.
Something interesting happened. Canyondreams shifted her focus from feeling lost and resigned, to feeling gratitude for her life and expressing a willingness to look for brighter days and open to love. In my book, this shift in awareness constitutes a miracle!
Which started me thinking about miracles. Huff Po blogger, Kari Henley's, post this week discusses the phenomenon of "confluence", which she describes as "a coming or flowing together, meeting, or gathering at one point - or the flowing together of two or more streams."
Kari writes: "according to Beverly Sastri, life coach and founder of "Live Like You Mean It", confluence is a cosmic nudge from the Universe offering profound insights - if we are willing to notice them."
The key words for me here are "if we are willing to notice them". Which brings me back to last week's discussion about our relationship with life and how it is that our highest good is always being called forth, regardless of appearances.
Like canyondreams, we can all find plenty of evidence that life doesn't appear to be operating in such a way that our highest good or best interests are being served. A couple of readers interpreted my premise as suggesting that I was "anthropomorphizing" life, giving it human qualities, as if life itself had a consciousness and was directing it specifically towards us to insure our best interests were being met. While this is an interesting interpretation, it is not what I had in mind.
Perhaps a more accurate title for my post would have been, "Can We Conspire With Life For Our Highest Good? For indeed, life itself is a neutral event, not aimed at anyone in particular. Life is impersonal that way. Life happens and we receive it. How we choose to receive life, regardless of its content, will determine whether we'll turn it into material for suffering or use it to open new possibilities.
We are the wizards, the Merlins, the alchemists, the ones who can transform our thinking and thus, turn the lead of our lives into gold. But to do so, we must be "willing to notice". We must be available for the possibility that in any given moment, we can meet life exactly as it is and create miracles.
Contemplating miracles took me back to my study over 25 years ago of A Course In Miracles (ACIM), a self-study spiritual thought system, "scribed" by Dr. Helen Schucman, M.D.
Dr. Schucman was a clinical and research psychologist, who held the tenured position of Associate Professor of Medical Psychology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. A Course in Miracles was "scribed" by Dr. Schucman between 1965 and 1972 through a process of inner dictation from a voice she attributed as being that of the master teacher, Jesus. It was first published in 1976 by the Foundation for Inner Peace. Today, ACIM has been translated into 18 languages and has been studied by people singularly and in ACIM groups all over the world.
ACIM lays out 50 principles of miracles. Here are 4:
1. There is no order of difficulty in miracles. One is not "harder" or "bigger" than another. They are all the same. All expressions of love are maximal.
2. 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.
3. Wholeness is the perceptual content of miracles. They thus correct, or atone for, the faulty perception of lack.
4. A major contribution of miracles is their strength in releasing you from your false sense of isolation, deprivation and lack.
Miracles are natural expressions of love, but the love that inspires them, itself, is the real miracle.
Love is the miracle. Who you are, is love. Failing to remember this, you fall into a false idea of separation, darkness and lack and life feels menacing. Remembering who you are changes everything. Seeing through love, as love itself, opens the door to wholeness, the content of miracles.
Every time you correct an error in your thinking that allows you to see your life and the world from wholeness, you've opened new possibilities and miracles occur.
Every time you stand in the face of your fear and choose again from love, you've unleashed a miracle.
Every time you extend forgiveness to yourself and/or others, miracles happen.
Every time you affirm your own beauty and sense of worth, you're causing a miracle.
Every time you "turn the other cheek" and return anger with love, you've launched a miracle.
You just never know when or where the next miracle will occur. But you needn't look too far or wait too long. There's one right around the corner, awaiting your willingness to notice.
In the most mundane of moments, miracles are happening. Observe a baby sleeping, watch a child laughing, play with a puppy, look into the eyes of your lover, drink in the beauty of nature. As I look out my window, I see some beautiful freesias popping through the ground. Freesias are absolute miracles in my book!
That spring always follows winter, that life begins anew each year, is a miracle. That my legs are still strong enough and I still have the lung capacity to take my morning walk in the hills above my home is an incredible miracle. Even as I work to stay fit so I can continue these restorative journeys into nature, I am grateful that my body is co-operating. Life, itself, is a miracle!
Take a moment and reflect on your own life. In the next 5 minutes, can you name at least 3 miracles happening right now? Remember, there is no hierarchy to miracles, none is larger or smaller. The "tiniest" miracle is still a miracle!
Please share your thoughts, comments and miracle stories below and/or on my personal blog at Rx For The Soul. And while you're at it, please Become A Fan and miraculously, you'll be notified when this column is updated.
I'm thankful for the miracle of our connection. I'll be away for a couple of weeks, so please meet me back here in mid-April.
Blessings on the path.