My approach to spirituality before studying the Course was a blending of yoga and seeking Christ within, which included a heavy emphasis on practicing meditation. Yoga means “union.” I thought meditation was my best means of joining with the Holy Spirit to bring about unification. But what does the Course say about joining with the Holy Spirit?
Joining with Him in seeing is the way in which you learn to share with Him the interpretation of perception that leads to knowledge. You cannot see alone. Sharing perception with Him Whom God has given you teaches you how to recognize what you see. It is the recognition that nothing you see means anything alone. Seeing with Him will show you that all meaning, including yours, comes not from double vision, but from the gentle fusing of everything into one meaning, one emotion and one purpose. God has one purpose which He shares with you. The single vision which the Holy Spirit offers you will bring this oneness to your mind with clarity and brightness so intense you could not wish, for all the world, not to accept what God would have you have. Behold your will, accepting it as His, with all His Love as yours. All honor to you through Him, and through Him unto God.
Yes, union with the Holy Spirit happens in meditation, but prior to studying the Course, I did not appreciate the value of perception and did not know how to best use it for my spiritual growth. I know that in meditation I could reduced my scattered perceptions by focusing on one perception. Also, I knew that I could let go of even that single perception and enter the restful state of contemplation. But I thought that the limit to perception was its unification into one perception during meditation, and I was convinced that the best use of perception was to let go of it altogether. It did not occur to me that what I had learned about perception in meditation could be generalized into my daily life. I thought that my outer experience of the world was so filled with scattered perceptions that I could not possibly unify them as I could in meditation. Yet from the Course, I would learn how to focus on what the quotation above describes as the “one meaning, one emotion, one purpose,” which is the one purpose God shares with me. It is the purpose of oneness itself, which in a practical sense means the unification of perceptions that seem to be separate. The oneness of my meaning, emotion, and purpose, and, indeed my oneness with God Himself, is in my mind now. I realized that to find the oneness in my mind, I needed to learn how to unify my thought system, meaning to unify what appeared to be totally disorganized perceptions.
When I first started to read the Course, I learned about many ways of using perceptions to grow spiritually. Here is a list of some specific Course recommendations for changing perceptions:
THE SHIFT FROM FALSE PERCEPTIONS TO TRUE PERCEPTIONS
From self-will to God’s Will
From illusions of the past to the awareness of now
From private thoughts to thinking with the Holy Spirit
From perceiving separation to perceiving oneness
From unloving perceptions to loving perceptions
From illusions of nightmares to happy dreams
From projecting guilt to accepting innocence
From holding grievances to giving forgiveness
From attack thoughts to miracles
From illusions of special love to extending love to everyone
From mistakes to corrected perception
From seeing with the body’s eyes to seeing with Christ’s eyes
UNIFYING THE MIND LEADS TO DIVINE UNION
It seems at first glance that all these approaches to changing perceptions are different, but they have the common element of unifying perceptions by directing new perceptions toward the one goal of God. Because my background was in Christian yoga, I decided to use the term “Miracle Yoga” to describe my understanding of the Course. The goal of the Course is to unify perceptions. The five aspects of Miracle Yoga emphasize a single approach to unifying perceptions. Miracle Raja Yoga arrives at the unification of perception by focusing inwardly in meditation on one thought, which has already been emphasized. Miracle Bhakti Yoga brings about the unification of perception by centering on one emotion, which is love. Miracle Karma Yoga relies on maintaining one function to accomplish the unification of perception. Miracle Relationship Yoga produces the unification of perception through one relationship. Miracle Jnana Yoga achieves the unification of perception by seeking one truth.
The five methods of Miracle Yoga lead to five places. In the practice of meditation used in Miracle Raja Yoga, you use one thought to bring stillness to the mind. “And turn you to the stately calm within, where in holy stillness dwells the living God you never left, and Who never left you.” Meditation is a process of moving the mind from many distracting thoughts to one thought. The objective is to unify the mind. “One thought, completely unified, will serve to unify all thought.” In meditation moving the mind in the direction of unification based on one thought leads to the “circle of your peace.” This place has many other names: “inner altar,” “changeless dwelling place,” and “holy sanctuary.”
In Him you have no cares and no concerns, no burdens, no anxiety, no pain, no fear of future and no past regrets. In timelessness you rest, while time goes by without its touch upon you, for your rest can never change in any way at all. You rest today. And as you close your eyes, sink into stillness. Let these periods of rest and respite reassure your mind that all its frantic fantasies were but the dreams of fever that has passed away. Let it be still and thankfully accept its healing. No more fearful dreams will come, now that you rest in God. Take time today to slip away from dreams and into peace….
You rest within the peace of God today, and call upon your brothers from your rest to draw them to their rest, along with you. You will be faithful to your trust today, forgetting no one, bringing everyone into the boundless circle of your peace, the holy sanctuary where you rest. Open the temple doors and let them come from far across the world, and near as well; your distant brothers and your closest friends; bid them all enter here and rest with you.
Miracle Bhakti Yoga emphasizes love. The focus on this one emotion of love unifies the mind because love itself is unifying, described in this way: “…the attraction of love for love remains irresistible. For it is the function of love to unite all things unto itself, and to hold all things together by extending its wholeness.” Focusing on love brings you to the “real world,” which is also called the “circle of brightness” and the “happy dream,” and which consists of only loving perceptions.
This world of light, this circle of brightness is the real world, where guilt meets with forgiveness. Here the world outside is seen anew, without the shadow of guilt upon it. Here are you forgiven, for here you have forgiven everyone. Here is the new perception, where everything is bright and shining with innocence, washed in the waters of forgiveness, and cleansed of every evil thought you laid upon it. Here there is no attack upon the Son of God, and you are welcome. Here is your innocence, waiting to clothe you and protect you, and make you ready for the final step in the journey inward. Here are the dark and heavy garments of guilt laid by, and gently replaced by purity and love.
Yet even forgiveness is not the end. Forgiveness does make lovely, but it does not create. It is the source of healing, but it is the messenger of love and not its Source. Here you are led, that God Himself can take the final step unhindered, for here does nothing interfere with love, letting it be itself. A step beyond this holy place of forgiveness, a step still further inward but the one you cannot take, transports you to something completely different. Here is the Source of light; nothing perceived, forgiven nor transformed. But merely known.
Miracle Karma Yoga involves taking selfless action and expressing your function. Applying the one function of following God’s Will and God’s Plan leads to the “Circle of Atonement.” Your special function is always a form of forgiving others, which enables you to forgive yourself.
Everyone has a special part to play in the Atonement, but the message given to each one is always the same; God’s Son is guiltless. Each one teaches the message differently, and learns it differently. Yet until he teaches it and learns it, he will suffer the pain of dim awareness that his true function remains unfulfilled in him. The burden of guilt is heavy, but God would not have you bound by it. His plan for your awaking is as perfect as yours is fallible. You know not what you do, but He Who knows is with you. His gentleness is yours, and all the love you share with God He holds in trust for you. He would teach you nothing except how to be happy….
Each one you see you place within the holy circle of Atonement or leave outside, judging him fit for crucifixion or for redemption. If you bring him into the circle of purity, you will rest there with him. If you leave him without, you join him there. Judge not except in quietness which is not of you. Refuse to accept anyone as without the blessing of Atonement, and bring him into it by blessing him. Holiness must be shared, for therein lies everything that makes it holy. Come gladly to the holy circle, and look out in peace on all who think they are outside. Cast no one out, for here is what he seeks along with you. Come, let us join him in the holy place of peace which is for all of us, united as one within the Cause of peace.
Miracle Relationship Yoga is focused on holy relationships based on partners having a common purpose and seeing holiness in everyone. Maintaining a relationship of holiness allows you to see the “face of Christ,” which is the “vision of the Son of God.” In the holy relationship, you have the opportunity to see the light behind your brother’s body and see his guiltlessness. Looking past your brother’s mask, you can even perceive the face of Christ. “The face of Christ is looked upon before the Father is remembered.” The face of Christ reminds you of your true relationship with God and with all your brothers and sisters in Christ.
You have a real relationship, and it has meaning. It is as like your real relationship with God as equal things are like unto each other. Idolatry is past and meaningless. Perhaps you fear your brother a little yet; perhaps a shadow of the fear of God remains with you. Yet what is that to those who have been given one true relationship beyond the body? Can they be long held back from looking on the face of Christ? And can they long withhold the memory of their relationship with their Father from themselves, and keep remembrance of His Love apart from their awareness?
Miracle Jnana Yoga is concerned with finding truth and gaining understanding. This seeking of one truth leads you to the “borderland” where all false perceptions are replaced by true perceptions. Here you choose between illusions and truth by bringing them together and seeing that illusions are meaningless and so can be easily released.
There is a borderland of thought that stands between this world and Heaven. It is not a [physical] place, and when you reach it is apart from time. Here is the meeting place where thoughts are brought together; where conflicting values meet and all illusions are laid down beside the truth, where they are judged to be untrue. This borderland is just beyond the gate of Heaven. Here is every thought made pure and wholly simple. Here is sin denied, and everything that is received instead.
This is the journey’s end. We have referred to it as the real world. And yet there is a contradiction here, in that the words imply a limited reality, a partial truth, a segment of the universe made true. This is because knowledge makes no attack upon perception. They are brought together, and only one continues past the gate where oneness is. Salvation is a borderland where place and time and choice have meaning still, and yet it can be seen that they are temporary, out of place, and every choice has been already made.
Nothing the Son of God believes can be destroyed. But what is truth to him must be brought to the last comparison that he will ever make; the last evaluation that will be possible, the final judgment upon this world. It is the judgment of the truth upon illusion, of knowledge on perception: “It has no meaning, and does not exist.” This is not your decision. It is but a simple statement of a simple fact. But in this world there are no simple facts, because what is the same and what is different remain unclear. The one essential thing to make a choice at all is this distinction. And herein lies the difference between the worlds. In this one, choice is made impossible. In the real world is choosing simplified. 
There may be some uncertainty in your mind about whether you will ever manage to let go of all illusions and accept your place in Heaven. But the Course maintains that there is no uncertainty in God, and so, you can trust in His Will being accomplished. “Have faith in only this one thing, and it will be sufficient: God wills you be in Heaven, and nothing can keep you from it, or it from you.”Your going Home is only a matter of time, and time itself is just another illusion.
**References are from 2nd Edition of A Course in Miracles, published by Foundation for Inner Peace
To locate these References in A Course in Miracles – Original Edition please do a phrase search on-line
1. T-14.VII.7.1-9, pp. 288-289
2. T-18.I.8:2, pp. 373-374
4. W-109.5:1-8, 8:1-3, pp. 197-198
5. T-12.VIII.7:10-11, p. 235
6. T-18.IX.9:1-7, 10:1-7, pp. 395-396
7. T-14.V.2:1-8, 11:1-9, pp. 282, 284
9. T-20.VI.12.5-11, p. 439
10. T-26.III.2:1-14, 3:1-6, 4:1-10, pp. 546-547
11. T-13.XI.7:1, p. 268
*Donald James Giacobbe was the director of the Aquarian Age Yoga Center in Virginia Beach, VA. He provided yoga teacher training certification courses and led meditation workshops and retreats. Don has attempted in his teaching of meditation to strip away the rituals of Zen Buddhism and yoga practices and transpose only the bare essence into a Christian context. Don encourages the doing of God’s Will, being receptive to the Holy Spirit, and finding Christ within the temple of one’s own heart. While respecting all Christian spiritual expressions, he became a monk by making his vow directly to God, without the stamp of approval from any religious organization. In 1988 Don became a student of A Course in Miracles, and his practice and teaching subsequently changed from “Christian Yoga” to “Miracle Yoga” This form of spirituality is a synthesis of yoga and the philosophy of A Course in Miracles, encouraging the seeker to see with “forgiving eyes” and perceive Christ in everyone. Don’s goal is to maintain a balance between opening to divine love inwardly and allowing that love to be extended outwardly to others.
You can find a more complete description of the five aspects of Miracle Yoga at http://miracleyoga.org/
** All quotes in the article and references (with pages noted) are from the “second edition” of the Course published by Foundation for Inner Peace.
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