What is a miracle? It is not the intercession of a supernatural being into material affairs, not an event that violates the laws of the universe. A miracle is something that is impossible from one's current understanding of reality and truth, but that becomes possible from a new understanding.
A miracle is more than an event: it is an invitation. It says, "The universe is bigger than you thought it was." It invites us to step into a larger world, in which new things are possible. A miracle can blow apart our world if we accept it. Indeed, sometimes we do not accept it; sometimes we relegate it to the category of "that was weird," an exception to life, and we preserve normalcy and think and live as we always have, as if nothing had happened. When faced with an event that defies our usual explanations, we discard the event to preserve the explanation.
Today we can no longer afford to ignore our miracles. The world and its inhabitants are subject now to afflictions for which there is no cure, no hope from within the normally possible. Anyone who truly understands the magnitude of the global ecological crisis knows there is no hope, just as there is no hope for the Stage IV cancer patient, the MS sufferer, the victim of any of the legion of incurable diseases that arose in the late 20th century. Nor is there any reasonable hope for peace and justice in Palestine, or Tibet, or the prison system; nor for the resolution of any of the entrenched iniquities of our world. Long-ignored, the gathering crisis of ecology, energy, economy, and society pierces our complacency now with undeniable urgency, and we realize we have no choice but to accomplish the impossible.
Another way to put it is that it is time to enter miracle consciousness, and another way to put that is that it is time to accept the invitation to step into a bigger world. No wonder people reject miracles, often quite strenuously: to step into a new world is scary. But today, finally, we have no choice. The old world is crumbling around us, and there is nowhere else to go.
As we stand, tentatively, at the threshold of a new and larger world, hanging back, hesitant to step into it and sensing that when we do, a door will close behind us, it helps to be bathed in miracles, not just one but many to show that yes, the realm of the possible is indeed far vaster than we know, and no, we are not crazy for leaving normal behind. I therefore invite all present to share a first-hand story of the impossible, for our mutual inspiration and encouragement. Let us share our miracles: happenings that blatantly violate the laws of physics, the facts of medicine, the axioms of human nature as we have known them. Let us ease each other into a vast new world where healing is possible.
As you read these stories, you may feel a mix of inspiration or even homecoming, side by side with hostility or fear. The vicious stridency of the skeptic, the emotional charge behind the cynic's dismissal of miracles, suggests an underlying fear. If you feel hostile, contemptuous, or anxious as you read certain of the sharings, I invite you to sit with that feeling, explore what is behind it, and not immediately discharge it by explaining it as hoax or delusion. Simply feel the emotional quality of your response. If you find a strong underlying fear, respect it as your protector, a guardian that keeps you from leaving your world before it is time. If, on the other hand, the fear, hostility, cynicism, or dismissal seems old and tired, and the feeling of inspiration or homecoming is stronger, then it shows you are ready for miracle consciousness -- to step into a new normal.
In the passage from one world to the next, the first miracle we accept gives us hope -- the glimpse of a new possibility. The next miracle takes us beyond hope into belief. Belief invites even more miracles, and it bootstraps into faith -- living in the miraculous. Finally, when the miraculous is normal, faith turns into knowing, and we become the masters of miracles, which are miracles to us no longer. Yet always, an even bigger world awaits.
Faith is not a prerequisite for miracles -- the universe is more generous than that. When we grow up against the limits of our world, our growth exerts an unstoppable pressure that creates, in the words of Joseph Chilton Pearce, a "crack in the cosmic egg." The light that shines through this crack takes the form of miracles, visitations from a brighter and larger world. Now is time to begin pecking and pushing, striving toward that light, widening the crack.
The egg metaphor only goes so far. Ours is a collective birthing, in which the emergence of each of us encourages the rest. You might say, we tear at the eggshells of our brothers and sisters. Some emerge before the rest, inhabiting the world of miracles; their continued sanity and effectiveness reassures us that these inexplicable events are not glimpses of madness after all: a sane and intelligent person can live among them.
In the comments section for this essay, I invite readers to share their own miracles: anything that showed you the presence of a larger world where more things are possible. It needn't be something that we'd think of as supernatural, though it might be. It could be a transformation of a person or a community, in violation not of natural laws but of the laws of human nature as you knew them. Whatever it was, it should be something that took your breath away, made your spine tingle, made you marvel, filled you with gratitude or dread or both; or, perhaps, it scared you and made you turn away, but stuck with you, impossible to accept and impossible to dismiss. Be honest in your description, and don't worry that people will disbelieve you and think you are crazy, naive, or dishonest. Some undoubtedly will.
Image by SantaRosaOLDSKOOL, courtesy of Creative Commons license.