For many years, A Course in Miracles was my daily spiritual practice. The first two times I sat down to read the text, I was weeping by the third page. These ideas—that a miracle is a shift from a state of fear and disconnection to an awareness of love and oneness . . . that we are each capable of making that shift . . . that we all deserve this love—this is how I want to see and respond to life. All the quotes below are from the Course.
“Each day should be devoted to miracles.”
I am with Mike, and my sister and brother-in-law, and we’re all quiet as we head north from Santa Fe through the high sage hills to the Sanctuario de Chimayo. After a couple hours, we arrive and park in the shade of a cottonwood tree. We melt out of the car and hear drumming right away. Following the sound past a long fence hung with handmade crosses and plastic rosaries, we come to a clearing where two dozen dancers are moving to the strong rhythm of the drums. One drum is played by a man with a tired face and the other by a school-age boy. They and the dancers are dressed alike in tan, and their shirts and pants are adorned with long, bright red and green ribbons that sway as they move. Each dancer holds a small wooden bow, and every so often they aim their bows at the sky, pull the arrow back and let go—which done in unison makes a very loud CLICK! The arrows never leave the bows. The dancers are old and young, slender and heavy. Their steps and solemn faces carry the weight of generations. Or maybe it’s just the heat. But their dance feels like a prayer.
“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.”
We walk slowly up the hill to the wooden chapel. The legend is that two hundred years ago a Spanish priest was praying in the desert when he saw something glowing in the sand. He dug and found an ancient crucifix. He took it to the village church, but in the morning the cross was missing—only to be found back in its original place in the sand. After three days of this mysterious back and forth, the people built a chapel there and the cross stayed put. For two centuries, pilgrims have come here hoping for a miracle . . . or maybe just a brush with something sacred.
“Prayer is the medium of miracles . . . . Through prayer love is received, and through miracles love is expressed.”
Inside, I sit for a while. Then I join a line of people waiting to go into the tiny room with the hole in the earthen floor. Five other people crowd in around a little boy who kneels by the hole and scoops out the dirt with a small plastic shovel. He has enormous brown eyes and he looks up at me to ask if I want some, too. “Yes, please,” and I kneel down beside him. I open my little purse and he carefully fills it with the soft dirt. I flash to the last time I took communion and hear the words the body of Christ. Mike comes in and I put some in his shaky hands. The cup of salvation.
One week later: I’m home and my grandson Zay is spending the day on my sofa. He dozes off and on, his cheeks ruddy from a high fever, a cool washcloth on his forehead. And then I remember the holy dirt! So I bring it out and he lets me rub a little on his back and feet. I tell him about Chimayo and show him photos from the Internet of the chapel and the wall of crutches left there by pilgrims. Of course, he loves the idea that dirt could heal people.
“Some people don’t believe in miracles . . . there’s so much that we still don’t understand about healing . . . but I believe in miracles,” I admit. Zay considers this. “Well, I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t believe in miracles,” he says with all the assurance of a nine-year-old.
Back at Chimayo: We leave the Sanctuario and walk back down the hill. My sister points to a bee struggling on the paved path—it’s black, yellow and orange, and I learn later it’s a “tri-colored bee”. This one is missing a wing. My brother-in-law picks it up with the end of a selfie stick and after several attempts gets it into the rosebushes nearby. I wonder if someone here had prayed for the bees today.
The night after Zay is annointed with the dirt and its story, his fever breaks, and by the next morning he’s all better and calls to tell me so. “The dirt really worked, Amma! Thank you! I love you!”
“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.”
Today, may you experience the love that inspires all miracles.