Even if you believe miracles are hogwash, I doubt you’d say “No, thank you” to winning the lottery, falling in love with your soul mate, being offered your dream job, or finding out from your oncologist that your tumors had spontaneously disappeared. If a miracle showed up, you’d do what anyone would: rejoice.
According to Gabrielle Bernstein, New York Times best-selling author of May Cause Miracles and a Kripalu invited presenter, the power to experience miracles lies within each of us. “When we shift our perception from fear to love,” she says, “we can create miraculous change.”
Five important shifts are necessary, Gabrielle says, if we want miracles to show up in our lives. She’s not just talking about the jaw-dropping events we hear about on the news, but about quieter kinds of miracles, too, like replacing years of anxiety about the unknown with faith that you’re going to be just fine.
As a longtime student of A Course in Miracles, Gabrielle suggests a few steps:
1. Witness your fear-based thoughts.
“Take a daily inventory of your thoughts,” Gabrielle says, “and notice how they affect your body.” I followed her advice when I woke up feeling anxious about entering another lull in my freelance life. Rather than fall into the familiar downward spiral in which I visualize myself destitute and alone, I stopped and asked myself where the anxiety was located in my body. The answer: my stomach. I sat with the knots and breathed. After a handful of minutes, moments arose when I could separate myself from my fear-based thoughts. There was indeed a part of me observing myself having the anxious thoughts—and that part wasn’t afraid. Maybe when we view the world through witness consciousness, we increase the likelihood of experiencing miracles. Living in fear, we probably can’t even recognize miracles when they smack us over the head.
2. Be willing to receive a miracle.
“When you’re willing to receive guidance,” Gabrielle says, “then the book you need to read just falls off the shelf, or the teacher you need to meet just appears.” I thought of her words as I stood in my apartment with my arms outstretched, watching the sun setting in the distance. “I’m willing to receive guidance,” I said aloud, even though it felt a bit silly. “In my professional life and my personal life, I’m willing to receive miracles.” I felt a surge of tingles run across my skin—a signal, it seemed, that my statement was heard somewhere. It felt good to affirm that I’m open to the miraculous—and who knows where those good feelings could lead?
3. Express gratitude.
“When we express gratitude,” Gabrielle explains, “we create more of what we want to experience in the world.” A former therapist often said to me, “What you focus on expands.” Translation: Focus your energy on what you lack, and more lack is what you’ll get. Focus your energy on the good in your life, and more good will come your way.
I tried an experiment: I sat comfortably in bed and expressed gratitude for everything I could think of—from my apartment to my car, my vision to my hearing, my work to my loves. As I sat there feeling gratitude for all that I have and all that I’ve had, an interesting thing happened. I stopped thinking about what I don’t have. I suspect this is what Gabrielle and my therapist are talking about. When we start looking at the world through the lens of “how wonderful that I have this” vs. “how terrible that I don’t have that,” our energy changes. And when we’re feeling lucky, maybe it’s easier for more luck to come our way because the path has been cleared for it.
“This is key to spiritual practice,” Gabrielle says. “When we release someone else, we release ourselves.” I’ve often heard it said that when we harbor anger and resentment toward others, the ones we hurt most are ourselves. I gave some thought to someone I need to forgive. I closed my eyes and imagined the event that birthed my resentment. Then I imagined the person connected to that event as a small child, frightened and in pain. I held the child my arms and offered him my forgiveness. Forgiving that frightened child was easier than forgiving the man, but I trust that they’re one and the same. Forgiveness like that is a miracle in itself.
“When we’re in a state of love, we’re not judging or attacking,” says Gabrielle. “We experience more peace. Everything flows.” She isn’t talking just about romantic love, but about love for anyone or anything. Her words inspired me to launch an experiment—to try opening my heart at moments when I more often tend to close it. When I’m in a hurry and the cashier at the supermarket asks me how I am, I’m going to stop, smile, and offer more than an obligatory “fine.” When I say good-bye to a friend, I’m going to hug a bit longer before pulling away. But more than that, when I look in the mirror, I’m going to tell myself that I love myself for all the hard work I’m trying to do, for all the change I’m trying to make, for all the courage I possess. As love flows more freely from us to others and back to ourselves, perhaps we begin living at a frequency that—like bees to honey—draws miracles to us.
Make these five subtle changes, Gabrielle says, and watch your life change—miraculously.
Join Gabrielle at Kripalu.