First we must acknowledge, there is miraculous stuff going on in Heaven, which has nothing to do with perception or the realm of illusions. e.g.
"Miracles are a universal blessing from God"
"God's miracles are as total as His Thought, because they ARE His thoughts. God shines in them all with perfect light."
"You are a miracle" (in heaven)
"The miraculous power of the soul"
"What the Holy Spirit enables you to do is clearly not of this world." - "The Holy Spirit is the mechanism of miracles."
"Miracles do not obey the laws of this world."
There is clearly something automatically miraculous about all things divine. We're also told that "miracles are natural", and what is natural SHOULD be something inherent to reality and the Kingdom, not something that is later considered unnatural or that ends.
So miraculousness, is actually a quality of reality, a quality of God, not necessarily something to do with perception at all. The soul also has a miraculous power which has absolutely nothing to do with the realm of perception. The Holy Spirit also, who really lives in Heaven, is miraculous.
We also must consider a simple idea, that Jesus is just as if not more miraculous and unlimited in his supernatural power NOW, as he ever was on Earth. It would be kind of silly to suggest that he "shifted perception using miracles" and then STOPPED being miraculous.
This is one of the key reasons why miracles cannot BE shifts in perception. There is only so much perception to shift. Once perception shifts to true perception, this would suggest there is no longer any use for miracles. Yet the course describes true perception also as "miracle mindedness". Why would we attain miracle mindedness, which is supposed to be a close reflection of reality, and then switch off all miraculous ability as we go to heaven? That does not really add up.
Rather, the picture forming here is that miraculousness is actually a miraculous nature, founded in God, the true nature of all things in the Kingdom, the nature of the soul and creation (creating life out of your own being is miraculous - "miracles are a spark of life").
And let's not forget the course tells us YOU are one of God's miracles, meaning God is a miracle worker. And God does not have perception. So we really can't continue with this idea that a miracle is a shift in perception, or even in fact ANYTHING to do with perception as such. As least, we must not EQUATE miracles with perceptual shifts or think of them as synonyms.
There is also the fact that "miracles cannot be performed in a spirit of doubt and fear". And that "miracles are expressions of love", and "all expressions of love are maximal". What does this suggest? Simply that even if you are working on your forgiveness and healing, shifting perception, changing beliefs, you likely still have way too much fear and doubt to be MAXIMALLY loving. To have NO fear. Which is a requirement for performing a miracle.
So "beginners" to the course, even intermediate and advanced students, may still not be loving ENOUGH to perform miracles. This is why the course says
"Miracles are everyone's right, but purification is necessary first."
We have to actually do quite a LOT of work to remove blocks and ego from the mind BEFORE we can even get close to the state of miracle mindedness, or maximal love, to be able to BE a miracle worker. While the ego would love to label just about anyone a miracle worker, as a kind of spiritualized ego, the fact is you are not a miracle worker until MUCH LATER in the course's progress. Which means again, any shifts in perception you have, ARE NOT miracles.
As we remove blocks to love, we remove blocks to the NATURAL NATURE of our being - our miraculousness. We re-access and become able again to wield without fear, the ABILITY of our mind to perform miracles. It requires love, as a main ingredient.
Miracles also express FROM a loving state of mind. If you do not have a loving state of mind ALREADY, you will not be able to perform a miracle. If your mind gets INTO a loving state, THAT itself is not a miracle. The shift from where you are, to where you are trying to be, is not miraculous. The place you END UP AT is miraculous.
Now, let's also be clear that miracles CAN CAUSE a shift in perception. For example:
"Miracles unite you with your brother"
"Miracles raise the level of communication"
"Miracles make minds one in God"
So they are ways to heal your psychological interconnectedness with others. But the change that occurs, the effects, the shifts, they are not causal. They are the results of the miracles happening. If perception shifts, that's an effect, not a cause. Let's also throw in this point.
If you are advanced and have done a lot of purification and are now close to miracle mindedness, you do not NEED shifts in perception for yourself. You don't have stuff left TO shift. Does this mean you are now done performing miracles? Absolutely not. You are supposed to be returning TO being MIRACULOUS ALL THE TIME.
Remember, "miracles are NATURAL, and when they do NOT occur, something has gone wrong."
and "Miracles should be happening all the time"
So a person awakening, a person being more loving, a person close to true perception, SHOULD BE miraculous all the time. AND performing miracles frequently.
"Every day should be devoted to miracles."
Let's also make a distinction here.
1) Miraculousness is the true nature of divine mind. Everything in heaven is miraculous forever. Jesus is still miraculous. Holy Spirit is miraculous. Your soul is miraculous. Angels are miraculous. Being miraculous never switches off. But you can deny it with the ego.
2) "The Miracle", is a synonym for the STATE of atonement, true perception, salvation, miracle mindedness, right mindedness etc. It could also be considered a synonym for the Holy Spirit and Christ Vision. This is a STATE OF MIND, a "place" in awareness that you reach. This state of miraculous, but it is not the same thing as miracles. It's where miracles COME FROM.
3) Miracles, individual miracles, plural, are many in number. They are performed typically FROM the state of miracle mindedness. From the top down, not the bottom up. This is why "I can only give the miracles I HAVE RECEIVED" and also why "Miracles FALL like drops of healing rain". The come DOWN from a higher state of mind and resurrect. "All around the signs of life spring up"
All individual miracles are one, but they literally are numerous and individually performed. They operate to LIFT UP the mind from states of false perception, TOWARDS true perception. That is, being performed FROM a higher level, they have power OVER all that is below, including perception, form, bodies, and worlds. They can raise the dead, physically and psychologically. They can heal the sick on any level. And they can restore sanity and induce revelation.
When performed, they elevate your own mind to a higher level if necessary. But if you are already high, they are given to those who have less, merely reinforcing what you already have. This is why
"Miracles are given by those who temporarily have more to those who temporarily have less."
"A miracle is a service. It is the maximal service that one soul can render another."
Note that being a service it does not mean that you are the main beneficiary. But you also are not excluded because you give as you receive. It's just that we need to realize, miracles are GIVEN TO OTHERS.
So here is a key fact. Miracles are NOT JUST ABOUT YOU. They are not something that just has an influence on your own perception or mind or body. They literally are capable of DOING SOMETHING TO OTHERS. This is why they are capable of raising the dead and healing the sick, OTHER than yourself.
So this naive idea that "miracles are what happens when I shift my own perception", has to be thrown out. It is woefully inaccurate and limited and not at all what the course actually says about miracles. It's something some people made up a long time ago when misinterpreting the course.
The time will come when miracles are not needed, but only when everyone has atoned. This does not MEAN the end of miraculousness. Miracles resurrect the dead in every way by GIVING life.
"Miracles are a spark of life"
"Miracles mean life and God is the giver of life"
When everyone is resurrected, God isn't going to stop giving life, nor are you going to stop being miraculous. Do you think Jesus today is incapable of performing a miracle? Quite the opposite. And he doesn't even HAVE perception!
So miracles can lift the mind up, "shifting perception", but that depends entirely on whether there is anything TO shift. The shift is an effect, while there is something to affect. If you confuse the shift with the miracle, you throw out miracles as soon as you are done with shifting.
It is also necessary as part of the atonement that you perform miracles FOR OTHERS, rather than just selfishly focusing on the shifting of your own perceptions. There is no point becoming miracle minded if you are not going to USE your miraculous nature to perform miracles. Miracles express through you, extending to others, as part of your nature loving of other people.
"Miracles arise from a miraculous state of mind." (and they do NOT arise from a mind that is steeped in ego problems that's trying to shift some perception).
"The distinction has also been made here between "miracle-mindedness" as a STATE, and "miracle-doing" as its expression."
"Readiness here means keep your perception right side up, (or valid), so you will ALWAYS be ready, willing, and able. These are the essentials for "listen, learn, and do." You must be: READY to listen, WILLING to learn, and ABLE to do."
"Only the last is involuntary, because it is the APPLICATION of miracles which must be Christ-controlled. But the other two, which are the voluntary aspects of miracle-mindedness, ARE up to you."
Note that just because miracle APPLICATION is christ controlled, and "involuntary", does NOT MEAN that miracles DO NOT get performed through you or that you do nothing. You work with Christ and the Holy Spirit and THEY make the miracles happen through you. You area team. You have the power of God in you.
So no, miracles are not shifts in perception. They are a form of healing and demonstration of God's power. Miracles CAUSE stuff to happen, and not just to YOU! Miracles have the power of God in them. They are able to give life and supply a lack. They can heal the bodies of others. They can heal minds. They can even cause inanimate objects to do things they "shouldn't" be able to do, by breaking the laws of the world. e.g. Jesus turning water into wine, turning a tree branch into a snake, walking on water etc.
Shifting perception is indeed part of purification, but it is not to be associated with a miracle. You can shift your perception quite a lot without miracles being involved. You might not even perform a single miracle after many years of course practice. It require a lot of mind healing to be able to DO them. To express FROM a healed state.
And let us also remember, miracles actually occur as a result of IMPULSES. The impulse is like a little spark of living energy which arises in the mind. "Miracles are energizers". They actually are like little expressed mini creations which transfer FROM you TO another and have effects on them. They go out and do something. It's like a pulse of life force. Inspired by Christ. Passing through you onto others.
So if you want to be a miracle DOER, a WORKER, you need to first approach miracle minded states, and THEN you can perform miracles. This is why actual miracles are quite rare among ACIM folks at present, we're simply not far enough along in our purification to perform them. Jesus has set a high standard for us to live up to but it's exciting to continue to move towards our natural birthright of being a miracle worker, in this world and beyond.