ACIM Text Reading for November 16
Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice
2. The Process of Psychotherapy
2.- V. The Process of Healing
1. While truth is simple, it must still be taught to those who have already lost their way in endless mazes of complexity. This is the great illusion. In its wake comes the inevitable belief that, to be safe, one must control the unknown. This strange belief relies on certain steps which never reach to consciousness. First, it is ushered in by the belief that there are forces to be overcome to be alive at all. And next, it seems as if these forces can be held at bay only by an inflated sense of self that holds in darkness what is truly felt, and seeks to raise illusions to the light.
2. Let us remember that the ones who come to us for help are bitterly afraid. What they believe will help can only harm; what they believe will harm alone can help. Progress becomes impossible until the patient is persuaded to reverse his twisted way of looking at the world; his twisted way of looking at himself. The truth is simple. Yet it must be taught to those who think it will endanger them. It must be taught to those who will attack because they feel endangered, and to those who need the lesson of defenselessness above all else, to show them what is strength.
3. If this world were ideal, there could perhaps be ideal therapy. And yet it would be useless in an ideal state. We speak of ideal teaching in a world in which the perfect teacher could not long remain; the perfect psychotherapist is but a glimmer of a thought not yet conceived. But still we speak of what can yet be done in helping the insane within the bounds of the attainable.
While they are sick, they can and must be helped. No more than that is asked of psychotherapy; no less than all he has to give is worthy of the therapist. For God Himself holds out his brother as his savior from the world.
4. Healing is holy. Nothing in the world is holier than helping one who asks for help. And two come very close to God in this attempt, however limited, however lacking in sincerity.
Where two have joined for healing, God is there. And He has guaranteed that He will hear and answer them in truth. They can be sure that healing is a process He directs, because it is according to His Will. We have His Word to guide us, as we try to help our brothers. Let us not forget that we are helpless of ourselves, and lean upon a strength beyond our little scope for what to teach as well as what to learn.
5. A brother seeking aid can bring us gifts beyond the heights perceived in any dream. He offers us salvation, for he comes to us as Christ and Savior. What he asks is asked by God through him. And what we do for him becomes the gift we give to God. The sacred calling of God’s holy Son for help in his perceived distress can be but answered by his Father. Yet He needs a voice through which to speak His holy Word; a hand to reach His Son and touch his heart. In such a process, who could not be healed? This holy interaction is the plan of God Himself, by which His Son is saved.
6. For two have joined. And now God’s promises are kept by Him. The limits laid on both the patient and the therapist will count as nothing, for the healing has begun. What they must start their Father will complete. For He has never asked for more than just the smallest willingness, the least advance, the tiniest of whispers of His Name. To ask for help, whatever form it takes, is but to call on Him. And He will send His Answer through the therapist who best can serve His Son in all his present needs. Perhaps the answer does not seem to be a gift from Heaven. It may even seem to be a worsening and not a help. Yet let the outcome not be judged by us.
7. Somewhere all gifts of God must be received. In time no effort can be made in vain. It is not our perfection that is asked in our attempts to heal. We are deceived already, if we think there is a need of healing. And the truth will come to us only through one who seems to share our dream of sickness. Let us help him to forgive himself for all the trespasses with which he would condemn himself without a cause. His healing is our own. And as we see the sinlessness in him come shining through the veil of guilt that shrouds the Son of God, we will behold in him the face of Christ, and understand that it is but our own.
8. Let us stand silently before God’s Will, and do what it has chosen that we do. There is one way alone by which we come to where all dreams began. And it is there that we will lay them down, to come away in peace forever. Hear a brother call for help and answer him. It will be God to Whom you answer, for you called on Him. There is no other way to hear His Voice.
There is no other way to seek His Son. There is no other way to find your Self. Holy is healing, for the Son of God returns to Heaven through its kind embrace. For healing tells him, in the Voice for God, that all his sins have been forgiven him.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 16
My Father gives all power unto me.
The Son of God is limitless. There are no limits on his strength, his peace, his joy, nor any attributes his Father gave in his creation. What he wills with his Creator and Redeemer must be done. His holy will can never be denied, because his Father shines upon his mind, and lays before it all the strength and love in earth and Heaven. I am he to whom all this is given. I am he in whom the power of my Father’s Will abides.
Your Will can do all things in me, and then extend to all the world as well through me. There is no limit on Your Will. And so all power has been given to Your Son.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #239: I have a question regarding the March 2003 Lighthouse article. The beginning, about “regime change,” made sense to me, and had me laughing. But at the end I was frustrated — I didn’t know how to formulate how to act, or what actions to support. If the only sane response is forgiveness, does that mean we shouldn’t try to stop people who are hurting others? Can we stop them lovingly? What if we have to kill them to stop them — can that be loving?
A: The answer to your questions lies in understanding the teachings of A Course in Miracles on forgiveness, which is not the same as the ego’s version of forgiveness. Forgiveness, according to the ego, rests on seeing sin, and then forgiving it. It then esteems some “sinners” as deserving of forgiveness, and some as not. The important thing for the ego is making the error real by believing some harm has been done by one part of the Sonship to another, and that its effect is real. These beliefs are in full operation in a situation, such as the war in Iraq. It is a perfect opportunity to see the ego thought system in action — not on the battlefield of the Iraqi desert, but in our mind, which is where forgiveness is needed. It is also a perfect opportunity for forgiveness, as stated in the Lighthouse article. Forgiveness, as taught by the Course, begins by looking at the world, and events like the war in Iraq, paying attention to all the judgments and feelings that come up in us, and recognizing their source, which is the mind: “It [the world] is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition”(T.21.in.1:5). The real war, therefore, is in our mind. The judgments and feelings are projections of the guilt in our own mind which is caused by our choice to identify with the ego’s belief in the separation. The mind then becomes a battleground, and the war in the world merely reflects the conflict in the mind. Since this is an activity of the mind, it needs correction on the level of the mind, not on the level of form. As a student of the Course our part in “ending the war” lies in this forgiveness process.
The next step in the Course’s forgiveness process is the recognition that no true harm is done by the war: “There is nothing to forgive. No one can hurt the Son of God” (T.14.III.7:5,6). Any perceived damage is based on the belief that the separation and the body are real. Though in truth they are not, our belief makes them real in our awareness. As we watch the devastation of war on television we realize how much we do perceive damage and we do believe the body is real. All our reactions to the war come from this belief, along with so many other beliefs about how the world should work, who is responsible for the war, who are the victims, and on and on. The list of misperceptions is very long, particularly in an extreme example, such as war. It is this belief system that causes our upset, not the events of the war. And it is this belief system that brings about war in the world in the first place. That is why the real solution to war is forgiveness, not negotiation, or any specific action. However, while we turn within to see the turmoil in our own minds and seek help to undo our misperceptions, it is still possible to take action in the world. Just as we continue to take normal care of our bodies as we learn to undo our belief in them, so too we can do whatever we think may be helpful to resolve conflicts in the world. The decision is not whether or not to act, or what action to take, but with whom we make the decision: “And make no mistake, nowhere in A Course in Miracles does Jesus suggest that we not act in the world; only that we not act alone” (The Lighthouse, Vol. 14, No. 1, p. 5). Is the purpose of taking action to reinforce the ego’s belief in victims and victimizers, taking sides with those who are “good” against those who are “evil”, or are we willing to ask the Holy Spirit to help us see that everyone in the war is a brother calling for help, rather than a sinner, and that their truth remains inviolate no matter how insane their ego behavior is? Whatever form the action takes will then reflect the belief system of the teacher we have chosen: the ego or the Holy Spirit. Choosing to accept the Holy Spirit’s perception is the only loving response in any situation, including war. When these steps are taken it is possible to stop an aggressor from physically hurting someone else without attack. If the only way to do this is by killing another, and if a person has clearly chosen to identify with the Holy Spirit, not the ego, in principle the killing can also be done without attack, without judgment, and without guilt. There are probably very few people who would fall into this category. It may indeed be more loving to stop someone from killing another (although not necessarily), but that would only be clear if you are coming from the right mind, having chosen the Holy Spirit, and not from fear. In applying the principles of the Course to any situation in the world the only important thing to remember is the content of the mind, not the form. The mind is what we are being trained to be aware of, and it is the mind that is in need of healing.
A last consideration, but certainly not the least, is the Course teaching that there is no death: There is no death because what God created shares His life. There is no death because an opposite to God does not exist. There is no death because the Father and the Son are One” (W.167.1:5,6,7). It is when we perceive ourselves and others as separate that the Son of God is “murdered.” It follows that a person who claims to support peace and brotherhood, but is filled with judgment against political leaders responsible for war, inflicts a death penalty on the Son of God, while a soldier who fully identifies with the Holy Spirit’s perception and knows his oneness with all brothers, can perform his duty, which includes killing, with the Holy Spirit’s love that flows through him. This is possible only by joining with the Holy Spirit in the mind: “He brings forgiving dreams, in which the choice is not who is the murderer and who shall be the victim. In the dreams He brings there is no murder and there is no death” (T.27.VII.14:4,5).