ACIM Reading for December 2
Supplement: The Song of Prayer
3. Healing- Introduction
1. Prayer has both aids and witnesses which make the steep ascent more gentle and more sure, easing the pain of fear and offering the comfort and the promises of hope. Forgiveness’ witness and an aid to prayer, a giver of assurance of success in ultimate attainment of the goal, is healing. Its importance should not be too strongly emphasized, for healing is a sign or symbol of forgiveness’ strength, and only an effect or shadow of a change of mind about the goal of prayer.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 2
Forgiveness lets me know that minds are joined.
Forgiveness is the means appointed for perception’s ending. Knowledge is restored after perception first is changed, and then gives way entirely to what remains forever past its highest reach. For sights and sounds, at best, can serve but to recall the memory that lies beyond them all. Forgiveness sweeps away distortions, and opens the hidden altar to the truth. Its lilies shine into the mind, and call it to return and look within, to find what it has vainly sought without. For here, and only here, is peace of mind restored, for this the dwelling place of God Himself.
In quiet may forgiveness wipe away my dreams of separation and of sin. Then let me, Father, look within, and find Your promise of my sinlessness is kept; Your Word remains unchanged within my mind, Your Love is still abiding in my heart.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #128: I have struggled with clinical depression for the last five years or so. When I do not take medication I become very tired and am not able to concentrate. I find this condition difficult to live with. However, when I do take the medication I am able to concentrate and I do not feel tired. My question is: A Course in Miracles says that we are not bodies. Our bodies are projections made by the ego. If there is something wrong with the body, the ego caused it. What do I have to do to heal this depression on a spiritual level so that I will not have to take this medication anymore?
A: Forgive. That’s all you have to do.
In case that answer seems too flip, a few more words may be helpful. Everything we do here in the world to address our bodily limits and needs is what the Course calls magic (for a further discussion of magic, in the context of addictions and 12-step programs, see Question #57). It’s all magic because we are not addressing the real problem and source of all of our symptoms, including experiencing ourselves as a body. The real problem is always and only the guilt in our ego mind. And the only way to address that problem is through practicing forgiveness, which means learning, with the help of Jesus or the Holy Spirit, not to judge the projections of our ego so that they can be withdrawn and healed in the mind where they originated.
Now there may be a stigma associated in your mind with taking medication for depression and that may in fact be where you want to begin with your forgiveness process. The fact is, eating and sleeping are also forms of magic we use to cope with what otherwise would be unpleasant or dysfunctional states. But most of us do not ask what we would have to do to heal our hunger or weariness on a spiritual level so that we would no longer need to take food or to sleep anymore. And the Course tells us that all illusions are the same — there is no hierarchy in reality (T.26.VII.6). So you may first want to learn to forgive yourself for your limitations, that is, learn not to judge yourself for the fact that you perceive yourself as a body, with all the needs that accompany seeing yourself in a bodily state, including taking medication for depression. Jesus gently reminds us, “Do not despair, then, because of limitations. It is your function to escape from them, but not to be without them” (M.26.4:1,2).
Then, rather than attempting to find a spiritual means to wean yourself from your antidepressant, it may be much more beneficial to ask for help in getting in touch with the underlying guilt that is triggering the symptoms of depression, so that can be healed. All symptoms are simply signals that we still want the separation and all its ramifications to be real. But that desire has a cost and that cost is what we want to begin to get more in touch with. Seeing ourselves as eternally separate from love, with no way home, is the most depressing state we could possibly experience.
But the good news is that the separation is not really true. As we see the cost of believing in the separation — which includes depression over the perceived hopelessness of our present “reality” – – the desire for a different way of seeing will gradually grow within us, until that becomes all that we want. For we will have learned that the only place of real hope is in our mind, where the presence of love is always available to us to lead us back home.