ACIM Text Reading for March 17
Chapter 9 ~ The Acceptance of the Atonement
V. The Unhealed Healer
The ego’s plan for forgiveness is far more widely used than God’s. This is because it is undertaken by unhealed healers, and is therefore of the ego. Let us consider the unhealed healer more carefully now. By definition, he is trying to give what he has not received. If an unhealed healer is a theologian, for example, he may begin with the premise, ‘I am a miserable sinner, and so are you’. If he is a psychotherapist, he is more likely to start with the equally incredible belief that attack is real for both himself and the patient, but that it does not matter for either of them.
I have repeatedly said that beliefs of the ego cannot be shared, and this is why they are unreal. How, then, can ‘uncovering’ them make them real? Every healer who searches fantasies for truth must be unhealed, because he does not know where to look for truth, and therefore does not have the answer to the problem of healing.
There is an advantage to bringing nightmares into awareness, but only to teach that they are not real, and that anything they contain is meaningless. The unhealed healer cannot do this because he does not believe it. All unhealed healers follow the ego’s plan for forgiveness in one form or another. If they are theologians they are likely to condemn themselves, teach condemnation and advocate a fearful solution. Projecting condemnation onto God, they make Him appear retaliative, and fear His retribution. What they have done is merely to identify with the ego, and by perceiving what it does, condemn themselves because of this confusion. It is understandable that there have been revolts against this concept, but to revolt against it is still to believe in it.
Some newer forms of the ego’s plan are as unhelpful as the older ones, because form does not matter and the content has not changed. In one of the newer forms, for example, a psychotherapist may interpret the ego’s symbols in a nightmare, and then use them to prove that the nightmare is real. Having made it real, he then attempts to dispel its effects by depreciating the importance of the dreamer. This would be a healing approach if the dreamer were also identified as unreal. Yet if the dreamer is equated with the mind, the mind’s corrective power through the Holy Spirit is denied. This is a contradiction even in the ego’s terms, and one which it usually notes even in its confusion.
If the way to counteract fear is to reduce the importance of the mind; how can this build ego strength? Such evident inconsistencies account for why no one has really explained what happens in psychotherapy. Nothing really does. Nothing real has happened to the unhealed healer, and he must learn from his own teaching. His ego will always seek to get something from the situation. The unhealed healer therefore does not know how to give, and consequently cannot share. He cannot correct because he is not working correctively. He believes that it is up to him to teach the patient what is real, although he does not know it himself.
What, then, should happen? When God said, ‘Let there be light’, there was light. Can you find light by analysing darkness, as the psychotherapist does, or like the theologian, by acknowledging darkness in yourself and looking for a distant light to remove it, while emphasising the distance? Healing is not mysterious. Nothing will change unless it is understood, since light is understanding. A ‘miserable sinner’ cannot be healed without magic, nor can an ‘unimportant mind’ esteem itself without magic.
Both forms of the ego’s approach, then, must arrive at an impasse; the characteristic ‘impossible situation’ to which the ego always leads. It may help someone to point out where he is heading, but the point is lost unless he is also helped to change his direction. The unhealed healer cannot do this for him, since he cannot do it for himself. The only meaningful contribution the healer can make is to present an example of one whose direction has been changed for him, and who no longer believes in nightmares of any kind. The light in his mind will therefore answer the questioner, who must decide with God that there is light because he sees it. And by his acknowledgement the healer knows it is there. That is how perception ultimately is translated into knowledge. The miracle worker begins by perceiving light, and translates his perception into sureness by continually extending it and accepting its acknowledgement. Its effects assure him it is there.
A therapist does not heal; he lets healing be. He can point to darkness but he cannot bring light of himself, for light is not of him. Yet, being for him, it must also be for his patient. The Holy Spirit is the only Therapist. He makes healing clear in any situation in which He is the Guide. You can only let Him fulfil His function. He needs no help for this. He will tell you exactly what to do to help anyone He sends to you for help, and will speak to him through you if you do not interfere. Remember that you choose the guide for helping, and the wrong choice will not help. But remember also that the right one will. Trust Him, for help is His function, and He is of God. As you awaken other minds to the Holy Spirit through Him, and not yourself, you will understand that you are not obeying the laws of this world. But the laws you are obeying work. ‘The good is what works’ is a sound though. insufficient statement. Only the good can work. Nothing else works at all.
This course offers a very direct and a very simple learning situation, and provides the Guide Who tells you what to do. If you do it, you will see that it works. Its results are more convincing than its words. They will convince you that the words are true. By following the right Guide, you will learn the simplest of all lessons:
By their fruits ye shall know them, And they shall know themselves.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 17
I am under no laws but God’s.
We have observed before how many senseless things have seemed to you to be salvation. Each has imprisoned you with laws as senseless as itself. You are not bound by them. Yet to understand that this is so, you must first realize salvation lies not there. While you would seek for it in things that have no meaning, you bind yourself to laws that make no sense. Thus do you seek to prove salvation is where it is not.
Today we will be glad you cannot prove it. For if you could, you would forever seek salvation where it is not, and never find it. The idea for today tells you once again how simple is salvation. Look for it where it waits for you, and there it will be found. Look nowhere else, for it is nowhere else.
Think of the freedom in the recognition that you are not bound by all the strange and twisted laws you have set up to save you. You really think that you would starve unless you have stacks of green paper strips and piles of metal discs. You really think a small round pellet or some fluid pushed into your veins through a sharpened needle will ward off disease and death. You really think you are alone unless another body is with you.
It is insanity that thinks these things. You call them laws, and put them under different names in a long catalogue of rituals that have no use and serve no purpose. You think you must obey the “laws” of medicine, of economics and of health. Protect the body, and you will be saved.
These are not laws, but madness. The body is endangered by the mind that hurts itself. The body suffers just in order that the mind will fail to see it is the victim of itself. The body’s suffering is a mask the mind holds up to hide what really suffers. It would not understand it is its own enemy; that it attacks itself and wants to die. It is from this your “laws” would save the body. It is for this you think you are a body.
There are no laws except the laws of God. This needs repeating, over and over, until you realize it applies to everything that you have made in opposition to God’s Will. Your magic has no meaning. What it is meant to save does not exist. Only what it is meant to hide will save you.
The laws of God can never be replaced. We will devote today to rejoicing that this is so. It is no longer a truth that we would hide. We realize instead it is a truth that keeps us free forever. Magic imprisons, but the laws of God make free. The light has come because there are no laws but His.
We will begin the longer practice periods today with a short review of the different kinds of “laws” we have believed we must obey. These would include, for example, the “laws” of nutrition, of immunization, of medication, and of the body’s protection in innumerable ways. Think further; you believe in the “laws” of friendship, of “good” relationships and reciprocity. Perhaps you even think that there are laws which set forth what is God’s and what is yours. Many “religions” have been based on this. They would not save but damn in Heaven’s name. Yet they are no more strange than other “laws” you hold must be obeyed to make you safe.
There are no laws but God’s. Dismiss all foolish magical beliefs today, and hold your mind in silent readiness to hear the Voice that speaks the truth to you. You will be listening to One Who says there is no loss under the laws of God. Payment is neither given nor received. Exchange cannot be made; there are no substitutes; and nothing is replaced by something else. God’s laws forever give and never take.
Hear Him Who tells you this, and realize how foolish are the “laws” you thought upheld the world you thought you saw. Then listen further. He will tell you more. About the Love your Father has for you. About the endless joy He offers you. About His yearning for His only Son, created as His channel for creation; denied to Him by his belief in hell.
Let us today open God’s channels to Him, and let His Will extend through us to Him. Thus is creation endlessly increased. His Voice will speak of this to us, as well as of the joys of Heaven which His laws keep limitless forever. We will repeat today’s idea until we have listened and understood there are no laws but God’s. Then we will tell ourselves, as a dedication with which the practice period concludes:
I am under no laws but God’s.
We will repeat this dedication as often as possible today; at least four or five times an hour, as well as in response to any temptation to experience ourselves as subject to other laws throughout the day. It is our statement of freedom from all danger and all tyranny. It is our acknowledgment that God is our Father, and that His Son is saved.
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ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #325: On page 172 of the text of A Course in Miracles (T.9.V.6:3) Jesus states: “Can you find light by analyzing the darkness…” My question is: If we are to look at our egos as a process, isn’t that the same thing as finding light by analyzing darkness?
A: The context of that statement is the unhealed healer who sees the darkness as real and not as a defense against the light, an expression of the only “sin” in the Course: making the error real. As Jesus tells us in the “Song of Prayer”: “Do not see error. Do not make it real” (S.2.I.3:3,4). In the section in the text to which you refer, Jesus is pointing out the limitations and mistakes of therapists and theologians who attempt to heal others without first having seen their own mistakes and brought them to the healing presence in their right minds. They therefore know nothing of that true corrective process, and as a result they wind up having their egos direct them as they attempt to heal others. If you know that the ego’s darkness (the wrong mind) is simply a defense against the Holy Spirit’s light (the right mind) and that we can choose between these states, then analyzing the darkness can be helpful in identifying the choices we make. We can then reconsider our decisions. But if we are unaware of the light and the decision-making capacity of our minds, then analyzing the darkness would be fruitless, ultimately. There may be some relief from the pain, but there would be no true healing. In that sense, you cannot find light by analyzing the darkness.
Q #1203: I am currently on Lesson 76 “I am under no laws but God’s” (W.pI.76). I must admit, up until now, all of the lessons resonated wonderfully with me and my spirit received them well. However, I am having a very hard time with this, and I feel as if I am positioning myself to accept chaos in my life. It appears to me that God’s law would not concern itself with me going to work, or even getting there on time, or whether I dressed appropriately or not, and on and on.
A: Yes, you are correct in your understanding of God’s law. Most students find it very unsettling (to put it mildly) to discover this aspect of A Course in Miracles’ teachings. But it is only the ego in you that feels the outcome would be chaos, because the sane part of your mind knows that you are taking a major step in the direction of restoring lasting peace to your mind. It is essential for the ego’s survival to keep you thinking that God and you are separate, that your life takes place in this world, and that you must sacrifice, pray, and do good things to get into Heaven after you die. That is the ego’s thought system, which Jesus teaches us is simply an insane substitute for the truth, which is that separation from God is impossible and that we are forever one with Him.
The fact that God does not know about us and our seeming individual lives does not mean that we have been abandoned and are completely on our own without any comfort or guidance. The purpose of our work with the Course is to develop a relationship with Jesus who is always lovingly present in our minds so that we could allow him then to help us identify and then remove the barriers we have placed between ourselves and love’s presence (T.16.IV.6:1). That is the only kind of help that is truly of value, and the only kind we should ever want. Making our lives better in this world is a futile endeavor, for nothing but God’s eternal peace and Love could ever satisfy us, and our continuing to believe that we really exist as individuals apart from God is what keeps us from experiencing the peace and Love in which we were created.
Questions #131, #157, and #643 all discuss this important issue.
Q #1225: The lesson “I am under no laws but God’s” (W.pI.76) implies, among other startling powers, that we don’t need to eat. A Course in Miracles has been around long enough and supposedly practiced by millions, and so it would seem that a few folks would not need to eat by now.
A: Although demonstrations of being beyond physical laws may be helpful reminders to us, that really is not the point of this lesson. Jesus is simply stating the truth — that in reality there is no body, and therefore there can be no laws that govern it. This is what we refer to as Level One, where Jesus contrasts truth and illusion. Level Two discussions are only about the illusory realm, where he contrasts the ego’s thought system of separation (wrong-mindedness) and the Holy Spirit’s thought system of Atonement (right-mindedness). Thus, by reminding us in this lesson that what we believe in is not really there, he is helping us develop a different perspective on our seeming lives in the world. Unfortunately, far too many students have missed the distinction between Level One and Level Two, and therefore have wound up denying their physical and psychological experiences, to the detriment of themselves, their families, friends, etc. They have forgotten that Jesus stated early in the text that it is practically impossible to deny our physical experience in this world (T.2.IV.3:10). He never encourages us to deny our bodily experiences or our belief that we are individual persons living in a physical world.
Rather than making fun of us or challenging us to give up our belief in the necessity of medical treatment, eating, breathing, earning money, and having relationships, he is helping us learn how not to take it all so seriously, recognizing where our investment in that belief is coming from (the dynamics of the ego that govern the wrong-minded part of our split mind). The body and its seeming laws are not the problem, in other words. The problem is our unconscious need to believe that we are not as God created us, and, as a means of dealing with the guilt over that, we are instead bodies subject to laws not of our own making. To correct this, our attention therefore has to be re-directed from the body to learning how to become aware of our minds and our ongoing decision to uphold that thought system. That is why the emphasis throughout A Course in Miracles is on having us change our minds about the body — which means becoming aware of the purpose for which we constantly use the body. Thus Jesus says, “You are asked to live so as to demonstrate that you are not an ego . . .” (T.4.VI.6:3); and this means looking at and eventually letting go of all the ways in which we keep ourselves separate from God and from each other — through judgment and specialness, for example. Similarly, in the context of relationships: “Your question should not be, ‘How can I see my brother without the body?’ Ask only, Do I really wish to see him sinless?” (T.20.VII.9:1,2).
In essence, thus, Jesus is teaching us in this lesson to look through his eyes at our dependency on all the laws we think bind us so that we can see the roots of this dependency in the guilt in our minds, and then give the purpose of forgiveness to all of our interactions in the world, thus allowing ourselves to accept the Atonement, the ultimate goal of our work with the Course and our relationship with Jesus.
Kenneth has given an extensive commentary on this lesson in Volume 2 of his Journey through the Workbook of “A Course i
Q #326: Do you know of people who in the year of taking A Course in Miracles have achieved the experience of the holy instant?
A: We direct you to Questions #26 and #104, which address this topic. The essence of the experience is recognizing and accepting the love of Jesus as the only reality in your mind. This comes about through choosing against the ego’s way of perceiving, which always emphasizes differences and separation, and instead seeing your interests and needs as the same as everyone else’s. It is a choice made in the mind, and of course can occur at any time. In the manual for teachers, Jesus speaks about different levels of relationships, the first level being “… what seems to be very casual encounters; a ‘chance’ meeting of two apparent strangers in an elevator, a child who is not looking where he is going running into an adult ‘by chance,’ two students ‘happening’ to walk home together…. Perhaps the seeming strangers in the elevator will smile to one another, perhaps the adult will not scold the child for bumping into him; perhaps the students will become friends. Even at the level of the most casual encounter, it is possible for two people to lose sight of separate interests, if only for a moment” (M.3.2:2,5,6). The holy instant is that moment. There are many other expressions of it as well. It may occur at any time during one’s spiritual process, and one need not be a student of the Course in order to have this experience. Many, many students have done so.
Finally, even though there are 365 lessons and the Course is presented as a one-year program, it is important to take note of what Jesus tells us in the very first sentence after the last lesson: “This course is a beginning, not an end” (M.ep.1:1). The training is completed when the holy instant becomes our only experience. We no longer see any value in choosing the ego rather than the love of Jesus in our minds. We go back and forth that way until we have let go entirely of all belief in the reality of separation, and sin, guilt, and fear.