ACIM Text Reading for August 22
Chapter 27 ~ The Healing of the Dream
II. The Fear of Healing
Is healing frightening? To many, yes. For accusation is a bar to love, and damaged bodies are accusers. They stand firmly in the way of trust and peace, proclaiming that the frail can have no trust and that the damaged have no grounds for peace. Who has been injured by his brother, and could love and trust him still? He has attacked and will attack again. Protect him not, because your damaged body shows that you must be protected from him. To forgive may be an act of charity, but not his due. He may be pitied for his guilt, but not exonerated. And if you forgive him his transgressions, you but add to all the guilt that he has really earned.
The unhealed cannot pardon. For they are the witnesses that pardon is unfair. They would retain the consequences of the guilt they overlook. Yet no one can forgive a sin that he believes is real. And what has consequences must be real, because what it has done is there to see. Forgiveness is not pity, which but seeks to pardon what it thinks to be the truth. Good cannot be returned for evil, for forgiveness does not first establish sin and then forgive it. Who can say and mean, “My brother, you have injured me, and yet, because I am the better of the two, I pardon you my hurt.” His pardon and your hurt cannot exist together. One denies the other and must make it false.
To witness sin and yet forgive it is a paradox that reason cannot see. For it maintains what has been done to you deserves no pardon. And by giving it, you grant your brother mercy but retain the proof he is not really innocent. The sick remain accusers. They cannot forgive their brothers and themselves as well. For no one in whom true forgiveness rests can suffer. He holds not the proof of sin before his brother’s eyes. And thus he must have overlooked it and removed it from his own. Forgiveness cannot be for one and not the other. Who forgives is healed. And in his healing lies the proof that he has truly pardoned, and retains no trace of condemnation that he still would hold against himself or any living thing.
Forgiveness is not real unless it brings a healing to your brother and yourself. You must attest his sins have no effect on you to demonstrate they are not real. How else could he be guiltless? And how could his innocence be justified unless his sins have no effect to warrant guilt? Sins are beyond forgiveness just because they would entail effects that cannot be undone and overlooked entirely. In their undoing lies the proof that they are merely errors. Let yourself be healed that you may be forgiving, offering salvation to your brother and yourself.
A broken body shows the mind has not been healed. A miracle of healing proves that separation is without effect. What you would prove to him you will believe. The power of witness comes from your belief. And everything you say or do or think but testifies to what you teach to him. Your body can be means to teach that it has never suffered pain because of him. And in its healing can it offer him mute testimony of his innocence. It is this testimony that can speak with power greater than a thousand tongues. For here is his forgiveness proved to him.
A miracle can offer nothing less to him than it has given unto you. So does your healing show your mind is healed, and has forgiven what he did not do. And so is he convinced his innocence was never lost, and healed along with you. Thus does the miracle undo all things the world attests can never be undone. And hopelessness and death must disappear before the ancient clarion call of life. This call has power far beyond the weak and miserable cry of death and guilt. The ancient calling of the Father to His Son, and of the Son unto His Own, will yet be the last trumpet that the world will ever hear. Brother, there is no death. And this you learn when you but wish to show your brother that you had no hurt of him. He thinks your blood is on his hands, and so he stands condemned. Yet it is given you to show him, by your healing, that his guilt is but the fabric of a senseless dream.
How just are miracles! For they bestow an equal gift of full deliverance from guilt upon your brother and yourself. Your healing saves him pain as well as you, and you are healed because you wished him well. This is the law the miracle obeys; that healing sees no specialness at all. It does not come from pity but from love. And love would prove all suffering is but a vain imagining, a foolish wish with no effects. Your health is a result of your desire to see your brother with no blood upon his hands, nor guilt upon his heart made heavy with the proof of sin. And what you wish is given you to see.
The “cost” of your serenity is his. This is the “price” the Holy Spirit and the world interpret differently. The world perceives it as a statement of the “fact” that your salvation sacrifices his. The Holy Spirit knows your healing is the witness unto his, and cannot be apart from his at all. As long as he consents to suffer, you will be unhealed. Yet you can show him that his suffering is purposeless and wholly without cause. Show him your healing, and he will consent no more to suffer. For his innocence has been established in your sight and his. And laughter will replace your sighs, because God’s Son remembered that he is God’s Son.
Who, then, fears healing? Only those to whom their brother’s sacrifice and pain are seen to represent their own serenity. Their helplessness and weakness represent the grounds on which they justify his pain. The constant sting of guilt he suffers serves to prove that he is slave, but they are free. The constant pain they suffer demonstrates that they are free because they hold him bound. And sickness is desired to prevent a shift of balance in the sacrifice. How could the Holy Spirit be deterred an instant, even less, to reason with an argument for sickness such as this? And need your healing be delayed because you pause to listen to insanity?
Consider how this self-perception must extend, and do not overlook the fact that every thought extends because that is its purpose, being what it really is. From an idea of self as two, there comes a necessary view of function split between the two. And what you would correct is only half the error, which you think is all of it. Your brother’s sins become the central target for correction, lest your errors and his own be seen as one. Yours are mistakes, but his are sins and not the same as yours. His merit punishment, while yours, in fairness, should be overlooked.
In this interpretation of correction, your own mistakes you will not even see. The focus of correction has been placed outside yourself, on one who cannot be a part of you while this perception lasts. What is condemned can never be returned to its accuser, who had hated it, and hates it still as symbol of his fear. This is your brother, focus of your hate, unworthy to be part of you and thus outside yourself; the other half, which is denied. And only what is left without his presence is perceived as all of you. To this remaining half the Holy Spirit must represent the other half until you recognize it is the other half. And this He does by giving you and him a function that is one, not different.
Correction is the function given both, but neither one alone. And when it is fulfilled as shared, it must correct mistakes in you and him. It cannot leave mistakes in one unhealed and set the other free. That is divided purpose, which can not be shared, and so it cannot be the goal in which the Holy Spirit sees His Own. And you can rest assured that He will not fulfill a function that He does not see and recognize as His. For only thus can He keep yours preserved intact, despite Your separate views of what your function is. If He upheld divided function, you were lost indeed. His inability to see His goal divided and distinct for you and him, preserves yourself from the awareness of a function not your own. And thus is healing given you and him.
Correction must be left to One Who knows correction and forgiveness are the same. With half a mind this is not understood. Leave, then, correction to the Mind that is united, functioning as one because it is not split in purpose, and conceives a single function as its only one. Here is the function given it conceived to be its Own, and not apart from that its Giver keeps because it has been shared. In His acceptance of this function lies the means whereby your mind is unified. His single purpose unifies the halves of you that you perceive as separate. And each forgives the other, that he may accept his other half as part of him.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 22
Father, today I am Your Son again.
Today we will anticipate the time when dreams of sin and guilt are gone, and we have reached the holy peace we never left. Merely a tiny instant has elapsed between eternity and timelessness. So brief the interval there was no lapse in continuity, nor break in thoughts which are forever unified as one. Nothing has ever happened to disturb the peace of God the Father and the Son. This we accept as wholly true today.
We thank You, Father, that we cannot lose the memory of You and of Your Love. We recognize our safety, and give thanks for all the gifts You have bestowed on us, for all the loving help we have received, for Your eternal patience, and the Word which You have given us that we are saved.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #66: I have been studying A Course in Miracles for one year, doing the lessons and participating in two study groups. I am also in a 12-step group. My question is on friendship and extending love to others. I have never been one that worked on relationships. In the past year I have been trying to extend love to my friends but feel in some instances their love is not being reciprocated. I know love is freedom and unconditional, and yet when I reach out to a friend via a phone call or an e-mail and don’t hear from them, I’m disappointed. How can I get over this disappointment?
A: First of all, as a relatively new student to the Course, you need to know that you are doing the best that you can. The Course is a challenging process that takes time to master and it is not easy to undo the thought system of the ego to which we all have been so faithfully committed for nearly all of our time up until now. Your willingness to be taught a different way is all that Jesus is asking of you — and it takes humility to acknowledge that you don’t know the way yourself.
As you have been finding, the ego’s maxim “Seek but do not find” (T.16.V.6:5; W.pI.71.4:2; M.13.5:8) continues to operate in our lives even after we have decided we want another way of relating to others. This is because we still do not understand the purpose for which we made the world and relationships. “There is a tendency to think the world can offer consolation and escape from problems that its purpose is to keep…The world was made that problems could not be escaped” (T.31.IV.1:1;2:6). And so, as long as we look for any satisfaction in the world and from others, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. But, contrary to our conscious awareness, this setup in fact is intentional.
Our purpose in the world and in our relationships, which we keep hidden from ourselves, is to be disappointed, treated unfairly, and victimized, so that the pain that really comes from our own secret choice for separation now seems to be coming from somebody else’s actions, or inaction. In Lesson 76, Jesus speaks of the various ego “’laws’ we have believed we [and others] must obey. These include…the ‘laws” of friendship, of ‘good’ relationships and reciprocity” (W.pI.76.8:3). These seemingly reasonable rules for relationships serve the ego purpose of establishing expectations for how we and others should act in order to be happy, thereby guaranteeing our disappointment and unhappiness when they are violated.
Now Jesus does not expect that we will suddenly stop seeking outside of ourselves for love just because he tells us it will not work (e.g., T.29.VII). His purpose in telling us is to help us gradually open our eyes to what we are doing to ourselves so that, over time, we will be more and more willing to make a different choice, to bring our pain and disappointment to him so that he can show us that the answer to what we are looking for is there inside of us, and always has been. We are the ones who have not accepted the love, and have kept pushing it away out of our fear of joining and losing our self in total, limitless love. And we will continue to resist that insight in our practice of the Course and its process of forgiveness. But Jesus does not judge us for that. He knows that we are just afraid, but that in time we will choose his alternative more and more of the time. And then we will come to recognize that our fear that prevented us from experiencing his love is no different from the fear that seems to stop others from reciprocating when we allow his love to be extended through us. And since we know that the love is always ours to experience and share, we will no longer be disappointed when others do not recognize that for themselves. The love will simply continue to extend through us to them, offering them a reminder of the same solution we have learned for ourselves — the love is already present within each of our minds. We need only undo ” the blocks to the awareness of [its] presence” (T.in.1:7).