ACIM Text Reading for October 8
How Is Healing Accomplished?
Healing involves an understanding of what the illusion of sickness is for. Healing is impossible without this.
I. The Perceived Purpose of Sickness
Healing is accomplished the instant the sufferer no longer sees any value in pain. Who would choose suffering unless he thought it brought him something, and something of value to him? He must think it is a small price to pay for something of greater worth. For sickness is an election; a decision. It is the choice of weakness, in the mistaken conviction that it is strength. When this occurs, real strength is seen as threat and health as danger. Sickness is a method, conceived in madness, for placing God’s Son on his Father’s throne. God is seen as outside, fierce and powerful, eager to keep all power for Himself. Only by His death can He be conquered by His Son.
And what, in this insane conviction, does healing stand for? It symbolizes the defeat of God’s Son and the triumph of his Father over him. It represents the ultimate defiance in a direct form which the Son of God is forced to recognize. It stands for all that he would hide from himself to protect his “life.” If he is healed, he is responsible for his thoughts. And if he is responsible for his thoughts, he will be killed to prove to him how weak and pitiful he is. But if he chooses death himself, his weakness is his strength. Now has he given himself what God would give to him, and thus entirely usurped the throne of his Creator.
II. The Shift in Perception
Healing must occur in exact proportion to which the valuelessness of sickness is recognized. One need but say, “There is no gain at all to me in this” and he is healed. But to say this, one first must recognize certain facts. First, it is obvious that decisions are of the mind, not of the body. If sickness is but a faulty problem-solving approach, it is a decision. And if it is a decision, it is the mind and not the body that makes it. The resistance to recognizing this is enormous, because the existence of the world as you perceive it depends on the body being the decision maker. Terms like “instincts,” “reflexes” and the like represent attempts to endow the body with non-mental motivators. Actually, such terms merely state or describe the problem. They do not answer it.
The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for a purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing. And this is so for healing in all forms. A patient decides that this is so, and he recovers. If he decides against recovery, he will not be healed. Who is the physician? Only the mind of the patient himself. The outcome is what he decides that it is. Special agents seem to be ministering to him, yet they but give form to his own choice. He chooses them in order to bring tangible form to his desires. And it is this they do, and nothing else. They are not actually needed at all. The patient could merely rise up without their aid and say, “I have no use for this.” There is no form of sickness that would not be cured at once.
What is the single requisite for this shift in perception? It is simply this; the recognition that sickness is of the mind, and has nothing to do with the body. What does this recognition “cost”? It costs the whole world you see, for the world will never again appear to rule the mind. For with this recognition is responsibility placed where it belongs; not with the world, but on him who looks on the world and sees it as it is not. He looks on what he chooses to see. No more and no less. The world does nothing to him. He only thought it did. Nor does he do anything to the world, because he was mistaken about what it is. Herein is the release from guilt and sickness both, for they are one. Yet to accept this release, the insignificance of the body must be an acceptable idea.
With this idea is pain forever gone. But with this idea goes also all confusion about creation. Does not this follow of necessity? Place cause and effect in their true sequence in one respect, and the learning will generalize and transform the world. The transfer value of one true idea has no end or limit. The final outcome of this lesson is the remembrance of God. What do guilt and sickness, pain, disaster and all suffering mean now? Having no purpose, they are gone. And with them also go all the effects they seemed to cause. Cause and effect but replicate creation. Seen in their proper perspective, without distortion and without fear, they re-establish Heaven.
III. The Function of the Teacher of God
If the patient must change his mind in order to be healed, what does the teacher of God do? Can he change the patient’s mind for him? Certainly not. For those already willing to change their minds he has no function except to rejoice with them, for they have become teachers of God with him. He has, however, a more specific function for those who do not understand what healing is. These patients do not realize they have chosen sickness. On the contrary, they believe that sickness has chosen them. Nor are they open-minded on this point. The body tells them what to do and they obey. They have no idea how insane this concept is. If they even suspected it, they would be healed. Yet they suspect nothing. To them the separation is quite real.
To them God’s teachers come, to represent another choice which they had forgotten. The simple presence of a teacher of God is a reminder. His thoughts ask for the right to question what the patient has accepted as true. As God’s messengers, His teachers are the symbols of salvation. They ask the patient for forgiveness for God’s Son in his own Name. They stand for the Alternative. With God’s Word in their minds they come in benediction, not to heal the sick but to remind them of the remedy God has already given them. It is not their hands that heal. It is not their voice that speaks the Word of God. They merely give what has been given them. Very gently they call to their brothers to turn away from death: “Behold, you Son of God, what life can offer you. Would you choose sickness in place of this?”
Not once do the advanced teachers of God consider the forms of sickness in which their brother believes. To do this is to forget that all of them have the same purpose, and therefore are not really different. They seek for God’s Voice in this brother who would so deceive himself as to believe God’s Son can suffer. And they remind him that he did not make himself, and must remain as God created him. They recognize illusions can have no effect. The truth in their minds reaches out to the truth in the minds of their brothers, so that illusions are not reinforced. They are thus brought to truth; truth is not brought to them. So are they dispelled, not by the will of another, but by the union of the one Will with itself. And this is the function of God’s teachers; to see no will as separate from their own, nor theirs as separate from God’s.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 8
What limits can I lay upon God’s Son?
Whom God created limitless is free. I can invent imprisonment for him, but only in illusions, not in truth. No Thought of God has left its Father’s Mind. No Thought of God is limited at all. No Thought of God but is forever pure. Can I lay limits on the Son of God, whose Father willed that he be limitless, and like Himself in freedom and in love?
Today let me give honor to Your Son, for thus alone I find the way to You. Father, I lay no limits on the Son You love and You created limitless. The honor that I give to him is Yours, and what is Yours belongs to me as well.
ACIM Q & A for Today
I have only been studying A Course in Miracles for two months. At the end of the first month I felt elated — people commented about their perceived change in my face. But just today I ended Lesson 31 in tears — I did not know before I began the Course that I held such anger and fear. Is it normal to feel the strength of my ego growing the more I am learning about love and forgiveness? Are ego and evil synonymous? I want to escape from this illusory dream world today.
A: It would help you a great deal to remind yourself often that the ego is not an entity that has power over you; it is nothing more than an erroneous thought that you (and everyone else) are holding on to. You simply have forgotten that it is only a mistaken way of thinking that you adopted and then forgot you did it. Thus, the purpose of your work with the Course is to ask Jesus to help you look at — not change — these beliefs, so that you will see them for what they are. To look without judgment is to join with Jesus, and your fear then will be kept to a minimum. He never judges you when you choose your ego; he never does anything but love you and invite you to look with him at the silliness of your ego.
A major point in the Course’s teachings is that the ego has only as much power as we give it; it has none of its own. That is why it can’t hurt us and we needn’t be afraid of it. There really is no “it” — Jesus speaks of the ego as though it were an entity because that is a way of meeting us where we are (T.4.VI.1) . But as we continue to bring the darkness of our ego to the light of his love, we will gradually realize that our feelings of guilt and fear are not justified, and then their power to disturb our inner peace will fade and eventually disappear. It is like turning on a light in a darkened room — the darkness just disappears. But at first, the fear and anger that were buried begin to rise to the surface and then it feels as if things are getting worse. Things were always bad — for all of us! Our defenses protected us from the madness and chaos in our minds, that’s all. That is why this is a process of undoing what we believe we have done. So it is important that you be very gentle with yourself and not try to force or rush the process. If you do, you will only be making it real, and that will not help.
There is no need to make the ego go away; there is only a need to look at it without judgment — then its seeming power will begin to dissipate. Progress comes in realizing that you are undoing something that never even happened (that you separated from God), so it makes no sense to pressure yourself into letting go of the ego immediately. That is the wisdom of Jesus’ gentle approach of simply looking with him, quietly and calmly, at the thought system of separation that you have made real in your mind, but that is not real at all (T.11.V.1) .
Finally, remember that the ego does not take kindly to one’s decision to learn and practice A Course in Miracles — it senses a threat and therefore fights back in an attempt to maintain its dominance. That is when our discomfort can increase dramatically. Jesus tells us that the ego’s range of response varies from suspiciousness to viciousness (T.9.VII.3,4) , and that sometimes we will rush right back into darkness after having had a glimpse of the glorious light of forgiveness (T.18.III.2; T.25.VI.2) .
It might help you to look at some other discussions of the kind of difficulty you are experiencing – – many students go through this as they work with the Course in undoing the ego thought system. See, for example, Questions #384, #533, #812, #843, #913, #943, and #963.