ACIM Text Reading for October 25
Manual for Teachers
22. How Are Healing and Atonement Related?
Healing and Atonement are not related; they are identical. There is no order of difficulty in miracles because there are no degrees of Atonement. It is the one complete concept possible in this world, because it is the source of a wholly unified perception. Partial Atonement is a meaningless idea, just as special areas of hell in Heaven are inconceivable. Accept Atonement and you are healed. Atonement is the Word of God. Accept His Word and what remains to make sickness possible? Accept His Word and every miracle has been accomplished. To forgive is to heal. The teacher of God has taken accepting the Atonement for himself as his only function. What is there, then, he cannot heal? What miracle can be withheld from him?
The progress of the teacher of God may be slow or rapid, depending on whether he recognizes the Atonement’s inclusiveness, or for a time excludes some problem areas from it. In some cases, there is a sudden and complete awareness of the perfect applicability of the lesson of the Atonement to all situations, but this is comparatively rare. The teacher of God may have accepted the function God has given him long before he has learned all that his acceptance holds out to him. It is only the end that is certain. Anywhere along the way, the necessary realization of inclusiveness may reach him. If the way seems long, let him be content. He has decided on the direction he wants to take. What more was asked of him? And having done what was required, would God withhold the rest?
That forgiveness is healing needs to be understood, if the teacher of God is to make progress. The idea that a body can be sick is a central concept in the ego’s thought system. This thought gives the body autonomy, separates it from the mind, and keeps the idea of attack inviolate. If the body could be sick Atonement would be impossible. A body that can order a mind to do as it sees fit could merely take the place of God and prove salvation is impossible. What, then, is left to heal? The body has become lord of the mind. How could the mind be returned to the Holy Spirit unless the body is killed? And who would want salvation at such a price?
Certainly sickness does not appear to be a decision. Nor would anyone actually believe he wants to be sick. Perhaps he can accept the idea in theory, but it is rarely if ever consistently applied to all specific forms of sickness, both in the individual’s perception of himself and of all others as well. Nor is it at this level that the teacher of God calls forth the miracle of healing. He overlooks the mind and body, seeing only the face of Christ shining in front of him, correcting all mistakes and healing all perception. Healing is the result of the recognition, by God’s teacher, of who it is that is in need of healing. This recognition has no special reference. It is true of all things that God created. In it are all illusions healed.
When a teacher of God fails to heal, it is because he has forgotten Who he is. Another’s sickness thus becomes his own. In allowing this to happen, he has identified with another’s ego, and has thus confused him with a body. In so doing, he has refused to accept the Atonement for himself, and can hardly offer it to his brother in Christ’s Name. He will, in fact, be unable to recognize his brother at all, for his Father did not create bodies, and so he is seeing in his brother only the unreal. Mistakes do not correct mistakes, and distorted perception does not heal. Step back now, teacher of God. You have been wrong. Lead not the way, for you have lost it. Turn quickly to your Teacher, and let yourself be healed.
The offer of Atonement is universal. It is equally applicable to all individuals in all circumstances. And in it is the power to heal all individuals of all forms of sickness. Not to believe this is to be unfair to God, and thus unfaithful to Him. A sick person perceives himself as separate from God. Would you see him as separate from you? It is your task to heal the sense of separation that has made him sick. It is your function to recognize for him that what he believes about himself is not the truth. It is your forgiveness that must show him this. Healing is very simple. Atonement is received and offered. Having been received, it must be accepted. It is in the receiving, then, that healing lies. All else must follow from this single purpose.
Who can limit the power of God Himself? Who, then, can say which one can be healed of what, and what must remain beyond God’s power to forgive? This is insanity indeed. It is not up to God’s teachers to set limits upon Him, because it is not up to them to judge His Son. And to judge His Son is to limit his Father. Both are equally meaningless. Yet this will not be understood until God’s teacher recognizes that they are the same mistake. Herein does he receive Atonement, for he withdraws his judgment from the Son of God, accepting him as God created him. No longer does he stand apart from God, determining where healing should be given and where it should be withheld. Now can he say with God, “This is my beloved Son, created perfect and forever so.”
ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 25
The Holy Spirit speaks through me today.
The Holy Spirit needs my voice today, that all the world may listen to Your Voice, and hear Your Word through me. I am resolved to let You speak through me, for I would use no words but Yours, and have no thoughts which are apart from Yours, for only Yours are true. I would be savior to the world I made. For having damned it I would set it free, that I may find escape, and hear the Word Your holy Voice will speak to me today.
We teach today what we would learn, and that alone. And so our learning goal becomes an unconflicted one, and possible of easy reach and quick accomplishment. How gladly does the Holy Spirit come to rescue us from hell, when we allow His teaching to persuade the world, through us, to seek and find the easy path to God.
Q #574: I understand Jesus’ remarks in his section from A Course in Miracles, “What is the role of words in healing?” (M.21); he says that over time we learn to let our words be chosen for us and that a major hindrance to this aspect of learning is our “fear about the validity” of what we hear. I am training now to be a teacher and I let Jesus speak through me and am learning how to discern more and more and sometimes what I hear is indeed startling and “has nothing to do with the situation” as I perceive it. Sometimes I am embarrassed but I usually calm down. I guess implicit in this question is me “second-guessing” God and thinking that I know better than He does but sometimes I am just startled at what I said and the other person is too. Can you help offer some insight here?
A: To the Holy Spirit (and Jesus as His manifestation), everything is either an expression of love or a call for love. He sees the larger picture of everyone’s Atonement path and is not limited by what we normally see as the boundaries of our lives in the world. Form is completely irrelevant to the Holy Spirit. And therefore His response to calls for love would be in terms of where people are on their Atonement paths, which is not something we ordinarily are in touch with. That is why what we hear may be startlingly different from what we think we should say. In the section you refer to, Jesus explains that our doubts and discomfort when this happens come from a “shabby self-perception,” which we would do well to “leave behind” (M.21.5.4,5). So that is what Jesus advises us to do in this aspect of our training. It means that we need to develop our ability to recognize our underlying self-images — specifically the ones that include a sense of inadequacy, neediness, specialness, and being unfairly treated. The more we hold onto self-images such as these, the less likely we would be to accurately discern the Holy Spirit’s Voice from the ego’s voice, because our holding onto them implies that we know better than Jesus who we really are, even after hearing him say again and again, “you are as God created you.” Thus, the trouble we have in humbly accepting Jesus at his word leads to the difficulties in our ability to hear accurately.
Q #575: With respect to Question #365 re the child’s role in child abuse, what is the adult role in such a relationship? Clearly, the adult is not telling God “look at how I suffer.”
A: As is well known, many abusing adults were once themselves abused, and probably would be sustaining an unspoken accusation against their own abusers: “I can’t help doing what I’m doing; it’s not my fault. After all, look what happened to me!” This is another way of keeping separation real, yet having someone else be responsible for it. Moreover, anyone who attacks another person (whether child or adult) is harboring a self-accusation of unforgiveable sinfulness that is so tormenting that it must be projected from the mind and seen in a body and attacked there.
The ego’s ultimate strategy is to keep us focused on the body — one of its favorite means being the perception of victimization — so that we would rarely, if ever, suspect that the mind is the source of both sin and salvation from sin. This ego strategy, thus, is at the root of the need to find fault with what other bodies do and then punish them through habitual abuse, whether physical or psychological. Jesus has described this strategy in the section of A Course in Miracles called “The Self-Accused” (T.31.III). So in some way, the abusing adult is pleading with God, saying, “I know I’m mean, vicious, and cruel, but it’s not my fault!” The ego has achieved one of its major goals in this process insofar as the process validates the reality of the victim/victimizer cycle. The foundation supporting the entire thought system of the ego is sin: that there is a guilty victimizer and an innocent victim. This is the cycle the ego seeks to perpetuate in our relationships in the world, lest we hear another Voice within our minds calling us to remember the truth of our innocence with respect to our relationship with God our Source. If there were no accusation of sin on that ultimate level, the concept of victimization would never have arisen, and obviously there would be no need to project it onto bodies. So an abusing adult is one of the outcomes of the need to do something about the excruciating pain of self-hatred (sinfulness) thought to be the core of our identity (W.pI.93.1). This, in effect, defines the ego’s purpose for life in the body — it is the chosen route of escape from the pain and fear in the mind. The source of victimization thus is always in bodies (psychological or physical), never in the mind’s acceptance of the ego’s made-up story of ontological sin, guilt, and fear.