ACIM Supplemental Reading for December 4
Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process & Practice
The Practice of Psychotherapy
The Question of Payment
No one can pay for therapy, for healing is of God and He asks for nothing. It is, however, part of His plan that everything in this world be used by the Holy Spirit to help in carrying out the plan. Even an advanced therapist has some earthly needs while he is here. Should he need money it will be given him, not in payment, but to help him better serve the plan. Money is not evil. It is nothing. But no one here can live with no illusions, for he must yet strive to have the last illusion be accepted by everyone everywhere. He has a mighty part in this one purpose, for which he came. He stays here but for this. And while he stays he will be given what he needs to stay.
Only an unhealed healer would try to heal for money, and he will not succeed to the extent to which he values it. Nor will he find his healing in the process. There will be those of whom the Holy Spirit asks some payment for His purpose. There will be those from whom He does not ask. It should not be the therapist who makes these decisions. There is a difference between payment and cost. To give money where God’s plan allots it has no cost. To withhold it from where it rightfully belongs has enormous cost. The therapist who would do this loses the name of healer, for he could never understand what healing is. He cannot give it, and so he does not have it.
The therapists of this world are indeed useless to the world’s salvation. They make demands, and so they cannot give. Patients can pay only for the exchange of illusions. This, indeed, must demand payment, and the cost is great. A “bought” relationship cannot offer the only gift whereby all healing is accomplished. Forgiveness, the Holy Spirit’s only dream, must have no cost. For if it does, it merely crucifies God’s Son again. Can this be how he is forgiven? Can this be how the dream of sin will end?
The right to live is something no one need fight for. It is promised him, and guaranteed by God. Therefore it is a right the therapist and patient share alike. If their relationship is to be holy, whatever one needs is given by the other; whatever one lacks the other supplies. Herein is the relationship made holy, for herein both are healed. The therapist repays the patient in gratitude, as does the patient repay him. There is no cost to either. But thanks are due to both, for the release from long imprisonment and doubt. Who would not be grateful for such a gift? Yet who could possibly imagine that it could be bought?
It has well been said that to him who hath shall be given. Because he has, he can give. And because he gives, he shall be given. This is the law of God, and not of the world. So it is with God’s healers. They give because they have heard His Word and understood it. All that they need will thus be given them. But they will lose this understanding unless they remember that all they have comes only from God. If they believe they need anything from a brother, they will recognize him as a brother no longer. And if they do this, a light goes out even in Heaven. Where God’s Son turns against himself, he can look only upon darkness. He has himself denied the light, and cannot see.
One rule should always be observed: No one should be turned away because he cannot pay. No one is sent by accident to anyone. Relationships are always purposeful. Whatever their purpose may have been before the Holy Spirit entered them, they are always His potential temple; the resting place of Christ and home of God Himself. Whoever comes has been sent. Perhaps he was sent to give his brother the money he needed. Both will be blessed thereby. Perhaps he was sent to teach the therapist how much he needs forgiveness, and how valueless is money in comparison. Again will both be blessed. Only in terms of cost could one have more. In sharing, everyone must gain a blessing without cost.
This view of payment may well seem impractical, and in the eyes of the world it would be so. Yet not one worldly thought is really practical. How much is gained by striving for illusions? How much is lost by throwing God away? And is it possible to do so? Surely it is impractical to strive for nothing, and to attempt to do what is impossible. Then stop a while, long enough to think of this: You have perhaps been seeking for salvation without recognizing where to look. Whoever asks your help can show you where. What greater gift than this could you be given? What greater gift is there that you would give?
Physician, healer, therapist, teacher, heal thyself. Many will come to you carrying the gift of healing, if you so elect. The Holy Spirit never refuses an invitation to enter and abide with you. He will give you endless opportunities to open the door to your salvation, for such is His function. He will also tell you exactly what your function is in every circumstance and at all times. Whoever He sends you will reach you, holding out his hand to his Friend. Let the Christ in you bid him welcome, for that same Christ is in him as well. Deny him entrance, and you have denied the Christ in you. Remember the sorrowful story of the world, and the glad tidings of salvation. Remember the plan of God for the restoration of joy and peace. And do not forget how very simple are the ways of God:
You were lost in the darkness of the world until you asked for light.
And then God sent His Son to give it to you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 4
Forgiveness ends the dream of conflict here.
Conflict must be resolved. It cannot be evaded, set aside, denied, disguised, seen somewhere else, called by another name, or hidden by deceit of any kind, if it would be escaped. It must be seen exactly as it is, where it is thought to be, in the reality which has been given it, and with the purpose that the mind accorded it. For only then are its defenses lifted, and the truth can shine upon it as it disappears.
Father, forgiveness is the light You chose to shine away all conflict and all doubt, and light the way for our return to You. No light but this can end our evil dream. No light but this can save the world. For this alone will never fail in anything, being Your gift to Your beloved Son.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q#139: I listened to the tape set Form vs. Content: Sex and Money. It said that you project out from inside your beliefs about money. How do you find out exactly what your beliefs are so that you can change them?
A: Before considering how you may identify your beliefs about money, a little clarification of A Course in Miracles approach to all of our ego thoughts and beliefs may be helpful first. We want to become aware of them so that we can accept responsibility for choosing them, but not so that we can change them. That would put us in charge of the process of Atonement, a surefire formula for failure. The goal with the Course is that we make our unconscious thoughts conscious, accept responsibility for choosing them, recognize what purpose they serve in the ego’s scheme, and then release them along with the guilt they necessarily entail to the healing light of the Holy Spirit or Jesus. But we don’t want to try to change them! For that would make them real and would involve substituting one ego belief for another.
Money is simply an external form or symbol onto which we project our beliefs about ourselves. So what are your attitudes and feelings about money? By the way, there are no right or wrong, good or bad, answers to the questions that follow. All answers will reflect basic ego beliefs about yourself and others, of either a special love or special hate nature. In the end, we will realize they are neither right nor wrong, good nor bad, but simply untrue. But we first have to look at them, because we do believe them, and look with Jesus or the Holy Spirit beside us so that we can look openly and honestly.
Do you feel you never have enough? Are you afraid of losing the money you have? Does having money make you feel better or more secure about yourself? Do you save it as a symbol of security and safety against unforeseen dangers and obstacles? Or do you tend to spend it as quickly as you get it and are always in debt? Do you see having money as a symbol of status and success, a measure of your worth? If you don’t have much money, do you try to pretend you have more? Or do you wear your poverty as a badge of specialness? If you have lots of money, do you like to flaunt it? Or do you try to keep a low profile about it? How do you feel about sharing your money with others or giving it away? Are you jealous or resentful of those who have more money than you? How do you feel your parents have been towards you with money? If you are in a relationship with someone else which involves joint management of money and resources, is there conflict around handling it? What is the nature of the disagreements you have and what judgments do you find yourself making about how the other handles money?
As you reflect on your answers to these and other related questions about money that may come to mind, you want then to get in touch with the underlying thoughts, feelings and beliefs that these represent. These may be thoughts and feelings of inadequacy, scarcity, deprivation, limitation, insecurity, fear, victimization, irresponsibility, shame and guilt, pride, triumph, superiority, generosity, power, control, and so on. The important recognition that you want to foster is that these are basic feelings about yourself that have nothing to do with money, or other people, or anything of the world. These are repercussions from seriously entertaining the thought of separation in your mind and wanting it to be true. For the thought of separation is nothing less than the desire to be separate from love, including a willingness to attack and destroy love in order to establish an individual self. And in that process we believe we have destroyed our own value. And so all of the accompanying feelings of worthlessness, which become too painful to hold in our mind and acknowledge, become projected out onto a world of our own making, with many convenient targets and repositories for those feelings, including money. And then those external symbols seem to be the problem, rather than the thought of separation in our mind through which we devalued our true Self. At that point, the ego thought system is well protected from the Holy Spirit’s Atonement principle, which says separation is impossible except in illusory dreams and nothing has really happened to deprive us of the love that we are. But once we understand the ego’s purpose for the world, including money, we can look at all of it differently, and know it is a window to our own unconscious mind. And now we can make a different choice, remembering our true Value as God’s holy Son.