ACIM Text Reading for January 15
Chapter 2 ~ The Separation and the Atonement
IV. Healing as Release from Fear
Our emphasis is now on healing. The miracle is the means, the Atonement is the principle, and healing is the result. To speak of “a miracle of healing” is to combine two orders of reality inappropriately. Healing is not a miracle. The Atonement, or the final miracle, is a remedy and any type of healing is a result. The kind of error to which Atonement is applied is irrelevant. All healing is essentially the release from fear. To undertake this you cannot be fearful yourself. You do not understand healing because of your own fear.
A major step in the Atonement plan is to undo error at all levels. Sickness or “not-right-mindedness” is the result of level confusion, because it always entails the belief that what is amiss on one level can adversely affect another. We have referred to miracles as the means of correcting level confusion, for all mistakes must be corrected at the level on which they occur. Only the mind is capable of error. The body can act wrongly only when it is responding to misthought. The body cannot create, and the belief that it can, a fundamental error, produces all physical symptoms. Physical illness represents a belief in magic. The whole distortion that made magic rests on the belief that there is a creative ability in matter which the mind cannot control. This error can take two forms; it can be believed that the mind can miscreate in the body, or that the body can miscreate in the mind. When it is understood that the mind, the only level of creation, cannot create beyond itself, neither type of confusion need occur.
Only the mind can create because spirit has already been created, and the body is a learning device for the mind. Learning devices are not lessons in themselves. Their purpose is merely to facilitate learning. The worst a faulty use of a learning device can do is to fail to facilitate learning. It has no power in itself to introduce actual learning errors. The body, if properly understood, shares the invulnerability of the Atonement to two-edged application. This is not because the body is a miracle, but because it is not inherently open to misinterpretation. The body is merely part of your experience in the physical world. Its abilities can be and frequently are over evaluated. However, it is almost impossible to deny its existence in this world. Those who do so are engaging in a particularly unworthy form of denial. The term “unworthy” here implies only that it is not necessary to protect the mind by denying the unmindful. If one denies this unfortunate aspect of the mind’s power, one is also denying the power itself.
All material means that you accept as remedies for bodily ills are restatements of magic principles. This is the first step in believing that the body makes its own illness. It is a second misstep to try to heal it through non-creative agents. It does not follow, however, that the use of such agents for corrective purposes is evil. Sometimes the illness has a sufficiently strong hold over the mind to render a person temporarily inaccessible to the Atonement. In this case it may be wise to utilize a compromise approach to mind and body, in which something from the outside is temporarily given healing belief. This is because the last thing that can help the non-right-minded, or the sick, is an increase in fear. They are already in a fear-weakened state. If they are prematurely exposed to a miracle, they may be precipitated into panic. This is likely to occur when upside-down perception has induced the belief that miracles are frightening.
The value of the Atonement does not lie in the manner in which it is expressed. In fact, if it is used truly, it will inevitably be expressed in whatever way is most helpful to the receiver. This means that a miracle, to attain its full efficacy, must be expressed in a language that the recipient can understand without fear. This does not necessarily mean that this is the highest level of communication of which he is capable. It does mean, however, that it is the highest level of communication of which he is capable now. The whole aim of the miracle is to raise the level of communication, not to lower it by increasing fear.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 15
My thoughts are images that I have made.
It is because the thoughts you think you think appear as images that you do not recognize them as nothing. You think you think them, and so you think you see them. This is how your “seeing” was made. This is the function you have given your body’s eyes. It is not seeing. It is image making. It takes the place of seeing, replacing vision with illusions.
This introductory idea to the process of image making that you call seeing will not have much meaning for you. You will begin to understand it when you have seen little edges of light around the same familiar objects which you see now. That is the beginning of real vision. You can be certain that real vision will come quickly when this has occurred.
As we go along, you may have many “light episodes.” They may take many different forms, some of them quite unexpected. Do not be afraid of them. They are signs that you are opening your eyes at last. They will not persist, because they merely symbolize true perception, and they are not related to knowledge. These exercises will not reveal knowledge to you. But they will prepare the way to it.
In practicing the idea for today, repeat it first to yourself, and then apply it to whatever you see around you, using its name and letting your eyes rest on it as you say:
This ___ is an image that I have made.
That ___ is an image that I have made.
It is not necessary to include a large number of specific subjects for the application of today’s idea. It is necessary, however, to continue to look at each subject while you repeat the idea to yourself. The idea should be repeated quite slowly each time.
Although you will obviously not be able to apply the idea to very many things during the minute or so of practice that is recommended, try to make the selection as random as possible. Less than a minute will do for the practice periods, if you begin to feel uneasy. Do not have more than three application periods for today’s idea unless you feel completely comfortable with it, and do not exceed four. However, the idea can be applied as needed throughout the day.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #248: I am studying the section “Healing as Release from Fear” in the text of A Course in Miracles. Can you please help me understand what is meant when Jesus says that “the mind, the only level of creation, cannot create beyond itself” (T.2.IV.2:10). I am unclear about the meaning of “cannot create beyond itself.”
A: In the context of the discussion in this section, the meaning of the passage is that the Christ Mind was created by God and that Mind cannot create something totally different from itself, such as a body. There can be ideas or thoughts in the mind, but they never leave their source in the mind to become something else. The point Jesus is making is that a great deal of our confusion would clear up if we understood that the body and the mind are not two separate entities, and that the body is only an idea in the mind; it has no autonomous capabilities and therefore cannot be sick.
Q #999: Why does A Course in Miracles raise so many conflicts? I have never come across any spiritual or psychological practice that focuses so much on our resistance. I understand why the Course does this, but I find it personally unbearable. I guess as even Helen Schucman (the Course’s scribe) was unable to fulfill the Course’s high goals, I can also let it slip by. But is there not another way? I find the Course is a detour into battle. Surely this was not Jesus’ intention!
A: You are correct that Jesus did not intend the Course to be a detour into battle. However, he did mean for it to be a tool that leads us into looking directly at the battle that is already raging within our mind — the battle between our longing to return to God’s Love and our desire to maintain our identity as an individual, autonomous being. For this reason, the Course can seem to cause us to experience more conflict. In reality, it is simply causing us to recognize our own internal war to keep the memory of God’s Love from our awareness.
The fact that we believe we are actually in this dream world shows that we have chosen to align ourselves with the ego and its insistence that we are safer and happier here than we would be in our true home in Heaven. Therefore, it is not surprising that students typically struggle with the Course’s message that nothing in this world will ever make us happy. To the ego, nothing is more unbearable than facing the fact that all the roads of this world “but lead to disappointment, nothingness and death” (T.31.IV.2:3) . However, Jesus is not appealing to us as egos — he is really speaking to the decision making part of our mind that chooses between internal teachers. He is laying out a process for shifting from the ego to the Holy Spirit as our internal guide. Every time we do that, we automatically go from projecting anger, guilt, and attack, to instead extending love and forgiveness.
The goal of the Course, however, is actually not that high or lofty. It is not meant to get us to permanently make that internal shift and become radiant beams of light. Rather, it is meant to help us see that this shift is possible — that the Holy Spirit does exist in our mind — and to motivate us to watch how our own choice against making this shift, rather than anything in the external world, keeps us miserable. This is why the Course states that it is “a beginning, not an end” (W.ep.1:1) . When we approach the Course this way, we will experience it differently — as a source of inspiration rather than guilt.
This also means that we cannot know or judge how another person has been affected by the Course. You brought up the example of Helen Schucman. Certainly the book Absence from Felicity: The Story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of A Course in Miracles , makes it clear that she seemed to experience resistance to Jesus’ love. It also makes it clear that she was aware of this resistance and, more often than not, continued to follow his guidance. In that sense, we, as Course students, could view her life as quite inspiring.
One final note: If you find working with the Course to be continually and consistently unbearable, it is possible that it is not the right path for you. Remember that the Course says, “There are many thousands of other forms [i.e. spiritual paths], all with the same outcome” (M.1.4:2) . Ultimately, it is not the form of the path you take that matters; only that you find one that helps you awaken to God’s Love for you and yours for Him (T.4.III.6: 3).