ACIM Text Reading for August 25
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 25
Now would I be as God created me.
Today I will accept the truth about myself. I will arise in glory, and allow the light in me to shine upon the world throughout the day. I bring the world the tidings of salvation which I hear as God my Father speaks to me. And I behold the world that Christ would have me see, aware it ends the bitter dream of death; aware it is my Father’s Call to me.
Christ is my eyes today, and He the ears that listen to the Voice for God today. Father, I come to You through Him Who is Your Son, and my true Self as well. Amen.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #246: I’ve been studying and practicing A Course in Miracles for almost six years, usually on a daily basis. It has helped me a lot, but I still need help to understand and deal with addictions. According to my ego, I am addicted to alcohol and cigarettes. According to God, I am His beloved daughter. How to deal with this? Don’t tell me to stop hearing my ego, it sounds like a green light to addictions. I feel there’s a deeper ground to think about. Professional advice seems to reinforce sickness, guilt and sacrifice. The Course tells me I don’t have to do anything, to put it in the Holy Spirit’s hand. But I need further help in letting it be, in opening myself to a lesson I don’t quite understand, in not paying so much attention to the world’s point of view. Please, let me know if there is something in A Course in Miracles, or elsewhere, I am overlooking.
A: First, it is difficult for us to understand the nature of the specific lessons we have in our lives. We cannot see the whole picture in our minds, because we are still so fearful of regaining that part of our identity that we have split off and concealed from ourselves. In one sense, though, we don’t have to know why we chose the conditions we did, because the remedy the Course provides is so clear. Whatever the condition, the only relevant issue is whether we choose to have Jesus or the ego guide us through it. If we choose Jesus or the Holy Spirit, we will wind up feeling more peaceful, regardless of whether the condition changes or not; and we will be more inclined to be gentle and kind with ourselves and others. If we choose the ego, we will wind up feeling more guilty or hopeless; we will continue to have thoughts of self-blame and self-pity, and to hold others responsible for our plight. We will remain preoccupied with the body and will be anything but peaceful.
Putting yourself in the Holy Spirit’s hands, as the Course views this, involves accepting responsibility for whatever state you are in, and letting go of any thoughts of blame — either self-blame or blaming others — and then adopting a kind and gentle attitude towards yourself. The lesson the Holy Spirit or Jesus would help you with is learning that peace of mind is not conditional on physical/psychological health, or on anything external to your mind and Their loving presence in your mind. As you concentrate on learning that lesson, the thoughts that oppose it would come to the surface, and you would then bring those ego thoughts to the loving presence in your mind, where you could choose either to hold on to them or let them go. The patience and gentleness would be manifest in your assurance that when you are ready to let go of the addictions, you will, and that holding on to them is not something sinful, nor something you need to be ashamed of. Nothing we do with or to our bodies can have any affect on the love that is held for us in our right minds.
Thus, putting yourself in the hands of the Holy Spirit does not mean that it is then up to Him to do something about your addictions. Rather, it means that you have made a decision to use the Holy Spirit’s way of looking at what is going on instead of the ego’s way of looking, which will always leave you believing that you are a vulnerable, victimized body.
Finally, the choice to seek professional help many times can be a loving response to the call for help that is behind the self-hatred and guilt; it can be an expression of kindness toward oneself as a way of undoing that self-hatred. You seem to imply, however, that you have tried traditional methods of treatment, and that they have not been helpful to you. We have addressed this in previous questions asked of us: #30, #57, and #119.
In case it might be of help, we are summarizing the explanations the Course gives us that can be applied to conditions such as addictions. Although the term is never used in the Course, an addiction is nothing more than a special relationship, and there is a great deal in the Course about special relationships.
Addictions frequently are the result of overwhelming feelings of self-hatred and guilt. The pain is so great that it must be neutralized in some way. Overindulgence in alcohol and cigarettes (or any number of other forms — food, sex, wealth, luxury, etc.) is often chosen as a means of dulling this pain.
Abusing your body through addictions can also be a way of punishing yourself for being such a “bad” person, a belief that your self-hatred and guilt testifies to. It could also be a means of punishing someone else: you could be pointing an accusing finger at someone and saying, “It’s your fault that I am an addict. You made me this way.” Paraphrasing a line from the text: Behold me brother, at your hands I am an addict (T.27.I.5:6); also, “I am the thing you made of me, and as you look on me, you stand condemned because of what I am” (T.31.V.5:3). We all have a need to get rid of the pain of our self-hatred and guilt, and so we would even be willing to suffer intensely just so that we could blame it on someone else. The payoff is that we would feel like the innocent victim of what someone else did to us.
As with any form of sickness — physical or psychological — being addicted reinforces the belief that the body is real, and can be victimized. When we are preoccupied with the body in any or all of these ways, we more than likely have made a prior decision to keep from our awareness our true identity as spirit. Any form of preoccupation with the body is a defense against the truth. The truth about ourselves can be so frightening to us — when we allow it into awareness even for a split second — that we then do whatever would most effectively banish that truth from our awareness. So we make ourselves mindless in the sense of being at the mercy of some force not under our control. Our real beauty and strength as God’s Son can be so frightening to us that we substitute an identity of weakness and dependency, and then repress the real origin of it and attribute it to some factor in our own body, another’s, or some condition in the world.
To sum up then, the real issue is: Now that the addiction is there, what do I do about it? And as Jesus reminds us, we need only think in terms of purpose, or “What is it for?” (T.17.IV.2:2). We know that to the ego, the purpose of addictions is to reinforce guilt; and to the Holy Spirit the purpose is changed to a means of undoing guilt. “The Son of God can make no choice the Holy Spirit cannot employ on his behalf, and not against himself” (T.25.VI.7:5). So it comes down to discerning whether you are choosing the ego or the Holy Spirit as your teacher.