ACIM Reading For November 30
Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Pratice
2.- III. The Role of the Psychotherapist
1. The psychotherapist is a leader in the sense that he walks slightly ahead of the patient, and helps him to avoid a few of the pitfalls along the road by seeing them first. Ideally, he is also a follower, for One should walk ahead of him to give him light to see. Without this One, both will merely stumble blindly on to nowhere. It is, however, impossible that this One be wholly absent if the goal is healing. He may, however, not be recognized. And so the little light that can be then accepted is all there is to light the way to truth.
2. Healing is limited by the limitations of the psychotherapist, as it is limited by those of the patient. The aim of the process, therefore, is to transcend these limits. Neither can do this alone, but when they join, the potentiality for transcending all limitations has been given them.
Now the extent of their success depends on how much of this potentiality they are willing to use. The willingness may come from either one at the beginning, and as the other shares it, it will grow. Progress becomes a matter of decision; it can reach almost to Heaven or go no further than a step or two from hell.
3. It is quite possible for psychotherapy to seem to fail. It is even possible for the result to look like retrogression. But in the end there must be some success. One asks for help; another hears and tries to answer in the form of help. This is the formula for salvation, and must heal.
Divided goals alone can interfere with perfect healing. One wholly egoless therapist could heal the world without a word, merely by being there. No one need see him or talk to him or even know of his existence. His simple Presence is enough to heal.
4. The ideal therapist is one with Christ. But healing is a process, not a fact. The therapist cannot progress without the patient, and the patient cannot be ready to receive the Christ or he could not be sick. In a sense, the egoless psychotherapist is an abstraction that stands at the end of the process of healing, too advanced to believe in sickness and too near to God to keep his feet on earth. Now he can help through those in need of help, for thus he carries out the plan established for salvation. The psychotherapist becomes his patient, working through other patients to express his thoughts as he receives them from the Mind of Christ.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 30
Today I claim the gifts forgiveness gives.
I will not wait another day to find the treasures that my Father offers me. Illusions are all vain, and dreams are gone even while they are woven out of thoughts that rest on false perceptions. Let me not accept such meager gifts again today. God’s Voice is offering the peace of God to all who hear and choose to follow Him. This is my choice today. And so I go to find the treasures God has given me.
I seek but the eternal. For Your Son can be content with nothing less than this. What, then, can be his solace but what You are offering to his bewildered mind and frightened heart, to give him certainty and bring him peace? Today I would behold my brother sinless. This Your Will for me, for so will I behold my sinlessness.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #32: I have read that Freud said the point of psychoanalysis is to make the unconscious conscious. I know that the Course is based in some ways on concepts of Freudian theory, but doesn’t the Course say that all consciousness is inherently illusory? Doesn’t this clash, then, with the main objective of psychoanalysis? Or am I having a case of level confusion?
A: The Course does indeed identify consciousness with what is illusory, describing it early in the text as “the level of perception, the first split introduced into the mind after the separation, making the mind a perceiver rather than a creator. Consciousness is correctly identified as the domain of the ego” (T.3.IV.2:1,2).But like all things the ego has made to support and maintain the belief in separation, the Holy Spirit can give it a different purpose. And so later, Jesus observes that “consciousness has levels and awareness can shift quite dramatically, but it cannot transcend the perceptual realm. At its highest level it becomes aware of the real world, and can be trained to do so increasingly” (C.1.7:4,5).
So yes, although consciousness metaphysically speaking is part of the illusion and so is not real, since we believe in its reality and experience it as an inherent part of ourselves, the Course provides us a way to use our consciousness in order ultimately to transcend it. The process of being trained to attain the real world is really a matter of making conscious what our ego has made unconscious through fear, so that the false perceptions of the ego can be healed and replaced by the true perception of the Holy Spirit, preparing us for our return to knowledge (the Course’s term for Heaven), beyond all consciousness and perception.
We have made the split mind — where consciousness resides — unconscious, and instead believe that consciousness is an epiphenomenon of the body or, more specifically, of the brain. We have also made unconscious all the guilt in the mind that we have concocted as a defense of consciousness, projecting the guilt out into a world of form where we would never suspect its origin. So all of the ego’s defenses must be made conscious — or as the Course more eloquently describes it, we must “be willing to bring the darkness to light” (T.18.III.6:2) — so that their unreality can be recognized. And so we use the consciousness of the split mind to do this until, in the end, all of our false perceptions have been made conscious and healed, and consciousness is no longer needed. At that point, we are ready to leave the realm of consciousness and perception and “disappear into the Presence beyond the veil…not to be seen [perceived] but known” (T.19.IV.D.19:1).
Q #33: When I am “stuck” and don’t feel I am being completely willing to let go of a well-established defense, I very often ask Jesus to help me with my unwillingness in the situation. I have experienced what I believe is success with this tool from time to time. I must also say that it doesn’t always work — I still feel the discomfort and unhappiness of retaining the grievance even though I’ve asked Him to help me with my unwillingness. Is this some kind of sophisticated ego ploy?
A: Being totally honest with Jesus about your unwillingness to let go of a grievance is helpful in itself, especially since you are experiencing the effects of not letting it go. This stubbornness does not make you sinful and does not affect Jesus’ love for you. So feeling like a failure, or any form of self-condemnation would be the only mistake at that point — you already are aware of the price you are paying to hold on to the grievance. You can just stop with that, acknowledging that forgiveness is a process, and that when the underlying fear lessens, you will take another step. If you really wanted to forgive, you would. You might ask yourself what you would feel like, or what would happen, if you really did totally let go of the grievance. That might disclose the nature of the fear behind your unwillingness. Then you and Jesus could deal with that together. That would help to keep you honest, too.
There is no way of ever being totally sure whether you are listening to the ego or the Holy Spirit. After many years of experience, you become more familiar with your favorite means of self- deception, but usually you need someone who knows you well to help you discern. It’s a difficulty most students experience, because of the tremendous fear we all have of returning home to God.