ACIM Reading for November 22
The Song of Prayer
3.- II. False vs: True Healing1. False healing merely makes a poor exchange of one illusion for a “nicer” one; a dream of sickness for a dream of health. This can occur at lower forms of prayer, combining with forgiveness kindly meant but not completely understood as yet. Only false healing can give way to fear, so sickness will be free to strike again. False healing can indeed remove a form of pain and sickness. But the cause remains, and will not lack effects. The cause is still the wish to die and overcome the Christ. And with this wish is death a certainty, for prayer is answered. Yet there is a kind of seeming death that has a different source. It does not come because of hurtful thoughts and raging anger at the universe. It merely signifies the end has come for usefulness of body functioning. And so it is discarded as a choice, as one lays by a garment now outworn.
2. This is what death should be; a quiet choice, made joyfully and with a sense of peace, because the body has been kindly used to help the Son of God along the way he goes to God. We thank the body, then, for all the service it has given us. But we are thankful, too, the need is done to walk the world of limits, and to reach the Christ in hidden forms and clearly seen at most in lovely flashes. Now we can behold Him without blinders, in the light that we have learned to look upon again.
3. We call it death, but it is liberty. It does not come in forms that seem to be thrust down in pain upon unwilling flesh, but as a gentle welcome to release. If there has been true healing, this can be the form in which death comes when it is time to rest a while from labor gladly done and gladly ended. Now we go in peace to freer air and gentler climate, where it is not hard to see the gifts we gave were saved for us. For Christ is clearer now; His vision more sustained in us; His Voice, the Word of God, more certainly our own.
4. This gentle passage to a higher prayer, a kind forgiveness of the ways of earth, can only be received with thankfulness. Yet first true healing must have come to bless the mind with loving pardon for the sins it dreamed about and laid upon the world. Now are its dreams dispelled in quiet rest. Now its forgiveness comes to heal the world and it is ready to depart in peace, the journey over and the lessons learned.
5. This is not death according to the world, for death is cruel in its frightened eyes and takes the form of punishment for sin. How could it be a blessing, then? And how could it be welcome when it must be feared? What healing has occurred in such a view of what is merely opening the gate to higher prayer and kindly justice done? Death is reward and not a punishment. But such a viewpoint must be fostered by the healing that the world cannot conceive. There is no partial healing. What but shifts illusions has done nothing. What is false cannot be partly true. If you are healed your healing is complete. Forgiveness is the only gift you give and would receive.
6. False healing rests upon the body’s cure, leaving the cause of illness still unchanged, ready to strike again until it brings a cruel death in seeming victory. It can be held at bay a little while, and there can be brief respite as it waits to take its vengeance on the Son of God. Yet it cannot be overcome until all faith in it has been laid by, and placed upon God’s substitute for evil dreams; a world in which there is no veil of sin to keep it dark and comfortless. At last the gate of Heaven opens and God’s Son is free to enter in the home that stands ready to welcome him, and was prepared before time was and still but waits for him.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 22
I am forever an Effect of God.
Father, I was created in Your Mind, a holy Thought that never left its home. I am forever Your Effect, and You forever and forever are my Cause. As You created me I have remained. Where You established me I still abide. And all Your attributes abide in me, because it is Your Will to have a Son so like his Cause that Cause and Its Effect are indistinguishable. Let me know that I am an Effect of God, and so I have the power to create like You. And as it is in Heaven, so on earth. Your plan I follow here, and at the end I know that You will gather Your effects into the tranquil Heaven of Your Love, where earth will vanish, and all separate thoughts unite in glory as the Son of God.
Let us today behold earth disappear, at first transformed, and then, forgiven, fade entirely into God’s holy Will.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1330: Ken has indicated in both writing and on tapes that Jesus does not provide guidance regarding specifics in the world; yet he writes extensively about very specific guidance given to Helen in Absence from Felicity . There is a line on page 244 that I’m very drawn to and that I frequently say each day: “If You tell me what to do, I will to do it.” It is a prayer that Jesus tells Helen is the door that leads out of the desert forever. Yet, I wonder if it’s inappropriate for me to ask Jesus this. Is it possible that Jesus was providing specifics to Helen and Bill because of their involvement with the scribing of A Course in Miracles ? Can you help reconcile the seeming inconsistency of Jesus providing highly specific guidance about worldly concerns to Helen (and Bill) and the statements that Ken has made about Jesus not providing this type of guidance?
A: We have addressed the topic in some Questions asked by other students — see, for example, #437, #477, #538, and #626. It has been a source of confusion for many. In Chapter 17 of Absence from Felicity , Ken actually explains why Helen experienced Jesus as guiding her in specifics. There he shows that it is really not a question of Jesus doing anything different with Helen and Bill than with others, but rather what Helen did with her mind’s fear of accepting the fullness of love symbolized by Jesus. This is instructive to all of us. We all have tremendous fear of melting into love’s presence, our true Identity, and so we unconsciously determine the form in which we will accept that content of love. Thus, Helen allowed herself to experience his love only in the form of guidance with specifics, as many of us do. But, as Ken makes clear, Helen also knew that Jesus was the reflection of Heaven’s love, and so there were times when she transcended all limitation and no longer identified with a limited self, separated from love and fearful of it. This is what the Questions cited above discuss in depth. But none of this means that you should not continue to say the prayer you like so much, or to ask Jesus to help you. Just try to remember that it is the love that Jesus is that you truly want. That way, you won’t stay on the level of specifics, which is only the lower level of the ladder that leads us back to eternal, unlimited peace and love in which we were created.
Q #1331 : I’ve been studying the Course over a long period of time and so it seems strange to me that I’m having this thought. The thought is: I really don’t want to be here any longer. It’s a thought that I experience so deeply and so frequently each day. It’s a thought that haunts me. Now, I do understand that the Course is about changing our mind and not about going to another place. I also understand that suicide is not the answer since the death of the body doesn’t solve anything. Maybe the deep longing to be out of this world is really a reflection of wanting to be out of the misery that having an ego entails — but this process takes so very long. Could you help me with this?
A: Recognizing that you do not want to be here is not only a normal and predictable consequence of studying A Course in Miracles , but, in fact, a crucial one. Again and again, the Course returns to the theme that this world is not our home. Indeed, it beautifully describes the experience of feeling haunted by the thought of not wanting to be here: “…there is a Child in you Who seeks His Father’s house, and knows that He is alien here…. It is this Child Who knows His Father. He desires to go home so deeply, so unceasingly, His voice cries unto you to let Him rest a while…. He whispers of His home unceasingly to you.” (W.p1.182.4:3; 5:2,3; 7:4).
Because most of us have spent our entire lives keeping this unceasing voice deeply buried, Jesus’ efforts in the Course to bring it to our awareness can feel quite shocking. We may simultaneously be comforted that he knows exactly how we feel and frightened that we now have to acknowledge a truth that threatens the very foundation of who we think we are. Fortunately, there is another message in the Course that makes this situation bearable. Jesus teaches us that we are not here. He tells us, “Nothing at all has happened but that you have put yourself to sleep, and dreamed a dream in which you were an alien to yourself” (T.28.II.4:1) . He further teaches us that since this is a dream, we have control over the dream’s content: “…there is a choice of dreams while you are still asleep, depending on the purpose of your dreaming. A dream is like a memory in that it pictures what you wanted shown to you” (T.28.II.4:3, 5) .
This, then, provides the key with which we can face the sense of not wanting to be here and ultimately find relief from the pain it causes us. The ego would have us interpret our desire not to be here as a longing to leave the physical world — an inherently futile endeavor because there is no physical world from which to escape. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, would reinterpret this desire as the perfectly sensible and achievable longing to awaken and leave the state of mind that has brought us nothing but pain. Therefore, by turning over the thought, “I don’t want to be here any longer” to the Holy Spirit, we can have it transformed from a hopeless lament about our seemingly external situation into an inspirational wake-up call to change our internal situation. In the process, the world will seem to change from a noxious prison to a wondrous classroom.
When we are tempted to feel like prisoners here, threatened by seemingly cruel external forces and frustrated by a spiritual journey that can feel slow and rocky, we would do well to remember the following words: “…there must be another way of looking at [the world] . I see everything upside down, and my thoughts are the opposite of truth. I see the world as a prison for God’s Son. It must be, then, that the world is really a place where he can be set free. I would look upon the world as it is, and see it as a place where the Son of God finds his freedom” (W.p1.57.3).