ACIM Reading for December 4
Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process & Practice
2.- VI. The Definition of Healing
1. The process of psychotherapy, then, can be defined simply as forgiveness, for no healing can be anything else. The unforgiving are sick, believing they are unforgiven. The hanging-on to guilt, its hugging-close and sheltering, its loving protection and alert defense,–all this is but the grim refusal to forgive. “God may not enter here” the sick repeat, over and over, while they mourn their loss and yet rejoice in it. Healing occurs as a patient begins to hear the dirge he sings, and questions its validity. Until he hears it, he cannot understand that it is he who sings it to himself. To hear it is the first step in recovery. To question it must then become his choice.
2. There is a tendency, and it is very strong, to hear this song of death only an instant, and then dismiss it uncorrected. These fleeting awarenesses represent the many opportunities given us literally “to change our tune.” The sound of healing can be heard instead. But first the willingness to question the “truth” of the song of condemnation must arise. The strange distortions woven inextricably into the self-concept, itself but a pseudo-creation, make this ugly sound seem truly beautiful. “The rhythm of the universe,” “the herald angel’s song,” all these and more are heard instead of loud discordant shrieks.
3. The ear translates; it does not hear. The eye reproduces; it does not see. Their task is to make agreeable whatever is called on, however disagreeable it may be. They answer the decisions of the mind, reproducing its desires and translating them into acceptable and pleasant forms. Sometimes the thought behind the form breaks through, but only very briefly, and the mind grows fearful and begins to doubt its sanity. Yet it will not permit its slaves to change the forms they look upon; the sounds they hear. These are its “remedies”; its “safeguards” from insanity.
4. These testimonies which the senses bring have but one purpose; to justify attack and thus keep unforgiveness unrecognized for what it is. Seen undisguised it is intolerable. Without protection it could not endure. Here is all sickness cherished, but without the recognition that this is so. For when an unforgiveness is not recognized, the form it takes seems to be something else. And now it is the “something else” that seems to terrify. But it is not the “something else” that can be healed. It is not sick, and needs no remedy. To concentrate your healing efforts here is but futility. Who can cure what cannot be sick and make it well?
5. Sickness takes many forms, and so does unforgiveness. The forms of one but reproduce the forms of the other, for they are the same illusion. So closely is one translated into the other, that a careful study of the form a sickness takes will point quite clearly to the form of unforgiveness that it represents. Yet seeing this will not effect a cure. That is achieved by only one recognition; that only forgiveness heals an unforgiveness, and only an unforgiveness can possibly give rise to sickness of any kind.
6. This realization is the final goal of psychotherapy. How is it reached? The therapist sees in the patient all that he has not forgiven in himself, and is thus given another chance to look at it, open it to re-evaluation and forgive it. When this occurs, he sees his sins as gone into a past that is no longer here. Until he does this, he must think of evil as besetting him here and now. The patient is his screen for the projection of his sins, enabling him to let them go. Let him retain one spot of sin in what he looks upon, and his release is partial and will not be sure.
7. No one is healed alone. This is the joyous song salvation sings to all who hear its Voice. This statement cannot be too often remembered by all who see themselves as therapists. Their patients can but be seen as the bringers of forgiveness, for it is they who come to demonstrate their sinlessness to eyes that still believe that sin is there to look upon. Yet will the proof of sinlessness, seen in the patient and accepted in the therapist, offer the mind of both a covenant in which they meet and join and are as one.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 4
I am affected only by my thoughts.
It needs but this to let salvation come to all the world. For in this single thought is everyone released at last from fear. Now has he learned that no one frightens him, and nothing can endanger him. He has no enemies, and he is safe from all external things. His thoughts can frighten him, but since these thoughts belong to him alone, he has the power to change them and exchange each fear thought for a happy thought of love. He crucified himself. Yet God has planned that His beloved Son will be redeemed.
Your plan is sure, my Father,—only Yours. All other plans will fail. And I will have thoughts that will frighten me, until I learn that You have given me the only Thought that leads me to salvation. Mine alone will fail, and lead me nowhere. But the Thought You gave me promises to lead me home, because it holds Your promise to Your Son.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #310: I have been a student of A Course in Miracles for over 10 years, and I recently entered a Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. One of the difficulties I have is that I am learning psychological material that is often at odds with the Course. On an intellectual level, I understand and can accept the distinctions. However sometimes I can’t, and this causes me some frustration. I worry about how to help another, although I also recognize where the answer lies — to turn and trust in the Holy Spirit. I even understand that much of what I am learning can be helpful if placed under the direction of the Holy Spirit — the problem is that I often forget. I guess my question is: if I’m inclined toward a particular psychological orientation and practice, say psychoanalysis or narrative therapy, is it okay to follow my interest, but with the Holy Spirit as guide?
A: It is never the form but only the content that can ever conflict with the Course. In other words, it is the purpose for which you use the particular psychological orientation and practice that determines whether or not it will be at odds with the Course, and not its particular theoretical model of mental illness and health, with its specific applications. Use it for ego purposes, and you will judge and attack the differences it helps you identify between yourself and your clients. Use it for the Holy Spirit’s purpose and you will see it as a means for uncovering the ego’s patterns and plots and schemes and connivings, both in your client and in yourself, so that they can be released to the healing light of forgiveness.
So study whatever therapeutic model appeals to you and become as good at its practice as you possibly can. For training in the symbols of the world enables you to accept a teaching role in the plan for the healing of the Son’s mind (W.pI.184.9:1,2). Just never forget that the only true healing comes from the one Therapist Who knows no healing is necessary. Your role is to become an instrument for that healing by first allowing your own guilt and attack thoughts to be healed. When your own blocks have been removed, the healing love can then simply flow through you (T.9.V.7,8).
Q #311: It is obvious that Helen and Bill had specific, individual purposes in bringing A Course in Miracles to the world, besides the purpose we all share, which is to forgive and to wake up to knowing ourselves as the one Son of God. I can presume, as the Course says, that we all have an individual part to play in God’s plan for salvation; but does that also mean a part in the world?
A: Since the Courses teaches that the world is an illusion, made by the mind of the separated Son as an attack on God (W.pI.155.2:1, W.pII.3.2:1), it follows that it would not tell us that God’s plan for salvation means we have a specific role to play in the world as individuals. It is important to remember that the Course is addressing the mind; specifically, the decision making part of the mind, because nothing exists outside of it: “Mind reaches to itself. It is not made up of different parts, which reach each other. It does not go out. Within itself it has no limits, and there is nothing outside it. It encompasses everything. It encompasses you entirely; you within it and it within you. There is nothing else, anywhere or ever” (T.18.VI.8:5,6,7,8,9,10,11). Every reference to our role or function in the world, therefore, must be interpreted with these metaphysical principles in mind. There is only one role assigned to us by God: to be His innocent Son. The Holy Spirit’s function is healing the mind of the thought of separation, and our only function is accepting this healing through forgiveness. Many passages in the Course seem to imply that each individual has a specific and unique role from God: “To each He (the Holy Spirit) gives a special function in salvation he alone can fill; a part for only him” (T.25.VI.4:2), (See also:T.25.VI.7). However, this “part” is to accept the Atonement for himself. It is “special,” in other words “specific,” because we have chosen to identify with our individual bodies in the illusion, and have assigned different roles to ourselves, and to every body. Although these specifics (being a son, daughter, parent, teacher, nurse, CEO) are irrelevant to the outcome, they are important because they make up the classroom the Holy Spirit uses to teach us the truth about ourselves. Each part of the Sonship, therefore, has to play his part by accepting the Atonement “as an individual” in his specific classroom and, as you mention, by ultimately accepting his only role and identity as God’s Son.