ACIM Reading for December 5
Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice
2.- VII. The Ideal Patient : Therapist Relationship1. Who, then, is the therapist, and who is the patient? In the end, everyone is both. He who needs healing must heal. Physician, heal thyself. Who else is there to heal? And who else is in need of healing? Each patient who comes to a therapist offers him a chance to heal himself. He is therefore his therapist. And every therapist must learn to heal from each patient who comes to him. He thus becomes his patient. God does not know of separation. What He knows is only that He has one Son. His knowledge is reflected in the ideal patient-therapist relationship. God comes to him who calls, and in Him he recognizes Himself.
2. Think carefully, teacher and therapist, for whom you pray, and who is in need of healing. For therapy is prayer, and healing is its aim and its result. What is prayer except the joining of minds in a relationship which Christ can enter? This is His home, into which psychotherapy invites Him. What is symptom cure, when another is always there to choose? But once Christ enters in, what choice is there except to have Him stay? There is no need for more than this, for it is everything. Healing is here, and happiness and peace. These are the “symptoms” of the ideal patient-therapist relationship, replacing those with which the patient came to ask for help.
3. The process that takes place in this relationship is actually one in which the therapist in his heart tells the patient that all his sins have been forgiven him, along with his own. What could be the difference between healing and forgiveness? Only Christ forgives, knowing His sinlessness. His vision heals perception and sickness disappears. Nor will it return again, once its cause has been removed. This, however, needs the help of a very advanced therapist, capable of joining with the patient in a holy relationship in which all sense of separation finally is overcome.
4. For this, one thing and one thing only is required: The therapist in no way confuses himself with God. All “unhealed healers” make this fundamental confusion in one form or another, because they must regard themselves as self-created rather than God-created. This confusion is rarely if ever in awareness, or the unhealed healer would instantly become a teacher of God, devoting his life to the function of true healing. Before he reached this point, he thought he was in charge of the therapeutic process and was therefore responsible for its outcome. His patient’s errors thus became his own failures, and guilt became the cover, dark and strong, for what should be the Holiness of Christ. Guilt is inevitable in those who use their judgment in making their decisions. Guilt is impossible in those through whom the Holy Spirit speaks.
5. The passing of guilt is the true aim of therapy and the obvious aim of forgiveness. In this their oneness can be clearly seen. Yet who could experience the end of guilt who feels responsible for his brother in the role of guide for him? Such a function presupposes a knowledge that no one here can have; a certainty of past, present and future, and of all the effects that may occur in them. Only from this omniscient point of view would such a role be possible.
Yet no perception is omniscient, nor is the tiny self of one alone against the universe able to assume he has such wisdom except in madness. That many therapists are mad is obvious. No unhealed healer can be wholly sane.
6. Yet it is as insane not to accept a function God has given you as to invent one He has not. The advanced therapist in no way can ever doubt the power that is in him. Nor does he doubt its Source. He understands all power in earth and Heaven belongs to him because of who he is.
And he is this because of his Creator, Whose Love is in him and Who cannot fail. Think what this means; he has the gifts of God Himself to give away. His patients are God’s saints, who call upon his sanctity to make it theirs. And as he gives it to them, they behold Christ’s shining face as it looks back at them.
7. The insane, thinking they are God, are not afraid to offer weakness to God’s Son. But what they see in him because of this they fear indeed. The unhealed healer cannot but be fearful of his patients, and suspect them of the treachery he sees in him. He tries to heal, and thus at times he may. But he will not succeed except to some extent and for a little while. He does not see the Christ in him who calls. What answer can he give to one who seems to be a stranger; alien to the truth and poor in wisdom, without the god who must be given him? Behold your God in him, for what you see will be your Answer.
8. Think what the joining of two brothers really means. And then forget the world and all its little triumphs and its dreams of death. The same are one, and nothing now can be remembered of the world of guilt. The room becomes a temple, and the street a stream of stars that brushes lightly past all sickly dreams. Healing is done, for what is perfect needs no healing, and what remains to be forgiven where there is no sin?
9. Be thankful, therapist, that you can see such things as this, if you but understand your proper role. But if you fail in this, you have denied that God created you, and so you will not know you are His Son. Who is your brother now? What saint can come to take you home with him? You lost the way. And can you now expect to see in him an answer that you have refused to give? Heal and be healed. There is no other choice of pathways that can ever lead to peace. O let your patient in, for he has come to you from God. Is not his holiness enough to wake your memory of Him?
ACIM Workbook Lesson for December 5
I will receive whatever I request.
No one desires pain. But he can think that pain is pleasure. No one would avoid his happiness. But he can think that joy is painful, threatening and dangerous. Everyone will receive what he requests. But he can be confused indeed about the things he wants; the state he would attain. What can he then request that he would want when he receives it? He has asked for what will frighten him, and bring him suffering. Let us resolve today to ask for what we really want, and only this, that we may spend this day in fearlessness, without confusing pain with joy, or fear with love.
Father, this is Your day. It is a day in which I would do nothing by myself, but hear Your Voice in everything I do; requesting only what You offer me, accepting only Thoughts You share with me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #953: My husband and I run a small business. Lately we’ve had a rash of experiences in which suppliers send us damaged goods, or behave in slightly hostile ways. I understand that these experiences are symbolic of my fear of God, resulting in guilt and a belief in punishment. What is new is that I feel as though I can’t bear to argue with any of this — to be angry with the suppliers, to worry about the money, or to do anything about it at all! It’s as though I just can’t do it any more. “In my defenselessness my safety lies” has become my motto. I just can’t bear to defend myself in most situations. It hurts too much. And yet there’s the (ego?) fear that I am using the Course to avoid confrontation, or misinterpreting the guidance I seek but am never sure I’m hearing correctly. I feel as though in this life I’ve overcharged, or delivered defective goods in any number of ways. Why should I defend myself against, or be angry about, such treatment from others when I want to forgive them. I’d prefer to just ignore it and let it happen. I just want to let it go and forgive everyone, even if it costs me money or causes me inconvenience. This seems a small price to pay for peace of mind. Am I deluding myself?
A: Because A Course in Miracles is a guide to changing your mind not your behavior, there is no right or wrongway to handle things as a Course student. However, it may be helpful to clarify what Jesus means by defenselessness . The Course’s concept of defenselessness has nothing to do with behavior. It is strictly about what happens in the mind. When we choose the ego as our internal teacher, we begin with the premise that we are guilty for having stolen our very existence from God. Then we repress that thought and project it onto others, convincing ourselves that they stole the peace of God from us. On the level of form, we reflect these dynamics whenever we get upset with another person. Whether we are annoyed that they cut us off on the freeway, or furious that they stole our money, underneath our upset is the accusation that they stole the peace of God.
On the other hand, when we choose the Holy Spirit as our internal Teacher, no matter what we experience in the world, we know that God’s Love is still in our mind. And since it is there, all the things of which we accuse ourselves clearly have had no effect, and therefore must be made up. That means we are innocent, and if we are, so must everyone else be. With that awareness, it is impossible to do anything but extend love. This then is Jesus’ definition of defenselessness: when we feel no need to defend because nothing has the power to take away our peace .
Obviously, very few of us can claim to have achieved that state (and the last thing we should do is pretend that we have). Indeed, the purpose of the Course is to give us a roadmap for getting there. It sends us on an inner journey, which consists of turning every experience in our lives into a classroom in forgiveness. Unfortunately, because of our conditioning to decide everything based on form rather than content, many students inadvertently get off course (pun intended) by assuming that forgiveness means — as you stated — ignoring everything and letting it happen. Jesus is not asking us to do that. In fact, letting events in which we appear to be victimized simply happen, as we try to forgive the perpetrator, often leads us right into a vicious ego trap. Not only do our feelings of victimization remain in place (and certain to be projected elsewhere), but we also get to feel superior to those who appear to have wronged us.
For example, you said that you want to forgive even if it costs you money and causes you inconvenience . That might be okay, but be sure that you are not implying a causal relationship that does not exist. Do not think that letting another take something from you — in other words, sacrificing something — is a necessary part of your experiencing forgiveness. In reality, there is no link between sacrifice and forgiveness. Nor do you deserve to be mistreated now because you overcharged or delivered defective goods in the past. Like sacrifice, suffering and payback play no part in forgiveness.
It is the ego that loves these setups because they mean that you get to be a hero in your own mind (and perhaps the eyes of the world) while the other person remains a villain. Furthermore, you maintain your belief in separate interests. The other person has done something apparently dishonest or unkind and you have decided that it is in your best interest to simply accept it and in his or her best interest not to look at it at all. This could very well be denying both of you your classrooms.
The chances are good that you would get the greatest healing from doing what so called normal people do, but giving it a different purpose. In other words, take the appropriate action to prevent others from taking advantage of you, but do so without hating or mentally attacking them. That, of course, requires that before you do anything, you ask the Holy Spirit to look with you at the guilt, fear, and anger that are still in your mind. This will always lead you to discover the course of action that would best serve the interest you share with your brother — awakening from this dream. And then you will feel a true sense of peace that makes it clear you have not deluded yourself.