ACIM Text Reading for March 18
Chapter 7 ~ The Gifts of the Kingdom
V. Healing and the Changelessness of Mind
The body is nothing more than a framework for developing abilities, which is quite apart from what they are used for. That is a decision. The effects of the ego’s decision in this matter are so apparent that they need no elaboration, but the Holy Spirit’s decision to use the body only for communication has such a direct connection with healing that it does need clarification. The unhealed healer obviously does not understand his own vocation.
Only minds communicate. Since the ego cannot obliterate the impulse to communicate because it is also the impulse to create, it can only teach you that the body can both communicate and create, and therefore does not need the mind. The ego thus tries to teach you that the body can act like the mind, and is therefore self-sufficient. Yet we have learned that behaviour is not the level for either teaching or learning, since you can act in accordance with what you do not believe. To do this, however, will weaken you as a teacher and a learner because, as has been repeatedly emphasised, you teach what you do believe. An inconsistent lesson will be poorly taught and poorly learned. If you teach both sickness and healing, you are both a poor teacher and a poor learner.
Healing is the one ability everyone can develop and must develop if he is to be healed. Healing is the Holy Spirit’s form of communication in this world, and the only one He accepts. He recognises no other, because He does not accept the ego’s confusion of mind and body. Minds can communicate, but they cannot hurt. The body in the service of the ego can hurt other bodies, but this cannot occur unless the body has already been confused with the mind. This situation, too, can be used either for healing or for magic, but you must remember that magic always involves the belief that healing is harmful. This belief is its totally insane premise, and so it proceeds accordingly.
Healing only strengthens. Magic always tries to weaken. Healing perceives nothing in the healer that everyone else does not share with him. Magic always sees something ‘special’ in the healer, which he believes he can offer as a gift to someone who does not have it. He may believe that the gift comes from God to him, but it is quite evident that he does not understand God if he thinks he has something that others lack.
The Holy Spirit does not work by chance, and healing that is of Him always works. Unless the healer always heals by Him the results will vary. Yet healing itself is consistent, since only consistency is conflict-free, and only the conflict-free are whole. By accepting exceptions and acknowledging that he can sometimes heal and sometimes not, the healer is obviously accepting inconsistency. He is therefore in conflict, and is teaching conflict. Can anything of God not be for all and for always? Love is incapable of any exceptions. Only if there is fear does the idea of exceptions seem to be meaningful. Exceptions are fearful because they are made by fear. The ‘fearful healer’ is a contradiction in terms, and is therefore a concept that only a conflicted mind could possibly perceive as meaningful.
Fear does not gladden. Healing does. Fear always makes exceptions. Healing never does. Fear produces dissociation, because it induces separation. Healing always produces harmony, because it proceeds from integration. It is predictable because it can be counted on. Everything that is of God can be counted on, because everything of God is wholly real. Healing can be counted on because it is inspired by His Voice, and is in accord with His laws. Yet if healing is consistent it cannot be inconsistently understood. Understanding means consistency because God means consistency. Since that is His meaning, it is also yours. Your meaning cannot be out of accord with His, because your whole meaning and your only meaning comes from His and is like His. God cannot be out of accord with Himself, and you cannot be out of accord with Him. You cannot separate your Self from your Creator, Who created you by sharing His Being with you.
The unhealed healer wants gratitude from his brothers, but he is not grateful to them. That is because he thinks he is giving something to them, and is not receiving something equally desirable in return. His teaching is limited because he is learning so little. His healing lesson is limited by his own ingratitude, which is a lesson in sickness. True learning is constant, and so vital in its power for change that a Son of God can recognise his power in one instant and change the world in the next. That is because, by changing his mind, he has changed the most powerful device that was ever given him for change. This in no way contradicts the changelessness of mind as God created it, but you think that you have changed it as long as you learn through the ego. This places you in a position of needing to learn a lesson that seems contradictory; – you must learn to change your mind about your mind. Only by this can you learn that it is changeless.
When you heal, that is exactly what you are learning. You are recognising the changeless mind in your brother by realising that he could not have changed his mind. That is how you perceive the Holy Spirit in him. It is only the Holy Spirit in him that never changes His Mind. He himself may think he can, or he would not perceive himself as sick. He therefore does not know what his Self is. If you see only the changeless in him you have not really changed him. By changing your mind about his for him, you help him undo the change his ego thinks it has made in him.
As you can hear two voices, so you can see in two ways. One way shows you an image, or an idol that you may worship out of fear, but will never love. The other shows you only truth, which you will love because you will understand it. Understanding is appreciation, because what you understand you can identify with, and by making it part of you, you have accepted it with love. That is how God Himself created you; in understanding, in appreciation and in love. The ego is totally unable to understand this, because it does not understand what it makes, does not appreciate it and does not love it. It incorporates to take away. It literally believes that every time it deprives someone of something, it has increased. I have spoken often of the increase of the Kingdom by your creations, which can only be created as you were. The whole glory and perfect joy that is the Kingdom lies in you to give. Do you not want to give it?
You cannot forget the Father because I am with you, and I cannot forget Him. To forget me is to forget yourself and Him Who created you. Our brothers are forgetful. That is why they need your remembrance of me and of Him Who created me. Through this remembrance, you can change their minds about themselves, as I can change yours. Your mind is so powerful a light that you can look into theirs and enlighten them, as I can enlighten yours. I do not want to share my body in communion because this is to share nothing. Would I try to share an illusion with the most holy children of a most holy Father. Yet I do want to share my mind with you because we are of one Mind, and that Mind is ours. See only this Mind everywhere, because only this is everywhere and in everything. It is everything because it encompasses all things within itself. Blessed are you who perceive only this, because you perceive only what is true.
Come therefore unto me, and learn of the truth in you. The mind we share is shared by all our brothers, and as we see them truly they will be healed. Let your mind shine with mine upon their minds, and by our gratitude to them make them aware of the light in them. This light will shine back upon you and on the whole Sonship, because this is your proper gift to God. He will accept it and give it to the Sonship, because it is acceptable to Him and therefore to His Sons. This is true communion with the Holy Spirit, Who sees the altar of God in everyone, and by bringing it to your appreciation, He calls upon you to love God and His creation. You can appreciate the Sonship only as one. This is part of the law of creation, and therefore governs all thought.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for March 18
Today let us review these ideas:
(31) I am not the victim of the world I see.
How can I be the victim of a world that can be completely undone if I so choose? My chains are loosened. I can drop them off merely by desiring to do so. The prison door is open. I can leave simply by walking out. Nothing holds me in this world. Only my wish to stay keeps me a prisoner. I would give up my insane wishes and walk into the sunlight at last.
(32) I have invented the world I see.
I made up the prison in which I see myself. All I need do is recognize this and I am free. I have deluded myself into believing it is possible to imprison the Son of God. I was bitterly mistaken in this belief, which I no longer want. The Son of God must be forever free. He is as God created him, and not what I would make of him. He is where God would have him be, and not where I thought to hold him prisoner.
(33) There is another way of looking at the world.
Since the purpose of the world is not the one I ascribed to it, there must be another way of looking at it. 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.
(34) I could see peace instead of this.
When I see the world as a place of freedom, I realize that it reflects the laws of God instead of the rules I made up for it to obey. I will understand that peace, not war, abides in it. And I will perceive that peace also abides in the hearts of all who share this place with me.
(35) My mind is part of God’s. I am very holy.
As I share the peace of the world with my brothers, I begin to understand that this peace comes from deep within myself. The world I look upon has taken on the light of my forgiveness, and shines forgiveness back at me. In this light I begin to see what my illusions about myself kept hidden. I begin to understand the holiness of all living things, including myself, and their oneness with me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #336: A Course in Miracles asks us to not bring truth to illusion, not to ask the Holy Spirit to do things for us in the world. In one of Ken’s tape on judgment he says that it may be our experience that the Holy Spirit seems to do things for us in the world but it is not the reality. He gives the analogy that in our experience the sun sets and rises, whereas the reality is that the earth spins on its axis and rotates around the sun. Even though it seems as though the Holy Spirit does things for us in the world what is the reality of that experience? What is the correct view of seeing the situation when, for example, improvement in the world manifests after asking/praying to the Holy Spirit?
A: A change in the external situation could be the result of a decision in your mind not to punish yourself any more — meaning that a dominant belief in the ego part of your mind is that you do not deserve to be happy because of your “sin” against God. Therefore, that belief could be expressed in form as suffering, victimization, misfortune, etc. in your personal world. But as you bring your guilt and your ego thoughts to the healing love of Jesus in your right mind, the guilt disappears, and then you would no longer seek to hurt yourself. Thus the external situation would seem to have changed, but your decision against the ego was the real change. Praying to the Holy Spirit could be the form you chose to shift from wrong-minded thinking to right-minded thinking. This applies both on the individual level as well as the collective level. So it is not as if the Holy Spirit changes things in the world. The Holy Spirit is not an agent who acts in the world in response to the requests made of Him, even though the language in the Course suggests that at times. A major part of the mind-training of the Course involves teaching us not to confuse symbol with source. It is hard for us to think of everything as symbols, because we have identified with the ego’s way of perceiving, which is to deny that there is only mind and its contents, and that “ideas leave not their source.”
It is helpful to remember a few points when thinking about this topic: Our minds are very powerful; the body does only what the mind directs it to (the body is not autonomous); and we cannot affect another person’s mind or condition without there being mutual consent. If there is one principle that Jesus stresses again and again, it is the power of our minds to decide. The final section in the text, as you know, is “Choose Once Again” (T.31.VIII). And very early in the text he tells us that the purpose of his course is to teach us that our minds are very powerful and that we are responsible for our thoughts and feelings: “The correction of fear is your responsibility. When you ask for release from fear, you are implying it is not.…You may still complain about fear, but you nevertheless persist in making yourself fearful. I have already indicated that you cannot ask me to release you from fear. I know it does not exist, but you do not. If I intervened between your thoughts and their results, I would be tampering with a basic law of cause and effect; the most fundamental law there is. I would hardly help you if I depreciated the power of your own thinking. This would be in direct opposition to the purpose of this course” (T.2.VI.4:1,2; VII.1:1,2,3,4,5,6). Thus our work with the Course should be aimed at restoring to our awareness the power of our minds to choose, and to perceive others as having that same power. The cause of all of our problems (the effect) is that one wrong choice we made in our minds to accept the ego thought system as the truth instead of thought system of the Holy Spirit. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are present within our minds to help us get back to that decision-making level in our minds, which is why Jesus tells us that “this is a course in cause and not in effect” (T.21.VII.7:8), and “Seek not to change the world; but choose to change your mind about the world” (T.21.in.1:7).