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#16. How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?

11 Is not this an exchange that you would want? The world would gladly make it if it knew it could be made. It is God's teachers who must teach it that it can. And so it is their function to make sure that they have learned it. No risk is possible throughout the day except to put your trust in magic, for it is only this that leads to pain. "There is no will but God's." His teachers know that this is so and have learned that everything but this is magic. All belief in magic is maintained by just one simple-minded illusion—that it works. All through his training, every day and hour, and even every minute and second, must God's teachers learn to recognize the forms of magic and perceive their meaninglessness. Fear is withdrawn from them, and so they go. And thus the Gate of Heaven is reopened, and its light can shine again on an untroubled mind.

Workbook for Students
Part II
What am I?
1 I am God's Son, complete and healed and whole, shining in the reflection of His Love. In me is His creation sanctified and guaranteed eternal life. In me is love perfected, fear impossible, and joy established without opposite. I am the holy home of God Himself. I am the Heaven where His Love resides. I am His holy sinlessness itself, for in my purity abides His own.

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Workbook for Students
Lesson 356
Sickness is but another name
for sin. Healing is but another
name for God. The miracle
is thus a call to Him.
1 Father, You promised You would never fail to answer any call Your Son might make to You. It does not matter where he is, what seems to be his problem, nor what he believes he has become. He is Your Son, and You will answer him. The miracle reflects Your Love, and thus it answers him. Your Name replaces every thought of sin, and who is sinless cannot suffer pain. Your Name gives answer to Your Son because to call Your Name is but to call his own.
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VIDEO: L 356 - Video

Course in Miracles
Original Edition
Manual for Teachers

16. How Should the Teacher
of God Spend His Day?
par 1-11
1 To the advanced teacher of God, this question is meaningless. There is no program, for the lessons in the curriculum change each day. Yet he is sure of but one thing—they do not change at random. Seeing this and understanding it is true, he rests content. He will be told all that his role should be, this day and every day. And those who share that role with him will find him, so they can learn the lessons for the day together. Not one is absent whom he needs; not one is sent without a learning goal already set, and one which can be met that very day. For the advanced teacher of God, then, this question is superfluous. It has been asked and answered, and he keeps in constant contact with the Answer. He is set and sees the road on which he walks stretch surely and smoothly before him.

2 But what about those who have not reached his certainty? They are not yet ready for such lack of structuring on their own part. What must they do to learn to give the day to God? There are some general rules which do apply, although each one must use them as best he can in his own way. Routines as such are dangerous because they easily become gods in their own right, threatening the very goals for which they were set up. Broadly speaking, then, it can be said that it is well to start the day right. It is always possible to begin again, should the day begin with error, yet there are obvious advantages in terms of saving time if the need for this can be avoided.

3 At the beginning, it is wise to think in terms of time. This is by no means the ultimate criterion, but at the outset, it is probably the simplest to observe. The saving of time is an essential early emphasis which, although it remains important throughout the learning process, becomes less and less emphasized. At the outset, we can safely say that time devoted to starting the day right does indeed save time. How much time should be so spent? This must depend on the teacher of God himself. He cannot claim that title until he has gone through the workbook, since we are learning within the framework of our course. After completion of the more structured practice periods which the workbook contains, individual need becomes the chief consideration.

4 This course is always practical. It may be that the teacher of God is not in a situation which fosters quiet thought as he awakes. If this is so, let him but remember that he chooses to spend time with God as soon as possible, and let him do so. Duration is not the major concern. One can easily sit still an hour with closed eyes and accomplish nothing. One can as easily give God only an instant, and in that instant join with Him completely. Perhaps the one generalization that can be made is this—as soon as possible after waking, take your quiet time, continuing a minute or two after you begin to find it difficult. You may find that the difficulty will diminish and drop away. If not, that is the time to stop.

5 The same procedures should be followed at night. Perhaps your quiet time should be fairly early in the evening if it is not feasible for you to take it just before going to sleep. It is not wise to lie down for it. It is better to sit up, in whatever position you prefer. Having gone through the workbook you must have come to some conclusions in this respect. If possible, however, just before going to sleep is a desirable time to devote to God. It sets your mind into a pattern of rest and orients you away from fear. If it is expedient to spend this time earlier, at least be sure that you do not forget a brief period—not more than a moment will do—in which you close your eyes and think of God.

6 There is one thought in particular that should be remembered throughout the day. It is a thought of pure joy, a thought of peace, a thought of limitless release—limitless because all things are freed within it. You think you made a place of safety for yourself. You think you made a power that can save you from all the fearful things you see in dreams. It is not so. Your safety lies not there. What you give up is merely the illusion of protecting illusions. And it is this you fear, and only this. How foolish to be so afraid of nothing! Nothing at all! Your defenses will not work, but you are not in danger. You have no need of them. Recognize this, and they will disappear. And only then will you accept your real protection.

7 How simply and how easily does the day slip by for the teacher of God who has accepted His protection! All that he did before in the name of safety no longer interests him. For he is safe and knows it to be so. He has a Guide Who will not fail. He need make no distinctions among the problems he perceives, for He to Whom he turns with all of them recognizes no order of difficulty in resolving them. He is as safe in the present as he was before illusions were accepted into his mind and as he will be when he has let them go. There is no difference in his state at different times and different places because they are all one to God. This is his safety. And he has no need for more than this.

8 Yet there will be temptations along the way the teacher of God has yet to travel, and he has need of reminding himself throughout the day of his protection. How can he do this, particularly during the time when his mind is occupied with external things? He can but try, and his success depends on his conviction that he will succeed. He must be sure success is not of him but will be given him at any time, in any place and circumstance he calls for it. There are times his certainty will waver, and the instant this occurs he will return to earlier attempts to place reliance on himself alone. Forget not this is magic and that magic is a sorry substitute for true assistance. It is not good enough for God's teacher because it is not enough for God's Son.

9 The avoidance of magic is the avoidance of temptation. For all temptation is nothing more than the attempt to substitute another will for God's. These attempts may indeed seem frightening, yet they are merely pathetic. They can have no effects, neither good nor bad, neither rewarding nor demanding sacrifice, healing nor destructive, quieting nor fearful. When all magic is recognized as merely nothing, the teacher of God has reached the most advanced state. All intermediate lessons will but lead to this and bring this goal nearer to recognition. For magic of any kind, in all its forms, simply does nothing. Its powerlessness is the reason it can be so easily escaped. What has no effects can hardly terrify.

10 There is no substitute for the Will of God. In simple statement, it is to this fact that the teacher of God devotes his day. Each substitute he may accept as real can but deceive him. But he is safe from all deception if he so decides. Perhaps he needs to remember "God is with me. I cannot be deceived." Perhaps he prefers other words, or only one or none at all. Yet each temptation to accept magic as true must be abandoned through his recognition not that it is fearful, not that it is sinful, not that it is dangerous, but merely that it is meaningless. Rooted in sacrifice and separation, two aspects of one error and no more, he merely chooses to give up all that he never had. And for this "sacrifice" is Heaven restored to his awareness.

11 Is not this an exchange that you would want? The world would gladly make it if it knew it could be made. It is God's teachers who must teach it that it can. And so it is their function to make sure that they have learned it. No risk is possible throughout the day except to put your trust in magic, for it is only this that leads to pain. "There is no will but God's." His teachers know that this is so and have learned that everything but this is magic. All belief in magic is maintained by just one simple-minded illusion—that it works. All through his training, every day and hour, and even every minute and second, must God's teachers learn to recognize the forms of magic and perceive their meaninglessness. Fear is withdrawn from them, and so they go. And thus the Gate of Heaven is reopened, and its light can shine again on an untroubled mind.

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Sarah's Reflections
Lesson 356
Sickness is but another name
for sin. Healing is but another
name for God. The miracle
is thus a call to Him.
Sarah's Commentary:
It is reassuring to be told that any call we make to God will be answered. "It does not matter where he is, what seems to be his problem, nor what he believes he has become." (W.356.1.2) It is not a matter of how worthy we feel, or how much guilt we hold in the mind. God's answer is already given. It is available now. We need not clean up our act. How could His answer not be available now when we already have all His gifts? We already have everything we have asked for since all we have ever asked for, no matter how it appears, is peace, joy, and happiness. It is all within us now. We have not changed ourselves no matter how we feel about ourselves. His answer is a miracle that reflects His Love for us. The miracle is a reminder of the truth of what we are. As we go about on our own way, trying to work things out, He has already worked everything out for us. We just need to step back in trust and be led by Love instead of by the voice of the ego.
Sometimes, we have a specific problem, and we call on God for His help, but so often we have already decided on what the solution should be to our specific problem, and we ask God to deliver the solution that we have already determined will fix our problem. What is the real problem? Jesus reminds us that all problems come from the false beliefs we hold in the mind. From these false beliefs, we make decisions that do not serve us. We believe that we understand what we need. I may have a flat tire on the freeway, and I am going to be late for my appointment. I ask for someone to come along and fix it for me. Or I may call out to God, asking why this is happening to me and demand that He do something. Or I think my problem is that I will be late for my appointment, but I don't know the problem. When I think that I do, that is the problem. The only problem is that we block the peace within us with thoughts about what is going on outside of us. To truly ask for help is to ask to accept the situation as it is. It is to ask for help to recognize that we don't know what any of this is for. It is to ask to see the situation as God would have us see it. It is to ask that His Will be done and that we would remember the truth of who we are, so we could attend to the situation in peace. We have no idea what anything is for. We don't know our own best interests.
Our part is to look at how we block His love. That is the only real problem we have. We don't trust His answer because we believe it requires sacrifice on our part. We don't want to sacrifice our thoughts and opinions about what we think the problem is. We think we know, and the one that thinks it knows anything is the false self. We defend this self, believing it is what we are. Thus, we defend against His Love. "It is not difficult to understand the reasons why you do not ask the Holy Spirit to solve all problems for you. He has not greater difficulty in resolving some than others. Every problem is the same to Him, because each one is solved in just the same respect and through the same approach. The aspects that need solving do not change, whatever form the problem seems to take. A problem can appear in many forms, and it will do so while the problem lasts. It serves no purpose to attempt to solve it in a special form. It will recur and then recur again and yet again, until it has been answered for all time and will not rise again in any form. And only then are you released from it." (T.26.II.1.1-8)
His answer is a miracle that shifts our perception from wrong-mindedness to a healed perception and with it comes another step in trust. We trust in the perfection of whatever shows up. When we get out of the way, we recognize more and more that everything is perfectly given. Everything is a classroom for remembering the truth of who we are and for the undoing of our wrong-mindedness.
We only have one problem and that is the belief that we are guilty and have done something terribly wrong. It is the belief in the self we think we are. We think that we are on our own in the world, and that we are doing our best to defend against contingencies that befall us. We don't trust the beneficence of the Loving Presence in our mind that has already solved every problem we think we have. In the movie, A Christmas Carol , Ebenezer Scrooge was confronted by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, and in an instant, he saw how his unloving habits created a life of misery for him. In that same instant, he was able to change his mind and choose to replace his unloving habits with compassion and kindness. It is a choice we can all make. We cannot continue to focus on unloving thoughts and be receptive to the goodness of God at the same time. It is one or the other.
When we choose to heal our mind rather than focus on how to fix and control things in the illusion, we come to recognize the perfection of all that appears. We open to His guidance instead of our own limited thinking. We choose to surrender and to trust that all is given when we step out of the way and remember that we don't know our own best interests. Jesus tells us , "Babies scream in rage if you take away a knife or scissors, although they may well harm themselves if you do not." (T.4.II.5.2) (ACIM OE T.4.III.28) We are like those babies. We think we know what we want and need to be happy, but Love will not give us what will hurt us. When we ask for what will hurt us, it will not be delivered by Love.
We are called to remember that we are One Self, One with God, and One with all our brothers. Jesus appeals to our need to feel better rather than to continue to experience the pain and suffering we experience. There is no difference in the welcome we give a brother and our acceptance of God's love for us. We may think that we love God and have anger toward a brother, but it is all the same. There is no such thing as me, God, and my brothers, as we are all One. Anger at our brother comes from our belief that we are unworthy of God's love. When we have anger in us, that is what we give to our brother and what we receive for ourselves.
When we bring our unloving thoughts about our self, or others, and all of our worries, fears, and concerns to the healing light of Love, space is made for the miracle to shine forth. We experience our Oneness with all of our brothers when we bring our pain to the Holy Spirit and accept the miracle.
Sickness reflects the guilt in our minds, but the condition of the body is not what is ultimately important. It is in healing the mind where health resides. As long as we carry the belief in the reality of the body, we will experience aging, sickness, and death. As long as we continue to carry a heavy burden of guilt, we will not realize that we are the glorious and grand, enlightened beings that Jesus assures us we are. He reminds us daily that we have not succeeded in substituting the false image of ourselves for who we really are.
Our belief in unworthiness keeps the truth out of our awareness that we are "complete and healed and whole, shining in the reflection of His Love." (W.PII.Q14.What Am I?1.1) We don't experience the mind as a clean slate with no past mistakes obscuring the reflection of innocence, which is our natural inheritance and what we truly are. We try to be loving, yet we attack, we get angry, we worry, and we make judgments. Basically, we feel like sinners and thus unworthy of love. All the tears we shed for whatever seeming distress we feel come from the deep sorrow we feel as a result of the belief that we have forever lost our innocence. Yet God assures us, "My Arms are open to the Son I love, who does not understand that he is healed, and that his prayers have never ceased to sing his joyful thanks in unison with all creation, in the holiness of Love." (Song of Prayer.3.IV.7.3)
What does he mean when he says sickness is but another name for sin? It does not mean that being sick is a sin, only that sickness is an ego device to keep us believing that who we are is a separated self, living in a vulnerable body, in a world we think is real, and where we experience sickness and ultimately death. Sickness is how we attack ourselves because of the guilt in the mind projected onto the body. "Sickness is anger taken out upon the body, so that it will suffer pain." (T.28.VI.5.1) (ACIM OE T.28.VII.58) Sickness reinforces our sense of inadequacy and vulnerability. For healing to happen, the only work we need to do is with our own thoughts. Sickness is not a condition of the body at all, but it is all about the guilt in the mind projected onto the body. When the mind is healed, whether the body is seemingly sick or healthy is not relevant because we are not the body. However, this does not mean that we don't attend to sickness or to our well-being while we still believe in the reality of the body.
The reason that sin and sickness are the same is that this is how the ego mind tries to prove that illusion is truth. While the forms sickness takes are different, the purpose is the same, which is to keep us invested in the separate self. What needs healing is therefore only the thought of separation. The Holy Spirit can use sickness for a holy purpose, just like everything else we have made. It is not helpful to feel guilty over any bodily sickness and worry about how we "manifested" this situation. Healing, when discussed in the Course, is not about healing any particular thing in form, but only about healing the mind.
"Healing is but another name for God." (W.356) When we recognize our reality, we will know that there is no separation and indeed our true identity is One with God. We share the same nature. All healing is just a return to our Source, our Christ Self. Since our Self is One with God, all healing is a return to our reality. That is why this Lesson says Healing and God are synonymous.
Whether we believe in God, talk with the Holy Spirit, or consider Jesus as part of this process, it does not matter, as they are all symbols of the holiness in our right minds. What matters is to bring every unloving thought to this right-minded Symbol in the mind, to make every encounter a healing and holy encounter, to offer forgiveness, to follow guidance, to surrender, and to release grievances. When we do, Love is there. The Source is there.
As the words of this Course remind us, "A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary." (Clarification of Terms.IN.2.5) In other words, this Course is not an intellectual exercise. It is about the application, so we can have an experience of the miracle and with each experience, our trust grows and expands. We recognize and accept more and more how much we are truly loved. We don't need to try to control the events of our lives because our efforts will never be as great as His. "Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of a sparrow when the mighty power of an eagle has been given him?" (Manual for Teachers.4.I.2.2) To do so is indeed insane.
We have been given this Course as a ladder back to God. The words only point to the truth. The words are not the focus of our learning, so let's not get stuck on the beauty of the words. What they point to is what is important. The metaphysics of this Course are certainly helpful. Yet they are meant not just for intellectual understanding, but to motivate us to forgive. In applying these teachings daily to every situation and event that shows up where our emotions are triggered, we learn the power of what Jesus is telling us. The purpose of these words is to point us to an experience of peace and joy. It is a process. Jesus asks, "Are you ready yet to help Me save the world?" (C.2.9.1) When we say yes, we commit to doing the healing. Saving the world means choosing the peace within our own mind. Only by healing the cause (in our own mind) will there be any change in effects (in our own lives).
Let us not lament the world but choose to change our mind about what we see by asking for the Holy Spirit's interpretation of everything we perceive. It means to be willing to be humble, giving over the mind that thinks it knows anything. It is to live in a state of acceptance and inspiration, recognizing the perfection of everything that shows up in our lives.
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Love and blessings, Sarah


Allen Watson's
Workbook Commentaries
Allen joined Robert Perry in forming the Circle of Atonement in 1993 in Sedona, Arizona where Allen led retreats and workshops and authored many books based on “A Course in Miracles.” One of his most popular books is:

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