"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
A Course in Miracles

The Correction of Error

IV. The Unhealed Healer

20 The ego's plan for forgiveness is far more widely used than God's. This is because it is undertaken by unhealed healers and is therefore of the ego. Let us consider the unhealed healer more carefully now. By definition, he is trying to give what he has not received . If he is a theologian, he may begin with the premise, "I am a miserable sinner and so are you." If he is a psychotherapist, he is more likely to start with the equally incredible idea that he really believes in attack and so does the patient, but it does not matter in either case.

21 We have repeatedly stated that beliefs of the ego cannot be shared, and this is why they are unreal. How, then, can "uncovering" them make them real? Every healer who searches fantasies for truth must be unhealed because he does not know where to look for truth and therefore does not have the answer to the problem of healing. There is an advantage to bringing nightmares into awareness, but only to teach that they are not real and that anything they contain is meaningless. The unhealed healer cannot do this because he does not believe it.

22 All unhealed healers follow the ego's plan for forgiveness in one form or another. If they are theologians, they are likely to condemn themselves, teach condemnation, and advocate a very fearful solution. Projecting condemnation onto God, they make Him appear retaliative and fear His retribution. What they have done is merely to identify with the ego and, by perceiving clearly what it does, condemn themselves because of this profound confusion. It is understandable that there has been a revolt against this concept, but to revolt against it is still to believe in it. The form of the revolt, then, is different but not the content.

23 The newer forms of the ego's plan are as unhelpful as the older ones because form does not matter to the Holy Spirit and therefore does not matter at all. According to the newer forms of the ego's plan, the therapist interprets the ego's symbols in the nightmare and then uses them to prove that the nightmare is real. Having made it real, he then attempts to dispel its effects by depreciating the importance of the dreamer . This would be a healing approach if the dreamer were properly identified as unreal. Yet if the dreamer is equated with the mind , the mind's corrective power through the Holy Spirit is denied .

24 It is noteworthy that this is a contradiction even in the ego's terms, and one which it usually does note, even in its confusion. If the way to counteract fear is to reduce the importance of the fearer, how can this build ego strength ? These perfectly self-evident inconsistencies account for why, except in certain stylized verbal accounts, no one can explain what happens in psychotherapy. Nothing real does . Nothing real has happened to the unhealed healer, and he learns from his own teaching.

25 Because his ego is involved, it always attempts to gain some support from the situation. Seeking to get something for himself , the unhealed healer does not know how to give and consequently cannot share. He cannot correct because he is not working correctively . He believes that it is up to him to teach the patient what is real , but he does not know it himself. What, then, should happen? When God said, "Let there be light," there was light. Can you find light by analyzing darkness as the psychotherapist does or like the theologian, by acknowledging darkness in yourself and looking for a distant light to remove it while emphasizing the distance?

26 Healing is not mysterious. Nothing will occur unless you understand it, since light is understanding. A "miserable sinner" cannot be healed without magic, nor can an "unimportant mind" esteem itself without magic. Both forms of the ego's approach, then, must arrive at an impasse, the characteristic "impossible situation" to which the ego always leads. It can be helpful to point out to a patient where he is heading, but the point is lost unless he can change his direction. The therapist cannot do this for him, but he also cannot do this for himself .

27 The only meaningful contribution the therapist can make is to present an example of one whose direction has been changed for him and who no longer believes in nightmares of any kind. The light in his mind will therefore answer the questioner, who must decide with God that there is light because he sees it. And by his acknowledgment, the therapist knows it is there. That is how perception ultimately is translated into knowledge. The miracle worker begins by perceiving light and translates his perception into sureness by continually extending it and accepting its acknowledgment. Its effects assure him it is there.

28 The therapist does not heal; he lets healing be . He can point to darkness, but he cannot bring light of himself , for light is not of him. Yet, being for him, it must also be for his patient. The Holy Spirit is the only therapist. He makes healing perfectly clear in any situation in which he is the Guide. The human therapist can only let Him fulfill His function. He needs no help for this. He will tell you exactly what to do to help anyone He sends to you for help and will speak to him through you if you do not interfere . Remember that you are choosing a guide for helping, and the wrong choice will not help. But remember also that the right one will . Trust Him, for help is His function, and He is of God.

29 As you awaken other minds to the Holy Spirit through Him and not yourself, you will understand that you are not obeying the laws of this world, but that the laws you are obeying work . "The good is what works" is a sound, though insufficient, statement. Only the good can work. Nothing else works at all. This course is a guide to behavior. Being a very direct and very simple learning situation, it provides the Guide who tells you what to do. If you do it, you will see that it works. Its results are more convincing than its words. They will convince you that the words are true. By following the right Guide you will learn the simplest of all lessons—

30 By their fruits ye shall know them, and they shall know themselves .

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 105
God's peace and joy are mine.

1 God's peace and joy are yours. Today we will accept them, knowing they belong to us. And we will try to understand these gifts increase as we receive them. They are not like to the gifts the world can give, in which the giver loses as he gives the gift; the taker is the richer by his loss. These are not gifts, but bargains made with guilt.

2 The truly given gift entails no loss. It is impossible that one can gain because another loses. This implies a limit and an insufficiency. No gift is given thus. Such "gifts" are but a bid for a more valuable return—a loan with interest to be paid in full; a temporary lending, meant to be a pledge of debt to be repaid with more than was received by him who took the gift.

3 This strange distortion of what giving means pervades all levels of the world you see. It strips all meaning from the gifts you give and leaves you nothing in the ones you take. A major learning goal this course has set is to reverse your view of giving, so you can receive. For giving has become a source of fear, and so you would avoid the only means by which you can receive.

4 Accept God's peace and joy, and you will learn a different way of looking at a gift. God's gifts will never lessen when they are given away. They but increase thereby. As Heaven's peace and joy intensify when you accept them as God's gift to you, so does the joy of your Creator grow when you accept His joy and peace as yours.

5 True giving is creation. It extends the limitless to the unlimited, eternity to timelessness, and love unto itself. It adds to all that is complete already, not in simple terms of adding more, for that implies that it was less before. It adds by letting what cannot contain itself fulfill its aim of giving everything it has away, securing it forever for itself.

6 Today accept God's peace and joy as yours. Let Him complete Himself as He defines completion. You will understand that what completes Him must complete His Son as well. He cannot give through loss. No more can you. Receive His gift of joy and peace today, and He will thank you for your gift to Him.

7 Today our practice periods will start a little differently. Begin today by thinking of those brothers who have been denied by you the peace and joy that are their right under the equal laws of God. Here you denied them to yourself. And here you must return to claim them as your own. Think of your "enemies" a little while, and tell each one as he occurs to you:

8 My brother, peace and joy I offer you, that I may have God's peace and joy as mine.

9 Thus you prepare yourself to recognize God's gifts to you and let your mind be free of all that would prevent success today. Now are you ready to accept the gift of peace and joy which God has given you. Now are you ready to experience the joy and peace you have denied yourself. Now you can say, "God's peace and joy are mine," for you have given what you would receive.

10 You must succeed today if you prepare your mind as we suggest, for you have let all bars to peace and joy be lifted up, and what is yours can come to you at last. So tell yourself "God's peace and joy are mine," and close your eyes a while, and let His Voice assure you that the words you speak are true.

11 Spend your five minutes thus with Him each time you can today, but do not think that less is worthless when you cannot give Him more. At least remember hourly to say the words which call on Him to give you what He wills to give and wills you to receive.

12 Determine not to interfere today with what He wills. And if a brother seems to tempt you to deny God's gift to him, see it as but another chance to let yourself receive the gifts of God as yours. Then bless your brother thankfully, and say:

13 My brother, peace and joy I offer you, that I may have God's peace and joy as mine.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 105
God's peace and joy are mine.

We know we have received the gifts of God when we give them. We can't know what we have and what we are until we give. This is a central thought in the Course. In fact, Jesus says that reversing our view of giving is a "major learning goal this course has set." (W.105.3.1) What is your idea of giving? So often it is about what we can get in return. In the world's perspective, to give is to lose, and when we give, we usually expect some kind of reciprocity. We generally expect to get something back in return for what we have given. If I am kind and generous to you, I might expect gratitude, kindness, or generosity in return. When we really understand that there is no need for reciprocity, because we are only giving to ourselves, then we can experience true giving where there are no expectations.

"God's peace and joy are yours. Today we will accept them, knowing they belong to us. And we will try to understand these gifts increase as we receive them." (W.105.1.1 3) How do we accept God's peace and joy? We recognize that they are in us now and belong to us. Now everyone must share in our peace and joy. These attributes are already in everyone because they have been given to all by God. We all share in the Oneness of God. The ego would have us believe that if we have peace and joy, we must have gained at someone's expense. It is the belief in one or the other. If I am happy, I have won my happiness at someone’s expense, and they have therefore lost what I have gained. This is why we feel guilty when we feel very happy, and why we believe happiness can't last. We feel that we don't deserve to be happy. We tell ourselves that there are people suffering in the world and that we should feel guilty if we are happy.

A friend recently gave me some items in her garage sale for which I paid what she asked. Later, I noticed there was a small item I had picked up that I had not paid for. I assumed it would perhaps be worth about three to five dollars. When I phoned her and told her I wanted to pay for this item, she told me I could pay for the lunch we had scheduled the following week. Lunch would be in the neighborhood of twenty dollars. All of a sudden I felt as though I had lost in this transaction. The bargain was not in my favor. It was another opportunity to look at my idea of value and a sense of having lost. But to the spirit, nothing can be lost. We are only giving to ourselves all the time. The gifts we give truly have no strings attached, and then we truly receive. "The truly given gift entails no loss." (W.105.1.6)

The thought that there are winners and losers originated in the mind with the belief that we stole our identity from God. Now we have our individual self at His expense because there can't be both God and me in Oneness. If I exist, then He cannot. It is a thought of "one or the other," meaning that if I win, someone must lose. It is how we function in the illusory world. But with this thought comes the belief that we have done something terribly wrong, so we feel guilty. It is not a conscious thought in us, but don’t we all carry a vague feeling that we are wrong, although we are not sure why? When we hold onto this belief, then any happiness we feel is tinged with guilt, because we feel someone must have lost if we have gained. For example, when I am happy in my relationship, it is because my needs have been met. My expectations have been met, and you have sacrificed on my behalf. Now I feel loved and supported by you. I have received what I want from you. Yet with such a bargain in a relationship, any happiness I experience is tinged with guilt. It is because, if we got what we wanted, then we feel that at some level we must have stolen it. It is a reflection of the belief that we stole God's gifts and hid them in the world to escape His wrath. So it seems like peace and joy can't be ours without being accompanied by the feeling that we don't really deserve to have them. If we have peace and joy, there is a feeling that someone else must be deprived.

This idea is really developed in Chapter 16 where Jesus talks about our special relationships. These are what he calls the "bargains made with guilt." (W.105.1.5) They are bargains made with guilt because in our special relationships, we give our gifts in exchange for what we expect to receive from the other. Yet we want something better than what we gave. Our special relationships are about trying to extract from the other gifts of greater value than the ones we gave. We each want to give as little as possible to get as much as possible. All the conflict we experience in our relationships is based on this premise. We are constantly trying to extract from the other what will best meet our needs. In the end, it is the basis for our misery and suffering because now we live in a state of guilt. Healing requires this be looked at with great honesty. Otherwise, we exempt ourselves from this process, seeing ourselves as innocent while others are the guilty ones, withholding from us what we are trying to extract from them.

"Each partner tries to sacrifice the self he does not want for one he thinks he would prefer. And he feels guilty for the 'sin' of taking, and of giving nothing of value in return. How much value can he place upon a self that he would give away to get a 'better' one? " (T.16.V.7.5-7) (ACIM OE T.16.VI.49) We can't stand to be happy for long because our guilt says that we don't deserve it. With each bargain that we make in our special relationships, our guilt is reinforced because we are constantly making bargains to serve our needs at the expense of our brothers and exchanging our gifts of little worth for ones where we hope to gain with each exchange.

The belief that God has lost because I have taken His love and joy for myself is the basis for what I have carried into the thought system I hold in the world. It is such a foundational belief in our lives and so deeply defended against, which makes it very challenging to see, yet it is the foundation of everyone's lives here. In order to recognize this pattern in our lives, we must stay very vigilant about our motivations and intentions so we can bring them to awareness. We can't heal what we don't see. To see it, we must look behind our defenses and be willing to be very honest with ourselves without judging ourselves.

Applying these Lessons in our daily lives and staying very vigilant in watching our thoughts is important if we are to make progress in undoing this thought system. "This strange distortion of what giving means pervades all levels of the world you see. It strips all meaning from the gifts you give, and leaves you nothing in the ones you take." (W.105.2.3-4)

The ego constantly wants to prove to us that it is the source of our love and our life, not God. While we invest in its thought system, we will feel guilty when we experience peace and joy, because these "gifts" come at someone's expense. Yet true giving entails no loss. "God's gifts will never lessen when they are given away. They but increase thereby." (W.105.3.4-5) This is an authentic kind of giving because we give, and we know that in this giving, we can't lose. We then won't feel guilty in receiving the gifts we give and receive. We are undoing the idea of giving to get. We are learning, increasingly, through the application of the thought system Jesus is teaching that all we give is given to ourselves, as Lesson 126 reminds us. Every time we bring our specialness to awareness and are willing to experience healing, we receive the miracle. Specialness tells us we are number one. It is all about me.

Now Jesus tells us, "For giving has become a source of fear, and so you would avoid the only means by which you can receive. Accept God's peace and joy, and you will learn a different way of looking at a gift. God's gifts will never lessen when they are given away. They but increase thereby." (W.105.3.2-5) Ultimately, our fear is that we will be punished for what we have stolen from God and are taking from our brothers in the self-serving bargains we try to make with everyone. Now we are called to bring the guilt, specialness, hate, and fear in our minds to the altar of truth, so we can experience the gifts of peace given us by God, Whose infinite love for us is boundless.

"As Heaven’s peace and joy intensify when you accept them as God’s gift to you, so does the joy of your Creator grow when you accept His joy and peace as yours." (W.105.4.1) Jesus is saying that God’s completion depends on our acceptance of His gift to us. This is not a statement to be taken literally, as God's joy is complete now. Nothing is lacking in Him. It is just an expression of how much we should take to heart the importance for ourselves of accepting the fullness of God's love for us. With the acceptance of the truth about ourselves comes gratitude for the joy we are and the joy we receive in giving with no expectations of anything in return, because the gift is received by us as it is given.

Today, we are asked to choose someone we think of as an enemy to whom we have denied peace and joy. We have forgotten that they are the same as us and "under the equal laws of God." (W.105.6.2) In seeing differences with our brother, we have denied ourselves the peace and joy in us both. Now we can claim the peace and joy we have denied ourselves by seeing our brother as innocent. "And here you must return to claim them as your own." (W.105.6.4) The peace and joy we give our brother are what we receive for ourselves, as we are one with every brother. Any attack we make on another is an attack on ourselves. Now we learn that how we see our brother is how we see ourselves. We are all the same in our divinity. This sameness is a reflection of the one Self we are. We all hold the same thought system that came with the separation, and we also all hold the same healing light of the Holy Spirit within our minds. Here there are no differences despite appearances in the world of form.

When we become willing to take responsibility for our guilt by seeing that it is only ourselves we are attacking, we can bring the guilt back to our own minds and choose to give it over to Spirit. By bringing our projections to the Holy Spirit, they are released. "Now are you ready to accept the gift of peace and joy God has given you. Now are you ready to experience the joy and peace you have denied yourself." (W.105.7.4-5) Only by silencing the ego's voice of specialness will we hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit. In order to hear His Voice, we need to look at all the ways we interfere. We do this when we express impatience, irritation, think unkindly of others, gossip about them, get frustrated, and all the other ways we throw our peace away. When any brother tempts us to throw away our peace and joy, it is because we actually want them to betray us so we can blame them for taking our joy from us. We have actually chosen to throw away our peace and project onto them the choice we have made, making them responsible for our lack of peace. No one can take our peace unless we give them the power to do so. By choosing to take responsibility for everything that seems to happen to me, I increasingly come to recognize that I truly am not a victim of the world I see.

Today, we choose to release our misperceptions and offer blessings instead, so we can receive the blessings for ourselves. Every one of our brothers deserves to receive this blessing from us with no exceptions. It is "their right under the equal laws of God." (W.105.6.2)

Today, we are called to look at who we are withholding blessings from and recognize that when we do, we are only withholding them from ourselves. By cutting someone off from my love, I am separating myself from love. When I open my heart to my so-called "enemies" by seeing their call for love and understanding, rather than focusing on their behavior, I am opening up to the gift of peace and joy God is holding out for me. Thus, I am opening myself to receive these gifts. It is not something we receive first and then give, but in fact, we give in order to know we have received. The gifts of peace and joy are already in us. We practice this Lesson, not just by affirming God's peace and joy are ours, but by letting go of the barriers we have against recognizing these gifts already in us.

Our "enemies" are not really outside of us but reflect our own inner self-hatred, which we project onto our brothers. The self-hatred must be seen for what it is if we are to heal our minds. To accept the gifts of God, we must take the self-hatred that we hold in our minds and project onto our brothers, and take responsibility for it. As we turn it over to the Holy Spirit, He reminds us that it is not the truth about ourselves, nor our brothers. Our brothers are innocent, just as we are. We are the same. When we see others as different from ourselves, we are always trying to get, bargain, and see ourselves as the special ones who deserve more than what others get. It is important to look at our motivations and be very, very honest in recognizing the guilt these relationships entail. We are worth the effort that it takes to remain vigilant in watching our minds. What we don’t see can’t be healed.

Love and blessings, Sarah


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