"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
Course in Miracles
PAUSED FOR WEEKEND
The Problem of Guilt
IV. Healing and Time
And now the reason why you are afraid of this course should be apparent. For this is a course on love because it is about
. You have been told that your function in this world is healing, and your function in Heaven is creating. The ego teaches that your function on earth is destruction and that you have no function at all in Heaven. It would thus destroy you here and bury you here, leaving you no inheritance except the dust out of which it thinks you were made. As long as it is reasonably satisfied with you, as its reasoning goes, it offers you oblivion. When it becomes overtly savage, it offers you hell.
Yet neither oblivion nor hell is as unacceptable to you as Heaven. For your definition of Heaven
hell and oblivion, and the
Heaven is the greatest threat you think you could experience. For hell and oblivion are ideas which
made up, and you are bent on demonstrating their reality to establish
reality is questioned, you believe that
is. For you believe that
is your reality and that your destruction is the final proof that you were
Under the circumstances, would it not be more
to have been wrong, even apart from the fact that you
wrong? While it could perhaps be argued that death suggests there
life, no one would claim that it proves there
life. Even the past life which death might indicate could only have been futile if it must come to this and
this to prove that it was. You question Heaven, but you do not question
. You could heal and be healed if you
question it. And even though you know not Heaven, might it not be more desirable than death? You have been as selective in your questioning as in your perception. An open mind is more honest than this.
The ego has a very strange notion of time, and it is with this notion that your questioning might well begin. The ego invests heavily in the past and in the end believes that the past is the
aspect of time that is meaningful. You will remember that we said its emphasis on guilt enables it to ensure its continuity by making the future
the past and thus avoiding the present. By the notion of
for the past in the future, the past becomes the
of the future, making them continuous
an intervening present. For the ego uses the present
as a brief transition to the future, in which it brings the past
the future by interpreting the present in
has no meaning to the ego. The present merely reminds it of past hurts, and it reacts to the present as if it
the past. The ego cannot tolerate
from the past, and although the past is no more, the ego tries to preserve its image by responding
it were present. Thus it dictates reactions to those you meet now from a
reference point, obscuring their present reality. In effect, if you follow the ego's dictates, you will react to your brothers as though they were someone
, and this will surely prevent you from perceiving them as they
. And you will receive messages from them out of your
past because, by making it real in the present, you are forbidding yourself to
let it go.
You thus deny yourself the message of release that every brother offers you
The shadowy figures from the past are precisely what you must
. For they are not real and have no hold over you unless you bring them
you. They carry the spots of pain in your minds, directing you to attack in the present in retaliation for a past that is no more. And this decision is one of
pain. Unless you learn that past pain is delusional, you are choosing a future of illusions and losing the endless opportunities which you could find for release in the present. The ego would
your nightmares and
you from awakening and understanding that they
a holy encounter if you are merely perceiving it as a meeting with your own past? For you are meeting no one, and the
of salvation, which
the encounter holy, is excluded from your sight. The Holy Spirit teaches that you always meet
and the encounter is holy because
are. The ego teaches that you always encounter your past, and because your dreams
not holy, the future
be, and the present is without meaning. It is evident that the Holy Spirit's perception of time is the exact opposite of the ego's. The reason is equally clear, for they perceive the goal of time as diametrically opposed.
The Holy Spirit interprets time's purpose as rendering the need for it unnecessary. Thus does He regard the function of time as temporary, serving only His teaching function, which is temporary by definition.
emphasis is therefore on the only aspect of time which
extend to the infinite, for
is the closest approximation of eternity which this world offers. It is in the
of now, without past
future, that the beginning of the appreciation of eternity lies. For only now is
presents the opportunities for the holy encounters in which salvation can be found.
The ego, on the other hand, regards the function of time as one of extending itself
of eternity, for like the Holy Spirit, the ego interprets the goal of time as its own. The continuity of past and future under
direction is the only purpose the ego perceives in time, and it closes over the present so that no gap in its
continuity can occur.
continuity, then, would
you in time, while the Holy Spirit would release you
it. It is
interpretation of the means of salvation which you must learn to accept if you would share His goal of salvation for you.
You too will interpret the function of time as you interpret yours. If you accept your function in the world of time as healing, you will emphasize
the aspect of time in which healing can occur. For healing
be accomplished in the past and
be accomplished in the present to release the
This interpretation ties the future to the
and extends the present rather than the past. But if you interpret your function as destruction, you will lose sight of the present and hold on to the past to
a destructive future. And time
be as you interpret it, for of itself it is
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A Course in Miracles
Only salvation can be said to cure.
Cure is a word that cannot be applied to any remedy the world accepts as beneficial. What the world perceives as therapeutic is but what will make the body "better." When it tries to heal the mind, it sees no separation from the body, where it thinks the mind exists. Its forms of healing thus must substitute illusion for illusion. One belief in sickness takes another form, and so the patient now perceives himself as well.
He is not healed. He merely had a dream that he was sick, and in the dream he found a magic formula to make him well. Yet he has not awakened from the dream, and so his mind remains exactly as it was before. He has not seen the light that would awaken him and end the dream. What difference does the content of a dream make in reality? One either sleeps or wakens. There is nothing in between.
The happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings are different from the dreaming of the world, where one can merely dream he is awake. The dreams forgiveness lets the mind perceive do not induce another form of sleep, so that the dreamer dreams another dream. His happy dreams are heralds of the dawn of truth upon the mind. They lead from sleep to gentle waking, so that dreams are gone. And thus they cure for all eternity.
Atonement heals with certainty and cures all sickness. For the mind which understands that sickness can be nothing but a dream is not deceived by forms the dream may take. Sickness where guilt is absent cannot come, for it is but another form of guilt. Atonement does not heal the sick, for that is not a cure. It takes away the guilt that makes the sickness possible. And that is cure indeed. For sickness now is gone, with nothing left to which it can return.
Peace be to you who have been cured in God and not in idle dreams. For cure must come from holiness, and holiness can not be found where sin is cherished. God abides in holy temples. He is barred where sin has entered. Yet there is no place where He is not. And therefore sin can have no home in which to hide from His beneficence. There is no place where holiness is not, and nowhere sin and sickness can abide.
This is the thought that cures. It does not make distinctions among unrealities. Nor does it seek to heal what is not sick, unmindful where the need for healing is. This is no magic. It is merely an appeal to truth which cannot fail to heal and heal forever. It is not a thought which judges an illusion by its size, its seeming gravity, or anything that is related to the form it takes. It merely focuses on what it is and knows that no illusion can be real.
Let us not try today to seek to cure what cannot suffer sickness. Healing must be sought but where it is and then applied to what is sick so that it can be cured. There is no remedy the world provides that can effect a change in anything. The mind that brings illusions to the truth is really changed. There is no change but this. For how can one illusion differ from another but in attributes that have no substance, no reality, no core, and nothing that is truly different?
Today we seek to change our minds about the source of sickness, for we seek a cure for all illusions, not another shift among them. We will try today to find the source of healing, which is in our minds because our Father placed it there for us. It is not further from us than ourselves. It is as near to us as our own thoughts—so close it is impossible to lose. We need but seek it, and it must be found.
We will not be misled today by what appears to us as sick. We go beyond appearances today and reach the source of healing from which nothing is exempt. We will succeed to the extent to which we realize that there can never be a meaningful distinction made between what is untrue and equally untrue. Here there are no degrees and no beliefs that what does not exist is truer in some forms than others. All of them are false and can be cured because they are not true.
So do we lay aside our amulets, our charms and medicines, our chants and bits of magic in whatever form they took. We will be still and listen for the Voice of healing which will cure all ills as one, restoring saneness to the Son of God. No voice but this can cure. Today we hear a single Voice which speaks to us of truth where all illusions end, and peace returns to the eternal quiet home of God.
We waken hearing Him and let Him speak to us five minutes as the day begins and end the day by listening again five minutes more before we go to sleep. Our only preparation is to let our interfering thoughts be laid aside, not separately, but all of them as one. They are the same. We have no need to make them different and thus delay the time when we can hear our Father speak to us. We hear Him now. We come to Him today.
With nothing in our hands to which we cling, with lifted hearts and listening minds we pray:
Only salvation can be said to cure. Speak to us, Father, that we may be healed.
And we will feel salvation cover us with soft protection and with peace so deep that no illusion can disturb our minds nor offer proof to us that it is real. This will we learn today. And we will say our prayer for healing hourly and take a minute as the hour strikes to hear the answer to our prayer be given us as we attend in silence and in joy. This is the day when healing comes to us. This is the day when separation ends and we remember Who we really are.
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Only salvation can be said to cure.
This Lesson continues with the importance of accepting the Atonement for ourselves. In other words, the only cure for anything that seems to ail our bodies, or our psychological state, is to heal our minds and accept the truth about ourselves. Sickness is only of the mind and the mind is outside the body. The body is a projection of the guilt in the mind. Thus, only the mind needs healing. The body is an effect of the mind. To accept the Atonement is to accept healing of the source of sickness, which is the guilt in the mind.
When we use agents that remove symptoms from our bodies, we think the problem is healed. Jesus calls this magic. It does nothing to heal the real cause of all sickness, which is the guilt in the mind. Magic refers to various "healing" agents, such as medicines, vitamins, crystals, acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, physiotherapy, reiki, massage, etc. If you recall in Chapter 2, we read,
"All material means that you accept as remedies for bodily ills are restatements of magic principles."
(T.2.IV.4.1) (ACIM OE T.2.III.57) Does this mean that we are wrong to use such materials? Not at all. We are only asked to recognize that no such agent offers anything more than the removal of symptoms.
"He merely had a dream that he was sick, and in the dream he found a magic formula to make him well."
(W.140.2.2) We experienced the illusion of being sick, and now, we have the illusion of being well.
"Yet he has not awakened from the dream, and so his mind remains exactly as it was before."
Guilt, which was projected onto the body to make it sick, is still in the mind. Nothing has changed, and it will not change until we do the healing in the mind. When the cause of the sickness has not changed, the sickness will show up again. It makes no difference what the nature of the sickness is. The size, the seeming gravity of the illness, or the nature of it in form make no difference. It is still all our own dream. That is why there is no order of difficulty in sickness, as there is no order of difficulty in miracles; all sickness, regardless of form, is an illusion, and all of it can be healed by bringing awareness to the guilt in the mind and giving it over to the Holy Spirit.
"What difference does the content of a dream make in reality? One either sleeps or wakens. There is nothing in between."
(W.140.2.5-7) When the body is sick, it seems to illustrate to us that the problem is in the body and not in the mind. Thus, the guilt is kept safely hidden from us.
"What the world perceives as therapeutic is but what will make the body 'better.' When it tries to heal the mind, it sees no separation from the body, where it thinks the mind exists."
(W.140.1.2-3) All talk about the body-mind, or sometimes referred to as the body-mind organism (BMO), is clearly not in keeping with what Jesus is teaching here. He tells us the mind is not in the body at all, and we can't cure the mind by doing something bodily. For example, taking antidepressant drugs will do nothing to cure the mind because nothing in the mind has changed. From the standpoint of reality, we are either asleep or awake.
"The dreams forgiveness lets the mind perceive do not induce another form of sleep,"
(W.140.3.2) but forgiveness heralds the
". . . dawn of truth,
" (W.140.3.3) which leads from
". . . sleep to gentle waking."
This is the only cure there is because it is a
". . . cure for all eternity."
(W.140.3.5) This is the light of the Atonement. It is the Holy Spirit's presence in our minds, which awakens us from the dream of sickness.
"Atonement heals with certainty, and cures all sickness."
(W.140.4.1) Again, do not judge yourself for using magic. Jesus acknowledges that when fear is too high for us to do the healing in the mind, magic can be helpful as a way to reduce our fear.
"Sometimes the illness has a sufficiently strong hold over the mind to render a person temporarily inaccessible to the Atonement. In this case it may be wise to utilize a compromise approach to mind and body, in which something from the outside is temporarily given healing belief."
(T.2.IV.4.5-6) (ACIM OE T.2.III.57)
He goes on to say the last thing a sick person needs is an increase in fear. I recently met Brent Haskell at a seminar in Oregon. Brent has brought forth many books that reflect the teaching of Jesus channeled through him. One of the things I appreciated hearing from Brent, a medical doctor who at the time was practicing one day a week, was that he was determined to have his patients leave his office with less fear than when they came in. To him, that was the most important thing he could do to facilitate their healing.
"Sickness where guilt is absent cannot come, for it is but another form of guilt."
(W.140.4.3) Sickness is nothing but guilt projected onto the body. No bacteria, no virus, and no external agent of any kind can cause sickness. No matter what we do to clear away symptoms of disease, only by healing the guilt can sickness be cured. No matter what form our sickness takes, it is just an outward condition of the illusory guilt in our minds---illusory because guilt is not real. Holiness is our reality.
"God abides in holy temples. He is barred where sin has entered. Yet there is no place where He is not. And therefore sin can have no home in which to hide from His beneficence."
(W.140.5.3-6) It is the holiness in our right minds where the cure resides. Jesus says that we cherish sin, having welcomed it into our holy home, and now sin "protects" us from holiness. The protection we turn to is actually our fear of love, and this is what keeps sin in place.
A friend recently recounted how she had put her back out and was assigned to clean a kitchen. The kitchen was to represent the state of her mind. Such a task may seem counterintuitive to someone who has a hard time bending and kneeling to clean a kitchen but despite the challenge, she proceeded with the task with attention to every dirty crevice, every area where cockroaches hid in the dark and all the crevices filled with gunk. She went about her task, recognizing that it was all her mind that was being cleaned, and at the end, her symptoms were gone. It was helpful to question what is going on in the mind that was represented by this outward picture of an inward condition.
"Peace be to you who have been cured in God, and not in idle dreams. For cure must come from holiness, and holiness cannot be found where sin is cherished."
(W.140.5.1-2) Peace does not reside in the idle dreams of specialness in the world. Holiness is in our right mind, and sin is in the wrong mind where we identify with the ego. Cure comes when we turn away from the ego and turn to the Holy Spirit. We must desire the truth more than we want our own ideas about our needs and requirements. Sin is cherished when we hold onto our specialness.
"There is no place where holiness is not, and nowhere sin and sickness can abide."
(W.140.5.7) They are mutually exclusive states.
The holy temple where God abides is in our minds. There is nothing outside of His Mind. Only in this dream that we are dreaming does He seem to be absent. There is no place outside of Heaven because nothing is outside of the Oneness of God. The separation never occurred, therefore there can be nothing outside of Heaven. Atonement is the thought that cures, as it is the recognition that there is nothing outside of God. It is not about healing the body but recognizing that the body does not even exist, and we are still as God created us---perfect and whole. We therefore just need to change our minds about our reality. The sickness is in our minds, but so is the healing. We are not asked to deny any experience of sickness in the body, but we are asked not to let ourselves be deceived about the source of the sickness.
Healing happens when we bring our guilt and fear to the Holy Spirit and ask for his healing perception. The Source of all our healing is the Holy Spirit. He brings to us the realization that our sickness and guilt are illusory when we give Him every interfering thought that stands in the way of peace. We are not asked to be perfect, only honest.
"The mind that brings illusions to the truth is really changed. There is no change but this."
(W.140.7.4-5) The process of healing is to get in touch with our feelings and recognize all the dark ego thoughts and beliefs that block the truth. When we are listening to the voice of the ego, we experience dis-ease, depression, and anxiety. When we invest in pain, it is because we have chosen wrongly. How willing are we to admit that we are seeing incorrectly, and therefore, we are wrong about ourselves? When we see this is so, we recognize that we have a choice to either hold onto our wrong perception or recognize that only love is real. The source of healing
". . . is in our minds because our Father placed it there for us."
The Holy Spirit abides in our right minds. When we willingly go to Him today,
"With nothing in our hands to which we cling, with lifted hearts and listening mind
(W.140.12.1) we join with the truth. This requires that we give up the beliefs we hold and come with faith and determination to accept the truth about ourselves. We empty our hands and hearts of interfering thoughts so we can hear our Father speak to us and remind us of who we are. Let us not use sickness today as proof that we are right about ourselves, and therefore, God must be wrong. Allow peace into your mind today by bringing all your thoughts of specialness, judgment, and pain to His healing light.
No one will save us from the thoughts we cherish and refuse to give up. We are responsible for our thoughts, and we must willingly bring them to the light. We have given power to these thoughts, and we can now question our decisions. When we choose to hold onto them, we are actively choosing to keep love away. Now we can make another choice. Can you imagine a
". . . peace so deep that no illusion can disturb our minds?"
(W.140.12.4) This is not only a cure for sickness but allows healing of any problem that confronts us, whether it is a financial problem, loneliness, despair, or any belief in lack of any kind. We need to recognize how we cherish these thoughts and the purpose they serve in keeping us from the truth. They keep us rooted in the world and in the body. The thoughts we cherish of judgment, victimhood, and pain keep love away. Our part is to look at these thoughts, which interfere with the truth. In being willing to look at our thoughts and see them for what they are, we then must bring them to the Holy Spirit.
"This is the day when healing comes to us. This is the day when separation ends, and we remember Who we really are."
(W.140.12.7-8) In our practice with this Lesson, we willingly let go of interfering thoughts and refuse to listen to the ego. When we accept, even for an instant, our Identity as the Son of God, free of all concerns, then there is no separation, as it was never true. The memory of our true identity dawns on our minds when the mind is cleared of interfering thoughts.
"And we will feel salvation cover us with soft protection, and with peace so deep that no illusion can disturb our minds, nor offer proof to us that it is real."
(W.140.12.4) Salvation's peace is our only cure. Both the problem and the answer are in our minds. We can access the answer when we
". . . attend in silence and in joy"
(W.140.12.6) and are unwilling to pay attention to the noise in the mind, coming from the ego.
Love and Blessings, Sarah
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