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

5. How is Healing Accomplished?


1 Healing involves an understanding of what the illusion of sickness is for. Healing is impossible without this

The Perceived Purpose of Sickness

2 Healing is accomplished the instant the sufferer no longer sees any value in pain. Who would choose suffering unless he thought it brought him something, and something of value to him? He must think it is a small price to pay for something of greater worth. For sickness is an election, a decision. It is the choice of weakness in the mistaken conviction that it is strength. When this occurs, real strength is seen as threat and health as danger. Sickness is a method, conceived in madness, for placing God's Son on his Father's throne. God is seen as outside, fierce and powerful, eager to keep all power for Himself. Only by His death can He be conquered by His Son.

3 And what, in this insane conviction, does healing stand for? It symbolizes the defeat of God's Son and the triumph of his Father over him. It represents the ultimate defiance in a direct form which the Son of God is forced to recognize. It stands for all that he would hide from himself to protect his life. If he is healed, he is responsible for his thoughts. And if he is responsible for his thoughts, he will be killed to prove to him how weak and pitiful he is. But if he chooses death himself, his weakness is his strength. Now has he given himself what God would give to him and thus entirely usurped the throne of his Creator.

The Shift in Perception

4 Healing must occur in exact proportion in which the valuelessness of sickness is recognized. One need but say, "There is no gain to me at all in this," and he is healed. But to say this one must first recognize certain facts. First, it is obvious that decisions are of the mind, not of the body. If sickness is but a faulty problem-solving approach, it is a decision. And if it is a decision, it is the mind and not the body that makes it. The resistance to recognizing this is enormous because the existence of the world as we perceive it depends on the body being the decision-maker. Terms like "instincts," "reflexes" and the like represent attempts to endow the body with non-mental motivators. Actually, such terms merely state or describe the problem. They do not answer it.

5 The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind for a purpose for which it would use the body is the basis of healing. And this is so for healing in all forms. A patient decides that this is so, and he recovers. If he decides against recovery, he will not be healed. Who is the physician? Only the mind of the patient himself. The outcome is what he decides that it is. Special agents seem to be ministering to him, yet they but give form to his own choice. He chooses them to bring tangible form to his desires. And it is this they do, and nothing else. They are not actually needed at all. The patient could merely rise up without their aid and say, "I have no use for this." There is no form of sickness that would not be cured at once.

6 What is the single requisite for this shift in perception? It is simply this: the recognition that sickness is of the mind and has nothing to do with the body. What does this recognition "cost"? It costs the whole world we see, for the world will never again appear to rule the mind. For with this recognition is responsibility placed where it belongs—not with the world but on him who looks on the world and sees it as it is not. He looks on what he chooses to see. No more and no less. The world does nothing to him. He only thought it did. Nor does he do anything to the world because he was mistaken about what it was. Herein is the release from guilt and sickness both, for they are one. Yet to accept this release, the insignificance of the body must be an acceptable idea.

7 With this idea is pain forever gone. But with this idea goes also all confusion about creation. Does not this follow of necessity? Place cause and effect in their true sequence in one respect, and the learning will generalize and transform the world. The transfer value of one true idea has no end nor limit. The final outcome of this lesson is the remembrance of God. What do guilt and sickness, pain, disaster, and all suffering mean now? Having no purpose, they are gone. And with them also go all the effects they seemed to cause. Cause and effect but replicate creation. Seen in their proper perspective, without distortion and without fear, they re-establish Heaven.

The Function of the Teacher of God

8 If the patient must change his mind in order to be healed, what does the teacher of God do? Can he change the patient's mind for him? Certainly not. For those already willing to change their mind he has no function except to rejoice with them, for they have become teachers of God with him. He has, however, a more specific function for those who do not understand what healing is. These patients do not realize they have chosen sickness. On the contrary, they believe that sickness has chosen them. Nor are they open-minded on this point. The body tells them what to do, and they obey. They have no idea how insane this concept is. If they even suspected it, they would be healed. Yet they suspect nothing. To them the separation is quite real.

9 To them God's teachers come to represent another choice which they had forgotten. The simple presence of a teacher of God is a reminder. His thoughts ask for the right to question what the patient has accepted is true. As God's messengers, His teachers are the symbols of salvation. They ask the patient for forgiveness for God's Son in his own name. They stand for the alternative. With God's Word in their minds they come in benediction, not to heal the sick but to remind them of the remedy God has already given them. It is not their hands that heal. It is not their voice that speaks the Word of God. They merely give what has been given them. Very gently they call to their brothers to turn away from death. Behold, you Son of God, what life can offer you. Would you choose sickness in place of this?

10 Not once do the advanced teachers of God consider the forms of sickness in which their brother believes. To do this is to forget that all of them have the same purpose and therefore are not really different. They seek for God's Voice in this brother who would so deceive himself as to believe God's Son can suffer. And they remind him that he has not made himself and must remain as God created him. They recognize illusions can have no effect. The truth in their minds reaches out to the truth in the minds of their brothers, so that illusions are not reinforced. They are thus brought to truth, and truth is not brought to them. So are they dispelled, not by the will of another but by the union of the One Will with itself. And this is the function of God's teachers—to see no will as separate from their own, nor theirs as separate from God's.

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Part II
What is A Miracle?

1 A miracle is a correction. It does not create nor really change at all. It merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false. It undoes error, but does not attempt to go beyond perception nor exceed the function of forgiveness. Thus it stays within time's limits. Yet it paves the way for the return of timelessness and love's awakening, for fear must slip away under the gentle remedy it gives.

2 A miracle contains the gift of grace, for it is given and received as one. And thus it illustrates the law of truth the world does not obey because it fails entirely to understand its ways. A miracle inverts perception which was upside-down before, and thus it ends the strange distortions that were manifest. Now is perception open to the truth. Now is forgiveness seen as justified.

3 Forgiveness is the home of miracles. The eyes of Christ deliver them to all they look upon in mercy and in love. Perception stands corrected in His sight, and what was meant to curse has come to bless. Each lily of forgiveness offers all the world the silent miracle of love. And each is laid before the Word of God upon the universal altar to Creator and creation, in the light of perfect purity and endless joy.

4 The miracle is taken first on faith because to ask for it implies the mind has been made ready to conceive of what it cannot see and does not understand. Yet faith will bring its witnesses to show that what it rested on is really there. And thus the miracle will justify your faith in it and show it rested on a world more real than what you saw before—a world redeemed from what you thought you saw.

5 Miracles fall like drops of healing rain from Heaven on a dry and dusty world, where starved and thirsty creatures came to die. Now they have water. Now the world is green. And everywhere the signs of life spring up to show that what is born can never die, for what has life has immortality.

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Lesson 344
Today I learn the law of love;
that what I give my brother is my gift to me.

1 This is Your law, my Father, not my own. I did not understand what giving means and thought to save what I desired for myself alone. And as I looked upon the treasure that I thought I had, I found an empty place where nothing ever was or is or will be. Who can share a dream? And what can an illusion offer me? Yet he whom I forgive will give me gifts beyond the worth of anything on earth. Let my forgiven brothers fill my store with Heaven's treasures, which alone are real. Thus is the law of love fulfilled. And thus Your Son arises and returns to You.

2 How near we are to one another, as we go to God. How near is He to us. How close the ending of the dream of sin and the redemption of the Son of God.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 344
Today I learn the law of love;
that what I give my brother is my gift to me.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
The law of love is that giving and receiving are the same, mentioned very often in A Course in Miracles. "What I give my brother is my gift to me." (W.344) This law works in the ego framework as well as in the realm of the Holy Spirit. In the ego thought system, when we think we are giving guilt to our brothers, we are actually keeping it; and when we give attack, we receive the attack we think we are giving. It is not hard to see that when I get angry at my brother the anger is still in me. I think I am giving it to him, yet it is right back at me.
 
In the thought system of the Holy Spirit, when we give love or forgiveness, we receive it for ourselves. When we see innocence in our brother, we know our own innocence. The law works the same in the world of hate as in the world of love. Giving and receiving are the same. The ego has sold us a bill of goods, telling us that we can safely blame others and get rid of guilt in the process. In this way of thinking, when I attack my brother, I believe that I have safely given the guilt to him while holding onto innocence for myself.
 
It is true that, in the world of form, what I give to you, I no longer have, or what I take from you, you no longer have, but behind all form is thought. Thought determines what I am giving or receiving. If my thought is to give a gift in form as an expression of the love I feel for you with no expectations of getting anything back from you, I experience that same love for myself. I still have what the form represents. We have all experienced this when we have given someone a gift that is perfect for them and reflects our deep love for them. If the giving is accompanied by expectations that they must reciprocate in some way, then what I give them is not a gift of love but one of guilt. And when this is the case, what I receive for myself is more guilt. The gift now has strings attached, and they owe me something in return.
 
In the world, I accumulate treasures, which I see as mine. I think of all the things I have as belonging to me alone. I think my house belongs to me alone. I think my car is mine alone. Yet this lesson states, "And as I looked upon the treasure that I thought I had, I found an empty place where nothing ever was or is or will be. Who can share a dream? And what can an illusion offer me?" (W.344.1.3-5) In other words, Jesus helps us to see that what we accumulate in the world is nothing at all. It can't be shared and it can't offer us anything of value. Only ideas can be shared, and behind all form is an idea. If things are just ideas, what I appear to be giving in form is still just a gift to myself. The joy we feel when we give someone a gift and feel our hearts expand with love and generosity is true giving and receiving.
 
At some level, we know things really have no meaning except when we give them. We say things like, "You can't take it with you." For me, as I get older, this has more meaning. I used to collect heirlooms like old dolls and collector plates until I asked myself, "What is this for?" I used to keep photo albums of all my trips until I had many shelves full of them and I started to deeply question their value for me. Many things, that I just had to have, fell away over time as I incorporated the Course teachings into my life. I came to the place in my life where more and more I questioned what anything was for. I couldn't find satisfactory answers to keep accumulating more stuff. There is nothing at all wrong with material things, and we are not guilty for having stuff. As Jesus says, they are nothing---not good, not bad, merely nothing. Yet if we use what we have for a holy purpose, it becomes meaningful. It means we allow the Holy Spirit to decide for us. Where should my money go? What purpose can my home be put to? What purpose is there that reflects the law of love? What if I really knew that what I give away will be the only thing left in the end, and what I hold onto for myself alone will be lost?
 
Jesus reminds us that the law of love he speaks of is not ours. "This is Your law, my Father, not my own." (W.344.1.1) In other words, we believe we lose what we give away. There is a part of us that holds back in everything, whether in the money we give, what we give or hold back in a relationship, what we consider our own self-interest that we protect, or what we allow ourselves to give to God. In other words, we protect some aspects of our individuality and our self-interest. In this world, we still live according to laws that protect our interests as we see them, but we are invited to increasingly question where we put our attention. We can increasingly look at what we give that is a real gift---when we give it, we keep it. As we learn to give more and look at the places we hold back, we can learn about God’s law and see how we apply it in our own lives.
 
"Yet he whom I forgive will give me gifts beyond the worth of anything on earth." (W.344.1.6) Haven't we all experienced the shift that happens when we bring attack thoughts and grievances to the Holy Spirit and space is made for love? It is a joyful experience. When we attack, we are only hurting ourselves. What we give truly, we receive for ourselves and our hearts swell with joy. When we release our angry thoughts, our fearful thoughts, our grievances, our judgments, our expectations of how others should be, our needs, and our belief in lack, we know the fullness of Self and the radiance of Being, which is a gift beyond measure. "Thus is the law of love fulfilled. And thus Your Son arises and returns to You." (W.344.1.8-9)
 
That is what this journey is about. It is not about how much we acquire and hold onto. It is about releasing, loving, being, and sharing. It is about joining with each other, so we can know, "How near we are to one another, as we go to God." (W.344.2.1) Thus, we experience "How near is He to us." (W.344.2.2) Clearly, Jesus understands this is a process for us. We are not yet ready to give all to all. He knows that we are still holding back, but we are taking steps up the ladder. "How close the ending of the dream of sin, and the redemption of the Son of God." (W.344.2.3) We are coming to a deeper realization that we are One and that our brother's call for love is our own. We unite in remembering that our only purpose here is to remember who we are and that we can only do that as we give what we most want for ourselves .
 
Love and blessings, Sarah

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