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

17. How do God's Teachers Deal With Their Pupils'
Thoughts of Magic?

1 This is a crucial question both for teacher and pupil. If this issue is mishandled, the teacher has hurt himself and has also attacked his pupil. This strengthens fear and makes the magic seem quite real to both of them. How to deal with magic thus becomes a major lesson for the teacher of God to master. His first responsibility in this is not to attack it. If a magic thought arouses anger in any form, God's teacher can be sure that he is strengthening his own belief in sin and has condemned himself. He can be sure as well that he has asked for depression, pain, fear, and disaster to come to him. Let him remember, then, it is not this that he would teach because it is not this that he would learn.

2 There is, however, a temptation to respond to magic in a way that reinforces it. Nor is this always obvious. It can, in fact, be easily concealed beneath a wish to help. It is this double wish that makes the help of little value and must lead to undesired outcomes. Nor should it be forgotten that the outcome that results will always come to teacher and to pupil. How many times has it been emphasized that you give but to yourself? And where could this be better shown than in the kinds of help the teacher gives to those who need his aid? Here is his gift most clearly given him. For he will give only what he has chosen for himself. And in this gift is his judgment upon the holy Son of God.

3 It is easiest to let error be corrected where it is most apparent, and errors can be recognized by their results. A lesson truly taught can lead to nothing but release for teacher and pupil who have shared in one intent. Attack can enter only if perception of separate goals has entered. And this must indeed have been the case if the result is anything but joy. The single aim of the teacher turns the divided goal of the pupil into one direction, with the call for help becoming his one appeal. This then is easily responded to with just one answer, and this answer will enter the teacher's mind unfailingly. From there it shines into his pupil's mind, making it one with his.

4 Perhaps it will be helpful to remember that no one can be angry at a fact. It is always an interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions, regardless of their seeming justification by what appears as facts. Regardless, too, of the intensity of the anger that is aroused. It may be merely slight irritation, perhaps too mild to be even clearly recognized. Or it may also take the form of intense rage accompanied by thoughts of violence, fantasized or apparently acted out. It does not matter. All of these reactions are the same. They obscure the truth, and this can never be a matter of degree. Either truth is apparent or it is not. It cannot be partially recognized. Who is unaware of truth must look upon illusions.

5 Anger in response to perceived magic thoughts is the basic cause of fear. Consider what this reaction means, and its centrality in the world's thought system becomes apparent. A magic thought, by its mere presence, acknowledges a separation from God. It states in the clearest form possible that the mind which thinks it believes it has a separate will that can oppose the Will of God and succeed. That this can hardly be a fact is obvious. Yet that it can be believed as fact is surely so. And herein lies the birthplace of guilt. Who usurps the place of God and takes it for himself now has a deadly "enemy." And he must stand alone in his protection and make himself a shield to keep him safe from fury that can never be abated and vengeance that can never be satisfied.

6 How can this unfair battle be resolved? Its ending is inevitable, for its outcome must be death. How then can one believe in one's defenses? Magic again must help. Forget the battle. Accept it as a fact, and then forget it. Do not remember the impossible odds against you. Do not remember the immensity of the "enemy," and do not think about your frailty in comparison. Accept your separation, but do not remember how it came about. Believe that you have won it, but do not retain the slightest memory of Who your great "opponent" really is. Projecting your "forgetting" onto Him, it seems to you He has forgotten too.

7 But what will now be your reaction to all magic thoughts? They can but reawaken sleeping guilt, which you have hidden but have not let go. Each one says clearly to your frightened mind, "You have usurped the place of God. Think not He has forgotten." Here we have the fear of God most starkly represented. For in that thought has guilt already raised madness to the throne of God Himself. And now there is no hope. Except to kill. Here is salvation now. An angry Father pursues His guilty Son. Kill or be killed, for here alone is choice. Beyond this there is none, for what was done cannot be done without. The stain of blood can never be removed, and anyone who bears this stain on him must meet with death.

8 Into this hopeless situation God sends His teachers. They bring the light of hope from God Himself. There is a way in which escape is possible. It can be learned and taught, but it requires patience and abundant willingness. Given that, the lesson's manifest simplicity stands out like an intense white light against a black horizon, for such it is. If anger comes from an interpretation and not a fact, it is never justified. Once this is even dimly grasped, the way is open. Now it is possible to take the next step. The interpretation can be changed at last. Magic thoughts need not lead to condemnation, for they do not really have the power to give rise to guilt. And so they can be overlooked and thus forgotten in the truest sense.

9 Madness but seems terrible. In truth it has no power to make anything. Like the magic which becomes its servant, it neither attacks nor protects. To see it and to recognize its thought system is to look on nothing. Can nothing give rise to anger? Hardly so. Remember then, teacher of God, that anger recognizes a reality that is not there, yet is the anger certain witness that you do believe in it as fact. Now is escape impossible until you see you have responded to your own interpretation which you have projected on an outside world. Let this grim sword be taken from you now. There is no death. This sword does not exist. The fear of God is causeless. But His love is Cause of everything beyond all fear and thus forever real and always true.

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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.

2 Our use for words is almost over now. Yet in the final days of this one year we gave to God together, you and I, we found a single purpose that we shared. And thus you joined with me. So what I am are you as well. The truth of what we are is not for words to speak of nor describe. Yet we can realize our function here, and words can speak of this and teach it, too, if we exemplify the words in us.

3 We are the bringers of salvation. We accept our part as saviors of the world, which through our joint forgiveness is redeemed. And this, our gift, is therefore given us. We look on everyone as brothers and perceive all things as kindly and as good. We do not seek a function that is past the gates of Heaven. Knowledge will return when we have done our part. We are concerned only with giving welcome to the truth.

4 Ours are the eyes through which Christ's vision sees a world redeemed from every thought of sin. Ours are the ears that hear the Voice of God proclaim the world as sinless. Ours the minds which join together as we bless the world. And from the oneness that we have attained we call to all our brothers, asking them to share our peace and consummate our joy.

5 We are the holy messengers of God who speak for Him, and carrying His Word to everyone whom He has sent to us, we learn that it is written on our hearts. And thus our minds are changed about the aim for which we came and which we seek to serve. We bring glad tidings to the Son of God, who thought he suffered. Now is he redeemed. And as he sees the gate of Heaven stand open before him, he will enter in and disappear into the Heart of God.

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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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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 356
Sickness is but another name for sin.
Healing is but another Name for God.
The miracles 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.
 
Love and blessings, Sarah

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