IX: Healing as Corrected Perception
- I said before that the Holy Spirit is the Answer. He is the Answer to everything because He knows what the answer to everything is. The ego does not know what a real question is, although it asks an endless number. Yet you can learn this as you learn to question the value of the ego, and thus establish your ability to evaluate its questions. When the ego tempts you to sickness, do not ask the Holy Spirit to heal the body, for this would merely be to accept the ego’s belief that the body is the proper aim of healing. Ask, rather, that the Holy Spirit teach you the right perception of the body, for perception alone can be distorted. Only perception can be sick because only perception can be wrong.
- Wrong perception is the wish that things be as they are not. The reality of everything is totally harmless because total harmlessness is the condition of its reality. It is also the condition of your awareness of its reality. You do not have to seek reality. It will seek you and find you when you meet its conditions. Its conditions are part of what it is. And this part only is up to you. The rest is of itself. You need do so little because our little part is so powerful that it will bring the whole to you. Accept, then, your little part, and let the whole be yours.
- Wholeness heals because it is of the mind. All forms of sickness, even unto death, are physical expressions of the fear of awakening. They are attempts to reinforce sleeping out of fear of waking. This is a pathetic way of trying not to see by rendering the faculties for seeing ineffectual. “Rest in peace” is a blessing for the living, not the dead, because rest comes from waking, not from sleeping. Sleep is withdrawing; waking is joining. Dreams are illusions of joining because they reflect the ego’s distorted notions about what joining is. Yet the Holy Spirit, too, has use for sleep, and can use dreams on behalf of waking if you will let Him.
- How you wake is the sign of how you have used sleep. To whom did you give it? Under which teacher did you place it? Whenever you wake dispiritedly, it was not given to the Holy Spirit. Only when you waken joyously have you utilized sleep according to His purpose. You can indeed be “drugged” by sleep if you have misused it on behalf of sickness. Sleep is no more a form of death than death is a form of unconsciousness. Complete unconsciousness is impossible. You can rest in peace only because you are awake.
- Healing is release from the fear of waking and the substitution of the decision to wake. The decision to wake is the reflection of the will to love since all healing involves replacing fear with love. The Holy Spirit cannot distinguish among degrees of error, for if He taught that one form of sickness is more serious than another, He would be teaching that one error can be more real than another. His function is to distinguish only between the false and the true, replacing the false with the true.
- The ego, which always wants to weaken the mind, tries to separate it from the body in an attempt to destroy it. Yet the ego actually believes that it is protecting it. This is because the ego believes that mind is dangerous, and that to make mindless is to heal. But to make mindless is impossible, since it would mean to make nothing out of what God created. The ego despises weakness, even though it makes every effort to induce it. The ego wants only what it hates. To the ego this is perfectly sensible. Believing in the power of attack, the ego wants attack.
- The Bible enjoins you to be perfect, to heal all errors, to take no thought of the body as separate and to accomplish all things in my name. This is not my name alone, for ours is a shared identification. The Name of God’s Son is one, and you are enjoined to do the works of love because we share this oneness. Our minds are whole because they are one. If you are sick you are withdrawing from me. Yet you cannot withdraw from me alone. You can only withdraw from yourself and me.
- You have surely begun to realize that this is a very practical course, and one that means exactly what it says. I would not ask you to do things you cannot do, and it is impossible that I could do things you cannot do. Given this, and given this quite literally, nothing can prevent you from doing exactly what I ask, and everything argues for your doing it. I give you no limits because God lays none upon you. When you limit yourself, we are not of one mind, and that is sickness. Yet sickness is not of the body, but of the mind. All forms of sickness are signs that the mind is split and does not accept a unified purpose.
- The unification of purpose, then, is the Holy Spirit’s only way of healing. This is because it is the only level at which healing means anything. The re-establishing of meaning in a chaotic thought system is the way to heal it. Your task is only to meet the conditions for meaning, since meaning itself is of God. Yet your return to meaning is essential to Him because your meaning is part of His. Your healing, then, is part of His health since it is part of His Wholeness. He cannot lose this, but you can not know it. Yet it is still His Will for you, and His Will must stand forever and in all things. 1
In our reading today, Jesus reminds us that Holy Spirit is the Answer to everything. Holy Spirit has all knowledge and the answer to every question there is. As we learn to distinguish between the Voice for God and the clamors of the ego, we will question the value of the ego, we will be able to carefully assess the temptations that it poses. Sickness is a form of temptation, Jesus tells us. I find this interesting because for the past few days my body has been feeling ill. Unable to go to the community center with my sister to exercise in the pool, yesterday I rested all afternoon and sipped at 7-up and ate saltine crackers. While I did write and make an audio for my blog and do other little things around the house, I basically took it easy. James made sure I was comfortable, he got some medicine for me to take, and he brought supper in, so we didn’t have to cook.
I don’t like sickness and so it naturally gave me pause to read that sickness is a temptation of the ego, that sickness is accepting the perception that my identity is my body and that I have accepted the ego’s confusion. What concerned me is that this kind of thinking can be defeating for someone who seeks God and truth, for our bodies are vulnerable and our bodies do get sick, they age, and they die. Some of us have bodies that are handicapped, diseased, or deformed. Just as our genitals do not define us as God’s Son, neither does anything else about our bodies. I was not sick for the past few days, but my body was under the weather.
When James offered a prayer for me, he prayed for my body to feel better. And when I woke up this morning it was feeling better. It has become apparent to me that as my body ages, it does not react in the same way to our strong, dark French roast. For quite some time I have been pushing my luck because I so enjoy drinking coffee. It is one of our morning rituals that I cherish. It is a delicious way to start the day and I love, not only the way our coffee tastes, but the way it makes our whole downstairs smell. It is a big disappointment to me that drinking coffee is one more thing that my aging body does not fare well on, but I hardly think that I am choosing to identify with my ego rather than Holy Spirit simply because certain foods and beverages make my body ill.
However, I do ask Holy Spirit to give me the right perception of the body. When I question my resistance to this text reading, I do not want to side with the ego and defend my “right” to be sick but remain open to the answer that Holy Spirit provides for Jesus tells us that only perception can be sick, because only perception can be wrong.
To perceive wrongly is to wish that things be different than they are. Reality is wholly without harm. Harmlessness is the condition of reality just as it is the condition of our awareness of reality. There is nothing about reality that is meant to harm, weaken, put us down, or sicken us in any way. God is harmless even as His creation is harmless. It is only when we meet the conditions of harmlessness that we meet the condition of reality for because it is harmless, so must be its conditions. Jesus says that this is the only part that is up to us. Our little part of choosing harmlessness, to believing in harmlessness, to removing all violence, all disease, death, destruction, and decay from our belief system, to finding no value in attack of any kind, to seeing no good reason for sickness and sorrow – this decision we make to become harmless and to only believe in that which is harmless – is so powerful that it will bring the whole of reality to us. Accept this and reality will be ours, Jesus tells us.
When our minds are whole, when not one small part of our mind believes there is value in any form of attack, any kind of sickness, sadness, or sorrow – we are healed. As long as we hold on to the enchantment of what is not reality, as long as we love the dream of all that is not God, we will get sick, and we will die. The ego keeps us asleep to the reality of our health, holiness, and wholeness – we feel a little crazy believing in a Kingdom where there is no harm, where there is no ill will, where there is no sickness, or sorrow, no striving, conniving, or dying. We say Rest in Peace to those who have died, but Jesus says to use this as a blessing for those who are alive, for rest comes from waking up to the reality of God, not from sleeping in the dream of separation. Jesus likens the separation to sleep, to dreams, to illusions where reality is opposed by that which is its opposite, where all that is worthwhile, true, and everlasting is replaced by that which is valueless, false, and fades away. The ego uses sleep to entrance and to keep captive; Holy Spirit uses sleep and can use the dreams of ego to awaken us to reality if we choose.
To whom do we give our time in the world? Whom did we choose to be our teacher? When we wake up to the ego’s illusions and are still doing battle with the ego, when we have sorrow, when we feel burdened by the world and all its darkness, disease, and death – we did not choose Holy Spirit as our teacher. We are still trapped in an illusion of waking up, of being saved, of experiencing reality.
Only when we awaken with joy have we used our time in the world according to Holy Spirit’s purpose. If we have remained sick, if we have remained full of sorrow, if we have allowed the ego’s version of reality to be our reality in any way, we have misused our time in the world. Sleep and death do not absolve us for we never lose our consciousness, and therefor we can never rest in peace until we have been awakened to reality.
When we no longer fear awakening, when we no longer cling to the dream that substitutes for God’s Kingdom, when we make the decision to be harmless even as God is harmless – we are healed. All healing comes from replacing fear with love.
It is important to note that Holy Spirit does not distinguish between different diseases or illnesses or forms of sickness. While I may be under the weather for a few days because my body seems to have developed an aversion to coffee, and you may think Oh, you big baby, how would you like to be stricken with cancer like me? – Holy Spirit does not teach that one form of sickness is any more serious than another. There is only truth and what is not true, and Holy Spirit’s function is to distinguish between truth and lies and replace lies with truth.
The ego yammers at us to attack, to be sick, to sate ourselves upon sorrow, sadness, strife, and thoughts that torment us and keep us embroiled in conflict, condemnation, and confusion. To the ego this is life for the ego wants only what it hates. The ego is afraid of our higher minds because our higher minds are dangerous to the ego for that is where our one Teacher of truth resides and to take anything away from Holy Spirit is impossible. The ego hates peace because peace is quiet, calm, and reflective – peace is the condition of awakening to God, just as harmlessness is the condition of reality. The ego’s demise is our peace and our harmlessness and so it does its best to keep our minds engaged in the worries and concerns we have in and with the flesh.
Jesus tells us that we are to be perfect, to heal all sickness, to take no thought of the body as separate, and to accomplish all things in the name of our shared identification as God’s Son. We are to join with Him to do the works of love because we are one. Our minds are whole, not because Jesus is God’s beloved Son and we are the slaves, the servants, the second best, in which He was benevolent enough to offer salvation but because we are one with Him. If we are sick, we are not with Him, nor are we with our true and holy Selves. Our sickness defines us not as one with Christ but as withdrawing from the Sonship and identifying with our egos.
In paragraph eight, Jesus tells us that this is a practical course and that it means exactly what it says. There are no loopholes here. He simply would not ask us to do things which we could not do. Jesus says if He could do something, it is impossible that we could not do it as well. Nothing can prevent us from doing exactly what He asks, and everything argues for us doing it. We have no limits because in God there are none. Limitations denote sickness because limitations denote the split mind. We must remember that sickness is never of the body, it always signifies that the mind is split and does not accept a unified purpose.
Unifying our purpose with that of Holy Spirit’s is the only way of healing because it is the only level at which healing means anything. As long as our belief systems are governed by chaos, uncertainty, doubt, and fear we cannot be healed, we will have sickness, disease, and strife. But when we unify our purpose, brothers, when we decide for God, when we decide for harmlessness, when we decide for peace, when we join with the Mind of Christ, our reality and God’s reality are one.
Our healing is part of God’s Well-Being because we are part of His Wholeness. He has never lost this, but we have not known this, we have not accepted this, we have believed in that which had no meaning and offered us attack in place of the Answer. Our healing rests upon His Will for us, for we are His Will, and His Will stands forever and in all things.
Today in your devotional practice, ask God to make this text real to you. Ask Holy Spirit to be your One Teacher and to be in charge of your time in the world, correcting your perception, and thus keeping you healthy, whole, and healed. And above all else, ask Holy Spirit to strengthen our belief in all that is real, whole, and true. In the name of Jesus, with Whom we are one. Amen.
1 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 8 The journey back. IX Healing as corrected perception. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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