17. How Do God’s Teachers Deal With Magic Thoughts?
1. This is a crucial question both for teacher and pupil. If this issue is mishandled, the teacher of God 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 alike. 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 of God 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 result. A lesson truly taught can lead to nothing but release for teacher and pupil, you 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 a 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 a basic cause of fear. Consider what this reaction means, and its centrality in the world 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 believes it has a separate will that can oppose the will of God, also believes it can succeed. That this can hardly be a fact is obvious. Yet that it can be believed as fact is equally obvious. 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” unto 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 now 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 lessons manifest simplicity stands out like an intense white light against a black horizon, for such it is. If anger comes with 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 systems is to look on nothing. Can nothing give rise to anger? Hardly so. Remember, then, teacher of God, that anger recognizes the 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.
Before we can deal with magic thoughts we must know what they are and be clear about distinguishing magic thoughts from the real thoughts of God. Magic thoughts are beliefs in the illusion – they are based upon our limited, tiny, self-centered perspective on the encounters, relationships, events, and circumstances that seem to happen in the outer world. Magic thoughts are the result of listening to the small-minded, dim-witted, stunted opinions of others instead of turning to the truth of God. Magical thoughts will tell us not only what the problem is but the best way to fix it. We will often think we are helping others by pointing out their problems and telling them the best way in which they can lose weight, be more healthy, get closer to God, be more productive at work, have a more solid marriage, or raise healthy, well-adjusted kids. This is magical thinking because it simply does not work. When I try to fix your supposed problems, I am denying that your problem is only a problem when not seen in the light of God’s Love and Truth.
When we teach the reality of God and His Truth, we can depend upon our “problems” turning into the blessed and perfect learning tools that further our growth, our understanding, and our return to God. Seen through the lens of the world, our problems seem insurmountable, heartbreaking, and eternal. However, when we ask Holy Spirit to give us the vision of Christ, the very people who cause us the most grief, the situations that challenge us the most, the mistakes that make us hang our head in shame and sorrow – are all transformed into cause for laughter and joy filling our heart with gratitude for our release from the dark illusion.
As long as I see you as the one who hurt me, the one who mocked me, the one who stole my special place and tried to make it yours – I will be caught up in the magical thinking that maintains the karmic cycles of this world. I will lay in bed at night reliving those angry words you yelled at me; I will get embarrassed all over again thinking of how you made fun of my accomplishments and got others to laugh with you over my failures; I will plot and scheme on what I can do to teach you a lesson, turn others against you, and tell everybody I can about your deceit, betrayal, and sins. As long as I engage in this kind of magical thinking, I think that somehow by lowering myself into the illusion of separation and division, I will get you back for what you did to me. Magical thinking assures me that seeing you suffer, seeing you lonely, seeing you stripped of all your friends and family and wealth and health – will make me happy, will make me special, will restore to me all that you took from me.
This of course does not bring joy to anybody; it does not bring healing; it does not bring correction. As teachers of God, this is not what we do nor what we teach. For magical thinking is always the result of an interpretation of others, of ourselves, of situations, and encounters that give rise to negativity and there is never any justification at all for negativity because negativity is part of the nothingness. As a teacher of God whenever we encounter the slightest bit of negativity in our feelings toward anything or anybody – no matter the degree – we call upon Holy Spirit for the truth of the matter. Otherwise we will revert to magical thinking and believe that our anger, our sorrow, our grief, our annoyance is justified and the lessons we were to learn and teach from the encounter, the healing and correction that was to come from it – will be delayed.
When we mistakenly try to take the place of God in our lives, we lose our trust in Him. We say things like, “I have trusted in God long enough. Now I have to take charge of this situation. Now I must figure out a way to protect myself.” Instead of looking within and asking Holy Spirit for truth, we get caught up in the drama and trauma, we begin to believe that the world is real and that we have good reason to hate, to take up arms, to go to our own defense. We find ourselves fighting battles, ruining our health, and losing our sense of well-being over things that amount to nothing. Our reaction to all such magical thinking is to, with patience and abundant willingness, remind ourselves to overlook for as many times as we need to overlook – the madness of the world. When we consciously choose to disengage from the mad sense that we are in charge, that others owe us an apology or a thank you or anything at all; the truth which lies beyond all human perception becomes apparent to us. The more we lift our minds to the High Mind of Christ, we learn that there is nothing about the world or anything in it that gives rise to anger, sorrow, depression, or grief. For we learn to tell the difference between reality and nothingness in order to teach it. As we learn to let go of the magical thinking of the world, the fear we have of God is replaced by utmost love and deepest devotion for we recognize His Love is the Cause of everything beyond this world of fear and fiction. His Love is the only reality. and it is always true.
 A Course in Miracles. Manual for Teachers. 17. How do God’s teachers deal with magic thoughts? Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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