21. What Is The Role Of Words In Healing?
1. Strictly speaking, words play no part at all in healing. The motivating factor is prayer, or asking. What you ask for you receive. But this refers to the prayer of the heart, not to the words you use in praying. Sometimes the words and the prayer are contradictory; sometimes they agree. It does not matter. God does not understand words, for they were made by separated minds to keep them in the illusion of separation. Words can be helpful, particularly for the beginner, in helping concentration and facilitating the exclusion, or at least the control, of extraneous thoughts. Let us not forget, however, that words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality.
2. As symbols, words have quite specific references. Even when they seem most abstract, the picture that comes to mind is apt to be very concrete. Unless a specific referent does occur to the mind in conjunction with the word, the word has little or no practical meaning, and thus cannot help the healing process. The prayer of the heart does not really ask for concrete things. It always requests some kind of experience, the specific things asked for being the bringers of the desired experience in the opinion of the asker. The words, then, are symbols for the things asked for, but the things themselves but stand for the experiences that are hoped for.
3. The prayer for things of this world will bring experiences of this world. If the prayer of the heart asks for this, this will be given because this will be received. It is impossible that the prayer of the heart remain unanswered in the perception of the one who asks. If he asks for the impossible, if he wants what does not exist or seeks for illusions in his heart, all this becomes his own. The power of his decision offers it to him as he requests. Herein lie hell and Heaven. The sleeping Son of God has but this power left to him. It is enough. His words do not matter. Only the Word of God has any meaning because it symbolizes that which has no human symbols at all. The Holy Spirit alone understands what this Word stands for. And this, too, is enough.
4. Is the teacher of God, then, to avoid the use of words in his teaching? No, indeed! There are many who must be reached through words, being as yet unable to hear in silence. The teacher of God must, however, learn to use words in a new way. Gradually, he learns how to let his words be chosen for him by ceasing to decide for himself what he will say. This process is merely a special case of the lesson in the workbook that says, “I will step back and let Him lead the way.” The teacher of God accepts the words which are offered him and gives as he receives. He does not control the direction of his speaking. He listens and hears and speaks.
5. A major hindrance in the aspect of his learning is the teacher of God’s fear about the validity of what he hears. And what he hears may indeed be quite startling. It may also seem to be quite irrelevant to the presented problem as he perceives it, and may, in fact, confront the teacher with a situation that appears to be very embarrassing to him. All these are judgments that have no value. They are his own, coming from a shabby, self-perception which he would leave behind. Judge not the words that come to you but offer them in confidence. They are far wiser than your own. God’s teachers have God’s Word behind their symbols. And He Himself gives to the words they use the power of His Spirit, raising them from meaningless symbols to the Call of Heaven itself.
Words are symbols. The word “apple,” is not an apple. I cannot eat the word “apple,” nor touch or smell it; I cannot ask my husband to make me his delicious apple custard pie with the mere word “apple.” Today Jesus brings this concern home to us in our devotional text. When we come to our practice, we do not concern ourselves so much with words for we come in Spirit, and we come in truth. When we come to God for our healing, there is no magic way in which we are to pray; there is no certain order of words that pleases God more than another. Please do not get caught up in the poor practice of teaching a certain formula for the words of prayer, which applies to healing and otherwise. While it is wonderful to fall back on, for instance, the Lord’s Prayer when we feel empty and unable to pray with our own words, let the Spirit of the Lord’s Prayer be our guide rather than saying the words by rote. Rote prayers are disrespectful and meaningless unless we are using them to direct our minds to the practice to Christ – when our minds are attuned to Christ, we can put aside the memorized prayers and speak to God from the here and now. This is the way to bring healing to every relationship and situation in which we find ourselves.
So let us not ask for illusions in our hearts. There are times we may ask for proof that the things we are learning are true; that we can depend upon our teaching; that we actually do have the freedom and liberty of Spirit even while we are in the flesh. When we ask for illusions, we will receive illusions and we will believe that the illusions are from God. Herein lie hell and Heaven. Both in my personal life and in the lives of others, I have witnessed how the requests of our heart are answered – we get what we ask for in our hearts. “She got what she deserved,” is usually, but not always, an expression used negatively in terms of judgment of others. But what we are mostly consciously unaware of is that this realm is set up to give us what we ask for – it ignores our words and gives us exactly what we need to learn in our need of return to God.
Only the Word of God has any meaning because it is a symbol which no human symbol, perception, or image can touch. We must not mistake any “holy” text for the Word of God. We must not mistake A Course in Miracles for the Word of God. There are no words written in any language or spoken by any tongue that know the Word of God. Only Holy Spirit understands and knows what the Word of God is and what it stands for. The closer we become to the Holy Spirit within, the more reverent and respectful we become to the thoughts of God.
It is imperative as a teacher of God that we refrain from using our own words which always reflect our own judgments when we try to help or heal in any particular situation or circumstance. It is far better to be quiet and go within than to be the one that always jumps in and has the answer! We must learn to listen, hear, and then speak – this means that we are thoughtful, reflective, and quiet in our responses to others. This engenders far more respect for the Sonship than when we promote our own opinions, observations, and judgments upon others, let their distracting, destructive behavior, questions, or intrusions incite our tempers, or otherwise trigger an ego-based response. When Holy Spirit speaks through the words we say, we may share how it is done to encourage confidence and trust in others, but only in rare instances when prompted by Holy Spirit. However, in most cases, the work of the Spirit is quiet and will become such a natural state for us that it will no longer be remarkable. This comes, of course, only after our egos are put in their proper place, which is no place in our mind, thoughts, or deeds!
Be assured, we can trust in the Voice for God within. As we practice learning to know this Voice, Holy Spirit becomes our constant Guide. It is a loving Voice. There are no accusations in it. There is no spite or meanness. There is only helpfulness and healing. As we put all our trust in the Voice for God, we recognize our own holy Self through Holy Spirit and in the holy Spirit of Christ within. The Voice for God is God’s gift to all of us. We do not have to beg for Holy Spirit, we must simply accept that God is not the Abandoner, there is His Spirit within each one of us, for God would never leave us comfortless or alone. When we get past our fear of God and accept His Presence in our lives, the shabby perception we have of ourselves that comes with our flesh and blood experience is left behind. It falls away! When we reach for the High Mind of Christ within, we can offer others the quiet words that come to us through the all-knowing Holy Spirit in confidence and in trust.
Do not mistake the showy, loud, and clamorous for Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is not a show-off nor does Holy Spirit ever seek attention, need flattery, or praise. We will know we are walking in Spirit by our desire for no earthly glory, no fleshly recognition, no desire for recompense, or compliments of any kind. When we get past our human need for notice, for self-promotion, for getting credit – we experience Sonship. In Sonship all glory and praise, all gratitude and appreciation, all love and devotion are given and received in the oneness and unity we have with God. This is the Call of Heaven, and this is what we reach for as those who live for God and have answered His call to teach and to heal.
 A Course in Miracles. Manual for Teachers. 21. What is the role of words in healing? Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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