Healing will flash across your mind

(Just back from attending another wonderful academy class at the Foundation for A Course in Miracles and posting an essay I wrote before I left. :))

450px-Sunset_evening_moon_starsI sat at my computer once more, a bag of frozen peas awkwardly wedged against my lower back. On top of everything (according to my very chatty, ever documenting ego), it, too, had turned on me, without provocation, as I stood up from a closed-eyed, cross-legged meditation 24 hours ago. A serene interlude in which I once more surrendered my fears arising around my inability to heal physically and expressed my sincere desire to allow the healing of my terrified split mind at the root of all suffering, Then bent down to pet my darling dog, and experienced a familiar jolt of reverberating pain, courtesy of a long-ago injury, that made straightening my spine completely impossible, and ruled out plans for a tai chi class—always guaranteed to relax my body and lift my currently wavering spirits–that evening.

I was still attempting to process (a synonym for “digest,” go figure) the events of the past six plus weeks in which mysterious digestive issues seemed to plague me. A condition that had not resolved despite the depressingly bland (to this foodie and chef wannabe), ridiculously restricted diet recommended by Western medicine or the multiple, expensive herbal formulas prescribed by a trusted Chinese Medicine doctor to whose treatments I had always responded quickly in the past for any number of ailments.

Other magic (A Course in Miracles’ term for anything we use to solve the “problem” of separation in the mind where it is not: in the body or world of bodies) I had thrown at this issue included scheduling additional, scary, diagnostic procedures and dealing with underlying stressors and possible past emotional connections I presumed  cauterized long ago. Problems that seemed to have arisen from their graves to stalk my dream like the walking dead, only, not nearly as entertaining as their Hollywood counterparts.

Like the good A Course in Miracles student I at least aspire to be, I knew my physical and emotional symptoms had nothing to do with whatever covert culprit a 2 + 2 = 4 world (Ken Wapnick’s term for an illusory universe in which facts do, indeed, add up, Dr. Watson, but are nonetheless bloody lies) suggested. From the Course’s perspective, the body cannot be sick or well, there being no actual body. The idea of a body apart from God is but a lingering afterimage of a childish wish to strike off on our own and drift into a dualistic dream apart from the all-loving, eternal, indivisible “oneness joined as one” of our true nature. A “tiny, mad idea,” the Course tells us that arose, was recognized by the one child of God for its hilarious impossibility, and vanished into the nothingness from which it came, despite our continuing decision to dream.

I have studied this, I have taught this, I practice this, I write about this, I believe this with all my conscious brain and heart. But the “vow” we (the decision-making mind) made to the ego (the part of our mind that cherishes autonomy) never to return to the imaginary “scene of the crime” in which we believe we destroyed God, deserve and demand punishment, is not conscious. And in our present decision to review one of the gazillion possible facets of that dream of autonomous exile designed to prove we exist but deny responsibility for it by pointing a finger at someone or thing more deserving of God’s wrath, a sick physical or emotional body enjoying its “just rewards” seems all too real.

But unlike some other spiritual and religious paths, the Course’s inner teacher (Jesus/Holy Spirit/right mind), that symbol of the part of us that never dipped its proverbial toes in the dream and experiences only our uninterrupted, undifferentiated wholeness) does not ask us to deny our embodied experience, and, in fact, cautions against doing so:

“The body is merely part of your experience in the physical world. Its abilities can be and frequently are over evaluated. However, it is almost impossible to deny its existence in this world. Those who do so are engaging in a particularly unworthy form of denial.” (Chapter 2, paragraph 3, lines 8-11)

Instead, as long as our fear persists (which it does while we feel the need to protect the body we believe we exist within from mysterious or familiar sinister forces), having forgotten that we made a decision outside the dream to punish the body to save God the trouble, it tells us to use whatever means we think will help the body feel better. Even as we’re learning to accept, by considering the real cause of sickness and bodily fear with our inner teacher, that only the mind (where the body actually resides) is capable of healing the real sickness: the pain of separation.

“All material means that you accept as remedies for bodily ills are restatements of magic principles. This is the first step in believing that the body makes its own illness. It is a second misstep to attempt to heal it through non-creative agents. It does not follow, however, that the use of such agents for corrective purposes is evil. Sometimes the illness has a sufficiently strong hold over the mind to render a person temporarily inaccessible to the Atonement.” (Paragraph 4, lines 1-5)

Sometimes Jesus’ powers of understatement are legion! 🙂  Because almost always, at least until we are at the top of the ladder separation seemed to lead us down, no longer identified with the image we see in the mirror, the illness has quite a strong hold on us. Rendering us unable to accept the “atonement,” the Course’s correction for the separation, the assurance that our selfish belief in it had, and has, no effects. We remain one child of God seamlessly fused with our creator.

“In this case it may be wise to utilize a compromise approach to mind and body, in which something from the outside is temporarily given healing belief. This is because the last thing that can help the non right-minded, or the sick, is an increase in fear. They are already in a fear weakened state. If they are prematurely exposed to a miracle, they may be precipitated into panic. This is likely to occur when upside-down perception has induced the belief that miracles are frightening.” (Paragraph 4, lines 6-10)

And yet, even though I have tried to remind myself of this as I stand at my kitchen counter mixing up another concoction from the row of prescribed potions to treat this “condition” which still appears to have no relationship to what I eat, do, think or believe–or even whether or not I accidentally veer from one of the arduous steps in formulaic rituals like these expected to be performed four times a day–I can’t seem to accept the continuing nature of this problem. I mean, if a remedy in form would help reduce my fear, why can’t I choose to allow it to, even as I work at looking at the real cause of my “sickness” with my inner teacher? All the while aware that I am choosing these symptoms to scare myself and make the body real, expressing my willingness to choose again, but still not experiencing relief from symptoms or anything near real peace of mind—quite the opposite. All these treatments seem only to strengthen my fear and belief that the problem requires extraordinary, defensive measures.

I suppose the trouble is, I know too much. Although I’m not ready to accept the reality that my body can’t be sick because it’s just a figment of our abstract child of God’s wild imagination, I also have lost my faith in the world’s magic. I can’t fully believe anymore, however much I try, that these beige and brown powders sitting on my little countertop apothecary have any real power to affect my mind. I’m not at the top of the ladder, but I’m not at the bottom either. And so maybe, as I continue to lean on the presence of abstract love always beside me, despite my fear, I can entertain the possibility that I am exactly where I need to be right now in my curriculum to learn true healing. Maybe.

And so I dipped back into A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 136, “Sickness is a defense against the truth,” that speaks of sickness in specific as well as the broadest possible terms: as outer symptoms of our inner experience of guilt over believing we really did pull off the separation. (Anger, anxiety, depression, addiction, accidents, physical illness, longing for love, betrayal, hunger, thirst, and needs of any kind equal sickness. All projections of the sick thought of guilt in the mind).

“Defenses are not unintentional, nor are they made without awareness. They are secret, magic wands you wave when truth appears to threaten what you would believe. They seem to be unconscious but because of the rapidity with which you choose to use them. In that second, even less, in which the choice is made, you recognize exactly what you would attempt to do, and then proceed to think that it is done.” (Paragraph 3)

Although the symptoms I seemed to be experiencing seemed quite prolonged, I had in fact had bouts of them over the past few years, often, as in this case, following extended periods of right-mindedness, an increasingly spontaneous willingness to hold others harmless for their seeming “attacks,” recognize my own tortured split mind in need of healing, and forgive. And I know that a terrified part of me, that two-year-old ego we all share, so intent on striking off on her own, crafting her own world, spinning her own tale, building and protecting a better dream, is just so not on board with the direction I’m going. But she’s a child, after all, still swinging at monstrous shadows her imagination loves to cast on her bedroom walls. Still clinging to the only safety she recalls. The unstable vessel of bones, blood, and sinew she sought shelter within and vowed never to leave such a long time ago.

And so, maybe, just maybe, I need to admit once again that I don’t know the answer to any of this. But I do know that scolding a frightened child will heal nothing. I do know I can’t move faster with this process of allowing the undoing of my hidden blocks to real love’s awareness than the fear in this child digging in her heels will allow. I must learn to sit with her in her fear, rock her, and comfort her, and promise to wait until she’s ready. And so I did.

Not sure why (always the best place to be :)) but last night, I returned to true peace. Despite the fact that I was up multiple times in the night to stretch my legs and apply more Tiger Balm to my back, its percussion receded first into white noise and then into a forgotten song, not of this world.  I was able to fall back asleep over and over in the best possible way, my fuzzy little loaf of a dog pressed against my chest like the long missing piece of a puzzle. No longer aware of an ancient need to have this work out my way; no longer sure what that would even mean.

“Healing will flash across your open mind, as peace and truth arise to take the place of war and vain imaginings.  … Now is the body healed, because the source of sickness has been opened to relief. And you will recognize you practiced well by this: The body should not feel at all. If you have been successful, there will be no sense of feeling ill or feeling well, of pain or pleasure. No response at all is in the mind to what the body does. … (A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 136, paragraph 16, line 1; paragraph 17, lines 1-4)

The Foundation for A Course in Miracles continues to offer illuminating classes taught by a talented, devoted, truly inspiring staff who shine with the light of living this work! I was so deeply moved and inspired by their presentations at the July academy, and can’t wait to return for more! Check out their offerings here:  http://www.facim.org/temecula-schedule.aspx

The Foundation for A Course in Miracles could use our help as they continue to so gracefully teach and publish the mind-healing, life-altering work of our beloved teacher and mentor Ken Wapnick, who selflessly dedicated his life to helping us change our minds about the world and find our way home. You can express your support and appreciation for this ongoing work with a donation here: https://www.facim.org/bookstore/p-195-donate.aspx . And purchase from a vast array of Ken’s illuminating work in book, audio, and video formats here: http://www.facim.org/bookstore/  And now, when you buy on Amazon, you can support The Foundation for A Course in Miracles, too! Details here: http://www.facim.org/announcements.aspx 

Enjoyed talking with CA Brooks of 12Radio again June 6th, about ACIM workbook lesson 182, “I will be still an instant and go home,” our one frightened inner child, and how the return to our innocence is not a direct route! http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=839A58DE-1143-DC70-C44DD7CC78DFBECC 

Here’s a link to details about the Tuesday night class I continue to teach here in Denver https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/classes-events beginning in May 2014. 

HALF-HOUR, FORTY-FIVE MINUTE, OR HOUR-LONG MENTORING SESSIONS NOW AVAILABLE: Although A Course in Miracles is clearly a self-study program and the one relationship we are truly cultivating is with our eternally sane and loving right mind, mentoring can help remind Course students having trouble applying its unique forgiveness that the problem and the solution never lie in the difficult relationship, situation, behavior, health issue, etc., but in the decision-making mind. In every circumstance, without exception, we can experience inner peace and kindness toward all, unaffected by the seemingly random strife of a world designed to prove otherwise. By choosing to look at our lives as a classroom in which we bring all our painful illusions to the inner teacher of forgiveness who knows only our shared innocence beyond all its deceptive disguises, we learn to identify and transcend the ego’s resistance, hold others harmless, and gently allow our split mind to heal. Sessions are conducted via traditional phone or Skype (your choice). Please contact me to find out if mentoring is right for you before submitting a payment below. (No one is ever turned away for lack of ability to pay.) 

My good friend and gifted A Course in Miracles teacher and writer Bernard Groom has been posting beautifully written, heartfelt essays about living A Course in Miracles for years at http://www.acimvillage.com/. I found his recent, kindly right-minded contemplations there on the death of our beloved teacher Ken Wapnick deeply comforting! Bernard lives and teaches in France with his dear wife Patricia. You’ll find a wealth of information in French on his website http://uncoursenmiraclesenfrance.com/ including recorded talks available for purchase or free download: http://uncoursenmiraclesenfrance.com/audio/. 

My dear friend and wonderful teacher Lyn Corona continues to offer classes at the Rocky Mountain Miracle Center through her School of Reason for Course students and teachers. You can subscribe to her website http://www.schoolofreason.org/ to receive information about upcoming classes. 

Here’s another ACIM hangout video I did with my friend Bruce Rawles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yogj9ckTXbc&feature=youtu.be . In this one, we talk about our love for our teacher Ken Wapnick, a demonstration of kindness to one and all, and how we can honor his life and heal our minds by living all he has taught us!

My latest book, Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want is available on Amazon in both paperback and kindle versions. If you read and find the book helpful, I would so appreciate you posting a brief (a sentence or two is fine) review on Amazon. 🙂 Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want, and my previous book, Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness, are now also available from the ACIM Store: http://www.acimstore.com/default.asp.


  1. More great insights; thanks, Susan… We all can related to over-identification with ego’s ‘double shield of oblivion’ which is also touched on in the middle of paragraph 5 of Lesson 136… We thought we’d split from the unsplittable Heart of Perfect Oneness, and set up a cosmic smokescreen of unassailable guilt to defend this silly fictitious crime; then, fearing we’d ultimately see through this ruse, and decide against ego’s silly inner defense, set up a unimaginably vast cosmos of space, time, bodies and individuality to serve as an oceanic, piranha-infested moat surrounding the dark castle of guilt, ensuring we’d mindlessly be pre-occupied with bodily worries and mis-identification. How fortunate we are that both shields are dissolved by mindful, forgiving, kind attention to our moment-to-moment classroom. 🙂

  2. Gabrielius says:

    Regarding Jesus’ powers of understatement (and overstatement)… You know, I was reading ACIM some days ago, actually workbook lesson 194 and in first paragraph I read “Today’s idea takes another step toward quick salvation, and a giant stride it is indeed! So great the distance is that it encompasses, it sets you down just short of Heaven, with the goal in sight and obstactles behind. How far are we progressing now from earth! How close are are we approaching to our goal! How short the journey still to be pursued!”.

    Especially those last three pep-talk sentences made me say to myself smilingly something like this: “J, come one, I know you are lying! But OK, these lies are white lies and we BOTH know it, so it is OK. I forgive you for your lies and myself for still not believing in you, that’s OK, we are cool”.

    Then I thought, so basically ACIM student walks the path of ACIM by forgiving J for his lies and be happy about those lies. Found it cute 🙂

  3. Bruce, sorry, for some reason I did not see a notification of your response when you posted it. Anyway, thank you for your insightful comments, as always. I almost forgot to add pirahnas to the list of wrong-minded illusions to stress about! when I’m in no mood for the teacher of another way! 🙂

    And Gabrielius, beautiful pep talk section and I like your imaginary dialogue with Jesus! Unfortunately, I have it on good authority that he never takes our complaints seriously. 🙂 (I still keep trying, though!)

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