Course in Miracles
16 - The Forgiveness of Illusions
To empathize does not mean to join in
suffering, for that is what you must refuse to understand. That
is the ego'sinterpretation of empathy, and is always used to form
a special relationship in which the suffering is shared. The
capacity to empathize is very useful to the Holy Spirit, provided
you let Him use it in His way. He does not understand suffering,
and would have you teach it is not understandable. When He relates
through you, He does not relate through the ego to another ego.
He does not join in pain, knowing that healing pain is not accomplished
by delusional attempts to enter into it, and lighten it by sharing
proof that empathy as the ego uses it is destructive lies in the
fact that it is applied only to certain types of problems, and in
certain people. These it selects out, and joins with. And it never
joins except to strengthen itself. Make no mistake about this maneuver;
the ego always empathizes to weaken, and to weaken is always to
do not know what empathizing means.
Yet of this
you may be sure...
will merely sit quietly by and let the Holy Spirit relate through
you, you will empathize with strength, and both of you will gain
in strength, and not in weakness.
is only to remember this...
not want anything you value to come of the relationship. You will
neither to hurt it nor to heal it in your own way.
You do not
know what healing is. All you have learned of empathy is from the
past. And there is nothing from the past that you would share, for
there is nothing there that you would keep. Do not use empathy to
make the past real, and so perpetuate it. Step gently aside, and
let the healing be done for you. Keep
but one thought in mind, and do not lose sight of it, however tempted
you may be to judge any situation, and to determine your response
by judging it.
mind only on this:
am not alone, and I would not intrude the past upon my Guest.
I have invited Him, and He is here. I need do nothing except not
is of Him Who knows what it is. You will learn His interpretation
of it if you let Him use your capacity for strength, and not for
weakness. He will not desert you, but be sure that you desert not
strength in this sense only...
and accept the fact that you do not know is to recognize and accept
the fact that He does know.
You are not
sure that He will do His part because you have never yet done yours
completely. You will not know how to respond to what you do not
understand. Be tempted not in this, and yield not to the ego’s
triumphant use of empathy for its glory.
of weakness is not what you would offer to a brother. And yet you
know no triumph but this. This is not knowledge, and the form of
empathy that would bring this about is so distorted that it would
imprison what it would release. The unredeemed cannot redeem, yet
they have a Redeemer. Attempt to teach Him not. You are the learner;
He the Teacher. Do not confuse your role with His, for this will
never bring peace to anyone. Offer
your empathy to Him, for it is His perception and His strength that
you would share. And let Him offer you His strength and His perception,
to be shared though you.
of love is lost in any relationship which looks to weakness, and
hopes to find love there. The power of love, which is its meaning,
lies in the strength of God, which hovers over it and blesses it
silently by enveloping it in healing wings. Let this be, and do
not try to substitute your “miracle” for this.
We once said
that if a brother asks a foolish thing of you to do it. But be certain
that this does not mean to do a foolish thing that would hurt either
him or you, for what would hurt one will hurt the other. Foolish
requests are foolish for the simple reason that they conflict, because
they contain an element of specialness. Only
the Holy Spirit recognizes foolish needs as well as real ones. And
He will teach you how to meet both without losing either.
You will attempt
to do this only in secrecy. And you will think that, by meeting
the needs of one you do not jeopardize another because you keep
them separate, and secret from each other. That is not the way,
for it leads not to light and truth. No
needs will long be left unmet if you leave them all to Him Whose
function is to meet them. That is His function, and not yours. He
will not meet them secretly, for He would share everything you give
through Him. And that is why He gives it.
What you give
through Him is for the whole Sonship, not for part of it. Leave
Him His function, for He will fulfill it if you but ask Him to enter
your relationships, and bless them for you.