Course in Miracles
2 - Illusion of Separation
as Release From Fear
The emphasis will now be on healing.
miracle is the means, the Atonement is the principle, and healing
is the result.
speak of “a miracle of healing” are combining two orders
of reality inappropriately. Healing is not a miracle. The Atonement,
or the final miracle, is a remedy, while any type of healing is
a result. The kind of error to which Atonement is applied is irrelevant.
Essentially, all healing is the release from fear. To undertake
this, you cannot be fearful yourself. You do not understand healing
because of your own fear.
A major step
in the Atonement plan is to undo error at all levels. Illness, which
is really “not-right-mindedness,” is the result of level
confusion (spirit vs physical level), in the sense that it always
entails the belief that what is amiss in one level can adversely
affect another. We have constantly referred to miracles as the means
of correcting level confusion, and all mistakes must be corrected
at the level on which they occur. Only
the mind is capable of error. The body can act erroneously, but
this is only because it is responding to mis-thought. The body cannot
create, and the belief that it can, a fundamental error, produces
all physical symptoms.
illness represents a belief in magic. The whole distortion which
created magic rests on the belief that there is a creative ability
in matter which the mind cannot control. This error can take two
1) it can be
believed that the mind can miscreate in the body, or
2) that the body
can miscreate in the mind.
If it is understood
that the mind, which is the only level of creation, cannot create
beyond itself, neither type of confusion need occur.
only the mind can create is more obvious than may be immediately
apparent. The Soul has been created. The
body is a learning device for the mind. Learning devices are not
lessons in themselves. Their purpose is merely to facilitate the
thinking of the learner. The most that a faulty use of a learning
device can do is to fail to facilitate learning. It has no power
in itself to introduce actual learning errors.
if properly understood, shares the invulnerability of the Atonement
to two-edged application. This is not because the body is a miracle,
but because it is not inherently open to misinterpretation. The
body is merely a fact in human experience. Its abilities can be,
and frequently are, overevaluated. However, it is almost impossible
to deny its existence. Those who do so are engaging in a particularly
unworthy form of denial. The
term “unworthy” here implies simply that it is not necessary
to protect the mind by denying the unmindful. If one denies this
unfortunate aspect of the mind’s power, one is also denying
the power itself.
means which man accepts as remedies for bodily ills are merely restatements
of magic principles. It was the first level of the error to believe
that the body created its own illness. It is a second misstep to
attempt to heal it through noncreative agents. It does not follow,
however, that the use of these very weak corrective devices are
evil. Sometimes the illness has a sufficiently great hold over a
mind to render a person inaccessible to Atonement. 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
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 inappropriately exposed to an “undiluted”
miracle, they may be precipitated into panic. This is particularly
likely to occur when upside-down perception has induced the belief
that miracles are frightening.
of the Atonement does not lie in the manner in which it is expressed.
In fact, if it is truly used, it will inevitably be expressed in
whatever way is most helpful to the receiver. This means that a
miracle, to attain its full efficacy, must be expressed in a language
which the recipient can understand without fear. It
does not follow, by any means, that this is the highest level of
communication of which he is capable. It does mean, however, that
it is the highest level of communication of which he is capable
now. The whole aim of the miracle is to raise the level of communication,
not to impose regression in the improper sense upon it.
workers are ready to undertake their function in this world, it
is essential that they fully understand the fear of release. Otherwise,
they may unwittingly foster the belief that release is imprisonment,
a belief that is very prevalent. This misperception arose from the
underlying misbelief that harm can be limited to the body. This
was because of the much greater fear that the mind can hurt itself.
Neither error is really meaningful, because the miscreations of
the mind do not really exist. This recognition is a far better protective
device than any form of level confusion, because it introduces correction
at the level of the error.
It is essential
to remember that only the mind can create. Implicit in this is the
corollary that correction belongs at the thought level. To repeat
an earlier statement and to extend it somewhat, the Soul is already
perfect, and therefore does not require correction. The body does
not really exist except as a learning device for the mind. This
learning device is not subject to errors of its own, because it
was created, but is not creating. It should be obvious, then, that
correcting the creator, or inducing it to give up its miscreations,
is the only application of creative ability which is truly meaningful.
essentially mindless, or the miscreative use of the mind. Physical
medications are forms of “spells.” Those who are afraid
to use the mind to heal should not attempt to do so. The very fact
that they are afraid has made them vulnerable to miscreation. They
are therefore likely to misunderstand any healing they might induce,
and, because egocentricity and fear usually occur together, may
be unable to accept the real Source of the healing. Under these
conditions, it is safer for them to rely temporarily on physical
healing devices, because they cannot misperceive them as their own
creations. As long as their sense of vulnerability persists, they
should be preserved from even attempting miracles.
We have already
said that the miracle is an expression of miracle-mindedness. Miracle-mindedness
merely means right-mindedness in the sense that we are now using
it. The right-minded neither exalt nor depreciate the mind of the
miracle worker or the miracle receiver. However, as a creative
act, the miracle need not await the right-mindedness of the receiver.
In fact, its purpose is to restore him to his right mind. It is
essential, however, that the miracle worker be in his right mind,
or he will be unable to reestablish right-mindedness in someone
who relies on his own readiness is endangering his understanding.
He is perfectly safe as long as he is completely unconcerned about
his readiness, but maintains a consistent trust in mine. If your
miracle working propensities are not functioning properly, it is
always because fear has intruded on your right-mindedness, and has
literally upset it (or turned it upside-down). All forms of not-right-mindedness
are the result of refusal to accept the Atonement for yourself.
If the miracle worker does accept it, he places himself in a position
to recognize that those who need to be healed are simply those who
have not realized that right-mindedness is healing.
The sole responsibility
of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself. This
means that he recognizes that mind is the only creative level, and
that its errors are healed by the Atonement. Once he accepts this,
his mind can only heal. By denying his mind any destructive potential,
and reinstating its purely constructive powers, he has placed himself
in a position where he can undo the level confusion of others. The
message he then gives to others is the truth that their minds are
similarly constructive, and that their miscreations cannot hurt
them. By affirming this, the miracle worker releases the mind from
overevaluating its own learning device (the body), and restores
the mind to its true position as the learner.
be emphasized again that the body does not learn, any more than
it creates. As a learning device it merely follows the learner,
but if it is falsely endowed with self-initiative, it becomes a
serious obstruction to the very learning it should facilitate. Only
the mind is capable of llumination. The Soul is already illuminated,
and the body in itself is too dense. The mind, however, can bring
its illumination to the body by recognizing that density is the
opposite of intelligence, and therefore unamenable to independent
learning. It is, however, easily brought into alignment with a mind
which has learned to look beyond density toward light.
learning always begins with the awakening of the Spiritual eye (Holy
Spirit), and the turning away from the belief in physical
sight. The reason this so often entails fear is because man is afraid
of what his Spiritual eye will see. We said before that the Spiritual
eye cannot see error, and is capable only of looking beyond it to
the defense of Atonement. There is no doubt that the Spiritual eye
does produce extreme discomfort by what It sees, yet what man forgets
is that the discomfort is not the final outcome of Its perception.
When the Spiritual eye is permitted to look upon the defilement
of the altar, it also looks immediatley toward the Atonement.
Spiritual eye perceives can induce fear. Everything that results
from accurate spiritual awareness is merely channelized toward correction.
Discomfort is aroused only to bring the need for correction forcibly
into awareness. What
the physical eye sees is not corrective, nor can it be corrected
by any device which can be seen physically. As long as a man believes
in what his physical sight tells him, all his corrective behavior
will be misdirected. The
real vision is obscured because man cannot endure to see his own
defiled altar, but since the altar has been defiled, his state becomes
doubly dangerous unless it is perceived.
The fear of
healing arises, in the end, from an unwillingness to accept the
unequivocal fact that healing is necessary. Man is not willing to
look on what he has done to himself. Healing is an ability lent
to man after the separation, before which it was completely unnecessary.
Like all aspects of the space-time belief, healing ability is temporary.
However, as long as time persists, healing is needed as a means
for human protection. This is because healing rests on charity,
and charity is a way of perceiving the perfection of another even
if he cannot perceive it himself.
Most of the
loftier concepts of which man is capable now are time-dependent.
Charity is really a weaker reflection of a much more powerful love-encompassment
which is far beyond any form of charity that man can conceive of
as yet. Charity is essential to right-mindedness in the limited
sense in which right-mindedness can now be attained. Charity is
a way of looking at another as if he had already gone far beyond
his actual accomplishments in time. Since his own thinking is faulty
he cannot see the Atonement for himself, or he would have no need
for charity. The charity which is accorded him is both an acknowledgment
that he is weak and a recognition that he could be stronger.
The way in
which both of these perceptions are stated clearly implies their
dependence on time, making it quite apparent that charity lies within
the human limitations, though toward its higher levels. We said
before that only revelation transcends time. The miracle, as an
expression of true human charity, can only shorten time at most.
It must be understood, however, that whenever a man offers a miracle
to another, he is shortening the suffering of both. This introduces
a correction into the whole record which corrects retroactively
as well as progressively.