Healing the Dream of Sickness
Excerpts from the Workshop held at the
Foundation for A Course in Miracles
Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
Now let us talk about what healing really is. As with anything in the Course, whether it is healing, forgiveness, the miracle, salvation, or the Atonement, once you understand the problem, then the solution is very simple. You simply look at the problem where it is, and not where you think it is. There is a very important line in Chapter 27 where Jesus gives a one-sentence answer to the question of how to get past all suffering and pain in the world. There are other places where he makes a similar statement, but there he says, "All that is needed is you look upon the problem as it is, and not the way you have set it up" (T-27.VII.2:2). What could be simpler? This is why Jesus says this is a simple, uncomplicated course. Again, the way out of all suffering, pain, and sickness is simply to "look upon the problem as it is, and not the way you have set it up."
This can be seen clearly on the chart. We made up the problem to be in the world. We took the problem of guilt that came from our decision for guilt in our minds, projected it out, and then abdicated all responsibility for the decision. We abdicated our decision-making power and became helpless in the face of forces beyond our control. Thus, we no longer see the problem "as it is" (our decision to be sick first in our minds and then in our bodies), but instead we see it as we have set it up, which is to see the problem in the world and the body. And then we say, "it is not my fault": It was not my choice to come here; it was not my decision to be born; it was an accident. I could not choose my hair, eye, or skin color, or my genetic make-up that determined my abilities and intelligence. I could not choose my environment, the kind of relationship my parents had, their health, their financial situation. I could not help it if I was born in Afghanistan and my whole family was blown up; I could not help it if I was born a Jew in Nazi Germany. It is not my fault.
We set up the problem so that we are powerless and then see other people and forces as the cause of our pain. Jesus says all we have to do to get beyond this is to see the problem as it is and not the way we made it up. That is what healing is. He teaches that forgiveness "is still, and quietly does nothing . . . . It merely looks, and waits, and judges not" (W-pII.1.4:1,3). Also in the workbook he says, "It [the miracle] merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false" (W-pII.13.1:3). These statements basically say the same thing: "Simply look with me at the problem and let me help you look through my eyes; then you will understand, as I do, that your problem is not outside, because there is nothing outside. You put the problem outside so that you would believe it is outside. By looking through my eyes, you will recognize that the world is 'an outside picture of an inward condition' (T-21.in.1:5)."
By letting Jesus help you look at the world through his eyes instead of your own, you will begin to understand, again, that what you see outside is a projection and why you projected it. The reasons have to do with what we talked about earlier: the ego's strategy of making us mindless. You look at your decision to push God away and usurp His place on the throne; you look at your decision to destroy Heaven and to crucify God's Son, thereby psychologically (if not sometimes physically) killing him, and blaming everyone else for it. You look at all of this devastation and remember that it is not true; it is all made up; it is a bad dream. You look at what is in your thought system that you projected out, bring it back inside, and look at it in quiet, with patience and without judgment. This is looking at the problem as it is and not the way you set it up. That is all you have to do. There is nothing simpler.
The principles of the Course are very simple and very basic, but we do not follow them because we do not want to let go of the problem. This is what you must really appreciate and understand about yourself and everyone else. That is why people do such outrageous things—and the most outrageous things are usually done by people who are religious. A Course in Miracles students are not exempt from this. We use religion and spirituality as a defense against the hatred in our minds, our hatred of ourselves for what we believe we have done. We try to get rid of that by projecting it onto the infidels, pagans, heretics, non-believers, etc. When this is done in a religious context, it seemingly has God's blessing, which makes God as insane as everyone else. Whether it is the Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Moslem, A Course in Miracles, or Christian Science God does not matter. They are all insane because they are seen as ways of justifying the ego thought system of their followers, and are used to condone judgment and sometimes even murder.
You must appreciate, with humility and kindness towards yourself, how fearful you are of this course, which means you are fearful of healing—not of the body, but of the mind. All you have to do to see the problem "as it is" is to bring it back from outside you, where you placed it, to the inside where you can look at it with the love of Jesus next to you. As he says at the end of Chapter 23, "Who with the Love of God upholding him could find the choice of miracles or murder hard to make?" (T-23.IV.9:8). This means you cannot make this choice without his love guiding you (or the love of any other symbol you choose; it does not have to be Jesus). But you must actually see that the choice is between miracles (the Atonement principle) and murder. You must see that your existence has been built upon a coffin in which God rests. And you must see that you try to kill off everyone else and make them into the criminal so that they will be punished for the coffin on which you stand. That is what you have to see. The guilt over that is enormous.
To get a glimpse of the enormity of our guilt, just consider that the entire physical universe literally rests on the projection of the error of believing we separated from God. It was this guilt that literally drove us insane and out of our minds. The entire physical universe is simply a bad dream. As complicated as the cosmos is—appearing to be infinite; spanning billions and billions of years; containing galaxies upon galaxies, known and unknown, some in other time dimensions—it is all one dream. It all comes from one source: guilt. That gives you an understanding of how powerful our belief in guilt is. Almost every religion or spirituality that began on a very high level inspired by its founder ended up terribly. People become terrified of the non-dualistic truth that reality is non-material, non-temporal, and is all there is. It does not have any divisions. It is perfect oneness.
There has not been a religious or spiritual movement that has not experienced that. Hinduism began with the Vedas and the Upanishads—very high teachings—and it ended like the Roman Catholic Church: statues, rituals, hatreds, and other things foreign to its original inspiration. Christianity began with Jesus. You cannot get any better than that; but look how it ended up! And don't be surprised when the same thing happens to A Course in Miracles. That does not invalidate the inspiration that began a movement any more than it would the Course, but it simply says that people get frightened, and as the Course itself says, "frightened people can be vicious" (T-3.I.4:2). They can be very vicious. But underlying the viciousness is fear: Who would I be without my anger? Who would I be without my hatred? Who would I be without my judgment? Who would I be without me? That is the real fear.
What defines us is self-hatred, because that is our origin. The ego was born out of hatred for God, and then the self-hatred we experienced over what we believe we did to God. Following the laws of the split mind, whatever we believe about ourselves will be so awful and horrific that we will repress it, and whatever we repress we will project out. Since we all did this as one Son, when we made the collective as a collective we made the cosmos; then the one Son just fragmented into billions and billions and billions of pieces, with each little fragment containing the whole: the whole of the ego's insanity as well as the whole of the Holy Spirit's sanity that corrects and undoes the ego. Each of us carries that in its entirety, the full blown ego system and the full blown Holy Spirit's system. We all were born out of the same fear, so why should it be a surprise that everyone hates everyone else?
There is constant judging and criticizing going on—if not killing and maiming—because that is what the world is. It began with a killing; don't forget that. It began with the murder of God, and since ideas leave not their source, everything else is simply the shadowy fragment of that original thought. That is the sickness. Sickness has nothing to do with external symptoms. The sickness is the thought, "I did this, and not only that, but I will do it again." In fact, not only would we do it again, we are doing it again. Each and every moment we take a breath; each and every moment we think we are here; each and every moment we indulge specialness, we are killing God again. That is what Jesus means in Chapter 16 when he says, "If you perceived the special relationship as a triumph over God, would you want it?" (T-16.V.10:1). And the awful truth is that even though he tells us it is a "triumph over God," we still want it. How many Course in Miracles students have read that line over and over again, and still indulge all their specialness?
It is important to understand and keep in mind that everything we do here is a microcosmic shadow of what we believe we all originally did at the beginning. That is the guilt we are carrying around with us. If you don't understand this, the guilt will stay buried, and if it stays buried it will continually surface through projection. That is what has happened throughout the history of the universe. It certainly has happened throughout the history of what we know as homo sapiens. That is why everyone is always killing everyone else. Individuals do it, governments do it, races do it, and religions do it, because no one stops and looks within. That is why this course is such an important and impressive spiritual document. More than any other teaching that I know of, it documents the ego—and it is not a pretty picture. But the world was made to cover the ugliness of the picture.
You all probably know the section in the text called "The Two Pictures" (T-17.IV), where Jesus talks about the need to look at the picture of the ego, which is the picture of death, and not be taken in by the elaborate frame that the ego places around it. In that context, the frame is the special relationship. Do not be taken in by the glitter of what seems to be jewels in the frame. The purpose of the frame is to keep you from looking at the picture. It is a very important section, one of the most important ones in the book, because it speaks to the heart of the problem of the world, and all the religious problems in it. People are so taken in by the glitter of the special-relationship frame—especially when God can be plugged into it—that they do not see the ugliness and murderousness of the picture. Most religions and spiritualities either ignore the ego, or they sugarcoat it, or cover it over, saying, "Just let it go; give it over to the Holy Spirit. It is really nothing. Just choose love." Well, if it were that easy, this world would not exist, and there would be no need for a course that spends so much time talking about hate and murder and guilt instead of only love and peace. We need something that takes us through the muck.
As I mentioned earlier, that is what Freud did for all of us. He made a very important contribution, despite the silliness of a lot of what he said. More than anyone else, he was steadfast in insisting that people look at the ego. One of Jung's major criticisms of Freud was that he thought that all Freud wanted to look at was the ugliness and the dirt. Unfortunately, Freud was right and Jung was wrong, because Jung used all of his lofty spiritual ideas, or pseudo-spiritual ideas, as a way to subtly cover over what was inside. And Freud kept saying it is essential to look inside; what's there is not nice. Jesus in A Course in Miracles says the same thing: look at the picture, it is in italics even in “The Two Pictures” section. Look at the picture. Forgiveness looks (W-pII.1.4:3). The miracle looks on devastation (W-pII.13.1:3). Look at the problem as it is, not as you have set it up (T-27.VII.2:2). That is what healing is; healing is looking.