Healing the Dream of Sickness
Excerpts from the Workshop held at the
Foundation for A Course in Miracles
Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
(M-5.II.4:1-5) With this idea is pain forever gone. But with this idea goes also all confusion about creation. Does not this follow of necessity? Place cause and effect in their true sequence in one respect, and the learning will generalize and transform the world. The transfer value of one true idea has no end or limit.
This notion of "transfer value" is a key idea in A Course in Miracles. This course contains a curriculum, and teachers always want their students to generalize what they learn. The Introduction to the workbook states this very clearly (W-in.4-7). The way that I begin to "place cause and effect in their true sequence" is to recognize my special relationship with another person. I begin to see that the other person is not the cause of my distress nor the cause of my salvation. Indeed the other person has absolutely nothing to do with my being upset or feeling happy. If I am happy it is because I chose the Holy Spirit as my Teacher; if I am upset, sick, disappointed, or guilty it is because I chose the ego. It is very simple. I return to my mind. There is a line in the text that says: "The miracle is the first step in giving back to cause the function of causation" (T-28.II.9:3). The cause is the mind. I begin to understand, just as Helen did, that the other person is not the cause of my distress (the effect). It is my mind's interpretation of the event, person, or relationship that is the cause.
What we all do instead, however, is bring in our past—what the text refers to as the "shadows of the past" (T-17.III)—to justify our reaction: People are always stepping on my head; they are always being unfair, unkind, and insensitive to me. My mother never thought about me; my father was never home, and he never cared about me. No one ever cared about me—I was always hurting and in pain, and no one cared. I bring all of this with me—forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty years’ worth—and then all of a sudden a woman walks with high heels on a wood floor above my bedroom and I start to get justifiably angry. And behind her stand a thousand more and a thousand more behind them, as the text says (T-27.V.10:4). I see them, and I see the world as the cause of my unhappiness.
Healing occurs when we reverse that and give cause back its function of causation. We return the problem to the mind, which is what the miracle does—it restores to cause its function of causation. The purpose of A Course in Miracles is to have us do that. The way we can practice this is by realizing that whenever we are looking forward to something, for example, we are giving it a power it does not have. We are always giving our power away. Why? Because the ego tells us that we once had that power, and look what we did with it: Heaven is darkened, God is destroyed, love has been conquered, and all because of what we did. That is how powerful we are! The guilt over this is so overwhelming that we will do anything so that we never do it again. So we give our power away. That is why we are born as helpless infants. We could have been born as fully grown adults—it is our dream. But nothing is as powerless as a little infant; and even as the infant grows up and begins to get worldly power, it is still at the mercy of a world greater than itself. That is another way of understanding why the world was made: so we could give away our power. To us, the power of the mind is the power of sin. So if I give you power over me, you then are the sinner, and God will strike you dead, not me. That is the sickness. It is a pretty sick thought, because what underlies it is the accusation, "Look what I did; I destroyed God! What does that make me? It makes me God." Talk about paranoid schizophrenia! That is why Jesus says we are all insane.
Thus, healing and forgiveness are about getting back the power—not the power to sin or destroy, but the power to love, and to learn that whatever we thought we did had no effect. That is how we heal each other. When I am in my right mind, I am totally at peace and I am not angry or blaming anyone. Then, from that holy instant I demonstrate to you that regardless of what is going on with your body or in your life, you can make the same choice I have made. I am saying the power of one's mind is love, not sin and hate. That is what healing is. That is why that wonderful passage I read from the Psychotherapy pamphlet (P-2.VI.6:3) says nothing about the patient, the patient's diagnosis, the course of treatment, and certainly nothing about HMOs. All that it says is that the therapist heals his or her own mind by bringing the problem back within, which is where the Holy Spirit becomes the therapist. That is how healing occurs. In that instant, the therapist mirrors for the patient the same choice the patient can make, regardless of what gets said in the consulting room, the brilliant insights the therapist might have, or the problems the patient brings in. All that is totally irrelevant to the real healing process, which is that the therapist looks at the patient through eyes that do not judge, because he has no longer judged himself. In fact, the pamphlet also says that healing occurs when the therapist forgets to judge (P-3.II.6:1).
The only way I can avoid judging you is to avoid judging me. However, I do not know that there is anything I have to judge and change in myself, because I do not know about the judgment. So I must therefore carefully watch my reactions to you, because of who you are in my life. My reactions will show me what I projected from my mind that I was totally unaware of. Once my attention is brought back from the outside to the inside and I look at whatever I am accusing myself of—all of my self-hatred and self-loathing—and I look at it with the love of Jesus next to me, it will disappear, when I really do it. At that point there is no judgment in me of me, because I recognize nothing happened. I realize that my grandiosity and my paranoid delusions of grandeur had no effect on anything; the Love of God has not been compromised; the Oneness of Heaven has not been shattered into billions of fragments. Nothing happened! In that instant, my guilt and judgment are gone, which means it is impossible for me to judge you. That is when healing occurs, because I am demonstrating to you that you can now make the same choice I made. Very simple. This applies whether you are talking about psychotherapy, a hospital room, a doctor's office, a lawyer's office, a family, or a business. It does not matter where you are, the process is always the same.
(M-5.II.4:6) The final outcome of this lesson is the remembrance of God.
The lesson is that the mind made up the world, and now we understand why the mind made it up. Our great fear is that we will remember God, because then there will be no me, no individuality, no specialness, no uniqueness—nothing except the Love of God.
(M-5.II.4:7) What do guilt and sickness, pain, disaster and all suffering mean now? Having no purpose, they are gone.
The important word here is purpose. It is incredible how often it appears in the Course (more than 600 times). The purpose of sickness, pain, disaster, and suffering is to prove that the separation is real, but that someone else did it, not me. Once I realize there is no guilt to atone for, then there is no guilt I have to get rid of by attacking you. If there is no guilt at all, then all sickness, pain, disaster, and suffering disappear, because their purpose is gone. I no longer have to hold in my memory a thought that was already undone and healed the instant it seemed to arise. I am no longer afraid of the memory of God. We all, as one collective Son, chose against this when we made the ego our teacher instead of the Holy Spirit, and that is what we can now correct. When we finally choose that, our mind is healed, which means God's Son is one again. That is what Jesus means in A Course in Miracles when he says we were with him when he arose (C-6.5:5). This has nothing to do with the physical resurrection, which is really silly from the Course's point of view. How could a body resurrect if it were never killed? And it was never killed because it never lived. In A Course in Miracles, resurrection is the awakening from the dream of death (M-28.1-2). Jesus is saying that when he awoke we were with him because we are all one, and in that oneness there is no Jesus, no Ken—there is no one. There is only God's one Son who has no name, because His Name is with a capital N, as Lessons 183 and 184 say ("I call upon God's Name and on my own"; "The Name of God is my inheritance").
(M-5.II.4:9-11) And with them also go all the effects they seemed to cause. Cause and effect but replicate creation. Seen in their proper perspective, without distortion and without fear, they re-establish Heaven.
The original Cause is God. He is the First Cause, there is no second, and Christ, His Son, is His Effect. That is the original Cause and Effect. The ego tells us that we split off from God, and that effect does leave its cause, because ideas do leave their source. Once we split off cause and effect, we continue to split it; the mind now is the cause and the world is the effect. But once we bring cause and effect back into alignment, we realize that ideas leave not their source. The world then, returns to its source, which is the guilt in our mind. We are now back in our minds to look at the guilt again, which disappears. Now all that is required is that we look within—that is what makes someone a healer, and that is how the dream of sickness is healed and undone. I do this first by looking outside through the eyes of my new teacher, who instructs me that what I see outside is a projection of what I have made real inside. Then I look within and start to laugh—with the "gentle laughter" that Jesus talks about. I laugh at the silliness of ever thinking that I could be God, that I would even want to be God, and that in order for me to exist and continue to exist, I have to continually kill God off, and then kill off everyone else in this almost endless soap opera of deceit, murder, pain, and death. The whole dream ends the instant that any of us suddenly recognizes what is happening.
As a close, let us turn to the two beautiful paragraphs near the end of Chapter 2 of the Psychotherapy pamphlet. Jesus is talking specifically about the therapist's office, but we can easily apply what he says to any situation in which we are with another person. Remember that relationships do not occur in the body; they occur in the mind, so you can imagine this scene perhaps in terms of a dead parent whom you have not forgiven, or in terms of a public person with whom you have a special relationship but have never met. It does not matter, because it is all thought anyway. Therefore, whatever the nature of your relationship, it is nothing more than a projection of your relationship with God in your mind. That is the original conflict; the original special relationship; and rather than look at it inside, we project it out.
“Think what the joining of two brothers really means. And then forget the world and all its little triumphs and its dreams of death. The same are one, and nothing now can be remembered of the world of guilt. The room becomes a temple, and the street a stream of stars that brushes lightly past all sickly dreams. Healing is done, for what is perfect needs no healing, and what remains to be forgiven where there is no sin?
“Be thankful, therapist, that you can see such things as this, if you but understand your proper role. But if you fail in this, you have denied that God created you, and so you will not know you are His Son. Who is your brother now? What saint can come to take you home with him? You lost the way. And can you now expect to see in him an answer that you have refused to give. Heal and be healed. There is no other choice of pathways that can ever lead to peace. O let your patient in, for he has come to you from God. Is not his holiness enough to wake your memory of Him?” (P-2.VII.8-9).