Lesson 136 2021

Lesson 136

Sickness is a defense against the truth.

1. No one can heal unless he understands what purpose sickness seems to serve. ²For then he understands as well its purpose has no meaning. ³Being causeless and without a meaningful intent of any kind, it cannot be at all. ⁴When this is seen, healing is automatic. ⁵It dispels this meaningless illusion by the same approach that carries all of them to truth, and merely leaves them there to disappear.

Why do we get sick? The world says it is because we are being attacked by germs and viruses or because of our DNA. It says that someone gave it to us so they are guilty. Do you see the pattern? According to the world, we are victims and something or someone else is guilty. That is what the world is for, a place to put all this guilt that we harbor but deny. Sickness also proves that we really are bodies and not the Son of God.  

To be truly healed we must give up our fantasy of victimhood and being bodies. You would think this would be easy and welcome but the desire to hide from our guilt is stronger than our desire for our reality. This is hard to believe, but evidently, it is true. Even as I sit here writing this, I have an appointment with a doctor for a foot problem that won’t heal. This problem is a defense against the truth. 

2. Sickness is not an accident. ²Like all defenses, it is an insane device for self-deception. ³And like all the rest, its purpose is to hide reality, attack it, change it, render it inept, distort it, twist it, or reduce it to a little pile of unassembled parts. ⁴The aim of all defenses is to keep the truth from being whole. ⁵The parts are seen as if each one were whole within itself. 

Because of our desire to be the special individual self, we deliberately choose sickness to keep the illusion of being a body in place. It is no different than how we use guilt, making others guilty so that we appear more innocent in comparison. We do these things to keep ourselves tethered to the world. All is one and perfect love, but these defenses are used to prove that all is separate, imperfect, and fearful. 

3. Defenses are not unintentional, nor are they made without awareness. ²They are secret, magic wands you wave when truth appears to threaten what you would believe. ³They seem to be unconscious but because of the rapidity with which you choose to use them. ⁴In 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. 

4. Who but yourself evaluates a threat, decides escape is necessary, and sets up a series of defenses to reduce the threat that has been judged as real? ²All this cannot be done unconsciously. ³But afterwards, your plan requires that you must forget you made it, so it seems to be external to your own intent; a happening beyond your state of mind, an outcome with a real effect on you, instead of one effected by yourself. 

Have you ever had something coming toward your eyes and quickly you blink? It doesn’t seem like you decide to blink but that is what is actually happening. We do the same with all defenses. We feel our little self is under attack and we plan a defense. One way we do this is that we decide on sickness to establish the body’s reality. Part of the plan is that we do this in secret, even from ourselves and so we quickly forget that we are the ones waving the magic wand. After all, even we are not crazy enough to admit to choosing sickness over awakening. Forgetting is necessary to preserve the illusion of victimhood. 

5. It is this quick forgetting of the part you play in making your “reality” that makes defenses seem to be beyond your own control. ²But what you have forgot can be remembered, given willingness to reconsider the decision which is doubly shielded by oblivion. ³Your not remembering is but the sign that this decision still remains in force, as far as your desires are concerned. ⁴Mistake not this for fact. ⁵Defenses must make facts unrecognizable. ⁶They aim at doing this, and it is this they do. 

I am ready to give up this game and awaken fully from the illusion of separation. I want to give up all defenses against this. Because I am ready for this, the fear that is left in my mind causes resistance and it shows up in the body. One day recently, I had an experience of witnessing the mind recoil from giving up individuality completely. I can barely remember it, only that it happened. It is like I am betraying myself and what do you do when you find the enemy and it is you? My decision is to acknowledge there is still some hidden fear and continue to do whatever is in front of me to do. I cannot fail to let go of the self and so I can afford to be patient with myself. 

6. Every defense takes fragments of the whole, assembles them without regard to all their true relationships, and thus constructs illusions of a whole that is not there. ²It is this process that imposes threat, and not whatever outcome may result. ³When parts are wrested from the whole and seen as separate and wholes within themselves, they become symbols standing for attack upon the whole; successful in effect, and never to be seen as whole again. ⁴And yet you have forgotten that they stand but for your own decision of what should be real, to take the place of what is real. 

We are a whole, one undivided Self, in God. But we don’t want that. We want to be special and separate and so we gave ourselves bodies and made an entire world of separate parts. There are trees and grass and sky and earth. There are oceans and lakes and ponds and rivers. Everything continues to fragment as we name this land one thing and that land another. We make imaginary borders so that we know when we have crossed into someone else’s land. Our relationships reflect this separation idea. Sickness is just another attack on wholeness. I am sick and you are not. I suffer in this way and you suffer in that way. 

7. Sickness is a decision. ²It is not a thing that happens to you, quite unsought, which makes you weak and brings you suffering. ³It is a choice you make, a plan you lay, when for an instant truth arises in your own deluded mind, and all your world appears to totter and prepare to fall. ⁴Now are you sick, that truth may go away and threaten your establishments no more. 

This paragraph is seldom met with happiness and is often ignored or denied. We choose sickness and for a specific reason. We don’t want our defenses destroyed while we still value them. They are the wall that keeps reality at bay, out of sight so that we can ignore it. 

8. How do you think that sickness can succeed in shielding you from truth? ²Because it proves the body is not separate from you, and so you must be separate from the truth. ³You suffer pain because the body does, and in this pain are you made one with it. ⁴Thus is your “true” identity preserved, and the strange, haunting thought that you might be something beyond this little pile of dust silenced and stilled. ⁵For see, this dust can make you suffer, twist your limbs and stop your heart, commanding you to die and cease to be. 

9. Thus is the body stronger than the truth, which asks you live, but cannot overcome your choice to die. ²And so the body is more powerful than everlasting life, Heaven more frail than hell, and God’s design for the salvation of His Son opposed by a decision stronger than His Will. ³His Son is dust, the Father incomplete, and chaos sits in triumph on His throne. 

No matter how we may prefer to believe that sickness is just an unavoidable part of life or that we are victims of sickness, the truth is, sickness is our defense against God and Heaven. Sickness proves that we are not the Son of God, not Spirit and certainly not eternal. Sometimes people project their rage onto God and ask, “ Why me, Lord?” Now we have not only made ourselves different than we were created, we have made God different than He is. 

10. Such is your planning for your own defense. ²And you believe that Heaven quails before such mad attacks as these, with God made blind by your illusions, truth turned into lies, and all the universe made slave to laws which your defenses would impose on it. ³Yet who believes illusions but the one who made them up? ⁴Who else can see them and react to them as if they were the truth? 

11. God knows not of your plans to change His Will. ²The universe remains unheeding of the laws by which you thought to govern it. ³And Heaven has not bowed to hell, nor life to death. ⁴You can but choose to think you die, or suffer sickness or distort the truth in any way. ⁵What is created is apart from all of this. ⁶Defenses are plans to defeat what cannot be attacked. ⁷What is unalterable cannot change. ⁸And what is wholly sinless cannot sin. 

No matter how hard we try or how elaborate our imagination, God remains God, Heaven is unaffected, we are as God created us, whole, sinless and beloved. 

12. Such is the simple truth. ²It does not make appeal to might nor triumph. ³It does not command obedience, nor seek to prove how pitiful and futile your attempts to plan defenses that would alter it. ⁴Truth merely wants to give you happiness, for such its purpose is. ⁵Perhaps it sighs a little when you throw away its gifts, and yet it knows, with perfect certainty, that what God wills for you must be received. 

We attack reality and reality simply waits patiently for our tantrum to subside and all the while it continues to gift you with love and peace and joy whether you accept them or not. 

13. It is this fact that demonstrates that time is an illusion. ²For time lets you think what God has given you is not the truth right now, as it must be. ³The Thoughts of God are quite apart from time. ⁴For time is but another meaningless defense you made against the truth. ⁵Yet what He wills is here, and you remain as He created you. 

I seldom think of time as a defense against the truth but now I see how that is true. Believing in time it is easy to think that I will be with God at some point. This allows me to ignore the fact that I am already in God so that I can go on pretending to be something else. 

14. Truth has a power far beyond defense, for no illusions can remain where truth has been allowed to enter. ²And it comes to any mind that would lay down its arms, and cease to play with folly. ³It is found at any time; today, if you will choose to practice giving welcome to the truth. 

I remember David Hoffmeister saying that when he started doing the lessons, he did each one as if this was the day he awakened. He was right to do that. Time is an illusion and has no power except as we give it power. We cannot be bound to time unless we want that. 

15. This is our aim today. ²And we will give a quarter of an hour twice to ask the truth to come to us and set us free. ³And truth will come, for it has never been apart from us. ⁴It merely waits for just this invitation which we give today. ⁵We introduce it with a healing prayer, to help us rise above defensiveness, and let truth be as it has always been: 

⁶Sickness is a defense against the truth. ⁷I will accept the truth of what I am, and let my mind be wholly healed today. 

16. Healing will flash across your open mind, as peace and truth arise to take the place of war and vain imaginings. ²There will be no dark corners sickness can conceal, and keep defended from the light of truth. ³There will be no dim figures from your dreams, nor their obscure and meaningless pursuits with double purposes insanely sought, remaining in your mind. ⁴It will be healed of all the sickly wishes that it tried to authorize the body to obey. 

It is our desire, our decision that brings healing to the mind. Nothing else is needed if we have made the decision that right now I am done with the world and the desire for a special self. If, however, if we are done with most of the world, but there is some part that we still long to keep, then it is not done. Only in the illusion can we divide the whole into parts and pick and choose what we want to keep and what we want to release. 

17. Now is the body healed, because the source of sickness has been opened to relief. ²And you will recognize you practiced well by this: The body should not feel at all. ³If you have been successful, there will be no sense of feeling ill or feeling well, of pain or pleasure. ⁴No response at all is in the mind to what the body does. ⁵Its usefulness remains and nothing more. 

This is another way of stating that the body is nothing. It is only a projection of the mind. It cannot do anything, only the mind does that. It seems like the body gets hungry, feels pain, gets fat or skinny, or anything else. But it is the mind that feels it lacks and projects that lack onto the body as hunger and the mind that feels guilt and so projects pain as a punishment onto the body. Ego appetites are often satiated through the body, but it is always the mind that does this. When the mind is freed it does not need to project imagined needs onto the body.  

18. Perhaps you do not realize that this removes the limits you had placed upon the body by the purposes you gave to it. ²As these are laid aside, the strength the body has will always be enough to serve all truly useful purposes. ³The body’s health is fully guaranteed, because it is not limited by time, by weather or fatigue, by food and drink, or any laws you made it serve before. ⁴You need do nothing now to make it well, for sickness has become impossible. 

Our choice for ego has caused us to believe that we are slave to the body over which we have little control. This is an illusion. We are free and when we accept our freedom, we stop punishing the body and the body can only be free as well. 

19. Yet this protection needs to be preserved by careful watching. ²If you let your mind harbor attack thoughts, yield to judgment or make plans against uncertainties to come, you have again misplaced yourself, and made a bodily identity which will attack the body, for the mind is sick. 

20. Give instant remedy, should this occur, by not allowing your defensiveness to hurt you longer. ²Do not be confused about what must be healed, but tell yourself: 

³I have forgotten what I really am, for I mistook my body for myself. ⁴Sickness is a defense against the truth. ⁵But I am not a body. ⁶And my mind cannot attack. ⁷So I can not be sick. 

(ACIM, W-136.1:1–20:7

We must protect what we gain as we release more and more go beliefs. Jesus is giving us a list of errors to watch for and he has given us a remedy against them. Let us remember that we are not a body. We cannot be sick. If it feels like we are, there is something in the mind that needs correction and we can get that correction simply by wanting it and asking for it. 

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