Lesson 140 2021

Lesson 140

Sickness where guilt is absent cannot come.

Sickness where guilt is absent cannot come

Artwork by Cate Grieves https://www.facebook.com/acimpaintings

Only salvation can be said to cure.

1. “Cure” is a word that cannot be applied to any remedy the world accepts as beneficial. ²What the world perceives as therapeutic is but what will make the body “better.” ³When it tries to heal the mind, it sees no separation from the body, where it thinks the mind exists. ⁴Its forms of healing thus must substitute illusion for illusion. ⁵One belief in sickness takes another form, and so the patient now perceives himself as well.

2. He is not healed. ²He merely had a dream that he was sick, and in the dream he found a magic formula to make him well. ³Yet he has not awakened from the dream, and so his mind remains exactly as it was before. ⁴He has not seen the light that would awaken him and end the dream. ⁵What difference does the content of a dream make in reality? ⁶One either sleeps or wakens. ⁷There is nothing in between.

When I am sick, I go to the doctor. If I need medicine, I take it. Magic is how we deal with the body in the world. Sometimes, the magic seems to work and the problem disappears, but sickness is not cured. I have only exchanged a dream of sickness for a dream of no sickness, one illusion for another, and another sickness will come because nothing changed. I cannot think that changing dreams changes anything. There is only one thing that cures and that is salvation, awakening from the dream where there are no more illusions. This applies to all forms sickness takes, physical, emotional, mental, financial, and relationships.

3. The happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings are different from the dreaming of the world, where one can merely dream he is awake. ²The dreams forgiveness lets the mind perceive do not induce another form of sleep, so that the dreamer dreams another dream. ³His happy dreams are heralds of the dawn of truth upon the mind. ⁴They lead from sleep to gentle waking, so that dreams are gone. ⁵And thus they cure for all eternity.

Jesus told us that we either sleep or awaken with nothing in between. But he is also telling us that our awakening is gentle and that it contains the happy dreams of the Holy Spirit. So it often appears that we awaken in stages. My experience of this is that I did not at first notice that this was happening. I only became aware of it in retrospect. Looking back, especially reading past writings, I realize that I have been gently awakening for a number of years, the dream becoming a happy one. And one day, the awakening will be complete.

4. Atonement heals with certainty, and cures all sickness. ²For the mind which understands that sickness can be nothing but a dream is not deceived by forms the dream may take. ³Sickness where guilt is absent cannot come, for it is but another form of guilt. ⁴Atonement does not heal the sick, for that is not a cure. ⁵It takes away the guilt that makes the sickness possible. ⁶And that is cure indeed. ⁷For sickness now is gone, with nothing left to which it can return.

In the previous paragraphs, Jesus tells us that our magic does nothing but trade one illusion for another and only salvation actually cures. In this paragraph, he is telling us that our problem is not sickness but guilt, that guilt is the cause of all forms of sickness and that the Atonement undoes the guilt that makes sickness possible.

This is why I watch carefully for any thought of guilt in my mind and I ask for correction immediately. My experience with this is that at first, it was frustrating. It seemed that no matter what guilt thought I forgave, there was always another one. But over time, I realize that my mind was being purified and that it was just taking time but that is what time is for.

I realize that while there are still guilt thoughts that show up in my mind, there are not nearly so many and that is encouraging. I also have stopped cherishing any of them and so there are none I would keep, and that is also encouraging. This is the change that has brought the happier dreams in which I am happy and peaceful most of the time. What I know now, is that when I am sick of body or any other form of sickness, I know that guilt is involved and I know to ask for the Atonement. There is no instance in which feeling guilty or thinking someone else is guilty is acceptable.

5. Peace be to you who have been cured in God, and not in idle dreams. ²For cure must come from holiness, and holiness can not be found where sin is cherished. ³God abides in holy temples. ⁴He is barred where sin has entered. ⁵Yet there is no place where He is not. ⁶And therefore sin can have no home in which to hide from His beneficence. ⁷There is no place where holiness is not, and nowhere sin and sickness can abide.

Jesus is explaining that as long as we believe in sin, we will not be cured in God because we have barred that healing with our beliefs. The good news is that there is no place where God is not, and so we are guaranteed healing. All we have to do is change our minds so that our beliefs change. When I look at the world from the perspective of the ego, I see sin and guilt. When I look from the perspective of my holiness, I see innocence. When this change of mind is complete, sickness will be impossible because there will be no guilt in the mind.

6. This is the thought that cures. ²It does not make distinctions among unrealities. ³Nor does it seek to heal what is not sick, unmindful where the need for healing is. ⁴This is no magic. ⁵It is merely an appeal to truth, which cannot fail to heal and heal forever. ⁶It is not a thought that judges an illusion by its size, its seeming gravity, or anything that is related to the form it takes. ⁷It merely focuses on what it is, and knows that no illusion can be real.

Here Jesus is addressing our belief that there are degrees of sickness. Physically, if someone says they have stage 4 cancer and the doctors say they have a month to live, from the ego perspective it is hard for us to see this as just another illusion, just another thought. It would be a lot easier to imagine that a cold or headaches can be cured. But they are all just effects of a false belief in guilt and so if the guilt is gone, the sickness goes as well because the cause is gone. The appearance is just an illusion and cannot exist without belief.

7. Let us not try today to seek to cure what cannot suffer sickness. ²Healing must be sought but where it is, and then applied to what is sick, so that it can be cured. ³There is no remedy the world provides that can effect a change in anything. ⁴The mind that brings illusions to the truth is really changed. ⁵There is no change but this. ⁶For how can one illusion differ from another but in attributes that have no substance, no reality, no core, and nothing that is truly different?

8. Today we seek to change our minds about the source of sickness, for we seek a cure for all illusions, not another shift among them. ²We will try today to find the source of healing, which is in our minds because our Father placed it there for us. ³It is not farther from us than ourselves. ⁴It is as near to us as our own thoughts; so close it is impossible to lose. ⁵We need but seek it and it must be found.

Jesus is not saying that we should ignore our medical problems or any of our problems. Acting like we are not sick when we are is not the same as accepting the Atonement. God does not ask for our suffering, actually, quite the opposite. Go to the doctor, take the medicine or the treatments if that is what the story calls for. But whatever we are doing for the body or for our finances or relationships, let us remember the truth. This is an illusion.

We are not these bodies. We are not in these bodies. We are innocent, all of us are innocent no matter what these bodies are doing. There is no world. We are observers of ancient memories. Our purpose here is to remember and thus to undo the world. Let us remember that all illusions are the same no matter what form or what size or what gravity they seem to take. And let us do these simple lessons and practices so that we wake up from the dream of separation. That is the only cure there is. Accepting this is accepting the Atonement. And when this is complete, the need for correction within the story is over.

9. We will not be misled today by what appears to us as sick. ²We go beyond appearances today and reach the source of healing, from which nothing is exempt. ³We will succeed to the extent to which we realize that there can never be a meaningful distinction made between what is untrue and equally untrue. ⁴Here there are no degrees, and no beliefs that what does not exist is truer in some forms than others. ⁵All of them are false, and can be cured because they are not true.

10. So do we lay aside our amulets, our charms and medicines, our chants and bits of magic in whatever form they take. ²We will be still and listen for the Voice of healing, which will cure all ills as one, restoring saneness to the Son of God. ³No voice but this can cure. ⁴Today we hear a single Voice which speaks to us of truth, where all illusions end, and peace returns to the eternal, quiet home of God.

Nothing that is done in the illusion to save us will work, even if it seems to. We will just keep trading one illusion for another and that is not a cure, but what Jesus is asking us to here will bring a cure for all illusions. For a little while, let us set aside our belief in magic and our belief in sickness and turn to the Voice for God and let it speak to us. And if you hear nothing, if you are unaware of any healing thoughts or inspired ideas, if nothing seems to change, relax and know that the Holy Spirit never fails to respond to our slightest call. Something is happening, I assure you. Healing is happening. Trust this.

11. We waken hearing Him, and let Him speak to us five minutes as the day begins, and end the day by listening again five minutes more before we go to sleep. ²Our only preparation is to let our interfering thoughts be laid aside, not separately, but all of them as one. ³They are the same. ⁴We have no need to make them different, and thus delay the time when we can hear our Father speak to us. ⁵We hear Him now. ⁶We come to Him today.

12. With nothing in our hands to which we cling, with lifted hearts and listening minds we pray:

²Only salvation can be said to cure.
³Speak to us, Father, that we may be healed.

⁴And we will feel salvation cover us with soft protection, and with peace so deep that no illusion can disturb our minds, nor offer proof to us that it is real. ⁵This will we learn today. ⁶And we will say our prayer for healing hourly, and take a minute as the hour strikes, to hear the answer to our prayer be given us as we attend in silence and in joy. ⁷This is the day when healing comes to us. ⁸This is the day when separation ends, and we remember Who we really are.

(ACIM, W-140.1:1–12:8)

So little is asked of us and so much is given. I put this prayer on a card and I am carrying it with me today so that I will remember to use it often. There is nothing to fear in remembering who we are. There is no loss in remembering who we are.

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