PART ONE (Please listen to Part Two as well)
I feel this section is perhaps the most confronting of all Jesus’ teachings. In my three decades with the Course I have not witnessed either students or teachers expounding on the significance and repercussions of our unrecognized “fear of healing.” Shockingly, this unseen and therefore unhealed fear is exactly what feeds our unconscious attraction to guilt, pain, sickness, aging and death.
This fear of healing is the false-self’s number one ally, its primary ringleader in making sure that True forgiveness as accepting the Atonement fully, is delayed. It does this because it knows that our total healing would end “it” together with the imagined separation – quickly.
Many of us have learned at least intellectually, that guilt is the underlying cause of all our problems including disease, pain, conflict, scarcity and even physical death itself. Therefore, this denied guilt – merely a mistake –must be acknowledged first and then forgiven. This is healing the single cause of all suffering.
But many of us delay this healing by still falling for a common trap. We assign the cause of pain, conflict and sickness from un-forgiven guilt to seemingly external phenomena such as the body, another, the past or the world thereby making it a real opponent in our mind. And while we choose to keep making this mistake of confusing the cause as coming from anywhere other than our own mind, we reject healing the origin of all sickness.
While we continue to externalize the cause of all our suffering we may be able to alleviate suffering temporarily through magic yet this leaves the real cause unseen and therefore unhealed.
When we are triggered by another, the body, the past or the world then the cause is quite literally our own split mind. Through a filter of fear we give the disturbing appearance reality. Otherwise, it has none.
We interpret a seeming threat according to our own level of un-relinquished guilt and fear. In other words, we give it reality and make it an opponent, according to the degree we still choose to believe we are guilty.
Remember that the false-self is guilt incarnate. And the last thing it will ever agree to is to look upon this illusory guilt. It must project and see this guilt in others in order to perpetuate the belief in an external cause thereby protecting the guilt in its mind.
The single cause of all forms of suffering is our un-forgiven belief in separation from our brothers, our Holy Self and God. The sustaining belief which upholds the separation is the addictive assumption that we have been or could be unfairly treated and its ensuing judgment. This is a primal misperception as the belief in victim and perpetrator which underlies the split mind’s attraction to suffering.
There is a universal dynamic which permeates the entire ego belief system and every seeming problem is hinged on this. In order for the ego to maintain its false and separate sense of self it must regard itself superficially, as innocent. And the only innocence it knows is bought at the cost of someone else’s guilt or “fake innocence.” It appears to thrive and gain by condemning another, hence its outright rejection of total forgiveness. To forgive completely is to sacrifice its own fake innocence. It therefore throws constant decoys of accusation –as projection – to the body, others, self, the past and the world.
The ego’s survival depends on its fake innocence and this can only be upheld while it projects that someone is guilty. Its pseudo innocence is always sustained by the mistaken belief that it was indeed victimized and that someone either past or present is the guilty perpetrator.
How do we gauge unconscious guilt? By the degree we feel victimized by the body, others, self, the past or the world. To that degree we will resist comprehensive forgiveness while simultaneously we will prefer to hold onto the symptoms of pain, illness, deprivation, etc. These symptoms (effects of guilt) serve the ego by providing seeming physical evidence that we were clearly victimized.
The false-self is addicted to being unfairly treated. It values the body only to the extent that it can use it as proof of its fake innocence and show how it has been unjustly condemned. And illness and pain paint a picture in which sin appears to be justified.
“The strongest witness to futility, that bolsters all the rest and helps them paint the picture in which sin is justified, is sickness in whatever form it takes.” T-27.I.1
Sickness, pain and aging are the ego’s protection and defense against losing its separate identity. While someone is judged as guilty this self feels secure even at the expense of projecting pain or illness onto the body. It has no interest in whom it condemns just as long as it condemns someone. It keeps its top secret hidden from us. When we condemn anyone including our self we damn our body to sickness, aging and death. The body is unknowingly used as a scapegoat to announce that “it” has been assaulted by someone/something that we have no control over.
And while we consent to this erroneous belief of victimization we unconsciously condemn someone; either another or self. But the Truth is that we cannot possibly condemn someone else without damning our self. And we can’t blame our self in isolation either because we and our brother are one.
This desire to condemn others or self is the ego’s deep seated certainty that sin is real; an irrevocable error which always deserves justified punishment. The seeming sins that trigger us reflect our very own deeply buried wish for revenge and finally, for death. All this appears as unconscious until we willingly desire to see and heal its dynamic.
Fear is a direct product of our mistaken belief that we have sinned. When we fear anyone or anything it arises from an unconscious belief that we are guilty and so punishment is our due. All our defenses including planning, problem-solving, control mechanisms for the body, relationships and finances, etc., are defenses which stem from just one mistake – which is that we believe we will be punished because we are guilty. This is the single problem that requires our forgiveness, our belief in separation (sin, guilt and fear).
Even pain, sickness and physical death are forms of defense against awakening to the boundless Love we are. This Love is known only by releasing everyone via forgiveness, including our self and the body from the ego’s endless lust for blame and it’s certain descendent, victimization. Every fearful reaction, at its core, is always a defense against expected punishment, and are all expressions of the “fear of awakening” to our majestic Holy Self.
“All forms of sickness, even unto death, are physical expressions of the fear of awakening.” T-8.IX.3:2
In this bold passage Jesus states that not just some forms of sickness are fear, but that all forms of sickness including death are physical expressions of the fear of awakening. In practical terms this is the fear of Love (God), of True union, of closing the gap via forgiveness of others and self. The ego is terrified of this because its identity along with all its delusional beliefs and values are annihilated in its exposure to the Truth.
The false-self is content to inflict pain, disease, decay and even death onto the body to prove its fake innocence that it was indeed a victim of injustice. It attempts to trump God by proving that attack (sickness and death) conquers God as Love and healing. This is its identity. The body in pain, disease and death, is unknowingly used to demonstrate that we have been unfairly treated at the hands of “someone” or even something that hurt us in some way.
Ego innocence is always bought at the cost of making someone guilty. To understand and accept that no one including our self is guilty is the total annihilation of the false-self. This is the fearless state of incorruptible innocence, of unified perception. The ego is sustained exclusively by guilt. Think about this. God and our Holy Self are Love without opposite which means Love without sacrifice, loss, pain or attack. Yet fear is the illusory opposite of Love. The only way we could possibly believe in or feel fear is if we still value its sole source – sin and guilt.
There is an automatic response to everything that triggers us and that is to lay blame on someone or something external including the body. This immediate knee-jerk reaction and subsequent projection of guilt, is always a decision for self-attack regardless of the millions of different “forms” it takes. When triggered we mistakenly agree with what the ego sends our body’s senses to report back to us, that danger is imminent – and that we, independent of Spirit, must counter attack or defend.
All triggers are always signs of our own un-forgiven guilt no matter the form. If this is the case 100% of the time then we can train our self – without self condemnation –to heal immediately by applying genuine forgiveness: “Holy Spirit, please help me to forgive myself for having unknowingly used __(person, illness, pain, scarcity, weight issue, depression, etc)__to attack myself and to separate from my Holy Self.”
As explained earlier, fear is an exclusive byproduct of guilt. If there is no guilt then there can be no possibility of fear and therefore, no possibility of suffering. Guilt is the expectation and therefore, attraction of punishment. The ego refuses to forgive because it knows that there is just one to forgive and that is our self. When we take full accountability without self-judgment and we forgive our self we revoke guilt as the source of all attack and fear.
There is absolutely no judgment here, in fact we’re being asked to drop all judgment including self-judgment as only the false self condemns. There is no sin. In our development of trust we must be willing to have every idol both positive and negative, repurposed by Holy Spirit. This necessitates looking with radical self-honesty at what we use the body for. We do this with Holy Spirit so He can divinely repurpose the body. But He cannot do this until we give Him permission. He requires our willingness.
The Most Blasphemous Teaching of all Time
I must admit many years ago when I first read Chapter 27 of the Text in the Course I was horrified. This section is perhaps the most blasphemous to the ego thought system. Jesus makes very specific, literal statements boldly declaring that the body is used by the ego for attack via sickness in order to prove that someone is guilty. He uses the words “proof” or “proves” six times in just one section, Section Two in Chapter 27, which is aptly titled The Fear of Healing.
A word of warning. The false-self despises this teaching! In my own experience it usually interprets this teaching in one of two ways: 1) It completely rejects it as heresy, or 2) It turns the projection of guilt away from others and onto self. The spiritualized ego is often a master at self-judgment. It doesn’t realize that to judge our self is to judge everyone including God. It is impossible to condemn our self alone; just as it’s impossible to heal our self alone. This teaching aims at the total relinquishment of judgment through our heartfelt acceptance of the Atonement, the undoing of fear.
All those years ago I had been unwittingly invested in physical pain together with a plethora of causes that were all external so I was shocked at the implications that Jesus was suggesting in this chapter. You mean I have to forgive my mother and all the other perpetrators before I can heal the single cause of my pain? To the ego at the time this was way too much of a sacrifice. I remember squirming as I read the following paragraphs!
“Whenever you consent to suffer pain, to be deprived, unfairly treated or in need of anything, you but accuse your brother of attack upon God’s Son.” T-27.I:3
“A sick and suffering you but represents your brother’s guilt; the witness that you send lest he forget the injuries he gave, from which you swear he never will escape. This sick and sorry picture [you] accept, if only it can serve to punish him. The sick are merciless to everyone, and in contagion do they seek to kill. Death seems an easy price, if they can say, “Behold me, brother, at your hand I die.” For sickness is the witness to his guilt, and death would prove his errors must be sins. Sickness is but a “little” death; a form of vengeance not yet total. Yet it speaks with certainty for what it represents.” T-27.I.4:3-9
My perceived perpetrators gave the ego its justified motive for using the body to demonstrate its continuing victimhood through pain and illness. It served to testify to their guilt (even though one of them had already passed on). The false-self doesn’t care if the seeming perpetrators are alive or dead. It still uses the body as painful proof that they remain guilty, because look – this sickness is stark evidence that we were indeed attacked. And that attack is real. Thus both guilt and separation are perpetuated in this self-destructive belief.
The body simply obeys guilt’s orders, suffering considerably from pain all to prove its pseudo innocence at the cost of accusing another of guilt. As Jesus says, the ego uses the body to demonstrate its allegiance to pain as a billboard to express this: “Brother, at your hand I die.”
For me, the ego at the time was outraged by the suggestion to wholly forgive my perpetrators. After all, what they did to me was real. It would mean that I had to pardon a real sin. And it would mean sacrificing my fake innocence. And then who would I be without my “own independent protection” from the ego’s enemies (as Love and Union)? These were some of the ego’s incessant rantings at the time.
Now thankfully, I see it so clearly. How insane that I consented to punish my body just so as I could feel justified that I was indeed unfairly treated, that others were guilty. Now I see what Jesus is teaching. If I forgive myself totally for this misperception then I give permission to heal the body as I relinquish guilt/projection. In letting go of blame, of accusation, I also free the body of all signs of accusation – sickness, pain, etc. In genuine forgiveness my body is free to heal and in its recovery, become a living witness to theirs and my own changeless, incorruptible innocence. In this I join Holy Spirit in proving that illusions are not true.
“Attest his innocence and not his guilt. Your healing is his comfort and his health because it proves illusions are not true. It is not will for life but wish for death that is the motivation for this world. Its only purpose is to prove guilt real.” T-27.I.6:1-4
As I see it, it all boils down to a choice between two opposing desires. 1) Do I want to see this person (another or myself) as entirely sinless, blameless, guiltless and innocent and be completely healed as a consequence of accepting the Atonement, of True forgiveness? Or, 2) Do I want to keep the evidence of sickness, pain, weight gain, etc – as proof of sin – to testify to their guilt? To prove that I am right, that I have been unfairly treated?
Did you know that we cannot truly forgive unless we take full accountability for being triggered? To make it simple, we cannot be triggered at all by anyone or anything unless we have projected it. The person, thing or situation can only be seen as a threat if we view it through a filter of guilt (ego).
Everything we seem to see is neutral. It’s all happening in our mind and is not occurring separately outside our own mind. Someone else’s sickness happens in our own split mind and to the degree that we are triggered by it reveals the extent to which we must accept the Atonement, the correction of guilt and fear. Any disturbance we feel proves that we believe the illusion is real and not merely and effect of un-forgiven guilt.
This is why, when we are fearful or distressed by someone or something, it’s crucial to recognize that we are perceiving through the ego’s filter of fear and expectation of punishment. And that is why we need to forgive our self. As we forgive our self for imagining a threat of attack, we accept Holy Spirit’s Correction as the Atonement in that Holy Instant.
The degree to which we resist forgiveness, of being totally accountable (without self-judgment) for having unknowingly used a person or situation to attack us, reveals the extent to which we wish to prove that someone is guilty by demonstrating this through pain, illness, etc. It’s a demonstration of our unhealed belief in sin and the certain punishment which must follow. This is a fundamental law of the ego thought system.
Jesus is absolutely fearless in His thorough annihilation of the ego thoughts system and its use of the body as a symbol of blame and accusation, through illness, deprivation or suffering of any kind.
He speaks about our unconscious attraction to guilt, to seeing and believing in actual sin rather than merely error, which can be easily corrected. By the way, all seeming sin we see particularly if we’re triggered by it, arises from just one source – because we want it. Most of this is unconscious until we consciously will with Spirit to reverse our desires: “You see what you believe is there, and you believe it there because you want it there. Perception has no other law than this.” T-25.III.1:3-4
I have mentioned this before but it’s worth sharing again. My mother spent most her adult life in excruciating physical pain. Her body was unwittingly used as a stark symbol of distrust, displaying her rigid un-forgiveness. This continued pain became her identity and she defended it to the grave. Of death or forgiveness, death to her was an easy choice. If she had devoted herself to total forgiveness she would have had to relinquish her false identity as the sick and separate one, and face her real terror – heart-felt union with others and finally, with her Holy Self.
Jesus also talks about the ego’s addiction to false forgiveness. The unhealed cannot forgive. They bear witness through their suffering that the injustice was indeed real. It did happen. And while we continue to believe that we were victimized then forgiveness remains impossible because we cannot forgive that which we still believe is real. Hence if we still feel emotionally triggered by something from the past then we must believe that it is real now. Here is the choice point. We become lucid and recognize we have a choice to believe in either fear or Love. If we choose Love then we can also choose forgiveness.
We need to ask Holy Spirit to help us to undo our belief in the reality of the trigger. But in doing so, we must also agree to take full accountability for the ego’s projection, its unconscious desire for self-attack, which was the sole cause of any perceived attack.
And here is another temptation, being triggered by memories. While we believe a past memory of pain in the now moment, we are absent from the Holy Instant in which all pain is healed. We use this past memory, and unknowingly drag it into the present moment so it will perpetuate the past into the future.
The body suffers from this distortion and obeys our hidden wish that it be used as witness to our certainty that we were unfairly treated. This is why the body changes, sickens, decays and dies. Time, as an illusion, has nothing to do with the cause of death. The neutral and changeless body has no “use-by” date unless we have unintentionally misused it. NOTE: This section is continued in Part Two of “Blasphemy or Miraculous Healing” including helpful tips on ACCEPTING the Atonement.
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