A Course in Miracles/Text/Chapter 10

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A Course in Miracles: Text by Helen Schucman
The Idols of Sickness


I. Introduction[edit]

Nothing beyond yourself can make you fearful or loving, because nothing is beyond you. Time and eternity are both in your mind, and will conflict until you perceive time solely as a means to regain eternity. You cannot do this as long as you believe that anything happening to you is caused by factors outside yourself. You must learn that time is solely at your disposal, and that nothing in the world can take this responsibility from you. You can violate God's laws in your imagination, but you cannot escape from them. They were established for your protection and are as inviolate as your safety.

God created nothing beside you and nothing beside you exists, for you are part of Him. What except Him can exist? Nothing beyond Him can happen, because nothing except Him is real. Your creations add to Him as you do, but nothing is added that is different because everything has always been. What can upset you except the ephemeral, and how can the ephemeral be real if you are God's only creation and He created you eternal? Your holy mind establishes everything that happens to you. Every response you make to everything you perceive is up to you, because your mind determines your perception of it.

God does not change His Mind about you, for He is not uncertain of Himself. And what He knows can be known, because He does not know it only for Himself. He created you for Himself, but He gave you the power to create for yourself so you would be like Him. That is why your mind is holy. Can anything exceed the Love of God? Can anything, then, exceed your will? Nothing can reach you from beyond it because, being in God, you encompass everything. Believe this, and you will realize how much is up to you. When anything threatens your peace of mind, ask yourself, "Has God changed His Mind about me?" Then accept His decision, for it is indeed changeless, and refuse to change your mind about yourself. God will never decide against you, or He would be deciding against Himself.

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II. At Home in God[edit]

You do not know your creations simply because you would decide against them as long as your mind is split, and to attack what you have created is impossible. But remember that it is as impossible for God. The law of creation is that you love your creations as yourself, because they are part of you. Everything that was created is therefore perfectly safe, because the laws of God protect it by His Love. Any part of your mind that does not know this has banished itself from knowledge, because it has not met its conditions. Who could have done this but you? Recognize this gladly, for in this recognition lies the realization that your banishment is not of God, and therefore does not exist.

You are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality. Is it your decision to do so? You recognize from your own experience that what you see in dreams you think is real while you are asleep. Yet the instant you waken you realize that everything that seemed to happen in the dream did not happen at all. You do not think this strange, even though all the laws of what you awaken to were violated while you slept. Is it not possible that you merely shifted from one dream to another, without really waking?

Would you bother to reconcile what happened in conflicting dreams, or would you dismiss both together if you discovered that reality is in accord with neither? You do not remember being awake. When you hear the Holy Spirit you may feel better because loving then seems possible to you, but you do not remember yet that it once was so. And it is in this remembering that you will know it can be so again. What is possible has not yet been accomplished. Yet what has once been is so now, if it is eternal. When you remember, you will know that what you remember is eternal, and therefore is now.

You will remember everything the instant you desire it wholly, for if to desire wholly is to create, you will have willed away the separation, returning your mind simultaneously to your Creator and your creations. Knowing them you will have no wish to sleep, but only the desire to waken and be glad. Dreams will be impossible because you will want only truth, and being at last your will, it will be yours.

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III. The Decision to Forget[edit]

Unless you first know something you cannot dissociate it. Knowledge must precede dissociation, so that dissociation is nothing more than a decision to forget. What has been forgotten then appears to be fearful, but only because the dissociation is an attack on truth. You are fearful because you have forgotten. And you have replaced your knowledge by an awareness of dreams because you are afraid of your dissociation, not of what you have dissociated. When what you have dissociated is accepted, it ceases to be fearful.

Yet to give up the dissociation of reality brings more than merely lack of fear. In this decision lie joy and peace and the glory of creation. Offer the Holy Spirit only your willingness to remember, for He retains the knowledge of God and of yourself for you, waiting for your acceptance. Give up gladly everything that would stand in the way of your remembering, for God is in your memory. His Voice will tell you that you are part of Him when you are willing to remember Him and know your own reality again. Let nothing in this world delay your remembering of Him, for in this remembering is the knowledge of yourself.

To remember is merely to restore to your mind what is already there. You do not make what you remember; you merely accept again what is already there, but was rejected. The ability to accept truth in this world is the perceptual counterpart of creating in the Kingdom. God will do His part if you will do yours, and His return in exchange for yours is the exchange of knowledge for perception. Nothing is beyond His Will for you. But signify your will to remember Him, and behold! He will give you everything but for the asking.

When you attack, you are denying yourself. You are specifically teaching yourself that you are not what you are. Your denial of reality precludes the acceptance of God's gift, because you have accepted something else in its place. If you understand that this is always an attack on truth, and truth is God, you will realize why it is always fearful. If you further recognize that you are part of God, you will understand why it is that you always attack yourself first.

If you realized the complete havoc this makes of your peace of mind you could not make such an insane decision. You make it only because you still believe it can get you something you want. It follows, then, that you want something other than peace of mind, but you have not considered what it must be. Yet the logical outcome of your decision is perfectly clear, if you will only look at it. By deciding against your reality, you have made yourself vigilant against God and His Kingdom. And it is this vigilance that makes you afraid to remember Him.

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IV. The God of Sickness[edit]

You have not attacked God and you do love Him. Can you change your reality? No one can will to destroy himself. When you think you are attacking yourself, it is a sure sign that you hate what you think you are. And this, and only this, can be attacked by you. What you think you are can be very hateful, and what this strange image makes you do can be very destructive. Yet the destruction is no more real than the image, although those who make idols do worship them. The idols are nothing, but their worshippers are the Sons of God in sickness. God would have them released from their sickness and returned to His Mind. He will not limit your power to help them, because He has given it to you. Do not be afraid of it, because it is your salvation.

What Comforter can there be for the sick children of God except His power through you? Remember that it does not matter where in the Sonship He is accepted. He is always accepted for all, and when your mind receives Him the remembrance of Him awakens throughout the Sonship. Heal your brothers simply by accepting God for them. Your minds are not separate, and God has only one channel for healing because He has but one Son. God's remaining communication link with all His children joins them together, and them to Him. To be aware of this is to heal them because it is the awareness that no one is separate, and so no one is sick.

To believe that a Son of God can be sick is to believe that part of God can suffer. Love cannot suffer, because it cannot attack. The remembrance of love therefore brings invulnerability with it. Do not side with sickness in the presence of a Son of God even if he believes in it, for your acceptance of God in him acknowledges the Love of God he has forgotten. Your recognition of him as part of God reminds him of the truth about himself, which he is denying. Would you strengthen his denial of God and thus lose sight of yourself? Or would you remind him of his wholeness and remember your Creator with him?

To believe a Son of God is sick is to worship the same idol he does. God created love, not idolatry. All forms of idolatry are caricatures of creation, taught by sick minds too divided to know that creation shares power and never usurps it. Sickness is idolatry, because it is the belief that power can be taken from you. Yet this is impossible, because you are part of God, Who is all power. A sick god must be an idol, made in the image of what its maker thinks he is. And that is exactly what the ego does perceive in a Son of God; a sick god, self-created, self-sufficient, very vicious and very vulnerable. Is this the idol you would worship? Is this the image you would be vigilant to save?

Look calmly at the logical conclusion of the ego's thought system and judge whether its offering is really what you want, for this is what it offers you. To obtain this you are willing to attack the Divinity of your brothers, and thus lose sight of yours. And you are willing to keep it hidden, to protect an idol you think will save you from the dangers for which it stands, but which do not exist.

There are no idolaters in the Kingdom, but there is great appreciation for everything that God created, because of the calm knowledge that each one is part of Him. God's Son knows no idols, but he does know his Father. Health in this world is the counterpart of value in Heaven. It is not my merit that I contribute to you but my love, for you do not value yourself. When you do not value yourself you become sick, but my value of you can heal you, because the value of God's Son is one. When I said, "My peace I give unto you," I meant it. Peace comes from God through me to you. It is for you although you may not ask for it.

When a brother is sick it is because he is not asking for peace, and therefore does not know he has it. The acceptance of peace is the denial of illusion, and sickness is an illusion. Yet every Son of God has the power to deny illusions anywhere in the Kingdom, merely by denying them completely in himself. I can heal you because I know you. I know your value for you, and it is this value that makes you whole. A whole mind is not idolatrous, and does not know of conflicting laws. I will heal you merely because I have only one message, and it is true. Your faith in it will make you whole when you have faith in me.

I do not bring God's message with deception, and you will learn this as you learn that you always receive as much as you accept. You could accept peace now for everyone, and offer them perfect freedom from all illusions because you heard His Voice. But have no other gods before Him or you will not hear. God is not jealous of the gods you make, but you are. You would save them and serve them, because you believe that they made you. You think they are your father, because you are projecting onto them the fearful fact that you made them to replace God. Yet when they seem to speak to you, remember that nothing can replace God, and whatever replacements you have attempted are nothing.

Very simply, then, you may believe you are afraid of nothingness, but you are really afraid of nothing. And in that awareness you are healed. You will hear the god you listen to. You made the god of sickness, and by making him you made yourself able to hear him. Yet you did not create him, because he is not the Will of the Father. He is therefore not eternal and will be unmade for you the instant you signify your willingness to accept only the eternal.

If God has but one Son, there is but one God. You share reality with Him, because reality is not divided. To accept other gods before Him is to place other images before yourself. You do not realize how much you listen to your gods, and how vigilant you are on their behalf. Yet they exist only because you honor them. Place honor where it is due, and peace will be yours. It is your inheritance from your real Father. You cannot make your Father, and the father you made did not make you. Honor is not due to illusions, for to honor them is to honor nothing. Yet fear is not due them either, for nothing cannot be fearful. You have chosen to fear love because of its perfect harmlessness, and because of this fear you have been willing to give up your own perfect helpfulness and your own perfect help.

Only at the altar of God will you find peace. And this altar is in you because God put it there. His Voice still calls you to return, and He will be heard when you place no other gods before Him. You can give up the god of sickness for your brothers; in fact, you would have to do so if you give him up for yourself. For if you see the god of sickness anywhere, you have accepted him. And if you accept him you will bow down and worship him, because he was made as God's replacement. He is the belief that you can choose which god is real. Although it is clear this has nothing to do with reality, it is equally clear that it has everything to do with reality as you perceive it.

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V. The End of Sickness[edit]

All magic is an attempt at reconciling the irreconcilable. All religion is the recognition that the irreconcilable cannot be reconciled. Sickness and perfection are irreconcilable. If God created you perfect, you are perfect. If you believe you can be sick, you have placed other gods before Him. God is not at war with the god of sickness you made, but you are. He is the symbol of deciding against God, and you are afraid of him because he cannot be reconciled with God's Will. If you attack him, you will make him real to you. But if you refuse to worship him in whatever form he may appear to you, and wherever you think you see him, he will disappear into the nothingness out of which he was made.

Reality can dawn only on an unclouded mind. It is always there to be accepted, but its acceptance depends on your willingness to have it. To know reality must involve the willingness to judge unreality for what it is. To overlook nothingness is merely to judge it correctly, and because of your ability to evaluate it truly, to let it go. Knowledge cannot dawn on a mind full of illusions, because truth and illusions are irreconcilable. Truth is whole, and cannot be known by part of a mind.

The Sonship cannot be perceived as partly sick, because to perceive it that way is not to perceive it at all. If the Sonship is one, it is one in all respects. Oneness cannot be divided. If you perceive other gods your mind is split, and you will not be able to limit the split, because it is the sign that you have removed part of your mind from God's Will. This means it is out of control. To be out of control is to be out of reason, and then the mind does become unreasonable. By defining the mind wrongly, you perceive it as functioning wrongly.

God's laws will keep your mind at peace because peace is His Will, and His laws are established to uphold it. His are the laws of freedom, but yours are the laws of bondage. Since freedom and bondage are irreconcilable, their laws cannot be understood together. The laws of God work only for your good, and there are no other laws beside His. Everything else is merely lawless and therefore chaotic. Yet God Himself has protected everything He created by His laws. Everything that is not under them does not exist. "Laws of chaos" is a meaningless term. Creation is perfectly lawful, and the chaotic is without meaning because it is without God. You have "given" your peace to the gods you made, but they are not there to take it from you, and you cannot give it to them.

You are not free to give up freedom, but only to deny it. You cannot do what God did not intend, because what He did not intend does not happen. Your gods do not bring chaos; you are endowing them with chaos, and accepting it of them. All this has never been. Nothing but the laws of God has ever been, and nothing but His Will will ever be. You were created through His laws and by His Will, and the manner of your creation established you a creator. What you have made is so unworthy of you that you could hardly want it, if you were willing to see it as it is. You will see nothing at all. And your vision will automatically look beyond it, to what is in you and all around you. Reality cannot break through the obstructions you interpose, but it will envelop you completely when you let them go.

When you have experienced the protection of God, the making of idols becomes inconceivable. There are no strange images in the Mind of God, and what is not in His Mind cannot be in yours, because you are of one mind and that mind belongs to Him. It is yours because it belongs to Him, for to Him ownership is sharing. And if it is so for Him, it is so for you. His definitions are His laws, for by them He established the universe as what it is. No false gods you attempt to interpose between yourself and your reality affect truth at all. Peace is yours because God created you, and He created nothing else.

The miracle is the act of a Son of God who has laid aside all false gods, and calls on his brothers to do likewise. It is an act of faith, because it is the recognition that his brother can do it. It is a call to the Holy Spirit in his mind, a call that is strengthened by joining. Because the miracle worker has heard God's Voice, he strengthens It in a sick brother by weakening his belief in sickness, which he does not share. The power of one mind can shine into another, because all the lamps of God were lit by the same spark. It is everywhere and it is eternal.

In many only the spark remains, for the Great Rays are obscured. Yet God has kept the spark alive so that the Rays can never be completely forgotten. If you but see the little spark you will learn of the greater light, for the Rays are there unseen. Perceiving the spark will heal, but knowing the light will create. Yet in the returning the little light must be acknowledged first, for the separation was a descent from magnitude to littleness. But the spark is still as pure as the Great Light, because it is the remaining call of creation. Put all your faith in it, and God Himself will answer you.

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VI. The Denial of God[edit]

The rituals of the god of sickness are strange and very demanding. Joy is never permitted, for depression is the sign of allegiance to him. Depression means that you have forsworn God. Many are afraid of blasphemy, but they do not understand what it means. They do not realize that to deny God is to deny their own Identity, and in this sense the wages of sin is death. The sense is very literal; denial of life perceives its opposite, as all forms of denial replace what is with what is not. No one can really do this, but that you can think you can and believe you have is beyond dispute.

Do not forget, however, that to deny God will inevitably result in projection, and you will believe that others and not yourself have done this to you. You must receive the message you give because it is the message you want. You may believe that you judge your brothers by the messages they give you, but you have judged them by the message you give to them. Do not attribute your denial of joy to them, or you cannot see the spark in them that would bring joy to you. It is the denial of the spark that brings depression, for whenever you see your brothers without it, you are denying God.

Allegiance to the denial of God is the ego's religion. The god of sickness obviously demands the denial of health, because health is in direct opposition to its own survival. But consider what this means to you. Unless you are sick you cannot keep the gods you made, for only in sickness could you possibly want them. Blasphemy, then, is self-destructive, not God-destructive. It means that you are willing not to know yourself in order to be sick. This is the offering your god demands because, having made him out of your insanity, he is an insane idea. He has many forms, but although he may seem to be many different things he is but one idea; -- the denial of God.

Sickness and death seemed to enter the mind of God's Son against His Will. The "attack on God" made His Son think he was Fatherless, and out of his depression he made the god of depression. This was his alternative to joy, because he would not accept the fact that, although he was a creator, he had been created. Yet the Son is helpless without the Father, Who alone is his Help.

I said before that of yourself you can do nothing, but you are not of yourself. If you were, what you have made would be true, and you could never escape. It is because you did not make yourself that you need be troubled over nothing. Your gods are nothing, because your Father did not create them. You cannot make creators who are unlike your Creator, any more than He could have created a Son who was unlike Him. If creation is sharing, it cannot create what is unlike itself. It can share only what it is. Depression is isolation, and so it could not have been created.

Son of God, you have not sinned, but you have been much mistaken. Yet this can be corrected and God will help you, knowing that you could not sin against Him. You denied Him because you loved Him, knowing that if you recognized your love for Him, you could not deny Him. Your denial of Him therefore means that you love Him, and that you know He loves you. Remember that what you deny you must have once known. And if you accept denial, you can accept its undoing.

Your Father has not denied you. He does not retaliate, but He does call to you to return. When you think He has not answered your call, you have not answered His. He calls to you from every part of the Sonship, because of His Love for His Son. If you hear His message He has answered you, and you will learn of Him if you hear aright. The Love of God is in everything He created, for His Son is everywhere. Look with peace upon your brothers, and God will come rushing into your heart in gratitude for your gift to Him.

Do not look to the god of sickness for healing but only to the God of love, for healing is the acknowledgment of Him. When you acknowledge Him you will know that He has never ceased to acknowledge you, and that in His acknowledgment of you lies your being. You are not sick and you cannot die. But you can confuse yourself with things that do. Remember, though, that to do this is blasphemy, for it means that you are looking without love on God and His creation, from which He cannot be separated.

Only the eternal can be loved, for love does not die. What is of God is His forever, and you are of God. Would He allow Himself to suffer? And would He offer His Son anything that is not acceptable to Him? If you will accept yourself as God created you, you will be incapable of suffering. Yet to do this you must acknowledge Him as your Creator. This is not because you will be punished otherwise. It is merely because your acknowledgment of your Father is the acknowledgment of yourself as you are. Your Father created you wholly without sin, wholly without pain and wholly without suffering of any kind. If you deny Him you bring sin, pain and suffering into your own mind because of the power He gave it. Your mind is capable of creating worlds, but it can also deny what it creates because it is free.

You do not realize how much you have denied yourself, and how much God, in His Love, would not have it so. Yet He would not interfere with you, because He would not know His Son if he were not free. To interfere with you would be to attack Himself, and God is not insane. When you deny Him you are insane. Would you have Him share your insanity? God will never cease to love His Son, and His Son will never cease to love Him. That was the condition of His Son's creation, fixed forever in the Mind of God. To know that is sanity. To deny it is insanity. God gave Himself to you in your creation, and His gifts are eternal. Would you deny yourself to Him?

Out of your gifts to Him the Kingdom will be restored to His Son. His Son removed himself from His gift by refusing to accept what had been created for him, and what he had created in the Name of his Father. Heaven waits for his return, for it was created as the dwelling place of God's Son. You are not at home anywhere else, or in any other condition. Do not deny yourself the joy that was created for you for the misery you have made for yourself. God has given you the means for undoing what you have made. Listen, and you will learn how to remember what you are.

If God knows His children as wholly sinless, it is blasphemous to perceive them as guilty. If God knows His children as wholly without pain, it is blasphemous to perceive suffering anywhere. If God knows His children to be wholly joyous, it is blasphemous to feel depressed. All of these illusions, and the many other forms that blasphemy may take, are refusals to accept creation as it is. If God created His Son perfect, that is how you must learn to see him to learn of his reality. And as part of the Sonship, that is how you must see yourself to learn of yours.

Do not perceive anything God did not create or you are denying Him. His is the only Fatherhood, and it is yours only because He has given it to you. Your gifts to yourself are meaningless, but your gifts to your creations are like His, because they are given in His Name. That is why your creations are as real as His. Yet the real Fatherhood must be acknowledged if the real Son is to be known. You believe that the sick things you have made are your real creations, because you believe that the sick images you perceive are the Sons of God. Only if you accept the Fatherhood of God will you have anything, because His Fatherhood gave you everything. That is why to deny Him is to deny yourself.

Arrogance is the denial of love, because love shares and arrogance withholds. As long as both appear to you to be desirable the concept of choice, which is not of God, will remain with you. While this is not true in eternity it is true in time, so that while time lasts in your mind there will be choices. Time itself is your choice. If you would remember eternity, you must look only on the eternal. If you allow yourself to become preoccupied with the temporal, you are living in time. As always, your choice is determined by what you value. Time and eternity cannot both be real, because they contradict each other. If you will accept only what is timeless as real, you will begin to understand eternity and make it yours.