A Course in Miracles Blog

The cause of sickness, pain and suffering

  • By Paul West
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"A major step in the Atonement plan is to undo error at ALL levels. Illness, which is really "not Right Mindedness", is the result of level confusion in the sense that it always entails the misbelief that what is amiss in one level can adversely affect another."

"All physical illness represents a belief in magic. The whole distortion which created magic rested on the belief that there is a creative ability in matter, which can control the mind."

"It was the first level of the error to believe that the body created its own illness. Thereafter, it is a second mis-step to attempt to heal it through non-creative agents."

"The removal of blocks, then, is the only way to guarantee help and healing. Help and healing are the normal expressions of a mind which is working THROUGH the body but not in it. If the mind believes the body is its goal, it will distort its perception OF the body, and by blocking its own extension BEYOND it, will INDUCE illness by FOSTERING SEPARATION. Perceiving the body AS A SEPARATE ENTITY cannot but foster illness, because it is not true. A medium of communication WILL lose its usefulness if it is used for anything else. ... To use a medium of communication as a medium of attack is an obvious confusion in purpose. To communicate is to join and to attack is to separate. How can you do both simultaneously WITH THE SAME THING, and NOT suffer?"

"The arrest of the mind's extension is the cause of all illness, because ONLY EXTENSION IS THE MIND'S FUNCTION. Block this, and you have blocked health because you have BLOCKED THE MIND'S JOY."

"LET yourself be healed, that you may be forgiving, offering salvation to your brother AND yourself. A broken body shows the mind has NOT been healed. A miracle of healing proves that separation is WITHOUT effect. What you would prove to him you will believe."

"All sickness comes from a confusion of the levels."

"Sickness is but another form of guilt."

"Do not allow yourselves to suffer from the results of what is not true. Free your minds from the belief that this is possible. In its complete impossibility, and your full awareness of its complete impossibility, lies your only hope for release."

"Sickness is not an accident. Like all defenses, it is an insane device for self-deception. And 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. The aim of all defenses is to keep the truth from being whole. The parts are seen as if each one were whole within itself."

"Sickness is a defense against the truth."

"Sickness is a decision. It is not a thing that happens to you quite unsought, which makes you weak and brings you suffering. It 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. Now are you sick that truth may go away, and threaten your establishments no more."

"The body cannot heal, because it cannot MAKE ITSELF SICK. It NEEDS no healing. Its health or sickness depends ENTIRELY on how the mind perceives it, and the purpose that the mind would use it FOR."

"The ego SEPARATES through the body. The Holy Spirit reaches THROUGH it to others. You do not perceive your brothers as the Holy Spirit does because you do not interpret their bodies AND YOURS solely as a means of JOINING THEIR MINDS and uniting them with yours and mine. This interpretation of the body will change your mind entirely about its value. Of itself it has NONE. If you use it for attack it is harmful to you. But if you use it ONLY to reach the minds of those who believe they ARE bodies and teach them THROUGH the body that THIS IS NOT SO, you will begin to understand the power of the mind that is in both of you. If you use the body for this, and ONLY for this, you CANNOT use it for attack. In the service of uniting, it becomes a beautiful lesson in communion, which has value until communion IS. "

"The central lesson is always this; that what you use the body for it will become to you.Use it for sin or for attack, which is the same as sin, and you will see it as sinful. Because it is sinful it is weak, and being weak, it suffers and it dies.Use it to bring the Word of God to those who have it not, and the body becomes holy. Because it is holy it cannot be sick, nor can it die. When its usefulness is done it is laid by, and that is all. The mind makes this decision, as it makes all decisions that are responsible for the body's condition."

"The IDEA of separation PRODUCED the body, and remains connected TO it, MAKING it sick because of its identification WITH it. ... "You THINK you are PROTECTING the body by HIDING this connection. For this concealment SEEMS to keep your identification safe from the "attack" of truth. If you but understood how much this strange concealment has hurt your mind, and how confused your own identification has become to you, BECAUSE of it! You do not see how great the devastation wrought by your faithlessness. For faithlessness is an attack, which SEEMS to be justified by its RESULTS. For, by withholding faith, you see only what IS unworthy of it, and cannot look BEYOND the barrier to what is joined with you."

"Sickness is but another name for sin. Healing is but another Name for God. The miracle is thus a call to Him."

"Thus are you JOINED in sickness, to preserve the little gap unhealed, where sickness is kept carefully protected, cherished, and upheld by firm belief, lest God should come to bridge the little gap that leads to Him."

"Sickness is but a "little" death; a form of vengeance not yet total. Yet it speaks with certainty for what it represents. The bleak and bitter picture you have sent your brother, YOU have looked upon in grief. And everything that it has shown to him have you believed, BECAUSE it witnessed to the guilt in him, which you perceived and loved. "

"Sickness is isolation. For it seems to keep one self apart from all the rest, to suffer what the others do not feel. It gives the body final power to make the separation real and keep the mind in solitary prison, split apart and held in pieces by a solid wall of sickened flesh which it can not surmount."

"Whatever the sickness, there is but one remedy. You will be made whole as you MAKE whole, for to perceive in sickness the appeal for health, is to recognize in hatred the call for love."

"What you behold as sickness and as pain, as weakness and as suffering and loss, is but temptation to perceive yourself defenseless and in hell. Yield not to this, and you will see all pain in every form wherever it occurs but disappear as mists before the sun."

"Only the wholly insane could look on death and suffering, sickness and despair, and see it thus. What guilt has wrought is ugly, fearful, and very dangerous. See no illusion of truth and beauty there."

"Illusions carry only guilt and suffering, sickness and death, to their believers. The form in which they are accepted is irrelevant. No form of misery, in reason's eyes, can be confused with joy."

"Any form of mental illness can truthfully be described as an expression of viciousness. We said before that those who are afraid are apt to be vicious. If we were willing to forgive other people's misperceptions of us, they could not possibly affect us at all."

"Pain, illness, loss, age and death seem to threaten me. All my hopes and wishes and plans appear to be at the mercy of a world I cannot control. Yet perfect security and complete fulfillment are my inheritance. I have tried to give my inheritance away in exchange for the world I see. But God has kept my inheritance safe for me."

"The guiltless mind cannot suffer. Being sane, it heals the body because IT has been healed. The sane mind cannot conceive of illness, because it cannot conceive of attacking anything or anyone."

"For example, do not say, 'God did not create illness', but, 'God did not create cancer,' or heart attacks, or whatever may arouse fear in you. ... This is your personal repertory of horrors at which you are looking.These things are part of the world you see. Some of them are shared illusions, and others are part of your personal hell. It does not matter.What God did not create can only be in your own mind apart from His. Therefore, it has no meaning."

"The gap IS little. Yet it holds the seeds of pestilence and every form of ill, because it is a WISH to keep apart, and NOT to join. And thus it seems to give a CAUSE to sickness which is NOT its cause. The PURPOSE of the gap is all the cause that sickness has. For it was made to keep you separated in a body which you see as if it were the CAUSE of pain. The cause of pain is separation, NOT the body, which is only its EFFECT."

"It is your thoughts alone that cause you pain. Nothing external to your mind can hurt or injure you in any way. There is no cause beyond yourself that can reach down and bring oppression. No-one but yourself affects you. There is nothing in the world which has the power to make you ill or sad, or weak or frail. But it is you who have the power to dominate all things you see by merely recognizing what you are. As you perceive the harmlessness in them, they will accept your holy will as theirs. And what was seen as fearful now becomes a source of innocence and holiness."

"Pain is the thought of evil taking form, and working havoc in your holy mind. Pain is the ransom you have gladly paid not to be free. In pain is God denied the Son He loves. In pain does fear appear to triumph over love, and time replace eternity and Heaven. And the world becomes a cruel and a bitter place, where sorrow rules and little joys give way before the onslaught of the savage pain that waits to end all joy in misery."

"Pain demonstrates the body must be real. It is a loud, obscuring voice, whose shrieks would silence what the Holy Spirit says, and keep His words from your awareness. Pain compels attention, drawing it away from Him, and focusing upon itself. Its purpose is the same as pleasure, for they both are means TO MAKE THE BODY REAL. What shares a common purpose IS the same. This is the law of purpose, which unites all those who share in it within itself. Pleasure and pain are EQUALLY unreal, because their purpose CANNOT be achieved. Thus are they means for nothing, for they have a goal without a meaning. And they share the lack of meaning that their PURPOSE has. "

"Sin shifts from pain to pleasure, and again to pain. For EITHER witness is the same, and carries but one message, "You are here, WITHIN this body, and you CAN be hurt. You can have pleasure, too, but ONLY at the cost of pain."

"Pain is a wrong perspective. When it is experienced in any form, it is a proof of self-deception. It is not a fact at all. There is no form it takes which will not disappear if seen aright. For pain proclaims God cruel. How could it be real in any form? It witnesses to God the Father's hatred of His Son; the sinfulness He sees in him, and His insane desire for revenge and death. Can such projections be attested to? Can they be anything but wholly false?"

"Pain is but witness to the Son's mistakes in what he thinks he is. It is a dream of fierce retaliation for a crime that could not be committed; for attack on what is wholly unassailable. It is a nightmare of abandonment by an Eternal Love Which could not leave the Son whom It created out of love."

"If you will accept yourself as God created you, you will be incapable of suffering. But 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."

"Of one thing you were sure; of all the many causes you perceived as bringing pain and suffering to you, your guilt was NOT among them. Nor did you, in ANY way, REQUEST them for yourself. This is how ALL illusions come about. The one who makes them does NOT see himself as making them, and their reality does NOT depend on him. Whatever cause they have is something quite APART from him, and what he sees is SEPARATE from his mind. "

"The secret of salvation is but this: That YOU are doing this UNTO YOURSELF. No matter what the form of the attack, this STILL is true. Whoever takes the role of enemy and of attacker, STILL is this the truth. Whatever seems to be the cause of any pain and suffering you feel, this is STILL true. For you would not react at all to figures in a dream you knew that YOU were dreaming. Let them be as hateful and as vicious as they may, they COULD have no effect on you, unless you failed to recognize it is YOUR dream. This single lesson learned will set you free from suffering, WHATEVER form it takes. "

"Trials are but lessons which you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain which what you chose before has brought to you. "

"Delay will hurt you now MORE THAN BEFORE, ONLY because you realize it IS delay, and that escape from pain IS REALLY POSSIBLE. Find hope and comfort, rather than despair, in this. You could no longer find even the ILLUSION of love in ANY special relationship here."

"This makes it an end and not a means in your interpretation, and this ALWAYS means YOU STILL FIND SIN ATTRACTIVE. No-one accepts Atonement for himself who still accepts sin as his goal. You have thus not met your one responsibility. Atonement is not welcomed by those who PREFER pain and destruction."

"You are accustomed to the notion that the mind can see the source of pain where it is not. The doubtful service of displacement is to hide the REAL source of your guilt, and KEEP from your awareness the full perception THAT IT IS INSANE."

"This is the only thing that you need do for vision, happiness, release from pain, and the complete escape from sin, all to be given you. Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for here the power of salvation lies: "I AM responsible for what I see. I CHOSE the feelings I experience, and I DECIDED ON the goal I would achieve. And everything that SEEMS to happen TO me, I ASKED FOR and received as I had asked."

"I cannot suffer any loss or deprivation or pain because of who I am. My Father supports me, protects me, and directs me in all things. His care for me is infinite, and is with me forever. I am eternally blessed as His Son."

"Every illusion carries pain and suffering in the dark folds of the heavy garments with which it hides its nothingness. Yet, in these dark and heavy garments, are those who seek illusions covered, and hidden from the joy of truth. Truth is the opposite of illusions, because it offers joy."

"No risk is possible throughout the day except to put your trust in magic, for it is only this that leads to pain. There is no will but God's."

"And to realize that pain is purposeless, without a cause, and with no power to accomplish anything. It cannot purchase anything at all. It offers nothing, and does not exist. And everything you think it offers you is lacking in existence like itself. You have been slave to nothing. Be you free today to join the happy Will of God."

"To the ego, the body IS TO ATTACK WITH Equating YOU with the body, it teaches that YOU are to attack with, because THIS IS WHAT IT BELIEVES. The body, then, is not the source of its own health. Its condition lies solely in your interpretation of its function. "

"These are not laws, but madness. The body is endangered by the mind that hurts itself. The body suffers that the mind will fail to see it is the victim of itself. The body's suffering is a mask the mind holds up to hide what really suffers. It would not understand it is its own enemy; that it attacks itself and wants to die. It is from this your 'laws' would save the body. It is for this you think you are a body."

"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."

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