A Course in Miracles Lesson 136

Sickness is a defense against the truth.

Here we are invited to take a close look at what sickness is, and in doing so begin a critical discernment: what is the body and what is the mind? And what am I that I should be able to choose how to see myself?

What am I truth? This is the question A Course in Miracles is given to help us answer.

To be healed is to know oneself in truth. Therefore, the only sickness is the split mind – the mind which is divided against itself, insisting it is limited to a body, and subject to the body’s vulnerability and frailty. All the body’s ills – from a headache to cancer – are merely symptoms of the only problem we actually have: the problem of separation.

Sickness is not an accident . . . 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 (W-pI.136.2:1, 3-4).

When we remember that we are whole, and remember that we are not bodies, then the body’s sickness is no longer sickness, and all that remains is the body’s usefulness in communication. It becomes a means of communion with our brothers and sisters, and the communion is always a remembrance of wholeness.

More practically, we are asked in this lesson to be open to the truth. We are asked to make a specific space for the truth to be revealed to us in all its fullness. The truth is that you are mind; you are not a body. The truth is that your mind is an extension of God’s mind, not the activity of a single brain.

God knows not of your plans to change His Will . . . You can but choose to think you die, or suffer sickness or distort the truth in any way. What is created is apart from all of this (W-pI.136.11:1, 4-5).

The lesson is an invitation not to understand this conceptually – although that is not a bad thing – but rather to know it, to experience it. If I say the river is cold, you know what I mean, but if you want to know yourself its coldness, then you must enter the river.

Lesson 136 invites us to step into the river – or, more accurately, to consent to have the river enter us.

When we remember that we are minds, then we see instantly the sickness of separation. We understand perfectly at once the problem we face with all our brothers and sisters. By identifying as what we are not, we have forced both body and mind to be what they are not. Mind becomes unaware of its creative power, and the body grows terrified of its very nature.

That is how we live right now: forgetful and fearful. To see this clearly is the beginning of the end of suffering. It is the beginning of remembering what we are and how we are called to create in our Creator’s likeness. And that is the end of fear, because the wholly innocent cannot be fearful. They can only be quietly naturally happy, and happiness is their gift to the world.

Healing will flash across your open mind, as peace and truth arise to take the place of war and vain imaginings. There will be no dark corners sickness can conceal, and keep defended from the light of truth. There will be no dim figures from your dreams, nor their obscure and meaningless pursuits with double puposes insanely sought, remaining in your mind (W-pI.136.16:1-3).

This lesson is not about physical healing. Physical healing is not the miracle A Course in Miracles teaches us. The body does what bodies do. The miracle is to understand we are neither contained in nor limited by the body. It is, for a while, a means of communication with others who believe they are separated from God. This is an insight that we have at the level of the mind. And it is an invitation to lean deeply into that mind, and to realize that it – not the body to which it seems so irrevocably yoked – is what is real.

When we are sick in the world – with a cold, with Covid, with cancer – the problem is not the phhysical sickness. The problem is our identification with the body that appears sick. That is the actual sickness ACIM is given to heal. When we no longer identify with the body, then its apparent sickness is neutral. It is merely an opportunity to share with our brothers and sisters the good news of salvation: we are not bodies!

Perhaps the cold allows us to let somebody else care for us for a day. Or it gives us a day to rest and read at home, deepening our understanding of ACIM metaphysics. Perhaps our cancer allows us to teach nurses and doctors that true healing is always at the level of mind, not the body to which they so carefully and responsibly attend.

The form the healing of separation takes is never the point, because we are not bodies, and nobody else is either. And there is no world! Yet in the context of separation, both appear to exist and be real, and so our work is to learn that this is an illusion and then – by example – to teach others to see it as an illusion as well.

Teaching others is simply a function of our happiness. If we are unaffected by the body’s adventures, if we are content despite its apparent adverse circumstances, then maybe our brothers and sisters can be, too.

Therefore, focus not on the body but on the mind which decides what it is and how to see itself. Let truth dawn in your mind, and let its dawning teach you how to be happy, and how to teach this happiness to all the world. You have no other function. You couldn’t ask for another function. You are here to save the world from the mad idea that it is separate from God and from love.

Indeed, thirty minutes of joyful openness to this truth is a small price to pay for the salvation of all life, no?

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