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“My only response to error is a desire to heal”

[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]

I had an extremely valuable insight at the end of last week. While I was teaching the CCC teachers class on Thursday I was very struck by Section 17 in the Manual. The message there was that when a teacher is faced with a pupil who is basically bucking the Course’s program, the teacher’s big temptation is to take on a “double wish” or “divided goal.” He still has the “wish to help,” but concealed beneath this is anger and condemnation, which (let’s face it) amount to a wish to hurt. His major lesson (as the next section says) is to strip away the anger and condemnation so that his mind is unified behind the wish to help. That wish is the only thing left.

The next day I got another dose of this in my Text reading. In the “Special Principles of Miracle Workers” (T-2.V.(A)), I read the same basic idea. The third principle said,

(3) Never confuse right- and wrong-mindedness. Responding to any form of error with anything except a desire to heal [Urtext: (or a miracle)] is an expression of this confusion.

Here was the exact same idea. You are a miracle worker and so your job is to heal people. But you find yourself having confused desires. You have the desire to heal the other person’s error and then some other desire, presumably the desire to punish that error. The same idea also cropped up in the sixth principle:

(6) Miracle-minded forgiveness is only correction. It has no element of judgment at all. The statement “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” in no way evaluates what they do. It is [Urtext: strictly limited to] an appeal to God to heal their minds.

Here, all you want is for their error—“what they do”—to be corrected. You aren’t evaluating the error, sizing up the damage it’s done, and then—well, you know what comes next.

Both places—the Manual and the Text—were saying the same thing. As a miracle worker, as you face someone’s error, someone’s illness, you need to have a single motivation: the “wish to help,” the “desire to heal.” Above all, you need to keep that desire pure, unmixed with the seductive temptation to condemn that error.

I feel as if I have really mastered that dual motivation (rather than the single one!). The existence of that error seems to me like a blight on the face of reality. I have great difficulty with its existence, especially if it is held up as truth, not error. I want it to go away. What’s it doing there?

So many spiritual paths, especially contemporary ones, say to me, “Just be at peace with it. Accept it. Indeed, it’s not even error. It’s perfect. Love it. Embrace it. Celebrate the wonder of its is-ness. And then you will have peace.” I confess that when I encounter such teachings, something deep in me rises up and says “Nooooo!!!” It strikes me as peace via lobotomy. For the sake of peace, let’s just throw away our brains. Let’s forget about truth—let’s act like violations of truth are not that at all. For, after all, truth gets in the way of our all-important peace.

The above sections give me a whole different alternative. In the face of an error, rather than saying, “It’s just ‘what is,’ man,” I can say, “I just want to heal it. I just want to help.” Both are ways of stripping out judgment and condemnation. But the second way honors that thing in me that says, “This is not the truth. Ultimately, it has to go.” It just turns that impulse from a judgmental one into a loving and compassionate one.

So I focused on this in my practice for three days. It really helped. It was so, well, healing. It helped me meet specific difficulties in a kinder way. And it made me think that I could respond to all error, all the errors of this oh-so-error-ridden world, with nothing but a desire to heal. I caught a vision of all that judgment being replaced by the pure desire to heal. Why not, I thought? Why on earth not?