Afraid of healing

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

Earlier today, I had phone meeting with one of my pupils, which left both of us reeling. I am so excited about the way the Holy Spirit worked with us and about the power of the teacher-pupil relationship that I want to share it with all of you while it’s still fresh.

My pupil (I will call her “Maggie,”) didn’t have anything in particular to talk about today, so I suggested that we talk about her fear of being a healer. In the past while, we have been talking a lot about healing and the sense Maggie has that she and I have been brought together in a holy relationship to help each other heal and through that bring healing to the world.

On a recent retreat, I was surprised to realize that I have a fear of healing, although, as I said to Maggie, the fear of healing is really the fear of being a healer, and the fear of being a healer the fear of healing, so we really had the same fear.

Maggie’s fear seemed to be centred on doubts about herself and the feeling that she had no right to be involved in healing others, and that she was really an imposter. “Who do you think you are?!” was the recurring theme. She felt this, despite having had a deep knowing since childhood that she wanted to bring healing to others and despite the fact that she is already doing it. In addition, she and has been receiving consistent guidance telling her that, “You are doing what you are supposed to be doing,”

When we talked about what her fear was, she said that although she knows that the ultimate end of accepting her Self was resurrection, she still felt that it would be sacrifice and crucifixion and that it would be too shocking a change to accept her true Self.

We talked about the idea that our fears are self-indulgent and self-centred, because they make it all about us. Then a drawing came to mind, and I asked Maggie to draw it on her end of the phone line while I drew it on mine. So, here it is. (I’ve explained it so that you can do this exercise, if you want to):

Divide a sheet of paper in two horizontally. In the top half, draw a circle on the left side and write “Holy Spirit” in it, and on the right side, a circle, in which you write “Person,” representing the person you’re helping (this could be a patient, pupil, friend, client, etc.; you may want to write an actual person’s name). Then between the two, write your name as “little ______________.”

Now, if you’re trying to help someone as “little Maggie” (for instance), then your focus and attention will be on you. So, now draw a solid line between you and the Holy Spirit and another one between you and the other person, indicating a barrier between you and them. You may as well drawn lines above and below you as well, because this little you is you in a box, a prison, your separate little kingdom. In this state, nothing can flow from the Holy Spirit into you and through you to the other person. Oh, there may be little chinks in the walls that let through a bit of healing, but not all that much.

Now, in the bottom half, draw the same two circles, with “Holy Spirit” in the one on the left and “Person” (etc.) in the one on the right. Put yourself in between, but this time identifying yourself as “______________ Christ.” Now, if you’re trying to help someone as “Maggie Christ” (for instance), you will feel your Self in service of spirit and your focus and attention will be on the other person and your being truly helpful to him or her. You will be open, and everything will flow from the Holy Spirit into you and through you to the other person. So, draw that however you see it.  Now you are an open and clear channel who will be truly helpful to the other person. Underneath you, you may want to draw the “Everlasting Arms.”

Do you see how different the two images are? The first represents an illusion of you, based on a thought system of sin, guilt, and fear. The second represents the truth of you, based on a thought system of holiness, innocence, and love.

Maggie and I talked about how self-centred, pretentious, and arrogant we are in the first model. We are saying that we know better than God. In this model we are denying the truth of who we are, who our brother is, and who God is! Then into my mind came my lesson for the day, “The past is gone. It can touch me not” (288), and one sentence in particular, which had a big impact on me when I read it this morning:

Shall I demand that You wait longer for Your Son to find the loveliness You planned to be the end of all his dreams and all his pain?

Here God is holding everything out to us and we are holding up our hand to him–like a crossing guard–, demanding that He wait. We’re just like a little child playing with her Lego, demanding that her parent wait because what she is making is much more important that what the parent has in mind. It really hit me that we are denying God and our Self, as well as those He sends to us to help. We are depriving all of us of one another, and all for a miserable dream of specialness! Instead of “Who do you think you are” (to be healed and to heal), the question should be, “Who do you think you are not?!

From there we moved into looking more closely at what Maggie’s fear was all about. As I said earlier, she had identified it as a fear of sacrifice (loss) and crucifixion (death), both of which mean a fearful, punishing God. However, the Course says that our real fear is of giving and receiving freely (gain) and resurrection (eternal life), both of which mean a totally loving, giving God. We saw that, by being afraid of healing, we are espousing the thought system based on sin and guilt.

Then I thought of the sections we’re working on in the Text Reading Program and especially what they say about perception (T-25.1.3; II.1). If we believe–however unconsciously–in sin and guilt, it’s because we value them and want them. We want sin and guilt and we want to be punished. The reaction of both of us was, “Yuk. How sick!”

Now we came to “what next?,” and that led us to realizing that we needed to ask ourselves, “Is this what I really want?” Every time we feel the fear welling up, to recognize that it is there because we want to feel sinful and guilty and deserving of punishment, and then to ask ourselves this question. At that, “The Last Unanswered Question” from T-21.VII.5 popped into my mind: “And do I want to see what I denied because it is the truth?” Applying this to our situation:  “Do I want to see myself as holy, pure, and innocent because it is the truth?

We both sat silent for a while, somewhat sobered by the realization that this was the “real question” we needed to ask ourselves. If we answered “No,” we were saying “No” to our true Self and to our healing; “No” to the truth, to God, to Jesus, to A Course in Miracles! This really put the responsibility where it lies: with us and with our thoughts. I was reminded of having recently read in the Manual that being healed is being responsible for one’s thoughts (M-5.I.2:5).

At the end of our meeting, Maggie said that she was ready to say “Yes” and stop depriving herself of the gift given her by God–the gift of her Self, of her own healing and being a healer–and to accept it gracefully.

None of what we had said was new; it’s all there in the Course. However, something new happened in our being together and talking about it. Both Maggie and I had been grappling with issues around healing and being healed, and I think today we were both so open and ready that the Holy Spirit moved in and took us lovingly and effortlessly to another place in our healing. We both felt that He had orchestrated the whole process: offering an insight, bringing a lesson or passage to mind just when it was needed, planting an idea, and posing a well-placed question. Yesterday in the CCC Teachers’ class, Robert talked about “Holy Encounters with Pupils,” and after Maggie’s and my talk, I felt that the Holy Spirit had used our time together to give us one big holy encounter.

Since our talk, I have been spending my practice day saying to God,

From now on I will not demand that You wait any longer for me to find the loveliness You planned to be the end of all my dreams and all my pain. I will not deny my healing, but accept it gratefully.

I know how experiences can sometimes be “lost in translation,” but I hope that from what I’ve written, you will get a sense the importance of this experience and will find the insights Maggie and I had helpful. Most of all, I hope that you will share our joy.

With loving thoughts… and gratitude for your patience in reading such a long posting!

Mary Anne