Jesus, Healing and Miracles: The Promise of Course-Based Healing

by Nicola Perry

Jesus, possibly the greatest miracle worker of all time, has written a book called A Course in Miracles. I remember my reaction when I first stumbled across this incredible claim. I was training as a spiritual healer in England, and was looking out for good books that could help me in my training. It struck me as amazing that here, in book form, was a possible communication from Jesus in which he is teaching us how to be miracle workers. In his earthly ministry he performed spectacular physical healings, and here, in his book, it seems clear that he is teaching us to do what he did—that he expects the students of his course to follow in his footsteps: "Miracles enable you to heal the sick and raise the dead because you made sickness and death yourself, and can therefore abolish both" (T-1.I.24:1).

Yet is this remarkable idea consistent with the rest of the Course, which focuses on the healing of the mind and views the body as an illusion? That is the question I would like to explore in this article. There seems to be good reason to ask this question. Perhaps the view most commonly held by students is that for us to be absorbed with how to heal our ailing bodies is to get sucked into the illusion, to get caught in the trap of "making the error real." The Course even has its own term—magic—for healing which is simply aimed at the removal of symptoms, where external agents are seen as having the power to heal the body. It lists those agents as amulets, charms, medicines, chants, and "bits of magic in whatever form they take" (W-pI.140.10:1). It is pretty clear that it is talking about anything which is used for the purpose of healing the body, no matter how apparently "spiritual" or non-physical that agent is.

In addition, the Course comes down hard on our desire to fix the illusion—to rearrange the externals of our lives in order to be happy. It seems so natural for us to want to change external circumstances that we perceive as challenging, including our bodily condition, and to see those changes as having the power to make us happier. Yet the Course teaches us to seek salvation only in our own minds, and not outside ourselves in the world of form.

So, from this point of view, healing is a rather dodgy business to be in. It appears to mean using magic to fix the illusion. This is clearly in opposition to the Course's goal of allowing the Holy Spirit to heal the mind. How, then, does this tie in with the fact that Jesus worked miracles of physical healing in his lifetime, that he is the author of a book entitled A Course in Miracles, and that he makes explicit his assumption that the students of his course will learn to heal the sick and raise the dead?

To answer this we need to look closely at what the Course itself teaches about sickness and healing. A sick body, according to the Course, is a witness to a depressing view of reality. It is a teacher which convinces our minds that reality is full of suffering. Imagine for a moment that you are struck down with a debilitating and painful disease. Won't this tend to make you feel that you are separate from others, since your body is sick and theirs isn't? Won't you feel that you are limited by your body, trapped inside "a solid wall of sickened flesh"? (W-pI.137.2:3). Feeling trapped by your body, won't you come to the conclusion that it has power over you, power to reduce you to fear and inflict suffering on you? That your body is the cause of your experience, with your mind at its mercy? Won't all this instill in your mind the utmost importance of the body's condition and the basic message that the body is real? Almost certainly it will seem more real to you than the truth which you may intellectually "know." You would surely be tempted to conclude that God is a god of cruelty.

In other words, the devastation of a sick body is a witness to a devastated reality. Yet the body can become a witness to a totally different view of reality. Imagine now that into this terrible scenario of suffering a miracle worker comes and heals you completely with a miracle. What would happen in your mind?

You would be faced with the realization that this bodily condition, which seemed to burden you with so much, has been wiped out in an instant. The body, which seemed so real and solid, has just been changed by the mind—yet the body is normally seen as more powerful than the mind. Wouldn't you learn something fundamental about which is stronger—the mind or the body? "If the mind can heal the body, but the body cannot heal the mind, then the mind must be stronger than the body. Every miracle demonstrates this" (T-6.V.A.2:6-7). And further, wouldn't the fact that this witness can so easily be changed by the mind challenge your whole view of the body's reality? After all, if the body can be changed so easily, it must not have been as real and solid as you thought. The Course refers to this very phenomenon: "The miracle is means to demonstrate that all appearances can change because they are appearances, and cannot have the changelessness reality entails" (T-30.VIII.2:1).

Imagine the effect that this miraculous event would have on your mind. The view of reality that your sick body was pointing towards would be wiped out. You would be left with thoughts such as: "Maybe I'm not limited by my body. Maybe I'm not trapped by it, or at its mercy. Maybe I'm not a victim of the world and of God." Experiencing your sick body being healed by Spirit—by a miracle—would surely send a message to a deep part of your mind, a message which speaks of a completely different reality. The body healed by a miracle would be a testament to the life beyond the body. It would be a symbol of truth, a sign of salvation.

The body can become a sign of life, a promise of redemption, and a breath of immortality to those grown sick of breathing in the fetid scent of death….Let it receive the power to represent an endless life, forever unattacked. (T-27.I.10:3,6)

Healing by a miracle, then, would turn your entire view of reality upside down. And this, says the Course, is precisely why we fear the miracle: "if he were healed physically, the threat to his thought system might be considerably more fearful to him than its physical expression [the sickness]" (T-9.II.2:5). In other words, he would rather stay sick than have his whole view of reality shattered. Surely we can imagine how disorienting it might be to see matter, which seems so real and substantial, instantly reshaped by a spiritual power. Even a mind that intellectually believes that the world is an illusion might be left deeply shaken. Course-based spiritual healing is not about fixing the illusion so that something external, specifically an improved bodily condition, can deliver us the comfort we want. It is not aimed at the body, but the mind. The body is healed, too, but only because of what that can teach our sleeping mind. It can awaken our mind to the unreality of the body and the power of the spirit in a way that mere words cannot. The Course makes this same point, saying that a healed body "can speak with power greater than a thousand tongues" (T-27.II.5:8). Thus, even when the body is healed, the goal of the healing is to reawaken the mind.

I am not trying to say that Course-based healing is all about healing the body; I firmly believe it is about healing the mind. I am merely saying that, in the Course's view, the body often does get healed, yet even that is for the sake of the mind, for the sake of its awakening.

This means that, whilst Course-based healing may look like other forms of healing—since bodies may be healed—it really is something entirely different. To illustrate this, let me share a bit from my own journey as a healer. When I first started doing spiritual healing I was studying with an organization in England which placed a lot of emphasis on the aura, the chakras, on visualizing colors and light entering the body to heal symptoms, on sending energy to the patient and so on. These are pretty well-respected healing techniques, common to many different types of healing paths. However, when I decided to focus entirely on the Course as my guide to healing, I stopped using all those techniques.

I now begin my healing sessions by actively calling into question my perceptions of this person—as a body, as a separate being, as someone who is sick. My focus now is to change my perception of the patient and overlook everything that appearances show me about this person, and to enter into a state where my mind is open to the Holy Spirit. In this open-minded state He can work through me, transforming my perception of the patient, and extending true perception through my mind to theirs.

This is a very formless approach to healing; yet, to my surprise, the more I left the healing techniques behind and focused on this formless approach, the more that concrete "phenomena" happened. The main thing people receive from the sessions is a strong sense of inner peace and mental clarity, but they also report interesting inner experiences as well as a certain amount of relief from bodily conditions such as headaches and back pain (though, as a beginning healer, I am not yet seeing the kind of dramatic alterations of matter that I spoke of above). I have come to feel that this is perfectly consistent with what the Course is saying about healing: that the focus is meant to be on the mind, although the body is included as part of the total picture.

To my mind, Jesus truly is teaching us in the Course to do the type of healing he did in his lifetime. He makes this very clear statement about his own healing in the Text: "I raised the dead by knowing that life is an eternal attribute of everything that the living God created" (T-4.IV.11:7). Raising the dead is a very physical and concrete manifestation of healing, yet Jesus is saying here that that happened only because of his inner connection with the truth, his ability to see beyond the body. He didn't say "I raised the dead by using a special breathing technique combined with directing blue light at the heart chakra." I believe that the healing he did is completely consistent with the Course's teachings on the unreality of the body and of the world, and that in doing this healing we are following in his footsteps.

I would love to see Course-based healing become recognized as a new and different form of healing, something that attracts healers who are dedicated Course students and who are also willing to let their healing develop in a way that is solely based on the Course. If this is something that Jesus is teaching in the Course—and I believe that it is—then it is a tradition that he wants to see unfold here. And in time to come, as this tradition grows, then A Course in Miracles will produce the kind of healers who did just what Jesus did.

7 Comments

  1. bucephalis
    Posted October 11, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Very good. I have been interested in the healing miracles of Jesus for some time. In my reading I ran across an interesting convergence in opinion between Deepak Chopra in "the Third Jesus" and Garner Ted Armstrongs book "The Real Jesus". There is one spot in both that they describe Jesus' ability to heal as conciously causing an alteration in reality. They both state this is due to his "oneness with the mind of God", although they explain his having reached that state in entirely different ways. The two basic conditions, for which there is not room for exposition here, require _absolute faith_ on the part of the one to be healed or at least the agent requesting it that they can be healed, that they will be healed. No doubt in their mind that Jesus can accomplish that. The other condition is already met, that Jesus knows beyond doubt that they will be healed. He almost invariably tells them "your faith has healed you". Together, they alter the reality of the supplicant.
    Peace
    bucephalis

  2. Posted October 11, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Hi There,
    I came across this article, and just wanna say good job. There are different views on this in the course community. But anyone who has truly experienced miracles knows that the physical aspects of it are quite unavoidable. They are not the point, but they do happen, they must happen, simply because a healed mind creates a different dream.
    Good job!!! keep on!
    Love
    Tom

  3. Bev
    Posted October 11, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this, it's a point I used to struggle with among fellow course students until I "let go of the fight".
    My feeling is until I am seeing others as the white light that the course speaks of and feeling in bliss, "I ain't in heaven and need to ask for a correction." I experience regular miracles with my ill-feelings & judgements… I will persist with great determination as you are until I am experiencing and seeing only bliss.
    Best regards,
    -Bev

  4. Johan Namibia
    Posted October 11, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Dear Nicola,
    Thanks for the article. I enjoyed your explorations and journey very much.
    It is vital to look past perception of every kind-dropping all conceptualisations. But it is neither the point nor the goal, is it? That much, I see, has already entered into your awareness.
    It is the stable ground beyond perception that we seek to "see" and come to know (as we already do know, but may not remember all that well). This much you already know too!
    The point is not the un-wellness but wellness; not dis-ease, but ease; not healing either, but health. Folk with all kinds of perceived troubles seek you because Infinite Wisdom deems it necessary that your minds join and you become enlarged /extended thereby-together-as it is eternally meant to be.
    The point is therefore not to look past perceptions but to look at truth-the only eternal reality of everyone, really.
    Someone once said something to this effect: All matter is but the radiant splendour of the Word of God.
    So, have you experimented with simply "seeing" clarity, perfection, and love with respect to the whomsoever you wish to see and unite with in truth-the teachers/students the Holy Spirit draws to you and you to them?
    This has become my occupation and such is the light in which I hold you.
    Love
    -Johan

  5. Michael
    Posted October 11, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I've just been e-mailed your article on healing and A Course in Miracles.
    Brilliant.
    I just wondered if you had come across the writings/work of Joel Goldsmith. He, apparently, was an exceptional healer (though before the time of ACIM) but his approach seemed similar to the one you describe. He refused to acknowledge that any illness existed. He saw only the wholeness of the person who came to him for help and he truly was a miracle worker. He called his healing approach The Infinite Way. And, like you, he seemed to have that capacity to take a step beyond where everyone else seemed to be standing.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, they found great resonance within me.
    Best wishes,
    -Michael

  6. Benjamin Joseph
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    beautifully written, very helpfuul nicola, thank you. I also practice massage therapy as a profession, and I accept your invitation to welcome course based healing into my practice, in fact im imagining right now establishing a side practice offering strictly that. thanks for your support.

    I’ll let you know how things progress..

    through gods children, may the glory of christ be witnessed, and the farther mother lover friend god be remembered, ASAP

  7. Dennis Chandler
    Posted April 8, 2016 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Nicola,
    At some point I know our paths will cross within the Circle Community. I just visited the Circle gathering in Sedona meeting Robert, et al and experienced a profound deepening within the Circle Community. What I sense within myself is that I am being guided to be a Course-based healer within the COA. Robert’s workshop last Saturday moved me in a manner of a giant stride by releasing my “holding back” of actively participating as a miracle-worker.
    His message based on the Course notes regarding Jesus’ personal advice to Helen and Bill demonstrated how personally active God is in my journey to be a healer. Moreover one can heal in every moment with just the extension of simple kindness and courtesy. This is the real basis of extending/receiving Love/Miracles. I can do this! This is my part.
    I fully acknowledge the path will provide great learning and great release of my misperceptions as I express healing acts within the guidance of the Holy Spirit & Jesus. The gift that I received from you was listening to the workshop that you and Robert conducted many years ago. You inspired me to know that I can be a course-based healer. Your presence and guidance is God-gifted and gave me a clearer understanding of the role of the healer. I see the Course through the lens of the healer and it has led me to commit myself daily to deeper levels of study and practice AND extension.
    Today’s Lesson 98, spoke to my certainty of purpose and sureness of result as I learn my part in God’s plan of salvation. My mighty works may seem miniscule by worldly measure but I know the Holy Spirit magnifies my effort. I want to be a part of the Circle’s healing community however and whenever and forever. I will not shy away from being fearless in this journey.
    Please know that I am learning my part. Thanks so much for the inspiration and guidance.

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