What is the Course's process for healing our minds?

Question: What is the Course's process for healing our minds? What is our part and what is the Holy Spirit's part?

Answer: A Course in Miracles is all about healing our minds, so in broad terms the entire Course is the process: We heal our minds by taking the Course. That being said, there is a basic three-part process for healing our minds that the Course presents either in whole or in part countless times. I'd like to focus on that here, indicating along the way what is our part and what is the Holy Spirit's part.

1. We receive healing

First, we receive healing in our minds. There are a number of ways this can happen, of course. But broadly speaking, the way the Course provides us is the study and practice of its ideas. Through study and practice, we call into question our current interpretation of things, open our minds to a new interpretation, and enable the Course to give us that new interpretation, an interpretation that heals our minds. We might receive this by reading a Text section, repeating a Workbook lesson, or by doing a meditation in which we open our minds to healing.

For instance, Lesson 136 calls into question our current belief that sickness comes to us against our will. Through reading the lesson, we learn the Course's new interpretation of sickness: that it is actually something we bring upon ourselves as a defense against the truth. And then we do a meditative practice in which we both let that new interpretation sink deeper into our minds and open our minds to the truth we've used sickness to defend against. We introduce that meditative practice with these words: "Sickness is a defense against the truth. I will accept the truth of what I am, and let my mind be wholly healed today" (W-pI.136.15:6-7). Then, we are told that as we do the meditation, "Healing will flash across your open mind, as peace and truth arise to take the place of war and vain imaginings" (W-pI.136.16:1).

In all of this, the Holy Spirit has both provided us with our curriculum (the Course) and is the agent who brings about our healing when we open our minds to him. Our part is simply to attentively study and practice what He has given us. As the Text tells us, "You need offer only undivided attention. Everything else will be given you" (T-12.V.9:4-5).

2. We give healing

Second, we give the healing we received to another person: "Having received the idea of healing, [you] must give it to hold it" (T-5.IV.7:2). If the first two components of the Course's program are study and practice, the third is extension. Extension is a huge theme in the Course; an entire volume, the Manual for Teachers, is devoted to it. Once we receive the miracle of healing into our minds, our job becomes to extend it to others. This is actually the import of the title A Course in Miracles: It is a course intended to train miracle workers in how to extend healing miracles to miracle receivers. You could say it is a course in extension.

The Holy Spirit (or Jesus) both tells us which miracles we should do and is the agent of miracles, "the bringer of all miracles" (W-pI.106.6:5). Our part is to bring ourselves into a state of "miracle-mindedness" (T-2.V.3:1) through letting our minds be healed (the previous point), and then offer up our willingness to let miracles come through us as the Holy Spirit or Jesus directs. As Jesus says, "I will provide the opportunities to do them, but you must be ready and willing" (T-1.III.1:8).

3. We fully recognize that we have received healing

Third, through that act of giving, the extension of a healing miracle to another person, we come to fully recognize that we have received the healing of our minds. This is not really a step in the process; rather, it is the result of the process. Giving what we have received enables us to fully receive it; it is what finally heals our minds completely. Workbook Lessons 154 and 159 beautifully capture this process:

To give is how to recognize you have received. It is the proof that what you have is yours. You understand that you are healed when you give healing. (W-pI.159.1:7-8-2:1)

No one can receive and understand he has received until he gives. (W-pI.154.8:6)

Let us but learn this lesson for today: We will not recognize what we receive until we give it. You have heard this said a hundred ways, a hundred times, and yet belief is lacking still. But this is sure; until belief is given it, you will receive a thousand miracles and then receive a thousand more, but will not know that God Himself has left no gift beyond what you already have; nor has denied the tiniest of blessings to His Son. (W-pI.154.12:1-2)

In other words: Until we give to our brothers the healing miracles we have received, we will not know that God has already given us total healing. This idea that we fully receive only through giving to others is the core of the Course's path to salvation. As Lesson 122 says about the healing gift of forgiveness: "Forgive and be forgiven. As you give you will receive. There is no plan but this for the salvation of the Son of God" (W-pI.122.6:3-5).

What a wonderful process! I think the power of it is something we have all experienced: We receive a new idea into our minds, give it to others, and through that giving our own conviction in it grows even stronger. We don't really understand the full import of what we have received until we give it away and see the profound impact it has on those it touches:

Ideas must first belong to you, before you give them. If you are to save the world, you first accept salvation for yourself. But you will not believe that this is done until you see the miracles it brings to everyone you look upon. (W-pI.187.3:1-3)

In short, to echo the earlier quote from Lesson 159, "Giving is proof of having" (W-pI.187.1:2). Let's get this process started, then, by giving the Course's path our undivided attention, so we can receive the healing of our minds, give that healing to our brothers through miracles, and thereby make it fully our own.

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