A Healing Answer

by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff

When a tragedy strikes, we want to fix it. We want to figure it out. If we only look at the level of the problem, though, we miss the real cause. When mass shootings at schools and elsewhere occur, or election lies produce an insurrection and domestic terrorism, or when immigration problems on our borders produce inhumane solutions, we are left with confusion, anger, and fear but no real answers. The lack of any fundamental understanding creates all sorts of uncertainty and speculation about our personal safety and the government’s effectiveness in protecting us, which can, in turn, breed conspiracies to fill the void.

Traditional “wisdom” deems that we take sides, point fingers, blame, or make someone pay! There is so much commotion; what really is the answer?

A Course in Miracles tells us to decide not to decide. It says, “The only way out of the error is to decide that you do not have to decide anything.” (T-7.X.6) Our decision-making has kept this world in a state of confusion and chaos. It was our decision that started this world: our thought that we could make a world better than God’s, and in that thought, we were banished from Eden (at least in our own thinking). According to the Course, there was no banishment; all is forgiven, for we were never condemned. God is calling to us to “come home.” As in the parable of the prodigal son in the Bible, our Father wants to welcome us home without thoughts of punishment or judgment for our seeming transgression and abandonment. There is only love and honor for the child God loves. For in our separated state, we were dead, but when we return our minds to God, we are alive again.

But we will never feel alive by our own decision-making process. As A Course in Miracles says, “Whenever you choose to make decisions for yourself you are thinking destructively, and the decision will be wrong.” (T-14.III.9) We would not ask a child to drive a car or handle a technical piece of equipment, not because they are not intelligent, but because it is out of their sphere of knowledge at the present moment. So it is with us. We are children when it comes to what will make us happy, bring us peace, or offer us freedom from a world of pain, and we need help. It is not that we are stupid, but we are ignorant of the bigger picture. As we read in the Course’s Manual for Teachers,

“In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things; past, present and to come. One would have to recognize in advance all the effects of his judgments on everyone and everything involved in them in any way. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception, so that his judgment would be wholly fair to everyone on whom it rests now and in the future. Who is in a position to do this?” (M-10.3)

From this passage, we can see that the Course is not telling us that we should not judge but that we cannot judge. This does not mean that we become ineffectual people wandering aimlessly, floating from one person’s opinion to the next and never having a direction; on the contrary, when we release our judgment, we put ourselves “in a position where judgment through [us] rather than by [us] can occur.” (M-10.2) This then becomes an invitation to the Holy Spirit to allow His judgment for an outcome that will be healing for everyone involved.

So, when life presents us with tragedies of domestic terrorism like mass shootings, the U.S. Capitol insurrection, or the rise of militia groups amassing large arsenals of weapons across the country, the ethical question that arises is how do we handle all of this in a way that can bring us real healing and not just a band-aid solution. A Course in Miracles provides some steps that can be of help.

Stop Accusing

“Release from guilt as you would be released. There is no other way to look within and see the light of love, shining as steadily and as surely as God Himself has always loved His Son.” (T-13.X.10)

The last thing our ego wants is to join, so it will point fingers at people, groups, governments, or past decisions. All of this is a “clever” way to avoid looking within ourselves to the guilt and unworthiness that we feel. The Course tells us, “To accuse is not to understand.” (T-14.V.3) Therefore, the moment we accuse, we are separating ourselves from the Source of all understanding and help: God. For by separating out a part of God’s creation as unworthy, we are affirming our own unworthiness and separation from God, and therefore, we feel lost to His help.

“He [God] cannot be known without His Son, whose guiltlessness is the condition for knowing Him. Accepting His Son as guilty is denial of the Father so complete, that knowledge is swept away from recognition in the very mind where God Himself has placed it.” (T-14.IV.7)

This does not mean that someone (or even us) may not need to be stopped for harmful actions towards others, which in turn is an attack on ourselves. But hating them or inspiring more guilt in them stops nothing. It only continues the ego’s circular reign in our minds. Just as a baby who is playing with scissors needs to be stopped because they could hurt themself, we may be guided to stop others who will, in turn, hurt themselves by their destructive actions. Stopping someone, as in the case of a child, does not make them evil or bad, but they don’t know what is truly helpful to them, nor do we at times. The Course puts it this way,

“Undermining the ego’s thought system must be perceived as painful, even though this is anything but true. Babies scream in rage if you take away a knife or scissors, although they may well harm themselves if you do not. In this sense you are still a baby. You have no sense of real self-preservation, and are likely to decide that you need precisely what would hurt you most. Yet whether or not you recognize it now, you have agreed to cooperate in the effort to become both harmless and helpful, attributes that must go together.” (T-4.II.5)

Look Within

“Anger cannot occur unless you believe that you have been attacked, that your attack is justified in return, and that you are in no way responsible for it.” (T-6.in.1)

The temptation to accuse keeps us thinking that we are not responsible. On the one hand, we may not be directly responsible for the actions happening in the world (the form), but we are responsible for our reaction to them (the cause). If we are angered or frustrated by world happenings, we can turn within and ask for a healed understanding. The Course suggests we ask the Holy Spirit, God’s Answer, “What is this for?” And let Him show us the true purpose of the events in our lives and what He would have us do, where He would have us go, and what He would have us say. As Lesson 71 directs,

“[Ask] God to reveal His plan… Ask Him very specifically:

What would You have me do?
Where would You have me go?
What would You have me say, and to whom?

Give Him full charge … and let Him tell you what needs to be done by you in His plan for your salvation. He will answer in proportion to your willingness to hear His Voice. Refuse not to hear.”

Let us make this invitation whenever we are fearful or feel lost: “What is this for, for me?” This is an invitation to look deeper than just the surface issues and experience the real cause. Once you begin this process, the next questions allow the Holy Spirit to use your experience in this world to heal yourself and others. What would You have me do? Where would You have me go? What would You have me say, and to whom?

Remember, these directions must start with a focus on peace. You can do nothing from any other state than peace. If you respond from anger or fear, you are doing nothing.

Make the Invitation

“… to give illusions to truth is to enable truth to teach that the illusions are unreal, and thus enable you to escape from them … Be willing, then, to give all you have held outside the truth to Him Who knows the truth, and in Whom all is brought to truth … Be not concerned with anything except your willingness to have this be accomplished. He will accomplish it; not you.” (T-17.I.5-6)

The Course does not ask us to look at our guilty thoughts and projections alone, for we would be too overwhelmed alone, which is how we often feel when global tragedies or controversies occur. The Course reminds us that we are never alone and that if we invite the Holy Spirit into our accusations about others, fearful situations, and even our feelings of helplessness, the light He brings can shine clarity into the confusion. We are asked to bring the illusion (the pain we feel or the blame we project) to the truth and to quietly step back and let it be healed in our minds.

As children, we often turn to a parent or someone we believe loves us and has our best interests at heart for help. We might bring a toy that is broken beyond repair to them with a belief that they can fix anything. In the end, whether they could fix it as we wished or help to comfort us, we were confident of their love, which gave them superhuman power in our minds. When we turn to God for help, that confidence is needed and rewarded by our mere invitation. The toys and trinkets of the world that we endow with power cannot triumph over the power of love that can be released into any situation when we turn within to the Infinite, Whose only purpose is our good. It is time to unleash the power of Love!

Release the Investment

“No evidence will convince you of the truth of what you do not want.” (T-16.II.6)

When we invite God’s Power through the Holy Spirit into a painful situation, a tragedy, or a confusing circumstance, we must release our decision of how the healing should take place or how it will appear. Our own decree of “I want it thus,” keeps us from experiencing the miracle God has in store for us. The Holy Spirit may be presenting us with the most healing solution, but if we have no faith in His answer or think we know what is best, we will not hear it or see its results. Remember, “The Holy Spirit’s Voice is as loud as your willingness to listen.” (T-8.VIII.8)

Let It Be

“All things work together for good. There are no exceptions except in the ego’s judgment.” (T-4.V.1)

Paul McCartney’s powerful song “Let It Be” says it all,

“When I find myself in times of trouble … there will come an answer, let it be.”

As we withdraw our accusations of the world, others, and ourselves, as we take responsibility for our reactions to challenging situations, as we make the invitation to the Holy Spirit to lead and heal our vision, as we release our investment in how the outcome appears, we are open to allow the true purpose of our world to be shown to us. As it says in A Course in Miracles,

“… the healing of God’s Son is all the world is for. That is the only purpose the Holy Spirit sees in it, and thus the only one it has.” (T-24.VI.4)

Confusion, tragedy, pain, and disaster may all seem part of this world, and overcoming it may seem impossible, but that is only because we have gotten used to the confusion, tragedy, pain, and disaster. We have traveled down that tired, sorrow-filled road for many years, centuries, and eons. But time can neither stop nor diminish the power of a miracle to transform our lives and our world right now. If you are ready to start again, then NOW is the time. We are assured in the Course that God’s plan will succeed and all others will fail. He will lift us out of all pain and sorrow and return our minds to our natural state of peace and love. As we read in the Course,

“His plan for your awaking is as perfect as yours is fallible. You know not what you do, but He Who knows is with you.” (T-14.V.2)

As we take time every day to turn to Him and rest in His awareness, we become God’s active agents of bringing lasting healing and peace to a world in desperate need of it.

“The holy instant is your invitation to love to enter into your bleak and joyless kingdom, and to transform it into a garden of peace and welcome. Love’s answer is inevitable.” (T-18.VIII.11)

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