“Illness is some form of external searching. Health is inner peace. It enables you to remain unshaken by lack of love from without and capable, through your acceptance of miracles, of correcting the conditions proceeding from lack of love in others. (T18)”
Affirmation: “Illness is external searching. Health is inner peace.”
1 – Unclear?
Perhaps this passage will remain unclear for some time as we study A Course in Miracles. We may not fully understand for what we are searching when we become ill. But surely we have recognized, over our lifetimes, that we are peaceful when we are in good health. Good health can be either emotional or physical; it makes no difference. This passage holds the implication that it is ourselves that make us sick or ill. And that when we are at peace, we enjoy health. How rational does this appear to us? Perhaps not rational at all, because we know that we do not want to blame the victim. We do not want to feel that an ill person drew to himself/herself the sickness. How can we fail to blame the victim if we think that we are in control of our bodies, through our minds?
2 – Role of the Self
The answer is completely that it is the inner Self that makes these decisions, and the inner Self is not controlled by the “little” or personal self, the one that we carry with us as we walk through our days. Nobody, however holy, is immune to illness. Enlightened beings have died of cancer. Most people die in some suffering. This does not mean that if they were more holy, they would suffer less. It is true that the more we walk the pathway, the less mental suffering we will sustain. The emotional suffering is more in our control, at least sometimes, than the physical.
3 – Something in You
So don’t be afraid to recognize that something in you did make the illness. It is some form of external searching. Ultimately, when we identify what that external searching is seeking to tell us, the illness itself may be cured. God does not look with favor on sickness; He is “for health” all the way. Certainly Jesus’s miracles of healing in the New Testament are evidence that a holy one can see the need for healing, once the mind of the believer believes strongly enough in the power of God’s grace.
4 – Emotional Health
The emotional health can be seen in that many of us have no problem with the ACIM concept of refraining from attack when we are at peace. When stress happens, though, we may find it all too easy to succumb to attack and also the accompanying anger. This is not good emotional health. And we know that we have it under our power to change. We can release our angers, overcome our tendency to attack, and we will be emotionally well again–at least from those tendencies. Emotional health itself is much more complicated than this, though. There are illnesses that do not cure themselves without medication, at least for most people.
5 – Medication
Jesus in A Course in Miracles recognizes that pills are a form of magic, but that the medications can reduce fear, and this is good. So Jesus develops in ACIM a compromise approach in that he recommends pills, a magic potion, when the fear has sufficiently strong power over our minds that we cannot rise above the fear and heal.
6 – Physical Health
Physical health is frequently a challenge that either brings us closer to God or seems to drive Him away. We can respond either way, but the obviously better way is to seek God in our suffering. He will be there. And we will not have to wait long. Many miracles revolve around physical ailments. There is no damaging illness that has not been cured in somebody, and so there is always grounds for hope. Yet the disease may be present for a reason that only the Self recognizes, and we do not have access to the unconscious at every point. One aspect of prayer that may help is a dialogue with a Higher Power that asks what we might do to heal ourselves. Use pen and pencil, or type on a computer. Write nothing down that does not impress itself on your mind. Many cures have come about through just this method. And if living with one’s ailment is the only answer, we will also be given the grace to do so.
7 – Summary
So we see that we are seeking something external to ourselves when we become ill. But there is, according to ACIM, nothing outside ourselves. There is no world! So the secret to good health is an inner communion that transforms one’s mind to peace. Inner peace is healing. Any doctor will attest to this.
8 – Healing?
May the illnesses of my readers be assuaged today. The answer to healing may be, from God, a “no,” but if this is the case, we will be given the means to live well in spite of limitations. We are not without limitations in this world (an ACIM tenet).
Surely you are with us in good health and bad. When we are in good health, may we experience gratefulness. When we are ill, may we experience the grace to be accepting of that which we do not understand.
May we move closer to You in health and in illness. May our emotional and physical condition make no difference in the zeal with which we seek You.