I read this in ACIM today (Ch 9: II, 1.1-2.7):

“Everyone who ever tried to use prayer to ask for something has experienced what appears to be failure. This is not only true in connection with specific things that might be harmful, but also in connection with requests that are strictly in line with this course. The latter in particular might be incorrectly interpreted as “proof” that the course does not mean what it says. You must remember, however, that the course states, and repeatedly, that its purpose is the escape from fear.

“Let us suppose, then, that what you ask of the Holy Spirit is what you really want, but you are still afraid of it. Should this be the case, your attainment of it would no longer be what you want. This is why certain specific forms of healing are not achieved, even when the state of healing is. An individual may ask for physical healing because he is fearful of bodily harm. At the same time, if he were healed physically, the threat to his thought system might be considerably more fearful to him that its physical expression. In this case he is not really asking for release from fear, but for the removal of a symptom that he himself selected. This request is, therefore, not for healing at all.”

What really speaks to me is the bit about selecting your own symptoms. It jives with everything I’ve come to believe about us not being victims of some cosmic game but rather being the perpetrators of our own bad dream. The dream of life in which we have turned from our own true selves living in wholeness with God in preference for an Ego-based universe of duality. Duality necessarily means good and bad, health and disease.

We therefore select our own symptoms of disease (on all levels) both at a high level (a Universe ruled by duality) and on individual levels (pains and issues experienced in this life and past lives). If I have arthritis pain, it is not at its source caused from a diet too full of acid-producing foods but to teach me a lesson I really need and want to learn. I selected this symptom because it would get my attention and lead me back to the spiritual cause of my pain. In this case, perhaps as Louise Hay says in Heal Your Body A-Z, I feel unloved and am full of criticism and resentment.

The healing of my arthritis would occur only if I really wanted to attain the state of feeling loved and releasing all resentment. Although this is our natural state, we have come to believe it is not and therefore we fear it, thinking that to release our current ways of thinking would be to release our individuality. To enter a state of existence heretofor unknown and therefore fearful at the deepest levels of being. What a huge leap of faith it would take to heal my arthritis!

Then again, it might just be a whole lot easier to live on Ibuprofen.  😀