A Course
In Miracles

Authorized Online Edition
Workbook For Students



Sickness is a defense against the truth.

1. 1No one can heal unless he understands what purpose sickness seems to serve. 2For then he understands as well its purpose has no meaning. 3Being causeless and without a meaningful intent of any kind, it cannot be at all. 4When this is seen, healing is automatic. 5It dispels this meaningless illusion by the same approach that carries all of them to truth, and merely leaves them there to disappear.

2. 1Sickness is not an accident. 2Like all defenses, it is an insane device for self-deception. 3And like all the rest, its purpose is to hide reality, attack it, change it, render it inept, distort it, twist it, or reduce it to a little pile of unassembled parts. 4The aim of all defenses is to keep the truth from being whole. 5The parts are seen as if each one were whole within itself.

3. 1Defenses are not unintentional, nor are they made without awareness. 2They are secret, magic wands you wave when truth appears to threaten what you would believe. 3They seem to be unconscious but because of the rapidity with which you choose to use them. 4In that second, even less, in which the choice is made, you recognize exactly what you would attempt to do, and then proceed to think that it is done.

4. 1Who but yourself evaluates a threat, decides escape is necessary, and sets up a series of defenses to reduce the threat that has been judged as real? 2All this cannot be done unconsciously. 3But afterwards, your plan requires that you must forget you made it, so it seems to be external to your own intent; a happening beyond your state of mind, an outcome with a real effect on you, instead of one effected by yourself.

5. 1It is this quick forgetting of the part you play in making your “reality” that makes defenses seem to be beyond your own control. 2But what you have forgot can be remembered, given will­ingness to reconsider the decision which is doubly shielded by oblivion. 3Your not remembering is but the sign that this decision still remains in force, as far as your desires are concerned. 4Mistake not this for fact. 5Defenses must make facts unrecognizable. 6They aim at doing this, and it is this they do.

6. 1Every defense takes fragments of the whole, assembles them without regard to all their true relationships, and thus constructs illusions of a whole that is not there. 2It is this process that im­poses threat, and not whatever outcome may result. 3When parts are wrested from the whole and seen as separate and wholes within themselves, they become symbols standing for attack upon the whole; successful in effect, and never to be seen as whole again. 4And yet you have forgotten that they stand but for your own decision of what should be real, to take the place of what is real.

7. 1Sickness is a decision. 2It is not a thing that happens to you, quite unsought, which makes you weak and brings you suffer­ing. 3It is a choice you make, a plan you lay, when for an instant truth arises in your own deluded mind, and all your world appears to totter and prepare to fall. 4Now are you sick, that truth may go away and threaten your establishments no more.

8. 1How do you think that sickness can succeed in shielding you from truth? 2Because it proves the body is not separate from you, and so you must be separate from the truth. 3You suffer pain because the body does, and in this pain are you made one with it. 4Thus is your “true” identity preserved, and the strange, haunt­ing thought that you might be something beyond this little pile of dust silenced and stilled. 5For see, this dust can make you suffer, twist your limbs and stop your heart, commanding you to die and cease to be.

9. 1Thus is the body stronger than the truth, which asks you live, but cannot overcome your choice to die. 2And so the body is more powerful than everlasting life, Heaven more frail than hell, and God’s design for the salvation of His Son opposed by a decision stronger than His Will. 3His Son is dust, the Father incomplete, and chaos sits in triumph on His throne.

10. 1Such is your planning for your own defense. 2And you believe that Heaven quails before such mad attacks as these, with God made blind by your illusions, truth turned into lies, and all the universe made slave to laws which your defenses would impose on it. 3Yet who believes illusions but the one who made them up? 4Who else can see them and react to them as if they were the truth?

11. 1God knows not of your plans to change His Will. 2The universe remains unheeding of the laws by which you thought to govern it. 3And Heaven has not bowed to hell, nor life to death. 4You can but choose to think you die, or suffer sickness or distort the truth in any way. 5What is created is apart from all of this. 6Defenses are plans to defeat what cannot be attacked. 7What is unalterable cannot change. 8And what is wholly sinless cannot sin.

12. 1Such is the simple truth. 2It does not make appeal to might nor triumph. 3It does not command obedience, nor seek to prove how pitiful and futile your attempts to plan defenses that would alter it. 4Truth merely wants to give you happiness, for such its pur­pose is. 5Perhaps it sighs a little when you throw away its gifts, and yet it knows, with perfect certainty, that what God wills for you must be received.

13. 1It is this fact that demonstrates that time is an illusion. 2For time lets you think what God has given you is not the truth right now, as it must be. 3The Thoughts of God are quite apart from time. 4For time is but another meaningless defense you made against the truth. 5Yet what He wills is here, and you remain as He created you.

14. 1Truth has a power far beyond defense, for no illusions can remain where truth has been allowed to enter. 2And it comes to any mind that would lay down its arms, and cease to play with folly. 3It is found at any time; today, if you will choose to practice giv­ing welcome to the truth.

15. 1This is our aim today. 2And we will give a quarter of an hour twice to ask the truth to come to us and set us free. 3And truth will come, for it has never been apart from us. 4It merely waits for just this invitation which we give today. 5We introduce it with a healing prayer, to help us rise above defensiveness, and let truth be as it has always been:

6Sickness is a defense against the truth. 7I will accept the truth of what I am, and let my mind be wholly healed today.

16. 1Healing will flash across your open mind, as peace and truth arise to take the place of war and vain imaginings. 2There will be no dark corners sickness can conceal, and keep defended from the light of truth. 3There will be no dim figures from your dreams, nor their obscure and meaningless pursuits with double purposes insanely sought, remaining in your mind. 4It will be healed of all the sickly wishes that it tried to authorize the body to obey.

17. 1Now is the body healed, because the source of sickness has been opened to relief. 2And you will recognize you practiced well by this: The body should not feel at all. 3If you have been success­ful, there will be no sense of feeling ill or feeling well, of pain or pleasure. 4No response at all is in the mind to what the body does. 5Its usefulness remains and nothing more.

18. 1Perhaps you do not realize that this removes the limits you had placed upon the body by the purposes you gave to it. 2As these are laid aside, the strength the body has will always be enough to serve all truly useful purposes. 3The body’s health is fully guar­anteed, because it is not limited by time, by weather or fatigue, by food and drink, or any laws you made it serve before. 4You need do nothing now to make it well, for sickness has become impossible.

19. 1Yet this protection needs to be preserved by careful watching. 2If you let your mind harbor attack thoughts, yield to judgment or make plans against uncertainties to come, you have again mis­placed yourself, and made a bodily identity which will attack the body, for the mind is sick.

20. 1Give instant remedy, should this occur, by not allowing your defensiveness to hurt you longer. 2Do not be confused about what must be healed, but tell yourself:

3I have forgotten what I really am, for I mistook my body for myself. 4Sickness is a defense against the truth. 5But I am not a body. 6And my mind cannot attack. 7So I can not be sick.