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Manual for Teachers: 17. How Do God's Teachers Deal with Magic Thoughts?

1. This is a crucial question both for teacher and pupil. If this issue is mishandled, the teacher of God has hurt himself and has also attacked his pupil. This strengthens fear, and makes the magic seem quite real to both of them. How to deal with magic thus becomes a major lesson for the teacher of God to master. So what is a magic thought? Magic Thoughts are always worldly thoughts which claim that we can be saved by our own separate will, by certain special people, by various external things—by anything other than the miracle, the correction of our perceptions by Jesus, the Will of God healing our minds.

The teacher of God’s first responsibility in this is not to attack. If a magic thought arouses anger in any form, God’s teacher can be sure that he is strengthening his own belief in sin and has condemned himself. He has asked for depression, pain, fear and disaster to come to him. Let him remember it is not attack and anger that he would teach, because it is not this that he would learn.

2. There is, however, a temptation to respond to magic in a way that reinforces it; nor is this always obvious. It can, in fact, be easily concealed beneath a wish to help and must lead to undesired outcomes. Nor should it be forgotten that the outcome that results will always come to teacher and to pupil alike. So following the lead of the Holy Spirit becomes of paramount importance in each and every instant where magic has entered either with himself or with his pupil.

How many times has it been emphasized that you give but to yourself? And where could this be better shown than in the kinds of help the teacher of God gives to those who need his aid? Here is his gift most clearly given him. For he will give only what he has chosen for himself. And in the giving of this gift is his judgment upon the holy Son of God. And the response to the teacher of God’s gift to his pupil will depict whether the pupil is following the Holy Spirit or the ego.

3. It is easiest to let error be corrected where it is most apparent, and errors can be recognized by their results. A lesson truly taught can lead to nothing but ultimate release for teacher and pupil, who have shared in one intent. Attack can enter only if perception of separate goals has entered. And this must indeed have been the case if the immediate result is anything but joy. The single aim of the teacher turns the divided goal of the pupil into one direction, with the call for help becoming his one appeal. This, then, is easily responded to with just one answer, and this answer will enter the teacher’s mind unfailingly. From there it shines into his pupil’s mind, making it one with his.

4. Perhaps it will be helpful to remember that no one can be angry at a fact. It is always a misguided interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions, regardless of their seeming justification by what appears as fact. Regardless, too, of the intensity of the anger that is aroused. It may be merely slight irritation, perhaps too mild to be even clearly recognized. Or it may also take the form of intense rage, accompanied by thoughts of violence fantasied or apparently acted out. It does not matter. All of these reactions are the same. They obscure the truth, and this can never be a matter of degree. Either truth is apparent, or it is not. It cannot be partially recognized. Whoever is unaware of truth and is thus expressing anger at the situation, must be looking upon illusions. The Holy Spirit is The Answer.

5. Anger in response to magic thoughts is a basic cause of fear. Consider what this reaction means, and its centrality in the world’s thought system becomes apparent. A magic thought, by its mere presence, acknowledges a separation from God. And herein lies the birthplace of guilt. Whoever attempts to usurp the place of God and takes it for himself now has a deadly “enemy.” He must stand alone in his protection, and must make himself a shield to keep him safe from an apparent fury that can never be abated, and vengeance that can never be satisfied. Anyone who battles with God for supremacy will be destined to lose. Only in joining with God is there real power, happiness and joy.

6. How can this unfair battle be resolved? Its ending is inevitable, for its outcome must be death. How, then, can one believe in one’s defenses? Magic again must be appealed to for help. With magic you can forget the battle. Accept it as a fact, and then forget it. Do not remember the impossible odds against you. Do not remember the immensity of the “enemy,” and do not think about your frailty in comparison. Accept your separation, but do not remember how it came about. Believe that you have won the battle, but do not retain the slightest memory of Who your great “opponent” really is. Projecting your “forgetting” onto Him, it seems to you He has forgotten, too. Yet does forgetting help?

7. But what will now be your reaction to all magic thoughts? They can but reawaken sleeping guilt, which you have hidden but have not let go. Each one says clearly to your frightened mind, “You have usurped the place of God. Think not He has forgotten.” Here we have the fear of God most starkly represented. For in that thought guilt has already raised madness to the throne of God Himself. And now there is no hope -- except to kill. Is this where salvation is now? An angry father pursues his guilty son. Kill or be killed, these are now your only choices. Beyond this there is none, for what was done cannot be done without. The stain of blood can never be removed, and anyone who bears this stain on him must meet with death. This certainly seems to be a hopeless situation with no way out.

8. Into this seemingly hopeless situation God sends His teachers. They bring the light of hope from God Himself. There is a way in which escape IS possible. This way can be learned and taught, but it requires patience and abundant willingness. And if you give it that, the lesson’s manifest simplicity will stand out like an intense white light against a black horizon, for it is that simple. If anger comes from a misinterpretation (which it does) and not from a fact, then anger is never justified. Once this is even dimly grasped, the way is open for truth to enter. Now it is possible to take the next step. The misinterpretation can be changed at last. Magic thoughts need not lead to condemnation after all, for they do not really have the power to give rise to guilt. And so they can be overlooked, and thus forgotten in the truest sense. And peace between you and your brother and God can reign again.

9. Madness but seems terrible. In truth it has no power to make anything. Like the magic which becomes its servant, it neither attacks nor protects. To see it and to recognize its thought system is to look on nothing. Can ”nothing” give rise to anger? Hardly. Remember that anger recognizes a reality that is not there; yet the anger is a certain witness that you do believe in it as fact. Then escape is impossible, until you see you have responded to your own misinterpretation, which you have then projected onto your brother and onto an outside world, even though it is an inner process of magic and wanton misinterpretation. Let this grim sword be taken from you now. There is no death. This sword does not exist. Your grievance against your brother is causeless. The fear of God is causeless. But His Love is Cause of everything beyond all fear, and thus forever real and always true.

Notes: It is clear that we really can change deeply rooted ego habit patterns and magic thoughts through conscious mind training with the help of the Holy Spirit and A Course in Miracles and God’s teachers and miracle workers. This enables us to “dispel illusions . . . by looking at them directly, without protecting them.” (T-11.V.2:2) Through working with the Course, we can bring the darkness of conscious and unconscious beliefs and motivations that lead to anger and subsequently to death – to the light that shines them away. Why harbor them an instant longer when they are so debilitating to the mind of the Son of God? When we open our minds to Him, He will cleanse our thoughts and interpretations and lift us into the eternal and fully conscious light of His Love.

Let us pray:

Father, lead our practicing as does a father lead a little child along a way he does not understand. Yet does he follow, sure that he is safe because his father leads the way for him. So do we bring our practicing to You. And if we stumble, You will raise us up. If we forget the way, we count upon Your sure remembering. We may wander off, but You will gently call us back. Thank you, Father. AMEN.




1. The teacher of God’s first responsibility regarding a magic thought is not to attack it. Attack reinforces a magic thought by perceiving it to be real. (Waste no time in this mistaken endeavor. Remember that the function of God’s teachers is to SAVE TIME.)

2. Neither is a teacher of God to reinforce a magic thought by concealing it beneath a wish (ego) to help. Instead, choose the will (Spirit) to help and listen to the Holy Spirit and only think, say and do that to which you are guided. Trying to “figure it out” or correct it yourself is misguided, even if the intention is to be helpful.

3. The single aim of the teacher (to be truly helpful) turns the divided goal of the pupil (magic in whatever form it has taken) into one direction (truth), with the call for help being answered with the one answer that will enter the teacher’s mind unfailingly when listening to the Holy Spirit. So step back, listen to Him, then step forward with The Answer when guided by the Holy Spirit to do so.

4. Remember that the Holy Spirit is never angry or upset. These realms only belong to the ego. So if you are angry or upset, be wary of blaming another and simply realize it is a magic thought and a misperception that has interfered with your holy thoughts. Give them to the Holy Spirit for correction INSTANTLY. Remember "ripple responsibility" and extend only love to the Sonship.


Projection means anger, anger fosters assault, assault promotes fear.

Understanding brings appreciation, appreciation brings love, love brings truth.

If a magic thought arouses anger, then separate goals must have entered.

No one can be angry at a fact. It is always a misinterpretation that gives rise to negative emotions.

Remember that anger recognizes a reality that is not there – yet the anger testifies that the one who is angry thinks it is there.

Slight irritation all the way to intense rage is the same. Anger is anger, regardless of the intensity. The amount demonstrated may only be the “tip of the iceberg.”

Anger always obscures the truth, leaving you with naught but illusions and magic thoughts … and you are back where you started.

Errors can be recognized by their results. A lesson truly taught and truly learned can lead to nothing but ultimate release for both teacher and pupil.

God’s teachers bring the light of hope from God Himself. There is a way in which escape from illusions is possible. Once a misinterpretation has been perceived and righted, the way is then open for truth. Once truth has entered, the illusion is forgotten. Correction of a magic thought or illusion, then, is the way out.

Only the Holy Spirit knows the correction, so ask Him – and trust Him.


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