Copyright 2013 Nouk Sanchez
The following is a real-life account from my own experience as a Course student. My spiritual journey had helped me detach significantly from physical and emotional pain, however after more than twenty years of studying and practicing the Course, I still believed in the body and the ego’s laws. I still believed decay, disease and death would overcome life. I believed I had no power over death. Death and sickness were natural, inevitable and legitimate parts of life. Because this was my free-will belief, I expected disease, decay and death. And from what I expected, God could not save me.
I tried to defend myself from these, but did not realize my very defense caused me to unconsciously attract them into my experience. I did not know that my own ego will was as powerful as God’s Will here in the dream, and that everything I defended myself from, I attracted. As Jesus says, “Truth cannot deal with errors that you want.”(T-3.IV.7:1.) And I could not forgive that which I still believed was real.
I did not recognize this: If I defend myself against something, I must still believe in its reality. While I’m defending against a perceived threat without willingly recognizing my own insanity, I won’t surrender my erroneous perception to Spirit. And that means I cannot forgive it. I cannot heal or be healed. For total healing to occur, I didn’t know I needed to offer up my entire perception that the mistaken concept of threat had ever existed.
I did not realize, and therefore could not benefit from, a profoundly significant component of the forgiveness process. It begins from the basis that only God’s Love exists. I did not yet accept or believe that nothing the body or world seemed to show me had the power to cause harm. I did not yet live out from the embodied knowing that wholehearted forgiveness could not occur unless I consistently deny that any power exists other than God’s Love.
And so I remained split between belief in a world that seemed to victimize the body and life, yet I professed that I also believed in God’s Love. I felt a great deal of inner conflict and confusion about this, which surely contributed to my unconscious guilt and ongoing self-judgment. Effects of this fundamental split repeated themselves over and over in my life, no matter how sincerely I tried to forgive them.
I didn’t consciously question my beliefs about all the ego’s laws. I questioned many, yet didn’t really look at my ingrained beliefs about those things that seemingly sustained the body and world. Nor did I examine my beliefs about what appeared to attack the body and the world. It hadn’t occurred to me that the laws of nature were the ego’s laws, and not God’s.
I took for granted that these beliefs in the so-called laws of nature were just part of the ego dream. I had no idea they played such an enormous unconscious role in the ego’s defense against God. In seeing through the ego’s arbitrary laws of sustenance and attack, I realized it wasn’t about giving up my magic remedies…the ego can’t give anything up! It was about courageously examining all the laws that I still believed attacked and sustained me. It meant looking at each one of them with Spirit, without judgment, and simply surrendering my perception for healing. That’s all. But I wasn’t ready for that yet.
My beliefs in magic remedies were many. I took supplements, I dieted to lose weight, I believed in the laws of nutrition and the laws of both holistic and traditional medicine. I still believed it was the body’s organs that sustained me, not God’s eternal Life. And because I believed the body sustained me, I planned my life and all my defenses around the body; these included both emotional and physical defense. The body appeared to be the main event even while I sincerely attempted forgiveness exercises on a regular basis.
I still thoroughly believed in the ego’s laws of economics (scarcity) instead of God’s Law of abundance and endless supply. Unsurprisingly, I found myself struggling financially and sacrificing. I tried to forgive this, too.
I didn’t see that I still valued two mutually exclusive and irreconcilable thought systems. I wanted to hang onto both God’s and the world’s thought system. I thought I could maneuver between them. I had no idea it was necessary to choose which thought system to value. I didn’t truly realize I had to commit to perceive only Love, willingly disciplining myself to look past, and forgive all ego appearances. Perhaps this sounds odd, given that the Course tells us all this so clearly. But I did not, could not make the leap of recognition that intellectual understanding wasn’t enough; I needed to actually apply these principles to my own life.
I believed that the ego dream, the body, and the laws of nature were inevitable, fixed—and yet also inconsequential, since none of these were real in Truth. I just needed to forgive them all, without examining any of them to see what they were actually made of. This is a subtly clever ego trap that ensnares many students of A Course in Miracles. I didn’t realize that while I kept defending my body from illness, overweight, scarcity and loss, I was at the same time investing in the body/world’s reality. I obviously believed all these things were real. How in the world could I forgive them? The truth is, we can’t forgive the body (or the world) while we still want to use them independently for the ego’s purposes.
I didn’t realize true forgiveness undoes the cause of the ego dream, and therefore undoes its effects as well. When I sincerely forgave something, I believed the cause was fully healed in my mind. And I felt that was enough. The effects or symptoms in the body or life didn’t matter. I realized only much later that I hadn’t really forgiven half the people and things I thought I had. And I certainly hadn’t truly forgiven the body. Because I still believed these things were real, I was still valiantly protecting and defending them, independently from Spirit. So the cause was not thoroughly forgiven, because it had not yet been fully recognized, looked upon with Spirit, and surrendered.
Jesus clearly asks us to fully heal the cause through forgiveness, and then to accept that the effects must be healed as well because they are never separate from the cause. This was impossible for me to do, while I continued to value two mutually exclusive thought systems. And as I discovered, the mind is eventually torn apart by this split.
I still felt threatened by the ego’s laws. I wasn’t yet ready to accept that by consciously joining with God’s Will to fully accept the Atonement, God’s Will is then able to reverse all ego laws. Even if I had tried, I confess I lacked the conviction to trust in God instead of the ego.
But even if I had been able to trust in God, another issue plagued me: To reverse the ego’s laws at the level of form through the healing of cause within the mind, was a concept that seemed utterly blasphemous to me. I didn’t yet realize it was only blasphemous to the ego. I still judged myself (and therefore others) as deeply unworthy; I was much more comfortable claiming false humility. I couldn’t possibly reverse the so-called laws of nature, as Jesus did! I did not recognize this was just the ego’s arrogance, yet another defense against God’s Love within.
By shunning belief in physical miracles, I delayed the memory of the immense power of God that I am in Truth (and that everyone else is, too). This thoroughly delighted the ego. I still chose to believe there could be victims of conflict, scarcity, disease and death. In doing so, I unknowingly revered a power other than the all-encompassing Love of God. I gave it precedence over God within.
In my extreme sense of unworthiness, I rejected the whole idea that effects or symptoms could heal, once the cause was healed. I think if I’d been shown, at that point, that my forgiveness resulted in physical miracles, it would have caused me more fear, rather than less. The appearance of physical miracles would have overthrown my entire value system. And I would have had no choice but to question everything I believed in. The purpose of the body and world would have to be totally re-evaluated!
I see now how I unknowingly continued the separation, by separating flesh from Spirit. I was convinced that the level of form was meaningless, and was therefore largely excluded from the miracle. But Jesus reminds us that we must undo error at all levels, in order to heal truly. We made the body and the world and gave them the erroneous purpose of separation. Our healing will come as we embrace our true purpose, forgiving the separation and literally learning to unmake all that we previously made to attack ourselves.
“A major step in the Atonement plan is to undo error at all levels.” T-2.IV.2:1.
“How foolish and insane it is to think a miracle is bound by laws that it came solely to undo!” T-27.VI.6.
I was terribly resistant to looking deeply at my beliefs, even the so-called “good beliefs” I held about the Course. I treasured certain interpretations of the Course, and refused to accept anything different. What changed all this for me? I’ve had the experience, the direct knowing that Jesus speaks of when he says the Atonement undoes error at all levels, including the body and world. Direct experience is absolutely necessary. How else will we know for certain that anything not of God’s Love has no power to hurt us? How else will we know, experience and demonstrate without a doubt, that there is no order of difficulty in miracles?
“Nothing that you have refused to accept can be brought into awareness. It is not dangerous in itself, but you have made it seem dangerous to you.” T-3.VI.4:4-5.
Jesus demonstrated that only God’s Laws are true. Through his miracles, He proved beyond all doubt that all ego laws are rendered powerless in the light of God’s unopposed Will.
“Truth cannot deal with errors that you want. I was a man who remembered spirit and its knowledge. As a man I did not attempt to counteract error with knowledge, but to correct error from the bottom up. I demonstrated both the powerlessness of the body and the power of the mind. By uniting my will with that of my Creator, I naturally remembered spirit and its real purpose. I cannot unite your will with God’s for you, but I can erase all misperceptions from your mind if you will bring it under my guidance.” T-3.IV.7:2-7
In our ego paradigm, we rarely dare to question the ego’s laws. Sickness, scarcity, conflict, loss and death are illusory laws made to convince us that God’s Laws have no power. Ultimately, they are meant to show us we are bereft of God’s Love. It is through the body that we prove the ego’s paradigm is meaningless. Through the body, we return to sanity through forgiveness. When we overturn the ego’s laws by accepting Atonement, the body’s goal will be reversed.
“The body is the means by which God’s Son returns to sanity. Though it was made to fence him into hell without escape, yet has the goal of Heaven been exchanged for the pursuit of hell. The Son of God extends his hand to reach his brother, and to help him walk along the road with him. Now is the body holy. Now it serves to heal the mind that it was made to kill.” W-pll.5.4.
You may feel tremendous resistance to this teaching, as I did, because if accepted it will threaten the entire ego thought system. The ego must retain at all costs the belief that we are helpless victims of forces outside us. And the concept of physical death is the most treasured of all ego defenses. It virtually guarantees we won’t have to awaken to God’s Love. Our greatest fear is the embodied knowledge of ourself as the expression of God. To have to remember our True Identity after death, in some imaginary dream of Heaven would be terrifying enough—it would be even more unthinkable to have to remember it right here within the ego dream.
Yet the truth remains there is nothing outside us. The body and the world we seem to see are all in our mind. The cause of the ego dream, together with its effects, is in our mind. And cause and effect are never separate. Heal the cause, and the effects must follow. Once the choice is made to live out from God within, God is all we see out there.
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