Copyright 2013 Nouk Sanchez
The sacred purpose of the body is to prove that illusions are simply not true. The body can become a means by which we demonstrate the power of a healed mind to attest that we, along with the world, are wholly guiltless and therefore, invulnerable. Yet this lesson about the body seems to be the hardest to accept, let alone overcome, for many A Course in Miracles students. Remember that the body is the last of our “special” relationships that we willingly surrender to Spirit (see excerpt, “The Body, the Last Special Relationship to be Healed”, click here)
Most of us are so utterly convinced that the body is separate from the mind. The ego’s reign of guilt and fear depends on us believing this. However, the body is “part” of the mind. While it appears as if it’s separate, it cannot be split off from the mind under any circumstances. We can believe that its separate but we will never overcome the ego dream while we split the body from the mind. And we will continue in the illusory cycle of birth and death until we do finally accept that body and mind remain together within the mind. If the body was separate from the mind it would mean that cause and effect are separate, and that God is apart from his Son. Keeping the delusion of body and mind as separate, is a sinister mind trick the ego uses to keep us asleep and under its hypnotic spell. It’s time to break the spell!
In Chapter 8 of A Course in Miracles, titled, “The Body as a Means of Communication”, is a critical and often misunderstood section. If we don’t exhume and embrace this piece of the ego puzzle, a fundamental Spiritual bypass will occur.
Healing is the result of using the body solely for communication. Now here is the tricky factor about the body being part of the mind and not by any means, separate from it. The body, while it seems to be physical, is not really physical at all. It’s quite literally part of a holographic dream and thus, it’s a projected image. But the image exists exclusively in the mind. The body is nowhere else but within the mind. Another way to put this is to imagine a wave on the sea. The ocean represents the mind from which all seeming reality springs, and the wave is the body. The ocean is either polluted (wrong-minded ego) or pristine (Right-Minded Spirit) depending upon where we choose to place our belief.
In this analogy the ocean (mind) is all that exists, even though we see all these waves. The waves represent our bodies. In the ego dream we separate the waves from the ocean, making them special and independent from the sea, the source from which they appear to materialize. And when the wave (body) is sick or dying, we refuse to recognize its real and only cause, the ocean of wrong-minded thought that propelled this wave of pain or illness. In sickness, we treat the wave while rejecting the healing of it’s obvious cause.
The substance of the wave is identical to the substance of the ocean. There is no substance within the wave (body) that can possibly be apart from the ocean (mind) that caused it. Through the ego we have given the “wave” special importance, so much so that we mistakenly believe in an entire world of separate waves, while rejecting the one Ocean as our joined Source. Each wave (body) is a separate identity, seemingly fenced off from all other waves.
When a wave gets sick…we don’t look to its real and only cause, the pollution, as the wrong-minded belief that caused it. Instead, we fabricate all manner of disease along with their pseudo remedies, that appear to be administered separately to the isolated and sick wave. We do this to superficially change its sick appearance to a healthy appearance. All the while, the real cause and healing of the wave’s condition lies solely within the ocean that carries it. Yet do we consult the ocean, as the mind and only source of the body’s ills and its healing? And when a wave (body) seemingly dies, we no longer seem to see it. But where has it gone? Has it left the ocean? Or has it returned to the ocean?
Using the analogy of the wave and ocean might help to reveal how forgiveness and Atonement work (for the forgiveness/Atonement process, click here). There is only one ocean (mind) and only one wave (body) despite the appearance of many. Hence if someone is sick, I can help to invoke the miracle by accepting Atonement for myself. I may not even speak about this to the seemingly ill person; there is no need. If I see suffering out there, then is it mine to heal (within my mind). By healing my mind of sickness, I help to heal all minds of sickness. When we heal we never heal alone.
The body, when guided by the ego, appears to be ruled by chaos. But Guided by Spirit, it becomes a means by which it (the body) is returned to Spirit; not through death, but by the dominion of Spirit over the body. As explained by Jesus below, the body becomes the means by which the part of your mind you tried to separate from Spirit, can reach beyond its distortions and return to Spirit. This is huge! I can now look back and see exactly how and why I had misunderstood Jesus’ teachings, as many have.
I separated the body from Spirit in thinking that the body was meaningless in undoing the ego. And by believing this, I unknowingly rejected the most important communication device there is in this dream. I unwittingly gave the body to the ego by allowing it to attack through pain and illness. I gave the body dominion over my mind. And then I would conveniently join in a Spiritual bypass in justifying suffering by saying, “I am not a body I am free.” Little did I know back then that I had fallen under the ego’s spell and had separated the body from Spirit. Further here, Jesus is specific in telling us that once it is returned to its rightful purpose, the body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, where devotion to him replaces devotion to the ego.
“In this world, not even the body is perceived as whole. Its purpose is seen as fragmented into many functions with little or no relationship to each other, so that it appears to be ruled by chaos. Guided by the ego, it [is.] Guided by the Holy Spirit, it is not. It becomes a means by which the part of the mind you tried to separate [from] spirit can reach beyond its distortions and return [to] spirit. The ego’s temple thus becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, where devotion to Him replaces devotion to the ego. In this sense the body does become a temple to God; His Voice abides in it by directing the use to which it is put.” T-8.VII.9.
Following, Jesus explains that “communication” is the sole purpose of the body. But attack of any kind destroys communication. Communication is void of any form of attack, and sickness or pain are forms of attack. The mind is whole, which means it cannot attack. All attack we appear to witness, including sickness, pain and death, are ego hallucinations that we have valued and therefore brought forth. He says the body is part of the whole mind, just as the wave is part of the whole ocean. But to see the body as separate from the whole mind is a sick interpretation. While mind cannot be made manifest in the truest sense (because everything is mind), mind can be made manifest through the body if it uses the body to go beyond itself. This is the purpose of healing the mind so that this healing transfers through the body and extends beyond itself. A blocked mind allows itself to be vulnerable to attack (sickness in any form), because it has turned against itself.
Healing is the result of using the body solely for communication. Since this is natural it heals by making whole, which is also natural. All mind is whole, and the belief that part of it is physical, or not mind, is a fragmented or sick interpretation. Mind cannot be made physical, but it can be made manifest [through] the physical if it uses the body to go beyond itself. By reaching out, the mind extends itself. It does not stop at the body, for if it does it is blocked in its purpose. A mind that has been blocked has allowed itself to be vulnerable to attack, because it has turned against itself.” T-8.VII.10.
If the mind believes the body is its primary goal and responsibility, it will distort perception of the body. The result is separation in the forms of pain, aging, illness and death. When we perceive the body as a separate entity it cannot but foster illness, because sickness in any form is not true. If it was true, then the separation would be real. The body, as the wave, is an intrinsic fragment of the whole mind (ocean). If the body is used for pain or illness, it loses its usefulness because it is being used to teach attack, the opposite to God’s all encompassing Love.
“The removal of blocks, then, is the only way to guarantee help and healing. Help and healing are the normal expressions of a mind that is working through the body, but not [in] it. If the mind believes the body is its goal it will distort its perception of the body, and by blocking its own extension beyond it, will induce illness by fostering separation. Perceiving the body as a separate entity cannot but foster illness, because it is not true. A medium of communication loses its usefulness if it is used for anything else. To use a medium of communication as a medium of attack is an obvious confusion in purpose.” T-8.VII.11.
When you use the body for both joining and attack, you teach separation. And that is exactly what this world does. As Jesus asks us in the following quote, “How can you do both simultaneously with the same thing (body) and not suffer?” While you believe in sickness, you will separate the body from the mind in an attempt to make the ego’s insane belief in separation, real. He says that perception of the body can be unified by only one purpose. And that purpose is forgiveness and accepting the Atonement.
This is the undoing and complete reversal of the thinking of the world, including the purpose of the body. The body is not an “end” or goal in itself. It is purely a “means” by which we learn that we are not a body; that we are the Holy Self who shares the infinite Power of God. We are God’s Will. We learn to demonstrate that nothing within the ego dream has power to attack the Son of God, who remembers his complete invulnerability in God’s Love. Learning must lead beyond the body to the re-establishment of the power of the mind in it. Perhaps now we can begin to see just how sacred the purpose of the body is, in the undoing of the ego’s dream.
“To communicate is to join and to attack is to separate. How can you do both simultaneously with the same thing and not suffer? Perception of the body can be unified only by one purpose. This releases the mind from the temptation to see the body in many lights, and gives it over entirely to the One Light in which it can be really understood. To confuse a learning device with a curriculum goal is a fundamental confusion that blocks the understanding of both. Learning must lead beyond the body to the re-establishment of the power of the mind in it. This can be accomplished only if the mind extends to other minds, and does not arrest itself in its extension. This arrest is the cause of all illness, because only extension is the mind’s function.” T-8.VII.12.
When we mistakenly believe that our self or another is a body, we separate from our Holy Self, others and God. And is there a seemingly more convincing “witness” to the body’s apparent reality, than in the case of pain, sickness or death? In our acceptance of sickness as being real, we see this person as a body and therefore, as separate. Now it is our own mind that needs healing (Atonement) because our mind is sick by believing that attack is real. Health is nothing more than united purpose. In true healing, the body is integrated within the mind and its purpose is made whole. The body is united in the Holy Purpose of the Mind. So the body must become whole because the healed mind’s purpose is one with God. Therefore attack (sickness in any form) can only be a presumed purpose of the body, because apart from the healed, whole mind, the body has no purpose at all.
“The opposite of joy is depression. When your learning promotes depression instead of joy, you cannot be listening to God’s joyous Teacher and learning His lessons. To see a body as anything except a means of communication is to limit your mind and to hurt yourself. Health is therefore nothing more than united purpose. If the body is brought under the purpose of the mind, it becomes whole because the mind’s purpose is one. Attack can only be an assumed purpose of the body, because apart from the mind the body has no purpose at all.” T-8.VII.13.
The mind can be manifested through the body if it goes beyond it and not interpret it as a limitation. But when we believe in sickness as real, we see another as limited to the body. And we impose this limit on our self. If we really desire to know God, to embody our infinite guiltlessness then we must be willing to recognize all the ways we still unknowingly value limitation. Because the whole purpose of learning is to escape limitations. To perceive the body as a means of attack (sickness, pain and death) and to believe that joy could possibly result, is an indication of a poor learner. He has accepted the ego’s goal which is an obvious contradiction to the unified purpose of God…which is his own True Purpose.
“You are not limited by the body, and thought cannot be made flesh. Yet mind can be manifested through the body if it goes beyond it and does not interpret it as limitation. Whenever you see another as limited to or by the body, you are imposing this limit on yourself. Are you willing to accept this, when your whole purpose for learning should be to escape from limitations? To conceive of the body as a means of attack and to believe that joy could possibly result, is a clear-cut indication of a poor learner. He has accepted a learning goal in obvious contradiction to the unified purpose of the curriculum, and one that is interfering with his ability to accept its purpose as his own.” T-8.VII.14.
Do not arrest your thought in this world. In other words, don’t allow the wave to become separate from the ocean in your awareness. For if you do, you will not allow the unlimited Power and Wholeness of God to be communicated through you. This is the Living Christ who must be made manifest within the dream in order to undo it entirely. Thus is the transfer made complete, from the ego’s darkened dream of death, to the brilliant and glorious dream of life without end in the Real World.
The Body as Means or End?
In the ego dream, we see the body as our identity. In making this mistake we also perceive the body as the fundamental goal of nearly everything we think, plan for and do. Everything we accomplish independently apart from Spirit, is for the betterment of either our own body or those of others. And whatever we accomplish with the ego is always attacked by it. That is why we feel a persistent sense of threat even after we’ve accomplished a goal. We just “know” that at some point in time, the other shoe will drop so to speak.
While we continue to value the body for what it can give to us, as a goal in itself, we will further the ego’s plan to make the body real, thus reinforcing separation. Jesus asks us this, “If you are sick, how can you object to the ego’s firm belief that you are not invulnerable?” See how the conniving ego will use attack (sickness) to prove to you that you are helpless and weak, and in need of the countless defenses (magic) of its own making? This message, that you are separate, guilty, worthless, weak and powerless, is the obvious ego attack beneath all forms of sickness and pain. But if you recognized this destructive message beneath sickness and rejected it, then you could no longer value illness (attack) in any form.
“It has been particularly difficult to overcome the ego’s belief in the body as an end, because it is synonymous with the belief in attack as an end. The ego has a profound investment in sickness. If you are sick, how can you object to the ego’s firm belief that you are not invulnerable? This is an appealing argument from the ego’s point of view, because it obscures the obvious attack that underlies the sickness. If you recognized this and also decided against attack, you could not give this false witness to the ego’s stand.” T-8.VIII.3.
The ego must make it appear as if the body is its own decision maker to prove that we are not the Holy Self who shares the Power of God’s Loving Will. As Jesus says below, “A sick body does not make any sense. It could not make any sense because sickness is not what the body is for.” It could only make sense if the purpose of the body was for attack, and that you are a body.
“It is still true that the body has no function of itself, because it is not an end. The ego, however, establishes it as an end because, as such, its true function is obscured. This is the purpose of everything the ego does. Its sole aim is to lose sight of the function of everything. A sick body does not make any sense. It could not make sense because sickness is not what the body is for. Sickness is meaningful only if the two basic premises on which the ego’s interpretation of the body rests are true; that the body is for attack, and that you are a body. Without these premises sickness is inconceivable.” T-8.VIII.5
The ego uses pain, sickness and death to demonstrate that you can be hurt and to make sure you are kept in constant fear of danger. This way, the ego is assured through your erroneous beliefs, that you will turn to it for guidance. The ego dictates endless prescriptions for avoiding catastrophic outcomes. It has an almost infinite hierarchy of illusions and has you heavily invested in making them real. Yet Spirit does not see any hierarchy of illusions. It knows they’re all unreal. Spirit looks clear past them all, waiting for your willingness to join him and thus, to heal.
“Sickness is a way of demonstrating that you can be hurt. It is a witness to your frailty, your vulnerability, and your extreme need to depend on external guidance. The ego uses this as its best argument for your need for [its] guidance. It dictates endless prescriptions for avoiding catastrophic outcomes. The Holy Spirit, perfectly aware of the same situation, does not bother to analyze it at all. If data are meaningless there is no point in analyzing them. The function of truth is to collect information that is true. [Any] way you handle error results in nothing.” T-8.VIII.6:1-8
The body as purely a learning device, is not a teacher. Remember that the body’s senses are sent by the ego to report back exactly what it wants us to perceive. If we feel pain or see sickness, it’s always the ego’s projection and never God’s Will. That is why we cannot afford to trust what the body’s eyes see. If we do not perceive through God’s Will, health, joy, Love, peace and abundance, then we are witnessing with the ego. We may “see” sickness and pain, yes. But do we “believe” it? This is the question. If we do believe the ego’s false evidence, then we need our perception healed through accepting the Atonement. “How are you feeling?” is a seemingly innocuous question, yet it’s unknowingly directed from and to the ego. The ego has no idea how we feel! If we feel anything less than joy-filled, peaceful and altogether Loving, then we’ve been hypnotized by the ego. The body cannot feel. It’s complete neutrality ensures its perfect condition; as long as we abdicate the body entirely to Spirit’s Purpose.
“A learning device is not a teacher. It cannot tell you how you feel. You do not know how you feel because you have accepted the ego’s confusion, and you therefore believe that a learning device [can] tell you how you feel. Sickness is merely another example of your insistence on asking guidance of a teacher who does not know the answer. The ego is incapable of knowing how you feel. When I said that the ego does not know anything, I said the one thing about the ego that is wholly true. But there is a corollary; if only knowledge has being and the ego has no knowledge, then the ego has no being.” T-8.VIII.7.
The only purpose for the body is to reach others so Spirit can extend this message of perfect immunity in God’s Being, to all. Part of this message is extended through the body via conventional and accepted means such speaking, acts of charity, Loving acts, writing, etc. A more significant and indisputable testimony of our innate guiltlessness and invulnerability, and one that speaks louder than a thousand words, is the body’s healing exclusively through accepting Atonement.
“A broken body shows the mind has not been healed. A miracle of healing proves that separation is without effect. What you would prove to him you will believe. The power of witness comes from your belief. And everything you say or do or think but testifies to what you teach to him. Your body can be means to teach that it has never suffered pain because of him. And in its healing can it offer him mute testimony of his innocence. It is this testimony that can speak with power greater than a thousand tongues. For here is his forgiveness proved to him.” “A miracle can offer nothing less to him than it has given unto you. So does your healing show your mind is healed, and has forgiven what he did not do. And so is he convinced his innocence was never lost, and healed along with you. Thus does the miracle undo all things the world attests can never be undone. And hopelessness and death must disappear before the ancient clarion call of life. This call has power far beyond the weak and miserable cry of death and guilt. T-27.VII.5,6.
The body in service of Spirit’s Purpose, cannot be sick. Do not allow the body to be a mirror of a split mind, and do not let it reflect your decision to attack through sickness and pain. Health is seen as the natural state of everything that is perceived with and through Spirit. Real health is the result of relinquishing all attempts to use the body lovelessly…
“The Holy Spirit teaches you to use your body only to reach your brothers, so He can teach His message through you. This will heal them and therefore heal you. Everything used in accordance with its function as the Holy Spirit sees it cannot be sick. Everything used otherwise is. Do not allow the body to be a mirror of a split mind. Do not let it be an image of your own perception of littleness. Do not let it reflect your decision to attack. Health is seen as the natural state of everything when interpretation is left to the Holy Spirit, Who perceives no attack on anything. Health is the result of relinquishing all attempts to use the body lovelessly. Health is the beginning of the proper perspective on life under the guidance of the one Teacher Who knows what life is, being the Voice for Life Itself.” T-8.VIII.9.
NOTE: The End of Death is available through www.EndOfDeath.com