As we awaken from the ego dream, we must also awaken from the belief that we are the body and not the eternal Son of God. Most of us within the dream have mistaken the body as our self. Yet this body is merely a projected image which dwells in our mind (not brain). In the dream the insubstantial and unreal body has become our fraudulent identity, our central idol – the all-inclusive substitute for our infinitely Loving, endlessly abundant and joyful Holy Self.
This central idol is revered or despised, either cherished through pleasure seeking or attacked by pain and disease. Both reactions are the same. They seek to immortalize the body through our pursuit of pleasure and our avoidance of pain. The underlying objective is to make the body real in our awareness, thus making it seem as if the body is autonomous in its power to change, to get sick or to heal. While we remain hypnotized by this illusion, we will not see that all the body’s changes, both good and bad, are brought about exclusively by our mind.
“Pain demonstrates the body must be real. It is a loud, obscuring voice whose shrieks would silence what the Holy Spirit says, and keep His words from your awareness. Pain compels attention, drawing it away from Him and focusing upon itself. Its purpose is the same as pleasure, for they both are means to make the body real. What shares a common purpose is the same.” T-27.VI.1:1-5
All special relationships are attempts at union with bodies. Our guiltless, true Identity shines its radiance beyond the body. The illusory body then is made as our replacement for the glorious Child of God that we are. And while we identify as a body instead of as Spirit, the ego will use the body to play out the punishing role that it assigns.
The body appears to have a mind of its own. Yet we only seem to be at the mercy of it. Things are never as they appear in the ego dream. Everything is quite literally reversed and that is why we need to invite the Holy Spirit in to correct our perception.
It is the mind that tells the body exactly what to do, not the other way around. Of itself, the body is entirely neutral and responds only to the mind’s orders. It answers either to Love or to fear within our mind. The body only appears to be under biological and physiological laws, as well as the laws of time.
These are representative of the laws of the ego and are certainly not God’s Laws. These are illusory phenomena which the false-self’s split mind made up. It employs them to keep us believing that we are separate from each other and our infinitely Loving Source of perfection.
While we believe we are the body we will also falsely believe that we are victims of the body; that this entirely neutral image has the power to betray and attack us. It will seem as if the body has a mind of its own. And we will view everyone else as a body; bodies that can also harm and betray us.
Yet in Truth the body is wholly neutral. Of itself, it cannot change in state or appearance. It has zero power to cause any changes of itself because it is simply a now moment image or “effect” of our mind. It cannot age, sicken or even die of itself. The same can be said about its healing. Only the mind heals the body. Every change in the body’s condition or appearance is caused exclusively by our desire, although until the false-self is largely undone this unconscious desire for self-attack will continue to be masked and will manifest in the many forms of adversity we seem to experience.
Another important point here is – we are not sustained by the body as the world teaches. Life is not in the body. The body does not give us life. Only God’s Love is the Cause of life, which by the way has no opposite. As we awaken from fear and the body, we realize that we are constantly sustained by the Love of God as our Holy Self. This Love provides the ground of our Being. It is our eternal and completely uninterrupted Source. We are life without end. And as we practice forgiveness we learn to recognize this Love and life in everyone we meet.
While we still misidentify as a body and believe mistakenly that we are sustained by it, we will continue to be fearful of Love as True healing. We will unknowingly attract relationship conflicts, misfortune, illness, aging and death. And instead of using the body as a means to help heal our relationships, we will use it to further separate.
Jesus, in the Course, assigns considerable emphasis on the necessity of undoing of our belief in the body as our identity; and for good reason. The body identity represents all our fears. It is the gap of separation. It is the split mind.
While we see our self as a body, believing that we are victim to it, we will be attracted to special relationships and will mistake guilt, sacrifice and attack for Love. We will view others as limited to the body as well. The body is then used as a separation device, a veil to obscure the infinite glory of what lies beyond it. This is the one shared and Holy Self.
“The body is the ego’s idol; the belief in sin made flesh and then projected outward. This produces what seems to be a wall of flesh around the mind, keeping it prisoner in a tiny spot of space and time, beholden unto death, and given but an instant in which to sigh and grieve and die in honor of its master.” T-20.VI.11:1-2
The neutral body is not wrong or bad. It’s just an image that we’ve projected to take the place of “what” we really are. It is an image that we have used to hide our incorruptible innocence and majestic light from each other. The most important question concerning the body is this, “What do we use it for?” What is its purpose? Through the ego, its senses and appetites are sent to gather proof of sin, guilt, attack, conflict, loss, deceit, addictions, betrayal, aging, pain and illness. And it believes by the false evidence which it projected and gathered, that others, along with the past, are responsible for its pain.
“The central lesson is always this; that what you use the body for it will become to you. Use it for sin or for attack, which is the same as sin, and you will see it as sinful. Because it is sinful it is weak, and being weak, it suffers and it dies. Use it to bring the Word of God to those who have it not, and the body becomes holy. Because it is holy it cannot be sick, nor can it die. When its usefulness is done it is laid by, and that is all. M-12.5:1-6
The body is neutral. It can be completely and divinely re-purposed as the means by which we actually reverse the ego’s destructive goal of separation. And this sacred reversal is accomplished when we join with Holy Spirit to re-purpose our relationships from special to Holy.
The ego only knows of special love which is fear and attack in disguise. Because it thrives on guilt it uses the body in vastly distorted ways to ensure the cycle of attack continues to play out. And we cannot end the attack if we’re not willing to recognize it.
The false-self is obsessed with the body as itself. Every one of its unions is made to pander to the body. The body has become its fundamental goal. Everything it thinks about and all it does is done for the body. The body is its central idol which it defends to the death, not realizing that it is consistently dooming the body to death. It either hates the body or it idolizes it. Both these mistakes serve the exact same purpose – to make the body real in awareness and totally obscure the light of our Holy Self.
The Body Must be Divinely Re-Purposed
The misappropriation of the body’s role in relationships presents the greatest of subversive blocks to the awareness of Love’s presence. We have been taught to seek for Love through the body, not realizing that this is impossible. We seek and never find.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it [is] necessary to seek for what is false.” T-16.IV.6:1-2
The most significant yet unidentified source of physical illness can be found in our special relationships. The special love dynamic might be highly valued but is deadly poison to our mind and therefore, to the body.
The body is purely an effect of what we use it for. And while we still find our self enmeshed in specialness then the body will inevitably be used by the ego for attack. Although generally we won’t be aware of this until we change our mind about the goal of the relationship. When we make the healing choice with Holy Spirit to transfer a relationship from special to Holy, then the body’s role is also re-purposed.
The body, once it has been re-purposed with Holy Spirit, becomes the means by which we return to sanity. And we do this by learning to close the gap with others, via forgiveness. This is True communication beyond the body. The body (ours and others) then recedes in our awareness. As it loses its central focus of being used for guilt, pride and attack, we begin to recognize and value what lies beyond it, which is the beloved, changeless and all-inclusive Holy Self. This ultimately takes us to closing the final gap within – to embody the Holy Self.
The body must be repurposed. And the transition experience from special to Holy Relationship offers us a rich classroom in which to accomplish this most sacred of assignments. In fact, the Holy Relationship is the necessary classroom through which the body is finally overcome. It is here, within the Holy Relationship, that we reverse the laws of the world by reversing “effect and cause.” As the body’s purpose is purified and sanctified we understand and accept its complete neutrality and powerlessness. The mind is recognized as the single source of all that the body appears to feel and do.
“The body is a dream.” … “Made to be fearful, must the body serve the purpose given it. But we can change the purpose that the body will obey by changing what we think that it is for.” …“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.5.3:1,4-5.4
In special relationships the body is mistakenly seen as a goal in itself, instead of purely as a means to undo our deep-seated guilt so we can behold the magnitude of Love we are and share. We seek to satiate the body’s many appetites through food, physical company, sex, money, status, material possessions, etc. In fact everything we do, we do for the body while we believe it is our identity. We are willing to sacrifice our life for the body. And we do! That is what death is; a mistaken belief that the body is “who” we are and that it’s more powerful than our mind that made it.
In error we have claimed this mindless, powerless and projected image as the totality of our “self.” And through un-relinquished fear we inadvertently attempt to use relationships to further the ego’s body agenda. Because the body is erroneously valued as the goal in special relationships, it is used unwittingly to project attack rather than to communicate guiltlessness (Love).
Most of what the ego labels as “love or loving” in relationships is really a form of attack and is rooted in unacknowledged guilt. This section will hopefully redefine and re-purpose the language of Love. The world’s concept of love is special. This is the only brand of love (attack) it understands.
The Unconscious Fear of Love
Remember that the ego is terrified of Love, real Love that is. This is the fear of God, the terror of discovering that our will and God’s Will are the same. And this is why we may say we trust God, yet we’re afraid to hand over the ego’s idols completely, including our body, relationships, family, finances and career. We compartmentalize our life trying to protect most of it from God because we are terrified of the ego’s interpretation of His Will. Yet God’s Will and Nature is unopposed and undivided Love and joy.
The ego has hoodwinked us completely by projecting “its own” destructive and vindictive nature and will onto God as Love. This is why we don’t turn everything and everyone over to God. We really do believe unconsciously that He will annihilate them and us. We incorrectly believe that He teaches us through painful lessons and asks us to sacrifice on behalf of Love. Here is a truly helpful exercise from The End of Death, Volume One which you can take yourself through: Are you Fearful of God? https://takemetotruth.org/nouks-blog/are-you-fearful-of-god-a-surprising-and-revealing-exercise/
When Love is Confused with Attack
When Jesus speaks of using the body for attack, He includes our unforgiven memories of past grievances which are superimposed upon our present relationships. These unhealed memories perpetuate the seeming past into the future so as to obscure the Holy Instant where all healing awaits our welcome.
Using the body to attack includes:
- Judging and guilt-tripping our self or others
- Seeing our self and others as bodies instead of as Spirit
- Verbal, emotional or physical abuse
- Sickness and pain
Illness is probably the ego’s strongest defense against recognizing that our True Identity as a Child of God can never be threatened. This Self has dominion over the phenomenal world that we made with the ego while believing we were separate from God.
Other unrecognized forms of attack that are especially treasured in the special relationship dynamic include:
- Sacrifice, struggle, pain and jealousy
- Belief that Love is exclusive rather than inclusive
What the world has come to know as “love” will need to be questioned because we really do not know what Love is – yet.
In addition, another often unrecognized form of attack is the inappropriate use of sex. Lust and sexual fantasies idolize the body as the central, figure rather than the Spirit. Unknowingly, sexual lust is a form of objectification which the ego confuses with Love, while using it to deny True intimacy and the Holy Instant.
Remember that lust is not wrong but simply false; so, no self-condemnation. Only the ego condemns. Spirit simply looks without judgment and gently urges us to give our co-dependencies and addictions to Him so they can be divinely re-purposed. Contrary to what the ego tells us there is no loss or sacrifice involved. We will know when we’re ready to do this. The right timing arises when we have truly reached our pain limit with that particular body appetite.
An important component in undoing the false-self involves the re-purposing of the body and its appetites which must include the divine re-purposing of sex. As Jesus points out in the following quotes, emphasis on the body negates the willingness to see another as complete. And while we mentally dissociate another by confusing the body as who they are, we also do it to our self. We either see the body or we see the Spirit, the Holy changelessness of another. We cannot see both. Whatever appears to change in another or our self is simply not real. Our Holy Self is eternal and changeless, and this is what we learn to recognize, embody and cherish in the Holy Relationship.
“No one is seen complete. The body is emphasized, with special emphasis on certain parts, and used as the standard for comparison of acceptance or rejection for acting out a special form of fear.” T-18.I.3:6-7
“But when you look upon a brother as a physical entity, his power and glory are “lost” to you and so are yours. You have attacked him, but you must have attacked yourself first.” T-8.VII.5:3-5
Sex happens to be one of the ego’s most deviously hidden and heavily defended storehouses for guilt (attack). When used by the ego, this particular body appetite is the most cleverly concealed and disguised from our awareness. And because of the pervasive and overwhelming confusion of sex with Love, this subject is covered more extensively in the chapter titled, Sex and Transorgasmic Union, in this book (The End of Death, Vol. II; A Manual for Holy Relationship). We address the divine re-purposing of sex and introduce a practical process to help the transfer process from lust to Love.
The sexual appetite can be such a guilt-magnet. Just as a reminder – guilt does not exist. Yet if we don’t know this deeply in our awareness, we will inadvertently amass guilt as unconscious self-sabotage. This is why it’s a process, and a gentle, Loving one at that.
Communication as the Body’s Singular Purpose
In the transfer from special to Holy relationship, romantic relationships in particular will undergo many divine upgrades where the toxic rules of “special love” are unearthed, reviewed and then lovingly exchanged for the Laws of Love.
“Remember that the Holy Spirit interprets the body only as a means of communication.”… “You do not perceive your brothers as the Holy Spirit does, because you do not regard bodies solely as a means of joining minds and uniting them with yours and mine. This interpretation of the body will change your mind entirely about its value. Of itself it has none.” … “If you use the body for attack, it is harmful to you.” T-8.VII.2:1,2:5-7,3:1
“Communication ends separation. Attack promotes it. The body is beautiful or ugly, peaceful or savage, helpful or harmful, according to the use to which it is put. And in the body of another you will see the use to which you have put yours. If the body becomes a means you give to the Holy Spirit to use on behalf of union of the Sonship, you will not see anything physical except as what it is. Use it for truth and you will see it truly.” T-8.VII.4:1-6
In the two previous quotes Jesus shares that the body’s singular purpose is as a means of communication. Let me clarify. The only essence we can communicate is Love; undivided and unopposed Love. When we try to communicate special love, which is fear in disguise, we’re not really communicating at all. Fear disrupts communication. Nothing shows up on God’s Radar. The ego tries to communicate through attack but while this seems real it is not. So, when the ego uses the body for its various forms of attack we actually break communication with others and our Holy Self. That is why we often feel so alone in fear.
This is an exceptionally crucial and fundamental teaching that provides a firm foundation upon which the “special” relationship dynamic is finally seen and healed.
“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.” T-8.VII.11:2-4
“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.”… “When you see a brother as a body, you are condemning him because you have condemned yourself.” T-8.VII.13:3-5,15:7
This took me what seemed like forever to accept and understand. It need not take you that long if you drop your resistance to it. The ego believes that love can change or end, which is our erroneous belief that love brings guilt and attack. This is not Love, but fearful, special love. The purpose for special love is to project guilt. And the ego uses all the world’s themes for fake love to disguise this underlying intention. More so, the body is employed as its greatest ally to perpetuate these pseudo expressions of love until we consciously re-purpose it with Holy Spirit. The ego’s form of special love is always attack in disguise. It’s just ego-stroking and certainly not real Love.
“The special love relationship is the ego’s chief weapon for keeping you from Heaven.” T-16.V.2:3
Jesus tells us that the special relationship is the ego’s chief weapon. And the romantic relationship is especially prone to being used as this weapon, precisely because it centers on the body; what the body of another can do for it.
Thank God we always have the now moment choice to ask Holy Spirit to help us divinely repurpose our special relationships. Each Holy Instant in which we sincerely desire to forgive instead of condemn another, we activate the miracle. And as we progressively accept the inestimable value of forgiveness we also come closer to experiencing the immense joy of Holy Relationships. Forgiveness opens the celestial gate to anchoring our incorruptible innocence and knowing our Self as Love and joy without opposite.
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