In the long descent into fear and an equally long ascent back up the ladder of separation toward unification, the split-mind operates from a severely limited frame of reference. In our return to Love there are many illusory levels and progressions of awakening.
In this world we are probably most familiar with the customary awakening or enlightenment within the body dream. But this is just one form of awakening and we’re mostly unaware that there is yet a final awakening to take place. This is awakening from the body and its central dream altogether. And this cannot be achieved through what we know as physical death.
Many masters achieved enlightenment but they still retained a split-mind by allowing the illusory body to sicken and die. They did not understand the body’s nothingness. They did not realize that it was powerless over their mind. The body, which is a “self-made” fantasy, appeared to claim them through death. And while the illusory body seemed to claim them as victims in sickness and death, they could not recognize the body’s nothingness.
They were still afraid of the power of the undivided Mind as perfect Love. They continued then to be bound to this illusion of the body and death, not recognizing their complete dominion over these hallucinations. Herein lays the deep unconscious attraction to the ego’s birth, amnesia and death cycle. And yet we can access the miracle in any situation if we are open to this quantum healing of the mind:
“Miracles enable you to heal the sick and raise the dead because you made sickness and death yourself, and can therefore abolish both. [You] are a miracle, capable of creating in the likeness of your Creator. Everything else is your own nightmare, and does not exist. Only the creations of light are real.” T.1.I.24.
One thing that Jesus revealed to me about spiritual awakening is that while we still believe we’re in a body, and at the seeming mercy of this central idol of all illusions, there will be a progression of awakenings and not just one. These awakenings are irrevocable yet they continue opening into higher states of unified awareness – if we don’t stop at the first awakening or enlightenment which He terms as a temptation to rest in “complacency.”
I’d like to share a section here from Jesus about His resurrection in the earlier A Course in Miracles Urtext. It is titled, “Was there a Physical Resurrection?”
“My body disappeared because I had no illusion about it. The last one had gone. It was laid in the tomb, but there was nothing left to bury. It did not disintegrate because the unreal cannot die. It merely became what it always was. And that is what “rolling the stone away” means. The body disappears, and no longer hides what lies beyond. It merely ceases to interfere with vision. To roll the stone away is to see beyond the tomb, beyond death, and to understand the body’s nothingness. What is understood as nothing must disappear.”
“I did assume a human form with human attributes afterwards, to speak to those who were to prove the body’s worthlessness to the world. This has been much misunderstood. I came to tell them that death is illusion, and the mind that made the body can make another since form itself is an illusion. They did not understand. But now I talk to you and give you the same message. The death of an illusion means nothing. It disappears when you awaken and decide to dream no more. And you still do have the power to make this decision as I did.”
When the Mind has returned to this level of dominion and mastery (as Jesus did), it is understood and demonstrated that the neutral body is indeed unreal. Thus, the body, as an image only and yet still within the Mind, is known purely as an effect of the Mind. It does not ever leave the mind. The ego mind dreams of physical death and orders the body to follow suit because that mind is still split. The body is not a cause in itself. It cannot betray us or victimize us. It has zero ability to change – sicken, heal, age or die – independently of the mind. The unreal cannot die.
As Jesus explains, “(My body) did not disintegrate because the unreal cannot die. It merely became what it always was.” … “The body disappears, and no longer hides what lies beyond. It merely ceases to interfere with vision.” He shares that because He knew the body’s nothingness, it then disappeared. It did not decay or disintegrate. As a projected image, it merely dematerialized. And afterward, He materialized an additional body in order to teach others who were to extend His precious teaching. But, as we see now more than two thousand years later, Jesus’ teachings on miracles and overcoming the illusory body and death, were not embraced, understood or demonstrated except by a rare few.
Speaking about enlightenment, many who have experienced an irrevocable spiritual awakening have stopped there, fooled into believing that this state of awareness was the crowning glory of all time. The present euphoria, peace, Love and spaciousness seemed to indicate that there was nothing remaining in their mind to unlearn and therefore, nothing left to learn. The spiritual jackpot had been delivered. However, without knowing it they then became un-teachable.
Within the ego’s dream of life in the body, we awaken as the split mind heals and becomes whole. This is achieved as we make the transfer from fear as a separate self-concept, to Love as the one, shared and unified Self.
Even with the traditional ideas of awakening within the dream there still remains the deepest, most unrecognized and fiercely defended obstacle yet to overcome – the ego’s central dream of death.
This belief, as the ultimate blind-spot, ensures the mind’s ongoing split which perpetuates the illusion of time. So much so, that this undisputed certainty in death as a power greater than God stalks the awakened one beyond physical death. This overwhelming loyalty to death as reigning supreme over God is responsible for pulling them into further incarnations within the dream, awakened or not. This massive oversight, as the deeply unconscious attraction to death, is the darkest and most defended conviction of all, to perpetuate time and space via the illusions of birth and death.
This is a whole other realm of the split mind that has been unacknowledged by many awakened masters. And because this split was unseen, it remained unhealed and they could not move past it. There is an almost entirely unknown level of mastery which Jesus beckons us to embrace in the Course. He demonstrated it through His resurrection. Enlightenment in a body within the ego’s dream is just a beginning.
“The world is not left by death but by truth, and truth can be known by all those for whom the Kingdom was created, and for whom it waits.” T-3.VII.6:11
The seeming “death realm” is the ego’s most cherished dream (see Chapter Six in Volume One of The End of Death, and its accompanying diagram – Collapsing the Dream of Death, on page 167.) The death dream is its greatest defense against God as Love and is inextricably entwined with the fear of God. Faith in the death dream is the ultimate split yet to be recognized and healed.
“If death is real for anything, there is no life. Death denies life. But if there is reality in life, death is denied. No compromise in this is possible.” W-27.4.2-5
“What could you choose between but life or death, waking or sleeping, peace or war, your dreams or your reality? There is a risk of thinking death is peace, because the world equates the body with the Self which God created. Yet a thing can never be its opposite. And death is opposite to peace, because it is the opposite of life. And life is peace. Awaken and forget all thoughts of death, and you will find you have the peace of God.” T-27.VII.10:1-6
The unquestioned belief that the illusory body (purely an “idea” or image dwelling in and projected by the split mind) has dominion over the mind that made it, reveals that the mind is only partially awakened and is still divided. It has not overcome the ego’s most aggressive central dream. Consequently, it sees physical death as safety, as escape from the final Awakening.
“Those who fear death see not how often and how loudly they call to it, and bid it come to save them from communication. For death is seen as safety, the great dark savior from the light of truth, the answer to the Answer, the silencer of the Voice that speaks for God. Yet the retreat to death is not the end of conflict. Only God’s Answer is its end.” T-19.IV.C.7:1-4
Since the separation, the split mind bases itself on one pivotal and entirely un-questioned central dream. All other illusions stem from this one seemingly infallible belief. Without this one belief –that death is the certain outcome of all life – the entire dream would crumble instantaneously.
“Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem. Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality, and dying in the end?” … “It is the one fixed, unchangeable belief of the world that all things in it are born only to die. This is regarded as “the way of nature,” not to be raised to question, but to be accepted as the “natural” law of life.” “…all this is taken as the Will of God. And no one asks if a benign Creator could will this.”
“Death is the symbol of the fear of God. His Love is blotted out in the idea, which holds it from awareness like a shield held up to obscure the sun. The grimness of the symbol is enough to show it cannot coexist with God.”
“There is either a god of fear or One of Love. The world attempts a thousand compromises, and will attempt a thousand more. Not one can be acceptable to God’s teachers, because not one could be acceptable to God. He did not make death because He did not make fear. Both are equally meaningless to Him.”
“The “reality” of death is firmly rooted in the belief that God’s Son is a body. And if God created bodies, death would indeed be real. But God would not be loving. There is no point at which the contrast between the perception of the real world and that of the world of illusions becomes more sharply evident. Death is indeed the death of God, if He is Love.”
“And the last to be overcome will be death.” Of course! Without the idea of death there is no world. All dreams will end with this one. This is salvation’s final goal; the end of all illusions. And in death are all illusions born.” M-27.1:1-2,4-7,3:1-3,4:6-10,5:1-5,6:1-6
If God is all life without opposite or end, how can death possibly exist? Death, along with its entirely imagined realm, is an ego illusion! If death exists, then God as Love does not. We cannot afford to believe that both these mutually exclusive possibilities exist simultaneously. If we do, then we are looking from a split mind and not the unified Mind. God’s Love is all there is. Death is an attempt to resolve conflict by not deciding at all!
Belief in death is rejection of Love as God. This belief is the split mind. It maintains the split. Only God’s Love is all there is. Jesus shares with us:
“The body neither lives nor dies, because it cannot contain you who are life. If we share the same mind, you can overcome death because I did. Death is an attempt to resolve conflict by not deciding at all. Like any other impossible solution the ego attempts, [it will not work].” T-6.V.A.1:4-7
The concept of death is a lie that we taught our self by trusting the body’s sensory perceptions which were made to report and sustain separation. Death is not a fact. It is learned and must be now un-learned. The body sickens and withers and dies only because we learned this and then expected it to do so. The body, as purely an “idea” in the mind, is a neutral, changeless, now moment, projected image. It has no past! This is why it can be healed by the miracle instantaneously if the mind is willing to be healed. It, of itself, has zero power to sicken or to heal. It’s the mind, either conscious or unconscious, which instructs the body to change anything in form, including physical death.
Death is the fear of life. It is none other than the fear of Self, of the Love and innocence we are as one with God. Thus is death the ego’s escape from God. And death is the final obstacle to Love that must be unlearned.
“You see in death escape from what you made. But this you do not see; that you made death, and it is but illusion of an end. Death cannot be escape, because it is not life in which the problem lies. Life has no opposite, for it is God. Life and death seem to be opposites because you have decided death ends life. Forgive the world, and you will understand that everything that God created cannot have an end, and nothing He did not create is real.” M-20.5:2-7
As we approach perfect Love as light – which is full awakening from separation – a great many, including enlightened masters, frequently choose sickness and physical death at this point. Why? Because death is an attempt to escape from God. The split-mind tries to escape since there remains still some fear of Love, of returning our perception to the realm of Knowledge, as undivided and unopposed union with God.
“All forms of sickness, even unto death, are physical expressions of the fear of awakening. They are attempts to reinforce sleeping out of fear of waking. This is a pathetic way of trying not to see by rendering the faculties for seeing ineffectual. “Rest in peace” is a blessing for the living, not the dead, because rest comes from waking, not from sleeping. Sleep is withdrawing; waking is joining.” T-8.IX.3:2-6
In the light of these Victory Lap teachings, some may then mistakenly assume that the Course is advocating immortality in a body. This is not the case. As the mind is made whole again, guilt as the single cause for all attack, is erased. As a consequence, all “effects” of guilt such as disease, pain, conflict, aging and death, are also erased. The miracle heals the cause in the mind together with the effects seen in the body. Cause and effect are one, never separate.
Jesus tells us that when we reach this most advanced stage we will decide with Holy Spirit whether we desire to stay in the body, or lay it aside. But it is not laid aside through attack such as sickness, aging, pain, accident, etc. To do so would demonstrate that the mind remains split and is not yet healed. In the advanced state when we decide to leave the body, we step away from a perfectly healthy and serviceable body.
Jesus makes a strong point in the following passage. He says that in laying it aside the body is not sick nor old nor hurt. It shows no signs of attack. It’s not used by the ego as proof of sin, guilt and death. Instead, the body is employed by Holy Spirit as a beacon to demonstrate not just our own sinlessness, but the sinlessness of everyone.
“And yet a neutral thing (the body) does not see death, for thoughts of fear are not invested there, nor is a mockery of love bestowed upon it. Its neutrality protects it while it has a use. And afterwards, without a purpose, it is laid aside. It is not sick nor old nor hurt. It is but functionless, unneeded and cast off.” W-294.1:5-9
This teaching presented in the Course, is the final Victory Lap, our lighted pathway out of the ego’s impossibly long, weary and arduous dream of life in the body, which is really a dream of death, and not of life at all. I am so deeply grateful to Jesus, as the first Christ amongst us all, to have undone the entire ego dream for all time. Thank God for His having accomplished the Atonement on behalf of all of us. Now, all that remains for us to do is to accept and receive this Truth deeply into our hearts. After all, the sole responsibility of the miracle worker – as you and me – is to accept the Atonement for our self.
In conclusion, I am constantly reminded that Jesus says and means He is literally with us in our seeming awakening from fear to Love. He tells us that the ego has no power to interfere in this the most Holy journey of all time. Jesus is with us and offers us His hand and His strength. I am so grateful I took His hand and that I will never let it go.
“Whenever fear intrudes anywhere along the road to peace, it is because the ego has attempted to join the journey with us and cannot do so. Sensing defeat and angered by it, the ego regards itself as rejected and becomes retaliative. You are invulnerable to its retaliation because I am with you. On this journey you have chosen me as your companion [instead] of the ego. Do not attempt to hold on to both, or you will try to go in different directions and will lose the way.”
“Never accord the ego the power to interfere with the journey. It has none, because the journey is the way to what is true. Leave all illusions behind, and reach beyond all attempts of the ego to hold you back. I go before you because I am beyond the ego. Reach, therefore, for my hand because you want to transcend the ego. My strength will never be wanting, and if you choose to share it you will do so. I give it willingly and gladly, because I need you as much as you need me.” T-8.V.5:5,6:4-10
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