In every instant, we choose. There are thousands of mini decisions that we make each day, all of them require us to make decisions either from fear or from love. If we choose blindly and independently, without consulting the Holy Spirit or the Holy Self within, we will be choosing from unconscious guilt and fear – the ego.
It’s pretty astounding just how much of our daily decision making is based upon getting our body’s needs met. It’s not until we begin to do some radical self inquiry, and mindful observation of our thoughts, feelings, and responses that we can begin to reverse the idea that the body is ‘who’ we are. Let’s look at the statement that ‘the body is illusion only.’ In fact, let’s look at the content of this statement, rather than to allow the ego’s interpretation of it.
The body being yours or another’s, while an illusion, is not understood and accepted as illusion, until one has explored the depth of the value we place on and within it. We cannot undo this illusion, unless we see all the areas in which mistaken value has been placed upon the body. This means we are called to disclose all the body beliefs that we consciously or unconsciously value and trust. Specifically they include:
- Trusting the body’s senses. Trusting that what we see, hear, touch, smell, and taste is true. Also, our emotions are part of the body’s experience. They are a product of our perception, and will tell us which teacher we’re listening to, Holy Spirit or ego.
- Trusting the body’s desires. Believing that the pursuit of pleasure is the body’s (our) purpose; improving its looks, its image, meeting its body appetites, i.e.: food, financial security, emotional security, sex, etc.
- Trusting the body’s judgment. Believing that attack and defense are justified and that we must defend ourselves (independently from Spirit) from the ego’s projections of sickness, conflict, and death i.e.: germs cause illness.
- Believing that suffering is a legitimate experience, including physical and emotional suffering as an extension of this world’s ‘cause and effect’ beliefs.
- Unconsciously expecting whatever it is we’re attempting to defend the body against, e.g.: flu, colds, cancer, increased weight, aging, and death, etc. When we defend, we reinforce fear and keep the cycle of ego projection going. What we defend against, we expect (manifest unconsciously), and God cannot save us from this.
All these areas are illusory, because until they are raised to awareness and handed over to the Holy Self, they are substantially governed by the ego. Therefore, until we undo the ego, our underlying intent is to get our physical and emotional (ego) needs met through the body, in the mistaken belief that ‘the body’ is who we are, and that it is an independent entity of its own. The lie, here, is the belief that the body has power of its own, and that it can affect our mind, our experience here in the dream. In truth, it’s the mind that projected the body, and it’s only and always the mind that tells the body what to do. As Jesus shares with us in the A Course In Miracles, “Only the mind is capable of error. The body can act wrongly only when it is responding to misthought. The body cannot create, and the belief that it can, a fundamental error, produces all physical symptoms. Physical illness represents a belief in magic.” (T-2.IV.2:4-7)
The body, here in this dream, is seen as an end in itself. Nearly every decision we make in every moment is directed by an illusory need. We need approval. We need affection. We need money. We need sex. We need emotional security. We need excitement. We need recognition and validation. But – do we? Do we really need these things? Which self needs these things? Is it the ego or the Holy Self? Needing any of these things alerts us to what’s really missing here, which is the one cause of all seeming needs the body has. All our needs are met when we learn to prioritize the Peace of God first – healing our sense of separation from God’s Love. All our needs are met when we set aside the ego’s illusory hierarchy of needs that act purely as a mass distraction from the one need that, when met, cancels out the perception of all unfulfilled needs.
A huge insight I had last year might help with this undoing process. Whenever your peace is threatened, ask yourself this: “Do I want to understand, or do I want peace?” The ego wants to understand, and then it says that this will give it peace, but the ego cannot understand anything, literally. Give up the need to understand anything that appears from the ego, and choose peace instead. The surrender of our need to understand will give us peace. Once peace creeps in, so does divine guidance.
To the degree we value the body as an end in itself is the extent that we value illusion over truth. When we switch to prioritizing truth (peace) over illusion, the body reflects the one purpose it was gifted to fulfill – it becomes the means (and not an end in itself) by which the Holy Spirit carry’s forth His plan for awakening from suffering. The mind, and therefore the body then, purified of the ego’s delusional intent, is ‘guilt-free.’ The body, being the screen upon which the ego projects its unconscious guilt (self-hatred), is free of the ego’s unrelenting attacks. The healed mind then cannot help but imprint its chief communication device (the body) with perfect health, being testimony to prioritizing truth over illusion. Now the Holy Will of God is free to use the body to express divine communication.
The body is illusion only. This statement cannot be truly known and experienced until we transcend the body, and this comes not with denial but with integration. We cannot transcend that which we have not yet integrated. The process of integration includes radical self-inquiry and the eventual voluntary abdication of the ego’s purpose for the body. The integration process is based upon the discovery of untruth. Another stage of the process includes recognizing the body’s true purpose, which leads to understanding the divine value of the body – not for what it can give us, but for what it can give away or share. Once this has been seen and accepted, there is no more need to deny the body’s value.
We deny the body’s divine value while we remain in resistance of it, while we continue to control the body independently from the Holy Spirit, which arises from fear and doubt, instead of from trust and love. Denial of the body’s true value is natural while our vision of the body is clouded by the ego’s guilt and fear. Until we voluntarily offer up our body’s purpose along with its appetites to Spirit, we will continue to deny the body. Denial makes the error real and what we still believe is true, we cannot forgive (undo and correct).
Once the purpose of the body is relinquished to Spirit, there is no more need to deny or defend the body. In this purpose it becomes simply a conduit through which the Holy Spirit’s Will expresses Itself uninterrupted. The body itself is no longer your responsibility. With the exclusive purpose of being a divine conduit, all concerns about its health are also not your responsibility, as these are thankfully offered to the Holy Spirit for His correction. In trusting this, you will be guided as to what to do at the level of form, if there is anything that needs to be done. However, this guidance will come from a loving intent and not from one that causes conflict and more fear (ego). There will be peace in this guidance.
From the novice’s perspective, the body is indeed something to be mastered or denied. None of these approaches will work. Not until you recognize that the body is “no-thing” in itself will you see that You are everything, and in this, will your maturity reveal the nonsensical nature of previous attempts at mastery over, or denial of, the body. All these arise from the very fear that made the body real in the first place. These must be set aside before understanding of the body’s purpose is accepted, and once acceptance has taken place, all need to defend, protect, or deny the body fall away. There is no independent will remaining to do either of these.
Simple Exercise to Release Fear
Regardless of the degree of fear (or judgment, or need to control) you feel, this practical exercise is valuable in helping you to relinquish it. Look at your issue and ask the following questions:
- Is this (fear, judgment, conflict, scarcity, disease, or pain) in any way, a natural part of God, of absolute love with no opposite?
- Does God, Who is all love, will that this (fear, judgment, conflict, scarcity, pain, disease or death) be for you?
- Would love ask for fear, judgment, conflict, scarcity, pain, disease or death?
- How can your (fear, judgment, conflict, scarcity, pain, disease or death) possibly bring about love and therefore healing?
See then that you do not want it! You must first see that you have made a judgment. Your perception of whatever is confronting you has caused you fear. This is your first step. Then, see that you made a mistake in choosing to listen to fear and its illusory consequences. Next, give it to Holy Spirit. Allow Him to take it from you and judge it. He will then reinterpret the situation and use it to teach you the single choice you ever need to make – that you are Love. Your last step is to accept the Atonement for yourself. This is to accept and receive your eternal perfection and innocence in your perception – now – not later. You can do this by saying with sincerity: “I will accept Atonement for myself.” Read A Course In Miracles Lesson 139.
“The Atonement can only be accepted within you by releasing the inner light. Since the separation, defenses have been used almost entirely to defend against the Atonement, and thus maintain the separation. This is generally seen as a need to protect the body. The many body fantasies in which minds engage arise from the distorted belief that the body can be used as a means for attaining ‘atonement.’” (T-2.III.1:1-4)
Nouk Sanchez is co-author of best-seller, Take Me to Truth; Undoing the Ego. Visit www.Undoing-the-Ego.org. Also visit the following blog for an in depth “trialogue” about what living the principles of A Course In Miracles looks like in every day life: http://ourjoining.wordpress.com/ ♥
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This article appeared in the August 2012 (Vol. 26 No.6) issue of Miracles Monthly. Miracles Monthly is published by Community Miracles Center in San Francisco, CA. CMC is supported solely by people just like you who: become CMC Supporting Members, Give Donations and Purchase Books and Products through us.