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Concern for the Body
Editor's note: This transcript has been lightly edited to bring clarification to certain points of the dialogue and for easier readability. For this reason, it does not match the corresponding audio mp3 word-for-word. However, the overall content and the expressed ideas remain unchanged.
Friend: I woke up from my nap after working all night and I noticed how disconnected from source I felt. I kind of just did some mind watching as I was running my errands and feeling nauseous and noticing that I had a lot of fear come up around my friend’s safety going hitchhiking and just noticing how much body stuff I have going on. [sigh] I notice how much fear I have about letting those things surface and just giving them to the Holy Spirit. I feel guilty. I feel unworthy. I noticed with my friend’s trip, things kept surfacing over the weekend and I just kept seeing her having this holy encounter. But, there’s something deeper coming up and I’m not even sure what it is and I’m willing to go into it and heal this.
Speaker: So you felt concern for her safety in some way?
Friend: Basically that was what it was. So I tried to look into my past and see what this touched in me… obviously there are some thoughts about really being that open and that vulnerable with God… that I’m feeling really unsafe and unsure about doing that…
Speaker: There’s a line coming to me from the Course. I think it’s from lesson 48, “There is Nothing to Fear.” In truth or in reality there is nothing to fear. But this is not true for those who believe in illusions, and once again he starts teasing it out. He starts with the fact of it, reality, and then he says “As long as you believe in illusions you do have need to fear because of the way that you’ve defined reality and defined yourself.” I think it would be interesting to trace in that whole concept of vulnerability and risk… From different newsletters and different things that I’ve read often times the spiritual journey is even described as You must become vulnerable to see within, to see what’s within you. To me, I just see that as still the way it seems to the ego. The ego’s interpretation of looking at the beliefs in my mind is that it’s a very risky and vulnerable undertaking. And of course it would be perceived that way to it because it knows that if this process continues then it is out of business, so to speak. So through its lens it would have to be perceived that way. Also if someone in your life, like your friend, is really opening up to the Holy Spirit and to that guidance and seems to be throwing caution to the wind in terms of protection and safety measures and so on. There are leaps of trust even if it is someone else taking those steps. It can be perceived as threatening to ourselves if we’re seeing that through the ego’s lens because it gets back to that thing of if someone can do this then that means I can do this! Oh my Gosh! I don’t know if I can do this.
There’s a basic belief in the ego’s system that darkness can hide. One of the initial things that the teacher of God goes through is the idea that darkness cannot hide. Jesus describes this as a period of at times acute pain. It can even be delayed and drawn out—that the mind is still going back and forth with whether it can hide. And then, once it gets transcended, the mind comes to a place where it starts to see that even if it could, why would it want to hide anything from God? That’s where the ease starts to come in, where it starts to feel safer and safer. Our sessions this week demonstrated to me how strong your commitment is. You were looking at all kinds of thoughts that came up around different people and things. When you make such a concerted effort and really just say, “Well, I don’t know… I’m just going to say what I’m thinking,” and you are able to go through that and feel calm and loving—start to look at that. That is very threatening to the ego and a lot of times it can even seem like there’s a backlash.
Friend: I had to go into the dentist for a gum scaling for my teeth, and all this stuff came up about the body and it’s not a place that I really want to be looking, because while I’m focusing on that it’s really hard to just focus on spirit and oneness. So I’m trying to just let that go and in the meantime I have to go for this gum surgery. I’m not ready to cancel all the appointments at all. I’m too fearful that there still is something with the body. Where I am at this moment is that I’m still feeling that, alright I’m going to go through with this gum… whatever they’re going to do with it. But, that I want to be as defenseless as possible with the nurses because I’m very fearful. I need to really look at the idea of sickness because there is a part of me that sees that if I can let go of the feeling of the body being real etc. then I can let go of all of this, and I’m not ready to let that go yet.
Speaker: So, somehow healing is associated with loss of self.
Friend: It would be loss of the body.
Speaker: Which would be part of the self as the ego has constructed it so in that sense healing is feared; if that’s the way we perceive it. It’s not surprising with having a background in nursing, medicine, and health promotion, that the mind gets lessons in the area with the symbols it’s familiar with. I always think of the line, “We have a lesson to learn and it will be learned in a form the mind can get.” So, it’s not accidental that you seem to have all these medical appointments lined up and that you seem to have been working in the medical field. It’s all coming to a head because we have to really get at the contrast between mind and body and this really just offers a very direct way of doing it. There’s a concern for bodies that’s in there.
A lesson that’s coming to mind is the beginning of 135. It comes before lesson 136 which is “Sickness is a defense against the Truth.”
A good springboard is to start to get at what this thing is that you’re so concerned about? What is this thing you’re defending? It would be good to start to take it in and take a look at what’s going on at a deeper level beyond all these surface concerns and then trace it back. Because whether it is with medications, whether it’s locking doors, whether it’s taking safe rides when the bodies are being transported from one place to the other, those are all forms of magic.
We have also talked about the times when the mind is too fearful and a mix of magic and miracles may be helpful to reduce the fear. And there’s another section “How is Healing Accomplished” where Jesus says that the mind of the patient can just simply say I have no use for this and just rise up, or it can be that “special agents seem to be ministering to the patient” which can be for example doctor appointments. Nurses and doctors can be seen as special agents, still seemingly outside the mind, that seem to be ministering to the patient, but that’s still just a form in which the mind can handle it, so to speak. It’s an interpretation of the way that the mind can see that healing could occur. It seems more drawn out, and there’s still a fear of instantaneous healing. Through the ego’s lens instantaneous healing is fearful because of what it would have to give up. It asks, what will be gone from me? What will I lose if I’m healed? And so it seems to play itself out more in linear time.
Let’s use Lesson 135 in this session, “If I defend myself I am attacked. Who would defend himself unless he thought he were attacked, that the attack were real and that his own defense could save himself? And herein lies the folly of defense; it gives illusions full reality and then attempts to handle them as real.” Whenever we get into talking about for example getting a safe ride from one place to the next it implies that they are believed to be real problems, real issues that I have to deal with and therefore that’s why I’m having all these appointments and everything. In a sense you have to pull back enough to take a look at, Gee, I’m giving illusions full reality. Even when you use the thing well this is where I’m at now or whether it’s with nutrition or body symptoms or whatever, when you say well this is the fact of it; well this is the problem, the way it really is and you’ve defined it as being in the world, that’s giving illusions full reality and then what else is there to do? What would a mature person do but defend and take steps to alleviate the problems? To define a problem where it makes it unsolvable… There’s only one problem and one solution and that’s in the mind. The problem is once I start by defining the problem out here in linear terms in the world of form, whether it’s a problem with the gums or with having a big debt to pay off, and the integrity of paying it off. You can see how both of these things are defining the problem. Somebody doesn’t have their money and I need to pay it back. That’s defining it in specifics. And the gums; I’ve been diagnosed by a dentist and the doctors have looked at it and I’ve got these other complications that have come in. That’s defining it out there in the world or in form. Or even the example of perhaps fear about my friend’s safety that something could happen to that body if you just open up and trust, and again that’s defining the problem as out there. So, that gives us three very different specifics and what we start to see from the underlining principle here is that when we define it as being in the world, it’s like saying ok, these are real things, I’m making the illusions real and then whatever I do as an attempt to deal with that is going to be in a defensive mode. So, what we want to do is try to get deeper at really taking a look at is the problem really what I think it is? “It adds illusions to illusions, thus making correction doubly difficult.” Impossible.
“And it is this you do when you attempt to plan the future, activate the past, or organize the present as you wish.” This week my friend and I got into some finer points of disorderliness in an apartment; finger prints on a mirror or coffee grounds… That would fit into that last category; organize the present as you wish. The mind can really think that is a good defense against the Spirit to have things be in a certain way on the screen and that that will bring some order into a chaotic life and mind. You can see where that last sentence “it is this you do when you attempt to plan the future, activate the past or organize the present as you wish,” really covers a lot.
“You operate from the belief you must protect yourself from what is happening because it must contain what threatens you. A sense of threat is an acknowledgement of inherent weakness; a belief that there is danger which has power to call on you to make appropriate defense. The world is based on this insane belief and all its structures, all its thoughts and doubts, its penalties and heavy armaments, its legal definitions and its codes including medical definitions and medical codes, its ethics and its leaders and its gods all serve but to serve but to preserve its sense of threat. For no one walks the world in armature but must have terror striking at his heart.” There’s a lot in that paragraph. He just rattles it off about the way the world’s been constructed with all the legal definitions and codes. The whole medical profession that you’ve become familiar with through your training is part of the defense that there’s a real threat and that all of these procedures are good at reducing the threat.
Friend: Even the idea of holistic or alternative medicine would be the same.
Speaker: The more you really start to take a look at this… it’s radical but in one sense it’s nice to start to really get to the bottom of things. It can seem threatening like Oh my gosh, what have I got to question to get to the bottom of things? But, Hallelujah! I’ve been on this wheel for long enough now. It’s time to really get to the bottom of things. I was looking at a book called Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. The mind is timeless but the whole thing of the body being ageless, no, no... We talked about expanding the life span, when the definition of life still would be seen to be within the body and longevity seems to be pushing it. Let’s just start to take a look at this and whatever comes up is fair game to throw onto the table because we want to be really thorough in looking at this.
“Defense is frightening. It stems from fear, increasing fear as each defense is made. You think it offers safety. Yet it speaks of fear made real and terror justified. Is it not strange you do not pause to ask, as you elaborate your plans and make your armor thicker and your locks more tight, what you defend, and how, and against what?”
That’s what it takes sometimes, when the mind seems to go, go, go, into its defensive maneuvers, to just pause for a reflective moment. It can seem frightening because it can seem like it is too big of a ball of wax. Jesus is asking me to look at every belief that I hold in my mind. At times it seems easier to just go through some of the defenses and preparations like I’ve always done. I’ve got through it before. That can be the ego’s talk in there saying, you’ve done this before, go ahead! But to really just pause and do what we’re doing right now, and take a look at it is the point where we can really get release. So, he asks us a question about pausing to ask what you defend and how and against what…? Here we go:
“Let us consider first what you defend. It must be something that is very weak and easily assaulted. It must be something made easy prey, unable to protect itself and needing your defense. What but the body has such frailty that constant care and watchful, deep concern are needful to protect its little life? What but the body falters and must fail to serve the Son of God as worthy host?”
Friend: Ok, what’s coming up for me is that I was reading about a serial killer that was being executed. I have a 15 year old boy so as I’m reading this there are lots that I can see, where I need to pause. But where I become weak, and weakness vs. strength is really the word I think I have to use more and more right now because I have the strength in me to be committed to this and then I let weakness overtake me. Where I become weak is the thought that my son could be hitchhiking and then a serial killer could pick him up and do a gruesome murder on him and so I have to let go to the fact that bodies are not real, but just the thought of that… what I’m defending, the whole thing, I think that this has such reality.
Speaker: It’s very frightening; just the thought of letting it into the consciousness.
Friend: It is, and to just let this go seems frightening. I’ve even thought that this body needs me to take care of it, and if I don’t it’s just going to go to pieces. On the next breath I think about all the times when my mind wasn’t on my body that a symptom never occurred because my mind wasn’t on a symptom; it wasn’t on the body. This is real big. Because this is happening right now with the body, the hitchhiking, the whole thing, it’s real hard for me to let go. And I can see the freedom in letting go, but I don’t have that right now. So, that’s what just came up here.
Friend: When I sat with my friend and we were talking about this issue and the body was so real to me, I just looked at her and said, “You can’t tell me I’m not a body!” And she said, “I’m not going to sit here and align with that thought for you,” and I said, “If I’m not a body then what am I?” She said, “My friend, you are a mind.” That really clicked in for me. I feel like that made a really big shift. The Holy Spirit was operating that night for sure. I’ve heard that so many times before and then all of a sudden it was just…oh, yes!
Speaker: Yes, the thought that keeps coming is how helpful it is to come together and talk about our perceptions, beliefs and thoughts. Minds have beliefs, perceptions and thoughts. “We have to take the conversation to a different level. We’ve got to get it out of this context,” as another teacher said in a certain talk show. It was so fear based and so body based and that’s what each coming together does, in a sense. When we continually keep tracing it back there has to come a time when there is an experiential shift, a feeling of a loosening and a lightening from it. No matter from how many angles we come at it. You can talk about a right mind and a wrong mind. From the wrong mind’s perspective the body is the reality and bodies have private minds. Each body has a private mind associated with it and a “higher” wrong mind perspective is where you get into that stuff about souls and mind/body/spirit and a lot of the mixture of things which is still the wrong mind.
We want to really lift this above the battlefield, which is the right mind, which knows without a doubt that I am Mind and that all of these images and projections and even false concepts and beliefs are not me. It has a good view from above, perched above it can see the wrong mind, the entire world and cosmos. And each thing we do is an attempt to get clearer and clearer. So, if you come from a nursing background you will need to see that the whole thing with the body, neurology and the brain and all the stuff that’s seen as common wisdom, is not wisdom at all. It takes coming higher than that to start to see the fallacy of it. That is a great leap. So, just keep at it.
Friend: Another body thing that came up this weekend was the idea of abortion. I’ve seen the baby inside on TV and I was thinking that’s a body in there… how it’s forming... This body thing is really hitting. But, it’s a little bit disorienting. Nothing is making sense. In fact, my body is falling apart which is completely disorienting. My husband and I were talking about a career. Something brought something up and I said, “Nobody would hire me right now.” I could not complete a task. I can’t even think about working.
Friend: Just remember that you are working. You are doing the highest possible work.
Friend: A whole other fear is my daughter’s education. Great big thing in the newspaper the other day, education has gone up 9.4% I haven’t let that go. I believe it’s very important that she get educated and my fear is that if I become a Course in Miracles teacher and if I’m not making any money I’m letting everybody down. That’s where I’m at. All this is coming up. It’s creating havoc right now.
Speaker: The Course keeps coming back to perception, that your perception is twisted. What I conceive of even a good future and good education, a good way of growing up for my children, for other children… It’s a construct and in the beginning it’s just like whatever you can do to bring it back to just that one idea that it’s a perceptual problem. It can seem like a long stretch from how does a solution to my perceptual problem handle my daughter’s four or six years of college and tens of thousands of dollars?
Friend: One of the things that my friend shared with me was she had to let go of her idea of herself as a mother in relating to her daughter. When the daughter found her crying she could join with her and what she said to her daughter was something to the effect that, “The thing that I would want to teach you is to follow your heart and so the only way I can teach you how to do that is for me to follow my heart.” I thought how wonderful!
Friend: Now that’s an education!
Speaker: And it just doesn’t fit a lot of times. I remember your son asking you, “Mom do I have to go to college or can I just study A Course in Miracles?” That’s certainly a different twist or angle… it’s the whole theme of that there’s something deeper that maybe doesn’t fit into the structure of how the world and society is constructed.
Friend: The idea of planning the future is very rattling for me right now, in terms of career. Here I am. I just finished this degree but what am I going to do with it and how is it even going to make any sense? Then the idea that I’ve come this far with school and my daughter maybe needs that and then I find myself falling back into the trap of the world; that everybody thinks that this is necessary. But it’s about trust so again I have to come back to that sense of Christ strength instead of ego weakness, because ego weakness can really make me feel very vulnerable.
Speaker: There was a gentleman at a retreat who had been drinking who said “Now the Course is my comforter instead of the alcohol.” But it was also the same gentleman that said, “If Jesus lived today I don’t know if he could get a date.” He said, “I mean he walks around and he’s talking about the Kingdom of Heaven and he’s saying leave everything behind and follow me” and “I don’t know how many guys could get a date with that. And then to his apostles he said, leave your jobs and don’t work!” He said, “I don’t know of anybody who could even get a date in this kind of a sense.”
We’ll keep going into the metaphysics which is the underpinnings for all this but until the mind can loosen up enough to let in some of these things it needs symbols and that’s why I would recommend to read Urantia part IV. Watch there as Jesus goes through his training period and continues to question things while still working what seems to be in a family. It describes how he is helping to take care of the children, teach the children and not abdicating responsibilities. Further as he goes along and even leaves the family, he seems to really prepare them for leaving. Then he goes on and calls the apostles, and some of the apostles, like Thomas is married and has kids and Peter has three kids. Once again it’s very similar to the situation that our friend is in. She is studying A Course in Miracles. She is being called by Jesus just as directly as if he had come and knocked on her front door and said “Follow me” and she seems to have a family, as did Peter and Thomas and others. But he’s calling them into an intensive teaching/learning situation where they are really focusing on these high ideas and makes no bones about that it’s a very important calling. They go back for periods of time, even to visit their family, and so didn’t Thomas or Peter feel feelings of loss? I was just reading in Urantia part IV that Thomas was such a moody fellow that when he got called to go off and follow the apostles his wife thought, Yay, go with my blessing!, which is a kind of a different twist. Peter’s wife didn’t get into that but there can be all these seeming kind of reactions. That’s what our friend is going through now in the sense that her husband is starting to talk about what’s going on. There are all these interpretations from those who see themselves as mothers. They are being very angry at her and from the concept of perceiving it through a mother’s eyes, so to speak, from that perspective it’s a lot of anger. Another gentleman who her husband had talked to said, “Well, she must have a man in another city. Why would anyone leave so urgently?” All these different interpretations… and as with you and your husband when you can lay them on the table and say here’s what’s going on. Her husband is at the point where he understands that it’s not a man that she’s going to, or that she’s leaving her children, or that she’s this vicious mother who never has cared or shown an interest in her children. He knows that there’s something much deeper that she’s called to and the conversations continue but there’s still the fear. There are physical symptoms and all kind of ways that it’s being manifested but Urantia IV has helped me greatly to put it all into a larger perspective. I started to feel real disoriented at times with the Course because I didn’t know where it was guiding me. From this perspective, it’s giving me a bigger swath of how things are unfolding. So, I could even start to say, well maybe it could seem to unfold this way. A stepping stone to letting go is to not put a lot of credence in the future or to not even plan at all.
Friend: This weekend, I was observing my parents. I was on the workbook lesson “The power of decision is my own.” I said, "Dad, it’s an opportunity." He knows I’m in this and it’s like the opportunity to bait me almost. I felt like I just wanted to leave and he was saying, "We’re all inspired. I believe that we’re all inspired," and I said "That’s true, Dad." and I tried to find common ground. I said, "According to the Course, which is something that’s been really dear to me and helped me to understand these concepts, the Holy Spirit came in when we separated and it was given to us." He said, "Well now that’s got to be the biggest joke I’ve ever heard!" This is a very powerful experience for me because my dad wrote a book What Is Truth, and he’s been lecturing and preaching to me all my life and now that I’m in this, he is really very fearful. But, “The power of decision is my own” kept coming in because I kept wanting this lesson to be for him. “Dad, listen, no one can suffer loss unless it’s his own decision. No one suffers pain except his choice elects this state for him.” That is the strength. “No one can grieve, nor fear, nor think him sick unless there’s an outcome he wants and no one dies without his own consent.” And I did this and it kept coming back. “The power of decision is my own.” This is my own lesson. “And no one dies without his own consent!” And the whole time I’m talking to myself I’m going but you see if he would get this lesson I could come home and we could talk about this! He loves to talk about things. If he could get this lesson we could discuss this but then I realized that I wasn’t getting this. So when I get this we might be able to discuss it.
I have been looking at control too. I was observing my mother, how she was calling everybody on the phone to go to church with her. Then I realized how much control I have had over my family, over my husband, and my house. I didn’t realize I was that controlling. But, when, “The power of decision is my own” kept coming up and I wanted my father emphatically to go read it, I realized how much control issues I have. I even left the book open when I went for my walk, so he could read it. I mean do you hear that?
Speaker: The Course is a new belief system and it’s like here it is, guys. Now, if you could just get this. But, even the theology of how the separation happened is just theology, because Jesus says it never really happened at all. So, he’s giving his own little story that the mind can kind of grab onto as something to believe in for a while. But, in the end there is an experience that will come. So, everything else has to fall away, even the Course stories. But, the whole thing of wanting to be right, to control, is something to go into really deeply.
Reading Introduction to the Clarification of Terms will be helpful:
“This is not a course in philosophical speculation, nor is it concerned with precise terminology. It is concerned only with atonement or the correction of perception. All terms are potentially controversial and those who seek controversy will find it. Yet those who seek clarification will find it as well. They must however be willing to overlook controversy recognizing that it is a defense against the truth in the form of a delay maneuver. Theological considerations as such are necessarily controversial since they depend on belief and therefore can be accepted or rejected. A universal theology is impossible but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. It is this experience towards which the Course is directed. Here alone consistency becomes possible because here alone uncertainty ends.”
The temptation in the beginning can be, Oh, I’m just trying to put this into a theological kind of a framework. But that’s not going to ever bring me peace. It’s pretty direct but it really is helpful. You could read that before you go visit your dad.
Friend: “In my defenselessness my safety lies” is the lesson for today. There is a sentence there that I often feel like, “Defenses are the costliest of all the prices which the ego would exact. In them lies madness in a form so grim that hope of sanity seems to be an idle dream beyond the possible.” That sentence has been on my mind. And my thoughts go, is this is an idle dream that really is impossible for me? Maybe it’s possible for you. But then I have to come back to seeing that I can either play right into that, with that ego weakness, or I can keep the Christ strength. What helped me today was, ok you can sit there and be this little weak thing that’s going to go to all these doctors… Or you can be strong and see what you’re supposed to learn from this experience!
Speaker: Defenses… In the beginning, the mind is just starting to be aware of these ego defense mechanisms; whether if it’s noticing your dad wanting to be right, or your mom seeming to be controlling or whatever. For years, these defense mechanisms have been kept down, in a metaphorical sense it’s like they’re unconscious. Now, when you start reading the Course everything starts getting raised up. All these devious schemes and maneuvers and games are right up there. But, the mind is still invested in the ego and so it sees the defenses in others and Jesus says whenever you feel angry or frustrated at a brother for using a particular defense—being controlling or whatever it is—you’re still failing to forgive yourself for the very same attempt. You still believe that the defense has a reality. First, you’re seeing it out there and then you start to pull it back to your mind and think I’m controlling. The guilt from transferring it from one seeming person/body to another seeming person/body is enormous. Because now I’m going to pull it off of this person and it seems like the Course is saying yes, you can’t keep projecting on or blaming your brother so then the blame gets turned onto your own seeming body. It’s the same error, though. That’s where we get back into mind/body. I have to really start to see that I am mind and this identity that I thought was not in him, but it was in me is also a construct in my mind as well. Otherwise, what good is the transfer? I’m not so much angry and blaming of my father or my mother anymore, but I walk around angry and blaming of who I believe to be me. The error is transferred but it’s not released yet. When you go into these things think well, this is a step; he describes it and it’s a phase that will pass.
Friend: So, don’t leave it with my body. What’s the next step?
Speaker: Well, the next is getting more in touch with I am mind. I am not a body on the screen in the world. I’m not a linear construct, either. The way you always conceived of yourself as a person was here’s this person’s past... some of the things this person is not so happy about, that didn’t go this person’s way. A closet of grievances; people that didn’t treat this person right; the ones that were special and treated this person wonderfully and gosh! I wish the world was filled with more of those and so on and so forth. Then there’s the same seeming person in the present; where you’re at now, so to speak and then there’s the person of the future, whether it’s careers or whether we put it in the spiritual context of this person moving towards the atonement. Salvation lies in this person’s future. Instead of a career in the world, it’s now salvation. Even that you have to question, because what good is future salvation? What good is future happiness? It seemed to be a helpful stepping stone to a point until you start reading The Immediacy of Salvation where Jesus is saying “Be not content with future happiness.” Don’t project the atonement into the future. You have to start bringing it back to the present. Well, in order to start bringing it back to the present that means I have to let go of the way I’ve conceived of myself and of everyone else I meet. If I conceive of persons as these linear constructs with real pasts and real futures and myself as a linear construct with a real past and real future, then how can I avoid aiming that guilt, if I pull it away from others, to this linear construct of myself? The shift is to more and more start to see that mind is not in a linear construct. The right mind is in the present. The right mind doesn’t have a past and it doesn’t have a future. It’s like a pinnacle on top of a mountain. If you can get to the top the view is spectacular. You can look at all the little roads below and all the little lines that you seem to take and that others seem to be taking, and from that point it’s all just seen as one false thing.
So as we get into this more and more, one of the sections we will eventually get into is The Immediacy of Salvation. The section right before that talks about cause and effect being one, being the same, and we’re going to go into this deeper and deeper to get to the metaphysics. But, that’s kind of a synopsis of how it’s gone for me. It’s come back to I’m a point and not a line. That’s a simple way to remember that you’re not guilty. Whenever you feel guilty about what’s coming up or worried or have guilt about loose ends that you didn’t tie up or a bad relationship you had, it just comes back to I’m a point and not a line.
Friend: I’m realizing that I have been trying to bring truth to the illusion instead of illusion to truth. Now just seeing my oneness with God and how everything pales beside that, when I get into thinking that I’m anything else or that I have anything else... thanks.
Speaker: So, we were on Lesson135 where we were just starting to look at what it is that you defend, which is the body. “What but the body has such frailty that constant care and watchful deep concern are needful to protect its little life? What but the body falters and must fail to serve the Son of God as worthy host. Yet, it is not the body that can fear or be a thing of fear. It has no needs but those which you assign to it. It needs no complicated health structures of defense, no health-inducing medicine, no care and no concern at all.” Now that’s obviously a hugely different view than the importance the world gives to the body. It’s helpful to think of it as a marionette or a puppet or I sometimes think of it as a learning device, even like a pen or a pencil. I have to, in my mind, equate it with something that can be a symbol of how insignificant it is. I mean normally you wouldn’t consider putting all this care and concern and careful watching over a pencil. You use a pencil for what a pencil is for, writing, and then you lay it down. You keep sharpening it as long as you need it and then when it gets too short so that you can’t hold it anymore or the lead breaks for the final time, it’s gone. You lay it aside. In that’s sense, thinking of the body like a pencil, is a helpful metaphor.
“Defend its life or give it gifts to make it beautiful or walls to make it safe and you but say your home is open to the thief of time, corruptible and crumbling. So unsafe it must be guarded with your very life.”
We’ve gone into this in a number of ways, obviously “defend its life” either through security systems or carrying mace or guns or medical things. Give it gifts to make it beautiful… we had that whole section on compliments or adorning the body and so on. It’s really making it out to be more than it really is.
Friend: Mom gave me this bracelet for my graduation and it wasn’t the response that she was looking for. She said, “Don’t you like it?” And I said, “I really do! It’s a wonderful symbol of you, thank you.” She goes, “What do you mean a symbol!?” I tried to explain it to her. I said, “For me, I can look at it as a symbol, but I don’t want to see it as something adorning because that kind of takes away from its purpose.”
Speaker: That was the best use of the bracelet because it was a starting point for you to just share. It opened up a kind of conversation to go into something and in that sense it’s neither good nor bad, it’s oh, the Holy Spirit can make use of everything including bracelets on arms.
“Is not this picture fearful? Can you be at peace with such a concept of your home? Yet what endowed the body with the right to serve you thus except your own belief. It is your mind which gave the body all the functions that you see in it and set its value far beyond a little pile of dust and water. Who would make defense of something that he recognized as this.”
All this fuss over a pile of dust and water! Who would make defense over it? But the key thing is “What endowed the body with the right to serve you thus is your own belief.” It is your mind. So, we’re back to how we don’t have to blame the body or the bodies of others if they seem to be acting out, if they seem to be doing these things, defense mechanisms. If they seem to be just heaping in the wealth and the possessions; none of that matters. It’s my mind. What value have I assigned to the body and the world? The only place that you have power to change is your own beliefs. As long as you try to change the figures so to speak, and the bodies, whether it’s abortion or anything you can think of… then it’s like, you’ve already decided that there’s a real threat. Already saying that illusions are real and therefore you have to come up with the right way of dealing with this terrible problem or whatever is perceived out there.
“The body is in need of no defense. This cannot be too often emphasized.” When Jesus says that he means it very literally;
“It will be strong and healthy if the mind does not abuse it by assigning it to roles it cannot fulfill, to purposes beyond its scope and to exalted aims which it cannot accomplish. Such attempts, ridiculous yet deeply cherished are the sources for the many mad attacks you make upon it. For it seems to fail your hopes, your needs, your values and your dreams.”
If you believe it is your home, then of course it would make sense that you would have a lot of hopes for it; a lot of needs and values for it. You can see where the body would be more than a pile of dust if it’s your home. The most powerful thing that there is, is identity, so if it’s you, your identity… that’s why whatever the mind identifies with, it will defend. If it’s identified with Spirit then there is nothing to defend because Spirit is invulnerable. It’s in a state of grace. If you defend your body or maybe your friend’s body, if you’re identified with this being a close friend or family then there might be some concern there. Even then the more external things that seems to go beyond the body: being defensive about your house, defensive about your car, defensive about your job or your boss or those kinds of things…
Friend: My kids…
Speaker: Yes, your kids. Those are just extensions of this body self concept.
“The ‘self’ that needs protection is not real. The body valueless and hardly worth the least defense need merely be perceived as quite apart from you and it becomes a healthy serviceable instrument through which the mind can operate until it’s usefulness is over. Who would want to keep it when its usefulness is done?”
In that sentence, “…it need merely be perceived as quite apart from you…” to have that shift experientially comes more like a trickle into a stream, then the river, then the ocean. When I first started studying the Course I was just trying to grasp some of the ideas, light bulbs were going off, but I wasn’t being used as a teacher of God yet. I’m not in the river. The trickle is a start and I’m grateful for the trickle because this is what I’ve always wanted in my life. When you really start holding on to this as your only purpose and you make the commitment to be used as a teacher of God, every single situation is seen as used for that. Other roles start to recede because you’ve got this commitment and your purpose out in front. Then it’s like you move from the trickle into the stream and there is kind of a flow. For me, the experience was like Wow, it seems like it’s all really orchestrated! We’ve all had glimmers of that in restaurants and here and there in grocery stores, but then as the commitment grows, then it’s like you’re being carried along on a stream, and it seems like a pretty quick stream, and before you know it you find yourself in the river. But by the time you’re in the river, the body is perceived as quite apart from you. That’s the part where all the plans and concern for it and the preparation and all the care for it has so receded from the mind that the mind is so riveted on this purpose that there’s so much joy and a flow! For me, there has been that experiential shift of not identifying myself and not thinking of myself as body. So, when you start to be really centered in the moment and something seems to be happening, things flying at you or sharp things going off or temperature extremes or whatever, that all just fades into the background because the body is not the focal point. It’s more like a pencil.
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