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PART II.  SECTION 5.  WHAT IS THE BODY

  1. The body is a fence the Son of God imagines he has built, to separate parts of his Self from other parts. It is within this fence he thinks he lives, to die as it decays and crumbles. For within this fence he thinks that he is safe from love. Identifying with his safety, he regards himself as what his safety is. How else could he be certain he remains within the body, keeping love outside?
  2. The body will not stay. Yet this he sees as double safety. For the Son of God’s impermanence is “proof” his fences work and do the task his mind assigns to them. For if his oneness still remained untouched, who could attack and who could be attacked? Who could be victor? Who could be his prey? Who could be victim? Who the murderer? And if he did not die, what “proof” is there that God’s eternal son can be destroyed?
  3. The body is a dream. Like other dreams it sometimes seems to picture happiness, but can quite suddenly revert to fear, where every dream is born. For only love creates in truth, and truth can never fear. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. You will identify with what you think will make you safe. Whatever it may be, you will believe that it is one with you. Your safety lies in truth, and not in lies. Love is your safety. Fear does not exist. Identify with love, and you are safe. Identify with love, and you are home. Identify with love and find your Self.[1]
Photo credit: http://www.gloryshift.com

Notes and Personal Application:  Hold tight!  Now that we are informed of the unreality of sin, we are being introduced to the concept of the unreality of the body.  In paragraph three, Jesus teaches that the body is a dream that sometimes seems to bring us happiness but can just as quickly snatch it away.  We learn that to cherish the body is to cherish death – it was not created in love and therefore cannot be truth.  We were born to be afraid.  To survive in this world, we must always be on guard against potential harms, shortages, abuses, and deprivations.  When we are young, our parents are about driven mad by thoughts of the dangers we face.  As our bodies grow old in time, we can literally lose our minds with worry over the dangers that face our children and grandchildren, not to mention ourselves as feebleness and loss occur in the already vulnerable body. 

The good news is that when we begin to accept the truth about who and what we are as Sons of God, we can change the very purpose the body.  We can use the body as a means to return to sanity.  We exchange the fear and bondage to its hellish purpose for the goal of Heaven.  We forgive one another the shortcomings and failures that occur from relating to one another as mere bodies, and we help one another walk along the road to God.  This is the way we bring our bodies to holiness.  This is the way that our bodies begin to heal the mind that is was made to extinguish. 

When we identify with our bodies, we are putting ourselves in a state of fear.  Our bodies are very much dependent on food, water, shelter, clothing, warmth, and sustenance.  We need activity and we need rest.  We need a sense of belonging to feel safe and to thrive in the world because alone we are not only an easy target for predators, but we cannot provide for even our most basic needs without the help and the contribution of a fleet of people.  We often forget this in our daily lives as we slurp down our smoothies, enjoy our warm, sudsy showers, perform equations on our computers, call for pizza delivery on our smart phones, but a brief meditation upon the many people with their knowledge, skills, and physical labor in the fields of agriculture, technology, plumbing, heating, cooling and so on will soon inform us that no matter how independent we may deceive ourselves into believing we are, we would not be able to exist without our fellows. 

Our bodies made as a fence to keep us from recognizing our oneness with the Whole, deceives us into thinking we have no use or need others.  We do not need brotherhood, fellowship, or forgiveness.  We protect what is ours and mine and let the rest of the world go to hell.  We can look after ourselves.  We can be the boss of me. 

Jesus points out that even though the body cannot really defend us, it is still proof that separation works to accomplish the goal of the ego.  For as the body fades away, those who place their identity in it, prove that the Son of God can be destroyed. 

Today we can make the choice to use our bodies as a means to return to the truth.  We who are in the body can no longer embrace thoughts of sin and separation, but rather extend our hand to reach our brothers who walk in the path back to God.  When we lay down our defenses against the other and walk in holiness, our bodies naturally follow.  Our bodies, Jesus says, now serve to heal the mind that it was made to kill.  Identify with what you think will make you safe, and that is what you will believe you are.  Simple logic and reason tells us that we simply are not safe with the body.  It will always fail us in the end.  Our bodies do not only fail us but fail all those who are entrusted to our care.  Our safety lies in the truth of God.  His Love is our safety.  Identify with the reality of love and we are safe.  We are home.  We have found our Selves.


[1] A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Part two section five: what is sin? Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

Audio credit: the friar patch @ http://www.eckiefriar.com