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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 8 – The Journey Back

VII: The Body as a Means of Communication 1-8

  1. Attack is always physical. When attack in any form enters your mind, you are equating yourself with a body, since this is the ego’s interpretation of the body. You do not have to attack physically to accept this interpretation. You are accepting it simply by the belief that attack can get you something you want. If you did not believe this, the idea of attack would have no appeal for you. When you equate yourself with a body you will always experience depression. When a child of God thinks of himself in this way he is belittling himself, and seeing his brothers as similarly belittled. Since he can find himself only in them, he has cut himself off from salvation.
  2. Remember that the Holy Spirit interprets the body only as a means of communication. Being the communication link between God and His separated sons, the Holy Spirit interprets everything you have made in the light of what He is. The ego separates through the body. The Holy Spirit reaches through it to others. 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 and mine. This interpretation of the body will change your mind entirely about its value.  Of itself it has none.
  3. If you use the body for attack, it is harmful to you. If you use it only to reach the minds of those who believe they are bodies and teach them through the body that this is not so, you will understand the power of the mind that is in you. If you use the body for this and only for this, you cannot use it for attack. In the service of uniting it becomes a beautiful lesson in communion, which has value until communion is. This is God’s way of making unlimited what you have limited.  The Holy Spirit does not see the body as you do, because He knows the only reality of anything is the service it renders God on behalf of the function He gives it.
  4. 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. Misuse it and you will misunderstand it because you have already done so by misusing it. Interpret anything apart from the Holy Spirit and you will mistrust it. This will lead you to hatred and attack and loss of peace.
  5. Yet all loss comes only from your own misunderstanding. Loss of any kind is impossible. 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.  Do not see him this way for your own salvation, which must bring him his. Do not allow him to belittle himself in your mind, but give him freedom from his belief in littleness, and thus escape from yours. As part of you, he is holy. As part of me, you are. To communicate with part of God Himself is to reach beyond the Kingdom to its Creator, through His Voice which He has established as part of you.
  6. Rejoice, then, that of yourself you can do nothing. You are not of yourself. He of whom you are has willed your power and glory for you, with which you can perfectly accomplish His holy Will for you when you accept it for yourself. He has not withdrawn His gifts from you, but you believe you have withdrawn them from Him. Let no Son of God remain hidden for His Name’s sake because His Name is yours.
  7. The Bible says, “The word (or thought) was made flesh.” Strictly speaking this is impossible since it seems to involve the translation of one order of reality into another. Different orders of reality merely appear to exist, just as different orders of miracles do. Thought cannot be made into flesh except by belief since thought is not physical. Yet thought is communication, for which the body can be used. This is the only natural use to which it can be put. To use the body unnaturally is to lose sight of the Holy Spirit’s purpose, and thus to confuse the goal of His curriculum.
  8. There is nothing so frustrating to a learner as a curriculum he cannot learn. His sense of adequacy suffers, and he must become depressed. Being faced with an impossible learning situation is the most depressing thing in the world. In fact, it is ultimately why the world itself is depressing. The Holy Spirit’s curriculum is never depressing because it is a curriculum of joy. Whenever the reaction to learning is depression, it is because the true goal of the curriculum has been lost sight of. [1]

Attack will never get us what we want!  If we think that by badmouthing others, undermining their ambitions, or plotting revenge upon our enemies will give us rest, will give us satisfaction, will make us feel worthy we are sadly mistaken.  Identifying ourselves as the symbols of the ego, always leads to depression.  We may get away with it for awhile, we may think of ourselves as mean, lean, fighting machines and others better think twice before messing with us, but this pretense does not hold up for long.  As the Will of God, we are created to be love, peace, and joy; as the ego-made body, our bodies simply cannot withstand abuse, the passing of time, or the physical/emotional trauma that wounds not only our bodies, but our emotional and mental life as well.

Thinking of ourselves as bodies set to attack other bodies belittles not only our true sense of Self but also our sense of the Brotherhood.  We cut ourselves off from salvation because we can only find our wholeness in our brothers. 

Holy Spirit sees our body only as a way we can communicate during our sojourn in separation.  Holy Spirit is our communication – with God and with the Sonship and as God’s Voice within rather than separating us through the body from other bodies, Holy Spirit uses the body to reach other bodies.  Holy Spirit sees our bodies and the bodies of everybody we meet as a means of joining minds and uniting them with the mind of Christ. 

It is not Holy Spirit which ruminates upon the past ill will and wrongdoing of our neighbors, but rather Holy Spirit sees our neighbors as they really are – fellow Treasures of God who made a mistake that simply needs to be forgiven and overlooked.  Holy Spirit sees our kids and grandkids, not as special because they belong to us and therefore are owed special favors, blessings, and protection from God, but as mutual, equal brothers who need to learn their own lessons in their own time without our interference, compulsion, or partiality. 

Until we join with the mind of Christ and see our body as only a means to join minds with Christ, we will grow depressed and despondent for our bodies are not who we are, and this becomes ever more apparent with the passing of time. 

The only way we can understand the power of the mind of Christ within us is to use the mind of Christ to unite other minds with Christ.  Our bodies become a beautiful lesson in communion when we use it solely for the purpose of uniting.  Our bodies will have value then until it is time to put them aside and unite completely with God.  When we use our bodies for uniting minds, God is making use of the limited in a way which has no limits.  While our bodies seem very real to us and very demanding and taking up a lot of our time on its incessant needs for food, water, exercise, rest, grooming, and companionship – our true Self sees our body only for what service it renders to the increase of God’s Treasury! 

When I communicate with you and you communicate with me, the separation between us is ended.  When I attack you and you attack me, the separation between us becomes wider.  Jesus tells us that our bodies can be described only by the use to which we put them.  Physically you could describe me as an older woman with gray hair, a crinkly neck, and lumpy thighs, but when my body is used as a means to unify the Sonship of God, you will not describe me as such.  For when I am what I am called to be in Christ, you will see me, and my body truly and so will I. 

When we misuse our bodies, we have taken Holy Spirit, our true Selves out of the picture.  We will not trust our bodies, because we do not trust our true Selves.  When we do not trust our Selves, we do hateful things, we say mean things about others, we project our own self-condemnation upon our friends and family, our colleagues, our neighbors, priests, and political figures.  This is in direct opposition to what we really are, and we will not be joyful, loving, or at peace. 

Loss of what belongs to us is only a perception, a feeling, a sense of what it would feel like if it were possible.  We can never lose what we are – but when we look upon ourselves and others as physical entities, the power and glory that we have is “lost” to our perception.  Because when I look upon my brother with miserly thoughts about his body, about his personality, about his dirty deeds – when I see my brother as anything other than my equal, I have belittled him in my own mind.  I have refused him entrance and thus denied him union.  By denying my brother salvation I also deny my own salvation for I cannot be saved without him.  

Jesus tells us very explicitly to give our brothers freedom from their belief in littleness and thus escape our own belief in this false and tricky kingdom.  When we can look upon our brothers as part of us, they become holy because as part of Christ, we are holy. 

Every single one of us has been given Holy Spirit with which we communicate to God and with each part of God’s Kingdom.  Jesus tells us to overcome our programming to see others as in relation to our bodies and their bodies, to see past what the ego ensnares us with, and to go straight to the Creator who sees us all as His Son.  Only when we collaborate with the Voice for God in this way, until we use our bodies as a means of communicating Brotherhood, can we be saved from the unholy realm of division, separateness, and the split mind. 

Thankful that we did not create ourselves; we can never be too appreciative that in accepting ourselves as God’s Will, we are no longer trapped in a perceptual world of no hope, no holiness, no wholeness.  When we see ourselves as God’s Treasure, we know that there is no sin too great, no shame too thick, no sorrow too heavy that would hinder us from our return to God.  God does not care about any of that – we are His and He is ours.  Whether we believe it or not – the truth remains of His undying love and devotion toward us. 

In paragraph seven, Jesus tells us that thoughts cannot be made into flesh or any other physical substance, because thoughts are spirit.  Anything other than spirit only appear to exist – our bodies, the physical manifestation of our world, and all that is in it are not real in any eternal sense of the word.  Our stab at independence from God and all of Creation is the result of our belief in separation, in sin, shame, and sacrifice.   However, real or not, our bodies can communicate thought, and this is the only natural use to which Holy Spirit can use our bodies to unite us with God, with each other, and teach us the reality we forgot.

To learn the means of return to God, we must have a curriculum that we can learn.  The world itself cannot be learned and that is why there is so much depression because nothing here makes sense or provides meaning, and senselessness and meaninglessness is disheartening.  Holy Spirit’s curriculum is one of joy – if we are not joyful in our learning, it is because we are trying to learn the wrong thing from the wrong teacher.  Let joy then be our standard in keeping us on the path that leads to God! 

We will end today’s post with paragraph eight and finish the last eight paragraphs tomorrow.  In the meantime ask Holy Spirit to teach you with joy the means to joy – giving your body as a means of communicating the Oneness of God to those who have forgotten. 


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 8 The journey back. VII The body as a means of communication 1-8. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.

Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com

Filed under: ACIM

About the Author

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Coming up on sixty, my love for God, home and hearth, my husband and family fueled my decision to devote the rest of my life only to pursuits which brought love, joy, peace, and purpose. I am a writer, seeker, student, and teacher with experience professional and otherwise from waitressing to teaching the English language in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. I hold a BA in Psychology from Bloomsburg University, which took nearly 30 years to attain while I squeezed courses in between raising my children, journaling, relationships, work, and an assortment of escapades, some of which I would rather forget! An ongoing passion for reading, writing, adventure, food, and fun, eventually led me to the love of my life, James, whom I met in 1996 and married in 1997. Our life together has been an exciting journey of work and travel, spiritual awakening, and domestic bliss ever since. Although we have experienced the tragic loss of family members and friends through death and estrangement, we have managed to turn our special relationship into a holy one by the grace of God and an acute and growing awareness of “there must be a better way!” In 2006, I published my first novel, Luella’s Calling, and am currently working on my second, Grover Good and the Stone Chateau. From 2013 through 2018, I worked as a Prevention Education Specialist for Transitions, a local domestic violence sexual abuse victim’s service agency. My work there, fueled by a lifelong enthusiasm for teaching, led me to obtain an MS in Education from Scranton University. In 2018, I resigned to accompany James on his work travels while focusing on my calling to study and teach A Course in Miracles. To that end, I dedicate the rest of my days to writing, sharing, and teaching the message of salvation found within the Course pages. Thank you for your interest in this blog. As I do not respond to comments on the posts, if you care to contact me, please email me at eckief@yahoo.com.

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