VII: The Body as a Means of Communication
9. In this world, not even the body is perceived as whole. Its purpose is seen as fragmented into many functions with little or no relationship to each other, so that it appears to be ruled by chaos. By the ego, it is. Guided by the Holy Spirit, it is not. It becomes a means by which the part of the mind you tried to separate from spirit can reach beyond its distortions and return to spirit. The egos temple thus becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, where devotion to Him replaces devotion to the ego. In this sense the body does become a temple to God, His Voice abides in it by directing the use to which it is put.
10. Healing is the result of using the body solely for communication. Since this is natural it heals by making whole, which is also natural. All mind is whole, and the belief that part of it is physical, or not mind, is a fragmented interpretation. Mind cannot be made physical, but it can be made manifest through the physical if it uses the body to go beyond itself. By reaching out, the mind extends itself. It does not stop at the body, for if it does it is blocked in its purpose. A mind that has been blocked has allowed itself to be vulnerable to attack, because it has turned against itself.
11. The removal of blocks, then, is the only way to guarantee help and healing. Help and healing are the normal expressions of a mind that is working through the body, but not in it. If the mind believes the body is its goal, it will distort its perception of the body, and by blocking its own extension beyond it, will induce illness by fostering separation. Perceiving the body as a separate entity cannot but foster illness because it is not true. A medium of communication loses its usefulness if it is used for anything else. To use a medium of communication as a medium of attack is an obvious confusion in purpose.
12. To communicate is to join and to attack is to separate. How can you do both simultaneously with the same thing and not suffer? Perception of the body can be unified only by one purpose. This releases the mind from the temptation to see the body in many lights and gives it over entirely to the one light in which it can be really understood. To confuse a learning device with a curriculum goal is a fundamental confusion that blocks the understanding of both. Learning must lead beyond the body to the reestablishment of the power of the mind in it. This can be accomplished only if the mind extends to other minds and does not arrest itself in its extension. This arrest is the cause of all illness because only extension is the mind’s function.
13. The opposite of joy is depression. When your learning promotes depression instead of joy, you cannot be listening to God’s joyous Teacher and learning His lessons. To see a body as anything except a means of communication is to limit your mind and to hurt yourself. Health is therefor nothing more than united purpose. If the body is brought under the purpose of the mind, it becomes whole because the mind’s purpose is one. Attack can only be an assumed purpose of the body, apart from the mind the body has no purpose at all.
14. You are not limited by the body, and thought cannot be made flesh. Yet mind can be manifested through the body if it goes beyond it and does not interpret it as limitation. Whenever you see another as limited to or by the body, you are imposing this limit on yourself. Are you willing to accept this, when your whole purpose for learning should be to escape from limitations? To conceive of the body as a means of attack and to believe that joy could possibly result, is a clear-cut indication of a poor learner. He has accepted a learning goal in obvious contradiction to the unified purpose of the curriculum, and one that is interfering with his ability to accept its purpose as his own.
15. Joy is unified purpose, and unified purpose is only God’s. When yours is unified it is His. Believe you can interfere with His purpose, and you need salvation. You have condemned yourself, but condemnation is not of God. Therefore, it is not true. No more are any of its seeming results. When you see a brother as a body, you are condemning him because you have condemned yourself. Yet if all condemnation is unreal, and it must be unreal since it is a form of attack, then it can have no results.
16. Do not allow yourself to suffer from imagined results of what is not true. Free your mind from the belief that this is possible. In its complete impossibility lies your only hope for release. But what other hope would you want? Freedom from illusions lies only in not believing in them. There is no attack, but there is unlimited communication and therefore unlimited power and wholeness. The power of wholeness is extension. Do not arrest your thought in this world, and you will open your mind to creation in God.
In the perceptual world our bodies are always in need of something – on a moment-to-moment basis there is constant demand required for its sustenance, comfort, or esteem. Ruled by ego the body is not one seeming whole but of many parts and each part having little to do with its other parts. Go to the doctor for healing of one part of your body and come away with one medicine to treat that part and other medicines to make up for the detriment caused by the first treatment.
When we are guided by Holy Spirit we are not guided by confusion. Our bodies become a means of communication between our lower minds ruled by ego and our higher minds where Holy Spirit resides. That which was designed to symbolize the ego is therefore transformed into the temple of Holy Spirit. That which was devoted to the ego becomes devoted to Holy Spirit. In this sense the body becomes a temple to God because His Voice abides in it and directs the use to which the body is put.
Instead of using our body for separation, Holy Spirit uses the body for communion, for communication. By communion we are made whole – our minds made whole by saving the lower mind from its allegiance to the ego; our bodies made whole as long as we need them for communication in the world. Jesus tells us that it is not that our mind is made physical, but that it is made manifest through the physical if it can use the body to go beyond the body. In other words, what is of God, of Spirit, of mind can never be physical but it can shine through the physical and use it for the purpose of extending God’s Kingdom. Just as my office light is merely a dust-collecting ornament until I turn it on and electricity flows through it, my body is merely flesh and blood, bone and gristle until it is used and guided by the Voice for God. My body is only God’s temple when I devote it to the higher mind of Christ, and He directs the use for it.
We must never mistake our bodies, however, for the mind of Christ, for the mind of Christ is our wholeness which cannot be made physical. The mind of Christ never stops at the body, for if it did, it would block the purpose of God which is extension through communication that leads to communion which leads to wholeness. We do not take our bodies with us to God’s Kingdom, they simply are transformed into useful devices when our minds are devoted to God to extend His Kingdom.
When bodies are not used for God’s Kingdom but are instead used as an end in themselves, they are blocked from their natural function and turned against itself. This is not only depressing to the mind, but will also become manifest in the body, weakening it and allowing it to be vulnerable to attack.
To guarantee help and healing, that which blocks the mind from its true purpose must be removed. In paragraph eleven, Jesus tells us that help and healing are the normal expression of the mind that is working through the body but not in it. Meditate upon this section of our text today in your personal devotion for it is critical that we have the correct way in which to relate to our bodies if we are to join with Christ in His Vision of the world.
If extending our bodies is our goal, if we limit our perception to our own bodies, to identifying to our human form and putting our efforts and our minds to use to extend our life in the flesh, our minds’ belief in this goal will foster separation which does not heal but induces illness. If my goal is to live to be the oldest woman in the neighborhood, and I set my mind to live for that goal alone, I am perceiving my body as a separate entity from everyone else. I don’t care if my neighbor Sandy lives to be a hundred, or my neighbor Talisha lives to be a hundred, I only care that I do! I am going to eat the right food, exercise, and do all the things I can to live to be older than them all. When my neighbors begin to kick the bucket, I can only think with glee, Oh, I am glad it is not me! I’ll show them. I will outlive them all!
This may be a humorous illustration, but this is the concept of using our medium of communication, our bodies, as a medium of attack because it is a palpable misunderstanding of its purpose. Holy Spirit’s use of my body is not to outlive other people, to be healthier, wealthier, or more at peace than others – Holy Spirit’s use of my body is to be a communication device that extends wholeness to all – and not for myself alone.
The way in which we perceive our bodies is unified by the one purpose of Holy Spirit. When we view our bodies as a means in which to share the attributes of God we are freed of the temptation to see our body as a curse, as a way to show off, as an instrument of evil, or as a spineless dummy easily manipulated be the demands and drives of chemicals and impulses. We are freed from the role of victimizer; even as we are freed from the role of victim.
To confuse our bodies with our true Identity is to confuse the goal of our curriculum which is to find our true Identity as the spiritual attributes of God. True learning leads beyond bodies to the power of the mind within them. Getting hung up on our belief in bodies is the cause of all illness. As long as we think we are bodies, we deny the mind’s extension to all, we will become depressed, imprisoning our minds in a state of despair and delusion.
This is the opposite of God’s Will for us. If what we learn gives us a sense of despair and fills us with dread, we are not listening to Holy Spirit nor learning the things of God. When we look upon each other’s bodies as anything other than a means to communicate and extend the love, peace, and joy of God’s Kingdom, we limit our minds and hurt ourselves. Jesus tells us that health is the result of applying our bodies to the purpose of our mind because otherwise the body has no real purpose or meaning at all.
Thoughts cannot be made flesh, but they do go beyond the body directed by a mind that does not perceive the body as a limitation. When we look upon our brothers and see them, judge them, pity them or adore them because of their body, we are attacking them by mistaking their bodies for what they really are. Instead of thinking with God, we are perceiving exactly what the ego would have us perceive. Even if we are thinking of how adorable, how sexy, how downright cute and precious another brother is judging him as his body – we are attacking him, we are valuing that which has no value to God, we are overlooking the true Treasure of God. And when we do this to another, we are valuing that which has no value in ourselves.
This is in direct opposition to our Course. We are not here to flatter or to be moved to pity, rage, envy, or disgust over one another’s bodies. We are to recognize that our bodies are devices that when used by the ego, limit our worth to a finite and meaningless existence, keeping us trapped in a realm of ego, thinking that what we are doing with them is of vast importance when really it has none outside of the finite cycles of time. This can only signify that we are poor learners. Health and joy will never be the result of such misconception and malpractice.
We condemn one another when we perceive each other as bodies, rather than the mind of Christ, the eternal Sons of God. Condemnation seems like a strong word, but as long as we are relating to one another as bodies, we remain in a state of dismay, disease, and death – a realm that has no real reality. All the condemnation we offer to one another, is no more real than the realm of nothingness in which it takes place. However, we will think it is real and the power of our belief will convince us that we cannot be freed.
Our hope for release from the ego, from the body, from the realm of opposites and opposition depends on our willingness and our efforts toward not believing in the illusions engendered by lies. We are called to see through them, to see past them, to refuse to fear the Son of God within us so that we are free to love that all that is of Spirit and Truth. Make this your aim by dedicating yourself to the Mind of Christ. Ask Jesus to help you see past the world of bodies, of egos, the world of attack, the world that would limit the power and the glory of God and His Son. As we dedicate our mind to Christ, we also dedicate our bodies to be used not for attack but for the everlasting power and wholeness of true and holy communication. Only when we do not allow our thoughts to be arrested by this world, is our mind receptive to the Creation in God’s Kingdom.
In your personal devotion today, ask Christ to show you how to apply these concepts in your daily walk with Him. Ask Christ to give you His Vision when you look upon the bodies of your family, friends, and colleagues. When we see past the bodies of others, we are freeing ourselves from the bondage of our own attachment to that which imprisons us and keeps us bound to a realm of separateness. If this concept is hard for you to grasp and you feel strong resistance to the ideas in this text, do not be discouraged. Simply relax and ask Christ for help. We are the treasure of God and we are not left to our own lack of understanding; nor do we transcend the ego on our own! Jesus promises to give us His Hand when we ask for it in our search for freedom and for truth. My prayer is that the love of Jesus will sustain you in your seeking; that the Voice for God will guide you ever homeward, and that my thoughts and your thoughts will be united in truth forever.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 8 The Journey Back VII The body as a means of communication 9-16. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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