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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 19 The Attainment of Peace

Section IV.  The Obstacles of Peace

IVB.  The Second Obstacle – The Belief the Body Is Valuable for What It Offers

i. The Attraction of Pain 9-17

9. Your little part is but to give the Holy Spirit the whole idea of sacrifice.  And to accept the peace He gives instead, without the limits that would hold its extension back, and so would limit your awareness of it.  For what He gives must be extended if you would have its limitless power and use it for the Son of God’s release.  It is not this you would be rid of and having it you cannot limit it.  If peace is homeless, so are you and so am I.  And He Who is our home is homeless with us.  Is this your wish?  Would you forever be a wanderer is search of peace?  Would you invest your hope of peace and happiness in what must fail?

10. Faith in the eternal is always justified, for the eternal is forever kind, infinite in its patience and wholly loving.  It will accept you wholly and give you peace.  Yet it can unite only with what already is at peace in you, immortal as itself.  The body can bring you neither peace nor turmoil, neither joy nor pain.  It is a means and not an end.  It has no purpose of itself, but only what is given to it.  The body will seem to be whatever is the means for reaching the goal that you assign to it.  Only the mind can set a purpose, and only the mind can see the means for its accomplishment and justify its use.  Peace and guilt are both conditions of the mind to be attained.  And these conditions are the home of the emotion that calls them forth, and therefore is compatible with them.

11. But think you which it is that is compatible with you.  Here is your choice, and it is free.  But all that lies in it will come with it, and what you think you are can never be apart from it.  The body is the great seeming betrayer of faith.  In it lies disillusionment and the seeds of faithlessness, but only if you ask of it what it cannot give.  Can your mistake be reasonable grounds for depression and disillusionment, and for retaliative attack on what you think has failed you?  Use not your error as the justification for your faithlessness.  You have not sinned, but you have been mistaken in what is faithful.  And the correction of your mistake will give you grounds for faith. 

12. It is impossible to seek for pleasure through the body and not find pain.  It is essential that this relationship be understood, for it is one the ego sees as proof of sin.  It is not really punitive at all.  It is but the inevitable result of equating yourself with the body, which is the invitation to pain.  For it invites fear to enter and become your purpose.  The attraction of guilt must enter with it, and whatever fear directs the body to do is therefore painful.  It will share the pain of all illusions, and the illusion of pleasure will be the same as pain. 

13. Is not this inevitable?  Under fear’s orders the body will pursue guilt, serving its master whose attraction to guilt maintains the whole illusion of its existence.  This, then, is the attraction of pain.  Ruled by this perception the body becomes the servant of pain, seeking it dutifully and obeying the idea that pain is pleasure.  It is this idea that underlies all of the ego’s heavy investment in the body.  And it is this insane relationship that it keeps hidden, and yet feeds upon.  To you it teaches that the body’s pleasure is happiness.  Yet to itself it whispers, “It is death.”

14. Why should the body be anything to you?  Certainly, what it is made of is not precious.  And just as certainly it has no feeling.  It transmits to you the feelings that you want.  Like any communication medium the body receives and sends the messages that it is given.  It has no feeling for them.  All of the feeling with which they are invested is given by the sender and the receiver.  The ego and the Holy Spirit both recognize this, and both also recognize that here the sender and the receivers are the same.  The Holy Spirit tells you this with joy.  The ego hides it, for it would keep you unaware of it.  Who would send messages of hatred and attack if he but understood he sends them to himself?  Who would accuse, make guilty and condemn himself?

15. The ego’s messages are always sent away from you, in the belief that for your message of attack and guilt will someone other than yourself suffer.  And even if you suffer, yet someone else will suffer more.  The great deceiver recognizes that this is not so, but as the “enemy” of peace, it urges you to send out all your messages of hate and free yourself.  And to convince you this is possible, it bids the body search for pain in attack upon another, calling it pleasure and offering it to you as freedom from attack.

16. Hear not its madness and believe not the impossible is true.  Forget not that the ego has dedicated the body to the goal of sin, and places in it all its faith that this can be accomplished.  Its sad disciples chant the body’s praise continually, in solemn celebration of the ego’s rule.  Not one but must believe that yielding to the attraction of guilt is the escape from pain.  Not one but must regard the body as himself, without which he would die, and yet within which is his death equally inevitable.

17. It is not given to the ego’s disciples to realize that they have dedicated themselves to death.  Freedom is offered them but they have not accepted it, and what is offered must also be received, to be truly given.  For the Holy Spirit, too, is a communication medium, receiving from the Father and offering His messages unto the Son.  Like the ego, the Holy Spirit is both the sender and the receiver.  For what is sent through Him returns to Him, seeking itself along the way, and finding what it seeks.  So does the ego find the death it seeks, returning it to you. [1]

When we live for our bodies, we live for death.  When we live for our true Being in Christ, we live for the everlasting part of us.  In today’s devotional text, Jesus goes to great lengths to explain to us that the split mind in us is keeping us in a state of confusion about who and what we really are.  The ego, residing in the reptilian part of our brain, the lower mind will always speak for the body. The body is designed for a world of guilt, sin, blame, and shame. Pleasure is dangled out in front of the body and sacrifices must be made – we sacrifice our honesty, our goodness, our true and holy spirits to live in a world of bodies.  Everything we do in this world caters to our bodies – what we shall eat, where we should live, what we are going to wear, what car are we going to drive to take our bodies from place to place?  We spend vast amounts of time, money, and effort to protect our body, to ensure our body does not become diseased, to ensure our body’s health, to educate ourselves so that we can give our bodies a better lifestyle.  No matter how hard we work to protect our bodies, to have fun with them, to cater to their ongoing demands for sustenance and fun – our bodies are an ego construct.  They are designed to be easily manipulated through pleasure and pain sensors.  To cast our identity with the body is to cast our identity with the ego and become both a manipulator and the manipulated. 

Jesus tells us to identify with Holy Spirit, the high Mind of Christ which resides in each of us.  Beyond the ego’s flesh manipulators which keep us in an ongoing, near constant state of living for our next meal, our next drink, our next status report, always chasing after but never quite finding a sense of meaning and belonging is the peace of the Eternal.  In Sonship we are never manipulated by the drives of the flesh.  The body does not rule the Sonship of God for the Sonship is Spirit.  We are free of the pain and pleasure impulses which drive our bodies wherever the ego would have us go.  We are free of all forms of guilt and shame for Spirit is incapable of all that is unkind and unholy. 

Live for that part of us, Jesus asks us.  Jesus does not ask us to hate our flesh body; He simply points out that to continue to live for it is to continue to deny peace Its home in our Being.  To live for the body is to deny the Kingdom of God.  Again, Jesus is not telling us to deny our flesh, He is telling us to train our minds not to identify with it.  When we identify with Holy Spirit, the ego can no longer use our flesh to manipulate us, to guilt us, to blame and shame us.  When we identify with Holy Spirit, we can see the clear delineation between our bodies and who and what we really are.  Our bodies then become, not the enemy, not a burden, not a means for sin and shame, but a communication device for peace which can only come from a guiltless state of being. 

It is always our choice.  The ego or Holy Spirit.  It cannot be both.  When we go with ego, we get caught up in flesh and all the drama and the trauma that goes along with that.  I am going to like you one day and dislike you the next for bodies cannot be depended upon to always play fair – they get tired, they get hungry, they get cranky, they go a little batty when the stars are not aligned just so!  When we identify with Holy Spirit, we will not judge ourselves according to our bodies and their ups and downs.  We will know what we are dealing with here.  We will free ourselves from the condemnation and corruption that goes along with ego drives, impulses, and control – and we will extend this freedom to others. No longer will we hold one another accountable for our karmic past – no longer will we keep account of one another’s sins and faults and shortcomings. 

When we identify with Holy Spirit, we set each other free of the ego’s call for sin, sorrow, and death.  Our song and praise is not for the body but for the everlasting Kingdom of God within.  This is not a great mystery nor a mystical experience reserved for the saints and special holy ones.  The Kingdom of God is not a place or a condition – it is a state of Being in love, joy, and peace.  In this state of Being we are at one with all of creation just as we are one with God.  The body can be used as a means to the Kingdom or as a means to obscure the Kingdom. 

In your personal devotions today, ask Holy Spirit to illuminate the meaning of this section to you in a personal way.  Pay particular attention to the ways in which you tend to project guilt, shame, pain, and sorrow onto others in a vain attempt to protect yourself.  Make a conscious decision to share your ego struggles and not the ego struggles of others.  As unflattering as it may seem to bare your heart and expose the devices of ego – As we learn to live in holiness, the ego can no longer tempt us with its false promises of pleasure or its empty threats of pain. As we continue to set others free from the fear, guilt, and attack our egos would lay upon them, we find the peace which gives us access to the Kingdom of God within. 


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 19 The attainment of peace. IV B The second obstacle. i. The attraction of pain 9-17. 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, Teaching and Learning

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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