1. Who punishes the body is insane. For here the little gap is seen and yet it is not here. It has not judged itself, nor made itself to be what it is not. It does not seek to make of pain a joy and look for lasting pleasure in the dust. It does not tell you what its purpose is and cannot understand what it is for. It does not victimize, because it has no will, no preferences and no doubts. It does not wonder what it is. And so it has no need to be competitive. It can be victimized but cannot feel itself as victim. It accepts no role, but does what it is told, without attack.
2. It is indeed a senseless point of view to hold responsible for sight a thing that cannot see and blame it for the sounds you do not like, although it cannot hear. It suffers not punishment you give because it has no feeling. It behaves in ways you want, but never makes the choice. It is not born and does not die. It can but follow aimlessly the path on which it has been set. And if that path is changed, it walks as easily another way. It takes no sides and judges not the road it travels. It perceives no gap because it does not hate. It can be used for hate, but it cannot be hateful made thereby.
3. The thing you hate and fear and loathe and want, the body does not know. You send it forth to seek for separation and be separate. And then you hate it, not for what it is, but for the uses you have made of it. You shrink from what it sees and what it hears and hate its frailty and littleness. And you despise its acts, but not your own. It sees and acts for you. It hears your voice. And it is frail and little by your wish. It seems to punish you, and thus deserve your hatred for the limitations that it brings to you. Yet you have made of it a symbol for the limitations that you want your mind to have and see and keep.
4. The body represents the gap between the little bit of mind you call your own and all the rest of what is really yours. You hate it, yet you think it is your self, and that, without it, would your self be lost. This is the secret vow that you have made with every brother who would walk apart. This is the secret oath you take again, whenever you perceive yourself attacked. No one can suffer if he does not see himself attacked and losing by attack. Unstated and unheard in consciousness is every pledge to sickness. Yet it is a promise to another to be hurt by him, and to attack him in return.
5. Sickness is anger taken out upon the body, so that it will suffer pain. It is the obvious effect of what was made in secret, in agreement with another’s secret wish to be apart from you, as you would be apart from him. Unless you both agree that is your wish, it can have no effects. Whoever says, “There is no gap between my mind and yours” has kept God’s promise, not his tiny oath to be forever faithful unto death. And by his healing is his brother healed.
6. Let this be your agreement with each one, that you be one with him and not apart. And he will keep the promise that you make with him, because it is the one that he has made to God, as God has made to him. God keeps His promises; His Son keeps his. In his creation did his Father say, “You are beloved of Me and I of you forever. Be you perfect as Myself, for you can never be apart from Me.” His Son remembers not that he replied, “I will,” though in that promise he was born. Yet God reminds him of it every time he does not share a promise to be sick, but lets his mind be healed and unified. His secret vows are powerless before the Will of God, Whose promises he shares. And what he substitutes is not his will, who has made promise to himself to God. 
We make a secret vow with all our brothers who would walk apart. We renew our oaths every time we see them as against us and not for us. I cannot suffer as long as I fail to see you as my victimizer; I cannot suffer as long as I lose nothing by an attack against me. But I pledge my body to sickness every time you fail me, every word you say against me, every time you take what is mine and leave me with nothing. When I give you the power to take away my sunshine and my life, I pledge myself to the insanity that keeps the illusion going. It is a promise I make to you – you will always hurt me, disappoint me, do something that will let me down and make me frown. And it gives me the right to attack you and maintain the sick cycles of the world. This is our secret promise to each other – you make me sick and therefore I will make you sick. If you make me so sick that I cannot stand it anymore, I will exchange you for someone else and replay the same secret vow with the one in which I substitute for you. You can rest assured that what happened between you and me is going to happen between the next brother and me. It is an unconscious desire to blame someone else and let them disempower us so that we have every right to pour out our anger and spite upon them, to whine and complain, to have an excuse for why we never go after the gold, why we never reach for the High Mind, why we content ourselves with nothingness when we are really all there is.
We are insane to take out revenge upon a body. The body is not capable of anything on its own. It knows nothing. It functions solely upon the thoughts and will of what inhabits it. It is unable to give any meaning to anything that happens in the spaces between the broken parts of God. The body is not what suffers punishment because it has no feeling on its own. It is not the “chooser.” It makes no decisions. Jesus tells us that it is not born and does not die. It just follows aimlessly on the path to which it has been set. Change the path, and it follows along the changed path just as easily as it did the last one. The body does not side with evil and it does not determine the path we choose. It does not love or hate, though it can be used for hate and made by hate.
In other words there is no reason at all to hate our bodies. The body is what we chose to substitute for the spiritual essence which is our Being. While the body represents our independence, our separation from the whole, the space that we put between ourselves and God, it is not evil on its own. According to A Course in Miracles, the body is what we made, not what God made.
The body is nothing without us. We may end up hating the body for its frailty, for its lack of knowledge, for its inability to make us happy, but whom we really hate is ourselves. The body is a physical representation of the gap between the low mind of ego and the higher mind, the Mind of Christ, our true and holy Spirit/Self. Those of us who end up in the realm of the low mind chose to leave the Big Picture and take a little picture of our own, each of us the mini-me of our own fictional kingdom, the center of our tiny, limited universe, the keeper of our grandiose ideas about ourselves. And when this fails, when our grandiose plan is met with the resistance and opposition by those who simply do not see how special we are, we get angry. Our anger can take the form of self-pity. It can take the form of grumpiness. It can take the form of violence and cruelty. But whatever form it takes, it is searching for someone or something to blame.
No matter where we direct our anger, it always comes back to us. We will suffer physical pain. Our bodies cannot but fail us, for they mirror our sense of separation, sin, and shame. Disease is the effect of the secret vow we make in this realm to hold ourselves apart from each other, of blaming, shaming, and punishing others for what we chose for ourselves.
However, it only takes one of us to decide to step out of our vow to be apart, to be sick, to choose enmity and despair. Whichever one of us commits themselves to healing, who says, “There is no gap between us,” is healed and thereby heals the other.
This applies to every atrocity there is. This principle applies to all manner of rudeness and ill will. There is no powwow in the world that can stand against it and stop healing from taking place when one Son of God, Brother of Christ, claims oneness by denying the separation, by giving no support to specialness, by offering only the Reality of Creation in place of the perceptual world.
Jesus calls to us to let this be the agreement we have with each other – that we are one with each other and not apart. When I keep this promise with you, it is the promise I made with God and God has made with me. Just as God keeps His promises; so must I keep mine! When God created us, He said, “You are my Beloved and I am your Beloved. You are perfect as I am perfect, and you can never be apart from Me.” And we said, “We will,” and in that promise we were created. There was no breaking the promise because it was a promise of God.
We are reminded of this promise every time we do not keep our secret oath of separateness, sickness, and attack. The peace of God is restored to our awareness when we deny the gap between us, when we put down our weapons, when we step up to our rightful place in His Kingdom. Reach for the High Mind today and remember the beautiful perfect Love of which we are a part. Those ignorant vows we took to flesh and blood, to shame and blame, to separation and specialness, to sin and punishment have absolutely no power before the Will of God. The promise God made to us and the promise we made to God cancels out every vain oath and stupid agreement that would obscure our beauty, purity, and goodness in Him.
A Course in Miracles. Chapter 28 The undoing of fear vi the secret vows. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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