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Sickness is one of those areas of teaching that many students of A Course in Miracles take serious offense to. It’s like, yes, ok, the world is an illusion; yes, fine, I need to forgive my brother so that I can release myself; yes, I get it, we are all the light of the world as created by God; yes, I understand, I have given everything all the meaning it has for me; Yep, I am not a body, I am free – I’m down with that; yes, sickness is a defense against the truth… wait, I’m sorry, what? WTF? Oh no. Oh hell no.
It turns out that when it comes to illness, we are not actually okay or fine, it is not gotten or understood, and we’re definitely not down with it.
It is as if looking at sickness from the perspective of A Course in Miracles is that line in the sand that we draw, where all of our supposedly hidden resistance comes right up in our faces and we’re like,
“NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! YOU SHALL NOT PASSSSSSS!!!!”
Healing vs. Sickness: How to Break Up with Your Dysfunctional Relationship with the Body
In response to the idea that the Course sets forth in Workbook lesson 136, “Sickness is a defense against the truth” our ego minds, if you’ll pardon the pun, throw up all kinds of arguments,
“A defense? I didn’t ask to get sick! What about germs? Or carcinogens? Or free radicals? Or genetics? We can’t control that! It’s not my fault. That’s blaming the victim. How dare you! F*ck off.”
Or they assign the responsibility to God:
“It’s God’s will that I (or you) got sick. He wanted me / you to learn something from this experience.”
Or to their past selves,
“It’s Karma, because I did some bad thing in my 12,000 past lives and now I’m paying for it.”
Or the equally destructive and unhelpful,
“It’s my own fault, I created this. We create our own reality. I have no one to blame but myself.”
All of these projection ideas are effects, which arise from the belief that we are, or even could be, separate from Our Creator, and they are all manifestations of unconscious guilt, whether projected externally or internally. That is, not coincidentally, also what causes sickness in the body. But it is also what causes us to, ummm… let’s see… think that we’re a body in the first place? You know, in a world? With other bodies? From whom we are separate? Like, our whole existence?
A Course in Miracles does have a lot to say about sickness – mainly that it is a tool used by our split mind – the ego – to further strengthen our belief that we are a body. Talk about your special relationships – our over-identification and enmeshment with our bodies is by far the specialist of all of the special relationships literally in the history of the world.
It’s not like A Course in Miracles is saying,
“Dude, the world is real but your sickness is all in your mind.”
“Bro, you are totally a body, but if it gets sick then that’s your ego.”
Yet those are some of the ways in which the ego-mind uses Course concepts to try to f*ck with us.
What the Course is actually saying is, sickness isn’t real, and neither is the body, or the world.
Or put another way, sickness is made up in our minds, but so is the body, and the world, and the universe, and everything in it. So we don’t have to keep getting stuck on the concept of “sickness is a defense against the truth” as if it’s an insult.
The split mind is a defense against the Truth. The world of form is a defense against the Truth. The body is a defense against the Truth. Belief that we are separate from God and each other is a defense against the Truth.
What comes after the statement “Sickness is a defense against the truth” is actually the more relevant part that we need to learn:
“I will accept the truth of what I am, and let my mind be wholly healed today.”
The Course is reminding us here that all sickness and all healing are of the mind. It further asks that when we experience sickness, we offer this prayer:
“I have forgotten what I really am, for I mistook my body for myself. Sickness is a defense against the truth. But I am not a body. And my mind cannot attack. So I cannot be sick.”
What does “a defense against the truth” really mean, anyway? How is sickness a defense, and against what truth?
We are whole, perfect, eternal extensions of God. There is no darkness in us. We are pure love, pure light. Click To Tweet
A Course in Miracles teaches us that the truth of us is that we are whole, perfect, eternal extensions of God. There is no darkness in us. We are pure love, pure light.
The last thing our ego mind wants is for us to know this, because when we know it, the ego will completely cease to have any power over us whatsoever, and will essentially be dead to us. We will be enveloped in our full awareness of the incredible gorgeousness of who we are as light, love, peace, and joy.
The only thing that keeps the ego alive in our minds is our belief that the world, and the body, are our reality. So, given this, what powerful tool can the ego use to keep us convinced that the body is real, and therefore insure its own survival as the boss of us?
It can use sickness – and it can make that sh*t feel real.
Attempting to dispel our belief that we are a body on our best day is challenging enough (am I alone in sometimes feeling a little bit bummed out that it’s all fake when I’m having a great hair day?) but trying to remember that this is all an illusion when you feel like – as my sister puts it, “a wagonload of wooden a**holes”, or are in pain, or barfing your guts out, or whatever other disguise illness takes for you totally sucks.
The ego’s uber-convincing argument is,
“See? The body is REAL! You can’t deny it because look how sick you are! Look at all those symptoms! And you’re not in control of it. I can make you completely focus on the body now, and distract you from all that eternal-life-light-love-rainbows-and-unicorns bullshit. I can make you miserable, and depending on what kind of illness, I can literally make you sick with fear, and I can ultimately make you die.”
This, along with special relationships, is the ego’s trump card – its crowning achievement. If we get too close to the truth, knowing who we are, opening the door to let that brilliant light of ourselves shine away whatever darkness we’ve been convinced we are, with the use of sickness the ego mind can snap us back to the belief that we are a body in an unholy instant.
So, back to our special relationship with the body.
The body is neutral. It is not bad. It’s not good. It’s not us. It is a projection of our ego mind, which tries to scare the sh*t out of us by convincing us that the body IS us, and therefore we are vulnerable, weak, frail, susceptible to sickness, and in constant need of protection because if the body dies – which it inevitably will – that is the end of life.
If you think about the body, it’s kind of like being in a special relationship with a person who is super-needy. Someone who is in constant fear, always dooms-daying us about all the bad things that are happening, could happen, or will probably happen if we don’t do this or that to prevent it; insecure about everything, seeing danger everywhere, erecting all kinds of protective barriers, thinking everyone and everything is out to get them, focused only on themselves and getting their own needs met, and living in a constant state of paranoia and mistrust. Basically sucking all the fun out of dysfunctional. But you can’t really leave them, because… well… you see where this is going.
While it is true that as long as you’re living the dream (so to speak) you can’t exactly break up with the body, what you can do is break up with your over-identification and codependent relationship with it and stop letting it control you by believing it is who you are.
You actually can say, “It’s not you, it’s me” and it would be true, because your body serves your mind, not the reverse.
In A Course in Miracles Jesus tells us essentially that there are two beliefs that we must harbor in order to have the experience of sickness in the body:
“These are specifically: first, that the body is for attack, and second, that you are a body. Without this, sickness in inconceivable.”
Just as when we surrender our worldly relationships to Spirit and ask that they be made holy, which completely changes our projection, and thus our perception and experience of them, we can do the same with our special relationship with the body.
The body, when given to Spirit, becomes a tool to be used for communication with our brothers and in doing so allows us to see it completely differently.
As the Course teaches us,
“When the ego tempts you to sickness do not ask the Holy Spirit to heal the body, for this would merely be to accept the ego’s belief that the body is the proper aim of healing. Ask, rather, that the Holy Spirit teach you the right perception of the body, for perception alone can be distorted.”
The ego would have us believe that the body – aka who we are – is a separate entity from the mind, made up of different parts that operate independently from each other. As A Course in Miracles states,
“In the world, not even the body is perceived as whole. Its purpose is seen as fragmented into many functions which bear little or no relationship to each other so that it appears to be ruled by chaos. Guided by the ego, it is. Guided by the Holy Spirit, it is not.”
Remember that the ego’s use of EVERYTHING is for attack. It is coming from a place of fear and guilt and defensiveness, and its credo is pretty much shoot first, The End.
So if you see yourself as a body, you are following the ego as your teacher, and the body has no choice but to be used for attack – even upon itself in the form of sickness – because that’s the way it rolls. The ego is hellbent on convincing us through whatever means necessary that we are only our bodies, and that the God of Sickness is driving this bus.
As the Course teaches,
“Communication ends separation. Attack promotes it… Healing is the result of using the body solely for communication… All mind is whole, and the belief that part of it is physical, or not mind, is a fragmented (or sick) interpretation.”
What Jesus is saying here is that the body is in the mind, it is part of the mind – like everything else in the world of perception. There is no body outside of the mind. When you use the mind to unify, to join, to extend to other minds by using the body as a communication device, then you are using it for the Holy Spirit’s purpose.
As the Course puts it,
“If you use it (the body) 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 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.”
So, how do we do that? How do we use the body for communication? For communion? How do we give it to the Holy Spirit to be used for His holy purpose? How do we have a holy relationship instead of a special relationship with the body?
Ok, if you are asking that question and you a) have never studied A Course in Miracles; or b) have never heard me teach or read any of my blogs, you totally get a pass for not knowing the answer to this.
Right. Forgiveness of all people, all grievances, all judgment, all symptoms, all beliefs, all projections, all perceptions, all thoughts of anything that is not love.
Holding on to any unloving idea about anything or anyone throughout your entire life and all 12,000 other lifetimes will keep you firmly rooted in the belief that you are a body and therefore in the ego’s thought system of sickness and death.
You cannot release yourself without releasing your brother – who is everyone – first.
It does not matter what they appeared to have done, or said, or what the situation was, or how unfair, or how terrible. If you want to be healed from the dream of sickness, you can’t hold on to the belief that you are a body. If you are not a body, then neither is anyone else. If no one is a body, then whatever you are nursing as an unforgiveness isn’t real either, and only exists in your mind, just like the rest of the dream.
The Atonement is the full realization that the separation from God never occurred. If it never occurred, there is no guilt about it. If there is no guilt about it there is nothing to project onto our brothers.
A Course in Miracles says,
“Atonement does not heal the sick, for that is not a cure. It takes away the guilt that makes the sickness possible. And that is cure indeed.”
Just as you can’t be a little bit pregnant, you can’t be partially whole. Healing happens when you relinquish both the attachment to the body as yourself, and your attachment to seeing your brother as not yourself. When you see no one as a body, you will be able to see yourself as not a body, and it is in this that true healing will occur.
My absolute favorite quote from the Course describes us this way:
“The truth in you is as radiant as a star, as pure as light, as innocent as love itself.”
Whatever form sickness appears to take for you, look in the mirror and say that to yourself every day. See yourself emanating sparkling, shimmering light from every cell. Forgive everyone and everything, knowing that every loving thought you ever had – which are your creations – has been saved for you. The rest recedes into the nothingness that never was. Who you are is this brilliant, radiant being – whole, and pure, and innocent, in need of no defenses.
Thank you so much for honoring me with your whole, healed, innocent, gorgeous presence today. If this teaching resonated with you, please leave me a comment below. I love to hear from you and I read every one.
I am blinded to all thoughts of sickness and healed by the brilliance of your amazing, beautiful, perfect light.
So Much Love,
Rev Kelly Russell,
Spiritual Life Coach, Holistic Psychotherapist & Teacher of A Course in Miracles
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