I know, it can seem like a pretty freaky thought, that this reflection looking back at us from the mirror; this entity that we spend so much time and energy thinking, worrying, and obsessing about the state of, isn’t even us.
Not to mention the effort we put into working so we can have money to spend on feeding, clothing, sheltering, exercising, beautifying, defending, adorning, strengthening, protecting, repairing, enhancing, and trying to perfect it. Or feeling bad about not doing so.
Yet A Course in Miracles tells us, in about a bazillion places, that we are not bodies – and not only that – that the world is not real. That the world, meaning our whole concept of reality – including the body – is a dream in our ego minds; and that it is our belief that we are a body – and thus separate from our Creator – that is the real cause of our suffering.
There is a lesson in the Workbook of A Course in Miracles that is repeated multiple times that says,
“I am not a body, I am free. For I am still as God created me.”
This idea meets with a great deal of resistance because we identify ourselves AS our bodies in the world. Our ego mind – that part of our mind that believes it is separate from God – in fact depends on us identifying ourselves as our bodies for its very survival.
As the Course illustrates,
“The ego separates through the body. The Holy Spirit reaches through it to others.”
But what the words “I am not a body, I am free. For I am still as God created me” actually mean is that God created us as pure spirit, like Himself. Perfect, eternal, changeless, timeless, radiant light, endless love. That is who we really are.
Bodies in the dream world are temporal, corporeal, imperfect, changeable, not eternal; they are capable of aging, becoming diseased, breaking down, wearing out, and dying.
So, I know that I am dreaming this dream of what the Course calls the body’s ‘serial adventures’, where I appear to have relationships, and work, and have different experiences. However, I can learn to do so with a certain level of detachment.
Not disengagement or lack of being present, but not being identified with them AS ME.
One idea that has helped me to gain some space from identifying as my body is to think of it like I do my house and my car. We use our homes to shelter us and provide us with creature comforts while we believe we are here living in this dream. The rest, as George Carlin so awesomely put it, is basically a place to keep our stuff. That’s all it is.
I might really like and appreciate my house, and enjoy inhabiting it, and spending time there, but do I identify AS my home? As in,
“My home is WHO I am”?
“I AM my house”?
No matter how much we might enhance, decorate, and adore our homes, they are a possession that provides a function for us while we believe we are in a world where we have need of them. When we no longer inhabit the dream of the physical world, we will no longer perceive the need for a house.
Let us consider our cars – a car is literally a vehicle to transport us from place to place in our dream world. Our cars may have a lot of fun, cool features, or they may have nothing but a questionable heater and an AM radio like my first VW Beetle.
Do I like my car? I adore it – I still drive a VW but now it’s a Passat and I feel like I’m in a Mercedes on the Autobahn every day experiencing fahrvergnugen. But do I identify AS it? Is the car me and I am the car? No. The car is part of my dream. When I make my transition from this dream world, will I take my car with me? No.
Similarly, A Course in Miracles tells us that the only purpose for the body is to be used as a communication device, while we believe we are in the world – because,
“In the service of uniting, it becomes a beautiful lesson in communion, which has value until communion is.”
Like a house, or a car, we may adorn our body, decorate it, or do things to enhance it so that we think it is more attractive. We may give it certain kinds of fuel, have parts of it repaired, or sometimes replaced – so it may operate more efficiently or last longer. It might break down, deteriorate, and it will eventually die.
It’s still not us, not who we are.
The body does not define us any more than a house or a car does.
Many of us get very attached to what our bodies seem to convey about us. Needing to look a certain way, or be at a particular weight or have a certain shape or silhouette in order to feel good or lovable or attractive or worthy. Comparing it favorably or unfavorably with that of others – just as we might with our houses or cars.
We give our power away when we do this, by allowing ourselves to be defined by the tools we are making use of in a dream. As if the kind of house, or car, or body we have, what it looks like, the size of it, what features it has, the condition it is in – could actually ever mean anything in comparison to the complete magnificent brilliant perfection of who we really are as the Son of God.
We do the same with other bodies. We think they define who our brothers are – our partners, our children, our parents, loved ones, friends. We often judge the way another body looks or behaves – yet the Course states that,
“When you look upon a brother as a physical entity, his power and glory are ‘lost’ to you and so are yours.”
Identifying ourselves or another as the body causes us to waste so much of our focus – instead of spending our time and energy using this communication device for its only purpose – to express love toward our brothers, which is also expressing love toward ourselves.
A Course in Miracles says,
“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 with yours and mine. This interpretation of the body will change your mind entirely about its value. Of itself it has none.”
So in returning to how to have a miracle body, A Course in Miracles defines a miracle as,
“a shift in perception, from fear to love.”
When we are coming from a place of fear, we see our bodies as a reflection of who we think we are. The truth is, our bodies and the state we believe they are in is just a reflection of WHAT we THINK.
So if we are holding negative thoughts toward other bodies or our own, that is just another idea echoing our belief that we separated from God. We experience guilt about that and project that onto our bodies and those of others in the form of belief in disease, disorder, pain, narcissism, fault-finding, arrogance, blame, competition, comparison, self-hatred, shame, addiction, abuse.
The only tool we need to perform the shift from fear to love is forgiveness.
Whenever we find ourselves experiencing thoughts about our own body or that of another, or comparing our bodies to someone else’s, or to an ideal – it means that we have located ourselves in the world as bodies and we are in fear. We can forgive ourselves for this misperception, by saying in our minds,
“You are spirit, pure, whole, and innocent. All is forgiven and released.”
And then acknowledging the truth,
“I am not a body, I am free. For I am still as God created me.”
Now we have relocated our being to a place of love, which is who and what we truly are, and where we have never left. We remember we are infinite beings of light, and thus can regard our bodies with joy, gratitude and appreciation, as useful instruments to temporarily help us communicate – the root word of which is commune – with ourselves.
That’s what it means to have a miracle body.
Oh, and sidebar – in case you’re wondering what I do for exercise these days in place of all that crazy? Now, I mostly just DANCE.
Thank you so much for being with me today – I hope that something in this teaching was helpful to you. If so, I encourage you to share it with a friend, or post it.
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Question: Did this post help you to shift your perception regarding you body? Was there something in particular that resonated with you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
I love hearing from you and I promise to read every one.
I love you like crazy – and not just for your body. ; )
Rev Kelly Russell