A Different Approach to the Body
Last week I wrote about how I learned to put aside expectations that arose from spiritual study and to allow myself to be led from within. An example of this would be how I was led to an approach to the body that was different from what I read in A Course in Miracles.
When I first became a student of ACIM I was, like everyone, filled with guilt (but didn’t know it). So I read ACIM through a filter of guilt. I read a lot of love and release (forgiveness) in ACIM, too, but in many ways I felt condemnation when I was reading. I vaguely knew this was coming from me but my belief in guilt was so strong that I couldn’t look at this directly for many, many years. One of the topics over which I felt tremendous guilt while reading ACIM was the body, especially when it came to physical illness.
ACIM teaches that the universe of form, which of course includes bodies, was not made by God. Therefore, the body is not real. However, I experience a body and denying that I experience the body would denigrate the power of my mind. So I do not have to deny the experience until that happens naturally. The body is only an idea in the mind and everything that happens in the body, including reflexes, instincts, illness, etc. is actually a choice of the mind. The body is neutral and in its neutral state it manifests perfect health. Illness in the body is caused by the guilt and fear of God I experience in my identification with the body. So if I do not identify with the body it will manifest perfect health. (You can read in detail what ACIM teaches about the body and illness and physical healing at my website: www.acimmentor.com/acimandbodydisorders.html).
However, from the beginning I was often told something else by the Holy Spirit in my mind as I read ACIM. Sometimes I would think that I was only being given an interpretation. But later I’d discover that it was not only an interpretation. I was experiencing something very different from what ACIM said. For example I would read in ACIM that illness in the body is caused by my identification with the body. In my guilt I would feel fearful when I read this. But later when I would think of those passages the Holy Spirit in my mind would explain that I experienced illness because of my identification with the body. This, of course, makes perfect sense. I would not experience illness otherwise. The clarity with which I experienced this made me think that my original, fearful interpretation was being corrected. But later I’d come across the same passage or one like it and I’d see that I was given more than an interpretation. I was given a whole other approach. This happened often when I read about the body and illness. And it only happened when I read about the body and illness. No other topic in ACIM was changed for me.
ACIM says that using form (medicines, treatments, etc.) to heal the body is “magical thinking”. The body can only be healed by the mind. But the Holy Spirit told me that the remedies for form are at the level of form. Cause and effect applies at the level of form. Genes, environment, attitudes, behavior, choices, and energy all affect the body at the level of form. So at the level of form medicines and treatments are not “magic”. They are manifestations of the choice to be relieved of physical symptoms at the level of form. The Holy Spirit told me that I am mind and that “magical thinking” is not thinking that medicines can help the body. “Magical thinking” is the belief that healing the body would heal mind. You can see that there is a big difference here.
Once when I was thinking about sickness the Holy Spirit explained to me that when a lion takes down a gazelle it is not personal. The lion is only trying to survive. It’s the same with a virus, like a cancer or a ‘flu. The virus is only another organism in the world. It is not personal when it attacks a body. It’s only doing what viruses do to survive. So a virus is not “wrong” or “bad”. It’s neutral. It has no meaning in itself. It’s just part of the experience of the world. The whole experience of the world is one of guilt and fear. Illness is not a special case of this. The body does not have a neutral state of perfection. The whole of the universe of form, as the opposite of Perfect Truth, is inherently dysfunctional. This dysfunction is not wrong or bad. It is just the way that the opposite-of-Truth is. Again, this is very different from what ACIM teaches.
What ACIM had to say about the body and illness always felt off to me. However, the Voice of ACIM was always consistent to me so I never felt that Helen had let in other voices or her own ego. So for a long while I assumed that the “off” feeling was just a projection of my own guilt. This other, clear approach that I have received from the Holy Spirit came over a very long time because in my guilt and fear my mind was closed. It also confused me. Was it different from ACIM? Fear made it hard for me to sort them out. I expected that when I was less fearful and therefore open what ACIM teaches would become clear to me. And it did (see link above) but it still felt “off” to me. I thought I must still be blocked. It took me a long time to see that I had actually been led to a different approach.
When I asked the Holy Spirit about the difference between ACIM and where I have been led I was told that Helen had a different goal from my goal. I cannot speak to her goal. But mine has always been to know Truth and be at peace. Helen was told that if she healed the body of illness by simply choosing against illness it would demonstrate the power of mind. She would learn that the mind decides how the body feels. She would learn that she is not the victim of the universe of form. Last year during a brief illness I caught a glimpse of the level of mind where the choice of illness is made. When I saw this I simultaneously saw that that level of the mind is not real, either. The body, illness in the body, the part of mind that causes responses in the body – all of that is not-Truth. I was not led to change that level of mind to heal the body. I was led to let it all go. All along I’ve been led to detach from the body – indeed, all of not-Truth - not to seek to change my mind to heal the body.
When I translated ACIM into plain, everyday language I kept its message about the body and illness the same though it conflicted in many ways with what I was learning directly from the Holy Spirit. In fact, that was when I began to enquire into the difference. But it was not my place to change ACIM’s message. What I teach now is what I have learned directly from the Holy Spirit. When students contact me to learn how to heal the body by changing their minds I direct them to other ACIM teachers whose interest seems to lie in that direction.
This approach to the body is still unfolding for me. I will continue to be led from within rather than from a book or another person in the world. Teachers and teachings are not ends in themselves. They are means to my goal of being aware of Truth but only when viewed through the Teacher of Truth (Holy Spirit) in my own mind.
Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace at www.acimmentor.com.