More on A Different Approach to the Body
Last week’s article, “A Different Approach to the Body”, resulted in a wave of comments and questions at my blogsite and in my email. The central point of the article was to give an example of how one should be led from within rather than from a teaching in the world. However, the comments and questions I received were largely about the example rather than the central idea. Here I will attempt to clear up some points that seemed to confuse some students:
First, I did not mean to imply that the different approach to the body to which I was led by the Holy Spirit (the awareness of Truth within me) was wholly out of line with what A Course in Miracles teaches. Some sent me quotes from ACIM that were in line with what I teach. However, if I stopped with those passages from ACIM I’d be disregarding significant portions of what else ACIM teaches. So, yes, much of what I teach about the body is in line with ACIM. But I’ve also been led away from its core teachings about the body. ACIM puts a lot of emphasis on how the mind causes illnesses in and is the source of healing the body. My awareness of Truth (Holy Spirit) has led me to see form as all one illusion and to disregard it as a whole. This includes the level of mind that makes decisions about the body’s condition.
Second, this part of my article confused many. They could not see the distinction I was making:
“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.”
Here’s the distinction: ACIM says that illness in the body is caused by one’s identification with the body. If one withdraws their identification from the body, the body will be healed:
“The idea of separation produced the body and remains connected to it, making it sick because of the mind’s identification with it.” (T-19.I.7)
“The body, valueless and hardly worth the least defense, need merely be perceived as quite apart from you, and it becomes a healthy, serviceable instrument through which the mind can operate until its usefulness is over.” (W-135.8)
What I have learned from the Holy Spirit is that like all form, the body is limited, changeable, and open to manifestations of dysfunction in many forms. This is so because the experience of form is the opposite of eternally perfect, limitless, formless Truth. Medicines, treatments, etc. for the body are available at the level of the body (form). I only experience illness when I identify with an ill body. However, as mind I can detach from the experience of the body, whatever its condition, and watch it in the recognition that it is not real and is a passing experience.
So, to sum up: ACIM teaches that illness in a body is caused by the mind that perceives itself in that body. It teaches that one only has to choose to not be ill and they will not experience illness or a manifest illness will disappear.
What I have been taught is that illness in the body is the result of causes (genes, environment, attitudes, behavior, lifestyle choices, energy) at the level of form. Some causes (attitudes, behavior, choices, energy) can change if one changes them and this may result in illness not manifesting, being mitigated, and perhaps healing. One’s willingness to have the body be well results in their becoming aware of the appropriate medicines, treatments, diets, etc. at the level of form.
The significant distinction here is that ACIM teaches that the body can be perfected by one withdrawing their identification from it. Where I have been led is to see that one can withdraw their identification from the body and experience detachment from its conditions. But the body continues on as inherently limited, occasionally or chronically dysfunctional, deteriorating form that eventually ceases to be animated (“alive”) and decays if it is not preserved (mummified, etc.) or destroyed.
Why is this distinction important? Because ACIM’s way kept me focused on the body’s condition as an indicator of my state of mind. The way I have been led has allowed me to be at peace no matter the condition of the body. I accept that the experience of form will never be perfect. This sets me free to detach from it and to focus on mind instead of the body. The result has been for my awareness of Truth and peace to be my focus as the body falls into the background of my experience.
For me, anyway, ACIM’s way blurred the line between Truth and illusion; between Formless Mind and form-bound thinking. The way I have been led has made the distinction between Truth and illusion clear to me. Any concern with form is limiting.
Third, ACIM does not say that the goal is to heal your mind to heal the body. (Again, I have culled what ACIM says about the body and healing at my website, www.acimmentor.com/acimandbodydisorders.com). Nor was I suggesting that this is what ACIM teaches. What it does teach is a result of health for the body as the mind is healed. In other words, physical healing is not the goal for healing the mind, but is a side effect. Where I have been led is to attend to mind and let the self (body, personality) be as it is without judging it. This is how I detach from it. And I have experienced a mind growing in its awareness of Truth and peace while the body continues on with many of the typical issues of middle age. My experience seems to be in line with other spiritual teachers, mentioned by some readers, who no longer identified with a self and yet whose bodies died of illness. (I do not yet claim to not identify with a self at all. But it is harder to find).
Having written all of this, I hope readers will eventually come to realize that we are talking about nothing. Attend to the body and it will grow in your awareness. So will guilt and a feeling of vulnerability and fear. Attend to Truth and It will grow in your awareness. So will the awareness that you are whole and perfect in Truth and that the body is nothing.