VIII. The Body as Means or End, P 2
2 The body exists in a world that seems to contain two voices fighting for its possession. In this perceived constellation the body is seen as capable of shifting its allegiance from one to the other, making the concepts of both health and sickness meaningful. The ego makes a fundamental confusion between means and end as it always does. Regarding the body as an end, the ego has no real use for it because it is not an end. You must have noticed an outstanding characteristic of every end that the ego has accepted as its own. When you have achieved it, it has not satisfied you. That is why the ego is forced to shift ceaselessly from one goal to another, so that you will continue to hope it can yet offer you something.
I have had many goals in my life, and I have achieved many of those goals. I have enjoyed the moment of achievement, but then it is over and I have never once felt completely satisfied. I simply look for the next goal. For awhile this just seemed normal, the way it was supposed to be, and I liked the challenge. Then it just got old, tiresome, and what little satisfaction there was, waned. I began to wonder if there was something wrong with me, but this is just the way it is if the goal is set by the ego mind.
My life is different now because more and more, I ask the Holy Spirit to decide for me the goal He would have me pursue. No matter the form of the goal He gives me, the ultimate objective is the return to the Kingdom. I have been given the goal of becoming aware of my thoughts, of learning to discern the ego thoughts from the true thoughts, and of learning that I don’t value the ego thoughts, and am willing and can let them go. Each of those goals was for the purpose of returning my mind to the Kingdom.
He has given me the goal of seeing my brother as innocent in spite of appearances, of forgiving my projections onto my brother. As I came closer to withdrawing my projections onto others, I began to see the error as being mine and feeling guilty for it. So then my goal became one of forgiving my errors and seeing the innocence within my own mind. But all of those goals were for the purpose of joining with my brothers in our innocence and so returning to the Kingdom.
I used to think that winning and being right was the ultimate goal and the ultimate high, but that was a disappointment, too, and often the cost of the “win” was far more than the value I had assigned it. Instead the Holy Spirit gave me a different goal. He asked me to see that the only way I could win was to surrender the idea of winning and making my brother wrong.
I discovered that there was no loss in not winning over a brother and that the joy of winning with a brother was truly satisfying. It was strange realization at first, but now I can’t see how I ever believed otherwise and it is just another step toward the ultimate goal of returning to the Kingdom.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that there is no value at all in defending myself, and in fact, it is in my defenselessness my safety lies. The ego had given me many goals aimed at defending myself. I defended myself against disease, old age, bad people, financial loss, and an endless number of dangers. The Holy Spirit gave me goals that led me to understand I was only defending a body and that body was not real and had little to do with me.
And this led to the goal He has assigned me now. I am letting go of the idea of the body as anything other than a temporary illusion, useful only until the goal has been met. I am learning to put aside the very limited vision of myself as a separated self. I am doing this a step at a time, but each step takes me to the one goal that He has given me. I am learning to accept my Self, to see my true nature, and it is a brilliant and beautiful thing to behold.
I had to stop writing for a moment as the ego mind rebelled. This vision is very scary to it, and it wants to stuff me back into the body and make me small again. I hear it. I even believe it a little. But I have glimpsed behind the veil and I have seen too much to go back. Here is what happens in the ego part of the mind when I get close.
It reminds me that I have to keep living in this body for awhile and I better get my mind on planning for that. I have money to save, a house to pay off, a car note, a job that is not guaranteed and if I lose it all the other goals are going down the drain. Then what would happen? And the body itself is getting old and I need to exercise it and buy it some more vitamins and vaccinate it against disease. There is so much to do and all of it is a defense against inevitable loss.
If it can’t keep my attention with these scare tactics, it brings out the big guns and suggests that the truth is not true. I am a fool for believing this nonsense about being the Son of God, and I am going to receive the ultimate punishment for this. If I am going to insist on staying with it, the ego mind swears that I cannot succeed, or at least that I cannot succeed this lifetime. Maybe later. It makes me want to cry.
Then I remember that this is just a little voice of separation and while it was made by me and served my purpose for awhile, it is not the Voice of Truth. I can listen to the winy little complainer or I can ignore it. I find it easiest to ignore it if I focus my attention on the truth. I read the beautiful passages from the Course and I quiet my mind and let the Holy Spirit whisper the truth into my heart.
I am not the character in this dream but the dreamer, the constructor of the dream. I am an eternal and Divine being. I am the Son of God and He loves me and believes in me. I remain as God created me, and nothing can change that. I have one goal and that is to return my mind fully and completely to the Kingdom.