ACIM Daily Lesson 199. I am not a body. I am free.
I am not a body. I am free.
1. Freedom must be impossible as long as you perceive a body as yourself. ²The body is a limit. ³Who would seek for freedom in a body looks for it where it can not be found. ⁴The mind can be made free when it no longer sees itself as in a body, firmly tied to it and sheltered by its presence. ⁵If this were the truth, the mind were vulnerable indeed!
Jesus keeps telling us that we are not this body and not in this body. He says this: The mind can be made free when it no longer sees itself as in a body… I remind myself of this frequently. I still feel like I am in a body, but I am instructing my mind differently. I have an experience of being in a body, but I know this is not my home. Would God have created His Son as such a fragile and flawed being? Of course not. This was our idea, but it is time to stop dreaming and wake up.
I Am Not the Limitation I Made
I’m learning to think outside the box. The box is the body, the limitation I have placed on myself in order to have this experience of separation. I have learned to think of myself in terms of formlessness experiencing itself through an idea of a body. I still slip back into the box often enough, but I can’t un-know this idea of Self as vast and unlimited, so I return to that thought, and it no longer feels strange and unreal to me, just sometimes elusive. Though mind can never be vulnerable, it feels as if it is when I feel like I am this body. Freedom, therefore, is in knowing that I am not the body, nor even in the body.
The Mind that Serves the Holy Spirit
2. The mind that serves the Holy Spirit is unlimited forever, in all ways, beyond the laws of time and space, unbound by any preconceptions, and with strength and power to do whatever it is asked. ²Attack thoughts cannot enter such a mind, because it has been given to the Source of love, and fear can never enter in a mind that has attached itself to love. ³It rests in God. ⁴And who can be afraid who lives in Innocence, and only loves?
Ahh, this is better. This makes more sense, and it is my goal to return to my true nature. I do this as I release all that is not my true Self. I want to serve the Holy Spirit at all times. I know that this transformation is not complete because there are times when I do have attack thoughts but I do not have any that I would keep, so I feel encouraged by that. When I find myself judging someone, I ask the Holy Spirit to purify my mind. The promises he makes for the mind that serves only Spirit are amazing. Here is what he is saying about the mind that serves Spirit.
- It will be unlimited forever in all ways
- It will be beyond the laws of time and space
- Unbound by any preconceptions
- It will have the strength and power to do whatever is asked
- It cannot attack
- Fear can never enter it
- It rests in God
- It lives in innocence
- It only loves
The Body Shelters the Ego
3. It is essential for your progress in this course that you accept today’s idea, and hold it very dear. ²Be not concerned that to the ego it is quite insane. ³The ego holds the body dear because it dwells in it, and lives united with the home that it has made. ⁴It is a part of the illusion that has sheltered it from being found illusory itself.
Again, he reinforces the importance of this idea as he tells us it is essential for our progress that we accept it. I was in meditation with this lesson, and I saw the thought that this is insane. I know that is the ego vigorously fighting for its life, so I dismissed that thought. I imagine myself telling one of my children that I am not in this body at all and, well, yikes! They’ll be plotting ways to get me into therapy. Hahaha. But it makes no difference to me what anyone else thinks. I am not a body. I am mind that is still attached to the idea of a body but only loosely.
The Body Becomes a Vehicle to Complete God’s Plan
4. Here does it hide, and here it can be seen as what it is. ²Declare your innocence and you are free. ³The body disappears, because you have no need of it except the need the Holy Spirit sees. ⁴For this, the body will appear as useful form for what the mind must do. ⁵It thus becomes a vehicle which helps forgiveness be extended to the all-inclusive goal that it must reach, according to God’s plan.
We are not bound to the world we made. In fact, we can stay in it only by continuing to believe in it, to participate in the illusion of something that cannot be. As we turn our minds to God, the illusion loses its appeal, and the world we made dissolves. This is what we are doing with A Course in Miracles. We are remembering we have a real Home, and we are choosing to return to this Home. We are learning that our Home is in our mind, right beside the world we made.
The Body Will Disappear
I think that what Jesus means in sentence 3 is that the body will disappear as something real and important to us when we recognize our innocence. We become free of the belief that we are a body or in a body. Our perceived need for the body disappears. Our only need for the body is to serve the Holy Spirit. It will be a useful form, a vehicle that helps us extend forgiveness according to God’s plan. And, of course, at some point the body really will disappear when we awaken from this long dream of separation.
Practice Today and Every Day
5. Cherish today’s idea, and practice it today and every day. ²Make it a part of every practice period you take. ³There is no thought that will not gain thereby in power to help the world, and none which will not gain in added gifts to you as well. ⁴We sound the call of freedom round the world with this idea. ⁵And would you be exempt from the acceptance of the gifts you give?
Jesus continues to express the importance of accepting that we are not these bodies. He tells us to make this a part of every practice period today and every day. Doing so will help us gain power in our practices. And this is not just for us. We do this for the entire Sonship. ⁴We sound the call of freedom round the world with this idea.
A Series of Choices
How simple it is to be free! Think of the world as a series of choices. For instance, you might feel like someone said something unkind, and you are hurt by the words this person said. You have a choice to stay with that attack, believing you were attacked, that you can be attacked, that you can defend yourself only by returning the attack.
Or, you can choose to give your mind to the service of the Holy Spirit. In so doing, you release the belief in attack as even possible, and you allow Him to remove that belief. Now you are a blessing to the one you thought of as an enemy. You are innocent, and you are love, and this is all you offer. As you accept healing for yourself, you accept it for all of the mind. Freedom is so appealing that the world loses interest for you, and as it does so, it begins to crumble. Where is fear now?
It is essential for progress in this course that today’s idea be accepted and held very dear. Be not concerned that to the ego, it is quite insane. The ego holds the body dear because it dwells in it, and lives united with the home that it has made. It is a part of the illusion that has sheltered it from being found illusory itself.
The Body’s True Purpose
6. The Holy Spirit is the home of minds that seek for freedom. ²In Him they have found what they have sought. ³The body’s purpose now is unambiguous. ⁴And it becomes perfect in the ability to serve an undivided goal. ⁵In conflict-free and unequivocal response to mind with but the thought of freedom as its goal, the body serves, and serves its purpose well. ⁶Without the power to enslave, it is a worthy servant of the freedom which the mind within the Holy Spirit seeks.
When I start thinking I am this body, I enslave myself to its fragility. When the body suffers, I suffer. I live in confusion, not knowing what to do with the body, believing I must protect and preserve it, but knowing I will ultimately fail. I am confused about my purpose, not remembering why I am here and what my life means. My life becomes a war zone where my only purpose is defending this little piece of flesh.
The Body As a Tool
As I allowed my mind to be healed, I learned to see the body as a tool. I no longer allow it to be used by the ego-mind for the purpose of preserving the world, I made through endless cycles of attacking and defending. Now I allow it to be used by the Holy Spirit to extend love and so bring the remembrance of love to the Sonship, thus awakening us all. All I really want is to be free. The ego says to be free, I must defend the body. The Holy Spirit says to be free, I need only to relinquish the idea of the body to Him.
Knowing that I am not the body, nor even in the body, the illusion falls apart. It’s like discovering the magician’s tricks, knowing how he does it. The tricks no longer feel magical, and we move on to something else. The source of all the ego tricks is to convince us that we are bodies existing in time and space. Without this foundation, we see how flimsy the trick and we lose interest.
7. Be free today. ²And carry freedom as your gift to those who still believe they are enslaved within a body. ³Be you free, so that the Holy Spirit can make use of your escape from bondage, to set free the many who perceive themselves as bound and helpless and afraid. ⁴Let love replace their fears through you. ⁵Accept salvation now, and give your mind to Him Who calls to you to make this gift to Him. ⁶For He would give you perfect freedom, perfect joy, and hope that finds its full accomplishment in God.
I am convinced that my purpose is to serve the Sonship, to help us all wake up. I do this as I serve the Holy Spirit. That this is my purpose is certain and unambiguous. What I practice is releasing the few beliefs that stand in the way of being a perfect expression of a channel for the Holy Spirit to heal all minds and free them from the enslavement of the ego. ⁶For He would give you perfect freedom, perfect joy, and hope that finds its full accomplishment in God.
Learning to Disregard the Ego
The ego says that this is a hopeless cause. The world seems to be filled with problems without end, and almost no one even glimpses the possibility of freedom. I’ve learned to disregard the ego’s naysaying. It is not my business how the Holy Spirit uses me, and not my business what the larger plan consists of. I just offer this body for the part He would have me play. I have seen it make a difference, and I love it when I see that, but I am careful not to allow the ego to make decisions based on what I see. My job is to step back, to follow, to obey, to trust.
Your Brothers Stand Released with You
8. You are God’s Son. ²In immortality you live forever. ³Would you not return your mind to this? ⁴Then practice well the thought the Holy Spirit gives you for today. ⁵Your brothers stand released with you in it; the world is blessed along with you, God’s Son will weep no more, and Heaven offers thanks for the increase of joy your practice brings even to it. ⁶And God Himself extends His Love and happiness each time you say:
⁷I am not a body. ⁸I am free. ⁹I hear the Voice that God has given me, and it is only this my mind obeys.
I am dedicated to this idea of being mind and not body, and I look forward every morning to this practice until there is nothing in my mind other than the perfect Love that I am.
This Is the Goal
This is the goal. This is how we are to live. And we can do this now, right here, while we are in the middle of this human experience. One night I had a hard time relaxing into sleep. I just had this negative feeling of not being enough that was difficult to kick. Since I was having so much trouble letting it go, I started listening to one of my recorded inspirational books. The positive reinforcement helped me to remember the truth. I relaxed and eventually fell asleep.
A Computer Program
I woke up thinking about the ego differently. When I have trouble pulling myself out of ego thoughts, the ego feels like an evil entity in my head that I battle. But it is more like a computer program that we might call The Human Program. We have this program running in our minds and we are not at war with it. We are just learning to disregard it.
We are learning that this program is not helpful and doesn’t make us happy, and we are learning that we don’t have to listen to it. We can actually be human without listening to The Human Program. It takes a lot of consistent effort on our part until we get used to another way of being here in these bodies in this story of being human. But that is our purpose. To achieve this purpose, we must remember that we are not bodies, that in spite of the appearance of being a body, we are free.
The immediate reward is a peaceful, happy life while we remain because we will be living as Love Itself. The ultimate reward is that we will be helping everyone to awaken and bringing us all back to our divine state of being. We may not have reached even the state of fearlessness and love that Jesus is talking about here, but we can get closer to doing so if that is our desire.
I am practicing in many ways to awaken to the truth and one of those ways is to do what Regina suggested in an earlier lesson. I am being enlightened now. I don’t focus on the ultimate goal though I keep it in mind. I focus on acting as an enlightened Self in a particular moment. And then, in another moment.
That night, the ego programming felt intrusive and difficult to disregard, but an enlightened mind would not simply accept it as truth, so I did not do that. I reminded myself of who I am, and then I listened to that Voice instead. It gave me the guidance to reinforce my decision with enlightening material, and I did it.
Be Free Today
Jesus says to be free today. This is another way of saying to live as if I am enlightened. I am God’s Son, and I am immortal. Clearly, this body is not. This human existence is not. Therefore, I am not this body. I am not a human being. I do not have to accept that because the human body experience is limited, I am limited. So, today, I will not live as if I am limited. I will live as if I am free.
“Thank you, Brother. Thank you so much. My gratitude overflows and I don’t know how to express it. Thank you so much for this book and for your commitment to us.”
Today’s lesson says, “Freedom must be impossible as long as you perceive a body as yourself. … The mind can be made free when it no longer sees itself in a body, …”
In the above sentence, the word “mind” does not refer to thinking. It refers to awareness. In other words, awareness can see itself as free when it is no longer tied to the body and thoughts about the body as ‘me.’
The lesson tells us, “Attack thoughts cannot enter such a mind, …” You saw this yesterday when you paused to look at awareness. There are no concepts in awareness, and so there is no condemnation and no attack.
When we accept awareness as our identity, we become the observer of everything that appears. We abide as our Self while temporary appearances come and go. We do not give undo meaning or value to anything that does not last.
Acceptance Is Essential
The lesson says, “It is essential for your progress in this course that you accept today’s idea, …”
Pause for a moment and contemplate how true that statement is. All of our upsets come from giving meaning and value to temporary appearances. If we continue to give meaning in that way, we will never be free of the swings in mood that come with changing appearance.
One who abides as awareness is able to accept temporary appearances as they are and respond to them in an appropriate way without being upset by them. This way of being is known as clarity. Today’s lesson encourages us to live from clarity.
The lesson says, “In immortality you live forever. Would you not return your mind to this?” Immortality and awareness are synonymous, since awareness has no beginning, no end and is absolutely changeless.
Minds that Seek Freedom
The lesson also says, “The Holy Spirit is the home of minds that seek for freedom.” The Holy Spirit and clarity are synonymous. Both represent giving value only to that which is true and lasting. Therefore, one who seeks for freedom chooses to live from clarity.
When we decide to live from clarity, we also decide to live from “an undivided goal.” Our only purpose is awakening from illusion entirely. That becomes the only purpose of this body. We are not here to make such-and-such happen or to ensure so-and-so likes us. We are here for one purpose only—truth realization. Everything is about one thing; our purpose is unambiguous.
The lesson requests, “Cherish today’s idea, and practice it today and everyday. Make it a part of every practice period you take.” This is so important!
We Are Not a Body, We Are Awareness
If we are willing to decide that we are not a body—we are awareness, and our only purpose is realizing that completely—well, that changes everything. In a way, we are reborn the moment we make that decision, because every experience has a different purpose now.
Spend today deeply contemplating your choice to make this decision. Begin living this decision today. You already know how to live this decision. The only thing that needs to be done is to decide that this decision is all you truly want. Once you decide you want it, you will live it.
This is another thing I am doing. I am learning to accept what is happening in the moment as perfect for that moment. I don’t tend to fight it like I used to. If I resist what is happening, I notice and relax into it. This doesn’t mean that I don’t act appropriately. It doesn’t mean that I won’t decide to change what needs changing. It just means that life is going to happen whether I like it or not, and I may as well like it since that would be the more peaceful choice.
Also, my commitment to awakening is total. Nothing else is meaningful to me. I still live my life as I always have. I visit my family and I love them and being with them. I still watch TV and read novels. I still take care of this body. But I do those things with a purpose now. Everything I do is geared toward healing the mind and living from that state until I awaken from the illusion.
To enjoy the Pathways of Light Insights on ACIM Lesson 199 click here.
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