IV. Healing as Release from Fear P 3
3 Only the mind can create because spirit has already been created, and the body is a learning device of the mind. Learning devices are not lessons in themselves. Their purpose is merely to facilitate learning. The worst a faulty use of a learning device can do is to fail to facilitate learning. It has no power in itself to introduce actual learning errors. The body, if properly understood, shares the invulnerability of the Atonement to two-edged application. This is not because the body is a miracle, but because it is not inherently open to misinterpretation. The body is merely part of your experience in the physical world. Its abilities can be and frequently are over-evaluated. However, it is almost impossible to deny its existence in this world. Those who do so are engaging in a particularly unworthy form of denial. The term “unworthy” here implies only that it is not necessary to protect the mind by denying the unmindful. If one denies this unfortunate aspect of the mind’s power, one is also denying the power itself.
Before I started studying the Course I thought of the body as me, just as most people do. I could not envision my self without a body. Even when I imagined that I was in Heaven, it would be with a body, different maybe, better, but still a body. The church I attended believed that cremation was wrong because you needed the body when you got to Heaven. I must have had a glimmer of something else though because when I thought about it I questioned how this could be true. What if a person burned to death? Did this mean he couldn’t go to Heaven? No answer from the church folks for that.
From A Course in Miracles, I learned that I am not my body. I think in my enthusiasm to embrace this more sensible belief I went overboard. I made the error that Jesus speaks of here. I denied the body. I felt like it was wrong to give the body any attention whatsoever. It was very confusing because I had to find a way to reconcile passages in the Course that speak of sickness and healing with the idea that I am not a body, so why would I care about healing the body. It further confused the issue, because, of course, I wanted to be healthy and pain-free.
Right here in the beginning of the Course, Jesus makes it clear how we are to see the body. The body is a tool that we use while in this experience of separation. It is part of our experience. The body has no power to act on its own and only responds to the mind. It has no power to create. So the body cannot get sick, and if it seems to be sick it is because it is responding to the beliefs in the mind.
Obviously then, when we see the body as sick, when that is our experience, it is not the body that needs healing, but the mind. And if it is an error in the mind, a wrong-minded belief, that caused the illness to appear in the body, then a healed mind will facilitate the healing of the body. How did I know that I am holding an erroneous belief in my mind? One way may be that my body responded to that belief. So how do I know that belief has been healed? The body returns to its natural state of health.
I am reminded of something that happened to me one morning while writing in my journal. I was studying one of the lessons that say that I am not a body. I suddenly got it on a much deeper level. It was a revelatory moment, and the absolute knowing of something I had only previously understood as a concept stunned me.
Suddenly I got very sick. I had a fever and was throwing up. It was weird because the moment before I was fine. My first thought was that I had caught a virus from my granddaughter who had just recovered from one. Then I realized that the sickness was in response to the revelation I had just experienced. The ego part of the mind was terrified of the idea that I should actually know that I am not a body.
There was still a belief in my mind that I must protect the idea of being a body and so that belief was reflected in the body. A way for me to understand this is to think of it this way: The body did not make itself sick through getting a virus or something as I would have thought in the past. Instead, the ego mind projected onto the body sickness to reassure itself that its home still existed.
As soon as I understood what had happened, I started laughing. If anyone had seen me they would have thought I was nuts, because I was throwing up and laughing. The fever and the stomach upset disappeared very quickly. It was the shortest “virus” in history lasting only minutes. One thing that was made clear to me is that the body is not the source of disease.
It is the mind that is the cause and so it is the mind toward which healing should be directed. I had believed that I needed the body to be sick and it was. Then I realized that I did not need the body to be sick and the sickness disappeared. It would be a while longer before I was willing to accept the full implications of this experience, but it definitely was a defining moment for me. It was a necessary step that made it possible for me to later accept this truth more completely.