I am not a body. I am free.
This is another essential lesson that I want to look at very closely, a paragraph at a time. This is a lesson is the only one that Jesus repeats so I know it must be very important.
Freedom must be impossible as long as you perceive a body as yourself. The body is a limit. Who would seek for freedom in a body looks for it where it can not be found. The mind can be made free when it no longer sees itself as in a body, firmly tied to it and sheltered by its presence. If this were the truth, the mind were vulnerable indeed!
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. I only think of the body as if it is me.
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. Attack 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. It rests in God. And who can be afraid who lives in Innocence, and only loves?
Within our vast and holy mind, we walled off a space that we use to make a world of limitation. We made laws of time and space to make this possible. This world has all sorts of rules and boundaries. It is a world of lack and loss, of suffering and death, of sorrow and fear. In this world, we can only gain through taking, and we feel we must defend ourselves by attacking others. It is a world made through the concept of creation, but very different from creation, the opposite of creation, and so while not real, it feels real, and we suffer as if suffering were real.
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.
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.
I wonder if there is a course student anywhere that has not had the fear that the truth is not true? The ego part of the mind pushes this idea. Of course, it does, because if Jesus is right, the ego will cease to exist. Without the body as its home, it will be seen as the illusion it is, and we will know how easy it is to return Home.
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.
Here does it hide, and here it can be seen as what it is. Declare your innocence and you are free. The body disappears because you have no need of it except the need the Holy Spirit sees. For this, the body will appear as a useful form for what the mind must do. It thus becomes a vehicle which helps forgiveness be extended to the all-inclusive goal that it must reach, according to God’s plan.
First, we learn to mistrust the world we made, then to see through the trick of it, then to become free of its limitations. We do this by choosing the Holy Spirit rather than believing the ego-mind. Before we put the body and the world aside completely, we allow it to be used by the Holy Spirit. The ego sees this as a loss,but as we choose to allow the mind to be healed, we see it as peaceful and joyful.
Cherish today’s idea, and practice it today and every day. Make it a part of every practice period you take. There 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. We sound the call of freedom around the world with this idea. And would you be exempt from the acceptance of the gifts you give?
When I was having trouble with a coworker, I felt resentment and anger. This was a very unpleasant feeling and led to harsh words and regrets. Knowing this could not be what was intended for me in my creation, I continually turned these thoughts and beliefs over to the Holy Spirit for correction.
Once my mind was healed, I felt nothing but kindness and affection for that coworker, and I easily and naturally allowed Spirit to use this body of Myron to express those feelings in whatever way He knew was helpful. I felt like a different person. I felt peaceful and happy where I had felt anxious and angry. As I gave the gift of love, I remembered I am love.
The Holy Spirit is the home of minds that seek freedom. In Him, they have found what they have sought. The body’s purpose now is unambiguous. And it becomes perfect in the ability to serve an undivided goal. In conflict-free and unequivocal response to mind with but the thought of freedom as its goal, the body serves and serves its purpose well. Without 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 in which my only purpose becomes defending this little piece of flesh.
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.
Be free today. And carry freedom as your gift to those who still believe they are enslaved within a body. Be 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. Let love replace their fears through you. Accept salvation now, and give your mind to Him Who calls to you to make this gift to Him. For He would give you perfect freedom, perfect joy, and hope that finds its full accomplishment in God.
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.
You are God’s Son. In immortality, you live forever. Would you not return your mind to this? Then practice well the thought the Holy Spirit gives you for today. Your 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. And God Himself extends His Love and happiness each time you say:
I am not a body. I am free.
I hear the Voice that God has given me,
and it is only this my mind obeys.
DAILY APPLICATION: This is the paragraph that I love the most from this lesson:
“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. Attack 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. It rests in God. And who can be afraid who lives in Innocence, and only loves?”
This is the goal. This is how we are to live. And we can do this now, right hear 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 the recorded inspirational books I have. The positive reinforcement helped me to remember the truth. I relaxed and eventually fell asleep.
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.
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 it means that I am limited. So, today, I will not live as if I am limited. I will live as if I am free.
GRATITUDE: 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.
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.
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!
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 do resist what is happening, I notice and I 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 completely and living from that state until I awaken from the illusion entirely.