I am not a body. I am free.
Few lessons pose such a challenge to the ego’s framework as this one: every lie the ego tells, and every story it convinces us is true, rests on the premise that we are bodies, that bodies are limits, and that we are subject to those limits. Only when we realize that we are minds will we experience the freedom, joy and creativity that are our inheritance in and as God’s Creation.
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 . . . It rests in God. And who can be afraid who lives in Innocence, and only loves? (W-pI.199.2:1, 3-4).
Lesson 199 is the end of guilt, and the end of fear. It is a clear and unequivocal statement that reframes what we are in truth. Of course the ego dreads hearing it. Of course it resists. Of course it fights back.
In the space created by this lesson, we are free to look at the world in a new way. Our perspective is no longer localized to the body nor driven by the body’s appetites and hierarchy of needs. Rather, it is informed by Love instead of fear, and therefore reminds us that we are not separate from our brothers and sisters, and that our only purpose in life is to remember this, over and over. This remembering is loving in a loveless place (T-14.IV.4:10). Thus, Lesson 199 returns to our awareness our function.
To the ego – which is to say, to the world’s way of thinking to which we are still in many ways attached and invested – this idea is wrong (W-pI.199.3:2). It is dangerous even. We have to care for the body! We have to protect and defend it. When it dies, we will die, and so we have to look out for it at all costs. It is a fact that nobody else will do this for us.
This is like the dark side of of our function of loving in a loveless place: the ego teaches us to go to war with our brothers and sisters, arguing that conflict is the only peace and respite we can know.
Here is the thing: A Course in Miracles does not deny the appearance of the body or its utility for communication purposes. It simply invites us to surrender our identity as a body, and to see what happens. And what happens is always healing.
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 (W-pI.199.4:3-5).
Critically, this does not happen under our direction and intention, but the Holy Spirit’s. Our work is to accept the radical reorientation of identity away from the body and towards spirit. No more than that – but, also, no less.
Our goal as Course students is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit by consenting to be led by it away from fear. Which, somewhat paradoxically, we often experience as fearful.
The Holy Spirit is the home of minds that seek for freedom . . . The body’s purpose is now unambiguous . . . it is a worthy servant of the freedom which the mind within the Holy Spirit seeks (W-pI.199.6:1, 3, 6).
This translation of the body’s function is not a gift we receive alone, because it is not a gift that we receive at all save by giving it away. When we begin to intuit that we are not bodies, it becomes impossible to identify others as bodies. A new world appears in which the barriers to peace and happiness are no longer insurmountable. They become appearances the Holy Spirit will readily translate into love, allowing us to see our brothers and sisters in a new way, which liberates them from their own experience of being limited by the body.
. . . carry freedom as your gift to those who still believe they are enslaved within a body . . . Let love replace their fears through you. Accept salvation now, and give your mind to Him Who calls you to make this gift to Him (W-pI.199.7:2, 4-5).
This is our liberation – the ability to remember what we are in truth by being of service to our brothers and sisters, in order to awaken with them unto the Love and happiness that God Himself extends to us in Creation.