A Course in Miracles Lesson 199

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.

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Lesson 200→

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  1. Sean,
    There is a sense of hope in this, but I want to ask you, do YOU live this way in freedom? I felt a lot of “aha” as I pondered it, and as I journaled, I got sleepy. I lay down and dozed off and found myself in a city that I’ve never seen-it seemed a desert area, and no one was around. It also felt ancient. It was so real to me. I think it happened because as I prayed to the Holy Spirit after the lesson, thoughts came to me, giving “examples” of this lesson, but these examples I take for granted, or experience unconsciously, unawares. I hope this makes sense, because I am so sick of fear. Thank you, Fran

    1. Dear Fran,

      The freedom to which this lesson points comes to me slowly and by degrees. I know that for some people awakening in A Course in Miracles is a lightning bolt, but for me it is a cumulative effect of a daily practice. One step forward, two steps back.

      I appreciate your prayerfulness and clarity that the Holy Spirit is your teacher. I think that’s really fundamental. Our work is to learn that there are two teachers, to accept the Holy Spirit in place of ego, and then to accept the Holy Spirit’s teaching and His curriculum. The prayer in the “Special Principles of Miracle Workers” is very beautiful and instructive:

      I am here only to be truly helpful.
      I am here to represent Him Who sent me.
      I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me.
      I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me.
      I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.

      I love your dream, and I also love the insight that the “examples” that the Holy Spirit shared with you are things you take for granted. That is so much my own experience as well, Fran. I am not given anything new but rather shown what is already here, albeit misunderstood or overlooked.

      In a lot of ways, the Holy Spirit’s teaching to me is always: “there is another way to see this, please let me show you what it is.” And then slowly and sometimes grudgingly, I consent.

      But as I grow more willing to work with the Holy Spirit in this way, the freedom expands and deepens, and my gratitude does as well.

      Thanks for being here, Fran.


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