A Course in Miracles: What is the Body?

In A Course in Miracles, the body is the apparent physical entity in the world with which we identify. The body is always personal; it is always unique; it is always separate from other bodies.

Thus, the body is a symbol – perhaps the most enduring – of separation itself. Not only are we physically separate – if you jump in the pool, I don’t get wet – but we also have separate interests. You need to heal from alcoholism; I need to heal from growing up in an alcoholic household. You eat meat and I don’t.

These differences are magnified by the body, and their value in our judgment overwhelms our natural capacity for sharing and extending love. In essence, we forget what we are.

When we identify with the body, we basically enter into competition with one another. The world is a symbol of scarcity, and we have to fight each other for its resources. We might enter into temporary alliances but they are always fragile and subject to change.

The body is vulnerable – it is subject to illness, injury and ultimately death. The ego argues the body is our home – it is what we are in truth. Ego’s existence depends on our acceptance of this argument. When we accept it, then we also accept ego’s arguments for how to navigate the world and protect ourselves.

Ego always leads to suffering, neglect and unhappiness. The evidence for this is literally right before our eyes.

In contrast, the Holy Spirit gently reminds us that we are not bodies but minds which cannot be contained in any form whatsoever. Therefore, on the ego’s view, the body leads to fear and conflict, perpetuating separation. But on the Holy Spirit’s view, which reflects the Peace of God, the body is merely a means of communication, through which we might remember our identity in and as Creation, by teaching Creation’s peace to other apparent bodies.

Thus the body, although an illusion, can becomes a site of learning and teaching when seen with Christ’s healed Vision, which is the Holy Spirit’s only teaching goal. We awaken in the body by learning that we are not the body. When we align our thoughts and actions with the Holy Spirit, the Teacher of God, then the body becomes a means of healing, forgiveness and love.

We don’t have to fight the body or fear the body. We don’t have to celebrate or revere it. We simply have to allow it to be and do what it does, and interpret its function solely in light of the Holy Spirit’s guidance and instruction.


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