"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
A Course in Miracles
TEXT

CHAPTER 19
Beyond the Body

I. Introduction

1 We said before that when a situation has been dedicated wholly to truth, peace is inevitable. Its attainment is the criterion by which the wholeness of the dedication can be safely assumed. Yet we also said that peace without faith will never be attained, for what is wholly dedicated to truth as its only goal is brought to truth by faith. This faith encompasses everyone involved, for only thus the situation is perceived as meaningful and as a whole. And everyone must be involved in it, or else your faith is limited and your dedication incomplete.

2 Every situation properly perceived becomes an opportunity to heal the Son of God. And he is healed because you offered faith to him, giving him to the Holy Spirit and releasing him from every demand your ego would make of him. Thus do you see him free, and in this vision does the Holy Spirit share. And since He shares it, He has given it, and so He heals through you . It is this joining Him in a united purpose which makes this purpose real because you make it whole. And this is healing. The body is healed because you came without it and joined the Mind in which all healing rests.

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CHAPTER 19
Beyond the Body

II. Healing the Mind

3 The body cannot heal because it cannot make itself sick. It needs no healing. Its health or sickness depends entirely on how the mind perceives it and the purpose which the mind would use it for . And it is obvious that a segment of the mind can see itself as separated from the Universal Purpose. When this occurs, the body becomes its weapon used against this Purpose to demonstrate the "fact" that separation has occurred. The body thus becomes the instrument of illusion, acting accordingly; seeing what is not there, hearing what truth has never said, and behaving insanely, being imprisoned by insanity.

4 Do not overlook our earlier statement that faithlessness leads straight to illusions. For faithlessness is the perception of a brother as a body, and the body cannot be used for purposes of union. If, then, you see your brother as a body, you have established a condition in which uniting with him becomes impossible. Your faithlessness to him has separated you from him and kept you both apart from being healed. Your faithlessness has thus opposed the Holy Spirit's purpose and brought illusions centered on the body to stand between you. And the body will seem to be sick, for you have made of it an "enemy" of healing and the opposite of truth.

5 It cannot be difficult to realize that faith must be the opposite of faithlessness. Yet the difference in how they operate is less apparent, though it follows directly from the fundamental difference in what they are. Faithlessness would always limit and attack; faith would remove all limitations and make whole. [Faithlessness would destroy and separate ; faith would unite and heal .] Faithlessness would interpose illusions between the Son of God and his Creator; faith would remove all obstacles that seem to rise between them. Faithlessness is wholly dedicated to illusions; faith wholly to truth. Partial dedication is impossible. Truth is the absence of illusion; illusion the absence of truth.

6 Both cannot be together nor perceived in the same place. To dedicate yourself to both is to set up a goal forever impossible to attain, for part of it is sought through the body, thought of as a means for seeking out reality through attack, while the other part would heal and therefore calls upon the mind and not the body. The inevitable compromise is the belief that the body must be healed, and not the mind. For this divided goal has given both an equal reality, which could be possible only if the mind is limited to the body and divided into little parts of seeming wholeness but without connection. This will not harm the body, but it will keep the delusional thought system in the mind .

7 Here then is healing needed. And it is here that healing is . For God gave healing not apart from sickness, nor established remedy where sickness cannot be. They are together, and when they are seen together, all attempts to keep both truth and illusion in the mind, where both must be, are recognized as dedication to illusion and given up when brought to truth and seen as totally irreconcilable with truth in any respect or in any way.

8 Truth and illusion have no connection. This will remain forever true, however much you seek to connect them. But illusions are always connected, as is truth. Each is united, a complete thought system, but totally disconnected to each other. Where there is no overlap, there separation must be complete. And to perceive this is to recognize where separation is and where it must be healed. The result of an idea is never separate from its source. The idea of separation produced the body and remains connected to it, making it sick because of its identification with it. You think you are protecting the body by hiding this connection, for this concealment seems to keep your identification safe from the "attack" of truth.

9 If you but understood how much this strange concealment has hurt your mind and how confused your own identification has become because of it! You do not see how great the devastation wrought by your faithlessness. For faithlessness is an attack which seems to be justified by its results. For by withholding faith, you see what is unworthy of it and cannot look beyond the barrier to what is joined with you.

10 To have faith is to heal. It is the sign that you have accepted the Atonement for yourself and would therefore share it. By faith you offer the gift of freedom from the past, which you received. You do not use anything your brother has done before to condemn him now . You freely choose to overlook his errors, looking past all barriers between your self and his and seeing them as one. And in that one you see your faith is fully justified. There is no justification for faithlessness, but faith is always justified.

11 Faith is the opposite of fear, as much a part of love as fear is of attack. Faith is the acknowledgment of union. It is the gracious acknowledgment of everyone as a Son of your most loving Father, loved by Him like you and therefore loved by you as yourself. It is His love that joins you, and for His love you would keep no one separate from yours. Each one appears just as he is perceived in the holy instant, united in your purpose to be released from guilt. You saw the Christ in him, and he was healed because you looked on what makes faith forever justified in everyone.

12 Faith is the gift of God, through Him Whom God has given you. Faithlessness looks upon the Son of God and judges him unworthy of forgiveness. But through the eyes of faith, the Son of God is seen already forgiven, free of all the guilt he laid upon himself. Faith sees him only now because it looks not to the past to judge him, but would see in him only what it would see in you. It sees not through the body's eyes nor looks to bodies for its justification. It is the messenger of the new perception sent forth to gather witnesses unto its coming and to return their messages to you. Faith is as easily exchanged for knowledge as is the real world. For faith arises from the Holy Spirit's perception and is the sign you share it with Him. Faith is a gift you offer to the Son of God through Him, and wholly acceptable to his Father as to him. And therefore offered you.

13 Your holy relationship, with its new purpose, offers you faith to give unto each other. Your faithlessness had driven you apart, and so you did not recognize salvation in each other. Yet faith unites you in the holiness you see, not through the body's eyes but in the sight of Him Who joined you and in Whom you are united. Grace is not given to a body, but to a mind . And the mind that receives it looks instantly beyond the body and sees the holy place where it was healed. There is the altar where the grace was given, in which it stands. Do you, then, offer grace and blessing to each other, for you stand at the same altar where grace was laid for both of you. And be you healed by grace together, that you may heal through faith.

14 In the holy instant, you stand before the altar God has raised unto Himself and both of you. Lay faithlessness aside and come to it together. There will you see the miracle of your relationship as it was made again through faith. And there it is that you will realize that there is nothing faith cannot forgive. No error interferes with its calm sight, which brings the miracle of healing with equal ease to all of them. For what the messengers of love are sent to do they do , returning the glad tidings that it was done to you who stand together before the altar from which they were sent forth.

15 As faithlessness will keep your little kingdoms barren and separate, so will faith help the Holy Spirit prepare the ground for the most holy garden which He would make of it. For faith brings peace, and so it calls on truth to enter and make lovely what has already been prepared for loveliness. Truth follows faith and peace, completing the process of making lovely which they begin. For faith is still a learning goal, no longer needed when the lesson has been learned. Yet truth will stay forever.

16 Let then your dedication be to the eternal and learn how not to interfere with it and make it slave to time. For what you think you do to the eternal you do to you . Whom God created as His Son is slave to nothing, being lord of all along with his Creator. You can enslave a body, but an idea is free, incapable of being kept in prison or limited in any way except by the mind that thought it. For it remains joined to its source, which is its jailor or its liberator, according to which it chooses as its purpose for itself.

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Part I
Review VI

1 For this review, we take but one idea each day and practice it as often as is possible. Besides the time you give morning and evening, which should not be less than 15 minutes, and the hourly remembrances you make throughout the day, use the idea as often as you can between them. Each of these ideas alone would be sufficient for salvation, if it were learned truly. Each would be enough to give release to you and to the world from every form of bondage and invite the memory of God to come again.

2 With this in mind, we start our practicing in which we carefully review the thoughts the Holy Spirit has bestowed on us in our last 20 lessons. Each contains the whole curriculum if understood, practiced, accepted, and applied to all the seeming happenings throughout the day. One is enough. But for that one, there must be no exceptions made. And so we need to use them all and let them blend as one, as each contributes to the whole we learn.

3 These practice sessions, like our last review, are centered round a central theme with which we start and end each lesson. It is this:

4 I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.

5 The day begins and ends with this. And we repeat it every time the hour strikes or we remember in between we have a function that transcends the world we see. Beyond this and a repetition of the special thought we practice for the day, no form of exercise is urged except a deep relinquishment of everything that clutters up the mind and makes it deaf to reason, sanity, and simple truth.

6 We will attempt to get beyond all words and special forms of practicing for this review. For we attempt this time to reach a quickened pace along a shorter path to the serenity and peace of God. We merely close our eyes and then forget all that we thought we knew and understood. For thus is freedom given us from all we did not know and failed to understand.

7 There is but one exception to this lack of structuring. Permit no idle thought to go unchallenged. If you notice one, deny its hold and hasten to assure your mind that this is not what it would have. Then gently let the thought which you denied be given up in sure and quick exchange for the idea you practice for the day.

8 When you are tempted, hasten to proclaim your freedom from temptation as you say:

9 This thought I do not want. I choose instead….

10 And then repeat the idea for the day, and let it take the place of what you thought. Beyond such special applications of each day's idea, we will add but a few formal expressions or specific thoughts to aid your practicing. Instead we give these times of quiet to the Teacher Who instructs in quiet, speaks of peace, and gives our thoughts whatever meaning they may have.

11 To Him I offer this review for you. I place you in His charge and let Him teach you what to do and say and think each time you turn to Him. He will not fail to be available to you each time you call to Him to help you. Let us offer Him the whole review we now begin, and let us also not forget to Whom it has been given as we practice day by day, advancing toward the goal He set for us, allowing Him to teach us how to go, and trusting Him completely for the way each practice period can best become a loving gift of freedom to the world.

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Lesson 212
I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.

[192] I have a function God would have me fill.

1 I seek the function that would set me free from all the vain illusions of the world. Only the function God has given me can offer freedom. Only this I seek, and only this will I accept as mine.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 212 Review VI
[192] I have a function God would have me fill.

I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.

We have less and less structure given us as we progress in the Workbook. We are told that this lack of structure will help us "reach a quickened pace along a shorter path to the serenity and peace of God." (W.RVI.4.2) It will help prepare us for the increasing formlessness of Part II of the Workbook. The Course is not about ritual. The reason for the structure in the early Lessons is to help us to discipline the mind, as it is something to which we are not accustomed. We are accustomed to letting the mind entertain random thoughts throughout the day and night.
 
The structure in Part I of the Workbook helps us become aware of how much resistance we have to awakening from this dream as measured by the resistance we have to doing the Lessons as laid out. As we go through our day, we can observe how much we don't want to follow the proposed practice, which also reveals the extent of our fear and the issues we might have with perceived "coercion." The ego resists being told what to do. It reflects our authority problem, where we want to be in control of our own lives and to maintain our separate false self.
 
We start our practice with the thought for the day and then wait in silence for the truth to dawn on our minds. We rely more now on the Holy Spirit to guide us through the practice time. Jesus asks us to place each practice period in His hands and, at the outset, to dedicate the entire Review to Him. It really is a dedication to our Self. We are looking more and more to be guided throughout the day from within. The senses were made to keep our focus outside. It is to spend the day in pursuits that we think will address our personal interests. But now we increasingly ask in everything we do in the day: "What is it for?" (W.96.6.5) This is to help us stay focused on our purpose, which is to stay connected with the Holy Spirit in all we do. We go through our day, asking for guidance. "What would You have me do? Where would You have me go? What would You have me say, and to whom?" (W.71.9.3-5)
 
Today, we review Lesson 192, "I have a function God would have me fill." (W.192) It does not matter what the backdrop is to the function in form. Whether a housewife, carpenter, hairdresser, teacher, stockbroker, photographer, or whether we have no formal role in the world, the content of our function is always the same. It is to do the forgiveness work by staying vigilant in watching our thoughts and releasing whatever blocks to love that show up in our day. Whenever we are upset, we know that we have chosen the ego as our guide to seeing. We are projecting our judgments of ourselves and seeing them in the world; but, it is not helpful to judge ourselves when we observe the judgments we are making because to do so is to once again choose the ego. The ego approves of our self-flagellation. Instead, we are asked to look at our upsets without judgment of ourselves. Simply observe what is coming up in the mind throughout the day and recognize that you must have chosen wrongly whenever you are not at peace. Now you can make another choice. It is really very simple. The only thing that makes it hard is if we believe we are the ones who have to fix ourselves. When we give the upset over to the Holy Spirit, we just let it go and it is done. We join with Him in the right mind.
 
Every encounter we have in our day has the potential to be a holy encounter. Our function is to be happy and to extend that happiness by shining our light so that everyone we meet, or even think about, is blessed by our wholeness. When this is not the case, we quickly do a restorative by bringing our grievances and thoughts of superiority and specialness to the light. Seeing sameness in our brothers is a reflection of the Oneness of the Sonship.
 
We cannot help but extend the joy that is in us to others, as joy cannot be contained. Yet to get to this goal requires vigilance and dedication in watching our thoughts and substituting God's Thoughts for those that keep us from peace. There are not large or small things that bring distress. There is no order of difficulty in the illusion. All problems are the same, regardless of their seeming size and scope. They are all illusory. Any distress, no matter how large or small, blocks our peace and joy, and thus, "When you are tempted, hasten to proclaim your freedom from temptation, as you say: This thought I do not want. I choose instead ____ (Insert the thought for the day). " (W.RVI.IN.6.1-2) It is such an effective process when practiced with sincerity and willingness.
 
I was practicing this Lesson last year and found myself in some distress in the middle of the night, having just received a call from my mother where she was in tremendous pain and needed an ambulance. I noticed that, despite my attempts to come to peace, my thoughts became very entrenched and obsessive. As I applied these words and related thoughts to the situation and asked for help not to use this situation to keep me from the peace in me, increasingly I found moments of respite from the vagaries of the ego. My mind started to ease from the seemingly iron grip that held me prisoner. The Holy Spirit is the door to release. He provides us with unlimited freedom, but we must choose to go where He is. It means leaving behind the thoughts that plague us. These thoughts have no power that we are not willing to give them.
 
I find a useful practice in any distress is to rest the mind and release the story the mind is creating about the situation. This means to choose not to listen to the ego’s version of events. I remind myself that the script is written, and everything is unfolding in divine right order. I allow my feelings without denying, repressing, or projecting them. I ask Spirit to help me to see what I need to see in this situation. It is not helpful to try to meditate our way out of how we feel. We don ' t try to get out of the feelings, nor indulge them, but we allow the feelings and observe them without judgment, while being willing to letting them go. We trust and rest in God, knowing all is well.
 
Separation from the love we are is the only problem we have, and there is only one solution. We waste a lot of time and energy ruminating on distressing thoughts. The ego would have us hold others accountable for how we feel. Judgments and grievances are the juice of the ego. At some level, we need others to pay the price when we see them as the cause of our distress. The reality is that if we don't have peace, we are actually throwing it away and making someone else responsible for having taken it from us. Only our own thoughts cause our distress. It is never about anything or anyone outside of ourselves. We must take responsibility for our own misperceptions.
 
Why the resistance? There are many reasons. One key reason is that we want others to be responsible for our condition so we can hold them as the guilty ones. We bury the truth about ourselves under layers of guilt and then bury the guilt under specialness. Now we go within to uncover the guilt in the mind. The ego tells us not to go within, as it is all dark there. That is why we prefer to see sin and murder all around us, but not in us. This gives rise to the "face of innocence." (T.31.V.2.6) (ACIM OE T.31.V.44) Others now become the symbols of our sins. We condemn them for what we hate in ourselves. We choose to see the cause of our problems as outside of ourselves, and now we try to solve these problems by trying to change things in the world. We have come to believe that this is the way out of our difficulties, rather than bringing our mistaken, guilt-based thought system to the truth. Guilt is the source of every problem we seem to have, and the answer is therefore always the same, regardless of the form the problem takes.
 
Jesus tells us that "Anger is never justified." (T.30.VI.1.1) (ACIM OE T.30.VII.70) We get angry when we do not get our way and insist, "I want it thus!" (T.18.II.4.1) (ACIM OE T.18.III.17) What does the ego want? It wants to make real our fantasies and our wishes of how things should be in the world. And when they are not the way it wants, it gets upset. The nature and degree of the upset does not matter because a seemingly small upset still blocks the peace in us. When we are upset we want to see others guilty so we can feel innocent. That is why differences in the form of specifics were made. Guilt needs to be applied specifically to the "wrongdoers," whom we see as the cause of our upsets. We then claim innocence for ourselves at our brothers' expense. We believe that God will now punish them for their sins, while we, as the innocent and injured party, get off scot-free. It is not true innocence that we have achieved by this ruse. True innocence comes only through forgiveness, and forgiveness requires that we take responsibility for our perception and interpretation of everything that seems to be happening. The world is nothing more than an "outward picture of an inward condition." (T.21.IN.1.5) (ACIM OE T.21.I.1) It is always our own guilt that we see projected onto the world. The picture will only change when our minds are healed of the guilt we are projecting. Mind is the cause and the world is the effect of our thoughts.
 
There is nothing more fulfilling than to experience the miracle that shifts our perception. The miracle will only be experienced through forgiveness. We all want to experience life as meaningful and purposeful. Everyone wants this experience. In this Lesson, Jesus says that we all have a meaningful function that God would have us fulfill, and it is the function of forgiveness. It does not matter what we do in form; the function of forgiveness is always there to be fulfilled. When we consistently undertake our function of forgiveness, the guilt in the mind is released, and we experience joy, love, laughter, and freedom in our lives. Forgiveness sets us free from all the vain illusions of the world. This is the only way to freedom, releasing us from the chains of the ego that bind us to sin and guilt. Jesus urges us to accept this function in the name of our own freedom. It is where our joy is. Thus, forgiveness is a gift to ourselves. It is the closest we can come to Heaven on earth. Forgiveness is an earthly form of love, as it reflects the love of God.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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