My heart is beating in the peace of God.
All ten Lessons that we are doing now follow the Section,
"What is the Body?"
(W.II.Q5) It is recommended that this section be read daily together with the Lesson. The body is described as impermanent and "proof" that God's eternal Son can be destroyed and made to be fearful within a dream of fear. Yet, despite this, Jesus says,
"The body is the means by which God's Son returns to sanity."
(W.PII.Q5.What is the Body?4.1) This means that the body can be turned to a new purpose, no longer taking its orders from the wrong mind. When we are no longer using it on behalf of the ego, it becomes our way back to the mind.
"Though it was made to fence him into hell without escape, yet has the goal of Heaven been exchanged for the pursuit of hell."
(W.PII.Q5.What is the Body?4.2)
What, we may wonder, is the pursuit of hell? It is to use the body lovelessly. To use it lovelessly is to use it for attack and accumulate more guilt. We send it on various missions to bring us what we believe will serve us, yet what we get is more pain and suffering. When we turn to the Holy Spirit and listen to His Voice to guide our actions, the body becomes an instrument for expressing and extending love in the world.
"Health is the result of relinquishing all attempts to use the body lovelessly."
(T.8.VIII.9.9) (ACIM OE T.8.VIII.79) To use it in service to the Holy Spirit is to use it for the purpose of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a reflection of God's Love in this world and is the closest that we come to knowing the nature of love. Only in complete forgiveness do we feel our hearts beating in the peace of God. We can never feel deep peace while we are sending the body on quests that serve the ego.
"I am a messenger of God, directed by His Voice, sustained by Him in love, and held forever quiet and at peace within His loving Arms."
(W.267.1.6) This raises the question about behavior. The Course does not give any guidelines for behavior on the level of form. Rather, it is teaching us to expose our thoughts of attack and judgment so the mind can be healed. Only then will the characteristics of a teacher of God, described in the Manual, flow naturally from the healed mind. These characteristics are not meant to be "exercised" or "practiced" while there are underlying beliefs in opposition to them. In other words, the Course is only about the healing of false concepts and beliefs held in the mind. It is about giving up the false self. When the mind is healed, behavior follows naturally. As Jesus tells us,
"You cannot behave appropriately unless you perceive correctly."
(T.1.III.6.5) (ACIM OE T.1.I.64)
Further, he says,
"I have said that you cannot change your mind by changing your behavior, but I have also said, and many times, that you
change your mind."
(T.4.IV.2.1) (ACIM OE T.4.V.57)
"I have enjoined you to behave as I behaved, but we must respond to the same Mind to do this. This Mind is the Holy Spirit, Whose Will is for God always. He teaches you how to keep me as the model for your thought, and to behave like me as a result."
(T.5.II.12.1-3) (ACIM OE T.5.IV.30)
"Yet we have learned that behavior is not the level for either teaching or learning, since you
act in accordance with what you do
(T.7.V.2.4) (ACIM OE T.7.VI.40)
And later in the text,
"Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world."
(T.21.in.1.7) (ACIM OE T.21.I.1)
In perhaps the clearest discussion of this point in the Course, Jesus says,
"You would not excuse insane behavior on your part by saying you could not help it. Why should you condone insane thinking? There is a confusion here that you would do well to look at clearly. You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think."
(T.2.VI.2.2-5) (ACIM OE T.2.IV.73)
"It is pointless to believe that controlling the outcome of misthought can result in healing."
(T.2.VI.3.1) (ACIM OE T.2.IV.74)
"You must change your mind, not your behavior, and this is a matter of willingness. You do not need guidance except at the mind level. Correction belongs only at the level where change is possible. Change does not mean anything at the symptom
level, where it cannot work."
(T.2.VI.3.4-7) (ACIM OE T.2.IV.74)
Everything in us yearns for God.
"Each heartbeat calls His Name,"
(W.267.1.7) and with each call, we are answered. We continually have His Answer, and if we don't hear it, we are listening to our own voice. We are surrounded by
"all the life that God created in His Love."
(W.267.1.1) Somewhere in us, we know that this is true. We know that any substitute we try to find in the world to make us happy, invariably, will not fill our longing for our home. We yearn for peace, and
"It is there and only there that I can be at home
(W.267.2.3) in the
"Heart of Love."
Jesus reminds us that there is nothing that God can give us except the knowledge of Himself.
"What else is there to give? The belief that you could give and get something else, something outside yourself, has cost you the awareness of Heaven and of your Identity."
(T.18.VI.2.2-3) (ACIM OE T.18.VII.50) We have made the body.
"Would you not have the instruments of separation reinterpreted as means for salvation, and used for purposes of love?"
(T.18.VI.5.1) (ACIM OE T.18.VII.53)
With desire comes an expansion of awareness, which
"calls to you to be yourself, within its safe embrace."
(T.18. VI.14.3) (ACIM OE T.18.VII.62) This really resonates with me. Don't we all experience how exhausting it is to hold up the image and the self-concept we have made? Bringing shame and guilt to the surface and bringing our secret thoughts out of the darkness creates space for the light that we are to shine through. We don't easily do this because we judge some thoughts and some beliefs to have more value than others. We think a small irritation is more acceptable than murderous thoughts, but these thoughts are all the same. They all take away our peace. There is no order of magnitude in the illusion.
We are offered release through the holy instant when we experience perfect safety held in the Arms of Love. Of course, this is a metaphor, as God has no arms and is not outside of us. Yet we feel the comfort of His presence when all that interferes with peace is released through forgiveness. Peace is not found in our memories of the past, nor in some future goals. Jesus says,
"Perhaps you think it is your childhood home that you would find again. The childhood of your body, and its place of shelter, are a memory now so distorted that you merely hold a picture of a past that never happened. Yet there is a Child in you Who seeks His Father's house, and knows that He is alien here. This childhood is eternal, with an innocence that will endure forever."
"It is this Child in you your Father knows as His Own Son. It is this Child Who knows His Father. He desires to go home so deeply, so unceasingly, His voice cries unto you to let Him rest a while. He does not ask for more than just a few instants of respite; just an interval in which He can return to breathe again the holy air that fills His Father's house."
Can you feel the deep yearning in your heart for the rest that can only to be found in the holy air of our Father’s house? Our deep yearning and deep desire keep us on this path. This yearning keeps us motivated to do our mind watching. Today, with every breath and with every heartbeat, let us remember why we are here and put our minds to this holy purpose of extending the love that we are to our brothers. We need not be in their presence nor "send" anyone love. What we are doing is connecting to the truth within ourselves. The body is made holy in how it is being used by the right mind, rather than how we treat it in trying to maintain its well-being. Our healed thoughts are expressed through the body and thus reinforce the sanity in the mind. Thus, behavior will follow naturally from our healed thoughts being guided by the Holy Spirit.
Let peace fill your heart and flood your body with the purpose of forgiveness today (W.267.1.3) so your healed mind can extend to all. Thus, our call to Him is answered and our own thoughts are cleared away so we can hear the still quiet Voice of Truth. Today, we choose God's Answer in everything, rather than our own.
Love and blessings, Sarah