Lessons learned from sickness and death

Friday, Jun 07, 2024 2655 words 11 mins 48 secs
An A Course in Miracles Blog  © 2024 Paul West

Since my wife "died" in January, my perspective on this world and the body, sickness and death has changed drastically.

My wife (her body) was afflicted with various disabilities and medical conditions for over 12 years. For the past 4 years she lived in a bed, and unable to walk. We're talking amputations and strokes/paralysis and heart conditions and sleep disorders and cancer and diabetes and kidney failure, brain damage and dementia, eye problems, breathing problems, digestive problems, multiple trips to the ICU, declared brain-dead one time and barely making it through a triple-heart-bypass another.

The horror show compelled me to want to perform miracles, to heal her body and undo her limitations. Like any person would, driven to alleviate suffering and to make things easier. Avoiding death became the whole focus. And obviously this revolved around my mistaken belief that she was at least in part a physical body. A body with seemingly "real" sicknesses and serious problems.

For years we had this dynamic of me trying to get her (body) back to health, to keep her (body) going, to keep her (body) alive, to resurrect her (body) and fix her (body) and undo everything that happened to her (body). But it all took a toll and over time her body's condition deteriorated. It just couldn't function enough anymore to keep her going. While I helped in some ways, I failed.

Just before she passed, I reached a point where I finally found a willingness to consider, maybe I should just stop trying to keep her (body) alive. Maybe I should just let her go and let her die. All the years of fighting against it, resisting it, avoiding both sicknesses and interventions, trying to prop her up and keep her ticking, it all just kind of came to a point of surrender. It was long and cruel and stressful and fear-inducing. She'd had enough long before, and so had I. Eventually it becomes so ridiculous you just can't keep going.

It was then within a week or two that her body was really giving out, and quickly led to a brush with death, and then a very rapid but mostly peaceful passing. All the time spent resisting death, trying to stop the body being sick, and trying to keep it going indefinitely, culminated in what seemed to be a total failure. A failure to raise the dead, a failure to be miraculous, a failure to stop death itself. But despite appearances, it turns out that wasn't a bad thing.

Actually death turned out to be liberating for both of us. It wasn't what I thought it would be like, and nothing like I feared. In fact, as she continued to live in spirit and communicate me on many occasions in many ways, it proved to me that she was far better off now. She was thrilled and excited and happy, peaceful and calm, liberated and empowered. After she went through a kind of rehabilitation period, she showed up even more, refined and purified and centered in her soul.

Meanwhile her body was on ice shoved in a cardboard box, awaiting cremation. As I looked upon it I could shift perceptions back and forth between believing it was her and that it was nothing to do with her. Clearly something had left it, regardless of how convincing it looked and seemed to have all her features intact. But it wasn't her.

I deliberately viewed the corpse a few times to make the most use of the opportunity to forgive and see it correctly. To distinguish that the body was not her, and to separate out her spirit from the form. So now I was presented with this intense contrast between - the body says she's dead, and the reality and experience of spirit/mind says she's totally alive. And they can't both be true.

It became apparent while communicating to her and thinking about the soul's journey, spanning lifetimes and many bodies, that it never really was 'the plan' in this life for her body to reach an resurrected state. We had this dream that we would ascend to heaven together, and that was a total flop - but partly because in the big picture plan of atonement she is due to wake up in another lifetime, and I'm due for some radical change.

And that was ok, because there was a bigger picture. The really big picture has souls using bodies across many lifetimes, and they are just as easily discarded when no longer functioning well as they are picked up in the first place. They are just tools, devices, vehicles, that we temporarily use for a purpose and then throw away as worthless.

The destruction of the idea of saving her body from death, the complete failure to cause her to avoid death, the surprising discovery that death was liberating and "not all bad", the experience of her continuing to live and interact, the expansive perspective of the soul and its use of bodies, and the way her passing into the light lifted me into the light also, has altered how I look at all this.

What has become super clear is that as soon as we identify with bodies, we immediately go into fear, and start feeling compelled to defend the body against its own nature - its ultimate purpose of dying. As a body we want the body to carry on forever. I wanted to be with my wife's body forever. Then the body snuffs it. Good luck with that, cus you're all gunna die, unless you stop being a body.

By believing a person is a body we develop an entire culture of body preservation, keeping people in their bodies as long as possible, freaking out when the body is attacked or sick, not allowing anyone to leave their bodies voluntarily, trying to stop the body being sick, and generally just resisting the body's death at all costs. It all adds up to a mindset of the fear of death and an attempt to protect and defend the body at all costs. Until that entire mindset goes crashing against the rocks and is smashed to smithereens.

That's what's happened for me. The whole mindset of "lets keep the body going forever" has been destroyed. All the cultural and social ways that we have concern for it, fear of dying happening, avoiding things, trying to create security and safety, freaking out when "someone dies", valuing the body, wanting it to live, even the idea of using miracles to rescue the body endlessly, all has been destroyed for me. And that's a good thing because it was all rooted in believing bodies are people, valuable objects, and something to keep.

I've shifted from a horizontal to a vertical perspective. I would even go so far now as to say "let it all die". Not just the bodies, but all the things of the world. It's dying anyway, and it's going to. All the resistance I had and the fear of it happening was pointless and worthless and ended in a total inability to stop it. It was actually good that I ended up at the end of this lesson surrendering and "letting death happen". Because funnily enough, that was a key to stopping preserving it through the wish to defend the body at all costs. I'm guided now to simply "let her be dead". Because in truth, she isn't.

Trying to prevent death induces it. And I also realized that trying to stop sickness is just making it real and fueling it. So you can imagine that being exposed to someone with many severe sicknesses for a long time has drilled this home for me. I had to get past her body, get past believing she was sick, get past trying to resist the sickness, and get past believing she could even die. And she's proven to me many times over now that she absolutely has not died.

That then becomes a strange irreconcilable contrast. On the one hand the body is sprinkled in the wind as ashes and is no more, seeming to suggest the person is totally destroyed, and yet there she is even more alive than ever, happier than ever, having a great time. When I told her it would be great to be able to see her walking again, and she showed me herself running through fields, she even said "I can fly!". So she's having a great time, and what appeared to be "death" on a physical level did nothing but leave her better off.

So now my whole perspective on bodies and the world and sickness and death is different. I've used her death against death. I see people believing they are bodies, when it's been shown to me that people are not bodies. I see people fearing the body's vulnerabilities, when it's been shown to me that this is because they think they are bodies. The whole culture of body preservation and trying to stop people being sick is a joke. And even in this world the idea of voluntarily going to heaven is illegal and taboo, forcing people to suffer horrible conditions until they "naturally" snuff it.

I know this sounds a bit potentially anti-miraculous but, the hard lesson has actually been to let someone die and to stop fighting it. It was actually less spiritual and much more psychologically unhealthy to believe someone was a body and to be constantly worried for their safety and fearing for their life. What dies is not even a real thing, its not the person, and they cannot die. What dies is a lie, and death is a lie, and the whole basis for avoiding it is a lie.

So now I am much more flippant. Not to say like, okay, go ahead and die on purpose just so you can realize that being in heaven is totally amazing. Because we are still using bodies to learn shit. But in the big picture souls don't give a shit about the body really, they just use them temporarily as learning devices. Then they throw them in the trash. In and of themselves they are worthless junk. They are nothing. They are not people and they are not life.

My view now is much more aligned with my wife's view, seeing from her perspective and from the vantage point of the bigger picture. Souls coming and going, taking on bodies and then discarding them. Not identifying with them. Not falling into the trap of believing they are people, or the nightmare of fear that comes from that. My fear of death has melted because a) dying and going to heaven is wonderful and b) I can't die. Just as my wife can't die.

I've lifted up out of the body-identified body-worshipping death-avoiding culture of the world. Avoidance of death is definitely the same thing as promoting it. Nothing real can be threatened. The whole problem of the world is people believing they are a body and not knowing they are spirit, which results in a nightmare of danger and threat and attack and vulnerability. Then everyone starts barricading themselves in trying to avoid the bad stuff happening, and the sicknesses set in and the people want it to all go away so they can stay in their bodies forever and never go home to God.

I couldn't care less about stuff dying now. It's everywhere and relentless. It's the way of the world, driven by laws of death. Stuff is dead before it's even born. Everything here is guaranteed to end, to rot and decay and turn to dust. So I say, let it. Fuck it all. Who gives a shit about it anyway. It has no effect whatsoever on our reality as spiritual beings. And trying to stop it happening is madness. But what does it matter when an illusion dies? It really means nothing at all. The death of an illusion means nothing.

No-one who believes that bodies dying means something can work miracles. No-one who believes that a person is really sick can work miracles. No-one who believes that death can actually change the sons of God can work miracles. And no-one who fights against it happening can have any power over it. I had to go through the lesson of associating my beliefs in sickness and death with my wife's body, so that as her body died so too did my beliefs in these things.

I failed to raise the dead or to stop sickness happening, and it was the best thing I could've learned. The lesson is that death doesn't matter. But the key is to let death be what it is, because in truth it is not anything. Surrender the fear of death and let it all go, let it all die, and you'll be free from it. And then maybe you'll be ready to be a miracle worker. To surmount death is to transcend it, and you can't do that while you're resisting it. But letting it be also lets it go, and then you can rise above it and have power over it.

"But time, with its illusions of change and death, wears out the world and all things in it."

"But this you do not see; that you made death, and it is but illusion of an end."

"Behold the body, and you will believe that you are there. ⁴And every body that you look upon reminds you of yourself; your sinfulness, your evil and, above all, your death."

"There is a risk of thinking death is peace, because the world equates the body with the Self which God created."

"And fear, denying love and using pain to prove that God is dead, has shown that death is victor over life. ⁷The body is the Son of God, corruptible in death, as mortal as the Father he has slain."

"The “reality” of death is firmly rooted in the belief that God’s Son is a body."

"This is what death should be; a quiet choice, made joyfully and with a sense of peace, because the body has been kindly used to help the Son of God along the way he goes to God. ²We thank the body, then, for all the service it has given us. ³But we are thankful, too, the need is done to walk the world of limits, and to reach the Christ in hidden forms and clearly seen at most in lovely flashes. ⁴Now we can behold Him without blinders, in the light that we have learned to look upon again."

"False healing rests upon the body’s cure, leaving the cause of illness still unchanged, ready to strike again until it brings a cruel death in seeming victory. ²It can be held at bay a little while, and there can be brief respite as it waits to take its vengeance on the Son of God. ³Yet it cannot be overcome until all faith in it has been laid by, and placed upon God’s substitute for evil dreams; a world in which there is no veil of sin to keep it dark and comfortless. ⁴At last the gate of Heaven opens and God’s Son is free to enter in the home that stands ready to welcome him, and was prepared before time was and still but waits for him."

"The “self” that needs protection is not real. ²The body, valueless and hardly worth the least defense, need merely be perceived as quite apart from you, and it becomes a healthy, serviceable instrument through which the mind can operate until its usefulness is over. ³Who would want to keep it when its usefulness is done?"

"From here the body can be seen as what it is, and neither less nor more in worth than the extent to which it can be used to liberate God's Son unto is home."



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