The illusion of living and dead bodies

Monday, Jan 03, 2022 1548 words 6 mins 52 secs
An A Course in Miracles Blog  © 2022 Paul West

I used to have the view, like most people, that the death of the body means death, and when the body is moving around, it means life. That death is something we all want to avoid, and we want to keep bodies alive.

And then I read ACIM and I thought, okay, death is an illusion, so things aren't supposed to die, meaning that the body supposed to be kept in a state of life. I read support for the idea that a sick body represents attack, and death is failure and an attempt to be unconscious. So it makes sense to say that we should "swear not to die" and try to make the body symbolize eternal life.

But while there is some truth to this and support for it in the course, there can also be mixed in a kind of spiritualization of bodies. We might start to think that a repurposed "holy body" is full of life and totally natural. But this can also disguise an underlying desire to have the body "always be alive" and to still avoid states of death. As if bodily death is still death, and being good at avoiding it is more spiritual.

But there is a deeper teaching in the course. Things which pass for life in this world are not really life, either. And we have arbitrarily decided that certain forms or states mean death. We've decided that a dead body means death, and that moving bodies mean life. But these are really separation-based judgements, designed to take one single illusory world and split it into acceptable and unacceptable parts.

In fact, it must be an illusion that a healthy vital youthful "living" body, is in any way really different to a decrepit diseased broken dying body. Their forms present illusions that they are not the same, as a deception. Their forms are disguises designed to tempt you to believe they are not the same one thing. A decoy, so that you won't realize they are both really the same dream. "The body neither lives nor dies, because it cannot contain you who ARE life."

Jesus teaches in the course that bodies do not really live, OR die. That they are not really even remotely similar to life in heaven. Real life is immortal eternal life. A vitality and livingness of the mind, almost like an excited energy, which can spontaneously spawn new life by will alone. And any such life is permanent and lives forever in an immaculate and formless state.

So-called "life" on Earth is not like this. Bodies are inherently etremely limited and limiting. They anchor us into tiny little locations in space and time, inhibit our abilities, and make it difficult to create anything. They appear to be born and to grow and change, all of which cannot happen in reality, where life is a constant state. And then they seem to grow old and wither and die and decompose, something which is utterly unnatural with regard to life in heaven.

What Jesus really says is that so-called "life" in this world is not really life. Nor is it really death, but a dream of death. It is in fact nothing. It is nothingness, an illusion of the ABSENCE of existence (heaven), the opposite of reality. It is an unreality and a lack of either real life OR real death. Real death is impossible because it does not exist at all. So at most this world represents only illusions of living and dying, and neither of them are true.

"There IS no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life, there life must be. In ANY state apart from Heaven, life is illusion. At best, it SEEMS like life; at worst, like death. Yet both are judgments on what is NOT life, equal in their inaccuracy and lack of meaning. Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is NOT in Heaven is not ANYWHERE. Outside of Heaven, only the conflict of illusions stands; senseless, impossible, and beyond ALL reason, and yet perceived as an eternal BARRIER to Heaven. Illusions ARE but forms. Their content is NEVER true."

"Life and death seem to be opposites because you have decided death ends life."

So in this world, "life" is an illusion of life, which is not really life. And death is an illusion of death, not really death. Because this world itself isn't really a "something", or an anything. It's actually a nothing, pretending to be a something. And in fact Jesus calls the whole thing a "dream of death" with varying degrees of death symbolized in different forms. "Without the idea of death there is no world." Even "life forms" are "forms of death".

As a Teacher of God our task is to recognize that there is NO DIFFERENCE between "living bodies" and "dead bodies", in the big picture. In truth they are just images of bodies, forms, whose appearance is temporary and symbolic at most, and which cannot really be alive or dead. Walking bodies are not really living bodies. Bodies in a morgue are not really dead bodies. In truth, they are EXACTLY the same ONE illusion, pretending to be many illusions. There is no life OR death in a world of fiction.

"They recognize that to behold a dream figure as sick and separate is no more real than to regard it as healthy and beautiful."

"But this you do not see; that you made death, and it is but illusion of an end. Death cannot be escape, because it is not life in which the problem lies."

"God made not death. Whatever form it takes must therefore be illusion."

"Even in time you cannot live apart from Him, for sleep is not death. What He created can sleep, but it CANNOT die."

At first it might seem as if this means there's not much point "healing" bodies. Or trying to preserve their health. Or raising the physically dead. Or restoring broken limbs. Or any other act which might seem like it is siding with "the illusion of life" versus the illusion of death. Why try to steer bodies towards what we think of as "a living state" rather than a dead state? If all their conditions are the same one illusion, what is the point in avoiding sickness or death in any form?

The clear teaching in ACIM is that, nevertheless, even though a "healthy living" body is just as unreal as a dead one, bodies ARE symbols. And they are communicators. And their form "means" something to those who look upon it. And so the body's form can communicate something. It can communicate for example that there has been attack, or that sin has happened. But it can also communicate that attack has not happened, and therefore symbolize eternal life.

"The body can become a sign of life, a promise of redemption, and a breath of immortality to those grown sick of breathing in the fetid scent of death. Let it have healing as its PURPOSE. Then will it send forth the message it received, and by its health and loveliness proclaim the truth and value that it represents. Let it receive the power to represent an endless life, forever unattacked. And to your brother let its message be, "Behold me, brother, at your hand I live."

It is in fact by recognizing that bodies don't live or die, that the body is no longer "attacked" by thoughts and laws you make up to try to preserve them. When you stop trying to believe that a body is alive, or can cause sickness, or be healed, the mind in fact "heals" it, or corrects the image, removing symbolic appearances of attack and death. And now the body seems to resurrect towards "looking like life", because the mind cannot conceive of illness and ceases to project ideas of death onto it.

"The guiltless mind cannot suffer. Being sane, it heals the body because IT has been healed. The sane mind cannot conceive of illness, because it cannot conceive of attacking anything or anyone."

A healed healthy body, even if an illusion of health, CAN symbolize eternal life in the world, CAN teach "with a power greater than a thousand tongues" that its harmlessness proves your brother's innocence, and CAN teach innocence. This is a repurposing of the FORM of the body, for a higher purpose, to USE form to symbolize actual eternal life, as best it can, rather than symbolizing the idea of attack and death. It is to this end that we aim to "heal" the body and make it be "more alive". A such, physical health comes from a healthy mind.

"Your body can be means to teach that it has never suffered pain because of him. And in its healing can it offer him mute testimony to his innocence. It is THIS testimony that can speak with power greater than a thousand tongues. For here is his forgiveness PROVED to him. A miracle can offer nothing LESS to him than it has given unto you. So does your healing show your mind is healed, and has forgiven what he did NOT do. And so is HE convinced his innocence was never lost, and healed along with you."

Read more on: BodyIllusions

Link to:


Add your comment...

For updates, subscribe to RSS using:

Recent articles about Body

Recent articles about Illusions ©2021 Paul West