Section 9 - The Purpose of the Body


It is only the awareness of the body that makes love seem limited. For the body IS a limit on love. The belief in limited love was its origin, and it was MADE to limit the UNlimited. Think not that this is merely allegorical; for it was made to limit YOU. Can you who see yourselves WITHIN a body, know yourself AS AN IDEA? Everything you recognize you identify by EXTERNALS, something OUTSIDE itself. You cannot even think of GOD without a body, or some form you think you recognize. The body cannot KNOW. And while you limit your awareness to its tiny senses, you will not see the grandeur that surrounds you.


God cannot come into a body, nor can you join Him there. Limits on love will ALWAYS seem to shut Him out, and to keep you APART from Him. The body is a tiny fence around a little part of a glorious and completely limitless idea. It draws a circle, infinitely small, around a very little segment of Heaven, splintered from the whole, proclaiming that, within it, is YOUR Kingdom, where God can enter not. Within this kingdom the ego rules, and cruelly. And, to defend this little speck of dust, it bids you fight against the universe.


This fragment of your mind is such a tiny part of it that, could you but appreciate the whole, you would see instantly that it is like the smallest sunbeam is to the sun. Or like the faintest ripple on the surface of the ocean. In its amazing arrogance, this tiny sunbeam has decided it IS the sun; this almost imperceptible ripple hails itself as the ocean. Think how alone and frightened is this little thought, this infinitesimal illusion, holding itself apart, against the universe. The sun becomes the sunbeam's "enemy," which would devour it. And the ocean terrifies the little ripple, and "wants" to swallow it.


Yet neither sun nor ocean is even aware of all this strange and meaningless activity. They merely continue, unaware that they are feared and hated by a tiny segment of themselves. Even that segment is not LOST to them, for it could not survive APART from them And what IT thinks it is in no way changes its total dependence on them FOR ITS BEING. Its whole existence still remains IN THEM. Without the sun, the sunbeam WOULD be gone; the ripple WITHOUT the ocean IS inconceivable.


Such is the strange position in which those in a world inhabited by bodies seem to be. Each body seems to house a SEPARATE mind, a DISCONNECTED thought, living alone and in no way joined to the Thought by which it was created. Each tiny fragment seems to be self-contained, needing each other for SOME things, but by no means TOTALLY dependent on their One Creator for EVERYTHING. And needing the whole to give them ANY meaning, for by themselves, they DO mean nothing. Nor HAVE they any life apart, and by themselves.


Yet, like the sun and ocean, your Self continues, unmindful that this tiny part regards ITSELF as you. It is not missing; it could not EXIST if it were separate, nor would the whole BE whole without it. It is not a separate kingdom, ruled by an IDEA of separation from the rest. Nor does a fence surround it, preventing it from JOINING with the rest, and keeping it apart from its Creator. This little aspect is NO DIFFERENT from the whole, being continuous with it, and at one with it. It leads no separate life, because its life IS in the Oneness in which its being was created.


Do not accept this little, fenced-off aspect as your Self. The sun and ocean are as nothing, beside what YOU are. The sunbeam sparkles only in the sunlight, and the ripple dances as it rests upon the ocean. Yet in neither sun nor ocean is the power that rests in you. Would you remain WITHIN your tiny kingdom, a sorry king, a bitter ruler of all he surveys, who looks on nothing, but who would still die to DEFEND it? This little self is NOT your kingdom. Arched high above it, and surrounding it, with love, is the glorious whole, which offers all its happiness and deep content to EVERY part.


The little aspect that you think you set apart is no exception. Love knows no bodies, and reaches to everything created like itself. Its total lack of limit IS its meaning. It is COMPLETELY impartial in its giving, encompassing ONLY to preserve and KEEP COMPLETE what it would give. In your tiny kingdom you have so little! Should it not, then, be there that you would call on love to enter? Look at the desert, dry and unproductive, scorched and joyless, that makes up your little kingdom. And realize the life and joy that love would bring to it, from where IT comes, and where it would return WITH you.


The Thought of God surrounds your little kingdom, waiting at the barrier you built, to come in and shine upon the barren ground. See how life springs up everywhere! The desert becomes a garden, green and deep and quiet, offering rest to those who lost their way, and wander in the dust. Give them a place of refuge, prepared by love for them, where once a desert was. And every one you welcome will bring love with him, from Heaven for you. They enter one by one into this holy place, but they will not depart as they had come, alone.


The love they BROUGHT with them will STAY with them, as it will stay with YOU. And, under its beneficence, your little garden will expand, and reach out to everyone who thirsts for living water, but has grown too weary to go on alone. Go out and FIND them, for they bring your Self with them. And lead them gently to your quiet garden, and receive their blessing there. So will it grow, and stretch across the desert, leaving no lonely little kingdoms locked away from love, and leaving YOU outside. And you will RECOGNIZE yourself, and see your little garden gently transformed into the Kingdom of Heaven, with all the love of its Creator shining upon it.


The holy instant is your invitation to love, to enter into your bleak and joyless kingdom, and transform it into a garden of peace and welcome. Love's answer is inevitable. It will come, because you came WITHOUT the body, and interposed no barriers which would INTERFERE with its glad coming. In the holy instant, you ask of love only what it offers everyone, neither less nor more. Asking for EVERYTHING, you will RECEIVE it. And your shining Self will lift the tiny aspect that you tried to hide from Heaven, straight into Heaven. No part of love calls on the whole in vain. No son of God remains OUTSIDE His Fatherhood.


Be sure of this; love has entered your special relationship, and entered fully, at your weak request. You do NOT recognize that love has come, because you have not yet let go of ALL the barriers you hold against EACH OTHER. And you will NOT be able to give love welcome separately. You could no more know God alone, than He knows YOU without your brother. But, TOGETHER, you could no more be UNAWARE of love, than love could know you not, or fail to recognize ITSELF in you.


You have reached the end of an ancient journey not realizing yet that it is over. You are still worn and tired, and the desert's dust still seems to cloud your eyes, and keep you sightless. Yet He Whom you welcomed has come to you, and would welcome YOU. He has waited long to give you this. Receive it now of Him, for He would have you KNOW Him. Only a little wall of dust still stands between you. Blow on it lightly and with happy laughter, and it will fall away. And walk into the garden love has prepared for BOTH of you.

A Course in Miracles - Urtext material - reproduced with permission from the Foundation for Inner Peace (acim.org), and the Foundation for A Course in Miracles (facim.org).
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