A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple

To gain the most from A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple, we recommend that
you read the corresponding chapter and section in the Text of the Second or
Third Edition of A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace.

Chapter 18: The Passing of the Dream

Section VI: Beyond the Body

Read ACIM Chapter 18, Section VI (pages 384-88)

What is really going on behind our desire to think that the body is our identity?

What a very helpful section! Here Jesus helps us see what the real motivations are behind the scenes for our dreams of living in a separate body and why we attack and even kill the body in our dreams of separation from God. In several places throughout the Course Jesus tells us to ask of everything, “What is this for?” Asking this question helps us recognize what is really going on behind our desire to think that the body we are ‘living’ in is our identity. In paragraph two he explains: “The belief that you could give and get something else, something outside yourself, has cost you the awareness of Heaven and of your Identity.” (2:3)

Here he clearly explains what it is that is the cause of our forgetting about Heaven and our Identity in God. Jesus reveals to us here that we have believed that we could give and get something other than Heaven. We believed we could give and get something that is outside of God. It is this false belief that has generated dreams of bodies that could be separate and alone. Finding out about the beliefs that started all this is important, because now we can recognize the effects of these beliefs and how they are being demonstrated in our ‘life.’ Once we see what is going on clearly, we can choose once again, and this time with the Holy Spirit.

How are we still thinking that we could give and get something outside ourselves?

Process: Take a few minutes and think about your thoughts about yourself. Where are your current thoughts still reflecting the belief that you could give and get something outside yourself? It is helpful to remember here that we are in charge of what we hold to be true. This means that no one else is in charge of what we experience but us. As long as we continue to hold on to false beliefs, that is how long we will continue to experience the effects of these beliefs. To help us out of this mindless habit of thinking that we could give and get something that is outside of God, it is helpful to frequently ask ourselves, “What am I thinking I am giving or getting right now? Am I thinking I could give or get something other than God?” Once you see the mistaken thoughts, it is helpful then to hand them over to the Holy Spirit. Only He knows what to do with them. He will gladly replace these thoughts with what is eternally true about you and every brother you meet in your dream.

Not only does Jesus explain what our beliefs are that started the dreaming of the world, but he also explains why we dream dreams in which our bodies are weak and vulnerable and finally die. He says, “And you have done a stranger thing than you yet realize. You have displaced your guilt to your body from your mind. Yet a body cannot be guilty, for it can do nothing of itself. You who think you hate your body deceive yourself. You hate your mind, for guilt has entered into it and [your mind] would remain separate from your brother’s, which it cannot do.” (2:4-8)

How is the body used as the scapegoat for guilt?

In paragraph six he tells us, “It is insane to use the body as the scapegoat for guilt, directing its attack and blaming it for what you wished it to do. It is impossible to act out fantasies. For it is still the fantasies you want, and they have nothing to do with what the body does. [The body] does not dream [the fantasies], and [the fantasies] but make [the body] a liability where [the body] could be an asset.” (6:1-4)

How do we heal these sick beliefs?

Jesus knows that to heal these sick ego beliefs, we need to see the insanity of our underlying premise of what reality is before we will be willing to let these insane ideas go. That is why he explains further: “For fantasies have made your body your ‘enemy’; weak, vulnerable and treacherous, worthy of the hate that you invest in it. How has this served you? You have identified with this thing you hate [the body], the instrument of vengeance and the perceived source of your guilt. You have done this to a thing [the body] that has no meaning, proclaiming [the body] to be the dwelling place of God’s Son, and turning [the body] against [God’s Son].” (6:5-8) Here we are shown why there is so much unconscious guilt hidden beneath the conscious layers of our mind and why we dream dreams of experiencing continuous problems, one after the other. We really hate our mind for trying to destroy God but we continue to want to have our fantasies of separation. We are not ready to be done with them yet or we would let our minds be healed of believing in illusions.

Jesus knows that we can’t keep hiding from recognizing what we are still choosing to believe in. We need to look at our ‘state of mind’ often with the Holy Spirit so He can differentiate for us between the false and the true. We have gotten so confused that we can’t undo it on our own. It is only the Holy Spirit that brings us the awareness that, “Minds are joined; bodies are not.” (3:1)

In paragraph five he asks us, “Would you not have the instruments of separation [bodies] reinterpreted as means for salvation, and used for purposes of Love? Would you not welcome and support the shift from fantasies of vengeance to release from them?” (5:1-2) This is where our willingness comes in. The Holy Spirit waits on us to welcome Him into our awareness. At our invitation He will reinterpret every perception we willingly hand over to Him. As we are ready, the Holy Spirit brings us to the eternal properties of our joined mind — the universal communication that lies within us.

How does universal communication work within our mind?

Jesus explains how this works: “Mind reaches to itself. It is not made up of different parts, which reach each other. It does not go out. Within itself it has no limits, and there is nothing outside it. It encompasses everything. It encompasses you entirely; you within it and it within you. There is nothing else, anywhere or ever.” (8:5-11) This is where we are being led by the Holy Spirit as we are willing to let go of limitation and return to the awareness of Reality.

We need to let go of the idea that there can be barriers between anything that is real. Oneness means no barriers, no differences, no division, no conflicting ideas. Jesus encourages us to reach past these mental barriers when he says, “You can stretch out your hand and reach to Heaven. You whose hand is joined with your brother’s have begun to reach beyond the body, but not outside yourself, to reach your shared Identity together.” (10:1-2)

What keeps universal communication from our awareness?

We have been believing that we each have a separate mind and now we are learning that the truth is we have a shared Identity, a shared Mind that encompasses everything that is real. It is only our ‘fear of union’ that has kept the truth from our awareness. With our willingness to accept what the Holy Spirit brings, “You have escaped from fear to peace, asking no questions of reality, but merely accepting it. You have accepted this instead of the body, and have let yourself be one with something beyond [the body], simply by not letting your mind be limited by [the body].” (11:10-11)

Because Jesus knows that we still have fear of union, he tells us that it is safe to let go of our barriers, our belief in ‘being’ a separate entity. To help soften our fears of losing something that we value, he says, “There is no violence at all in this escape. The body is not attacked, but simply properly perceived. [The body] does not limit you, merely because you would not have it so. You are not really ‘lifted out’ of it; it cannot contain you. You go where you would be, gaining, not losing, a sense of Self. In these instants of release from physical restrictions, you experience much of what happens in the holy instant; the lifting of the barriers of time and space, the sudden experience of peace and joy, and, above all, the lack of awareness of the body, and of the questioning whether or not all this is possible.” (13:1-6)

We can experience this release. The body can be properly perceived. But it does require our willingness to go within, quiet our mind and let ourselves be led out of illusions by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter and our Guide. Jesus encourages us to go to this sacred place in our mind: “Come to this place of refuge, where you can be yourself in peace. Not through destruction, not through a breaking out, but merely by a quiet melting in. For peace will join you there, simply because you have been willing to let go the limits you have placed upon Love, and joined It where It is and where It led you, in answer to Its gentle call to be at peace.” (14:5-7) Let us join in going to this sacred place in our minds now.

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