We have observed before how many senseless things have seemed to you to be salvation. Each has imprisoned you with laws as senseless as itself. You are not bound by them. Yet to understand that this is so, you must first realize salvation lies not there…” ACIM, Workbook page 134, Lesson 76.
We have set up a whole body of laws and regulations which govern our lives. Yet, in Lesson 76, Jesus reminds us that all these laws are ego-based and are only designed to protect the body, which is the ego’s home. We believe we need proper nutrition, a strong and healthy body, money in the bank, etc. Whilst it is true we do seem to need these things in the dream, in reality we don’t. Jesus explains very clearly in this lesson that all the things we worry about are, actually, unreal. “You really think that you would starve unless you have stacks of green paper strips and piles of metal discs. You really think a small round pellet or some fluid pushed into your veins through a sharpened needle will ward off disease and death. You really think you are alone unless another body is with you. It is insanity that thinks these things…”
The point that he makes very clearly in this lesson is that the body is under the control of the mind; this is the exact reverse of what we believe. We believe that if we look after the body and provide for its security, we will be happy and at peace. Whilst this may be true for a while, we will never have true inner peace until we accept the Atonement and awaken from the dream of life in the world of the ego.
“You think you must obey the “laws” of medicine, or economics and of health. Protect the body, and you will be saved. These are not laws, but madness. The body is endangered by the mind that hurts itself. The body suffers just in order that the mind will fail to see it is the victim of itself…It would not understand it is its own enemy; that it attacks itself and wants to die…” The mind (lower mind/split mind) attacks itself and wants to die because of the guilt that it is suffering from, which emanates from the apparent separation from God. A Course in Miracles constantly reminds us that the only way we can heal our bodies is by first healing our minds. This involves awakening from the dream set up by the ego and making our minds whole, i.e. returning to our “right” minds, where the Holy Spirit resides. To do this we have to recognise that our world is an illusion, and then we have to call upon Jesus or the Holy Spirit for guidance, as it is very unlikely that we will awaken from the ego’s dream without Their help or the help of another enlightened Master.
We read in Chapter 7 of the Text, “The Holy Spirit is the Translator of the laws of God to those who do not understand them. You could not do this yourself because a conflicted mind cannot be faithful to one meaning, and will therefore change the meaning to preserve the form…” T115. Thus, we need the help of the Holy Spirit because we do not understand the laws of God. God’s laws are dealt with in depth in Chapter 7. Briefly, they are based on truth, on love and on our oneness with Him and all of creation. God created us as eternal spirit, changeless and immortal. This is one of His basic laws, yet it is the exact opposite of the situation in which we find ourselves in our ego-based world. Here, we change from day to day and eventually end up sick and dying. There is nothing immortal or eternal in our world. That’s why Jesus reminds us that the laws of our world are meaningless; they run counter to the truth of God.
It is important for us to heal our split minds because, “When you heal, you are remembering the laws of God and forgetting the laws of the ego…” T118. Repeating Lesson 76: “I am under no laws but God’s will help to loosen the ego’s control over our split or wrong mind. As Jesus explains, “It is our statement of freedom from all danger and all tyranny. It is our acknowledgment that God is our Father, and that His Son is saved.” W136.
Jesus is not asking us to completely disregard the body; it does make sense within the dream, to earn one’s living, save for the future, look after the body and provide shelter for it, etc. But it is important to remember that, firstly, this is just a dream or a mental projection and, secondly, the body needs to be preserved within the dream so that it can fulfil its only really important function, which is to be a means of communication and a tool for forgiveness. “The Holy Spirit teaches you to use your body only to reach your brothers, so He can teach His message through you. This will heal them and therefore heal you...” T157.
The body doesn’t need to be used to accumulate great wealth; to create offspring; to become famous; or to excel in the workplace. It may do all these things and that’s all right, but there is a more important use of the body than all these things—using it as a means of communication to bring about healing. So whilst it’s natural to be concerned about security in the long-term, to provide for one’s family and to make provision for a pension, financial security for old age, etc., ACIM is teaching us that no matter what plans we make, we cannot rely upon the body or the ego, and that we are only under God’s laws.
It requires great faith to rely solely upon the laws of God when we are so used to following the dictates of the ego, and spend all our lives looking after our bodies and believing we are our bodies. David Hoffmeister, the renowned ACIM teacher and mystic, said it took him many years to reach the point where he no longer had to strive to provide for himself. But now he is able to hear the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and he no longer has to worry about having a paid job, a home, food, etc.; abundance just seems to flow to him
Perhaps we could start by taking small steps towards freedom by relying less upon the laws of the ego. Maybe we could try managing on a little less money; maybe we don’t really need to take all those vitamin supplements every morning; maybe we don’t really need to be so ambitious at work; maybe we can just go with the flow a little more than we have done in the past and remind ourselves, “I am under no laws but God’s.” It is worth remembering that we are extensions of God and, therefore, in reality we are unlimited and free. There should be no reason why we can’t attract abundance into our lives or anything else we desire. If we are experiencing lack in any form, it is because we are identifying with the ego. By remembering that only God’s laws are meaningful, we can gradually withdraw our investment in the laws of the ego.
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