It seems fitting to me that today’s ACIM lesson is: I am not a body. I am free, for on the heels of yet another ACIM group meeting with “Shams” as an attendee, those of us who were present definitely left feeling high and questioning our reality. Of course, that is the key: question everything you think you know. We are following breadcrumbs back to the “no-self” – the place where the illusion of separation is blown apart. It’s exhilarating and terrifying. It’s a dream of life separate from God.
What I am learning is that I am only here for God. What I am learning is that in Truth, I could never be otherwise. I am learning who I really am.
Today’s Course lesson says, “The mind that serves the Holy Spirit is unlimited forever, in all ways, beyond the laws of time and space, unbound by any preconceptions, and with strength and power to do whatever it is asked.”
In class last night, we began reading the Manual for Teachers. It begins with the reminder that “to teach is to learn, so that teacher and learner are the same.” If there is indeed only one of us, how could the teacher and learner be separate? As if to drive the point home even further, I began reading Byron Katie’s A Mind at Home with Itself: How Asking Four Questions Can Free Your Mind, Open Your Heart, and Turn Your World Around, which I stumbled across for a mere two bucks yesterday on Amazon (it’s back up to its normal price today). It is another breadcrumb; another reminder that even though I think of myself as an individual, separate from “others,” in reality, there are no others. This is challenging for us (me – same thing!) to wrap our heads around. Especially when the Course then says things like, “There are only two thought systems, and you demonstrate that you believe one or the other is true all the time. From your demonstration others learn, and so do you.”
Wait a minute! I thought there were no “others.” It is one of those paradoxical aspects of studying the Course – yes, all of this is illusion, but we believe in it, and so it is true for us. Even the Course is an illusion – a mere breadcrumb left as a love letter to myself. “Teaching but reinforces what you believe about yourself. Its fundamental purpose is to diminish self-doubt. This does not mean that the self you are trying to protect is real. But it does mean that the self you think is real is what you teach.”
My teaching demonstrates what I believe to be true. As long as I think I am a body, I am not free. Yet today’s lesson emphasizes the need for accepting the idea that I am not a body. “It is essential for your progress in this course that you accept today’s idea, and hold it very dear. Be not concerned that to the ego it is quite insane. The ego holds the body dear because it dwells in it, and lives united with the home that it has made. It is a part of the illusion that has sheltered it from being found illusory itself.”
As long as I cherish the image I have made (this illusory body), I have imprisoned the mind. It’s all very trippy. Yet, if I am to awaken to “no-self” I must accept this Truth. It’s not that I will no longer appear to have a body, for in this dream that I think of as reality, I will. But what happens next will change according to my goal. “The Holy Spirit is the home of minds that seek for freedom. In Him they have found what they have sought. The body’s purpose now is unambiguous. And it becomes perfect in the ability to serve an undivided goal. In conflict-free and unequivocal response to mind with but the thought of freedom as its goal, the body serves, and serves its purpose well. Without the power to enslave, it is a worthy servant of the freedom which the mind within the Holy Spirit seeks.”
My purpose is to be a teacher for God. I can’t do that if I am caught up in believing the “lies of the serpent” (ego) where I rest in the certainty that the world is real. I can barely wrap my mind around this. I feel stoned and free-floating. Ego screams for solid ground, for the finite as an anchoring point in the vastness of the infinite. All these breadcrumbs point to Reality, to a time before time.
“The world of time is the world of illusion. What happened long ago seems to be happening now. Choices made long since appear to be open; yet to be made. What has been learned and understood and long ago passed by is looked upon as a new thought, a fresh idea, a different approach. Because your will is free you can accept what has already happened at any time you choose, and only then will you realize that it was always there. As the course emphasizes, you are not free to choose the curriculum, or even the form in which you will learn it. You are free, however, to decide when you want to learn it. And as you accept it, it is already learned.”
It was always there. All I am really doing is unlearning what I think I know.
In every situation, Shams advises, ask the Holy Spirit. “Ask the question, ‘Is this the Truth?’”
In practicing the Course, we turn everything over to the Holy Spirit. Over and over again we ask, “What would You have me do?” When I have a judgment about something, I question my thoughts. I remind myself that I do not know what anything is for.
Katie says, “Eventually, you find yourself ending every thought with a question mark, not a period. You’re able to rest in the never-ending enlightenment of the don’t-know mind.”
It’s all just practice. I am courting the “no-self,” where I no longer believe I am a body and I no longer cherish separation.
Is that the Truth? Who would I be without that thought?
Namaste, my friends, Namaste.