Since this will be about healing, it might belong in my professional blog, but this is where I ramble and muse and, perhaps, say things that may or may not be thoroughly professional. So here goes.
A person receiving a massage recently asked me my thoughts about the concept of the body that is espoused in A Course In Miracles. (My exercise for today is I am not a body. I am free.) I didn’t have a good answer ready, though I’ve thought about the question at great length in the twenty-some years since I was first introduced to the Course. And the essential idea, that the body follows the mind, and that all illness or injury arises from thoughts held in the mind, wasn’t new to me even then.
It’s obviously a controversial assertion. The concept has been greatly abused by many, often as an excuse not to offer assistance to sick people. People who don’t know how to help a person frequently blame their problems on the one who is suffering, because it lets everyone else off the hook. Many people don’t see a way to accept that people have the power to heal themselves without placing blame and judgement on any person who remains ill. Further, when a person doesn’t recover, it is a grave disservice to tell them that if they would only stop harboring whatever bad thoughts they supposedly are thinking, if they really wanted it, if they would only pray harder or believe better, they would be instantly cured of their terminal illness. Or worse, to tell their survivors they died for lack of faith.
There is nothing in the Course that encourages any kind of blame or judgement, nothing that would suggest that a person who is suffering should be treated with anything other than compassion, kindness, and love. It does, however, invite those who are suffering to change their thinking.
One way that I have chosen to look at this question in the past was to think of healing not as a cure that “fixes” every problem or discomfort, but as a metaphysical shift that brings one into closer alignment with higher purpose. Sometimes this purpose is best served by recovering from an illness, to go on to do whatever the person is called to do in their life. Other times, their higher purposes might be served by going through a difficult illness. Or, it might be fulfilled by leaving the body altogether.
In all of these cases, it is not given to us to know or understand, but to be present in compassion and love, and to see every person we encounter as whole, holy, and one with the Divine.
What I’m getting from the Course is that, from there, the content of our actions—what we do with the body—is insignificant. Eat healthy foods, or don’t. Take the chemo, or don’t. Take the vaccine, or don’t. (I chose to take it, for those who feel a need to know.)
I first encountered the Course over twenty years ago, and the changes in my thinking that began at that time altered the path of my life. I will never be the person I was before I met this book. But it was only this year that I have followed the Course systematically, reading every day in order, start to finish. I can’t even imagine where I will be at the end of this year, when I complete the Course. But there is a passage that stood out to me regarding the body:
Sickness is a way of demonstrating that you can be hurt. It is a witness to your frailty, your vulnerability, and your extreme need to depend on external guidance…. It dictates endless prescriptions for avoiding catastrophic outcomes….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…. do not allow the body to be a mirror of a split mind. Do not let it be an image of your own perception of littleness…. Health is the result of relinquishing all attempts to use the body lovelessly.
I think the Course is promising an end to illness. If all illness arises from the belief in the possibility of separation from the Divine, then what higher purpose could be served by it? I’m not sure my earlier interpretation is accurate.
I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this, or where it is going, or how to apply this thinking into my own life and practices. I only know that I will continue to study and explore, and I remain committed to seeing us all as one with the Divine, and to sharing that view at every opportunity.
As always, I welcome your responses to these ideas.