8 - The Journey Back
Body as Means or End
Attitudes toward the body are attitudes toward attack.
The ego’s definitions of everything are childish,
and always based on what it believes a thing is for.
This is because it is incapable of true generalizations,
and equates what it sees with the function it ascribes
to it. It does not equate it with what it is.
the ego, the body is to attack with.
you with the body, it teaches that you are to attack
with because this is what it believes. The
body, then, is not the source of its own health. The
body’s condition lies solely in your interpretation
of its function.
reason why definitions in terms of function are inferior
is that they may well be inaccurate. Functions are part
of being since they arise from it, but the relationship
is not reciprocal. The whole does define the part, but
the part does not define the whole. This is as true
of knowledge as it is of perception.
reason to know in part is to know entirely is because
of the fundamental difference between knowledge and
perception. In perception the whole is built up of parts,
which can separate and reassemble in different constellations.
Knowledge never changes, so its constellation is permanent.
only areas in which part-whole relationships have any
meaning are those in which change is possible. There
is no difference between the whole and the part where
change is impossible.
The body exists in a world which seems to contain two
voices which are fighting for its possession. In this
perceived constellation, the body is regarded as capable
of shifting its control from one to the other, making
the concept of both health and sickness possible.
ego makes a fundamental confusion between means and
ends as it always does. Regarding the body as an end,
the ego has no real use for it because it is not an
end. You must have noticed an outstanding characteristic
of every end that the ego has accepted as its own. When
you have achieved it, it has not satisfied you. This
is why the ego is forced to shift from one end to another
without ceasing, so that you will continue to hope that
it can yet offer you something.
It has been particularly difficult to overcome the ego’s
belief in the body as an end because this is synonymous
with the belief in attack as an end. The
ego has a real investment in sickness. If you are sick,
how can you object to the ego’s firm belief that
you are not invulnerable?
is a particularly appealing argument from the ego’s
point of view because it obscures the obvious attack
which underlies the sickness. If you accepted this and
also decided against attack, you could not give this
false witness to the ego’s stand.
is hard to perceive sickness as a false witness, because
you do not realize that it is entirely out of keeping
with what you want. This witness, then, appears to be
innocent and trustworthy because you have not seriously
cross-examined him. If you did, you would not consider
sickness such a strong witness on behalf of the ego’s
more honest statement would be as follows:
who want the ego are predisposed to defend it. Therefore,
their choice of witnesses should be suspect from the
beginning. The ego does not call upon witnesses who
would disagree with its case, nor does the Holy Spirit.
We have said that judgment is the function of the Holy
Spirit, and one which He is perfectly equipped to fulfill.
The ego, as a judge, gives anything but an impartial
judgment. When the ego calls on a witness, it has already
made the witness an ally.
is still true that the body has no function of itself
because it is not an end. The ego, however, establishes
it as an end because, as such, it will lose its true
function. This is the purpose of everything the ego
does. Its sole aim is to lose sight of the function
sick body does not make any sense. It could not make
sense because sickness is not what the body is for.
Sickness is meaningful only if the two basic premises
on which the ego’s interpretation of the body
rests are true. Specifically, these are...
1. that the body is for attack, and
these premises, sickness is completely inconceivable.
Sickness is a way of demonstrating that you can be hurt.
It is a witness to...
extreme need to depend on external guidance.
ego uses this as its best argument for your need for
its guidance. It dictates endless prescriptions for
avoiding catastrophic outcomes. The Holy Spirit, perfectly
aware of the same data, does not bother to analyze them
at all. If the data are meaningless there is no point
in considering them. The function of truth is to collect
data which are true. There
is no point in trying to make sense out of meaningless
data. Any way you handle them results in nothing. The
more complicated the results become, the harder it may
be to recognize their nothingness, but it is not necessary
to examine all possible outcomes to which premises give
rise to judge them truly.
learning device is not a teacher. It cannot tell
you how you feel. You do not know how you feel because
you have accepted the ego’s confusion, and
you think that a learning device can tell you how
you feel. Sickness is merely another example of
your insistence on asking the guidance of a teacher
who does not know the answer. The ego is incapable
of knowing how you feel. When we said that the ego
does not know anything, we said the one thing about
the ego that is wholly true. But there is a corollary;
knowledge is being and the ego has no knowledge, then
the ego has no being.
might well ask how the voice of something
which does not exist can be so insistent.
Have you seriously considered the distorting
power of something you want, even if it
is not true? You have had many instances
of how what you want can distort what you
see and hear. No
one can doubt the ego’s skill in building
up false cases. Nor can anyone doubt your
willingness to listen until you will not
to tolerate anything except truth.
you lay the ego aside, it will be gone.
The Holy Spirit’s Voice is as loud
as your willingness to listen. It cannot
be louder without violating your will, which
the Holy Spirit seeks to free, but never
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. Everything
used in accordance with its function as
the Holy Spirit sees it cannot be sick.
Everything used otherwise is.
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. Do
not let it reflect your will to attack.
is the natural state of anything whose interpretation
is left to the Holy Spirit, Who perceives
no attack on anything. Health is the result
of relinquishing all attempts to use the body
is the beginning of the proper perspective
on life under the guidance of the one Teacher
Who knows what life IS, being the Voice for