A Course in Miracles

Chapter 8 - The Journey Back

Communication and the Ego-Body Equation

Attack is always physical. When attack in any form enters your mind, you are equating yourself with a body. This is the ego’s interpretation of the body (for attack). You do not have to attack physically to accept this interpretation. You are accepting it simply by the belief that attack can get you something you want. If you did not believe this, the idea of attack would have no appeal for you.

When you equate yourself with a body you will always experience depression. When a Child of God thinks of himself in this way he is belittling himself and seeing his brothers as similarly belittled. Since he can find himself only in them, he has cut himself off from salvation.

Remember that the Holy Spirit interprets the body only as a means of communication. Being the communication link between God and His separated Sons, the Holy Spirit interprets everything you have made in the light of what He is.

The ego separates through the body.
The Holy Spirit reaches through it to others.

You do not perceive your brothers as the Holy Spirit does because you do not interpret their bodies and yours solely as a means of joining their minds and uniting them with yours and mine. This interpretation of the body will change your mind entirely about its value. Of itself it has none.

If you use the body for attack, it is harmful to you. If you use it only to reach the minds of those who believe they are bodies, and teach them through the body that this is not so, you will begin to understand the power of the mind that is in both of you.

If you use the body for this and only for this, you cannot use it for attack. In the service of uniting, it becomes a beautiful lesson in communion, which has value until communion is. This is God’s way of making unlimited what you have limited. The Holy Spirit does not see the body as you do because He knows the only reality anything can have is the service it can render God on behalf of the function He has given it.

Communication ends separation.
Attack promotes it.

The body is...

    • beautiful or ugly,
    • holy or savage,
    • helpful or harmful,

according to the use to which it is put. And in the body of another you will see the use to which you have put yours. If the body becomes for you a means which you give to the Holy Spirit to use on behalf of union of the Sonship, you will not see anything physical except as what it is.

Use it for truth, and you will see it truly. Misuse it, and you will misunderstand it because you have already done so by misusing it. Interpret anything apart from the Holy Spirit, and you will mistrust it. This will lead you to hatred and attack and loss of peace.

Yet all loss comes only from your own misunderstanding. Loss of any kind is impossible. When you look upon a brother as a physical entity, his power and glory are lost to you, and so are yours. You have attacked him, but you must have attacked yourself first. Do not see him this way for your own salvation, which must bring him his. Do not allow him to belittle himself in your mind, but give him freedom from his belief in littleness, and thus escape from yours. As part of you, he is holy. As part of me, you are. To communicate with part of God Himself is to reach beyond the Kingdom to its Creator, through His Voice Which He has established as part of you.

Rejoice, then, that of yourselves you can do nothing. You are not of yourselves. He of Whom you are has willed your power and glory for you, with which you can perfectly accomplish His holy Will for you, when you so will it yourself. He has not withdrawn His gifts from you, but youhave withdrawn them from Him. Let no Son of God remain hidden for His Name’s sake, because His Name is yours.

Remember that the Bible says, “The Word (or thought) was made flesh.” John 1:14

Strictly speaking this is impossible, since it seems to involve the translation of one order of reality into another. Different orders of reality merely appear to exist, just as different orders of miracles do. Thought cannot be made into flesh except by belief, since thought is not physical. Yet thought is communication, for which the body can be used. This is the only natural use to which it can be put. To use the body unnaturally is to lose sight of the Holy Spirit’s purpose, and thus to confuse the goal of His curriculum.

There is nothing so frustrating to a learner as to be placed in a curriculum which he cannot learn. His sense of adequacy suffers, and he must become depressed. Being faced with an impossible learning situation, regardless of why it is impossible, is the most depressing thing in the world. In fact, it is ultimately why the world is depressing. The Holy Spirit’s curriculum is never depressing because it is a curriculum of joy. Whenever the reaction to learning is depression, it is only because the goal of the curriculum has been lost sight of.

In the world, not even the body is perceived as whole. Its purpose is seen as fragmented into many functions which bear little or no relationship to each other, so that it appears to be ruled by chaos.

Guided by the ego, it is.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, it is not.

It becomes only a means by which the part of the mind you have separated from your Soul can reach beyond its distortions, and return to the Soul. The ego’s temple thus becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, where devotion to Him replaces devotion to the ego. In this sense the body does become a temple to God, because His Voice abides in it by directing the use to which it is put.

Healing is the result of using the body soley for communication. Since this is natural, it heals by making whole, which is also natural. All mind is whole, and the belief that part of it is physical, or not mind, is a fragmented (or sick) interpretation. Mind cannot be made physical, but it can be made manifest through the physical if it uses the body to go beyond itself. By reaching out, the mind extends itself. It does not stop at the body, for if it does, it is blocked in its purpose. A mind which has been blocked has allowed itself to be vulnerable to attack because it has turned against itself.

The removal of the blocks, then, is the only way to guarantee help and healing. Help and healing are the normal expressions of a mind which is working through the body, but not in it. If the mind believes the body is its goal, it will distort its perception of the body, and by blocking its own extension beyond it, will induce illness by fostering separation.

Perceiving the body as a separate entity cannot but foster illness, because it is not true. A medium of communication will lose its usefulness if it is used for anything else. To use a medium of communication as a medium of attack is an obvious confusion in purpose.

To communicate is to join, and to attack is to separate. How can you do both simultaneously with the same thing, and not suffer? Perception of the body can be unified only by one purpose. This releases the mind from the temptation to see the body in many lights, and gives it over entirely to the One Light in which it can be really understood at all. To confuse a learning device with a curriculum goal is a fundamental confusion.

Learning can hardly be arrested at its own aids with hope of understanding either the aids or the learning’s real purpose. Learning must lead beyond the body to the re-establishment of the power of the mind in it. This can be accomplished only if the mind extends to other minds, and does not arrest itself in its extension.

The arrest of the mind’s extension is the cause of all illness because only extension is the mind’s function. The opposite of joy is depression. When your learning promotes depression instead of joy, you cannot be listening to God’s joyous Teacher, and you must be learning amiss.

To see a body as anything except a means of pure extension is to limit your mind and hurt yourself. Health is therefore nothing more than united purpose. If the body is brought under the purpose of the mind, the body becomes whole because the mind's purpose is one. Attack can only be an assumed purpose of the body, because apart from the mind the body has no purpose at all.

You are not limited by the body, and thought cannot be made flesh. Yet mind can be manifested through the body if it goes beyond it and does not interpret it as limitation. Whenever you see another as limited to or by the body, you are imposing this limit on yourself. Are you willing to accept this, when your whole purpose for learning should be to escape from limitations?

To conceive of the body as a means of attack of any kind and to entertain even the possibility that joy could possibly result, is a clear-cut indication of a poor learner. He has accepted a learning goal in obvious contradiction to the unified purpose of the curriculum, and is interfering with his ability to accept its purpose as his own.

Joy is unified purpose, and unified purpose is only God’s. When yours is unified, it is His. Interfere with His purpose, and you need salvation. You have condemned yourself, but condemnation is not of God. Therefore, it is not true. No more are any of the results of your condemnation. When you see a brother as a body, you are condemning him because you have condemned yourself. Yet if all condemnation is unreal, and it must be unreal since it is a form of attack, then it can have no results.

Do not allow yourselves to suffer from the results of what is not true. Free your minds from the belief that this is possible. In its complete impossibility, and your full awareness of its complete impossibility, lie your only hope for release. But what other hope would you want? Freedom from illusions lies only in not believing them. There is no attack, but there is unlimited communication, and therefore unlimited power and wholeness. The power of wholeness is extension. Do not arrest your thought in this world, and you will open your mind to creation in God.




When your learning promotes depression instead of joy, you cannot be listening to God’s joyous Teacher, and you must be learning amiss.


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