The Purpose of the Body

As Course in Miracles students, we are deeply questioning what most people take for granted. Jesus asks us to be very honest in exploring how the ego operates in order to find out who and what we really are.  In that spirit, Webinar #10 is to help you experientially understand the purpose of the body.  We begin by examining the ego’s purpose, in order to awaken your ability to use the body for the Holy Spirit’s Loving purpose of forgiveness and awakening instead.

We all take the cycle of birth and death for granted.  You, me, and everybody else, started off this human life believing that we were born through the body of our mother.  You were labeled with a name, to identify you as a person, and believed you were the physical form called the body.

Beginning in infancy, every body experiences physical pleasure and pain.  The body also experiences emotional and psychological pleasure and pain, which is called “somatizing” (morphing mental states into physical sensations).  Humans continue to be highly motivated by both pleasure and pain into adulthood–and guilt is often associated with both.  Spiritual teachers have referred to the body as the “pain body” and the “time body.”  When you combine pain and time, you get a ticking bomb!  In addition to the angst of our own personal lives, we see explosions of pain, anguish, rage, and terror throughout the world every day.

There’s rarely one among us who escapes the fear of death.  The human race tries to fend off mortality by nurturing roots through a clan, tribe, extended family, ethnic, racial, cultural and/or national  heritage, ownership of property, carrying on the family name through their children, honoring personal achievements by erecting monuments and awarding prizes, through competition and record setting, and even staking a claim to their spot on earth with a tombstone.

“The body is a fence the Son of God imagines he has built, to separate parts of his Self from other parts.” (W-5.1:1)  The ego dreamed up the idea of the body to solidify its concept of itself.  The body seems to prove that we, as people, exist.  The ego makes excellent use of the body as a multi-layered device:

* The ego’s grand plan was to make us Mind-less so we completely forgot our true Identity as a “Oneness joined as One” (T-25.I.7:1) in the formless, loving Mind of God.  Happily, “What is the same can not be different, and what is one can not have separate parts.” (T-25.I.7:7)

* The ego accomplishes this complete forgetting by hiding within the body, which blocks out our awareness of Being One Self in God’s Mind.  Mercifully, “The definition of reality is God’s, not yours.  He created it, and He knows what it is.  You who knew have forgotten, and unless He had given you a way to remember you would have condemned yourself to oblivion.” (T-12.VIII.3:6-8)

*  The brain and sensory organs in the body serve to show us that the physical world is real.  The ego seemingly proves bodies are real through the five senses, but actually the five senses falsely witness to the ego’s own propaganda that it exists.  The brain is the ego’s organ of choice to interpret, judge and perceive.  Jesus explains, “First, it is obvious that decisions are of the mind, not of the body. … The resistance to recognizing this is enormous, because the existence of the world as you perceive it depends on the body being the decision maker.  Terms like ‘instincts,’ ‘reflexes’ and the like represent attempts to endow the body with non-mental motivators. Actually, such terms merely state or describe the problem.  They do not answer it.”  (M-5.II.1:4-9)

The Course teaches us to stop judging, interpreting, and perceiving:  “There is one thing that you have never done; you have not utterly forgotten the body.  It has perhaps faded at times from your sight, but it has not yet completely disappeared.  You are not asked to let this happen for more than an instant, yet it is in this instant that the miracle of Atonement happens.  Afterwards you will see the body again, but never quite the same.  And every instant that you spend without awareness of it gives you a different view of it when you return.”  (T-18.VII.2:1-5)

*  The ego uses the body as a container for its guilt, and projects this guilt onto other people.  “The body is the means by which the ego tries to make the unholy relationship seem real.” (T-20.VII.5:1)  In the Course, Jesus refers to us as “the separated ones” and to our relationships as “special” and “unholy.”  The body is the ego’s symbol of separation.  Only our belief in the body makes it possible to have physical relationships which seem to express love, but actually maintain separate and special interests.  But don’t feel guilty about your relationships!  Jesus tells us, “Your question should not be, ‘How can I see my brother without the body?’ Ask only, ‘Do I really wish to see him sinless?’” (T-20.VII.9:1-2)

When we are willing to see our brother as sinless then perception of the body through eyesight becomes secondary to our ability to see our brothers’ innocence.  “By focusing on the good in him [your brother], the body grows decreasingly persistent in your sight, and will at length be seen as little more than just a shadow circling round the good.” (T-31.VII.3:3)  In that way, we use the body for the Holy Spirit’s purpose as “the means by which God’s Son returns to sanity.” (W-5.4:1)

*  Last but not least, the body, by its inevitable demise, implies, quite convincingly, that we were alive.  Through the cycle of birth and death, the ego makes a case that life is worldly and material, defined within time and space.  We never pause to question birth, but in Reality there are no bodies to be born.  God creates His Creation and there is no place where the Father ends and the Son begins–we are truly a Oneness joined as One.

When we step back and let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit, we learn that, “You have the vision that enables you to see the body not.  And as you look upon your brother, you will see an altar to your Father, holy as Heaven, glowing with radiant purity and sparkling with the shining lilies you laid upon it.  What can you value more than this?  Why do you think the body is a better home, a safer shelter for God’s Son?  Why would you rather look on it than on the truth?” (T-20.VIII.4:3-7).

Practice Lesson 223:  God is my life.  I have no life but His.  It begins, “I was mistaken when I thought I lived apart from God, a separate entity that moved in isolation, unattached, and housed within a body.  Now I know my life is God’s, I have no other home, and I do not exist apart from Him.  He has no Thoughts that are not part of me, and I have none but those which are of Him.” If this does not satisfy, or if you’re feeling plagued by a body issue, ask the Holy Spirit to use your body to undo your belief in the body.  You will likely be guided to work with someone who knows how to guide you in observing your physical sensations in order to release them. There are more and more spiritual practitioners (including myself) using many different methods to use our sensory apparatus to dissolve individuality.

If you liked “The Purpose of the Body,” you may also enjoy other essays in my ongoing series, How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You, including, “Body Health Is Not a Measurement of Spiritual Unfolding,” “Death Is Just a Belief,” “How to Take Yourself Less Personally” and “Flossing and Feldenkrais.”   Be sure to watch Webinar #10: The Purpose of the Body on YouTube 🙂  And you might be interested in my Facebook page devoted to body issues:  For private sessions or if you have questions, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com

Copyright © 2013 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.