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Wed, December 1, 2010
A Controversial View of Health and Wellness from A Course in Miracles
As I shop the aisles of Whole Foods® I fill my basket with massive quantities of supplements. I call myself a supplement junkie, even though the spiritual path I teach, A Course in Miracles, challenges the notion of health food. Don’t we all know that an organic apple is better for you than a pesticide-laden, poisoned one? Toxins in our environment cause cancer and a host of other diseases, so shouldn’t I take antioxidants to ward off cancer and fish oil to keep my brain and heart healthy?

Not according to A Course in Miracles (ACIM). Its premise can seem almost sacrilegious to those of us interested in health and wellness. A Course in Miracles states, “You think you must obey the ‘laws’ of medicine.and of health. Protect the body and you will be saved.” (Workbook Lesson 76) To understand the idea that these laws are meaningless, one needs to understand the basic theology of ACIM.

ACIM is rooted in the belief that, at our core, we are spiritual beings who think we are living in physical bodies in a physical world. ACIM tells us that we are dreaming our lives and that physical form is not real. Mind projects images that look like an objective, exterior world, but they are just figments of our imagination.

Because our minds are full of fear most of the time, we have dreamed a world in which we are constantly beset by a host of dangers, including unhealthy food, a destroyed environment, illness, etc. As a result, we think we need to protect our bodies or we’ll die.

Since physical form is not real, neither are our bodies. The only useful purpose for bodies is to be communication devices through which we extend love. ACIM states that Love is the only reality, so when our minds are healed with this awareness, we won’t need bodies or the illusory physical world anymore. It goes even further and states, “At no single instant does the body exist at all.” (Text, p. 388)

However, due to our fear, instead of using bodies to communicate love, we use them to make believe that we’re separate from God and each other. Bodies are the perfect instruments to reinforce the belief in separation, since we each seem to have our own individual body, different from each other’s.

We feel guilty for feeling separate from God, but in Truth, we can never be apart from God. We subconsciously think we’re bad (separate), and so we make our bodies sick as punishment, because we believe that if we punish ourselves first, then God will go easy on us. From minds filled with fear, anger and guilt, we project illness onto bodies.

In ACIM theology, once we realize that we are making the body up, as well as making illnesses up, the body will automatically be healed. In our recognition of our oneness with God, all illusions disappear. These can be challenging thoughts and concepts to consider when contemplating this theory as it applies to newborns and children. However, again, if you consider that we are truly spiritual beings, with divine goals of remembering our oneness with God and all of creation, illness in newborns and children can serve spiritual purposes even though they are hard to fathom from our human conditions.

I have experienced this powerful type of healing as a result of truly connecting with the concept that I am one with God and all of creation. I have had migraines for twenty years and a number of migraines have gone away instantly when I was able to accept Truth. I am aware that I give myself migraines, often due to fearful situations and self-criticism.

At times when I have loved myself and released fear, the migraines have disappeared. I used Course principles to observe self punishment, and told myself that the body, illness, and fear are all equally unreal. I affirmed that I am not separate from God and am the essence of Love. Other times, when I have not been able to release fear, migraines have continued.

A similar thing has happened with wheezing from allergies. When I was afraid of the wheezing, it would worsen to the point of needing an inhaler. I used affirmations to bring my mind to healing: “There is no body, therefore there are no lungs, therefore there can be no wheezing.” When I’ve been able to accept this Truth, the wheezing has also disappeared, sometimes instantly. Often I end up taking medicine, but the occasions the mind shift has occurred have been so dramatic it was quite clear that I was projecting the illness. It was not something that was happening to me, rather something I made up.

Again, these may feel like foreign concepts to consider that we somehow manifest our own illnesses. You may ask, “Why in the world would I do that?” It’s unfathomable to consider that we would at any level of our being welcome illness or suffering in any way. From a human perspective, it makes no sense. From a spiritual perspective, there are tremendous lessons that can be learned from illness and suffering.

A Course in Miracles makes a distinction between getting over an illness and truly healing the mind that projected the illness. If we merely get well through taking medication, doing energy work, etc. but we don’t address our fear of separation, we are not really healed. We merely had a dream of illness and now we have a dream of health (Workbook Lesson 140) All healing is of the mind, and all healing is the release of fear. As we release fear, we awaken to our true nature as Love, and illness cannot reside in Love. Awakening to our true Self also awakens us from the dream.

One of the traps of realizing that our thoughts affect our health is feeling guilty when we’re sick and do not recover. While many people heal their bodies with principles of ACIM, A Course in Miracles differs from some metaphysical teachings by saying that the body may not always be healed. ACIM defines a miracle as a change in thinking, from fear to love. True healing is of the mind, and has nothing to do with the body. Once we reclaim our true Identity as Love, the body may no longer have a purpose here on earth, and can be joyously laid aside.

All this being said, I still eagerly read Prevention magazine for the latest, greatest cure. Why? Because my mind is not totally healed and I still believe I’m a body. I still fear that if I don’t take nutritional supplements, that I’ll get sick. ACIM calls all physical forms, including supplements and healthy food, “magic.” If we’re fearful, we can use the “magic” the world offers to help reduce our fear. Thus, while we believe in the body, it can be the loving thing to do to eat organic, healthy foods.

My goal is to be like my teacher who is enlightened, he doesn’t even have to eat. In the meantime, supplements, migraine medicine and inhalers are the magic I gratefully receive, while I continue to work on accepting Truth.

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