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Q: If I am living an illusion as it says in ACIM, what is the point of eating well e.g. organic foods, exercising, taking vitamins, etc.? I have always done these sort of things because I want to be healthy. But at 57 years of age, I say what is the point if it’s all an illusion. Thanks.

This is a fabulous question! If this world is a big dream, why should we bother with anything at all?

It boils down to this. “I” exercise/juice/take medicine/take vitamins because I still haven’t accepted that I am ALREADY healed.  I still haven’t accepted that EVERYTHING is coming from my sleeping split mind and that all healing comes from within. I still believe the cause of healing is outside of myself, and something that will be achieved “later.” I still believe that I am {insert your name here}. Why?  Simply because I still want what I think this world offers.

The reason we SHOULD bother doing anything in the body-self-care-realm at all is because we’ve made the world, the laws of the world, and our bodies VERY REAL for ourselves and so we need to participate in its UNdoing.  Stub your toe, and it hurts. If we intellectually say, “I’m going to stop caring for my body because it is an illusion” and then proceed to do so, we’re engaging in what ACIM refers to as “level confusion.” We’re trying to correct ourselves, and we’re taking yet another journey with the ego as our guide.  We’re taking over the Holy Spirit’s job and trying to “undo” the false beliefs in our mind alone. We’re likely going to get into trouble because we DON’T REALLY KNOW that the world is an illusion:

“Many have chosen to renounce the world while still believing its reality. And they have suffered from a sense of loss, and have not been released accordingly.” – from Lesson 155

We can only come to TRULY know the unreality of the world through EXPERIENCES, not through understanding ideas. Those experiences come in the form of miracles as we give all of our beliefs to Spirit.

There are 2 key steps to follow in working with our beliefs in the “laws” of the world:

First, allow yourself to be where you are at. The process of undoing our false perceptions is so gentle, and in order to allow that process to occur, we must accept our present state and not hide our present beliefs in the “laws” of nutrition, exercise, etc.

Suggested self-talk:

  • “I acknowledge that I believe that this organic kale has the power to heal me.”
  • “I acknowledge that I believe these supplements can heal me”

Second, do what you still feel inclined to do (i.e. eat healthy, take vitamins, etc.), but do it WITH the Holy Spirit rather than the ego.

Suggested self-talk:

  • “I am willing to look at my belief in the healing power of kale WITH the Holy Spirit (as I chomp down).
  • “I am taking these supplements with you, Spirit.
  • “Holy Spirit, heal my mind of my belief in this body.”

If I don’t remember to do this while I’m eating or taking vitamins, when I do remember I simply say to myself, “I give it all to you, Spirit”, instead of feeling guilty.

We must take EVERYTHING to the Holy Spirit – even when we eat our kale, drink our organic fresh juice, and eat our non-GMO soybeans. We’ve made idols out of these things and we worship them and believe that they can “save us.” Our beliefs of healing that we put into things like food and medicine, are also known as “magic thoughts” in the Course.  We can use these magic thoughts to free ourselves by giving them to the Holy Spirit to be undone.

The Holy Spirit can then give us back the miracle by showing us, in a way that we can understand, that we are mind and that the body simply is a neutral vehicle that cannot suffer. The only thing that can “save us,” is our awakening to the fact that we are not these bodies, have not left God, are not guilty, and only the Holy Spirit can prove to us by our own personal experiences that this is so.

Let’s look at this question through another Course lens.  This lens has to do with our belief in death.

The “laws” of the world tell us that to be healthy, we have to eat right, exercise, think positive thoughts, get immunized, etc. What is it that we are hoping to accomplish by doing these things? We’re hoping to delay death – right? If our body is in tip top shape, we hope we can get a few extra years out of the body like we would get a few extra years out of a well-maintained car.

Death is the ego’s strongest evidence that you MUST be a body. The Course teaches us that the ego WANTS us to die because it is the ego’s best PROOF that we must be these bodies and that the separation must be real.

As we know, the Course is gently teaching us that we are NOT a body – that our true self has not left the Mind of God, and that death is a central dream from which all other dreams stem.

So if we’re doing “healthy” things to maintain the body because we’re fearful of bodily harm (in other words if we feel that the body is our responsibility), in a sense, we’re affirming that the body is who we are and that it is real. If we’re affirming that the body is who we are, we’re siding with the ego and choosing for it – and what it wants for us is death. Choosing for the ego subjects the body to sickness and suffering. The body, used by the ego, is used as a separation device, rather than a means to heal our split mind.

“Whenever you attempt to reach a goal in which the body’s betterment is cast as major beneficiary, you try to bring about your death. For you believe that you can suffer lack, and lack IS death. To sacrifice is to give up, and thus to be without, and to have suffered loss. And by this giving up is life renounced. Seek not outside yourself. The search implies you are not whole within, and fear to look upon your devastation, and prefer to seek outside yourself for what you are.” ACIM Sparkle Edition p. 675.

So this might sound like it is wrong to care for the body because that calls forth death. But that is not the case! It isn’t right or wrong, it is a matter of being WHERE WE ARE AT, and learning what our choice of teachers brings to us – either we are inviting the ego or Spirit to be with us on our journey and we will know by the result of the experiences we have.

Our task is the same as mentioned earlier. Rather than doing these “healthy” behaviors with the ego (and continuing to take responsibility for the body), which affirms that the body must be real and therefore calls forth death, we can be doing these things with Spirit INSTEAD of with the ego. The PURPOSE behind doing these “healthy” things changes.  Rather than continuing through the dream with the ego as guide, we’re asking Spirit to UNDO the false beliefs in our minds, and we come closer to experientially knowing that our truth far exceeds this tiny speck of separate self that we think we are. We give responsibility and care of the body over to Spirit. Our choice to care for the body is no longer a call for death/ego; it becomes another opportunity to undo our false perceptions and truly heal. It becomes a call for Real Life.

“You need be neither careful nor careless; you need merely cast your cares upon Him because He careth for YOU. You ARE His care because He loves you.” Sparkle edition p. 114

Most importantly, do NOT feel guilty for being where you are at! “A happy learner does not feel guilty about learning.” Remember, guilt is ALWAYS of the ego, so eat your kale, take your vitamins, and exercise with JOY by doing these things WITH SPIRIT rather than with the ego as guide.

Maybe you’ll be guided to keep up your healthy routine, because Spirit is going to meet you where you are at. Maybe you’ll be guided to change it. Maybe your routine will simply fall away. Now that you’re acting WITH Spirit, you’re willing to affirm that you’re not a body, and you take a step closer to truly knowing that nothing can harm you.

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