We are told in A Course in Miracles that the world of form is just a dream world. “You are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality” T182. It follows then that everything in our world is just an illusion, including our physical bodies. The physical world only exists within our minds, or rather our split minds.
It is interesting to note that this view is shared by a few other belief systems—although not many! The unreality of physical forms and of the ego are definitely incorporated into Buddhist beliefs. As we read in the Dhammapada, a collection of verses from the Pali Cannon of Buddhism, “All forms are unreal, he who knows and sees this becomes passive in pain; this is the way that leads to purity.”
And in Hinduism, maya is a key concept, meaning illusion or ignorance. Many believe that maya is responsible for our physical appearance on earth. The Indian philosopher Adi Shankara, who consolidated the non-dualistic doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, said that even the most learned scholar had no hope of liberation if he couldn’t give up the idea of the non-existent body being the Self. And, in The Crest Jewel of Wisdom, he wrote: “....There is no freedom for him who is full of attachment to the body and its like; for him who is free, there is no wish for the body and its like; the dreamer is not awake; he who is awake, dreams not; for these things are the opposites of each other....”
In practical terms, we just have to remember that we are far more than just our bodies. In fact, we are not bodies. The body is simply a temporary vehicle for the soul. In A Course in Miracles the body is said to simply be a “communication device,” which we use to return ourselves to our true spiritual nature by following our inner guidance and by forgiving everything and everyone. Viewed in this way, it becomes easier not to identify with the body. It’s just a matter of remembering that whatever happens to the body, is not happening to our true identity, which is eternal, immortal and always at peace. “I am not a body. I am free,” A Course in Miracles, Lesson 199.
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