cmacneil

January 2022

On my laptop I have a little sticky note that reminds me every time I switch on that: “I am Spirit.”  It is an important reminder particularly these days when there is so much fear around—fear of sickness and death instilled in us relentlessly by the media. Why is it important? Because as soon as we begin to identify with our consciousness—our spirit—the fear of sickness and death recedes. We are spirit having a temporary, fleeting experience of inhabiting physical bodies… When that body is no more, our consciousness continues on in spirit form.

Spirit cannot be harmed, cannot suffer and cannot be sick and die. It is eternal and unlimited. As we read in A Course in Miracles (ACIM) Lesson 97: “Spirit am I, a holy Son of God, free of all limits, safe and healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world.”

Throughout ACIM Jesus asks us over and over again to recognise our true nature—spirit— and to identify less with the physical body. Hence Lesson 199 states: “I am not a body. I am free.” Jesus explains that: “Freedom must be impossible as long as you perceive a body as yourself…. You are God’s Son. In immortality you live forever…” That last sentence is what mitigates the fear of death. There can be no death if we live forever.

Author and spiritual teacher, Sogyal Rinpoche, gives us similar advice in his book: “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.” On page 241 we read: “At present, our body is undoubtedly the center of our whole universe…Because our body seems so convincingly to exist, our ‘I’ seems to exist and ‘you’ seem to exist, and the entire illusory, dualistic world we never stop projecting around us looks ultimately solid and real…”  

But, when we leave the body, we realise that it was not real. Rinpoche insists that the body, despite its appearance of being solid, is an illusion. Which is exactly what we have been taught in ACIM. On page 242, Rinpoche points out that after death: “…consciousness, at its subtlest level, continues without the body and goes through a series of states called ‘bardos’…it is precisely because we no longer have a body in the bardos that there is no ultimate reason to fear any experience, however terrifying, that may happen to us after death. How can any harm, after all, ever come to a ‘no-body’?

That is a brilliant question. Therefore, I believe we will feel much more free and much less fearful when we finally leave the body behind and move on. It also means we can live our lives fearlessly and joyfully, knowing that eternal life is God’s gift to us.

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