This is a central ACIM teaching, that death is not "normal" or "natural", but rather a choice, and that if you do not make the choice, death does not happen. It literally speaks to the real possibility of immortality, and the impossibility of death.
Think about this. Death cannot happen without you in some way being victimized. Something has to "happen to you". And that means, you are at the effect of the world in some way. That there is some kind of cause outside of you which somehow seemed to have power over you, which overpowered you, and did something against your will.
The only way that this kind of scenario can occur, is if there is something seriously mistaken about your mind. Your mind has to be seeing itself as a victim. It has to be believing it is affected by an illusion. It has to be playing the part of victim and of being attacked. It also has to be using the world, or people in the world, as scapegoats. Without the ability to accuse the world of causing the death against your will, the death cannot happen.
A key part of this is that even when it appears that death is happening against your will, even if you do choose it and play along with the victim role and being affected by something external, even then you are still giving full consent. You are still involved. Your mind is actually participating in laying down life and becoming un-willing to live. This is not passive.
The mind cannot ever be passive. The mind is always active and creating. If the mind chooses to have a sickness, the mind is still choosing the sickness and the mind is still putting the sickness there. The sickness isn't just happening on its own. And when the mind chooses not to put the sickness there the sickness disappears.
Even if it may *appear* at the time as though the sickness is happening outside the scope of your choice, or beyond what you can control, or that you were not even the one who chose it, the truth is that you did choose it, you put it in place yourself, it is you who are maintaining it, and it cannot even continue showing up without your consent.
So you have to realize what death is. Death is only "possible" as a state where our mind has something seriously fucked up about how it is seeing itself. It can only come about by the mind deciding to pretend that it is being seriously affected. Jesus describes it as a vain attempt to make no choice at all - really the disownership of choice or the attempt to be completely irresponsible for your existence.
In the activity or implementation of dying and death, the mind is actively choosing to pretend that it has nothing to do with living, nothing to do with what happens, and nothing to do with the circumstances that are arising. It is faking it. It is going under-cover, putting on a tremendous performance as if everyone and everything else is causal other than itself, and that it is purely an effect.
So what death really is, is an attempt to NOT be causal at all, to have no power, to appear to be making no choice, and to paint this picture of stuff happening seemingly against your will. But it's such an extraordinary lie, such a cover-up, that everyone seems to believe it. All the fingers will point in the direction of "cause of death" or "why they died" to explain how this death came about. But this will only explain the manner in which the death seemed to "happen", it will not in any way implicate the person as having been the author of these events, or of being the one who made it happen to themselves.
Death is a state of extreme lying. It is the most dishonest condition possible. It is a state of not only denying God, denying the unchangeable fact of eternal life, and denying that nothing can happen to you against your will (because that is God's Will and God has given you a will which cannot be affected).
If life seems to be degrading, and diminishing, and slipping away, and the external world seems to be mounting a successful attack, and the body seems to have a mind of its own, and circumstances appear to be transpiring against the person, and it starts to look AS IF it is unfair and unchosen and the person is not doing ANYTHING to contribute to this condition, that's because the illusion is INCREASING and the person is moving further away from truth.
Death is a complete reversal of sanity, a total reversal of the proper functioning of the mind, and a complete reversal of cause and effect. It places all power and will and choice and causality as outside of oneself, making oneself entirely an "effect" of something separate from oneself.
Death actually is an attempt to claim that God is external, that God is separate, that God has a will which opposes your own, that God is to blame for destroying you, that you have no power to stop Him, and that this is all happening to you entirely against your will. In other words, it is an attempt to claim that God is the cause of all death, and not the cause of life.
It then will appear that anyone who dies does not want to die. It will appear as if the person had no say in the matter, as if life just threw them a shit sandwich. It will seem as if they are being dragged kicking and screaming against their will into the firey pits of hell as if having absolutely no power to do anything about it. This is the most grandiose, lying, fabricated, fictional, deceptive, denying, dishonest, irresponsible and bullshit state of being possible. It's an attempt to accuse the entire world of destroying oneself.
Another way to put it is that we are inside this dream which WE are dreaming, and then we turn around and attempt to claim that this dream - which is coming from us - suddenly has the ability to cause us, to decide for us what we are, to make us what we are, that we are born from it and according to its nature, that we inherit from it, that is has power over us, that it decides if we live (are born) or if and when we die, and now we are a completely powerless victim of it. That's the entire illusion of death. The suggestion that a dream that WE MADE UP, is willing against us and has taken over possession of the very mind that dreamed it in the first place.
Another word for this also is "level confusion". Every single aspect of the ego thought system is level confusion. It means that cause and effect have been reversed and what was just an effect seems to be causal and what was always causal is seen to be at its effect. This means that the lower level - the effect - now seems to turn around and inflict a deadly blow against the higher level that made it in the first place, thus reversing the levels and creating an 'upward' direction of causality.
This is actually nothing more than the attempt to say "I cause God". It is the authority problem. Death is the result of the authority problem. It's an attempt to say, I have a will which is stronger than God's and I am successfully willing that God be dead, or that God is at the effect of me, or I can change God, and God is my victim. This is the idea of sin made real, that we can "actually" sin against God and cause Him harm. When we attempt to do this, instead of God dying, WE DIE. Instead of God receiving the effects, WE receive them. And so death in form is actually an expression of the attempt to kill God, and to kill His Son.
And Jesus goes into this in the Course quite a bit. The body is used as a kind of "anchor" to associate the Son of God with a form which can APPEAR to die or go through suffering, so that we can play out a fictional sadistic story of being successful at torturing and killing God's Son. When our sense of identity as God's Son is associated or identified with the body, or bound to the body, this makes us cling to the body and then we appear to become vulnerable. Eventually the body suffers and becomes weak, because we are using it for attacking ourselves, and then the body dies. And what does our ego think is happening when the body dies? It thinks that we are *succeeding* in destroying the Son of God!. Symbolically anyway. So all death is a SACRIFICE of God's Son.
This is also why this universe that we dreamed up, is a "picture of the crucifixion of God's Son". It's an attempt to implement death, to associate God's son with the form of a body or bodies, and to then destroy those forms in order to act out this idea that God and His Son have been murdered. This is of course utter bullshit and a total lie, because God and His Son are IMMORTAL, and cannot be changed or destroyed or harmed in any way.
God has granted ETERNAL LIFE to all souls He Created and it is absolutely impossible for any soul to truly die or suffer or be sick or upset or unhappy in any way. At the core of your being you know that you are already as God created you, you have not changed since God created you, and you cannot change what God created. At the core of your being you have no authority problem and you know that death is absolutely impossible for you. And yet here we are, pretending to be bodies, stuck in an illusion, bad stuff seeming to happen from our unconscious mind making it seem like we didn't ask for it, yet we are doing it ALL to ourselves.
The secret to salvation is that you are but doing ALL of this to yourself. All of the suffering, all the sickness and disease, all the upsets and unhappiness, all the tragic sudden car accident and airplane crashes and food poisoning and wars and all the rest of it. It's all a massive fictional illusion to make it seem like you are not doing it to yourself - that you are not trying to sacrifice yourself or crucify yourself. But you ARE. It's YOU that is doing it. It is YOU that is giving your consent. It not only that, not just that you are saying to someone hey, I give you consent to come along and kill me so that it seems I didn't do it myself, it's that you actually DO IT YOURSELF.
ALL death is suicide. All of it. Every single person buried in the ground was a suicide. Even the people who "died of old age" committed suicide. All of the people who suffered from terminal illnesses committed suicide. Every single still birth, every tragedy of war crimes, every murder, every unexpected accident, absolutely all of it is CHOSEN. And not one single person had anything happen to them which they did not choose and did not participate in causing to happen.
This is the truth of the Course. This is what Jesus is teaching us, to be responsible for the POWER that we have to make anything happen, and to stop denying it and stop pretending to be victims. We are NOT at the effect of the world we see, the world is nothing but an effect. It has no power to make you ill or weak or afraid or upset in any way! You are invulnerable. You are immortal spirit!
So fundamentally, death is IMPOSSIBLE because you are immortal. Period. You cannot die. But you can pretend to die, or as the course says, you can try to associate your identity with things that appear to die. Such as the body, which is an illusion, and a wonderful way to make it appear that you are not choosing.
It is utterly impossible, in all cases, for someone to move towards death, without their mind having made the decision to use death to try to sacrifice themselves. In every single case, if sickness is showing up, if suffering is happening, if there is punishment occurring, if there is unfair victimhood, or you seem unfairly treated, or something is happening that *seems* you have no power over, it is because you have GIVEN it power over you and you have given AWAY your power TO it, to make IT have the power to seem to choose FOR you that you will suffer and die, so that you can keep your power a secret even unto yourself, and pretend that this is all happening against your will.
Death cannot even begin to happen without your participation. It cannot even begin to happen without your consent. It cannot even begin to happen without your mind doing something wrong and unnatural. Death is NOT natural. It is completely unnatural. Anything that dies is filled with lies. Death is not an exit from the dream either. It is a guarantee of reincarnation. It doesn't matter how much of a famous guru you are. If you still go through death, you are still denying God, are still at the effect of the world, are still putting in place a state of victimhood, are still rallying things against you, and are still believing that God's Son can be killed.
So do not think that death is some kind of option or some kind of thing which is acceptable or peaceful or loving or kind or a sign of success or a way out of dreaming or inevitable or something which just happens against your will. IT DOES NOT. It cannot happen AT ALL unless you are making significant mistakes and are trying to bring about a will against your own will, meaning your will is divided against itself, meaning you still have a split mind. The symptoms of all sickness and death cannot show up AT ALL unless there is something going wrong with your mind.
"A broken body is proof the mind has not been healed." This is absolutely 100% literal. If there is some kind of sign of damage or breakage or sickness in the body, it is because the mind is attempting to attack ITSELF. What you use the body for it will become to you - use it for attack and it will become weak and sick and die. Use it to bring the word of God (immortality) to those who have it not and it becomes holy and being holy it CANNOT be sick, NOR CAN IT DIE. This is pure ACIM teaching.
Death is failure. Death is denial. Death is a lie. Death is a mistake. Death is victimhood. Death is self hatred. Death is sacrifice. Death is illusion. Death is suffering. Death is reluctance to accept the truth. Death is a defense against the truth. Death is sickness. Death is level confusion. Death is a reversal of cause and effect. Death is the authority problem. Death is a belief in the justified consequences of real sin. Death is absolutely the OPPOSITE of everything the course is teaching, everything true about God and His creation, and is a total reversal of sanity. Do not see it as normal or natural or an graceful exit.
Jesus is teaching us to stop killing ourselves. To accept immortality. To demonstrate immortality. To show the world that death is impossible. Jesus was crucified (by his own will) and came back and manifested another body to demonstrate that the MIND makes the body and can make another, to prove that the mind is completely NOT at the effect of the body or the world, and therefore has escaped death entirely. It is proof of immortality. Jesus overcame death. He wants us to overcome death, not give in to it. Not anticipate it or fear it or give it power or expect it or make it into a religion or worship it or put it on a pedestal like some kind of salvation.
Only the creations of light are real. Nothing real can be threatened. What is real is immortal. Spirit is is a state of grace forever. Heaven and earth are total opposites. Heaven is a state of eternal life. There is no death in God's Son.
There is no death! The Son of God is free! The Son of God can only be free if it is completely experientially true that nothing can happen against His will. And it IS true. There is no will but God's. Eternal life is GUARANTEED.