Lesson 136, “Sickness is a defense against the truth”, contains statements by Jesus which are hard to accept. They seem like extraordinary claims about what sickness is, how it is undone, and the impossibility of a healthy mind producing a sick body. It speaks of immortality, even at a bodily level.
In ACIM, sickness means a belief in separation from God. This applies to the level of the mind and it is in the mind that it is healed. However, the body is being projected by the mind and is “within” the mind, and reflects the mind’s condition. It is an out-picturing of the inward condition.
Every “form” of sickness which shows up in bodies is included in the scope of sickness applying to the mind.
Sickness projects a sick body. Bodies which have forms of sickness, suffering, damage, something broken or missing etc, are expressions of the belief in separation. These things can ONLY show up IF the mind maintains that belief.
Interesting stuff happens to bodies when the mind is healed. Sickness does not stick around on its own, nor is it sustained by the body or by the world. It is solely MAINTAINED by the mind, and so if it is showing up in the body, the mind IS maintaining it, thus believes in separation, thus is not healed. A broken/sick/dead body is PROOF that the mind has not been healed. When the mind IS healed, the body MUST therefore NOT PROVE that sickness is real, and therefore all signs and symptoms of sickness MUST disappear.
Let’s see what Jesus says which is so radical (my emphasis):
— “(Sickness) Being causeless and without a meaningful intent of any kind, it cannot be at all. WHEN THIS IS SEEN, HEALING IS AUTOMATIC. It dispels this meaningless illusion by the same approach that carries all of them to truth, and merely leaves them there to disappear.”
So right off the bat, Jesus teaches us that all forms and expressions of sickness (including cancer, stroke, heart problems, broken limbs etc, and death), MUST DISAPPEAR when the purpose of the sickness is recogized. Later Jesus tells us that we make sickness in order to DEFEND ourselves against the truth. But we only keep the sickness so long as it serves this purpose, and when the purpose or “need” for the defense is gone, the sickness MUST disappear.
—“Sickness is not an accident. Like all defenses, it is an insane device for self-deception. And like all the rest, its purpose is to hide reality, attack it, change it, render it inept, distort it, twist it, or reduce it to a little pile of unassembled parts. The aim of all defenses is to keep the truth from being whole.”
Clearly then, sickness attacks and defends us against the truth. This includes all physical symtoms which is how the mind’s sickness shows up. If the mind is attacking the truth, it is also going to attack the body. The body will then become weak and sick. Since sickness is an attack on the truth, it is NOT POSSIBLE for there to be sickness if there is not attack, and it is NOT POSSIBLE to wake up to welcoming the truth without putting the sickness aside. Doing so must make it disappear, otherwise if it remains in any way, it continues to prove the mind is not healed.
Notice also how Jesus describes the mind as trying to twist, distort, make inept, and reduce to split-off parts. This act of the mind is HOW SICKNESS IS MADE. If the mind is TWISTING REALITY, it TWISTS THE BODY. If the mind is distorting reality, it distorts the body as well. Holy Spirit showed me this happening in a sudden vision not long ago, where the mind was literally “twisting” and distorting, like applying a psychic force, towards the body, making the body sick.
Our attempt to attack and change reality, attacks and changes our projected body image as well. We can’t hold a belief in attack in the mind AND keep a picture of a healthy body in the mind at the same time. The body WILL suffer if we attack reality, and if we DO NOT attack reality, the body MUST BE HEALED for the same reason - the mind cannot hold a picture of a sick body in the mind at the same time as believing in health/wholeness/truth.
Here is how ALL SICKNESS AND DEATH is implemented:
—”Sickness is a decision. It is not a thing that happens to you, quite unsought, which makes you weak and brings you suffering. It is a choice you make, a plan you lay, when for an instant truth arises in your own deluded mind, and all your world appears to totter and prepare to fall. Now are you sick, that truth may go away and threaten your establishments no more.”
So yes, Jesus is literally saying, we can ONLY be sick if we DECIDE TO BE SICK. We can only be sick when we misperceive the truth and believe it is attacking us, and that we NEED A DEFENSE to keep us “safe” from it. We will then use separation as a device for trying to put distance, or a gap, between us and God. This puts a gap between us and LIFE. The result is that we cut ourselves off from LIFE. And that means, we just chose to be sick and to die.
Jesus also tells us here that sickness DOES NOT HAPPEN TO US against our will. This mean ALL sickness. And death. Neither sickness nor death can appear AT ALL unless YOU decide to make them appear. That’s quite some responsibility that you have! You MAKE sickness from guilt, as an attack, to make the truth go away, so that you can have an illusion of your EGO being safe. Since sickness does not happen against your will, neither does it HAVE any will of its own, and therefore CANNOT STAY if you will to accept God’s truth.
—“How do you think that sickness can succeed in shielding you from truth? Because it proves the body is not separate from you, and so you must be separate from the truth. You suffer pain because the body does, and in this pain are you made one with it. Thus is your "true" identity preserved, and the strange, haunting thought that you might be something beyond this little pile of dust silenced and stilled. For see, this dust can make you suffer, twist your limbs and stop your heart, commanding you to die and cease to be.”
Here Jesus is telling us that we attempt to BIND OURSELVES to the body in order to DEFEND ourselves against God/Life. By equating/identifying yourself with the body, you align yourself with the physical and attempt to SHUT OUT the mind. If you can identify yourself with the body, and if the body will then be sick and dead, this is HOW the ego attempts to kill the Son of God.
He also tells us that believing this distortion, which is also a belief in magic, and is also the authority problem, has the capability of bringing about DEATH. All death is a choice. Suicide. There is no accidental death. No-one dies without their own consent. He continues:
—”Thus is the body stronger than the truth, which asks you live, but cannot overcome your choice to die. And so the body is more powerful than everlasting life, Heaven more frail than hell, and God's design for the salvation of His Son opposed by a decision stronger than His Will”
“Your choice to die”. Hmm. Yes. We CHOOSE it. Which means, it CANNOT HAPPEN if we do not choose it. Death is not caused by ANYTHING except your own mind. Sickness is not caused by ANYTHING except your own mind. Furthermore, sickness and death (which you made, and can abolish), does not continue when you decide NOT to be sick or die. When you decide NOT to be sick or die, SICKNESS AND DEATH CANNOT HAPPEN.
—“You can but choose to think you die, or suffer sickness or distort the truth in any way. What is created is apart from all of this. Defenses are plans to defeat what cannot be attacked. What is unalterable cannot change. And what is wholly sinless cannot sin.”
So you can pretend to die, if you want. You can pretend to be sick, if you want. But sickness and death are both a dream, not real, and what you really are cannot die. God does NOT SUPPORT SICKNESS AND DEATH in any way. He does not create them, he does not view them in a special way, he does not include them, he does not believe in them. God is ONLY LIFE, not life and death.
Here’s a clincher:
—”Truth has a power far beyond defense, for no illusions can remain where truth has been allowed to enter. And it comes to any mind that would lay down its arms, and cease to play with folly”
Read this and read it again. Sickness (illusions) cannot remain where truth has been allowed to enter. This means, ALL SICKNESS AND DEATH cannot *REMAIN* if the mind chooses to accept the truth. Accepting the atonement, or any act of forgiveness or miracles, MUST undo sickness and death in some way. And that includes at the body level.
Read it again. Truth has a POWER stronger than defenses (sickness, death). When truth’s POWER has entered the mind, sickness and death CANNOT REMAIN. Neither in the mind, nor in the body. NOWHERE. Because truth knows that sickness and death DO NOT EXIST at any level. If you STOP ATTACKING YOURSELF with sickness and death, you will STOP BEING SICK AND DEAD.
—“Healing will flash across your open mind, as peace and truth arise to take the place of war and vain imaginings.”
Peace an truth TAKES THE PLACE of the vain imaginings that were “sickness and death”. All sickness is imagined, made by the MIND. Stop dreaming it and it will cease to be.
Does the undoing of sickness affect the body? ABSOLUTELY!
—”It (mind) will be healed of all the sickly wishes that it tried to authorize the body to obey. Now is the body healed, because the source of sickness has been opened to relief.”
NOW IS THE BODY HEALED. When the mind heals its belief in sickness, the body MUST HEAL. The SOURCE of the sickness has received relief, and therefore the sickness must “clear up”. It must disappear in a MIRACLE.
Now let’s break out the big one.... the IMMORTALITY OF THE BODY:
—”Perhaps you do not realize that this removes the limits you had placed upon the body by the purposes you gave to it. As these are laid aside, the strength the body has will always be enough to serve all truly useful purposes. The body's health is FULLY GUARANTEED, because it is not limited by time, by weather or fatigue, by food and drink, or any laws you made it serve before. You need do nothing now to make it well, for sickness has become impossible.”
Wowza! The body‘s health is guaranteed, ie it is IMPOSSIBLE for the body to be sick or die. In a state of truth in the mind, SICKNESS IS IMPOSSIBLE. It cannot exist, it cannot stay, it MUST be healed, 100%! You cannot have a sick body and a healthy mind at the same time!!!! This is also supported when Jesus says elsewhere:
”The central lesson is always this; that what you use the body for IT WILL BECOME to you. Use if for sin or for attack, which is the same as sin, and you will SEE IT as sinful. Because it is sinful it is weak, and being weak, it suffers and it dies. Use it to bring the Word of God to those who have it not, and the body becomes HOLY. Because it is holy it CANNOT BE SICK, NOR CAN IT DIE. When its usefulness is done it is laid by, and that is all.”
So as Jesus has said here, the state of the body is ALWAYS a direct reflection or correlation to the state of the mind. If mind SEES it as sinful, it becomes SICK, and dies. This accounts for the sole cause of ALL SICKNESS in the entire world. And all death. BUT... IF you SEE IT AS HOLY, it becomes whole, it becomes INVULNERABLE TO ATTACK, it becomes INCAPABLE OF BEING SICK, and IT CANNOT DIE! Another word for that is, IMMORTALITY!
Let’s be clear here, before the controversy takes root, that Jesus also says that at some point this “invulnerable, deathless body”, which doesn’t even need food or water (!), will likely at some point be laid aside. When it is not longer USEFUL it will disappear. But this does not mean it will be put down on the ground and made to rot. THAT IS DEATH! The holy body can only be “ended” by DISAPPEARING IT by the power of the mind. Nothing else can end it, and it CANNOT be ended by attack. Attack will merely KEEP it and create more sickness and reincarnation.
So yes, at some point the body can become incapable of being attacked in any way. Sustained by the power of God supernaturally. Eventually we will RECOGNIZE that we are not a body at all, and it has no usefulness, so our TRANSPARENT MIND will extend only transparency (total honesty). This will mean it STOPS PROJECTING A BODY. The body thus disappears into the nothingness from which it came. This is how the dream is left! It is the only exit. Leaving via DEATH is the TOTAL OPPOSITE OF CHOOSING LIFE.
Jesus concludes with a reminder:
—”Yet this protection needs to be preserved by careful watching. If you let your mind harbor attack thoughts, yield to judgment or make plans against uncertainties to come, you have again misplaced yourself, and made a bodily identity which will attack the body, for the mind is sick.”
Note here that Jesus says we make a body identity which, separately, attacks the body. This gives a different meaning to body identification.
If we believe we are separate from God we will see ourselves as being an illusion, which will show up as an IMAGE - a body. He warns us here to be careful of MAKING OURSELVES SICK, beause our mind literally does have this power over matter/form. Every miracle demonstrates that the mind must be more powerful than the body. Therefore the mind has power over ALL matter.
Hoepfully it is clear from this chapter alone, that we do not NEED to be sick, sickness CANNOT STAY unless we want to KEEP mental illness along with it, when we choose the TRUTH it is *GUARANTEED* that all sickness and death must be UNDONE COMPLETELY, and it is God’s will that we be perfectly happy and healthy even in a body.
No-one needs to suffer. No-one needs to die. The body cannot be sick unless you make it so, and doing so will keep you from God. But choose again, and sickness will vanish before your eyes. All sickness can be reversed. All death can be reversed. There is nothing your holiness cannot do.