Deny you are a shadow briefly laid upon a dying world. - A Course in Miracles

The ideas expressed in the "Foundation/Core Questions" have implications which will be explored in this topic. If you have not fully explored the "Current Perspective" (topics 1 through 4) and the "Foundation/Core Questions", please do so before reading this section.

As stated in "The Foundation," the aspect of mind we are identified with has chosen to dissociate from its Self, its Creator, its Reality and made up an alternate system of thinking: the ego. The ego makes up an illusory world that appears to be outside the mind as in a dream. Its sole purpose is to keep this dissociated aspect of mind fixated on the ego belief system, which means belief in the body and world in which the body lives, thereby denying our true identity as Spirit. Remember that the ego's purpose is your purpose because you are identified with it. This means that the you who are identified with the body are projecting images that will validate belief in the body and world. ACIM says we confuse pain for joy. To the ego pain is joy because if you believe in pain, you believe in the body. Any pleasure you experience that is associated with the body is really fear masquerading as pleasure. In ACIM T 415.12: "It is impossible to seek for pleasure through the body and not find pain. It is essential that this relationship be understood, for it is one the ego sees as proof of sin. It is not really punitive at all. It is but the inevitable result of equating yourself with the body that is the invitation to pain. For it invites fear to enter and become your purpose."

I now want to explore the distinction of experiencing a body and being a body. In other words is experiencing a body dependent on being a body? Can you experience a body without being a body? Why is the ego so fearful when faced with such an inquiry? And of course its fears and yours are the same. Your dissociated mind made the ego and its survival depends on your continuing belief in it. It maintains this belief by identifying with the body which it made and taught you to believe is you. "My thoughts are images that I have made. Whatever I see reflects my thoughts. It is my thoughts that tell me where I am and what I am." (ACIM L-53.5) The ego, body and world are made by your dissociated mind. Their sole purpose is a defense against the truth of who you are. Were it not for this fact the distinction between being a body and experiencing a body would not be so frightening an idea. Therefore, the ego must convince you that the body and world are an objective reality not an illusion or projection of mind.

How does the ego accomplish this task? The answer is initially very difficult to confront. It is the reason we are afraid of peace and are attracted to pain and death. However, once looked at, it opens the way for healing and peace. With this in mind, let us examine this very important question.

Which emotion convinces you that you are a body? In Reality we have but one emotion, Love. However, the aspect of our mind dissociated from Reality experiences the emotion we call fear, which is dependent on and therefore convinces you of, the reality of the body. Of which emotion are you unwilling to be responsible? I think it is fair to say that you are willing to be responsible for experiences of peace, love, joy and happiness. However, it would be absurd for you to complain, be angry, depressed, victimized and then say, "I did this to myself." To pull off these experiences, the body must be seen as real; as an effect of a cause outside itself. Hence the body is real - the ego rests its case! So we see that fear is the ego's friend and therefore your friend. As long as you identify with the ego and therefore the body, its purpose is your purpose. We will fear love, which is our reality, and love fear because it seems to validate the body's reality. Of course all of this is below the level of conscious awareness and we consciously believe we are actually pursuing peace, love, joy and happiness although the ego's hidden agenda is our real goal. Hence in ACIM T-231.7 the statement: "When you think you are projecting what you do not want, it is still because you do want it."

Your mind is perfectly capable of using body images as a medium for experience. The experience we call "night-time dreams" is a perfect example. If we were willing to acknowledge that our, so called, daily experiences were, in fact, images projected from our mind, absolutely nothing would change except the purpose. This is what ACIM means by the "Real World." We do not wake up from the dream-world by this awareness. The only thing that changes is the purpose. This in effect means that we have chosen to heal the mind that dissociated from God/Self and follow "God's Plan" through forgiveness. The fact that we have believed the body was real did not make the body real. However, because this was our purpose we were willing to accept this belief. This belief had consequences and those consequences were all the experiences we have ever had "of the world." Without the need to deny who we are, our purpose changes along with our need for pain. The Holy Spirit, the Voice for God within us, can, with our permission, be our guide to peace within the dream.

This world will change through you. No other means can save it, for God’s plan is simply this: The Son of God is free to save himself,   given  the  Word of God to be his Guide, forever in his mind and at his side to lead him surely to his Father’s  house by his own will,   forever free  as  God’s. He  is  not led  by  force,   but  only  love. He is not judged, but only sanctified.  - A Course In Miracles