The most puzzling thing about the aging process is that the mind receiving the thoughts of aging is changeless, eternal. That is, while the hair thins, the skin wrinkles, the eyes dim, the hearing diminishes, the muscles soften, the mind conscious of these thoughts is experienced exactly the same as when you were five years old. This consciousness is simply the receptive mechanism for thoughts. You are reading this sentence with this mechanism. It is eternal, constant, immortal. But the thoughts it carries are either of the spirit, or of the ego. This is the way Jesus says it in His Course in Miracles.
Thoughts can represent the lower or bodily level of experience or the higher or spiritual level of experience. One makes the physical, and the other creates the spiritual. (T-1.1.12)
These thoughts are experienced as a voice. It is always a matter of choice, which voice we attend to. When we choose to listen to the bodily-level thoughts, particularly as we get older, we are surprised because we experience the mind carrying them, and it is eternal, changeless, though we seem to change.
Here is an apt analogy: Your breath carries words, just as your mind carries thoughts. Words and thoughts may change, but breath is breath, and mind is mind. The medium is the message. You are eternally mind, just as God created you. Look at the connection between breath and words. Say the word "stop," observing what happens in your mouth. Your breath emerges from your larynx, giving it its tone. Then it hisses its way between the curve of your tongue and your upper palate, sounding the "s." Then the tip of your tongue snaps shut for a split-second, blocking your breath, for the "t." Your mouth opens for a moment, and your breath proceeds uninterrupted for the "o," sounding like "ah." Your lips suddenly close, then open, emitting a plosive "p," sounding like "puh." Thus does our breath carry our words, and our breath is a constant medium, whether it carries words of love, or words of fear. The tone may vary, but breath is breath.
Similarly, but without the physical mechanisms, does your mind carry thoughts. The thought of the peace of God flows through my mind, emanating from the Holy Spirit. Most appropriate for our analogy, "Spirit" comes from the Latin, spiritus, meaning "breath," from spirare, meaning "to blow, to breathe." Our minds are conduits, channeling the voice of the ego, or the Voice for God. Obviously, when we listen only to the Holy Spirit, we are in our right minds.
Right-mindedness listens to the Holy Spirit, forgives the world, and through Christ's vision sees the real world in its place. (C-1.5:2)
Until we learn to ask for help to forgive our lower-level thoughts, we are in our wrong minds.
Wrong-mindedness listens to the ego and makes illusions; perceiving sin and justifying anger, and seeing guilt, disease and death as real. (C-6:1)
And always we are minds; we are consciousness; we are as God created us.
Consciousness is the receptive mechanism, receiving messages from above or below; from the Holy Spirit or the ego. (C-7:3)
And now we have a reference point for this passage from Review V1:
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
I am not these thoughts about this aging body. I am free to choose to align with the thoughts flowing through my mind, reminding me that I am the holy Son of God. I am still, both in the sense of continuing to be, and in the sense of the stillness, as God created me. I am the consciousness that I was before coming into this world, the consciousness while I am here for a moment, and the consciousness after I leave.
I will be still an instant and go home.
Why would I choose to stay an instant more
where I do not belong, when God Himself
has given me His Voice to call me home? (W-p1.202.1:2)
This is the way William Wordsworth (1770-1850) expresses it in a stanza in his Ode, Intimations of Immortality.
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar.
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.
Meanwhile, the body serves simply as a vehicle for consciousness, carrying the breath of God, maintaining its health and vigor when the mind chooses to identify with the Word of God.
I am not a body. I am free. (Title, Lesson 199)
It is essential for your progress in
this course that you accept today's idea,
and hold it very dear. Be not concerned
that to the ego it is quite insane.
The ego holds the body dear because
it dwells in it, and lives united with
the home that it has made. It is a part
of the illusion that has sheltered it
from being found illusory itself.
Here does it hide, and here it can be seen
as what it is. Declare your innocence
and you are free. The body disappears,
because you have no need of it except
the need the Holy Spirit sees. For this,
the body will appear as useful form
for what the mind must do. It thus becomes
a vehicle which helps forgiveness be
extended to the all-inclusive goal
that it must reach, according to God's plan. (W-199.4,5)
The breath carries the words; thoughts flow through the mind. These are powerful metaphors. Metaphor comes from the Greek, pherein, "to bear, to carry," and the Latin meta, meaning "beyond, transcending." In this case, these metaphors serve to carry the meaning, transcending the physical. This means that what we are is eternal, created by God, expressed as soul, our life's Star, pure consciousness, Light, Love, Self, God's Son, Christ's mind, Spirit.
I am spirit. (Title, Lesson 97)
Today's idea identifies you with your one Self. It accepts no split identity, nor tries to weave opposing factors into unity. It simply states the truth. Practice this truth today as often as you can, for it will bring your mind from conflict to the quiet fields of peace. No chill of fear can enter, for your mind has been absolved from madness, letting go illusions of a split identity.
We state again the truth about your Self, the holy Son of God Who rests in you; whose mind has been restored to sanity. You are the spirit lovingly endowed with all your Father's Love and peace and joy. You are the spirit which completes Himself, and shares His function as Creator. He is with you always, as you are with Him. (W-p1.97.1,2)
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. (7:2)
And that is the state of mind I rest in, the only state there is.
For some reason, I wasn’t able to publish this article just after writing it, and I let it rest in draft form for a couple of days. Now, I know why. I was knocked down by some sort of viral infection, and I basically went to bed for five days. Sparing you the details of nausea, dehydration, and sheer exhaustion, I will tell you that the days and nights blended into one big snooze.
But the most remarkable thing is that during this entire time, my mind was clear, and I was in the continuous experience of the peace of God. And that’s why the article could not be finished until now. During this episode, I was in the direct experience of not being a body. Although I was going through considerable stress at the bodily level, I was free, completely unaffected. What kept coming to mind was the word “constancy.” It is not something I strived for, it is the state of mind that I found myself in, for that is what we are, as created by God. It is the direct experience of not being a body, but of being this state of mind, of being in the world, but not of the world.
Maintaining this constancy is all I ask for now because that is all there is. Everything else is of my own making and does not exist. I ask for help to remain constant, and not to be tempted by everything else.
God is my Father, and He loves His Son. (Title, Lesson 224)
My true Identity is so secure,
so lofty, sinless, glorious and great,
wholly beneficent and free from guilt,
that Heaven looks to It to give it light.
It lights the world as well. It is the gift
my Father gave to me; the one as well
I give the world. There is no gift but This
that can be either given or received.
This is reality, and only This.
This is illusion's end. It is the truth.