During my recent trip, I spent a lot of time practicing with the central idea of Review VI of the Workbook, “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.” Lesson 199 says that if you make the idea that you are not a body “part of every practice period you take,” it will reinforce whatever other ideas you are practicing. I really found this to be the case for me, so I’m planning to incorporate some version of that idea into my practice every day from now on.
I started using the Review VI version of this because Robert and I had recently done Workbook commentary recordings of Lesson 199 and Review VI. As I went on my trip, I thought this would be a great idea to apply to my mother who has cancer: “You are not a body. You are free. For you are still as God created you.” And it truly did help me to see my mother in a different light.
But then I got to thinking that perhaps I could get even more out of the idea, based on that instruction in Lesson 199:
“Cherish today’s idea [“I am not a body. I am free”], and practice it today and every day. Make it a part of every practice period you take. There is no thought that will not gain thereby in power to help the world, and none which will not gain in added gifts to you as well. We sound the call of freedom round the world with this idea. And would you be exempt from the acceptance of the gifts you give?” (W-pI.199.5:1-5)
What amazing promises Jesus gives us here! If I will practice this idea every day, it will pump additional power into any other idea I practice, power sufficient to set the world and myself free from bondage (especially the bondage of feeling trapped in a body). Why would I not cherish an idea that can do this?
This idea was especially helpful on my trip, because traveling is a kind of extreme version of our standard daily activity: the care and feeding of the body. On the level of form, so much of my trip was about figuring out how to get my body from one place to another, how to secure food and shelter for it in unfamiliar places, and how to keep it comfortable outside of the home that I designed for its comfort. There’s nothing like being crammed in an airline seat (with a cat stowed underneath) to give you an appreciation for just how imprisoning life in a body really is. What a relief to remind myself that I am not that!
I did find that practicing the “I am not a body” idea (in its Review VI form) added fuel to the other ideas I was practicing. For instance, one day my main practice was the beautiful prayer from Lesson 231, “Father I will to remember you”:
“What can I seek for, Father, but Your Love? Perhaps I think I seek for something else; a something I have called by many names. Yet is Your Love the only thing I seek, or ever sought. For there is nothing else that I could ever really want to find. Let me remember You. What else could I desire but the truth about myself?” (W-pII.231.1:1-6)
Combining this with “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me” brought forth a thought process that went something like this: “All those other things I seek are for serving the body. And no matter how hard I’ve tried to find happiness through serving the body, all I’ve really found is pain and bondage. But I am not a body. I am still the limitless loving spirit God created me to be. I am still His beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased. What could I possibly want but to experience that? How could anything less than that make me happy?”
Reminding myself throughout the day that I am not a body made my trip go a lot more smoothly. It gave me a modicum of peace and happiness even as I dealt with some messy airline snafus. And the idea continues to be a source of real comfort. Alas, I still spend an inordinate amount of time focused on my body. But through practicing this idea, every now and then I catch a glimpse of the immense liberation that comes from realizing that I am truly free from this fleshy prison. There is something deeply, joyously liberating about really letting this idea sink in. So I am going to make it a part of every practice period I take. It is an idea worth cherishing.