The title for chapter 8 is The Journey Back. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Direction of the Curriculum, The Difference between Imprisonment and Freedom, The Holy Encounter, The Gift of Freedom, The Undivided Will of the Sonship, The Treasure of God, The Body as a Means of Communication, The Body as Means or End, and Healing as Corrected Perception.
The journey back refers to the personal journey we each take away from the fear based ego toward the love of God. Where we each awaken to the truth about ourselves and about God. Where we identify the illusions, we have been living under and allow the Holy Spirit to show us the truth. Where we realize what it really means to be an eternal spiritual being living in a physical body. Jesus states, “Never accord the ego the power to interfere with the journey. It has none, because the journey is the way to what is true. Leave all illusions behind, and reach beyond all attempts of the ego to hold you back. I go before you because I am beyond the ego. Reach, therefore, for my hand because you want to transcend the ego. My strength will never be wanting, and if you choose to share it you will do so.”
This is a journey we are to take with the people around us, as we are all created by God, for God and for each other. “When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.” It is impossible to learn about who you are outside of relationships. If you look only at yourself, you will not find yourself because you are a part of everything around you. Jesus states, “I said that I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. That is why I am the light of the world. Alone we can do nothing, but together our minds fuse into something whose power is far beyond the power of its separate parts. This mind is invincible because it is undivided.”
This book has an interesting perspective on the body and sickness which I had never heard before and it has taken me some time to process. The ego wants you to believe that the physical body is who you are, and that it should be the focus of your life. ACIM teaches that the physical body is just a vehicle for the mind to communicate through and join with other minds to unite them together and with the mind of God. “The body is beautiful or ugly, peaceful or savage, helpful or harmful, according to the use to which it is put.” The ego brings about sickness and disease to keep your focus on the physical body. The book refers to this as attacking yourself or others. However, the body was not created for sickness. The Holy Spirit teaches that health is the natural state of the body. “All forms of sickness, even unto death, are physical expressions of the fear of awakening. They are attempts to reinforce sleeping out of fear of waking. Sleep is withdrawing; waking is joining. Healing is the release from the fear of waking. The decision to wake is the reflection of the will to love, since all healing involves replacing fear with love.”
The more we are willing to spiritually awake and tune into God on this earthly journey, the more we will become love to ourselves and others. It will then become more difficult for the fearful ego to attack us with sickness. When you read about Jesus, there is no mention of his body ever being sick.