According to A Course in Miracles, the ego is the thought that I can find lasting happiness as a special individual, quite apart from the oneness Love (what we call God) which created me. The metaphysical foundation of the Course holds that in reality this is impossible, since ‘oneness’ means there is nothing else, but my mind has the freedom to imagine a dream of time and space in which I seem to experience this separated ego-state. This hallucinatory dream, however, can only be upheld by constantly proving that this is something different from the eternal love that we rejected; hence nothing lasts and nothing is ever perfect.
Moreover, the ego senses that the Son (i.e., all of us combined), who willingly chose to make up this dream world of an imperfect universe, could change His mind and choose oneness Love once more, which would end the entire dream of time and space. To prevent this from happening, the mind must constantly be fueled by fear of a made-up angry God, hellbent on punishing us for having rejected Him. As long as we have a list of things to fear, the mind will not take the opportunity to honestly look within and realize the illusory nature of the dream world of time and space. And so there always seems to be something to fear in this dream world. The forms are myriad: being manipulated by evil politicians; a natural catastrophe; a civil war; or a new malignant virus.
Regardless of the form of fear, the ego’s message is always the same: be afraid. Be very afraid, for your life can be snuffed out by anything at any time. And this all seemingly separated souls do believe, as we read in chapter 21 of the text: “The blind become accustomed to their world by their adjustments to it. They think they know their way about in it. They learned it, not through joyous lessons, but through the stern necessity of limits they believed they could not overcome. And still believing this, they hold those lessons dear, and cling to them because they cannot see. They do not understand the lessons keep them blind. This they do not believe. And so they keep the world they learned to “see” in their imagination, believing that their choice is that or nothing. They hate the world they learned through pain. And everything they think is in it serves to remind them that they are incomplete and bitterly deprived. Thus they define their life and where they live, adjusting to it as they think they must, afraid to lose the little that they have. And so it is with all who see the body as all they have and all their brothers have.” (T-21.I.4:1-5:2)
As long as I still believe I am a vulnerable body, no reasonable arguments will be able to lift the fear that my life may be ‘snuffed out at any time’. It doesn’t matter if the mortality rate of the new virus clearly approximates the mortality rate of similar well-known viruses we’re not worried about anymore. It doesn’t matter if economists say that the consequences of a society lock-down may turn out to be be far worse than just accepting the death percentage and keep on trading and living. It doesn’t matter if an integral health coach emphasizes the formidable learning capacity of our immune system. Fear keeps our sense of being a unique special separated individual body intact, and so the mind chooses to remain on the verge of panic: “See? There’s the proof. I can be attacked and killed by a virus; something I cannot even see. The separation from God has clearly been accomplished in reality!”
A Course in Miracles does not chide us for still being spiritual infants, and Jesus certainly nowhere mentions that we should stubbornly deny whatever our senses perceive. The body is not evil; it is neutral, and should be taken care of as such. As early as Chapter 2 of the text, Jesus explicitly mentions that using ‘magic’ (the course’s term for anything material, including medicine) to take care of the body is not sinful (T-2.IV.4:4-10). So should you have a headache, do take an aspirin! So in the face of a virus threat, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy lifestyle medicine: eat nutritious food; get enough exercise; sleep well; and reduce stress levels. And this final aspect, of course, is the key. I only experience stress because of certain beliefs about what might go wrong and how this could affect me; that is: affect my body. And there’s no doubt the body can be affected by a plethora of things that are seemingly out of my control.
Again, the only way out of this state of misery and fear is to change my mind about the world and about what I am. In the workbook we read: “The world was made as an attack on God. It symbolizes fear. And what is fear except love’s absence? Thus the world was meant to be a place where God could enter not, and where His Son could be apart from Him” (W-pII.3.2:1-4). Workbook lesson 97 affirms: “I am spirit”. Should the virus conquer my bodily existence because my fear level is still too high, I will inevitably reincarnate in a new body, as many times as I need to finally learn the lesson of Love (T-6) that God’s Son is one, and cannot turn a dreamed up universe of time and space into reality. Metaphysicists would moreover add that in reality, time is already over anyway. So, referring to workbook lesson 48: “There is nothing to fear”!
Fear is always a poor counselor. The solution to any threat that seems to come at us, be it a manipulative boss, a flooding, or a virus, is never to raise the level of fear, but always to lower the fear. A Course in Miracles helps me lower my fear level by pointing out the difference between truth and untruth. And as an effective Course student, I do not walk around accusing my friends, family and other relatives that they should stop believing they are a body and that they are in reality invulnerable. On the contrary: effective Course students meet people where they are. So they first turn inward and ask the Holy Spirit what would be the most loving thing to say and do. Very likely, something will come up that these folks can understand and appreciate, for example strengthening the immune system through good food, sufficient exercise and a regular sleep pattern. If you can succeed in remaining totally kind and loving, you can honestly claim the title “Teacher of God”. Happy practicing!
See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:
See my Feb. 2020 Course workshop on YouTube called “A kingdom to rule” (English captions/subtitles available).
Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.