Lesson 136 is often particularly challenging to Course students. The ego, as it so often does, views this lesson from its very limited and personal perspective, and objects to the narrow interpretation it superimposes onto the lesson that it is to blame for any sickness that befalls the body. This interpretation misses the deeper message of the lesson.
The world is an illusion, a dream arising in the mind that has imagined itself separate from its source, and has responded by contracting in fear. That initial contraction leads to yet a deeper sense of separation, and yet more contraction and more fear, creating a snowball-effect that takes the mind further and further away from the truth of its being, and gives rise to a dreamed world which the mind mistakenly thinks real, and within which it loses itself and loses sight of its true nature.
Ego is nothing more than the thought system that arises to replace the pure knowing of Self which seems to have been lost. It is a response born of panic, a movement of the mind that feels cast adrift and left to its own defenses. This isn’t something that can be thought of in terms of individual volition, because it is beyond the concept of individualization and volition, and represents the means by which God’s Being, which is infinite and unlimited, can know something finite and limited. Ego has made sickness, but not in the way that we’re accustomed to thinking about cause-and-effect and personal responsibility.
And yet the Course speaks to the mind in that way, because the mind can only think in such personal, dualistic terms. To quickly move the mind away from its objections, however, the Course moves past what the mind understands to what the heart can remember, and draws us back to the memory of our Source by reminding us that “You can but choose to think you die, or suffer sickness or distort the truth in any way. What is created is apart from all of this.” (W-136.11:4-5)
When the body is seen for what it is—a projection in and of the mind—it becomes clearly seen that the body in and of itself cannot feel, that all sensations originate in the mind, and not in form. The very idea of sickness is then recognized for what it is—an idea in the mind. The need for so-called sickness to resolve dissolves with this recognition. And with this need now gone the mind is free to create willingly and openly rather than from a place of contraction and fear.
“Now is the body healed, because the source of sickness has been opened to relief. And you will recognize you practiced well by this: The body should not feel at all. If you have been successful, there will be no sense of feeling ill or feeling well, of pain or pleasure. No response at all is in the mind to what the body does. Its usefulness remains and nothing more.” (W-136.17)