And yet, is the body prisoner

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And yet, is the body prisoner

Post by Speculum »

I have just posted this item at The Gazebo on The Zoo Fence. I am putting it here, too, in the hope that others may want to join in the consideration of this idea.

I have recently finished re-reading ACIM's Text. This is the fifth time I have read the book since we first purchased the set thirty years ago, and it is still good.

But something in the last few pages of the book jumped out at me, something I want to consider a little bit in this space.

Here's the passage from the book:

Yet, is the body prisoner, not the mind. The body thinks no thoughts. It has no power to learn, to pardon, nor enslave. It gives no orders that the mind need serve, nor sets conditions that it must obey. … It sickens at the bidding of the mind … And so the body, where no learning can occur, could never change unless the mind preferred that the body change in its appearance, to suit the purpose given by the mind.

Now, of course, I do not take the idea of bodily imprisonment literally, nor do I suppose it is intended to be taken literally; but all the same, it interests me, and here's why. The image for me has always been that it is the mind, not the body, which is "imprisoned" (although I don't think I would have used the word imprisoned).

Thus, as I had always considered it, it is the mind that is imprisoned (captured, caught, enclosed in, limited by, whatever) in the body. But here, it is the body which is imprisoned. By the mind. The mind has taken, and is holding, the body prisoner. As a habitation, I suppose.

That is an intriguing thought.

It certainly is consistent with the relationship we seem to have with the body.

The body does for us very nearly everything we ask of it.

But how do we treat the body? How many of the "physical" things we do are actions or activities that are pleasing to the mind without any real consideration of whether or not they are appropriate, much less pleasing, to the body. Drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, eating garbage like fast food and sugar candy, not getting enough exercise or sleep, participating in dangerous sports, fighting wars, and so on.

UG suggests that the body, the organism, has its own intelligence. And that makes sense to me. But if we accept that, why do we not respect it?

We think of the body as my body, and we treat it accordingly, as if it were a possession. What authority do we have for doing that?

This passage from ACIM's Text has prompted me to undertake a new practice: Consciously thanking this body for its use as a residence; recognizing its own legitimate existence; and releasing any sense of my having imprisoned or in any other way exercised authority over it.

Doing so has generated a curious, unexpected reaction. I feel release. I feel lighter, more comfortable, less fettered.

What's the old saying about the warden being as imprisoned as the prisoner?

Of course, if it is all an illusion, what difference does it make? But, then, it is not really an illusion as long as it seems real. That is, to argue that it is an illusion is a cop out, until it really is seen and felt and known to be an illusion. There's a Catch 22 in there, but I think it is necessary and unavoidable, otherwise we (1) fool ourselves and (2) somehow take advantage of ... well, I'm not sure exactly of what, but something.

Anyway, it is making for some interesting thoughts.
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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Re: And yet, is the body prisoner

Post by jenjulian »

Last edited by jenjulian on January 6th, 2008, 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: And yet, is the body prisoner

Post by W4TVQ »

With regard to the realtionship of body to mind, I can't quite see applying the word "prisoner" to either. I see what is (at least for now) a symbiotic relationship; the body serves the mind, by providing it a tool to experience reality, and the mind serves the body by maintaining it alive for the duration of its usefulness.

This is, as I see it, because the body is generated by the mind much as the universe and all of us who inhabit it are generated by Mind Himself. The pure being that we are, generated in the image of God, in turn generates a tool or device in and through which to experience the universe, and to encounter and experience other bodies ... all in the interest of re-discovering who and what we really are. It sounds rather like a cosmic game, and I suspect it really is exactly that. Perhaps the writer of Revelation was right when he stated that "Thou (God) hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are created." I get a picture of God, forming the original singularity (concentrated Light) and making it go Big Bang, and forming and playing with it for millions of years [in our perception of time], just for His own pleasure; and allowing us to manifest bodies to play with too so we can have fun like He does. What a pity that we use these nice bodies to practice misery and sorrow instead, and to attack other bodies, when the whole purpose was joy and freedom and unity with other "waves" of the Ocean that is God. .

Ruby Nelson describes the difference between the surface mind, where all the making of the web of sub-creation goes on (the arena of whatever we are experiencing), and the hidden or subconscious mind, which is like a reservoir into which thoughts fall, in which those thoughts are generating the surface mind and its experiences. Changing the surface mind means first of all changing the subconscious mind and its contents. The old computer acronym GIGO applies: Garbage In, Garbage Out. Put in "Halo 3" and "Texas Chain Saw Massacre," and out comes the generation of violence in one's life. Put in Light and Love, and out comes Light and Love. The events at Columbine, the events in Gaza, the events in Baghdad, all arise from minds in which violelce and anger have been the dominant content of the subconscious. The world in which we live is the world we have made. That's the bad news: the good news is that we can make another one to replace it. How? By the "glass full of ink" approach.

Suppose you have a glass full of ink. You must remove the ink, and end up with a glass full of clear water. You cannot pick upthe glass or tip it. What to do? Start pouring clear water into it until the water displaces all the ink. Likewise the subconscious mind. It may be full of garbage now, but the process of pouring good stuff into it will float the crap to the surfce and ultimately out of the container entirely. And the cleansed mind will generate a healthy, strong body, and a fulfilled person. No need then to regard the body as a prisoner, or the mind as a prisoner: 1 + 1 = 1. That's what Jsus meant when he said "As you sow, you will reap."

I don't know if all of that makes sense. Sometimes I know what I believe but cannot find the vocabulary or the syntax to convey it. But it's sure fun to try ...

"I can at best report only from my own wilderness. The important thing is that each man possess such a wilderness and that he consider what marvels are to be observed there." -- Loren Eiseley

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Re: And yet, is the body prisoner

Post by anna »

This is an interesting idea, body being prisoner. Of course, I must ask the inevitable question, prisoner to whom? My take is that BOTH the body and the mind are the wardens of the jail, and the prisoner is neither the body or the mind, but the free soul, or Self, or God being that body mind. And that incarceration is what is the illusion – that we have been conditioned since childhood to believe that we (God being us, or the free soul, or Self), are actually the body/mind mechanism, and it is this belief that brings us all our misery, including the belief that we are imprisoned.

The way I see it is that when we fully understand, or realize, that God is all there is, including all of the universe, and including each of us, and that therefore, nothing is imprisoned, because nothing is outside of God, but everything is God manifested, then there will be no prisoners nor wardens. The body will be allowed to be just the body, the mind to be just the instrument for the body's survival, and God's manifestation to manifest without obstruction by attachment to or obsession with either of these mechanisms.

Here is a superb statement, by Ramana Maharshi, that sums it up for me:

“But you cannot escape the Self [God within, God being me, you, each]. You want to see God in all, but not in yourself? If all are God, are you not included in that all? Yourself being God, is it a wonder that all are God. There must be a seer and thinker for even [this}practice [of seeing God in all]. Who is he [or she]?”
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers........Wordsworth

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Re: And yet, is the body prisoner

Post by Speculum »

In The Sand Box (if you do not have access to The Sand Box, or do not know what it is, please click here) there is a thread titled Out in the cold which evolved into -- among other interesting ideas -- a consideration of relationship. It occurs to me that the subject of relationship may be relevant to this thread, too. (Come to that, is there any aspect of the human condition in which or to which relationship in its broadest sense is not relevant?) Here, we are talking about the mind/body connection. Maybe we (as mind/s) need to ask ourselves if we are in relationship with the body we seem to be inhabiting, and if so, are we performing our role in that relationship responsibly? I think that is some of what the passage in ACIM which prompted this thread has aroused in me.
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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Re: And yet, is the body prisoner

Post by Gulliver »

if we are in relationship with the body
This thought is very interesting to me. I have never thought about my body that way, as being something I am in relationship with. You have done enormous things to my head. Thank you, I think.