If I get sick, does that mean I am not very evolved spiritually?

Q. I have been sick lately, and my spiritual friends are acting like this is some kind of statement of how spiritually backward I am. Does the Course see one’s degree of physical sickness or health as a measure of one’s spiritual advancement?

A. It is true that the Course sees physical illness as a manifestation of illness in the mind. But then again, it would see lack of health in any area of our life as an expression of illness in the mind. Indeed, the Course sees having a body at all as a manifestation of mental illness. If we weren’t sick, we wouldn’t be here. We would be with God.

It would also be naive to think that the current condition of one’s body (or one’s life) is some kind of accurate snapshot of one’s overall level of spiritual advancement. I can’t place the story, but I have read that Helen once asked Jesus why her life was so difficult, and she was given a picture of herself traveling straight through a mountain. This, of course, was extremely difficult, but it was much shorter and more direct than the easier route of walking up and over the mountain. We don’t know, then—the person whose life is full of difficulties just might be traveling straight through the mountain.

These issues, however, are really side-issues, because we always want to resist the temptation to equate a person with his or her body, life, behavior, beliefs, or past. None of the things my eyes can see of you tell me who you really are. And it is that that I must strive always to keep in mind if I am to be a healing influence in the lives of those around me.

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