When we have transcended the ego, does that mean we will not have a body or be in this world?

Q. When we have transcended the ego, does that mean we will no longer have a body, no longer be in this world, and no longer see this world?

A. Basically, yes. The ego is the belief that we are a separate being, living in a world of other separate beings and contending with them; the belief that we are essentially “alone against the universe” (P-2.VII.5:6).

The body is the outward symbol of this belief. “The body,” says the Course, “is the symbol of what you think you are” (T-6.V.A.2:2). Just as the ego is an imagined mental wall around our minds, so the body is a seeming physical wall around our minds. You could say that the body is the shadow cast by the ego.

Living in the world is also a result of the ego. In order to appear to be separate beings, we must exist in a larger environment that is outside of us and in which everything else is separate. How could we be separate without such an environment? And how could we be formless and limitless—our egoless condition—in such an environment?

Perception is also a result of the ego. Perception implies that we are trying to know things while being separate from them. We cannot know them from the inside and so are forced to see them from the outside. Without the ego, we would be one with them and would once again know them from the inside.

The Psychotherapy supplement has a couple of relevant references here. One talks about “the egoless psychotherapist,” saying that he “is an abstraction that stands at the end of the process of healing, too advanced to believe in sickness and too near to God to keep his feet on earth” (P-2.III.4:4). Without the belief in the ego, then, you simply can’t keep your “feet on earth.” The other talks about “the Saints of God,” who “have not accepted the gift entirely in order to stay and let their understanding remain on earth until the closing of time” (P-3.II.7:5). In other words, if they want to “remain on earth,” they need to hold off on accepting the gift entirely.

One caveat, though, is that those who do transcend the ego and leave the world completely are still involved in helping those left behind. In fact, their helpfulness is expanded, in that they now can help each and every person on a continual basis (which I find mind-blowing). This function clearly requires some form of perception, though it is obviously not perception as we know it.

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