Perceiving the body as a temple is only the first step in correcting this distortion, because it alters only part of it. It does recognize that Atonement in physical terms is impossible. The next step, however, is to realize that a temple is not a structure at all. Its true holiness lies at the inner altar around which the structure is built. The emphasis on beautiful structures is a sign of the fear of Atonement, and an unwillingness to reach the altar itself. The real beauty of the temple cannot be seen with the physical eye. Spiritual sight, on the other hand, cannot see the structure at all because it is perfect vision. It can, however, see the altar with perfect clarity.
A Course in Miracles . Foundation for Inner Peace. Kindle Edition.
Some of us might have been taught as children that the body is the temple of the holy spirit. As a temple it should be kept clean, neat, healthy, and as beautiful as possible. As we mature we come to realize that the emphasis on the structure is misplaced. It is not the structure that is important at all but what is within.
In Alcoholics Anonymous it is suggested is step four and five that we clean up what’s inside the temple. This shift in perspective from the structure to what is within is a form of waking up and having woken up of growing up.
In Unitarian Universalism we covenant together to affirm and promote a free and responsible search for truth and meaning. This is a search within not an observation of what is without. Knowledge of the outer world, while helpful to some extent, is not where the precious wisdom we seek lies.
Today, we are encouraged to look past the external structures, the external facades and appreciate, instead what we find within. What we will find is a sacred space filled with wholeness.