The Great Mystery: Did Anything Happen?
Understanding the Illusion
We have discussed in previous chapters about what is real and what is not, and as to whether anything has happened or not. Yet, diverse interpretations of students around these ideas are so persistent that the subject seems to warrant a more in-depth investigation.
If the student believes that he has not left heaven, nothing has happened and he is not here, then nothing in this world means anything – even ACIM would be meaningless if we take this idea to the extreme. Glomming on too tightly to this belief can cause numerous problems in this world. The student may find himself ignoring the problems of life as they come up because they are seen as not real, as well as having difficulty in communicating with the people of the world who are also not real and have never studied ACIM.
An outside observer may wonder how on earth someone could acquire such strange beliefs. The answer is that some passages in ACIM seem to teach that nothing here exists, and it was delivered by none other than Jesus as a supreme authority. It is the thinking of many that if Jesus said it, then it would be wrong to doubt.
If the student is afraid to be skeptical of controversial statements because of the divine authority behind them, then perhaps he can turn his skepticism on himself and ask if he is really correctly understanding what is being presented. Is it possible the Course is not saying what he thinks it is saying?
Truly this must be the case, for there is much disagreement among students in interpreting some of the teachings. If two views oppose each other, either one or both of them has to be false. One of my favorite quotes from the Course is, “truth is true, and nothing else is true… there is no contradiction to the truth.” W-pI.138.4
We see things differently using our lower minds, but this need not be the case as a solution is available through the Holy Spirit:
“We have one Interpreter. And through His use of symbols are we joined, so that they mean the same to all of us. Our common language lets us speak to all our brothers, and to understand with them.” T-30.VII.7
We can reach a point where the symbols of our language can mean the same to all of us if we unite through the “one Interpreter.” To steer us in that direction let us look at what the whole of the Course says about being here.
Probably the most confusing and the cause of numerous conflicting interpretations are the statements from the Course suggesting that the separation never happened and we are not here. We are not even in bodies.
Here is a quote suggesting the separation never happened.
“The full awareness of the Atonement, then, is the recognition that the separation never occurred. The ego cannot prevail against this because it is an explicit statement that the ego never occurred. The ego can accept the idea that return is necessary because it can so easily make the idea seem difficult. Yet the Holy Spirit tells you that even return is unnecessary, because what never happened cannot be difficult.” T-6.II.10-11
After reading this, one might ask that if the ego never existed, then why does it talk about the ego as if it does exist, even telling us that “the ego cannot prevail” and what “The ego can accept”? How does something that does not exist “prevail” and “accept”?
As far as not being here, it tells us that our “world … is not here, although it seems to be.” W-pI.155.1
“You dwell not here, but in eternity. You travel but in dreams, while safe at home.” T-13.VII.17
Then this one seems to be a real clincher:
“There is no world! This is the central thought the course attempts to teach.” W-pI.132.6
But a few sentences later it adds this explanation:
“There is no world apart from your ideas because ideas leave not their source, and you maintain the world within your mind in thought.” W-pI.132.6
It is interesting that this world is created by our “ideas.” It is also notable that everything is created by ideas. The whole universe of time and space as well as the separation is the result of a “mad idea.”
Even God and ourselves as Sons of God are ideas:
“God is an idea, and so your faith in Him is strengthened by sharing. What you find difficult to accept is the fact that, like your Father, you are an idea.” T-15.VI.4
All ideas come directly or indirectly from the mind of God accompanied by the power of God to make them at least seem real. Even the Ego is an idea with divine power:
“All that the ego is, is an idea…” T-21.II.6
“had the ego willed to do so, it COULD have made the eternal, because, as a product of the mind, it IS endowed with the power of its own creator.” UR T 4 F 13
The big question is what is the difference between an idea that is real and one which is not real, as all ideas are manifestations of the mind of God accompanied by unlimited power? The Course does not address this directly, but does indirectly in discussing the difference between the real and the unreal.
The Course tells us that our bodies, which certainly seem to be here, are not here at all according to some statements in the Course:
“At no single instant does the body exist at all. It is always remembered or anticipated, but never experienced just now.” T-18.VII.3
In addition to this we are not in our bodies:
“The Christ in you inhabits not a body. Yet He is in you. And thus it must be that you are not within a body.” T-25.in.1
Yet, even though we are not in a body that is not there, it is still an idea and all ideas carry with them the unlimited power of God and creation to make thinking real:
“so does the body testify to the idea that made it.” T-24.VII.10
So, all creation whether it be in heaven, in the real world, or in the illusion, is the result of the manifestation of ideas. In fact, “Everything is an idea,” T-5.I.2 and…
“Ideas leave not their source, and their effects but seem to be apart from them. Ideas are of the mind. What is projected out, and seems to be external to the mind, is not outside at all, but an effect of what is in, and has not left its source.” T-26.VII.4
So, all creation, real and unreal, comes from ideas which come from mind. Many seem to be external but are not and are projected by the all-powerful universal mind of which we are a part. Projection produces the real and the unreal – “We once said that without projection there can be no anger, but it is also true that without projection there can be no love. Projection is a fundamental law of the mind, and therefore one which ALWAYS operates.” UR T 7 I 1
The Real and the Unreal
To understand the phrase “leave not their source,” we could compare our world to how a virtual reality game works. Once you put on the gear, create an avatar and start playing, it will seem like the game is real and external to your eyes. But then as soon as it is turned off, the whole thing which seemed to be out there is just gone.
Where did it go?
You look at the computer or the device that houses the game, but even that is not the game. Then you think of the code that manifests the game, but where did that come from?
It came from an idea of the invisible mind as does everything in creation. Your game which seemed to be real and out there has never really left its source, which is mind.
When we then talk of the world, bodies’ appearance, etc. not being here the question arises as to whether anything is anywhere. After all, the Course tells us that even “Heaven is not a place nor a condition.” T-18.VI.1
So, technically, if we use the language of the Course, one could say that not only are we, our bodies and the world not here, but nothing is here, or anywhere that could be considered a place. All that exists in the true reality then are ideas, mind, and spirit, and that which they manifest.
If nothing is really here, there or anywhere but everything is an idea, whether it is in heaven or earth, then what is the difference between that labeled real and not real according to the Course?
Here is the answer:
“Here is the paradox that underlies the making of the world. This world is not the Will of God, and so it is not real. Yet those who think it real must still believe there is another will, and one that leads to opposite effects from those He wills. Impossible indeed; but every mind that looks upon the world and judges it as certain, solid, trustworthy and true believes in two creators; or in one, himself alone. But never in one God.” W-pI.166.2
So, there it is. The world we see is not real because it “is not the Will of God.”
So, to be classified as real, it has to be a creation in alignment with God’s will. Furthermore:
“Since creative ability rests in the mind, everything you create is necessarily a matter of will. It also follows that whatever you alone make is real in your own sight, though not in the Mind of God.” T-2.VIII.1
Those things we make “alone” or with a view of separation are not considered real. True or real creation involves wholeness:
“The full power of creation cannot be expressed as long as any of God’s ideas is withheld from the Kingdom. The joint will of the Sonship is the only creator that can create like the Father, because only the complete can think completely, and the thinking of God lacks nothing. Everything you think that is not through the Holy Spirit is lacking.” T-5.IV.7
The key phrase here is “The joint will of the Sonship is the only creator that can create like the Father.”
To create the real, one has to not seek anything for the separated self, but be in alignment with the life of the whole Sonship, which in turn is in alignment with God.
This explains a statement of Jesus in the Bible:
“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself”. John 5:19
John the Baptist said something similar:
“John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” John 3:27
In this world people do and receive all kinds of things but unless they are in alignment with the will of God they are not counted as real.
“And what is real except the creations of God and those that are created like His?” T-8.VI.5
The problem from the standpoint of reality is that we have free will and can use our Godlike powers to do anything. We can even use them to create contrary to the will of God. The Course tells us that the problem is that there can be no real creation that runs contrary to divine, will so any such creation becomes unreal or illusion, or like a dream that seems real.
The basic quality of real creations is that they are eternal, whereas the unreal are in time and space and are temporary with a beginning and an end. Even “The stars will disappear, and night and day will be no more.” T-29.VI.2
“Only an instant does this world endure.” Lesson 300
“You have made many ideas that you have placed between yourself and your Creator, and these beliefs are the world as you perceive it.” T-11.VII.4
So, we have established the basic difference between what is real and what is not, as defined by the Course. But the question is this. Does defining something as not real mean that it has no effects or any kind of existence at all? Rather than telling us that our world has no existence on any level, is it not more probable that the point is to emphasize the fact that our world is an illusion from which we can awaken to a much greater reality?
When we awaken from a nighttime dream we may say, “Wow, that seemed real but it didn’t really happen.”
When you say it didn’t happen are you saying that you never even had the dream?
Of course not.
Then what are you saying then?
You are not saying that the dream itself never happened. Instead, you are saying that it did not happen in your waking state. Our dreams definitely happen and we can even remember some of them, and they may have an influence on us, but if one dreams of robbing a bank and ending up in jail, he may exclaim upon awakening, “I’m glad that didn’t happen.” But it did happen in the dream state, and this can even be acknowledged in the waking state. That is the point to bear in mind as we search out the true reality of how real or not this world is.
So yes, it is true that this world did not happen and does not exist in the true reality of Spirit or the eternal world, but the question is how much reality does it have when taking all things into consideration and pondering the effects of a dream? Has anything occurred?
Just like we do with an unusual dream where at one time we may speak of it as if it is something that didn’t happen, but then another time we may speak of it as if it did, and even discuss its effects, even so does ACIM talk about our world. Sometimes it speaks of it as if it does not exist, but then other times it speaks of it in detail as if it is very real. This closely corresponds to how we handle our own nighttime dreams. They seem real on one level but on another they are not.
Something Did Happen
Are there references then in the Course that indicate that something did happen?
Indeed. Right off the bat in describing the initial separation, the event is treated as a real happening.
“Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects.” T-27.VIII.6
Obviously, this is a description of a real event described as a “serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects.” We are also told it “shattered heaven.” T-18.I.12. Something that could shatter heaven would be a pretty big deal.
That is not how you describe something that has no existence on any level. Also note that it was an “idea” and remember that “Everything is an idea,” T-5.I.2 Even God is an idea. All ideas have some sort of reality.
Concerning ideas it is written:
“You can enslave a body, but an idea is free, incapable of being kept in prison or limited in any way except by the mind that thought it. For it remains joined to its source, which is its jailer or its liberator, according to which it chooses as its purpose for itself.” T-19.I.16.
Because the separation and creation of our world is an idea from the divine mind of the Son it is “free, incapable of being kept in prison or limited in any way except by the mind that thought it.”
Indeed, when we look at this world, life in it and the perceived universe of galaxies we see that this idea has been quite unlimited. It took more than a passing thought to put together a single strand of DNA, let alone billions of galaxies. Some in heaven might have considered this a mad idea just because of how great the undertaking would be.
It is interesting that even passages that say nothing happened still tell us of something happening, such as:
“Nothing at all has happened but that you have put yourself to sleep, and dreamed a dream in which you were an alien to yourself, and but a part of someone else’s dream.” T-28.II.4
Essentially, this passage is saying that nothing happened, but then something did happen. That which happened was that we put ourselves to sleep and dreamed up a universe of time and space.
This passage does a similar thing:
“Your starting point is truth, and you must return to your Beginning. Much has been seen since then, but nothing has really happened.” T-3.VII.5
Again, it says nothing happened but while nothing was happening it tells us “Much has been seen.” Maybe it wasn’t seen in heaven, but it was certainly a happening in the mind where all ideas originate.
Then there is this about our world:
“It seems to you the world will utterly abandon you if you but raise your eyes. Yet all that will occur is you will leave the world forever.” T-19.IV.D.6
Here it speaks of an occurrence. And what is that? It is that “you will leave the world.”
How can you leave something that does not exist on any level? How could leaving nothing be an occurrence or happening?
Then when we leave this world, there is something happening in heaven:
“There is a hush in Heaven, a happy expectancy, a little pause of gladness in acknowledgment of the journey’s end. For Heaven knows you well, as you know Heaven” T-19.IV.A.6.
Why would heaven be glad and give “acknowledgment” to finishing a journey that never happened and does not exist?
Obviously, the “acknowledgment” is to something that did happen.
There are many other happenings spoken of by the Course which relates to our world. We are told that judgment “was brought into being only after the separation, when it became one of the many learning devices to be built into the overall plan.” T-2.VIII.2.
So, because of this separation, which many maintain did not happen at all, there was created an “overall plan” which caused judgment to come into being.
The text continues:
“Just as the separation occurred over millions of years, the Last Judgment will extend over a similarly long period, and perhaps an even longer one.”
Here it says point blank “the separation occurred.” Not only did it occur, but the occurrence lasted millions of years and will take millions more to solve the problem.
Solving this problem involves the creation of an “overall plan” as just mentioned. Why create a plan to solve a problem that does not exist? Obviously on some level, there was a real problem and a plan was needed. And who came up with the plan?
There is a “plan of God for your salvation.” T-21.V.6
“You have not been asked to work out the plan of salvation yourself because, as I told you before, the remedy could not be of your making. God Himself gave you the perfect Correction for everything you made that is not in accord with His holy Will. I am making His plan perfectly explicit to you, and will also tell you of your part in it, and how urgent it is to fulfill it.” T-5.VII.4
A plan for salvation was a major ingredient:
“Salvation is my only function here. Salvation and forgiveness are the same. They both imply that something has gone wrong; something to be saved from, forgiven for; something amiss that needs corrective change; something apart or different from the Will of God. Thus do both terms imply a thing impossible but yet which has occurred, resulting in a state of conflict seen between what is and what could never be. Truth and illusions both are equal now, for both have happened. The impossible becomes the thing you need forgiveness for, salvation from.” W-pI.99.2
The main purpose of the Course is to bring us salvation, which it says is our only function here, and salvation itself implies “a thing impossible but yet which has occurred.” This creates the situation where, “Truth and illusions both are equal now, for both have happened.”
So, God Himself created a plan to bring us home after this real, but unreal separation occurred. The first step in this plan was the plan of Atonement and the creation of the Holy Spirit. No matter how you look at it by any standard of interpreting ACIM, the creation of the Holy Spirit was real, and it was only created to deal with the supposedly unreal problem of the separation.
“So God created the “Holy Spirit, Who was God’s answer to the separation.” T-17.IV.4
If the separation had not happened, then there would have been no need to create the Holy Spirit. But the fact that a real and eternal creation was made in response to the separation tells us that something indeed did happen. God would not create an eternal and real response to something that literally did not happen and never existed.
In fact, we are told that without the creation of the Holy Spirit, the separation would have lasted forever and we would never return to heaven:
“He has created the Holy Spirit as the Mediator between perception and knowledge. Without this link with God, perception would have replaced knowledge FOREVER IN YOUR MIND. With this link with God, perception will become so changed and purified that it will lead to knowledge.” W-pI.43.1
Fortunately, “there is no possibility that the plan the Holy Spirit offers to everyone, for the salvation of everyone, will not be perfectly accomplished.” T-13.XI.11
Looks like we dodged a bullet thanks to the creation of the Holy Spirit.
Not only does the Holy Spirit play a role in the plan, but so do we.
“To each He gives a special function in salvation he alone can fill; a part for only him. Nor is the plan complete until he finds his special function, and fulfills the part assigned to him, to make himself complete within a world where incompletion rules.” T-25.VI.4
Each of us has a “part assigned” as part of the plan. We must find our “special function” and fulfill it.
There could be no plan or special role for us to play in it if it were in response to pure nothingness. Something had to happen to cause such a response,
Then, as we covered earlier, the whole separation corresponds to the parable of the Prodigal Son. Part of the Sonship separated and the rest, along with angels, tried to save them but were unable to. As a result, God was “lonely without His Sons” T-2.III.5. He therefore created a plan along with the Holy Spirit to assist.
Does all this sound like nothing literally happened? Indeed, it sounds like a whole lot has happened, but because the happening involved the entering of illusion we can say nothing happened which has an eternal effect in heaven, which is the true implication of the Course.
Where And When Are We?
There is disagreement among students as to whether we are in some place other than earth or heaven, as well as whether we are even in time.
If they think that nothing happened and the world does not exist, then it does make sense that we cannot be somewhere that has no existence.
To the contrary, we have pointed out that such statements by the Course are relative and have to be interpreted in context with other statements in the opposite direction.
The Course defines reality as that which is eternal. Anything that is not eternal is not defined as having a real existence. For instance, according to the Course, the physical body is not eternal and “does not exist.” T-6.V.A.2 and “The world you see does not exist.” T-28.V.7
A black-and-white interpretation misses the relativity factor as well as the fact that ACIM has its own peculiar definition of what real existence is.
It is merely telling us that our world of time and space has no existence that has anything to do with the eternal world. This does not mean it does not have an existence on another level. The fact that we seem to be here testifies that this reality has happened and the Mind of the Son has made it real for us.
The Course tells us that both heaven and earth do “exist” but “as separate states.”
“‘Heaven and earth shall pass away’” means that they will not continue to exist as separate states.” T-1.III.2
The other disagreement centers around time. The problem comes from the teaching that “there is no time.” T-27.VIII.6 and “Time is a trick, a sleight of hand, a vast illusion in which figures come and go as if by magic.” W-pI.158.3 “What you remember never was. It came from causelessness which you confused with cause.” T-28.I.9
But then it explains it in a way that us regular mortals can understand:
“Whenever we move from one instant to the next, the previous one no longer exists.” UR T 3 C 34 “The present is the only time there is.” W-pI.164.1
We can relate to this in our reality of time and space, for we understand that the past only lives in our memories and if we got amnesia then there would be no past and it would be as if it did not exist, or time as we know it would not exist.
Jesus in the Course even acknowledges this:
“There was a past, but it does not matter. It does not explain the present or account for the future.” Chapter 5 Section 7 COA
But the past and time itself happens in our minds:
“the past has gone. It never happened in reality. Only in your mind, which thought it did,” T-18.IV.8
Time not only happens in our minds but the mind is responsible for the manifestation of any possible idea from the life of God through the Father – or the Son in His right or wrong mind.
The confusion with time is exacerbated by the teaching concerning the separation stating that “In time this happened very long ago. In reality it never happened at all.” M-2.2
Then some think that we are told that our present lives (that do not exist) are a replay of events from the ancient past. This is due largely to this passage we covered somewhat in the chapter on The Bold Adventure.
“Time really, then, goes backward to an instant so ancient that it is beyond all memory, and past even the possibility of remembering. Yet because it is an instant that is relived again and again and still again, it seems to be now. … The world of time is the world of illusion. What happened long ago seems to be happening now. Choices made long since appear to be open; yet to be made. What has been learned and understood and long ago passed by is looked upon as a new thought, a fresh idea, a different approach.” M-2.3 & 4
The idea some get from this is that the separation was completely over eons ago. Our current dream and life as well as all lives on the planet were lived way back then, and for some unexplained reason we are pretending to live them again. It is as if we were in a movie theater watching a movie of our past life. Everything has already been filmed and we think we are the characters therein. If your character decides to go shopping at 3 PM Thursday then there is no way you can decide otherwise because the movie has already been filmed and there’s no changing it. You just think you make decisions in your life which is already set in a movie.
Believers in this idea overlook the really crazy thing in the text that “an instant that is relived again and again and still again, it seems to be now.”
So, here’s what we are supposed to believe with this interpretation. The separation along with the dream of this universe began and ended long ago. We are not here; we are no longer dreaming and have awakened and are with God in heaven. Even though the Course says there is no past in heaven, for some odd reason we are obsessed with the past and through our own freewill we watch this film of our lives “again and again and still again.” In the process of watching this film we get so engrossed that we completely identify with our old selves. That is what we are doing now. We have identified with the movie so much we think we are back there again.
When you think of it, this is an illusion that tops the illusion of the separation itself.
For one thing, we are told that this dream we entered is no fun picnic, but an insane nightmare full of pain, hatred, guilt and death. If we have already been through all the drama and are aware of all of our lives from beginning to end why then would we want to go to these strange movies, forget heaven, identify with our old selves and suffer all over again and again for millions of years?
This sounds like one of most sinister versions of hell that one could imagine.
Our worst nightmares here in this reality are better than this supposed movie we are watching in heaven. Here, when we have a nightmare and awaken it is over and generally we do not have it again. The Course calls this life we are in a nightmare, and to think we volunteer to live a nightmare over and over thinking it is real is pure madness.
Now the Course calls our original plunge into this dream insane, but that insanity of doing it once without understanding would be nothing to the insanity of doing it again and again on purpose after we have supposedly learned our lesson and returned home.
Let us suppose you were tortured to death in a certain life. Would you really want to leave the joyous existence in heaven to be tortured again and again and, unlike watching a movie, actually seem to feel the pain?
Thank God this belief does not hold water and is not in harmony with what ACIM is attempting to teach us.
Then consider this. If we are reliving an exact replay of our life in the initial separation this would mean that in our original life, before any replay took place, that we were talking about this life as being the replay of a movie. Why would we be doing this when no replay had yet happened?
Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, probably watched movie footage of him stepping foot on the moon a number of times. He may have even said something like: “I have watched this many times and it feels like I am doing it all overagain.”
But would he have made a statement like that when he was actually first stepping on the moon?
Of course not.
But, if our life is an exact replay of our initial separation then we would have had to have been talking about the replay before there was any replay.
Does not make sense.
As proven in previous chapters, the Course tells us at times we are not here because our dream world is not occurring in the real world in eternity. The same applies when the Course says the separation never happened. Again, it is defined as a dream and a dream is not considered as a real happening.
Even so, a dream is an event that creates a real experience by the mind within the dream state itself.
When you wake up from a dream and you tell it to a friend, do you end with a disclaimer like this: “I didn’t really have a dream.”
Of course not. You really did have a dream and spent some time there, but you may say something like: “I’m glad the dream didn’t happen.” In other words, the dream did happen, but not as part of your waking reality.
If we are not reliving our life like in a movie, then how do we explain this passage we quoted earlier:
“Time really, then, goes backward to an instant so ancient that it is beyond all memory, and past even the possibility of remembering. Yet because it is an instant that is relived again and again and still again, it seems to be now.” M-2.4
We are told that time began after the separation and its beginning is very ancient. It goes back “beyond all memory, and past even the possibility of remembering.”
How far back do you suppose that is? Well, we know that time has been in existence since the beginning of this material universe, and scientists make a good case that it is over 13 billion years old. That’s pretty old, but the age of the universe is embedded in the elements and universe itself, so when it says “past even the possibility of remembering,” it may be indicating that the beginning of time and the separation was much further back.
It is interesting to note that many spiritual traditions, especially from the East, tell us that there were many universes before this one whose beginning goes back beyond all memory. In addition, many scientists theorize that there were many universes before this one, and the creation will continue after this one is gone. If this is true, then the beginning mentioned by ACIM could have been many trillions of years ago.
Whether the beginning of time was billions or trillions of years ago, we know for sure that it was a very long time ago. It is interesting, though, that time in the Course is spoken of as merely lasting for an “instant.”
“Time lasted but an instant in your mind, with no effect upon eternity.” T-26.V.3
“For what could house this mad idea against reality but for an instant?” T-20.VI.8
Understanding the Dream
If each of us were participating in the extended dream, we could have lived millions of lifetimes. What could be the sensible truth here?
A careful study of the Course gives an interesting explanation as related earlier, but here it is in a nutshell.
There is one Sonship, but many parts called Sons of God. When the separation first occurred, not all the sons participated. Part stayed in heaven and part went into the dream state to make worlds of time and space that would seem real.
In that instant, God created a solution to the problem which involved the creation of the Holy Spirit to guide the wayward Sons back home. We are told that in the eternal world, cause and effect happen simultaneously so, from the view of heavenly understanding, no time has passed between the beginning and end of the separation even if it lasts billions of years for us. In heaven it is an “instant.” But a heavenly instant can contain a near eternity of time or very little time depending on the intent of the creation.
Here is the Course’s explanation of the “instant” involving the separation and the solution:
“How long is an instant? As long as it takes to re-establish perfect sanity, perfect peace and perfect love for everyone, for God and for yourself. As long as it takes to remember immortality, and your immortal creations who share it with you. As long as it takes to exchange hell for Heaven. Long enough to transcend all of the ego’s making, and ascend unto your Father.” T-15.I.14.
Here is the knowledge that helps us understand the supposed replaying of the dream:
The Sons of God have “children, who are as like the Sons as they are like the Father.” T-7.XI.7
So, all Sons of God create by creating additional Sons. This would include the first batch of returned Sons. They would resume their creation function and produce additional Sons. Putting it in human terms, the family picture must have gone something like this:
Young Son: “Tell me Dad about your adventures in time and space.”
Returned Son: “It was quite an experience with lots of up and downs. There were a lot of struggles and it wasn’t peaceful like where we are now.”
Young Son: “I think I’d like to try it out. I’d like to find out what it is like to experience an imperfect world.”
The Returned Son shows concern but realizes the Young Son has free will so he cannot stop him. The young Son has the same powers to manifest a dream that he did.
Thus, what is replayed again and again is experienced by the newly created Sons, who are the Sons of the Sons who have returned who want to experience time and space. The solution to the separation happened long ago and most of the Sons in the one Sonship are “safe at home,” but obviously some, like ourselves, are not.
Obviously, you and I are in the dream because we are here experiencing it in present time. We are consciously experiencing it and perceiving it. It is an actual happening that you are reading these words, even if you are reading them while dreaming.
The Course tells us the Sonship continues in heaven undisturbed, as many parts of it are completely awake and fulfilling their function. It can thus be said that the Son has not left heaven, for the life of the Sonship continues there but the Course says of the separated parts that “You are not yet awake, but you can learn how to awaken.” T-9.VI.5. And the Father Himself is quoted as saying, “My children sleep and must be awakened.” T-6.V.1
So, in heaven we have the one Sonship which consists of trillions of parts. Most parts are awake and participating in the ongoing process of creation, but some are asleep and not participating.
Adam represents the current Sons asleep in this world and concerning him it says:
“Yet the Bible says that a deep sleep fell upon Adam, and nowhere is there reference to his waking up. The world has not yet experienced any comprehensive reawakening or rebirth. Such a rebirth is impossible as long as you continue to project or miscreate.” T-2.I.3
Here it is clearly stated that our part of the Sonship is currently asleep – not awake in heaven, and awakening is “impossible as long as you continue to project or miscreate.”
We who are dreaming have actually chosen to do so:
“You have chosen a sleep in which you have had bad dreams, but the sleep is not real and God calls you to awake.” T-6.IV.6
When a Son seeks for “the impossible,” or things contrary to God’s will, his “decision offers it to him as he requests.”
“If he asks for the impossible, if he wants what does not exist or seeks for illusions in his heart, all this becomes his own. The power of his decision offers it to him as he requests. Herein lie hell and Heaven. The sleeping Son of God has but this power left to him.” M-21.3
This is where we are now. This is happening now in time and space, and to deny that which is happening in any reality is to move further into the illusion.
Like the world, the body is also not real and often spoken of by students as not being “here.” Yet the Course warns us not to take this too far, for “the body is merely a fact.”
“The body, if properly understood, shares the invulnerability of the Atonement to two-edged application. This is not because the body is a miracle, but because it is not inherently open to misinterpretation. The body is merely a fact. Its ABILITIES can be, and frequently are, overevaluated. However, it is almost impossible to deny its existence. Those who do are engaging in a particularly unworthy form of denial… There is little doubt that the mind can miscreate. If one denies this unfortunate aspect of its power, one is also denying the power itself.)” UR T 2 C 8
This is telling us that even the dream is created by the mind which has the power of God and though miscreation occurs, “it is almost impossible to deny its existence,” and to do so we are engaging in an “unworthy form of denial.”
It makes a similar statement concerning the separation, which many deny even happening:
“The Separation HAS occurred. To deny this is merely to misuse denial.” T 2 E 50
Yes, the Courses tells us that what we have made here is unreal from the viewpoint of heaven, but then it often emphasizes how real it is to us because of the power of thought:
“The thoughts you hold are mighty, and illusions are as strong in their effects as is the truth.” W-pI.132.1
That is quite a statement – that our “illusions are as strong in their effects as is the truth.”
To illustrate, just think of the attention we place on our bodies, concerning which it says: “At no single instant does the body exist at all.” T-18.VII.3
If the body is sick or is injured, we seek treatment; if it is hungry we feed it; if we need to communicate with someone we move the body close enough to talk to them.
We treat the body, the world and time itself as if they are pure truth in heaven. Of our own free will we have chosen this path:
“This mad direction was your choice, and by your faith in what you chose, you made what you desired.” T-21.III.5
“You have elected to be in time rather than eternity, and therefore believe you are in time.” T-5.VI.1
No, you are not fully in heaven watching a movie, for “a part of you remains outside (the unity of heaven), unknowing, unawakened, and in need of you as witness to the truth?” W-pI.169.13
Something, the impossible, indeed has happened:
“Here the world of idols has been set by the idea this power and place and time are given form, and shape the world where the impossible has happened.” T-29.VIII.6
“Thus do both terms imply a thing impossible but yet which has occurred, resulting in a state of conflict seen between what is and what could never be. Truth and illusions both are equal now, for both have happened. The impossible becomes the thing you need forgiveness for, salvation from.” W-pI.99.1-2
“Why are you surprised that something happened in the dim past, when it is so clearly happening right now?” UR T 4 C 7
It is indeed an unworthy form of denial to merely keep proclaiming “nothing is real,” “nothing happened” and “I am in heaven” when the illusion is still real enough to us that we care for the body and earn a living in the world from which salvation is needed. If our beliefs are valid then our actions will harmonize with them. Ironically, many proclaim themselves as being in heaven yet act as if they are in hell.
The seeker must realize where he is before he can correctly arrive at any destination. If you think you are in New York when you are really in Los Angeles and want to go to Las Vegas, you may wind up going west instead of east and driving into the ocean.
Even so, if the student is under illusion, and captivated by more illusion, then he only goes deeper into the dream instead of awakening. Here is what happens when you really awaken:
“but the sleep is not real and God calls you to awake. There will be nothing left of your dream when you hear Him, because you will awaken.” T-6.IV.6
Look around. Is the world still there? Is your car still in the driveway? Do you see your hands in front of you? Then you are not yet fully in heaven and still in the dream of illusion.
“The miracle does not awaken you, but merely shows you who the dreamer is.” T-28.II.4
And who is the dreamer?
He is the all-powerful Son of God who can accomplish anything he sets to do, but first he must realize who he is and where, or what state he is currently in. When he sees his situation correctly, he can then take real steps toward returning home.
“So do we lay aside our amulets, our charms and medicines, our chants and bits of magic in whatever form they take. We will be still and listen for the Voice of healing, which will cure all ills as one, restoring saneness to the Son of God. No voice but this can cure. Today we hear a single Voice which speaks to us of truth, where all illusions end, and peace returns to the eternal, quiet home of God.” W-pI.140.10
Copyright by J J Dewey
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