ACIM Conversations, Part 23
Steps to Awakening
Student: I’ve come across students who seem to think there are no steps to awakening. They seem to think there is just one leap and that is it. They quote these passages:
“What difference does the content of a dream make in reality? One either sleeps or wakens. There is nothing in between.” W-pI.140.2
“You cannot dream some dreams and wake from some, for you are either sleeping or awake.” T-29.IV.1
Teacher: And I suppose that those who use this quote think they are on the awake side.
Student: That seems to be the case.
Teacher: You might point out that the Course tells us that “It is impossible to see two worlds which have no overlap of any kind. Seek for the one; the other disappears. But one remains.” W-pI.130.5
Tell me my friend, which world are you seeing right now, the dream of earth or the formless and eternal heaven?
Student: I’d have to admit that I am seeing this world.
Teacher: And do your friends see the words you type, their electronic devices, their homes or do they see their heavenly abode?
Student: I know they see the words I type, for they answer me in kind.
Teacher: Then they are obviously seeing this world and if they are seeing this world, they cannot see the eternal world for the Course tells us we can see only one of them at the exclusion of the other.
Student: That is powerful reasoning, but I’m sure they will come up with some argument that they are seeing the true reality.
Teacher: Now let us examine those verses you quoted. They say that we are either asleep or awake which makes sense when we compare it to our sleep in this world. You cannot be asleep and awake at the same time. On the other hand, assuming there is no alarm clock do you wake up suddenly or is there a process?
Student: I usually wake up gradually over a period of ten minutes or so. Then, other times I drift in and out of sleep. But you’re right. I am either asleep or awake though the line may be a little blurred for a few seconds.
Teacher: Would you rather be awakened gently over a period of time or suddenly?
Student: I prefer a gentle awakening.
Teacher: God agrees with you and tells us the plan is to gently awaken us:
“How can you wake children in a more kindly way than by a gentle Voice that will not frighten them, but will merely remind them that the night is over and the light has come? You do not inform them that the nightmares that frightened them so badly are not real, because children believe in magic. You merely reassure them that they are safe now. Then you train them to recognize the difference between sleeping and waking, so they will understand they need not be afraid of dreams. And so when bad dreams come, they will themselves call on the light to dispel them.” T-6.V.2
Student: It says we will be trained “to recognize the difference between sleeping and waking.”
Teacher: Indeed, for it says of this problem that “The dreamer of a dream is not awake, but does not know he sleeps.” T-28.II.6 And how long do you think this training to tell the difference between being asleep and awake will last?
Student: Well, I’m kind of dense sometimes so I wouldn’t be surprised if God has been working on me for several lifetimes.
Teacher: Do you suppose there are other steps?
Student: I would guess that the answer is yes and you are going to tell me one.
Teacher: Good answer; let us give one mentioned by the Course:
“So fearful is the dream, so seeming real, he could not waken to reality without the sweat of terror and a scream of mortal fear, unless a gentler dream preceded his awaking, and allowed his calmer mind to welcome, not to fear, the Voice that calls with love to waken him.” T-27.VII.13
What is another step mentioned in this quote?
Student: Dreams of terror will be replaced by more gentle dreams.
Teacher: Yes. Since fear is the big obstacle to waking up we are given more gentle dreams, or lifetimes so fear, is reduced.
Student: I’m not sure if my current lifetime is a gentle dream or not as I have certainly had my share of problems.
Teacher: And you are certainly not alone my friend. Overcoming fear is definitely one of the steps toward awakening and this is done in two stages as stated here:
“The escape from darkness involves two stages: First, the recognition that darkness cannot hide. This step usually entails fear. Second, the recognition that there is nothing you want to hide even if you could. This step brings escape from fear.” T-1.IV.1
There are many steps that are taken that lead to awakening. Read this one:
Student: “The first step toward freedom involves a sorting out of the false from the true.” T-2.VIII.4
Teacher: This is obviously important for if you cannot sort out the false from the true you may wind up thinking you are awake when you are really asleep.
Student: It’s kind of funny when you think of it. If a guy thinks he is awake when he is really asleep then he will not take any steps to awaken.
Teacher: That’s why we need training to recognize whether we are asleep or awake.
Actually, the Course mentions many other steps to waking up such as learning to forgive, letting go of grievances, letting go of ego judgments, realizing our true nature and numerous others, but there is one major step we all must take. Do you recall what that is?
Student: That must be seeing the real world.
Teacher: Indeed, here are two references on that for you to read:
Student: “The awakening of His Son begins with his investment in the real world, and by this he will learn to re-invest in himself.” T-12.VI.4
“The real world is the symbol that the dream of sin and guilt is over, and God’s Son no longer sleeps.” W-pII.8.4
Teacher: The Course describes the seeing of the real world as an awakening, but it also says there is one more step after this. You might call it the step that transcends awakening.
“When you perceive yourself without deceit, you will accept the real world in place of the false one you have made. And then your Father will lean down to you and take the last step for you, by raising you unto Himself.” T-11.VIII.15.
Student: Then we will be back home with God fully awake
Teacher: Can you see now that the Course clearly teaches that there are numerous steps to the waking up process and entering the eternal world?
Student: Yes, and I can see that it is easy to get the wrong idea from the passage that says we are either asleep or awake. It’s not a matter of just snapping our fingers and being awake in heaven but there is a process that involves numerous steps that must be taken.
Teacher: And now that we realize that we are not fully awake what do we need to do?
Student: Find our next step and take it. I kinda feel bad for those students who think they are awake when they are still asleep, for they will not be looking for their next step, for they think they do not need it.
Teacher: That inertia happens in all spiritual belief systems. Let me end this discussion by emphasizing this important point mentioned earlier. An essential beginning step is “to recognize the difference between sleeping and waking.” T-6.V.2 If a student is asleep and thinks he is awake he could be trapped in illusion indefinitely.
Student: And that is a trap we want to avoid. Thank you for these conversations. They have been helpful.
Links to The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles:
Copyright by J J Dewey
Read the Introduction HERE, Read Chapter One HERE. Chapter Two HERE, Chapter Three HERE, Chapter Four HERE, Chapter Five HERE Chapter Six HERE, Chapter Seven HERE, Chapter Eight HERE, Chapter Nine HERE, Chapter Ten HERE, Chapter Eleven HERE, Chapter Twelve HERE, Chapter Thirteen HERE, Chapter Fourteen HERE, Fifteen HERE, Sixteen HERE, Seventeen HERE, Eighteen HERE, Nineteen HERE, Twenty HERE, Twenty-One HERE, Twenty-Two HERE, Twenty-Three HERE, Twenty-Four HERE, Twenty-Five HERE, Twenty-Six HERE, Twenty-Seven HERE, Twenty-Eight HERE, Twenty-Nine HERE, Thirty HERE
ACIM Conversations, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25
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