Real and Unreal Ideas
I’ve gotten some strong resistance to my posts giving evidence from ACIM that ideas are eternal, even bad ideas. I stated that any idea, good or bad, cannot be destroyed. By that I mean that it cannot be in total oblivion to the extent that it can never be accessed by any life in the universe.
I realize that many Course students believe that when we enter heaven that every idea associated with the separation will be obliterated, impossible to ever come to mind again.
Yes, it is true that the Course teaches that when fully awake and in heaven that our thoughts are all in harmony with the mind of God and no unreal thoughts are there. Thoughts and ideas in harmony with God are called “real” because they produce eternal results.
Thoughts and ideas centered on love, union and eternity are considered real, as they deal with the formless world of pure spirit and the effects are eternal. In other words: “What is thought by the Mind of God is eternal, being part of creation.” W-pI.45.3
Then there are thoughts and ideas that deal with that which is defined by the Course as being “unreal.” Unreal thoughts and ideas are not part of heaven and can only be entertained in the separated state.
Unlike real thoughts that create eternal things, unreal thoughts and ideas produce temporary things, or anything with a beginning and an end.
This includes anything that can be perceived with the senses for “Perception did not exist until the separation introduced degrees, aspects and intervals” T-3.IV.1 and when we return “nothing that the eyes have ever seen or ears have heard remains to be perceived.” T-27.III.7
Temporary creations from unreal thoughts and ideas include our physical bodies, trees, bees, flowers, sunsets the stars or basically anything you perceive because all that can be perceived is temporary.
So, you have two classes of ideas – the real, which creates the eternal and the unreal, which makes the temporary.
But there is one thing that both the real and unreal ideas have in common.
They cannot be destroyed to the point where no one can ever think them again.
Unreal, or wrong thinking and ideas, can be undone and replaced with real ones so their effects will no longer exist, but the actual formless unreal thoughts and ideas, positive and negative, have eternal existence.’
This confuses students because anything not in heaven is defined in the Course as not real or not existing.
It is as if the unreal does not exist in heaven because it is not allowed there. Here on earth, one cannot offer concrete proof of what happens in heaven, but we are told this: “Earth can reflect Heaven or hell; God or the ego.” T-14.IX.5
Let us then take a reflection of heaven by looking at a roughly similar example on earth, like Jesus did with the parable of the Prodigal Son.
A Father is in charge of a certain household and has certain ideas in place to which the children must abide if they are going to live there in peace. All goes well for some time as the rules are fair and the benefits of living in the home are great.
Then one day a son becomes interested in smoking pot, but he doesn’t want to just smoke it outside the home, but inside where he spends his time. He asks his father’s permission to do so.
His father replies that dugs like that would lead to behavior that could shatter the peace and happiness of the household so he doesn’t allow it.
The Son really wants to smoke so he leaves the home and enjoys partying with friends. Then he winds up taking other drugs that he knows the Father would not allow. He gets severely addicted but finally comes to his senses, quits and returns home to a father who welcomes him again, and again complies with the ideas that govern the home.
The rules of the father are compared to real thoughts and those not allowed to the unreal.
Did the undoing of the wrong thinking of the son destroy the idea of taking drugs?
No. It is still out there, but it does not exist in his real home. When he is home, it is as if harmful drugs do not even exist.
In this world, which can reflect heaven, we can undo our wrong thinking so it is as if it never existed, but the ideas behind it cannot be destroyed and can surface again if wrong decisions are made. If the Son truly has learned his lesson though he will never again embrace the idea of taking addictive drugs.
The unreal is not allowed in heaven so any ideas associated with it are like they do not exist, until a Son entertains the idea of separation, or the unreal, then all the unreal ideas are available and the power of the Sonship makes them seem real.
Unreal ideas include lots of dualities, good and evil, such as flowers and weeds, beautiful bodies and not so beautiful, marriage and divorce, hate and romantic love and basically anything you can see. All these things are temporary, they come and go, but the ideas remain. Everyone who was married 1000 years ago is no longer here, but the idea of marriage remains for anyone who steps out of heaven.
But stepping out of heaven is an idea in itself. It was the original “mad idea” that originated with the Sonship while still in heaven giving it an eternal quality. Concerning our thinking process, heaven exclaims, “This is the little part you think you stole from Heaven. Give it back to Heaven.” T-18.IX.1 Concerning the Holy Instant it says: “the whole of Heaven lies in this instant, borrowed from eternity and set in time for you.” T-17.IV.11 This applies to every instant from heaven which would include the one where separation occurred: “The holy instant is this instant and every instant.” T-15.IV.1
Yes, an “instant” was taken from heaven and divided again and again to create (or make) the vast universe that we see through our telescopes.
The question one arrives at here is how can an idea that originates in heaven, where only the real exists, wind up creating the unreal, or things with a beginning and an end that is not eternal? Where is the eternal effect in this idea?
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