ACIM Conversations, Part 4
Two Steps to Heaven
Student: I’ve encountered disagreement among students as to where or when heaven is entered. Some say we can be in heaven right here on the earth and others say we have to leave this earth behind to enter heaven.
Teacher: Do the ones who say heaven is here give any reference?
Student: They do. Here, I’ll read two of them to you.
“Atonement might be equated with total escape from the past and total lack of interest in the future. Heaven is here. There is nowhere else. Heaven is now. There is no other time.” M-24.6
“Heaven has come to earth at last, from which the ego’s rule has kept it out so long. Heaven has come because it found a home in your relationship on earth. And earth can hold no longer what has been given Heaven as its own.” T-21.IV.7
It does kind of sound like heaven is right here, but there are other passages that tell us we must leave the world behind. It’s quite confusing.
Teacher: This highlights the point we discussed about the importance of looking at the whole rather than the part, as there are a number of times the Course does seem to say contradictory things, but when examined in context with other text, we can see what the Voice is trying to say, and that there is no conflict.
What we need to do here is list the things said about heaven and our return that are clearly stated, and not disputed, and see what adds up. The Course speaks of two major steps necessary to arrive home. Can you name the first?
Student: There seems to be a lot of things like overcoming guilt and fear as well as learning to forgive to name a few.
Teacher: But there is one major one we must achieve.
Student: Would that be the real world?
Teacher: That is correct. Before we fully enter heaven, we must overcome the hurdles you mention and more until we see the real world. And what is the real world?
Student: From what I have read it is a higher reality between heaven and earth – sort of a bridge.
Teacher: Yes. Here is what the Course specifically says: It describes it as “a borderland of thought that stands between this world and Heaven. It is not a place, and when you reach it is apart from time. Here is the meeting place where thoughts are brought together; where conflicting values meet and all illusions are laid down beside the truth, where they are judged to be untrue. This borderland is just beyond the gate of Heaven.” T-26.III.3
So, what is the real world according to this?
Student: A borderland between this world and heaven.
Teacher: Does this tell us that if we are in this world, or even the real world, we are not yet awakened and fully in heaven?
Student: Seems to. A bridge to a place is not the place itself.
Teacher: And what do we have to accomplish to enter the real world?
Student: According to that text we will see beyond illusions to the truth.
Teacher: And a part of this seeing is described here: “You will begin to understand it when you have seen little edges of light around the same familiar objects which you see now. That is the beginning of real vision. You can be certain that real vision will come quickly when this has occurred.” W-pI.15.2
That real vision spoken of enables us to see the true light behind the illusion here and discern the real from the unreal.
If you become centered on the real world, are you then in heaven or still on earth?
Student: From what I have read, it seems we are still here on earth in our bodies, but we just see things clearly. Perhaps we are in that happy dream the Course speaks of.
Teacher: Yes, the Course tells us that “the real world is the second part of the hallucination.” (T-26.V.12) and this:
“The real world still is but a dream. Except the figures have been changed. They are not seen as idols which betray. It is a dream in which no one is used to substitute for something else, nor interposed between the thoughts the mind conceives and what it sees.” T-29.IX.7
So, are we still in the dream while in the real world?
Student: It appears so, but just the second stage before entering heaven.
Teacher: And what is the third and final stage?
Student: It is said that the Father will take the final step when we are ready.
Teacher: Yes, it is written that “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
Would you say then that we are not fully out of the illusion and in heaven until this last step is taken?
Student: It would appear so. Why would we have to take two major steps to enter heaven if we are already there? But what I do not understand is why many think we are already in heaven when it clearly says we have two major steps to go to arrive there?
Teacher: That’s a great question which we shall deal with next.
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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