The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 22

The Mystery of Judgment

Some may question the idea of associating judgment with mystery and wonder where is the mystery in it. After all, isn’t judgment pretty cut and dry? Isn’t this something we are just supposed to avoid and that is pretty much all there is to it?

It is not quite that simple. Yes, there are some passages in ACIM that make it sound like the rejection of judgment should be an easy black and white thing, but then there are others telling us that judgment can be a good thing. As usual to understand what the Course is really saying we have to look at the whole rather than the isolated part.

The most famous statement from Jesus concerning judgment is not in A Course in Miracles but the Bible. He said this:

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

Often these are all the words of Jesus on the subject that people focus on and do not realize that Jesus explained what he meant right afterwards saying:

“For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Matt 7:1-2

Instead of saying point blank that all judgment is bad he was telling us how the law of cause and effect plays out when we do judge. The way we judge will produce an effect that will come back to us. If we judge benevolently or harshly we will wind up being judged the same way by others.

Because erroneous and harsh judgment can come back to haunt us he advised this: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” John 7:24

We seem to have the same problem in understanding judgment in A Course in Miracles as from the Bible. For instance, if we read this passage we may figure that all judgment is bad and to be avoided:

“God’s teachers do not judge. To judge is to be dishonest, for to judge is to assume a position you do not have. Judgment without self-deception is impossible. Judgment implies that you have been deceived in your brothers.” M-4.III.1

Then it says something like this that puts quite a different spin on the subject:

“Watch your mind carefully for any beliefs that hinder its accomplishment, and step away from them. Judge how well you have done this by your own feelings, for this is the one right use of judgment. Judgment, like any other defense, can be used to attack or protect; to hurt or to heal. The ego should be brought to judgment and found wanting there. Without your own allegiance, protection and love, the ego cannot exist. Let it be judged truly and you must withdraw allegiance, protection and love from it.” T-4.IV.8.

A key sentence here is, “Judgment, like any other defense, can be used to attack or protect; to hurt or to heal.”

Again, the student must step back and look at the whole meaning the Course is trying to put forward on this subject. When this is discovered then that which seemed to be contradictory seems complementary instead.

To understand judgment we must first define it. This is especially necessary because ACIM puts a different interpretation on it than is held in common usage for most dictionaries give a definition like this one:

“An opinion that you have after thinking carefully about something or your ability to understand a situation well and make good decisions.”

The Course defines it in a more negative light, especially in how we use it in relation to our brothers:

“Evaluation is its obvious prerequisite. Judgment always involves rejection. It never emphasizes only the positive aspects of what is judged, whether in you or in others. What has been perceived and rejected, or judged and found wanting, remains in your mind because it has been perceived.” T-3.VI.2

This seems to be the meaning the Course attaches to judgment unless stated otherwise, but this is just one aspect of judgment, something we can call the negative aspect. The positive aspect does not involve rejection and exclusion, but acceptance and inclusion. For instance, you may meet people you like and make a judgment that they would be fun to spend time with. Or perhaps you made a judgment that ACIM is good material and you should study it. These are judgments of acceptance and inclusion.

Some think we should avoid all judgments but consider how impossible that would be for even a couple hours. When the alarm clock goes off in the morning you have to make a judgment as to whether to get right up or stay in bed a few more minutes. When you shower you make a judgment as to how hot the water will be and how long you will be in there. When you eat breakfast you have to make a judgment on what will best satisfy you. When you drive to work and approach a yellow light you have to make a judgment as to whether to go for it or be cautious and stop. By noon you will have made hundreds of small judgments.

It may be that when we return to heaven that judgments of any kind will not be necessary, but to function here in this world they are a necessity, even for advanced ACIM students.

The Course doesn’t say much about mundane and necessary judgments we use to function but in most cases it is referring to a negative assessment of our fellow men and women. It particularly discourages us from judging others to be sinners or bad people in the traditional sense. Any judgment where you see a brother as morally inferior to yourself just takes us further into the illusion. Because “we were created as equals” (T-5.II.9) and since it is the “perfect equality of giver and receiver on which the miracle rests” (T-1.II.6) it is necessary that one member of the Sonship not judge another to be inferior, or even superior for that matter for “Equals should not be in awe of one another because awe implies inequality.” T-1.II.3

Now inequality concerning a skill is another matter. If you have never skied and join a class it would be insane to think you are equal in skill to your instructor. But you can see yourself as equal in potential and that would make sense. The key to the correct use of judgment is to avoid the ones concerning inferiority that lead to shame and guilt.

Another category that the Course tells us we should avoid is where a correct judgment is impossible because we do not know all the facts. It asks:

“Remember how many times you thought you knew all the “facts” you needed for judgment, and how wrong you were!” M-10.4

Because we rarely know all the facts in a situation, “It is surely good advice to tell you not to judge what you do not understand. No one with a personal investment is a reliable witness, for truth to him has become what he wants it to be.” T-12.I.5

It then tells us why making accurate judgments on our own is so difficult:

“In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things; past, present and to come. One would have to recognize in advance all the effects of his judgments on everyone and everything involved in them in any way. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception, so that his judgment would be wholly fair to everyone on whom it rests now and in the future. Who is in a position to do this? Who except in grandiose fantasies would claim this for himself?” M-10.3

This gives a clue as to why it is such an egregious error to make negative judgments on our brothers and sisters, especially where we condemn them in any way. The problem is that when we judge another we are only going by a small slice of his life. We are unaware of all the struggles he has gone through, the bad relationships, the frustrations and other negative things he may have had to endure. But the biggest factor usually left out is that every brother, no matter how much in error he seems to be, is a Son of God at the very core of his being and this divine life can surface when judgment is suspended and forgiveness extended.

Since we humans are so bad at making judgments one may wonder how we can possibly function in the world. We have to make some judgments, but we do not want to be wrong all the time.

Again the Course comes to the rescue and tells us how we can make accurate judgments.

“We said before that the Holy Spirit is evaluative, and must be. He sorts out the true from the false in your mind, and teaches you to judge every thought you allow to enter it in the light of what God put there. Whatever is in accord with this light He retains, to strengthen the Kingdom in you. What is partly in accord with it He accepts and purifies. But what is out of accord entirely He rejects by judging against. This is how He keeps the Kingdom perfectly consistent and perfectly unified. Remember, however, that what the Holy Spirit rejects the ego accepts.” T-6.V.C.1

A key thought expressed here is that the Holy Spirit “sorts out the true from the false in your mind, and teaches you to judge every thought you allow to enter it in the light of what God put there.”

He can do this accurately because, “He does know all the facts; past, present and to come. He does know all the effects of His judgment on everyone and everything involved in any way. And He is wholly fair to everyone, for there is no distortion in His perception.” M-10.4

That sounds great, does it not? We all have a source of infinite intelligence so the judgments we do make can be accurate. How do we go about accessing this great source? The answer given may be said to be an act of faith:

“And so I give all judgment to the One You gave to me to judge for me. He sees what I behold, and yet He knows the truth.” W-pII.347.1

The answer is quite simple. We first realize how flawed our own judgment is, especially when judging others, and then we give judgment over to the Holy Spirit. This may be easier said than done for we are told “It is possible even in this world to hear only that Voice and no other. It takes effort and great willingness to learn.” T-5.II.3

It takes effort and great willingness because the Voice of the Holy Spirit is often called the “still small voice,” and it takes a lot of focus and willingness to listen and follow before a sure connection is made. He is called our “link with God,” where “perception will become so changed and purified that it will lead to knowledge.” W-pI.43.1

The trouble is that all who think they are guided by the inner Voice do not put forth the “effort and great willingness” to remove the veils of communication and in this case the ego is happy to step in and be the substitute voice of the Holy Spirit.

It is obvious that all who claim to be guided by God or the Holy Spirit are not all connected to the same source as many disagree with each other. Egos will disagree with the Holy Spirit as well as other egos, but those who listen to the inner voice and truly hear it will not disagree with each other on issues related to oneness.

“Because He (Christ) hears one Voice, He cannot hear a different answer from the one He gave when God appointed Him His only Son.” T-31.II.7

“It is His (the Holy Spirit’s) holy function to accept them both, and by removing every element of disagreement, to join them into one. He will do this because it is His function. Leave, then, what seems to you to be impossible, to Him Who knows it must be possible because it is the Will of God.” T-15.VIII.6

There are indeed a plethora of teachers out there claiming to speak for God. How do you tell who is speaking the truth when so many disagree?

The responsibility lies on each individual seeker. He must make his own valid connection with the Holy Spirit. Then he can recognize that same spirit in another who has that same connection. When two or more give judgment to the Spirit their judgment will agree.

The Course sums it up well in this quote:

“If you will lay aside the ego’s voice, however loudly it may seem to call, if you will not accept its petty gifts that give you nothing that you really want; if you will listen with an open mind, that has not told you what salvation is; then you will hear the mighty Voice of truth, quiet in power, strong in stillness, and completely certain in Its messages.

“Listen, and hear your Father speak to you through His appointed Voice, which silences the thunder of the meaningless, and shows the way to peace to those who cannot see. Be still today and listen to the truth. Be not deceived by voices of the dead, which tell you they have found the source of life and offer it to you for your belief. Attend them not, but listen to the truth.” W-pI.106.1-2

The ego offers many “petty gifts” to distract seekers away from the true voice, but the successful student must ignore them and keep his mind steady in the light that comes from the one mind of God.

We’ll end this chapter by shedding light from ACIM on that mysterious subject pursued by many Bible students called the “Last judgment.” Many Bible believers see this as a future time when God will call forth all souls to stand before Him to be sternly judged as to whether they will go to heaven or hell. The Course gives us a different interpretation on this.

For one thing it says that “Judgment is not an attribute of God. It was brought into being only after the separation, when it became one of the many learning devices to be built into the overall plan.”

So, if the last judgment does not involve God judging us where then comes the judgment?

It comes from none other than ourselves.

So what is it we are to judge?

We are to eventually re-establish ourselves in our right mind and correctly judge our creations.

And what creations are these?

Before the separation we participated in right-minded eternal creations with God. Then after the separation we lost the awareness of who we are and participated in wrong-minded creations that were temporary and not eternal. In the last judgment we become aware of our true identity and make a judgment as to which type of creation in which we will participate. Our last judgment will be when we arrive home and continue the process of eternal creation in extending the universe of God.

The Course sums it up this way:

“The Last Judgment might be called a process of right evaluation. It simply means that everyone will finally come to understand what is worthy and what is not. After this, the ability to choose can be directed rationally… Everyone will ultimately look upon his own creations and choose to preserve only what is good, just as God Himself looked upon what He had created and knew that it was good. At this point, the mind can begin to look with love on its own creations because of their worthiness. At the same time the mind will inevitably disown its miscreations which, without belief, will no longer exist.” T-2.VIII.3-4

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

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The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 21

The Mystery of Oneness

One of the greatest points of confusion as well as disagreement among students concerns the Course’s teachings on oneness. There are a number of interpretations that have surfaced about how oneness and non duality play out with God, the Trinity and the Sonship.

There is a fair amount of agreement that there is oneness in the true reality but disagreement as to how literally it manifests.

We discussed some of these points earlier but in this chapter we will explore the subject a little deeper.

The problem comes from the Course itself for the intent seems to be to place strong emphasis on oneness. In doing so some passages give the impression that there is not only union in heaven but a oneness with no parts, or any individual identities or choice.

Then other passages give other impressions interpreted as there being many types of beings in heaven, to heaven being a perfect version of earth.

The best authority on this subject is the Course itself so let us take a look at the whole context to see what it has to say.

The oneness of the life of the Son is the main point of disagreement but there is also the oneness of the Trinity to consider. Concerning them it is written:

“Father and Son and Holy Spirit are as One, as all your brothers join as one in truth. Christ and His Father never have been separate.” T-25.I.5

“The ego is legion, but the Holy Spirit is One… For reality is one with the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” T-6.I.10

“Christ knows of no separation from His Father,” T-15.VIII.4

This oneness includes us as Sons: “God created you as one with Him.” T-13.VII.8

Concerning God as a whole it is written:

“there are no separate parts in what exists within God’s Mind. It is forever One, eternally united and at peace.” T-30.III.6

So concerning the Trinity, which includes us as Sons of God, we are told in these verses that we are “one,” there is “no separation.” And “no separate parts.”

If one takes these statements too literally he could wind up believing that God has no parts whatsoever and after our awakening and return to heaven there will no such thing as any individual life or choice for all there will be is one life. You as an individual entity will no longer exist. What is left of you will be God all alone with no one else with which to share anything. If there are no parts there is only the One all alone.

One can get this idea if he goes by a few isolated passages, but the Course as a whole des not support it. The first thing we need to clear up is what the Course means when it speaks of oneness.

It gives us a clue in the first passage we quoted. Here it is again:

“Father and Son and Holy Spirit are as One, as all your brothers join as one in truth. ” T-25.I.5

Here it tells us that oneness is created by joining “as one in truth. ”

This joining together of parts to maintain oneness is emphasized a number of times in the Course. Here is a good example:

“In the holy meeting place are joined the Father and His creations, and the creations of His Son with Them together. There is one link that joins Them all together, holding Them in the oneness out of which creation happens.” T-14.VIII.4

A key phrase is that “There is one link that joins Them all together.”

Then we have passages like this that seem to support oneness with no parts:

What is the same can not be different, and what is one can not have separate parts. T-25.I.7

Some will quote this and say, “See, in heaven there will be just one life with no parts.”

But notice that the verse does not say “no parts” but no “separate parts.” When the many parts of God’s creation are joined together into “one link” then they are no longer separate parts, but united parts of one life.

Think of a puzzle with the pieces separated in a box. You look at one piece and it is not joined to anything and only confusion would result by trying to see the whole picture from it. But then if one joins the pieces together he sees a completed picture. The pieces are no longer separated parts, but joined into a union that creates the one picture.

Similarly in heaven all lives are joined together so they are not separate but create the one life. If there are missing pieces the life of God itself is affected:

“God is lonely without His Sons, and they are lonely without Him.” T-2.III.5

The oneness of heaven can be manifest by a oneness through God’s teachers here on earth:

“God’s teachers appear to be many, for that is what is the world’s need. Yet being joined in one purpose, and one they share with God, how could they be separate from each other? What does it matter if they then appear in many forms? Their minds are one; their joining is complete. And God works through them now as one, for that is what they are.” M-12.2

These teachers are individual entities living on earth yet they are not separate from each other because they are joined together since “their minds are one.”

This joining or linking together through sharing the one mind of God is what the oneness of ACIM is all about. It is not telling us that God or the Son is all alone with no parts.

For one thing we are told that there are four categories of the parts of the One God in heaven.

The first is the creator who is called the Father. The second is the Son who was created by the Father.

I and my Father are one, but there are two parts to the statement in recognition that the Father is greater. T-1.II.4

We are told that the Son was “created only to create” T-14.I.4 and though the Father and Son are linked as one there is a difference in that “the Father is greater.”

Then we have a third entity called the Holy Spirit who was created to fill a need that neither the Father or Son could do:

“He came into being with the separation as a protection, inspiring the Atonement principle at the same time. Before that there was no need for healing, for no one was comfortless. ” T-5.I.5

Then we have the fourth major part of the one united life in heaven which are the angels:

“You (the Son) were created ABOVE the angels because your role involves creation as well as protection. You who are in the image of the Father need bow only to HIM, before whom I kneel with you.” UR T 1 B 30y

Whereas the Son was created to create, the Holy Spirit to atone, the angels were created to protect. Interestingly, the mission of the Son is said to be “above” that of the angels.

So the Course tells us that in heaven there are four categories of lives with four different purposes yet united as one, all sharing the same mind of God. They are not separate parts, but united parts joined together by the one mind.

The next point of confusion comes over the life of the Son. All students agree that the Course clearly tells us that the one Son of God is us, but that is as far as the unity goes. Because the Course says several times that God has only one Son they literally interpret this to mean that there are no parts and one entity who is the Son is all there is. In other words, when they awaken and find themselves in heaven they will discover that this whole world was a dream of the one Son with no parts. None of the people in the dream existed in any fashion.

It is amazing that this belief has gotten as much traction as it has since the Course gives us quite a few details of what it means by the “one Son.”

Here is just one example of many that could be cited:

“It should especially be noted that God has only one son. If all His creations are His Sons, every one must be an integral part of the whole Sonship. The Sonship in its Oneness transcends the sum of its parts. However, this is obscured as long as any of its parts is missing. That is why the conflict cannot ultimately be resolved until all the parts of the Sonship have returned.” T-2.VII.6

Notice that the word “part” is used four times in this short statement about the “one son.” Each individual, such as you and I, are “an integral part of the whole Sonship,” and if “any of its parts is missing” the transcendent oneness is “obscured.”

One of the best illustrations that there are parts or groups in the Sonship is the account of the initial separation as follows:

“The Atonement actually began long before the crucifixion. Many Souls offered their efforts on behalf of the separated ones, but they could not withstand the strength of the attack and had to be brought back. Angels came, too, but their protection did not suffice because the separated ones were not interested in peace.” UR T 2 B 43

Here is a description of the beginning of the journey of the Prodigal Son (or separation) and the interplay of three groups. The first were the Sons (a part of the Sonship) called the “separated ones” who began the journey into the world of dreams and illusion. These are the Prodigal Son in the parable.

The second was another group of Sons, or “many souls” who did not separate and tried to prevent the separation. These are represented in the parable by the faithful son who remained with the Father.

Not mentioned in the parable, but in the Course were angels who tried to help “but their protection did not suffice.”

Thus was oneness disturbed and heaven “shattered” for a time (See T-18.I.12)

This shattering caused this situation:

“The Sonship in its Oneness DOES transcend the sum of its parts. However, it loses this special state as long as any of its parts are missing. This is why the conflict cannot ultimately be resolved UNTIL all of the individual parts of the Sonship have returned. Only then, in the true sense, can the meaning of wholeness be understood.” UR T 2 E 52

This account clearly tells us that the Son consists of not just one part, but all the individual lives are a part with free will. We can use that will to unite with the One Life of God or we can create the illusion of going against it as happened in the separation.

A point of confusion and division occurs among students as they read certain passages that sound like we are in the midst of the separation and need to be saved, but then there are others that make it sound like we never left home, nothing has happened and nothing needs done. These two descriptions sound like they cannot both be true. Here is a passage that sheds some light.

“Therefore, it is the tiny part of yourself, the little thought that seems split off and separate, the Holy Spirit needs. The rest is fully in God’s keeping, and needs no guide… This is the little part you think you stole from Heaven. Give it back to Heaven.” T-18.IX.1

“Any part of the Sonship can believe in error or incompleteness if he so chooses.” T-2.VII.6

So the answer to the conundrum is that there are two parts to ourselves. The first is that “tiny part” of ourselves that split off. That is you as you seem to exist in a body in this world. Then there is the “rest (that) is fully in God’s keeping.” This is the real part of yourself that is still linked to the one life of the Sonship in heaven. This is sometimes called your “other self” as in this text:

“There is another vision and another Voice in which your freedom lies, awaiting but your choice. And if you place your faith in Them, you will perceive another self in you. This other self sees miracles as natural.” T-21.V.3

Concerning this “other self” it says:

“You are part of reality, which stands unchanged beyond the reach of your ego but within easy reach of spirit.” T-4.I.8

That little part of the Sonship that “you stole from Heaven” is “irreplaceable”:

“You are altogether irreplaceable in the Mind of God. No one else can fill your part in it, and while you leave your part of it empty your eternal place merely waits for your return.” T-9.VIII.10

Sounds like the part that is you is pretty important for “without you there would be an empty place in God’s Mind.” T-11.I.2-3

Another point that produces some confusion are the Course’s statements about the part and the whole such as this one:

“The idea of part-whole relationships has meaning only at the level of perception, where change is possible. Otherwise, there is no difference between the part and whole.” T-8.VIII.1

“The recognition of the part as whole, and of the whole in every part is perfectly natural, for it is the way God thinks, and what is natural to Him is natural to you. “T-16.II.3

Those who believe in no individual parts will say that this proves their point. ACIM talks about parts but the parts and the whole are the same meaning that the talk of parts is symbolic as there is only one life with no parts. There only seems like there is more than one part in our dream world. When we wake up there will be no parts.

Speaking of parts this thinking is another example where the whole rather than the part of the teaching needs to be considered. We have already given ample evidence from the Course itself that there are four major parts or divisions in heaven itself and that the Son has parts. When the Course speaks of the parts containing the whole it is not saying there are no parts, but describing the parts similar to how we would a hologram.

A hologram can appear as one image or be divided into many. When divided the parts contain the information of the whole so they can duplicate the image of the whole. It is interesting that the investigation into holograms was very elementary when ACIM was received and Helen Schucman

most likely had never heard of one, yet the Course talks about God and its parts as if they correspond to a hologram.

The Course also says this:

“The whole does define the part, but the part does not define the whole. “T-8.VIII.1

That is an amazing description of how the initial hologram relates to its parts. The whole affects all the parts but the part does not affect the whole. Change the image of the initial hologram and all the parts change, but anything you do to the part does not affect change to the whole.

ACIM tells us that God extends or expands His creations and all creation shares in the extension, but the part cannot create itself and affect the whole.

Students with a knowledge of holograms are therefore quite impressed with the correspondence in ACIM of God and Its creations with holographic science since the Course was written before the general public knew what a hologram was.

So, just as a hologram can have many parts with each part containing the whole so can the many extensions of the one Son do the same

There are, however, two ingredients of heaven that are one with no parts that link the Sons of God so all the parts function as one life. The first is the mind of God and the second is the Spirit.

ACIM tells us the Spirit is perfected so even the illusion of division with it is impossible. It is not even aware of our world but only has contact with us through the Holy Spirit which was created for that purpose.

The mind represents the creative function of God and He has shared it with us. With the separation the one mind had the illusion of being split into the higher and lower with the higher being linked to Spirit and the lower to the ego. But the split only happened in the illusion of the dream but all powers of the mind whether in or out of the dream come from the one mind.

You could compare Spirit and mind to space that contains our universe. When we send a rocket into space or observe stars in it through a telescope we do not speak of spaces plural but always space singular.


Because there is just one space, but that one contains everything, trillions of parts.

Similarly, the mind and Spirit from God are one, singular, yet Spirit contains everything and mind links everything.

You are a Son of God, a part in the divine space or Spirit of God, yet when in your right mind you are the life of the whole as if you are the whole.

We “are of one mind and spirit with Him. (God)” T-5.VII.3

The paramount fact that “God is love” (T-9.I.9) tells us that there are many parts to the one life we call God. For love to exist there has to be more than one. After all, we are told that “love is the same as union.” T-16.V.3 Union can only happen when there is more than one part.

To be united with His Sons is very important to God for it is written that “God is lonely without His Sons, and they are lonely without Him.” T-2.III.5

Because God is love He desires to be united with His Sons and for this reason seeks the end of the separation.

The very function of love tells us that many parts are involved:

“For it is the function of love to unite all things unto itself, and to hold all things together by extending its wholeness.” T-12.VIII.7

Love “holds the universe together in its meaning.” T-15.XI.6

This tells us that love is a power that can “hold all things together” and holds the actual “universe together.”

We can see that this teaching on love is true when we examine how it plays out in our lives. Think of a time that you fell in love. What was foremost in your mind? There was nothing you wanted more than to be with that person and be as close and intimate as possible.

Because God is love He desires to pull all of His Sons toward a great center where they all share their essence.

This could not happen if God were all alone. If this were the case love could not exist because there would be no sharing or union.

As it is we stand “before the altar to one God, one Father, one Creator and one Thought, we stand together as one Son of God. Not separate from Him Who is our Source; not distant from one brother who is part of our one Self.” W-pI.187.10

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

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The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 20

Reason and the Mysteries

There is some division among ACIM students over the use of mind, logic and reason in pursuing the objectives of the Course. Some think we should just study it and accept what it seems to say without question, whereas others see many items that seem to warrant greater understanding and ask questions to seek more depth in the meaning.

Actually, this type of division is very natural and is found to some degree in every group and organization as one side represents mind and the other emotion and the heart. Those polarized in mind are full of questions and are always seeking greater understanding, whereas those centered in emotion just like to accept things at face value and move on.

We are all influenced by both emotion and mind, but each individual tends to settle in one direction or the other. The mature person will balance the two, but many focus so much on one side that they miss the benefits of the other.

For instance, some who are centered in emotion will love the Course teachings on love, peace and awakening, and dismiss the idea of using mind and reason to understand the mysteries and nuances of the Course.

The question then arises as to whether it is of value to pursue the Course using mind, asking questions and using reason to see beyond what is written in black and white.

I submit that the use of mind in succeeding at understanding the Course is invaluable and will speed the student toward eventual graduation from the it. The understanding of any true piece of the mystery of existence can only help the student, not hinder.

The use of mind and reason is accepted by the Course itself.

“What reason points to you can see, because the witnesses on its behalf are clear. Only the totally insane can disregard them, and you have gone past this. Reason is a means that serves the Holy Spirit’s purpose in its own right.” T-21.V.7

Reason takes us to the source of ideas:

“reason sees the source of an idea as what will make it either true or false.” T-22.II.5

Reason is an important attribute of the higher part of our minds that can aid in our journey back home:

“The part of mind where reason lies was dedicated, by your will in union with your Father’s, to the undoing of insanity. Here was the Holy Spirit’s purpose accepted and accomplished, both at once. Reason is alien to insanity, and those who use it have gained a means which cannot be applied to sin. Knowledge is far beyond attainment of any kind. But reason can serve to open doors you closed against it. T-21.V.9

Here it calls this higher mind our “other self.”

“Reason lies in the other self you have cut off from your awareness.” T-21.V.4

The ego fights against the power of reason:

“Consider what the ego wants defenses for. Always to justify what goes against the truth, flies in the face of reason and makes no sense.” T-22.V.2

The ego is “devoid of reason” and doesn’t ask questions related to it:

“How can the segment of the mind devoid of reason understand what reason is, or grasp the information it would give? All sorts of questions may arise in it, but if the basic question stems from reason, it will not ask it.” T-21.V.4

Reason is a key ingredient in the undoing of the ego:

“The introduction of reason into the ego’s thought system is the beginning of its undoing, for reason and the ego are contradictory. Nor is it possible for them to coexist in your awareness. For reason’s goal is to make plain, and therefore obvious. You can see reason. This is not a play on words… reason sees through errors,” T-22.III.1

The Course gives this advice:

“Listen to Him Who speaks with reason, and brings your reason into line with His.” T-21.VI.8

“Reason cannot see sin but can see errors, and leads to their correction. It does not value them, but their correction.” T-21.VI.1

“You do not leave insanity by going somewhere else. You leave it simply by accepting reason where madness was. Madness and reason see the same things, but it is certain that they look upon them differently.” T-21.VI.3

Overall, the Course tells us that we gain the ability to transcend the erroneous thinking of the ego and gain the ability of pure reason through the Holy Spirit, which links us with higher mind, for reason is a quality of the mind.

Unfortunately, many spiritual seekers dismiss the mind as something that needs to be ignored. Many teachers of meditation say that we should be “mindless” and follow the script of the ego mentioned in the Course:

“the ego believes that mind is dangerous, and that to make mindless is to heal. But to make mindless is impossible, since it would mean to make nothing out of what God created.” T-8.IX.6

They may have a point when talking about the lower mind used by the ego, but the higher or real Mind “never sleeps.”

“The mind is very powerful, and never loses its creative force. It never sleeps. Every instant it is creating. It is hard to recognize that thought and belief combine into a power surge that can literally move mountains.” T-2.VI.9

If we wish to correct the errors of separation and awaken to true reality, the mind is essential:

“It is essential to remember that only the mind can create, and that correction belongs at the thought level. ” T-2.V.1

So, how important is mind?

“If I did not think I would not exist, because life is thought.” W-pI.54.2

Then the ultimate mind is from God:

Father, Your Mind created all that is, Your Spirit entered into it, Your Love gave life to it.” W-pII.263.1

When we as humans use reason, mind and thought we become seekers and ask questions, yet many in the various spiritual traditions discourage such things. A popular Christian bumper sticker a while back read: “I found it!” This was a declaration that they had found the truth and there were no more questions and nothing more to seek.

Indeed, some religions excommunicate their members when they ask too many questions.

Since there is no organized body or authorized theology with ACIM, there is nothing to get expelled from, but there are times that seeking, reasoning and questioning does draw some criticism. Such a person is sometimes accused of being in the ego, insinuating that if he were not controlled by the ego he would not be delving into anything not accepted by the common thoughtform.

So let us look at the only real authority on the Course, which is the Course itself, and see what it says about the matter. Does it approve of seeking and asking questions?

First, it tells us who doesn’t approve – the ego:

“Its dictates, then, can be summed up simply as: “Seek and do not find.” This is the one promise the ego holds out to you, and the one promise it will keep.” T-12.IV.1

It repeats this idea several times. Here is one more:

“the ego’s basic doctrine, “Seek but do not find.” W-pI.71.4

The ego does not want you to seek and find because “The ego cannot afford to know anything.” T-7.VI.4

“true perception, a state of clarity which the ego, fearful of being judged truly, MUST avoid.” UR T 4 F 13

The Course is quite encouraging about asking questions and using the Holy Spirit to receive and verify answers:

“In all these diversionary tactics, however, the one question that is never asked by those who pursue them is, “What for?” This is the question that you must learn to ask in connection with everything” T-4.V.6 The ego does not know what a real question is, although it asks an endless number” T-8.IX.1A Voice(God) will answer every question you ask, and a vision will correct the perception of everything you see.” T-12.VIII.4

As far as seeking goes, the Course speaks very positively about it:

“To seek and not to find is hardly joyous. Is this the promise you would keep? The Holy Spirit offers you another promise, and one that will lead to joy. For His promise is always, “Seek and you will find,” and under His guidance you cannot be defeated. His is the journey to accomplishment, and the goal He sets before you He will give you.” T-12.IV.4

“It is impossible that anyone could seek it (the truth) truly, and would not succeed.” W-pI.107.6

It is not the Holy Spirit that discourages questions. Instead, the Course says this:

“The enemies of love do not want questions: With love as enemy must cruelty become a god, and gods demand that those who worship them obey their dictates and refuse to question them. Harsh punishment is meted out relentlessly to those who ask if the demands are sensible or even sane.” W-pI.170.6

It is recommended that we ask sincere and meaningful questions:

“A pseudo-question has no answer. It dictates the answer even as it asks… An honest question is a learning tool that asks for something that you do not know. It does not set conditions for response, but merely asks what the response should be. But no one in a conflict state is free to ask this question,” T-27.IV.5

“‘Seek and ye shall find’ does not mean that you should seek blindly and desperately for something you would not recognize. Meaningful seeking is consciously undertaken, consciously organized and consciously directed. The goal must be formulated clearly and kept in mind. Learning and wanting to learn are inseparable.” T-4.V.5.

“Perhaps there is another way to look at this. What can I lose by asking? Thus you now can ask a question that makes sense, and so the answer will make sense as well.” T-30.I.12

Many more positive references could be supplied, showing that ACIM approves of seeking and asking questions. Since this is the case, why would some discourage such things as being motivated by the ego?

There are several statements that seem to give ammunition to this idea. Here is one:

“The ego analyzes; the Holy Spirit accepts. The appreciation of wholeness comes only through acceptance.” T-11.V.13

From this some students conclude that seeking, asking questions and analysis are related to the ego and should be avoided. Instead, we should just go with the flow and accept.

But accept what?

One can accept truth as well as error, and we certainly do not want to be on the side of the ego accepting error as truth.

“the ego proceeds to the next step in its thought system: Error is real and truth is error.” T-11.V.14

Instead of taking the passage concerning analysis in isolation, we need to examine the rest of the text which reveals the big picture. It continues:

“for to analyze means to break down or to separate out. The attempt to understand totality by breaking it down is clearly the characteristically contradictory approach of the ego to everything. The ego believes that power, understanding and truth lie in separation, and to establish this belief it must attack. Unaware that the belief cannot be established, and obsessed with the conviction that separation is salvation, the ego attacks everything it perceives by breaking it into small, disconnected parts, without meaningful relationships and therefore without meaning. The ego will always substitute chaos for meaning, for if separation is salvation, harmony is threat.” T-11.V.13

Far from reinforcing the idea that we should just blindly accept and not use our minds, these important words inform us as to the deceptive tactics of the ego in creating chaos.

It is a master at creating chaos because “The ego’s logic is as impeccable as that of the Holy Spirit, because your mind has the means at its disposal to side with Heaven or earth, as it elects. But again, remember that both are in you. T-5.V.1

Yes, the ego is great at arguing, but it has a major flaw in its conclusions:

“You may have carried the ego’s reasoning to its logical conclusion, which is total confusion about everything.” T-7.X.1

Instead of telling us that all use of mind, analysis and questioning are wrong, the passage under consideration reveals the mystery behind the master tactic of the ego to create chaos and confusion so that the truth will not be realized. And what is this tactic?

It is “to analyze means to break down or to separate out.”

“But isn’t that a good approach?” one may ask. Sometimes you have to see the separate parts of a thing to understand the whole.

True but this has nothing to do with the ego’s reasoning. It doesn’t break down and analyze to find the truth but instead is “obsessed with the conviction that separation is salvation, the ego attacks everything it perceives by breaking it into small, disconnected parts, without meaningful relationships and therefore without meaning.” T-11.V.13

The sincere seeker of truth may brake the whole into its parts and put them together again to enrich the understanding, but not the ego. It breaks the whole into parts and keeps them in separation. Looking only at the separate parts creates chaos and confusion. The advantage of dealing with the parts is that the ego can substitute truth for error and direct the needed parts to proving error is truth.

Let us pick a controversial topic today, such as global warming/climate change and see how the ego deals with it. The first thing to realize is that the ego uses the same tactics on both sides of something controversial like this. It doesn’t care if you are on the right or the left. It only cares that you will not see the whole picture and support confusion.

When you see people arguing on either side of this issue do you ever see them attempting to paint a picture of the whole problem and a wholeness solution?


Instead, what we see are those breaking the argument down to selective parts and using the part as proof of the whole.

Here’s an example. In the summer there is a particularly hot spell in your part of the world, though temperatures may be quite normal in other parts. Those representing the ego will say this is proof that we are having global warming and we must act.

Then when winter comes and there is a cold spell, the other side will say, “Doesn’t look like the earth is warming to me.”

Another example:

We have a period where there are more serious hurricanes than normal. One side will proclaim they are due to global warming and must act.

Then we have a period where there are fewer hurricanes than normal and the other side will say this is proof there is no problem.

Arguing using only a piece of the whole will not give us the whole truth, but lead to error and confusion instead. The only way to get to the truth of this or any other controversy is to look at the whole picture with all of the parts put together. Only then can two see as one and be in alignment with the Holy Spirit which does see the whole.

The problem is that “The ability to see a logical outcome depends on the willingness to see it.” T-7.X.2 Too many are just not willing to see the whole rather than the isolated part that supports their bias.

We must remember that all things were created by the mind of God and we share that mind. To not use that mind with its powers of reason is to neglect who we are.

“Alone we can do nothing, but together our minds fuse into something whose power is far beyond the power of its separate parts. By not being separate, the Mind of God is established in ours and as ours. This Mind is invincible because it is undivided.” T-8.V.1

We’ll end this chapter with a passage that presents a wonderful ideal to which students can aspire:

“Yet I do want to share my mind with you because we are of one Mind, and that Mind is ours. See only this Mind everywhere, because only this is everywhere and in everything. It is everything because it encompasses all things within itself. Blessed are you who perceive only this, because you perceive only what is true.” T-7.V.10

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

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The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 19

The Mystery of Salvation

Some may wonder about the title of this chapter, thinking that the meaning of salvation is pretty cut and dry. We achieve salvation and go to heaven, right? That seems to be a Course teaching that is in harmony with orthodox Christianity with not a lot of mystery behind it.

As with many concepts presented in ACIM there is always more depth than meets the eye. Though it often uses the word as if speaking in a general sense one must examine the overall presentation to get a clear picture.

For starters ACIM makes this statement which runs quite contrary to the orthodox view:

“Your Self does not need salvation, but your mind needs to learn what salvation is. You are not saved from anything, but you are saved for glory. T-11.IV.1

To obtain salvation then one must be saved from something but the Course says we “are not saved from anything.” If this is so then why does it speak of salvation hundreds of times? If there is nothing to be saved from why even bring the subject up?

Actually, there is something to be saved from and that something is nothing, or perhaps we should say NO THING. Because we are saved from nothing the Course tells us we are not saved from anything.

This nothing the Course calls illusions or the dream within which we seem to find ourselves.

“What is there to be saved from except illusions? And what are all illusions except false ideas about myself?” W-pI.58.3

This illustrates just one of many examples where the reader needs to get a whole picture of what the Course is saying, especially where illusion and true reality are at play, for it often dismisses everything in the dream of separation as if it did not happen. But keep in mind that the comparison is to a dream and the correspondence is enlightening.

When you dream at night and then wake up you may say to yourself, “that was quite a dream, but it never happened.”

Yes it is true the dream did not happen in your waking reality, but that doesn’t mean it did not happen within the totality of reality. After all, you did actually have a dream and did have experiences within it. So, from another way of looking at it the dream did happen. Whether or not you discuss the dream as a real event depends on your reference point.

If the Course’s reference point is heaven then nothing happens anywhere in time and space. But if the reference point includes time and space then lots of things are happening.

So when the Course tells us that we “are not saved from anything.” It speaks from a reference point of eternity in heaven. But then when it turns around and speaks many times of things we need to be saved from it speaks from a reference that includes the dream of time and space.

This shifting in the Course of the reference point from eternity only to eternity plus time and space produces confusion in students and causes many to come up with some odd interpretations on various subjects.

Therefore, when reading about salvation, or any other subject, we must look at the context to see where the reference point lies. If it is heaven only then there is no need for salvation and such a concept is not needed; but if time and space are included then we have a situation where the Sons of God are trapped in the illusion of the dream state and definitely need to be saved. In this reference the Course asks:

“The question is always twofold; first, what is to be saved? And second, how can it be saved?” T-12.III.2

We have partially answered that question with the statement from the Course about the main thing with which salvation is concerned and that is illusion. (W-pI.58.3) We are caught up in the great dream and need to be awakened as noted by God Himself who the Course quotes as saying: “My children sleep and must be awakened.” T-6.V.1

The illusion is quite complex and there are many ingredients involved from which we must be saved before we can awaken. Overall there are four main things that ACIM tells us from which we need to be saved or delivered so awakening can happen.

The first and prime problem is that we must be saved from our false belief about ourselves. While in the illusion we see ourselves as powerless imperfect beings who are at the mercy of outer events which are often beyond our power with which to deal. The Son sees himself as “the victim of this ‘something else,’ a thing outside himself, for which he has no reason to be held responsible.” T-27.VII.1

To escape being a victim the student must begin to question who he is:

“There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this: ‘I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself.’ Yet in this learning is salvation born. And What you are will tell you of Itself.” T-31.V.17

To this the Course adds: “Again, how simple is salvation! It is merely a statement of your true Identity.” W-pI.77.1 The student must realize: “I am not the victim of the world I see.” W-pI.31

The Course makes it clear that when our true identify is realized that we are not a victim but share in the very powers of our Father God.

God “created you out of Himself, but still within Him.” T-14.IV.4 You are to “accept your rightful place as co-creator of the universe.” W-pI.152.8 “all His extensions are like Him.” T-12.IV.6

Then we have this powerful statement concerning those who realize their true identity:

“There is now no limit on his power, because it is the power of God. So has his name become the Name of God, for he no longer sees himself as separate from Him. (God)” M-23.2

So we have all this power, but are asleep and under the illusion that we have no power. What are we to do to manifest our true self and salvation?

“Let us look closer at the whole illusion that what you made has power to enslave its maker. “ T-22.II.9

Thus the Course acknowledges that the illusion does appear to enslave us. Since our very salvation depends on us waking up to our true reality the question that needs to be addressed is what stands in our way. There are three main problems the seeker must solve. Let us examine them.

The Problem of Forgiveness

Perhaps the most discussed barrier between separated Sons of Gods and true reality deals with forgiveness.

The Course gives a somewhat different slant on forgiveness than does orthodox theology. In the standard teaching the one who forgives is seen as a person of superior virtue who overlooks the sins of an inferior person who usually doesn’t deserve it. They see Jesus on the cross as asking to forgive his persecutors but thinking they they really deserved to burn in hell.

Concerning this wrong-headed idea of forgiveness the Course speaks of the “better person” who “deigns to stoop to save a “baser” one from what he truly is. Forgiveness here rests on an attitude of gracious lordliness so far from love that arrogance could never be dislodged. Who can forgive and yet despise? And who can tell another he is steeped in sin, and yet perceive him as the Son of God? Who makes a slave to teach what freedom is? There is no union here, but only grief. This is not really mercy. This is death. … All forms forgiveness takes that do not lead away from anger, condemnation and comparisons of every kind are death.” S-2.II.2&8

“Unjustified forgiveness is attack. And this is all the world can ever give. It pardons “sinners” sometimes, but remains aware that they have sinned. And so they do not merit the forgiveness that it gives.” T-30.VI.3

Therefore, if Jesus had the ACIM attitude of forgiveness when on the cross he had no thoughts of comparing himself to his enemies and didn’t see himself as superior. He would not have been angry or had the spirit of condemnation at all where the standard believer trying to forgive may be thinking: “I’ll forgive you SOBs, but you don’t deserve it.”

To this attitude the Course asks: “Who can forgive and yet despise?”

The Course presents us with a radical standard for us to attain. It says:

“Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin. And in that view are all your sins forgiven.” W-pII.1.1

To this a skeptic may say: If a thief steals $100 from me then I am dealing with something that did happen. Aren’t I in denial if I say it did not?”

The answer is that you do not deny anything that has happened from your apparent past but the key is to see the past in the light of eternal reality. It says this:

“Fear is not of the present, but only of the past and future, which do not exist.” T-15.I.8

The Course tells us the present is the only time there is and the past only exists as a memory in our minds and is not real from a higher angle of vision.

In other words, if you got hit on the head and lost your memory then it would be as if the thief had never stolen the $100. For you the present would be all the time there is.

This is the state of mind with which forgiveness must be approached.

We do not deny that in the universe of time and space that we have all made mistakes but the disciple realizes that all such mistakes are in the past and only have reality if the mind decides to give it to them. Instead, the mind can dismiss the past and enter into the eternal Now where salvation leads us. No wonder the Course tells us

“Salvation and forgiveness are the same.” W-pI.99.1 “Forgiveness is release from all illusions.” T-24.III.1

“He will teach you to remember that forgiveness is not loss, but your salvation. And that in complete forgiveness, in which you recognize that there is nothing to forgive, you are absolved completely.” T-15.VIII.1

So this attitude of mind creates a tremendous benefit for the seeker. He or she is “absolved completely” and enters a state of innocence as well as “release from all illusions.”

Now some may say there are some offenses just too great to forgive. What if someone raped your sister or killed your parents. You couldn’t just dismiss such things could you?

It would be difficult but when the correct attitude of mind is attained it can be done as was demonstrated by Jesus. His spiritual brothers who were supposed to represent kindness and love crucified him. Where others would have cursed them with their dying breaths Jesus asked God to forgive them. He thus gave us an ultimate example to follow.

If the student can realize one important concept around forgiveness all will come into perspective and make universal forgiveness much easier. It is this: The greater the offense is the greater will be your opportunity to advance toward liberation. Forgiving the thief for stealing the $100 may be a challenge, but most could do it without suffering much sense of loss. On the other hand, forgiving something big like rape or murder takes a lot more presence of mind but offers a much greater opportunity for moving forward toward salvation or backward into greater illusion.

If one suffers a great offense and forgives as if it did not happen then he has demonstrated his invulnerability which the illusion normally hides. Thus the great offense offers a great opportunity.

On the other hand, if he suffers a great offense and allows it to consume him for the rest of his life he is demonstrating his own perceived vulnerability and enters deeper into the illusion making awakening more difficult than ever.

Therefore, while caught in the world of illusion the rule of thumb should be to see all offenses as past illusionary events that can be dismissed, as if they never happened.

I have found this “never happened” idea quite useful in my own life and when I treat offenses this way it removes their power to affect me in any negative way. It proves its validity by working out in harmlessness and peace through practical application in life.

The Course sums up the importance of forgiveness is this profound quote:

“Forgiveness is illusion that is answer to the rest… Forgiveness sweeps all other dreams away, and though it is itself a dream, it breeds no others. All illusions save this one must multiply a thousandfold. But this is where illusions end. Forgiveness is the end of dreams, because it is a dream of waking. It is not itself the truth. Yet does it point to where the truth must be, and gives direction with the certainty of God Himself. It is a dream in which the Son of God awakens to his Self and to his Father, knowing They are One.” W-pI.198.2-3

The Problem of Grievances

Let us recap where we are with salvation. To obtain salvation we must see through the world of illusion to understand who we really are as Sons of God, but before this can be realized we must forgive all things that could disturb our peace. Just as a lack of forgiveness stands in the way of realizing our true selves we have several obstacles standing in the way of complete forgiveness.

The first is quite obvious which is merely a lack of motivation to forgive on the part of the student. The best cure for this is to make a serious attempt to practice it and witness how much peace iis attained by it.

However, there are other problems that confront those who are sincerely attempting to live the spiritual life. A master hurdle that must be neutralized is any grievance the seeker has.

We are told in lesson 68 that “Love holds no grievances.” One could also say that forgiveness holds no grievance as well. Then there is this:

“For every grievance is a block to sight, and as it lifts you see the Son of God where he has always been.” W-pI.78.3

The Course tells us clearly that a key to forgiveness is to see the Son of God or Christ in our brothers: “Christ stands before you, each time you look upon your brother.” T-25.V.2 “For as you see the Son you see yourself.”S-2.I.3

The lifting of grievances is essential to forgiveness and remembering who we really are:

“It is as sure that those who hold grievances will suffer guilt, as it is certain that those who forgive will find peace. It is as sure that those who hold grievances will forget who they are, as it is certain that those who forgive will remember.” W-pI.68.3

The lifting of grievances is a key to releasing the light within us:

“your grievances are hiding the light of the world in you, everyone stands in darkness, and you beside him. But as the veil of your grievances is lifted, you are released with him.” W-pI.69.1

It is important to understand that grievances are a key ingredient to a counterfeit plan of salvation:

“The ego’s plan for salvation centers around holding grievances. It maintains that, if someone else spoke or acted differently, if some external circumstance or event were changed, you would be saved… Each grievance you hold is a declaration, and an assertion in which you believe, that says, ‘If this were different, I would be saved.’” W-pI.71.2

“Holding grievances is the opposite of God’s plan for salvation.” W-pI.71.10

“By holding grievances, I am therefore excluding my only hope of salvation from my awareness.” W-pI.86.3

Since a grievance is a powerful obstacle to forgiveness which in turn is a powerful obstacle to seeing our true reality it might be helpful to examine the problem more deeply. The Course makes this statement:

“Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.” W-pI.79

Many do not understand grievances and do not even acknowledge they have them so the first step is to understand them and learn how to dispel them.

A grievance is basically a negative feeling harbored toward another individual for saying or doing something that is seen as offensive or hurtful. The one offended sees the cause of the grievance as being the fault of another and not himself. The supposed solution is for the other guy to humbly apologize for the offense and to promise not to do it again.

The problem is that many do not take the correct action to solve the problem, the desired apology never comes and the grievance remains as a festering wound that continues to grow in strength often to the point of causing physical illness.

Just declaring you forgive the one who offended often does nothing for a part of you still wants to hear the words “I am sorry” and just can’t let the grievance go. What do you do?

ACIM says, “communication is salvation.” T-15.VII.11 And indeed it is. The one suffering the hurt feelings must communicate with the offender. Taking this step is often very difficult and may require a determined act of will, but this is where the solution lies and it is quite simple.

The one offended must approach the offended and merely explain to him or her what he did or said to hurt his feelings. In the best case scenario may go something like this:

Bill: When you said ABC it really hurt my feelings. It made me feel like I was a crazy man.”

Ted: Sorry about that. I was just joking around and didn’t mean any harm. I don’t think you are crazy at all.

In cases like this where the communication was made and accepted the grievance disappears instantly., This is one of the Miracles mentioned in ACIM.

Probably about half the grievances we experience are caused by innocent remarks that are interpreted too seriously. But then there are others more difficult to resolve. In another situation maybe Ted did know what he was doing and wanted to hurt Bill’s feelings. What does Bill do then?

The answer is the same. Communicate.

Even though Ted was intentionally hurtful there is a good chance his heart will be softened if Bill communicates his feelings sincerely. But even if he refuses to apologize or work things out Bill will have a chance to get the grievance off his chest. After he has done all he can to resolve the matter, if he is willing, he can then legitimately forgive and let it go. If he does this the miracle of peace will be his. On the other hand, if Ted continues in the attack mode he will have the negativity of the original grievance rest upon him. It will be as if the dark cloud of grievance was moved from Bill to Ted through the wrong-mindedness of himself.

Fortunately though with sincere and honest communication most grievances can be resolved and both parties can benefit and obtain peace.

Conclusion: To dispel the grievance honestly communicate your feelings followed by forgiveness on your part. Then move on as if nothing has happened.

The Problem of Guilt

The final major obstacle to our salvation is guilt and its negative power over the human spirit cannot be overstated as it stops the progression of many in their tracks.

ACIM says this:

“Guilt is always in your mind, which has condemned itself.” T-13.IX.6

Notice that it doesn’t say that God, the Holy Spirit or even angels have condemned us, but guilt comes from our own minds which condemn ourselves.

Why in the world would we create so much pain and distress for ourselves as guilt is able to produce? It all boils down to seeing ourselves as having sinned and in need of punishment:

“You can hold on to the past only through guilt. For guilt establishes that you will be punished for what you have done,” T-13.I.8

So why would we condemn ourselves when God does not and “The innocence of God is the true state of the mind of His Son. In this state your mind knows God”? T-3.I.8.          

The Course itself answers this question:

“You will not make decisions by yourself whatever you decide. For they are made with idols or with God. And you ask help of anti-Christ or Christ, and which you choose will join with you and tell you what to do. “ T-30.I.14

So whether you see yourself as guilty or guiltless is determined by whether your decisions are made through the influence of idols or God, which is like saying the Christ or the anti-Christ.

Indeed, deception by these idols, representing the anti-Christ are the source of guilt:

“There never was a time an idol brought you anything except the ‘gift’ of guilt. Not one was bought except at cost of pain, nor was it ever paid by you alone.” T-30.V.10

Since the idols, representing anti-Christ in this world, are the source of guilt it then behooves us to understand exactly what an idol is and how it is able to accomplish such a nefarious deception.

An idol is basically a substitute for God. In Bible times people made idols, such as the golden calf, and bowed down and worshipped them. The Course tells us this act is a great error:

“A sick god must be an idol, made in the image of what its maker thinks he is.” T-10.III.4

The question to be considered now is how does an idol bring “the gift of guilt” as taught in the Course? Perhaps an understanding of this is a key to the elimination of this major obstacle.

The main thing that produces guilt is the creation by our minds of a feeling that we have offended God or “sinned” against Him. To the contrary the Course teaches that we are in a dream state and nothing we do here is real enough to offend God.

If guilt does not come from sinning against God then where does it come from?

It comes from sinning against an idol, a substitute for God.

And where do we find such substitutes?

They are everywhere. Many there are who get in line to be your idol or voice of God from without rather than the true God which is contacted within.

In a religion or spiritual group the voice of the outer god comes to you from your religious authorities, scriptures or books. If such an outer voice speaks for God and you accept it then a violation of the word is interpreted as a sin against God which is followed by guilt.

If this outer voice from an accepted idol tells you to not drink coffee, dance or go to certain movies and you violate the order your mind will see it as a sin and you will eel guilt.

Another person who does not see such commands as coming from God will feel no guilt whatsoever.

The difference is that one is being controlled by an idol and the other is not – at least in this area of living.

Idols, or substitutes for the true inner voice of God, are everywhere and few escape the guilt they produce. Idols are found in not only religious leaders, but parents, family members, political and many other groups. Even hardened atheists accept idols that nurture their guilt.

But here’s the strange thing and the hidden cause of much residual guilt. Even the text of the most holy and accurate words on earth can become an idol that substitutes for God and can create guilt. Yes, even the words in the Bible or A Course in Miracles can become an idol that leads the mind away from the true God to a false outer one.

The problem is that words themselves are an imperfect substitute for the perfect word that comes from the Inner Voice. The Course says:

“Words can be helpful, particularly for the beginner, in helping concentration and facilitating the exclusion, or at least the control, of extraneous thoughts. Let us not forget, however, that words are but symbols of symbols.” M-21.1

Then we have this from ACIM: “I have made every effort to use words that are almost impossible to distort, but it is always possible to twist symbols around if you wish.” T-3.I.3

So the greatest and purest words from the Bible, the Course or any sacred writing can be interpreted incorrectly and if the student accepts this error as infallible literal truth the may suffer guilt through the illusion produced.

This problem is obvious when we see that there are hundreds of religions who interpret the simple words of Jesus in the Bible hundreds of different ways. A Course in Miracles is very straightforward in what it attempts to say, but even here many students disagree with each other about its meaning. The truth is that taking in the black and white words as infallible words from Jesus or God creates a idol. To escape this control of an outer God the seeker must always rely on a connection with the inner God through the Holy Spirit as taught in the Course. Then the student can read any outer words and not be led into the trap of guilt. He will then be able to find more truth in the National Enquirer than one who is in illusion can find in the Bible.

To escape from guilt the seeker must first realize that the inner Voice never condemns, but the outer voice does. If he feels any guilt at all then this is a sign that he has been deluded into accepting the idol of an outer god who has falsely taken the place of the true inner One. What he must do next is to identify the outer God to whom he has given power to control him with guilt.

Sometimes this idol is obvious and other times it is not. If he is a member of an authoritarian religion then it is most likely that it is the religious authorities and teachers who have taught him how he is to feel guilty.

On the other hand, there are those who have tried to leave an orthodox religion behind and think they are free, but are not. The authoritative decrees still echo in their minds and have power to produce guilt.

The for some it is more subtle still. An infallible acceptance of scripture or even A Course in Miracles followed by distorted black and white interpretations can create a false God even out of the best of the world’s symbolic words. If the seeker gives the black and white words more authority than the Inner Voice or ignores the Inner in favor of the outer then the student will suffer guilt.

Accepting this in theory is not enough. The student must take action and identify the source of guilt and dismiss it. When guilt comes he can say to himself: “The true God does not condemn. Where then is this condemnation coming from? I will identify it and let it be as if it never was. I refuse to be deceived any longer.”

When the seeker truly finds the source of guilt, dismisses it, and commits to following the Holy Spirit within no matter what the outer voices seem to say then in that instant guilt will just evaporate and be no more. Never again will the pilgrim have to suffer from guilt.

To this some may ask if it is not necessary to have a certain amount of guilt. After all, do we not need a conscience to guide us on the right path?

This illusionary idea is a final hurdle that must be handled to neutralize guilt completely. Our true conscience does not condemn and has nothing to do with guilt. Guilt is produced by a supposed sin that is committed, but the word “sin” as was used in the days of Jesus was much different than how it is used to induce guilt today.

The word “sin” in the New Testament comes from the Greek word HAMARTANO which means “to miss the mark.” In other words, when the Greeks, 2000 years ago, shot at a target with an arrow and missed, they “sinned” (HAMARTANO) or missed the target. Is this how the word “sin” is used today? Verily no. When the religious person thinks of sin in our age, he generally thinks of being unclean and ridden with guilt.

When you shoot at a target and miss the bull’s eye, do you feel degraded and guilty to the extent that you feel paralyzed and even feel unworthy to shoot again? No, of course not. When you miss you may find it mildly irritating, but you generally can’t wait to have another try at it.

On the other hand, if the archer were to feel guilty he would not consider himself worthy to shoot again until he has paid some price for redemption.

We would laugh at any sportsman with this crazy idea yet that is how the ego manipulates us with guilt in our lives and most find it no laughing matter.

Guilt has been identified with sin by those who have sought to control the souls of men, but among the enlightened prophets it was not always so. To them sin was seen as a human error and salvation from sin is the path that leads to a correction of error. The prophets in times past did not seek to control through guilt, but sought to shift consciousness from error to perfection as they saw it.

The most prevalent sin today (using its true definition) is to be ensnared by guilt, for guilt is caused by, not your conscience, but by an error in human thinking.

It is indeed a great error to make a mistake and then condemn yourself through guilt to the extent that you become paralyzed and do nothing to fix the problem until you feel worthy again. When a mistake is made the seeker needs to jump right back in making an effort to correct himself.

Indeed, the idea of correction of error rather than sin is a threat to the ego:

“Any attempt to reinterpret sin as error is always indefensible to the ego. The idea of sin is wholly sacrosanct to its thought system, and quite unapproachable except with reverence and awe. It is the most “holy” concept in the ego’s system; lovely and powerful, wholly true, and necessarily protected with every defense at its disposal. For here lies its ‘best’ defense, which all the others serve. ” T-19.II.5

The diligent ACIM student will defy the ego and again see sin as mere error as was its interpretation in the days of Jesus.

Let us conclude then by itemizing the basic ingredients of salvation. First the Course makes salvation sound like the simplest thing in the world. All we need to do is recognize who we really are and act accordingly. Then there’s a big “but.” But there are three main roadblocks that take our vision away from our true reality. They must be mastered before this simple true vision can come. The student must forgive, let go of grievances and finally completely neutralize guilt and let it go back to the nothingness from whence it came.

When these steps are taken he is said to be saved from living in the illusion of who he is not rather than who he is.

Does this mean the journey is over and the seeker has entered heaven?

Not quite though it will seem like heaven by comparison as he has established a solid link with God through the Holy Spirit. But…

“Salvation stops just short of Heaven, for only perception needs salvation.” T-26.III.5

If salvation stops short of heaven then what is missing? Here is the answer:

Salvation is nothing more than “right-mindedness,” which is not the One-mindedness of the Holy Spirit, but which must be achieved before One-mindedness is restored.. T-4.II.10

So, salvation takes us to right-mindedness stopping short of the goal of one-mindedness which is the awareness that exists in eternity. The Course tells us what it means by right-mindedness:

“The term ‘right-mindedness’ is properly used as the correction for ‘wrong-mindedness,’ and applies to the state of mind that induces accurate perception.” T-3.IV.4

So we achieve salvation through accurate perception and the most important things to perceive accurately are forgiveness, grievances and guilt leading us to an understanding of who we are.

So, where does this salvation take us?

“How much do you want salvation? It will give you the real world, trembling with readiness to be given you.” T-17.II.7-8

“Salvation is a borderland (real world) where place and time and choice have meaning still, and yet it can be seen that they are temporary, out of place, and every choice has been already made.” T-26.III.3

So salvation is not the end of our journey but it does take us to the real world which is the final step before our final atonement and liberation.

“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

Arriving at the real world leads to the final step:

“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

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

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The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 18



The Mystery of Reincarnation

After I bought my first copy of A Course in Miracles back in 1980 and read the first few pages I realized that this was a revelation of intelligence that was beyond the reach of a regular mortal channel. I immediately became curious as to whether it said anything about reincarnation as this is a teaching I embraced that seems to separate the spiritual chaff from the wheat as far as recognition of truth goes. Since my copy had no index and I had no digital text to search I had to plow through quite a bit to find a reference to it. The word was not found in the two main volumes which are the text and the workbook. Finally, I did find a reference to it in the small teacher’s manual under a section entitled, “Is Reincarnation So?”

I was hoping for more enlightenment on this topic, but instead the Course presented it in such a way that it could be accepted by those believed in the principle, but would not offend those who did not. Then, after digesting what it said I saw that the author accepted reincarnation, but wanted to make sure the reach of the Course was extended to those who did not, as there are many sincere people who have not arrived at this belief. At one time I was one of those people.

Here I extracted the core of what it says about the subject in the one section that mentions reincarnation:

“In the ultimate sense, reincarnation is impossible. There is no past or future, and the idea of birth into a body has no meaning either once or many times. Reincarnation cannot, then, be true in any real sense. Our only question should be, ‘Is the concept helpful?’”

“It is certain, however, that the way to salvation can be found by those who believe in reincarnation and by those who do not.”

“For our purposes, it would not be helpful to take any definite stand on reincarnation.” M-24.1-3

As it does on many subjects ACIM approaches reincarnation from an eternal perspective. Concerning the world as a whole it says: “The world you see does not exist, because the place where you perceive it is not real.” T-28.V.7

Logically then if the world does not exist then reincarnation in the world would not exist either, even if we live a thousand or more lifetimes in time and space.

ACIM only accepts something as having a true existence if it is eternal and unchanging. It tells us that if a thing is not eternal and has a beginning and an end then it will wind up as being something in the past which does not exist:

“Fear is not of the present, but only of the past and future, which do not exist.” T-15.I.8

It is indeed an interesting observation that once an event is passed that it only seems real in our memories and without those memories it is as if the past does not exist but the present always does.

In each life most of us are born with no memory of previous lives and it as if we had no past – or the past does not exist.

Since past lives belong to the past and the Course tells us the past does not exist then reincarnation would be in that same category even though a past life may seem as real to us as memories of our parents when we were children.

The question the curious student may have is not whether events in this world have happened in time and space, but what has happened in time and space?

As far as ACIM goes all happenings in time and space are not real and a part of the dream. Even so, it is interesting to explore our history while we are here in the dream.

Who, for instance would not want to know how the Great Pyramid was made, who made it and its age. Or who killed JFK, a question Gary Renard asked in his book on ACIM. Then too, it would be interesting to uncover the truth about ancient civilizations like Atlantis, Lemuria and many other things.

Millions, or perhaps billions or trillions of years from now when the universe ends and the one united Son returns home these type of past events will be of no significance, but for now as we explore the illusion in the dream state many past events are of great interest to the majority.

Helen Schucman, the scribe for the Course put things in perspective:

“I saw my life represented by a golden line stretching infinitely backward and infinitely forward. There was a miniscule dip in the line which I recognized as standing for my present life. It was laughably tiny and barely noticeable.

“I clasped my hands in real delight.

“‘What can it possibly matter what happens in this little eye-blink of time?’ I asked myself, in happy amazement. ‘It seems too long and important while you’re in it, but in less than an instant it’s as if it never happened.’” From Journey Without Distance by Robert Skutch, Chapter Three

Compared to eternity one life or many lives would be insignificant by comparison.

It is interesting that Helen was reluctant to accept the concept of reincarnation, but her resistance finally wore down after she was given numerous dreams and visions of past lives.

Here is one more from Skutch’s book:

“Especially affecting to her was her experience at Qumran, the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls.

“As they approached the actual area where the scrolls had been found, Helen abruptly stopped, visibly shaken. She stared at the opening of the cave, and suddenly burst into tears. Although Bill and Louis tried desperately to comfort her, she was unable to speak for almost five minutes. When she finally regained her composure, she spoke so quietly that the others had to strain to hear her.

“This is the cave,” she said in a tremulous voice; “this is the cave where I saw the scroll that said ‘GOD IS’.” None of the others said a word; there was nothing to say.

“A short while later, as they were breathing in the historical atmosphere of the Dead Sea surroundings, Helen began musing half to herself. ‘You know,’ she said, ‘something’s wrong with the water level. It’s too low; it used to be much higher.’ Bill, who took none of Helen’s thoughts lightly, opened a guide book he had bought when they had arrived in Israel, and began thumbing through it.

“‘Very interesting, Helen,’ he remarked. ‘It says here that at the time of the Essenes, the water level of the Dead Sea was a good deal higher.’ Everyone was silent, and finally Helen, visibly moved, remarked quietly, ‘This is the holiest place on earth.’”

It is quite possible that she was recalling a life that was contemporary with Jesus. Wapnick’s book tells of a message from Jesus about what appears to be from that time period:

“Your earlier acute problem in writing things down came from a much earlier [i.e., in a past life] misuse of very great scribal abilities. These were turned to secret rather than shared advantage, depriving the ability of its miraculous potential, and diverting it to possession.”

This explained her reluctance to be a scribe in this life, but even though not perfect she was the best one for the job.

In addition, Wapnick’s biography says this:

“in many of his personal messages to Helen, Jesus referred to her other lifetimes, in addition to the references to Helen’s past life experiences that came to her during the summer that preceded the beginning of the Course.”

She also had several visions of past lives shared with Bill Thetford who assisted her during the transcription process. In one life. that appeared to be ancient Atlantis, she was a Priestess and he was an assistant similar to their work together with ACIM and in another she was a priestess again in what seemed to be ancient Egypt and was expected to kill Bill, but hesitated and was executed herself.

Wapnick came to this conclusion in the biography:

“We have already seen in her letters to Bill, dating from 1965, that Helen did most certainly believe in past lives and their helpfulness in explaining, at least on one level, certain contemporary problems or conflicts.”

That said, how about the text of ACIM itself? Outside of the one section that references the word “reincarnation” does it give any other clues as to its existence in time and space?

The answer is a solid yes, especially when you consider the passages that only make sense when reincarnation is factored in such as this one:

“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.” T-2.VIII.2

The original before editing said the time period was “many millions of years,” so it is obvious that the separation and the return covers a very long time period.

If the separation and the return covers millions or billions of years does it make sense that we who entered the dream would only spend a few decades immersed in it in a body? What would we be doing all those other millions of years?

Reincarnation is specifically mentioned and verified in the original UR text:

“Cayce’s whole approach put him in a real doublebind, from which he did not recover. When he spoke of a dream in which he saw his own rather immanent reincarnation, he was perfectly accurate.” UR T 3 C 29

The orthodox version also makes it pretty clear there is reincarnation for it says point blank that “rebirth is man’s inheritance.” M-11.1

Such is each life; a seeming interval from birth to death and on to life again, a repetition of an instant gone by long ago that cannot be relived. And all of time is but the mad belief that what is over is still here and now.” T-26.V.13

Thus we keep going through death and rebirth until we have lived in a thousand homes as stated here:

“We speak today for everyone who walks this world, for he is not at home. He goes uncertainly about in endless search, seeking in darkness what he cannot find; not recognizing what it is he seeks. A thousand homes he makes, yet none contents his restless mind.” W-pI.182.3

Indeed it would take quite a few lifetimes to live in a thousand homes.

Then we have this benefit students receive from the teachers of the Course:

“Their (teachers) function is to save time. Each one begins as a single light, but with the Call at its center it is a light that cannot be limited. And each one saves a thousand years of time as the world judges it.” M-1.2

This idea is repeated here:

“Today we try to bring reality still closer to your mind. Each time you practice, awareness is brought a little nearer at least; sometimes a thousand years or more are saved.” W-pI.97.3

“The miracle substitutes for learning that might have taken thousands of years.” T-1.II.6

Saving us a thousand years in time would certainly include more than one life of less than 100 years and the Course emphasizes that our progress is made through life, not death:

“Nothing is accomplished through death, because death is nothing. Everything is accomplished through life, and life is of the mind and in the mind.” T-6.V.A.1

The Course makes it clear that we must experience this world through rebirth until we accept the atonement:

“Nothing the world believes is true. It is a place whose purpose is to be a home where those who claim they do not know themselves can come to question what it is they are. And they will come again until the time Atonement is accepted” W-pI.139.6

Then after leaving the body at death we are again called forth:

“While those as yet unborn will hear the call we heard, and answer it when they have come to make their choice again.” W-pI.98.4

If the Jesus of A Course in Miracles affirms the teaching of reincarnation then you would think that the Jesus of the Bible would also. Many students and scholars think that the original scriptures had obvious references to reincarnation which were removed when the modern Bible was compiled. A famous church scholar and father, Origen, openly taught the doctrine of reincarnation and the pre-existence of souls. Interestingly Bill Thetford recounts Helen Schucman identifying him as this third century entity in a past life in his autobiography.

Fortunately though, some of Origen’s writings remain and censors were unable to scrub all subtle references to reincarnation out of the scriptures.

The most obvious one concerns Jesus’ comments about Elijah and John the Baptist.

In the days of Jesus many were looking forward to the fulfillment of the coming Messiah as well as Elijah who was supposed to come first to prepare the way.

The disciples of Jesus thought that he showed strong evidence that he was the messiah, but one thing seemed to be missing. The Old Testament prophesies said that Elijah would come first. From their viewpoint Elijah seemed to be missing from the equation. They referenced this prophecy:

“Behold, I will send you ELIJAH THE PROPHET before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6

They then asked Jesus that if he was the Messiah, “Why then do our teachers say that Elijah must come first?” Mat 17:10

He answered thus:

“I tell you that ELIJAH HAS ALREADY COME, and they failed to recognize him, and worked their will upon him; and in the same way the Son of Man is to suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that HE MEANT JOHN THE BAPTIST.” Matt. 17:10-13 New English

This is a powerful affirming statement from Jesus: “Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John…A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written, Behold I send my messenger before my face, which shall prepare thy way before thee (This is a quote from Malachi near the prophesy of Elijah) Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven (Christ) is greater than he… For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, THIS IS ELIJAH, which was for to come.” Matt. 11:7,9-11,13-14

Now we can see why Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest prophet. He was aware of his past lives. He was quite possibly other great prophets besides Elijah.

Jesus certainly attracted a lot of attention when he began his work and many people were speculating as to who he was. There were many who actually considered that he may have been one of the prophets born again. Jesus asked his disciples: “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, some say that thou art John the Baptist: some Elijah, others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” Matt 16:13-14

Notice here that Jesus did not refute this belief in reincarnation, but merely accepted Peter’s answer that he was the Christ.

The apostles evidently believed in reincarnation at the time that they were current disciples of Jesus: “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” John 9:1-2

We see here that the disciples thought that the man who was born blind may have had to suffer so because of a previous sin. In other words, they thought he may have committed sins in a previous lifetime that led to his present condition. Jesus pointed out that the man was a special case. He was not born blind because of sin, but so that the works of God should be manifest. In other words, the man came with a mission to glorify the works of Christ by the great miracle to his eyes. Jesus did not, however, say anything to indicate that the disciples belief in wrongful actions before birth was not a possibility.

Jesus gave us an interesting indication as to what was in store for his disciples. He said: “There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, and sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, but HE SHALL RECEIVE AN HUNDREDFOLD IN THIS TIME, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the WORLD TO COME eternal life. And many that are first shall be last and the last first.” Mark 10:29-31

Here Jesus talks about two periods of existence. The first he calls “in this time” or the period of our mortal existence in the dream. The second he calls “the world to come”. In the world to come, or the heaven of ACIM, where we receive “eternal life”, but in this age or period of normal earth life if we accept the gospel we will receive “an hundred fold” of houses, at least a hundred brothers, a hundred sisters, a hundred mothers, a hundred children, and a hundred different lands or places where we will live. This prophecy cannot be literally fulfilled without reincarnation. On the other hand, Jesus knew that “in this time” or period of human existence we go through more than a hundred lifetimes, but eventually we would reach the eternal world at the end of reincarnation into time and space.

A point often overlooked in considering reincarnation is that all life and creation follow this principle of recycling. Just as rain falls to the earth, evaporates, and later falls as rain again even so the recycling process of reincarnation is universal in time and space.

The Course tells us that it is a part of a “universal course” of which there are many “other forms, all with the same outcome.” M-1.4

Many of the teachings from the East are in harmony with A Course in Miracles but just use a different vocabulary and phraseology. They not only teach the reincarnation of individuals, but of the earth of solar systems and the universe itself.. Some teach that the universe has incarnated many times and the beginning is beyond the reach of memory.

And what does the Course say about the separation where time and space first began?

“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

Remember that an “instant” as described with the Course can refer to many millions of years. Here we are told that this instant of the creation of the manifested universe is “relived” or reincarnated “again and again and still again.”

Perhaps the one Son of God with many parts to the whole has been dealing with the illusion much longer than appears from a casual study of ACIM.

Other traditions teach that the Son aspect creates a material universe on principles of illusion and manifests in it to learn and grow in intelligence. Then they return home to pralaya, or the heaven of ACIM. Then after a cycle of rest new Sons of God are manifest and the cycle is repeated giving new creations an opportunity to experience time and space, sunsets, birds singing and the playing of games. Some call this physical universe the “playground of the gods.”

However one wants to look at it one can be assured that Helen’s favorite, Shakespeare, spoke the truth when he wrote, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

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

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The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 17


The Mystery of Relationships

My first read through the text of A Course in Miracles went pretty smoothly until about half way though when it started talking about the special relationship in quite a negative light.

In a nutshell, a special relationship, according to ACIM, is any relationship held by an individual where another person is seen as more special or the object of more love than anyone else. For most people the spouse, one’s children or good friends are seen as more special in their lives than strangers or various irritating people encountered in life. In fact most counselors and books on marriage advise one to make the partner feel special by going out of one’s way to do things for them that are not done to others.

It is kind of an accepted thing among humanity to go out of our way to make loved ones feel special. I’ve read a lot of spiritual related materials and hadn’t read of any teacher criticizing the special relationship. Many recommend seeing God, Christ or merely the good in all people and treating all with kindness and a giving heart even if they are obnoxious, but I hadn’t come across any tradition attacking the special relationship that would including marriage and children. Thus when I encountered the Course’s teachings on the special relationship I found that my open mindedness was put to the test. If it were not for seeing the high intelligence behind the author and the innovating teachings presented I might have discounted the whole thing. As it was, I read on and considered all with an open mind and discovered that when all the various teachings on this are put together in the bigger picture a path to happier relationships is revealed.

That said, let us look at what the Course actually says about the special relationship. Here is a quote that gives the flavor of its outlook:

“The special relationship is a strange and unnatural ego device for joining hell and Heaven, and making them indistinguishable. And the attempt to find the imagined ‘best’ of both worlds has merely led to fantasies of both, and to the inability to perceive either as it is. The special relationship is the triumph of this confusion. It is a kind of union from which union is excluded, and the basis for the attempt at union rests on exclusion.” T-16.V.6.

Basically this and other statements gives a good description of a bad marriage. “A strange and unnatural ego device for joining hell and Heaven” is particularly graphic and even a somewhat humorous description for one who has gone through a difficult relationship.

As I read on I found that the special relationship was not all bad and could be redeemed but before we go there let us present some of the reasons given by the Course why the special relationship can be a hindrance and then what can be done about it. According to the Course the big problem with the special relationship is that it is a substitute for God and His love.

“See in the special relationship nothing more than a meaningless attempt to raise other gods before Him” T-16.V.13

“In a sense, the special relationship was the ego’s answer to the creation of the Holy Spirit, Who was God’s Answer to the separation.” T-17.IV.4

So we are to look to God and His Holy Spirit for completion, but this can be frustrated if we put more special attention on another person than we do our true Source. As the Israelites molded the golden calf and made it more special than God we can also fall into the trap of placing special people in our lives above our link with God. In simple language the Course is telling us to put God first above any person or thing in this world.

The Course tells us we have separated ourselves from God and instead of seeking to return we seek through special relationship that which we left behind:

“Hear Him gladly, and learn of Him that you have need of no special relationships at all. You but seek in them what you have thrown away. And through them you will never learn the value of what you have cast aside, but still desire with all your heart.” T-15.VIII.2

“The real purpose of the special relationship, in strict accordance with the ego’s goals, is to destroy reality and substitute illusion.” T-16.V.9

The basic flaw in the special relationship is that it introduces inequality in love. Instead, we are supposed to be like God and love all other beings equally:

“You cannot enter into real relationships with any of God’s Sons unless you love them all and equally. Love is not special. If you single out part of the Sonship for your love, you are imposing guilt on all your relationships and making them unreal.” T-13.X.11

And thus we have guilt associated with the special relationship which seems to be a major reason for the negative descriptions of it.

“the closer you look at the special relationship, the more apparent it becomes that it must foster guilt and therefore must imprison.” T-16.VI.4.

“It is sure that those who select certain ones as partners in any aspect of living, and use them for any purpose which they would not share with others, are trying to live with guilt rather than die of it. This is the choice they see. And love, to them, is only an escape from death.” T-16.IV.4

Guilt seems to be just one of the negative effects of the special relationship:

“In looking at the special relationship, it is necessary first to realize that it involves a great amount of pain. Anxiety, despair, guilt and attack all enter into it, broken into by periods in which they seem to be gone. All these must be understood for what they are. Whatever form they take, they are always an attack on the self to make the other guilty.” T-16.V.1

When someone reads this he may wonder why the course speaks so negatively about guilt and other negative aspects belonging to the special relationship. After all, are there not a lot of people with positive and beneficial special relationships?

There are two key phrases in that last quote. The first is there are “periods in which they (the negativity) seem to be gone.”

Yes, many couples will have an enjoyable relationship for a few years and then all hell will break loose. They will either separate or continue together merely enduring each other.

The second key statement is: “Whatever form they take, they are always an attack on the self to make the other guilty.”

This is interesting. The major problems in the special relationship is not caused by attacking the mate but attacking oneself to evoke guilt in the other. How does this happen?

Lots of ways. Here are a few.

One partner says: “I do all the housework and what do you do.? You just sit around, watch TV and drink beer.”

This person attacked herself by making her a victim and then attempted to make her mate feel guilty.

In another instance a partner may say, “I slave away all day at a job I hate and you just sit around most of the day and can’t even get dinner ready on time.”

Again, he makes himself a victim and attempts to induce guilt.

These are stark examples but many play little games that portray themselves as subtle victims to make the partner feel some unease with guilt. One says in different ways, “I do this for you and what do I get in return?” These games play out even in relatively stable relationships.

Guilt is a major barrier between humanity and the realm of Spirit. Guilt must be understood and released before the Son of God can manifest and return home. This is why the special relationship is discouraged and viewed with such negativity.

The trouble is that all of us have special relationships of some kind. They may be with a spouse, one’s children, friends, a car, a home, a job – virtually anything that the person is strongly attached to and shows special attention.

So are we all doomed to stay in the illusion? It seems quite difficult to go through life without some sort of special relationship unless you are a yogi living in a cave.’

And aren’t there a few people with peaceful relationships free of guilt?

Fortunately the Course does offer deliverance from the special relationship composed of guilt and turbulence to one of peace. It calls us to make a transition from the special relationship, which it sometimes calls the unholy relationship, to the holy relationship.

To understand what is needed to heal our relationships we must understand the problem of limitation in the special relationship. The limitation is symbolized by the body: “The special relationship is a device for limiting your self to a body, and for limiting your perception of others to theirs.” T-16.VI.3

In the spiritual realm there is no separation. As Spirit you are merged and one with every other part of the life of God. This ultimate sharing is what the Course calls heaven. Unfortunately “the body cannot be used for purposes of union. If, then, you see your brother as a body, you have established a condition in which uniting with him becomes impossible.” T-19.I.4

So our life focus seems to be limited to a body, but in this limited condition we have an internal desire to reestablish that heavenly union that we once had. Communication and sex is the best we can do in this direction with bodies but all efforts fall short aptly described here:

“On this side of the bridge you see the world of separate bodies, seeking to join each other in separate unions and to become one by losing. When two individuals seek to become one, they are trying to decrease their magnitude. Each would deny his power, for the separate union excludes the universe. Far more is left outside than would be taken in, for God is left without and nothing taken in. If one such union were made in perfect faith, the universe would enter into it. Yet the special relationship the ego seeks does not include even one whole individual. The ego wants but part of him, and sees only this part and nothing else.” T-16.VI.5

This problem of separation caused by seeing ourselves in bodies is something of which many are completely unaware. They assume that the highest union to be achieved is through physical proximity and vocal communication. A few sense there is more but know not how to achieve it.

We are very limited in our unions in our special relationships so God has given us the Holy Spirit to assist us in removing them.

“Everyone on earth has formed special relationships, and although this is not so in Heaven, the Holy Spirit knows how to bring a touch of Heaven to them here. In the holy instant no one is special, for your personal needs intrude on no one to make your brothers seem different. Without the values from the past, you would see them all the same and like yourself. Nor would you see any separation between yourself and them. In the holy instant, you see in each relationship what it will be when you perceive only the present. God knows you now.” T-15.V.8

So it is the Holy Spirit’s job to bring a “touch of heaven” into our special relationships. Since oneness and unity is the outstanding feature of heaven then that would be what He would seek to bring here:

“It is the Holy Spirit’s function to teach you how this oneness is experienced, what you must do that it can be experienced, and where you should go to do it.” T-25.I.6

So when we follow our own wills while seeing ourselves separated through bodies we create special relationships. They seem to add to us, but in reality they diminish us. But when we call in the Holy Spirit, which links heaven and earth, we transcend the limitations off the body and share in the one mind that is from God. When this happens our vision is extended to the whole and the special relationship is turned into a “holy relationship.”

“Reason sees a holy relationship as what it is; a common state of mind, where both give errors gladly to correction, that both may happily be healed as one.” T-22.III.9

This “common state of mind” can never be achieved by those yielding to the ego. But The Holy Spirit is one with the Father and the Son and truth is seen correctly through its eyes. Two or more having the Holy Spirit in their relationship will “give errors gladly to correction” and all disagreements that occur in ego centered relationships just vanish. Disagreements will no longer exist. Furthermore, we are told this:

“This is the function of your holy relationship. For what one thinks, the other will experience with him. What can this mean except your mind and your brother’s are one?” T-22.VI.14

This describes a oneness few experience, but it is the goal set by the course and eventually will be achieved by all of us. Imagine being so closely linked to another that “what one thinks, the other will experience with him.”

Some have had this happen at high points in the relationship but later drift back into the ego and live in their separate condition.

Jesus gave the key to making this sharing a permanent condition:

“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 18:2-4

So, how is it that a little child is a key to entering the kingdom of heaven?

The child is humble and does not cling to the error of many preconceived notions. He is open to the idea that anything could be true. This is the outlook we must have to establish the holy relationship. All involved must be willing to turn all beliefs over to the Holy Spirit and then only go with those that He verifies to be true. When two people will do this and “give errors gladly to correction” they will share their minds as one and virtually enter the kingdom of heaven while still residing on earth, similar to Jesus in the Course who said, “my feet are on the ground and my hands are in Heaven,” UR T 1 B 40ab

“In this world, God’s Son comes closest to himself in a holy relationship.So do the parts of God’s Son gradually join in time, and with each joining is the end of time brought nearer. Each miracle of joining is a mighty herald of eternity.” T-20.V.1

It would seem that all seekers would jump at the opportunity for oneness and sharing, but the Course points out that there is a major obstacle in the way:

Around each entity is built a wall so seeming solid that it looks as if what is inside can never reach without, and what is out can never reach and join with what is locked away within the wall.” T-26.I.2

Then it gives the solution:

“You whose hand is joined with your brother’s have begun to reach beyond the body, but not outside yourself, to reach your shared Identity together.” T-18.VI.10.

“Alone we can do nothing, but together our minds fuse into something whose power is far beyond the power of its separate parts. By not being separate, the Mind of God is established in ours and as ours. This Mind is invincible because it is undivided.” T-8.V.1

“together our minds fuse into something whose power is far beyond the power of its separate parts.” T-8.V.1

As we share this goal, we increase its power to attract the whole Sonship, and to bring it back into the oneness in which it was created.” T-5.II.11

If we have to “bring it back into oneness” this would imply that we are currently not there yet but this is indeed a goal to which we aspire. To achieve that goal involves sharing the mind of God with our brothers and sisters. This is also emphasized in the Course when it stresses that we cannot go home alone but must do all we can to take others with us.

“Together is your joint inheritance remembered and accepted by you both. Alone it is denied to both of you.” T-31.II.11

“How easy is it to offer this miracle to everyone! No one who has received it for himself could find it difficult. For by receiving it, he learned it was not given him alone. Such is the function of a holy relationship; to receive together and give as you received.” T-22.IV.7

It seems that everything connected with salvation and the holy relationship involves a spiritual sharing of the mind of God with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. For most this higher sharing begins by working at their special relationships in hope of turning them to holy relationships. Based on what we have learned from the Course let us see how we can make that happen.

Special relationships are created by seeing one’s loved ones as special, more deserving of our love and attention than others. On the other hand, the Course teaches that God loves all his children equally and does not favor one over another. We are supposed to incorporate this same attitude.

Does this mean we are supposed to dissolve our special relationships? It almost sounds that way in places but it clarifies here:

“I said before that the first change, before dreams disappear, is that your dreams of fear are changed to happy dreams. That is what the Holy Spirit does in the special relationship. He does not destroy it, nor snatch it away from you. But He does use it differently, as a help to make His purpose real to you. The special relationship will remain, not as a source of pain and guilt, but as a source of joy and freedom.” T-18.II.6

“Your special relationship will be a means for undoing guilt in everyone blessed through your holy relationship. It will be a happy dream, and one which you will share with all who come within your sight. Through it, the blessing the Holy Spirit has laid upon it will be extended.” T-18.II.7

So we do not have to end any of our special relationships. Instead, we turn them into holy relationships with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. The Course gives an overall picture of how this is to happen but seems to leave the details up to us. This leaves some wondering how much specialness is allowed in dealing with your spouse, children and other loved ones. Is it wrong to give them birthday and Christmas presents beyond what you would give your neighbor or some guy you do not even know who is homeless? Are you supposed to go to your neighbor’s home and give his kids hugs and love so they feel as special as your own children?

I think we can see that students can take this too far by looking at literal actions that can betaken.

Jesus had a major problem with wrong headed literal interpretation in his day, especially concurring the Sabbath. The commandment said there was to be no work done on the Sabbath and to the religious leaders no work meant no work so they devised hundreds of things that would be considered work that should not be done on the day of rest.

In the eyes of the authorities Jesus was breaking the commandment because he and his disciples did several things they considered work. To this Jesus tried to set them straight by enunciating the general principle which he followed. He told them, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27

In other words, man was not made to be a slave to a bunch of silly rules around the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made to benefit humanity and improve their lives.

We can apply this same principle with relationships. Relationships are not made to be a chain around our necks but to bring us joy and happiness. If we try and make numerous rules about what we cannot do if a relationship is holy then we make the same mistake as those who criticized Jesus. Instead, like Jesus, we must look at the principles to be followed. If we do this the details will take care of themselves.

So, what is the principle behind the Holy Relationship that should guide our thinking?

Basically it is this. We are all children of God and of equal importance in His sight. Each of us must come to the realization that all people everywhere are just as important and deserving of love as those loved ones in your inner circle.

Does this mean that you do not fulfill your responsibilities to those close to you and spend all your resources helping strangers?

No. Each of us has assumed certain responsibilities toward assisting loved ones in the world. If everyone were to not fulfill them the world would be in chaos. The truth is we can fulfill our responsibilities toward loved ones while realizing the equality of all the sons of God and helping others when opportunity presents itself.

If we interpret this equality idea too literally then we would have to criticize Jesus for turning water into wine for a select few hosted by his mother at a wedding. Jesus did not go around to other weddings to make sure they also had wine, yet we know he understood the principle.

The state of mind necessary for the holy relationship is determined more by one’s state of mind than an itemization of actions that need to be taken. When consciousness is in the right place correct actions will naturally follow.

So if one’s attitude is in the right place how does one consummate the holy relationship by sharing the mind of God with another individual?

It is important to understand that this can only be accomplished by two or more people who are willing to be guided by the Holy Spirit rather than the ego. If a loved one is unwilling to accept the Spirit of oneness then the student must look elsewhere until one who is willing to share the mind of God is found.

When one finds the right individuals for the holy relationship then the real work begins. In special relationships no two people can agree on all things. There are always disagreements that separate them. In the holy relationship there are no major disagreements for all potential conflict is solved by the one mind through the Holy Spirit. At the beginning of the holy relationship this will take much effort for no one likes to admit they were wrong in a disagreement. But if the two share with the Spirit together they will resolve the differences and become one. Then as they practice the holy relationship oneness will become natural and they will see through each other’s eyes without effort.

In the beginning of our marriage my wife and I did our best to create a holy relationship but sometimes a pointed disagreement got in the way. To solve this problem we felt that we needed to reconnect with the Holy Spirit through the remembrance of the love of God so when we reached an impasse one of us would suggest that both of us meet at the kitchen table and look in each other’s eyes. Once the focus was established we were to say “I love you” three times each, but it had to be said like you really meant it, not just the words. The strange thing was that by the time we had finished saying it three times the atmosphere completely changed. No longer did we feel any division or anger at each other, but instead we felt a great peace. And strangest of all we often could not even remember what we were arguing about.

Over the years we have had to use this less and less and now it has been a few years since his process was even needed. Now we rarely disagree on anything, except minor things like what to watch on TV and here the problem is immediately solved by me letting her have her way.

Other times, especially in non romantic relationships there will be disagreements even with people who are spiritually sensitive. How do we achieve oneness so the holy relationship may be maintained?

Let us suppose that you have a friend or loved one with whom you are seeking a holy relationship. You have both invited the Holy Spirit into your lives to guide them but you have reached an impasse and just do not agree on a certain point. What do you do?

The answer is quite simple. In prayer or meditation ask God for the Holy Spirit’s help to bring you to oneness.

“The very fact that the Holy Spirit has been asked for anything will ensure a response. ” T-9.II.3

“It is the Holy Spirit’s function to teach you how this oneness (with God) is experienced, what you must do that it can be experienced” T-25.I.6

“To ask the Holy Spirit to decide for you is simply to accept your true inheritance. Does this mean that you cannot say anything without consulting Him? No, indeed! That would hardly be practical, and it is the practical with which this course is most concerned. If you have made it a habit to ask for help when and where you can, you can be confident that wisdom will be given you when you need it.” M-29.5

To move the special relationship to a holy one merely involves bringing in the Holy Spirit as a guide and revealer. If you and your partner disagree then place the two alternatives before the Spirit and ask about them. If you re both sincere as a little child then you will both get the same answer.

For simplicity’s sake it is best to reduce the disagreement to the point where it can be solved with a simple yes or no. Which is the best answer A or B? If A is closest to the truth then both of you will get a yes on that as the Holy Spirit is not divided against itself.

Those in the ego centered on the special relationship can never achieve oneness and unity but if two or more dedicate themselves to following the guidance of the Holy Spirit higher unity and sharing becomes a reality and instead of feeling like you have given something up or lost something with a change of mind, the feeling will be one of gain, completeness, peace and wholeness, or holiness.

Copyright by J J Dewey

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The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 16

The Mysteries of the Dream

There is a major problem created by some of the wording of the teachings of A Course in Miracles which causes numerous apparent contradictions to appear in the text. A prime cause of this problem is that the Course teaches about the true reality it calls heaven contrasted with the dream world wherein we currently dwell.

The problem occurs because of the way the two worlds are described. Heaven is said to be the only true reality there is and this visible world is seen as being not real as is a dream.

“The world you see does not exist, because the place where you perceive it is not real.” T-28.V.7

“The world as you perceive it cannot have been created by the Father,” T-11.VII.1

Therefore when the Course speaks from the reality as seen from God’s view it often speaks as if this world we apparently live in does not even exist.

But the purpose of the entire course is directed to the inhabitants of this dream world that is said to not exist so something must be somewhere. Unfortunately the Course is limited to the use of human language in referencing things in this world.

Dealing with the two worlds in the script often causes confusion for sometimes the Course is speaking from the view of the true reality and readers think it is talking about this world. Other times it talks about this world and readers think it is talking about heavenly things.

For instance, in speaking from the heavenly view it says: “You dwell not here (on earth), but in eternity. You travel but in dreams, while safe at home.” T-13.VII.17

This and other verses telling us this world, the body, the past etc. does not even exist is taken so literally by some students that it makes it difficult to have a conversation with them. If you casually mention anything about living in this world they will correct you and remind you that you are not here. The problem is that you cannot have an intelligent conversation about any subject without referring to the world we see and how it works.

Some students take a very simplistic view of the power of illusion in this world, seeing it as no more real than a dream at night. The Course says otherwise:

“It is a mistake to believe that a thought system based on lies is weak. Nothing made by a child of God is without power. It is essential to realize this, because otherwise you will be unable to escape from the prison you have made.” T-3.VII.1

In other words, a flippant attitude toward this illusion we are in and just declaring we are not here falls short of what is needed for liberation. The power we inherited rom God made this world and it takes that same power to undo it.

That said, in this chapter we will look at several problematic interpretations of the Course and try and get some clarification. We have already covered several of these such as time, predestination, the separation, the one and the many and others, but here we will focus on illusions about the illusion, or the dream and the awakening.

The first question we will consider is: “Where are we?”

As pointed out in the previous quote the Course seems to indicate that we are not even here but “home” in “eternity” or heaven. Verses like this add to the confusion:

“There is no need for help to enter Heaven for you have never left.” C-5.1

“Father, Your Son, who never left, returns to Heaven and his home.” W-pII.241.2

In addition we are told that our separation from God and heaven never even happened:

In time this (the separation) happened very long ago. In reality it never happened at all.” M-2.2

Many students take these quotes to heart and will correct you if you say anything that deviates from their interpretation.

If you talk of heaven as if it were a place they will tell you that heaven is not a place. If you talk about being someplace in this world they will tell you that this world does not exist and you are not here. If you mention anything related to the body they will accuse you of thinking you are a body and lecture that you are not in a body that isn’t even here.

What it boils down to is that you cannot have a normal conversation with some of these folk for everything you can say about the world we live in is wrong minded as they see it.

The problem is that we are having an experience in his world and one cannot say more than a few words without talking about something we see, hear or experience within it causing ACIM critics to come forward and accuse you of wrong thinking.

Not only are some students violating the teachings of the Course with their zealous corrections bordering on attack, but they are also often more in error than the ones they seek to correct.

So, if we are not here in the world, because here does not exist where are we according to ACIM? Since we are told that “Heaven is not a place nor a condition” T-18.VI.1 then we must not be there either. It appears we are all nowhere if we take things literally.

On the other hand, as Descartes said, “I think therefore, I am”; therefore we indeed exist and must exist somewhere.

A lot of this problematic dialogue comes from the imperfection of language itself as many words can be used with several meanings. For instance, the word “place” often refers to a physical location, but other times it does not. Sometimes it refers to a non physical state. When it says that heaven is not a place it is saying that it has no physical location that we can visit in a spaceship, but then other times it does use the word as referring to a state of existence.

It is interesting that in the same paragraph where heaven is said to not be a place it says: “The Kingdom of Heaven is the dwelling place of the Son of God.” T-18.VI.1

There are numerous passages using “place” in relation to heaven. Here is one more: “And They come quickly to the living temple, where a home for Them has been set up. There is no place in Heaven holier.” T-26.IX.6

So, from one view presented in ACIM there is no such thing as a place anywhere, neither in heaven or on earth. There is no place in heaven because there are no physical dimensions there and there is no place in this world because it is an illusion like a dream and does not really exist.

What does not seem to be realized by some students is that in the correct context the word can be correctly used in reference to things in heaven and the earth.

For example our dreams we have at night are not real relative to our normal waking state. One could be technically correct in saying that the place you dreamed of does not exist. Yet in describing the dream you may say you drove your car from one place to another. If one gave this description it would be silly for the listener to say “you were not in any place!” It sounds like he is disagreeing just to be disagreeable.

So if we use ACIM language how can we accurately describe where we are? This seems like a silly question to the man on the street as he would say that he knows exactly where he is. Instead, this is a serious question for many Course students trying to understand the sometimes confusing and seemingly contradictory language.

To clarify we need to ask whether we are in heaven instead of in this world?

This passage sheds some light: “Now try to reach the Son of God in you. This is the Self that never sinned, nor made an image to replace reality. This is the Self that never left Its home in God to walk the world uncertainly.” W-pI.94.3

So we in this dream world can look within and “reach the Son of God” who never left his home.

This tells us there is a real part of ourselves that is still at home in heaven with God. But could it be that we are 100% in heaven and not here when we are having actual experience and perception in this world? After all, when we dream at night our consciousness is mostly in the dream. Obviously something is here in this place. Even when we dream at night we are having an experience in a non physical place in the dream state so why would we deny that anything is happening here?

The problem is in the Course language which only recognizes reality which is eternal and changeless. Thus the earth and everything in it is not eternal so it is not classified as real and sometimes seen as not even existing.

But there are two worlds where we experience life. The first is the eternal world which the Course calls heaven and the second is the world of time and space where all things have a beginning and an end. All things with a beginning and an end are seen as not real because when they cease to exist and the focus is on the eternal present it is as if nothing happened.

On the other hand, when living in time lots seem to be happening and from our perception we are living here now. After all, the Course says that “the thought (of this world) become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects.” T-27.VIII.6

So the creation of this world and universe of form became “possible of both accomplishment and real effects” to the extent that part of the Sonship separated and produced these effects that we experience here.

The Course is quite confusing in saying on one hand that this world and separation does not exist yet speaks of it consistently throughout its entire half million words. Why go to such effort to redeem us from something that never happened and does not exist? This makes absolutely no sense when taken literally.

Obviously this world has an existence and the separation was real enough to cause God to be “lonely without His Sons, and they are lonely without Him.” T-2.III.5

Some students will insist that this world never happened and we are not here yet the Course says that the separation caused God to be lonely and to create the Holy Spirit to help bring the prodigal son home. In addition Jesus has made a tremendous effort in creating A Course in Miracles as a guide to help us awaken and return home. Would he spend all that effort on nothing?

Why go to all that effort to create an extensive Course as a remedy for something that does not even have an existence?

Obviously some are not understanding the true message of the Course which is a separation did happen causing God to think, “My children sleep and must be awakened.” T-6.V.1 and we are to “not delay my coming home” W-pII.242.1

Here the Course makes it clear that our existence here is more than a non existent symbol:

“The Separation is NOT symbolic. It is an order of reality, or a system of thought that is PERFECTLY real in time, though not in Eternity. All beliefs are real to the believer.” UR T 3 I 6 “The separation is a system of thought real enough in time, though not in eternity” T-3.VII.3

This separated reality was created by mind. Since mind is eternal it could also be:

“It may surprise you to learn that 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 problem in understanding comes from the fact that the Course stresses that true reality only consists of that which is eternal and since this separated world has a beginning and an end it is temporary. When it is over all is like a dream that never happened in heaven.

But what is overlooked is time and space as well as dreams are real when we are in them and we are definitely in a dream now or we wouldn’t be discussing the Course.

To equate this dream which we made real to a dream at night is somewhat misleading as they are significantly different. Let us list a few.

For simplicity’s sake we’ll call our existence here Dream 1 and a dream at night Dream 2

(1) Dream 1 is much more complex and elaborate with many consistent laws and forms lasting billions of years.

Dream 2 is fleeting lasting only a few minutes and has few if any laws.

(2) When an entity in Dream 1 wakes up the other entities and forms do not disappear as they do in Dream 2 but are still there trapped in the dream. The awake person can even communicate with the people in Dream 1 after awakening.

Example: Jesus woke up but we and the universe is still here and he can communicate with individuals as he did with Helen Schucman.

In addition the Course tells us of other advanced beings who have awakened yet can communicate with us:

“There are those who have reached God directly, retaining no trace of worldly limits and remembering their own Identity perfectly. These might be called the Teachers of teachers because, although they are no longer visible, their image can yet be called upon. And they will appear when and where it is helpful for them to do so. To those to whom such appearances would be frightening, they give their ideas. No one can call on them in vain.” M-26.2

(3) Waking up from Dream 2 is simple as the slightest disturbance will do the trick.

Waking up from Dream 1 is very complex as it involves billions of individual lives. All the billions of lives in the dream have to wake up before the larger composite life, called The Son, awakens. A great disturbance, even a super nova, does not awaken the One Son.

(4) Cause and effect and laws are consistent in Dream 1 but are lacking in Dream 2.

(5) You may have some vision and audio in Dream 2 but the rest of the senses from Dream 1 are pretty much dormant.

(6) We learn and apply things in Dream 1, but this rarely if ever happens in Dream 2.

(7) We use reason and choice in Dream 1, but we basically just drift along without thinking in Dream 2.

We thus see that blithely stating that our life here is like a dream doesn’t really give the full picture. About the only way it is like a dream is that it has a beginning and an end. When anything ends it is in the past and when attention is taken off that past and focused on the Eternal Now then it is like a dream which has passed.

What is similar in the two dream states is that we do have a real experience that has been created by the power of mind. In both cases the experience is caused by a creation of the mind.

According to ACIM, creation of our entire physical universe including our bodies are caused by a dream:

“Does not a world that seems quite real arise in dreams? Yet think what this world is. It is clearly not the world you saw before you slept. Rather it is a distortion of the world, planned solely around what you would have preferred.” T-18.II.1

“What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up?” T-20.VIII.2

This is in harmony with us not being our bodies.

The Course does not say the body wakes up. It is the Son who is asleep that needs to wake up:

“Sleep is not death. What He created can sleep, but cannot die. Immortality is His Will for His Son, and His Son’s will for himself.” T-11.I.9

The real us is a part that is one with the One Son of God. From the standpoint of eternity this world is not real but it was an actual happening with “real effects.”

“In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects.” T-27.VIII.6

Another source of confusion is that the awakening of the Son occurs in two states, but many students lump them together as if it were one event.

The first stage is where part of the Sons wake up and the second and final stage is where they all wake up, realizing they belong to the life of the One Son..

Most assume that Jesus is awake and 100% in heaven, yet He says:

“Because my feet are on the ground and my hands are in Heaven, I can bring down the glories of Heaven to my brothers on earth.” UR T 1 B 40ab

It appears then that even Jesus does not yet dwell fully in heaven for his “feet are on the ground.” In other words, he still has a presence in this earth or the dream world.

He gives additional light on this:

“I must understand uncertainty and pain, although I know they have no meaning. Yet a savior must remain with those he teaches, seeing what they see, but still retaining in his mind the way that led him out, and now will lead you out with him.”

So even Jesus must remain connected to this dream world “seeing what they see.” Obviously this connection allowed him to see into the lives of Helen and Bill so he was aware of what was going on in their lives.

And why is this?

Because all the Sons of God must awaken for the separation to completely end. Even those who achieve awakening cannot be completely at peace or in heaven until all have been liberated:

“And as they rest, the face of Christ shines on them and they remember the laws of God, forgetting all the rest and yearning only to have His laws perfectly fulfilled in them and all their brothers. Think you when this has been achieved that you will rest without them? You could no more leave one of them outside than I could leave you, and forget part of myself.” T-20.IV.7

Let me repeat this crucial part: “You could no more leave one of them outside than I could leave you, and forget part of myself.”

Furthermore, “Souls cannot rest until everyone has found salvation.” UR T 1 B 24a. 24 “Ultimately, every member of the family of God must return.” UR T 1 B 34b “It is the duty of the released to release their brothers.” UR T 1 B 29a

The goal is to have all the Sons awaken then the whole Sonship can be at peace. Until then a few will awaken here and there, but even here one cannot awaken alone, just focusing on himself. It can only happen by sharing the Sonship with your brother.

“For you will not see the light, until you offer it to all your brothers. As they take it from your hands, so will you recognize it as your own.” W-pI.153.11

“Together is your joint inheritance remembered and accepted by you both. Alone it is denied to both of you.” T-31.II.11

The sharing and awakening process will go on for a long period until it is complete for the full salvation will take a very lengthy period of time as is written:

“the separation occurred over millions of years, the Last Judgment will extend over a similarly long period, and perhaps an even longer one.” T-2.VIII.2

Scientists tell us that this universe, which is the result of the separation is over 13 billion years old. Is it possible that the full awakening could take that long, or perhaps the Course is referring to the beginning of human consciousness which was millions of years back instead of billions.

Whatever the case any amount of time from the point of view of eternity is counted as a mere instant. When fully awakened even a billion years in the past is seen as an instant, or even as nothing.

One final problem confronting students concerning the awakening is this. In some places the Course speaks of God as having only one Son and then in others speaks of Sons or many parts. This causes a division on what will be the final result of our awakening.

Some take the one Son concept literally to the extent that they believe that they will awaken to be the one Son with no parts. Other see it as awakening with a realization of being connected to the one life while still a part of it, something like a cell in the body has a distinct life but is also a part of the whole.

Reaching the right view on this should be a no-brainer. While it is true that the Course does speak of God having “one Son” 14 times it speaks of having Sons (plural) 54 times. When looking at the text as a whole it is obvious that the one Son is composed of many Sons creating a united one life. This we covered in some depth in chapter five.

One of the best references illustrating this is the Course using the parable of Jesus on the Prodigal Son. One son left his home and the other stayed behind. This corresponds to the separation as mentioned here by the Voice:

“The Atonement actually began long before the Crucifixion. Many Souls offered their efforts on behalf of the Separated Ones but they could not withstand the strength of the attack, and had to be brought back. Angels came, too, but their protection was not enough, because the Separated ones were not interested in peace.” UR T 2 B 43

So you have two groups here – the “Separated Ones” who entered the dream and the “Many Souls” who stayed with God. Obviously the life of the One Son is composed of many parts.

This different interpretation of oneness also causes confusion on what happens when we awake from the dream. Those who lean toward the One Son only interpretation see the dream as only being had by one entity and not as a shared experience of many parts. They say that when we dream at night we may dream of many different characters but when we awaken we find they are just figments of our imagination. Only the single dreamer is real they say. They therefore believe that when they wake up from this greater dream that all the people in this world will disappear and be no more. Only the single dreamer will remain.

This interpretation has many problems. First, as we pointed out earlier, there are numerous differences between a night dream and our dream world here. There are some rough correspondences but exact matches do not work.

The question to ask such a believer is who is the true dreamer – me or you? If it is you then I will disappear when you wake up and if it is me you will be the one going into oblivion.

Indeed, if there is only one having the dream and it corresponds to a dream at night then all the billions of people on the planet are just figments of your imagination and would disappear upon awakening.

The problem is that this did not happen in reality. The first we know of who has awakened was Jesus with his resurrection. So after his awakening did all his loved ones, friends and people in his dream disappear as do people in our night dreams?

No. He visited his apostles and loved ones who were still here and not yet fully awake. In fact the entire world was still here.

As we quoted earlier: “Yet a savior must remain with those he teaches, seeing what they see, but still retaining in his mind the way that led him out, and now will lead you out with him.”

So even though Jesus is awake he still has an obligation to teach others what he knows.

“It is the function of God’s ministers to help their brothers choose as they have done. God has elected all, but few have come to realize His Will is but their own. And while you fail to teach what you have learned, salvation waits and darkness holds the world in grim imprisonment.” W-pI.153.11

These passages and numerous others make it clear that we do not dream alone:

“Like you, your brother thinks he is a dream. Share not in his illusion of himself, for your Identity depends on his reality. Think, rather, of him as a mind in which illusions still persist, …Your mind and his are joined in brotherhood.” T-28.IV.3

“The special ones are all asleep, surrounded by a world of loveliness they do not see.” T-24.III.7

As stated earlier the awakening happens in two stages. First, individuals awaken and assist loved ones to follow. Then in the far future all the Sons of God will awaken.

This passage reflects the whole story:

“All that is given you is for release; the sight, the vision and the inner Guide all lead you out of hell with those you love beside you, and the universe with them.” T-31.VII.7

The one who awakens seeks to aid those he loves producing an eventual chain reaction that eventually affects the whole universe.

It is this final awakening that corresponds more closely to the night dream. We altogether will share the life of the One Son and when the many parts of the One Son fully awakens the entire dream world will disappear. That is when the true disappearance of the universe will happen.

For us in time the event is a long way away but from the view of eternity only an instant will pass.

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

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The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 15

The Mystery of Time

Like many other spiritual traditions ACIM teaches that time is an illusion here on earth but in the celestial realm there is no time as we know it. The state there is usually described as “The Eternal Now.”

The Course does not use this term but does state that “The present is the only time there is.” W-pI.164.1

It also tells us:

“The present is before time was, and will be when time is no more. In it are all things that are eternal, and they are one.” T-13.VI.6

“The only aspect of time that is eternal is now.” T-5.III.6

This eternal now or present is often described by the Course as timeless or timelessness:

“In timelessness we coexist with God.” T-2.V.A.17

“all the past undone; the present saved to quietly extend into a timeless future.” W-pI.110.4

Time itself is a very mysterious entity. Scientists and philosophers have tried to explain it for thousands of years and still there is no uniform description of it that is accepted by all.

Time is generally associated with motion as we use the motion of our clocks to measure it. The question then arises as to whether time would still exist if all that existed was some formless void with nothing in motion. In that situation some say there would be no time whereas others say time still exists independent of form and motion.

People generally see time as events that move from the past to the future with a focus on the present, but various spiritual teachers and philosophers have often speculated on the existence of an eternal present, This is the direction A Course in Miracles takes us. It says this:

“For time but seems to go in one direction. We but undertake a journey that is over. Yet it seems to have a future still unknown to us. Time is a trick, a sleight of hand, a vast illusion in which figures come and go as if by magic.” W-pI.158.3-4

Time as we understand it began with the separation:

“Ultimately, space is as meaningless as time. Both are merely beliefs. … Acts were not necessary before the separation, because belief in space and time did not exist.” T-1.VI.3 & T-2.II.4

The Course here tells us that in heaven before the separation there were no “acts” (or motion) because there was no space and time. Without space form and motion there could not exist time as we know it.

Indeed it is difficult for us mere mortals to understand what an eternal present with no space, form or motion would be like. Some who have had near death and various spiritual experiences tell us that they have experienced a sense of timelessness but cannot seem to describe the feeling in a way that conveys much meaning.

That said, let us look at what the Course says about time to see if we can shed any light on the subject.

The first thing to register with the seeker is that ACIM says that time within our dream state is an illusion, but not time itself. There are two versions of time. There is time as we know it that flows from the past to the future. ACIM calls this horizontal time. Then there is real time which is the eternal present. This us referred to as vertical or collapsed time (See T-1.II.6) After all, it says, “The present is the only time there is.” W-pI.164.1

So time itself is not an illusion for time as the present it is real. What is illusion is the way we divide time and then perceive it.

What creates a misunderstanding is that when speaking of time as being not real the Course is only speaking time in this world. Students often think that all time is therefore not real but this is not the case. There is also a heavenly time called “the present.”

We all have a reasonable idea of what time is in our material reality, but what would time be like in the eternal present in heaven? Let us examine the differences between time on earth and in heaven.

Time as we understand it here exists in a universe of form, space, motion and consciousness. It seems to go from an unknowable past to an indefinite future.

Time in heaven would definitely be different than time here as the Course tells us that there is no space, form, action or consciousness there. Instead of consciousness the word that best describes out state would be awareness as in this quote: Heaven is “merely an awareness of perfect Oneness.” T-18.VI.1

Without these aspects the eternal present would be so different that many teachers say there is no time in the eternal world and this presents us with the problem caused by our imperfect communication using language. Words have their limitations. If one defines time as earth time alone then he could rightfully say that time does not exist, even though there is a different version in the eternal world. That different version is sometimes called by a different name, such as the eternal present, timelessness, eternity etc., but it still is a version of time. It is just quite different from the ego’s horizontal version of it.

One definition of time is that it is a flow of events and change.

Do events take place in heaven? The answer to this is yes and the main event there is creation. It is written:

“Unless you create you are unfulfilled, but God does not know unfulfillment and therefore you must create.” T-7.IX.3

All kinds of creation have taken place in heaven. The first creation was the Son which consists of an unlimited number of parts and the extension of the Son through other Sons is an ongoing process as discussed in chapter five.

Next we had the creation of angels. This was followed by the event of the separation and following this was the creation of the Holy Spirit.

We thus have events and changes going on in heaven that would involve some version of time.

“But wait,” says a student. The Course tells us that everything in heaven is eternal and changeless. How could this be if creation is an ongoing thing?”

The conflicting idea presented in the Course that there is extension and creation yet changelessness is a paradox most students just chalk up to a great mystery that they’ll hopefully understand when they awaken. On the other hand, the Course does give us some clues to solve this conundrum. A major revelation is given in this quote:

“What is timeless is always there, because its being is eternally changeless. It does not change by increase, because it was forever created to increase.” T-7.I.7

This is a very interesting statement. It tells us that God’s creations are “timeless” and “eternally changeless” yet “forever created to increase.”

In other words change is happening in the eternal present but the actual change caused by extension or increase is always there and is incorporated into the Course’s definition of changelessness. The change or expansion created by extension is always going on so from the eternal perspective it is not change.

It may be helpful to visualize a balloon being blown up infinitely that always expands and never ends. If you observe the balloon as always being in this state of expansion you could say that this state never changes, even though there is increase. Similarly, there is changeless increase in heaven from one angle of looking at it, but change or “extension” happens from another view.

We are clearly told that heaven itself is in this eternal state of increase:

“Beyond the body, beyond the sun and stars, past everything you see and yet somehow familiar, is an arc of golden light that stretches as you look into a great and shining circle. And all the circle fills with light before your eyes. The edges of the circle disappear, and what is in it is no longer contained at all. The light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity forever shining and with no break or limit anywhere.” T-21.I.8

So heaven is encircled by “an arc of golden light that stretches.” “The light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity…”

So all heaven itself, or all there is, forever increases by stretching and expanding to infinity.

This corresponds to what scientists have discovered about our visible universe, which has many aspects that correspond to the invisible.

They have discovered that our entire visible universe is not only expanding, but the rate of expansion is consistently increasing. This discovery has baffled the greatest scientific minds and they have yet to come up with a solid explanation of how this could be, as it runs contrary to all expectations. The best they can come up with is that there is some mysterious “dark energy” that is at work creating the expansion.

Perhaps a better name for that which is driving the expansion of God’s creations would be “light energy” rather than dark. Scientists merely call it dark because they do not understand what it is.

Rather than teaching that there is no time the Course tells us there are two versions of time.

One is time as we understand it in this world that moves from an apparent past to the future. This time is considered to be illusion and does not exist in true reality, but we have made it real to us.

Then we have what is “timelessness” or the eternal present. This is said to be the “only time there is,” but noticed it is still identified with time.

We are told that “Earth can reflect Heaven” T-14.IX.5 However, the reflections on earth are distorted, but even so symbols often reflect truth. Could we say then that the divisions of past, present and future that we have on earth is an imperfect reflection of time in heaven? If this is the case then a higher correspondence should be at least hinted at in the course.

Indeed this seems to be the case.

In addition to saying time is a trick it says:

“Fear is not of the present, but only of the past and future, which do not exist.” T-15.I.8

But then it kind of backtracks like this message to Helen Schucman

From the Voice: “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

Indeed the past can have some residual value according to the Course: “All your past except its beauty is gone, and nothing is left but a blessing. I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had. I have purified them of the errors that hid their light, and kept them for you in their own perfect radiance. They are beyond destruction and beyond guilt. They came from the Holy Spirit within you, and we know what God creates is eternal.” T-5.IV.8

Here it again emphasizes that loving thoughts of the past are preserved: “If all but loving thoughts have been forgotten, what remains is eternal. And the transformed past is made like the present. No longer does the past conflict with now. This continuity extends the present by increasing its reality and its value in your perception of it.” T-17.III.5

“This interpretation ties the future to the present, and extends the present rather than the past.” T-13.IV.9

“The future now is recognized as but extension of the present.” W-pII.314.1

Interestingly the loving thoughts of the past “extends the present.”

These teachings are in harmony with the words of Paul in the New Testament:

“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.” I Cor 13:8-10 NIV

Here we have an explanation as to why time, particularly the past, is often spoken of as being not real:

“Whenever we move from one instant to the next, the previous one no longer exists.” UR T 3 C 34

And that gives us the basic message of time on earth from the view of true reality. When we focus on the present it is as if there is no past except for those things motivated by love which are an eternal quality which is carried over into the eternal present.

Most of our time on earth is concerned with dealing with negating our fears and concerns with daily living and does not even exist from the view of heaven, but anything linked to thoughts of love is incorporated into the eternal present and continues.

Even though time in heaven, as an eternal present, is much different than time in this world there are still similarities to the past as well as the future.

Memory in this world is closely linked to the past for in our current state that is where memory seems to be. The Course considers our memories here as part of the illusion.

“What you remember never was. It came from causelessness which you confused with cause.” T-28.I.9

“Memory, like perception, is a skill made up by you to take the place of what God gave in your creation.” T-28.I.2

Even though our use of memory on earth is discounted it appears to be an asset we still use in heaven. The difference is that in the celestial sphere memory is associated with the present rather than the past.

“The Holy Spirit can indeed make use of memory, for God Himself is there. Yet this is not a memory of past events, but only of a present state. You are so long accustomed to believe that memory holds only what is past, that it is hard for you to realize it is a skill that can remember now.” T-28.I.4

So God, the Holy Spirit and we in our awakened state still use memory but instead of remembering the past we remember the “present sate” or “now.”

“It (higher memory) is not past because He let It not be unremembered. It has never changed, because there never was a time in which He did not keep It safely in your mind.” T-28.I.8.

“Yet His memory shines in your mind and cannot be obliterated. It is no more past than future, being forever always. You have but to ask for this memory, and you will remember.” T-12.VIII.4-5

This is somewhat difficult to put our heads around for anything we remember in this world is something from the past, but if we remember something from heaven we bring again to our minds something that is eternal that is linked to the present which always is.

The question now arises as to what is to be remembered by those who are awake?

The most important thing for us to remember is our Creator:

“Give up gladly everything that would stand in the way of your remembering, for God is in your memory. His Voice will tell you that you are part of Him when you are willing to remember Him and know your own reality again. Let nothing in this world delay your remembering of Him, for in this remembering is the knowledge of yourself.” T-10.II.2

“God’s memory is in our holy minds, which know their oneness and their unity with their Creator. Let our function be only to let this memory return” W-pII.11.4

So remembering God is important for this gives us a knowledge of ourselves and our oneness with Him. In addition, it is important to remember our heavenly home itself:

“This world you seem to live in is not home to you. And somewhere in your mind you know that this is true. A memory of home keeps haunting you, as if there were a place that called you to return,” W-pI.182.1

In addition “with this memory, the Son remembers his own creations, as like to him as he is to his Father.” T-24.II.6

There is also an ancient song heavenly inhabitants are to remember:

“You know the ancient song, and know it well. Nothing will ever be as dear to you as is this ancient hymn of love the Son of God sings to his Father still. … And who is there in whom this memory lies not?” T-21.I.9-10

We are also supposed to remember our true name:

“The miracle but calls your ancient Name, which you will recognize because the truth is in your memory.” T-26.VII.16

We are also to remember our “brothers” or the other Sons of God:

“And in our memory is the recall how dear our brothers are to us in truth, how much a part of us is every mind, how faithful they have really been to us, and how our Father’s Love contains them all.” pI.139.11

In our right minds we can retain the memory of that which “is creative and good” from this world:

“You can, however, apply it meaningfully and at any time to everything you have made, and retain in your memory only what is creative and good. This is what your right-mindedness cannot but dictate.” T-2.VIII.5

Then we have a promise of a memory of virtually everything connected with the true reality:

“Very simply, you would remember your Father. The Creator of life, the Source of everything that lives, the Father of the universe and of the universe of universes, and of everything that lies even beyond them would you remember.     “ T-19.IV.D.1

That is quite a promise to remember “the universe of universes, and of everything that lies even beyond them.”

Finally, we still have the memory of the initial separation in the memory of the Son: “but being kept in memory appears to have immediate effects.” T-28.I.1

In conclusion, we see that in our true state there is still memory but it is connected with the present instead of the past and with this memory many things are still recalled. Our priorities are merely different in our right minds.

The Movement of Time

In this world it appears that time moves from the past to the future. The Course says that this is incorrect and caused by an illusion. But in the true reality time still exists. It is called present time and moves within the present itself by an eternal expansion process called extension.

“all the past undone; the present saved to quietly extend into a timeless future.” W-pI.110.4

“No longer does the past conflict with now. This continuity extends the present by increasing its reality and its value in your perception of it.” T-17.III.5

So time moves in heaven from the present to an extended present it calls a “timeless future.”

This seems to explain why events in heaven, as described in the Course, happen in some type of timeframe even though it may be registered differently than the one we use in this world. Let’s go through some examples.

The prime example is our own creation. If we are created beings then there was a time in the extension process before this happened, when it happened, and a time afterward.

Then the Son continues the creative process by creating more sons.

“your creations, who are son to you, that you might share the Fatherhood of God,” T-24.VII.1

You then will share creation with God by making creations “who are son to you.” There is a time in the extension where your sons have not manifest, a time when they are created and one afterwards, but because the process is always ongoing it is considered to be happening in the eternal present.

The Holy Spirit also had a creation:

“He came into being with the separation as a protection, inspiring the Atonement principle at the same time. Before that there was no need for healing, for no one was comfortless.” T-5.I.5

“He has created the Holy Spirit as the Mediator between perception and knowledge.” W-pI.43.1

The Course then tells us that there was a time “before” the creation of the Holy Spirit when “there was no need for healing.” Then after all awaken the “Holy Spirit will remain with the Sons of God, to bless their creations and keep them in the light of joy.” T-5.I.5.

Another creation is the angelic kingdom which would also have a before and after in the extension process.

“You were created ABOVE the angels because your role involves creation as well as protection. ” UR T 1 B 30y

The event that started the separation is said to have occurred in “an ancient past.”

“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

Time as we understand it goes way back “beyond all memory.” If this is referring to heavenly memory then that would be an ancient past indeed.

“Only in the past,–an ancient past, too short to make a world in answer to creation,–did this world appear to rise. So very long ago, for such a tiny interval of time, that not one note in Heaven’s song was missed.” T-26.V.5

There we have it. The appearance of this world involved “a tiny interval of time.”

Which time was that – heavenly or earthly? We are told that “the separation occurred over millions of years” T-2.VIII.2 so by our measurements it was certainly no tiny interval. Therefore, the Course had to be referring to a tiny interval of time in heaven.

Time in heaven seems to be measured by instants, and an instant, which is short by heavenly time, may be very long by our standards. For instance, the Course refers to the mad idea of the creation of our world, which has been going on for over 13 billion years as a mere instant

“For what could house this mad idea against reality but for an instant?” T-20.VI.8

All of our universe of time and space is referred to as happening in “The tiny instant you would keep and make eternal.” T-26.V.4

Indeed, the reckoning of time in heaven is much different than it is here in world of illusion making it difficult to understand in our current consciousness:

“The mind’s preoccupation with the past is the cause of the misconception about time from which your seeing suffers. Your mind cannot grasp the present, which is the only time there is.” W-pI.8.1

We cannot fully grasp eternal time from our reality but the Course does give us a few hints which are worthy of contemplation.

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

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The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 14

The Two Scripts

The idea of predestination is another belief on which Course students are divided. Some believe that every event and movement in life is already determined and others do not. The question then is why this split has occurred and what is the real teaching of the Course on the subject?

Predestination is a doctrine that has been around for many centuries and is usually associated with fundamentalist religion. The idea is that God knows everything so this would include every step you take and thought you think in life before it happens.

This is a frustrating doctrine for many as they think it robs them of free will. Why try if there is nothing you can do to change your destiny?

The question then is where do some students get the idea that every happening in life in this world is predetermined?

Actually, you can’t blame them if they focus on certain references to the exclusion of others. Here is one that makes them think life events are all predetermined:

“The time is set already. It appears to be quite arbitrary. Yet there is no step along the road that anyone takes but by chance. It has already been taken by him, although he has not yet embarked on it. For time but seems to go in one direction. We but undertake a journey that is over. Yet it seems to have a future still unknown to us. Time is a trick, a sleight of hand, a vast illusion in which figures come and go as if by magic. Yet there is a plan behind appearances that does not change. The script is written. When experience will come to end your doubting has been set. For we but see the journey from the point at which it ended, looking back on it, imagining we make it once again; reviewing mentally what has gone by.” W-pI.158.3-4

And here is another passage that seems to support the idea:

“What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good? Perhaps you have misunderstood His plan, for He would never offer pain to you. But your defenses did not let you see His loving blessing shine in every step you ever took. While you made plans for death, He led you gently to eternal life. … Without defenses, you become a light which Heaven gratefully acknowledges to be its own. And it will lead you on in ways appointed for your happiness according to the ancient plan, begun when time was born.” W-pI.135.18&20

From these and other passages many students have come to a conclusion that goes something like this:

The separation along with this world has already come and gone. We are not really here but in reality are living comfortably with God in heaven. Instead we are just under the illusion we are here. When it says “the script is written” it means that everything has already happened and we are just reliving it here. We are either like an audience watching a film that has already been made or actors in it. The whole movie is already been created and we have no control over the next frame that will be played. We seem to have free will like the characters in the film, but like those characters, the script is set and the next sequence is written in stone, impossible to change. We are not really here but mere actors reading our scripts.

They believe that all events in life “are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good.” as noted in the quote. Many thus figure that God wrote the script and we are following it line by line until we awaken in heaven.

There are quite a number of flaws in this belief which is out of harmony with numerous teachings in ACIM. To see them we have to look at the whole picture instead of just a part.

The first thing to understand is that there are two scripts. One is orchestrated by the Holy Spirit in connection with the Father and the other is written by ourselves, or the ego.

The above quote does not make it clear which script it is referring to but does include a hint. Here it is again: “Yet there is a plan behind appearances that does not change. The script is written.”

A plan “that does not change” indicates it is referring to eternal things or the script written by the Holy Spirit.”

Here is clear statement that there is a script written through with God’s approval:

“We merely take the part assigned long since, and fully recognized as perfectly fulfilled by Him Who wrote salvation’s script in His Creator’s Name, and in the Name of His Creator’s Son.” W-pI.169.9

When we then follow the script we follow higher will thorough the Holy Spirit as noted here:

“When you have learned how to decide with God, all decisions become as easy and as right as breathing. There is no effort, and you will be led as gently as if you were being carried down a quiet path in summer. Only your own volition seems to make deciding hard. The Holy Spirit will not delay in answering your every question what to do.” T-14.IV.6

The script of the Holy Spirit “are all but aspects of the plan to change your dreams of fear to happy dreams, from which you waken easily to knowledge.” T-18.V.1

Then there is another script written by your ego self:

“Fear is a judgment never justified. Its presence has no meaning but to show you wrote a fearful script, and are afraid accordingly. … Your dark dreams are but the senseless, isolated scripts you write in sleep.” T-30.VII.3&6.

“You add an element into the script you write for every minute in the day, and all that happens now means something else. You take away another element, and every meaning shifts accordingly. What do your scripts reflect except your plans for what the day should be? And thus you judge disaster and success, advance, retreat, and gain and loss.” T-30.VII.1-2

So then we have two scripts with a big difference. The script of the Holy Spirit is known, does not change and the end is sure. The Son will awaken and the fearful dream will be gone. There is a script to follow that will take us back home. We could agree here that the steps to awaken are preplanned, for the only thing subject to our will is the time we take to make the Journey. After all ACIM is a “required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary.” T-in.1

So that which is preplanned or predestined are the steps presented in A Course in Miracles. It is only a matter of time before each of us follows the same steps that will take us back home. That is the script that is written with God’s approval and it works as follows :

”Once you accept His plan as the one function that you would fulfill, there will be nothing else the Holy Spirit will not arrange for you without your effort. He will go before you making straight your path, and leaving in your way no stones to trip on, and no obstacles to bar your way. Nothing you need will be denied you.” T-20.IV.8

The Course definitely tells us that God knows our true self and guides us without error when we yield to the Holy Spirit:

“Say to the Holy Spirit only, “Decide for me,” and it is done. For His decisions are reflections of what God knows about you, and in this light, error of any kind becomes impossible.  ” T-14.III.16

On the other hand, the script of the ego is changeable and unpredictable. Unlike the unchangeable script revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, the ego’s script, written in this dream state reveals that “all that happens now means something else. You take away another element, and every meaning shifts accordingly.” T-30.VII.1-2

Our script is so bad that God ignores it:

“It is not God you have imprisoned in your plan to lose your Self. He does not know about a plan so alien to His Will.” W-pI.166.10

So then God not only doesn’t write a predestined script concerning our mundane dream life that we plan and write a script for but “He does not know about a plan so alien to His Will.”

We are told to “value no plan of the ego before the plan of God. For you leave empty your place in His plan, which you must fill if you would join with me, by your decision to join in any plan but His.” T-15.IV.3

The idea that God would write a script for us covering every boring thing that occurs in this world runs contrary to the Course teaching that God did not create the dream world and does not even pay attention to it:

“Is it not strange that you believe to think you made the world you see is arrogance? God made it not. Of this you can be sure. What can He know of the ephemeral, the sinful and the guilty, the afraid, the suffering and lonely, and the mind that lives within a body that must die? You but accuse Him of insanity, to think He made a world where such things seem to have reality. He is not mad. Yet only madness makes a world like this.” W-pI.152.6

Yes “What can He know of the ephemeral” or what can He know about any scripts that involve the details of the dream for the Course speaks of “God Himself, to Whom all conflict, triumph and attack of any kind are all unknown.” T-23.I.4

The script from God is written to awaken us, but has nothing to do with the ingredients of the dream itself. After all, from God’s view this world never even happened:

“The instant the idea of separation entered the mind of God’s Son, in that same instant was God’s Answer given. In time this happened very long ago. In reality it never happened at all.” M-2.2

“Everything you made has never been, and is invisible because the Holy Spirit does not see it.” T-12.VIII.6

This world does seem real to us but God and the Holy Spirit do not even “see it.” Instead, the Holy Spirit seeks to guide us with a divine script that will lead to our awakening.

If it were true that every act of our life here were predetermined then this would mean that we have no free will. If the supposed script says you are going to rise at 8 AM then there is no way you will be able to choose to sleep another 15 minutes. You have to get up at eight on the nose.

To the contrary the Course makes it clear that we have free will.

“Free will is the attribute of the mind.”     UR T(30) -30 T 1 B 37f

“Because your will is free you can accept what has already happened at any time you choose, and only then will you realize that it was always there.” M-2.3.

“the ego is the denial of free will. It is never God Who coerces you, because He shares His Will with you.” T-8.II.3

The Son’s “free will was made for his own joy in creating the perfect.” T 2 A 12

Because we were created free like the Father we had free will in heaven as well as here on earth. We are told that we mainly used our free will in heaven to create as regular decisions were obvious because we all saw the truth clearly. When the right path is clearly seen then the decision becomes obvious, almost as if there is no decision.

However, there was the time that the Son came up with the “mad idea” that involved creating and entering a world of illusion and limitation. Even though this ran contrary to the will of the Father and the Father could have prevented it he did not because of free will.

Then when the Son entered this world of separation and limitation he found he had many choices to make because the truth was not obvious any more. Instead of following a predictable frame by frame script he has found himself in a world of uncertainty where the exact future is not predictable. Students know for sure that we will one day awaken from the dream, but cannot exactly predict what will come next in the dream. The Course verifies this:

“The plans you make for safety all are laid within the future, where you cannot plan. No purpose has been given it as yet, and what will happen has as yet no cause. Who can predict effects without a cause?” T-26.VIII.5

So the future within the dream is something we “cannot plan.” The reason for this is that we cannot “predict effects without a cause.

The Course tells us that this world is a mere effect and can create no real cause. Cause comes from the eternal world. This means that events in this world with no real cause behind them cannot be accurately predicted.

“This world is causeless, as is every dream that anyone has dreamed within the world. No plans are possible, and no design exists that could be found and understood.” T-28.II.6

“Only what God creates is irreversible and unchangeable. What you made can always be changed because, when you do not think like God, you are not really thinking at all.” T-5.V.6

“everything in time can change with time.” T-22.II.3

We have free will within the unpredictable dream but the ultimate choice lies before us:

“It is not difficult to change a dream when once the dreamer has been recognized. Rest in the Holy Spirit, and allow His gentle dreams to take the place of those you dreamed in terror and in fear of death.” T-27.VII.14

“Change but your mind on what you want to see, and all the world must change accordingly.” W-pI.132.5

The Course tells us that only a fearful and unpredictable script written by the ego is available for this world. For a reliable and predictable script we must look beyond this world to the Holy Spirit. When we decide to follow His promptings then we are following a real script.

The Course tells us that neither God, the Son in his right mind or the Holy Spirit would concern themselves with a script dealing with the events of this world because such events are not recognized as real or even happening in reality. They only deal with reality or that which leads to it.

Think of this for a moment. If there were an accurate script, not written by the fallible ego, but by Divine Will, would not someone be able to read it? I have followed those who claim to see the future for numerous decades and haven’t found one yet that made a really good exact prediction that came true. I’d compare the accuracy of these various prophets to a stopped clock which is right twice a day, and this is being generous.

If there is some exact script written for this world then someone should be able to produce a paragraph or two from next month’s newspaper, produce a winning lottery number or the exact path of the next hurricane. The fact is no one can do this because the ego writes the script for this world and the ego is far from perfect. The ego would like us to think it has the future under its control but alas, it does not.

“Fantasies change reality. That is their purpose. They cannot do so in reality, but they can do so in the mind that would have reality be different.” T-17.I.1

Based on cycles and past history we can roughly predict some things, but the ability to predict exact frames from some script eludes us.

Wise students will leave the ego’s script behind and seek that of the Holy Spirit which provides sure and predetermined steps to lead us back home.

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


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The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 13

The Real World

Beginning ACIM students read about the “Real World” in the Course and they often think that it is just another term for heaven. After all, the Course tells us many times that heaven is our real home and the separation from heaven created the illusion, or dream state, where we have made real something that is not real at all in the eternal scheme of things.

In this illusion we have great difficulty seeing what is the true reality for we have substituted the true with illusion. This caused the great separation as mentioned by the Course. Concerning ourselves who are trapped in the illusion it says:

“You may be surprised to hear how very different is reality from what you see. You do not realize the magnitude of that one error. It was so vast and so completely incredible that from it a world of total unreality had to emerge. What else could come of it? Its fragmented aspects are fearful enough, as you begin to look at them. But nothing you have seen begins to show you the enormity of the original error, which seemed to cast you out of Heaven, to shatter knowledge into meaningless bits of disunited perceptions, and to force you to make further substitutions.” T-18.I.5

So it tells us we have made a world where we have substituted illusion for the real and have become bewildered by the “meaningless bits of disunited perceptions.”

Reading ACIM one could envisage a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle all put together making an easy to understand picture. The separation is like the shattering of that puzzle and the bewildered dreamers are like a person looking at the pieces in a pile having no idea of the picture they make when it is all put together. One piece does not seem to relate to any random piece that can be picked up.

The Course tells us that in reality the picture has not been lost or destroyed. Instead, we are just dreaming about this loss, but it is a dream by our god-like minds which gives it such a strong appearance of reality that all things in it seem to be real.

According to the Course the ultimate goal is to fully awaken and return to heaven where we are one of the pieces that complete the great picture, but first there is a major step that must be taken. We must first see the real world.

Seeing the real world does not take us to heaven but gives us a taste of it while still living in this world of illusion. When one sees the real world he sees true reality but just not yet able to go there. In other words, instead of seeing unrelated pieces he obtains an understanding of the completed picture, understands the dream and knows there is a path to returning to the true home.

Once the real world is seen the journey is almost over for it is written:

“The perception of the real world will be so short that you will barely have time to thank God for it. For God will take the last step swiftly, when you have reached the real world and have been made ready for Him.” T-17.II.5

Now keep in mind that a short time in relation to eternity could be a fairly long stretch to us, but it is obvious that seeing the real world signifies we are nearing the end of the journey in the scheme of things.

Among the various descriptions of the real world ACIM says this:

“The real world holds a counterpart for each unhappy thought reflected in your world; a sure correction for the sights of fear and sounds of battle which your world contains. The real world shows a world seen differently, through quiet eyes and with a mind at peace. Nothing but rest is there. There are no cries of pain and sorrow heard, for nothing there remains outside forgiveness. And the sights are gentle. Only happy sights and sounds can reach the mind that has forgiven itself.” W-pII.8.2

It also describes the real world 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

The real world is perceived on two levels. The first is with our regular organs of perception and the second is through right-minded understanding for “Only right-mindedness can correct in a way that has any real effect.” T-2.V.A.14

“The term ‘right-mindedness’ is properly used as the correction for ‘wrong-mindedness,’ and applies to the state of mind that induces accurate perception.” T-3.IV.4

This “accurate perception” involves accurate perception of the world through our organs as well as an accurate spiritual perception involving understanding of true principles and reality.


Let us first examine the seeing of the real world through organs of perception. This is a concept not even considered by most Course students for it doesn’t occur to them that the real world can be visually perceived. On the contrary, such students have missed key statements from the Course. For instance we are told that the real world “can be perceived.” “The real world is the second part of the hallucination time and death are real, and have existence that can be perceived.” T-26.V.12

“The real world can actually be perceived. All that is necessary is a willingness to perceive nothing else.” T-11.VII.2

Seeing it in this world involves the “spiritual eye” which is often called the third eye or the ajna center in other traditions. It works in connection with our regular eyes and allows for true seeing in form as well as beyond form to the realm of correct understanding

“Corrective learning always begins with awakening the spiritual eye, and turning away from belief in physical sight. … We said before that the spiritual eye cannot see error, and is capable only of looking beyond it to the defense of Atonement.” T-2.8.8 COA

“The spiritual eye is the mechanism of miracles, because what the spiritual eye perceives is true. The spiritual eye perceives both the creations of God and the products of human beings. Among the latter, it can also separate the true from the false by its ability to perceive totally rather than selectively. It thus becomes the proper instrument for reality testing, which always involves the necessary distinction between the true and the false.” T-1.I.38.1-2 COA

Beyond normal physical vision are many things to see in the real world, not only with eyes of understanding but in terms of seeing forms revealed by real light.

We are told that “Things which seem quite solid here are merely shadows there; transparent, faintly seen, at times forgot, and never able to obscure the light that shines beyond them.” W-pI.159.5

“The Great Light always surrounds you and shines out from you.” T-11.III.4

“Its (the body) thinness and transparency are not apparent until you see the light behind it. And then you see it as a fragile veil before the light.” T-18.IX.5

So what is this light that shines beyond and “behind” the body making it “a fragile veil before the light.”

The Course gives us a clear answer:

“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

So what are these “little edges of light around the same familiar objects which you see now”?

Many students of eastern religions and the Ancient Wisdom will understand immediately what the Course is talking about. It is speaking of the etheric double of all things in the physical world. This does not just exist in theory, but it is easily seen by those who look. When I have given classes on this often everyone in the class can see it when they learn to look.

To see it involves a principled that I call “not seeing.” In this you tune out the physical and then you can see beyond it. It’s like A Course in Miracles says that you cannot see two worlds. If you tune out this world, the other appears.

To see those little edges of light do this exercise:

Interlock the fingers of your two hands and point the tips of your two thumbs toward each other. Separate the tips of your thumbs by about an eighth of an inch. Now find a wall that is white or light in color and hold your hands up to the wall so when you look at the space between your thumbs the wall is on the other side. Concentrate now and stare at the empty space between your thumbs for about a minute. Do not put your attention on your hands or thumbs, but only the empty space between your thumbs. After about a minute, while keeping your attention on the empty space, pull your thumbs slowly apart so now you have about a quarter of an inch of space. As you do this you should notice a thin film, about a millimeter from your skin, light blue in color.

What you are seeing here is your etheric double which is slightly larger than your physical. Learning to see this is the first step in seeing auras.

Here is a second exercise you can do.

Have a friend stand next to a light colored background like a white or light colored wall or a refrigerator door. Tell him to stand perfectly still and to not move his head. Now stare at his forehead for about a minute. Pick one spot on his forehead and do not deviate your attention from that spot. After 60-90 seconds have him move to the side, but continue to look at the spot as if the guy were still there.

What you see next will amaze you if you have not done this before. Your eyes will have taken a photograph of his etheric light and you will see the after image of his head glowing before you. When you see his lighted head note the shades of light and dark patches. The dark patches will indicate a blockage in the flow of energy. Most people have dark patches when they have a head cold, for instance.

These exercises illustrate the truth of the words of ACIM that the body is a “veil before the light.”

Not only the body but the entire physical world has an etheric double and one with real vision can see the “little edges of light around the same familiar objects which you see now” just as the Course says.

The etheric light is just one of the lights that can be seen in the real world. The next step in seeing is that which is commonly called the aura which is much more difficult to see than the etheric double. Whereas I was able to see the etheric double right away it took me several months of intense practice to clearly see the aura. To see the aura, which is more refined light than the etheric one has to take the principle of “not seeing” to a higher level and completely tune out the physical world. You only look at one world and that is not the physical. I noticed numerous times that as soon as I caught a glimpse of the aura that it completely disappeared the instant my vision went back to the physical, verifying the Course’s statement that you cannot see two worlds.

You can be aware of two worlds, but your focus has to be non physical to see the real world.

The next step up in seeing is what I call the auric film. In reality we are egg-shaped. The most concentrated aura of intense fluorescent light extends about a foot from our bodies. This is followed by a more refined mental substance that circles around us like electrons circle around and atom. Then about an arm’s length from us is a film that corresponds to the film in the outer part of an egg. On this film is projected your thoughts in geometric forms which composes an advanced language in the real world. If you could clearly see the forms projected by mind on the auric film you could read the person’s mind and have real communication with no distortion.

Once the student learns to see some of the effects in the real world he will easily notice the “little edges of light” around the forms of this world. When his vision is in tune he can look at the night sky and see all kinds of living etheric light and shapes projected by the various stars and see that space is full of living energy and is not a vacuum.

The final seeing in the real world comes to us after the physical; body dies and we no longer use the body’s senses for seeing. In between lives we are in a higher state of consciousness equivalent to the real world. This s not the heaven spoken of by ACIM, but we are able to see reality much more clearly there as stated, “Together we will disappear into the Presence beyond the veil, not to be lost but found; not to be seen but known.” T-19.IV.D.19 “To be without a body is to be in our natural state.” W-pI.72.9

So, after death we are in a more “natural state” in the real world, but this is temporary until we are reborn into the physical. It is here where the finding of the real world is of the greatest importance for finding it here is a major step toward a total reawakening and advance to the time that the “Father will lean down to you and take the last step for you, by raising you unto Himself.” T-11.VIII.15


In addition to seeing the real world through our senses of form perception we must learn to see it though our eyes of understanding. This basically means we will see things as they really are rather than seeing with distorted understanding as if in a fog in the dream state.

The Course says: “I can therefore see a real world, if I look to my real thoughts as my guide for seeing” W-pI.53.1. (11)

So finding our real thoughts is a key to seeing with eyes of understanding where there “is the new perception, where everything is bright and shining with innocence, washed in the waters of forgiveness, and cleansed of every evil thought you laid upon it. Here there is no attack upon the Son of God, and you are welcome.” T-18.IX.9

“Nothing is now as it was formerly. Nothing but sparkles now which seemed so dull and lifeless before.” M-4.X.2.

“When you perceive yourself without deceit, you will accept the real world in place of the false one you have made. “T-11.VIII.15

To see the real world with eyes of understanding the student must follows the precepts of the Course such as forgivng all those who offend, let go of guilt, cease attacking others etc. When he has covered the basics he must, look to his “real thoughts as my guide for seeing.

So what is the difference between real and unreal thoughts?

The workbook places emphasis on this from the beginning for it is an important point to understand as we progress toward salvation and the real world. The lessons start out by telling us that we do not even understand anything that is right in front of us for any thoughts about them “do not mean anything.” This is follows by lessons telling us that we “see nothing as it is now.” Then reemphasizing that “My thoughts do not mean anything” and “I do not know what anything is for.” Finally we reach this thought in lesson 57:

“There is another way of looking at the world.”

This is “an attempt to recognize that you can shift your perception of the world in both its outer and inner aspects.” W-pI.33.1

Notice that the way of looking at the real world involves both “outer and inner aspects.”

The key to doing this is to focus on your real thoughts: “Delusional ideas are not real thoughts, although you can believe in them. But you are wrong. The function of thought comes from God and is in God. As part of His Thought, you cannot think apart from Him.” T-5.V.6

So when we think apart from God in the dream state we are not thinking our real thoughts which are thoughts shared by the mind of God. Think of this correspondence.

When we have a dream in this world we often do crazy things in the dream not related to anything we would do in the waking state. In other words, our dream thoughts are often much different than our waking thoughts. Even so, in this greater dream our thoughts are much different than they would be if we are totally awake and in alignment with the mind of God. To take that great step to the real world we must access those “real thoughts” that are within us.

This is emphasized in lesson 45 which tells us that in the real world “God is the Mind with which I think. … My real thoughts are in my mind. I would like to find them.”

The student must come to the understanding that, “What I call ‘my’ thoughts are not my real thoughts. My real thoughts are the thoughts I think with God. I am not aware of them because I have made my thoughts to take their place. I am willing to recognize that my thoughts do not mean anything, and to let them go. I choose to have them be replaced.” W-pI.51.4

Thus the illusionary dream state thinking is replaced with thoughts from the real thinker who is awake. The mind thinking real thoughts then sees things as they are, truth instead of error and peace instead of conflict.

“I can also call upon my real thoughts, which share everything with everyone. As my thoughts of separation call to the separation thoughts of others, so my real thoughts awaken the real thoughts in them. And the world my real thoughts show me will dawn on their sight as well as mine.” W-pI.54.3

As significant as it is to discover the real world we must realize that this is not the final destination for it is written:

“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

The Course describes the final goal:

“For as Heaven and earth become one, even the real world will vanish from your sight. The end of the world is not its destruction, but its translation into Heaven.” T-11.VIII.1


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

Index for Original Archives

Index for Recent Posts

Easy Access to All the Writings

For Free Book go HERE and other books HERE

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