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.” W-pI.rV.in.6

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.” W-pI.rV.in.6

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 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.

SEEING THE REAL WORLD

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

SEEING WITH EYES OF UNDERSTANDING

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

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The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 10

What Heaven Is Not

In a nutshell the purpose of A Course in Miracles is to help us awaken to our true reality so we can return to heaven, our true home.

The separation and entering this dream state was perhaps more serious than realized by students for we are told there was a possibility the Son could “be lost forever in the madness of his wish.” T-25.III.2

In other words, there was a danger that the Prodigal Son could wind up living with the swine forever with no realization that there was any home to which he could return.

We are told that the Father took quick action after the fall and created the Holy Spirit as a means of communicating with the Son to eventually bring him to his senses and awaken.

Evidently this got a little behind schedule causing a need for extra stimulation. This is said to come to us in the form of A Course in Miracles.

As noted in chapter two the Voice told Helen that the Course was necessary because “The world situation is worsening to an alarming degree. … Because of the acute emergency, however, the usual slow, evolutionary process is being by-passed in what might best be described as a ‘celestial speed-up.’” From Journey Without Distance by Robert Skutch

So then, the world situation produced an “acute emergency” requiring a celestial speed up. God was not going to allow us to be “lost forever” in our madness, hence the Course was given as a roadmap to heaven showing us the quickest way to get there.

You would think then that since the Course is of such great importance in awakening us to the journey home to a heaven we have forgotten that it would spend a lot of time refreshing our memory and tell us why it is a desirable place to be.

Yet, instead of dangling a carrot before us to entice us to return, the Course is mysteriously silent about what heaven is like and why it is such a wonderful place compared to this material existence. It strangely tells us more about what heaven is not than what heaven is.

The Course explains why it doesn’t give more details:

Concerning heaven it says, “There is no need to further clarify what no one in the world can understand.” W-pI.169.10 “No one on earth can grasp what Heaven is, or what its one Creator really means.” M-23.6 “Nor is there any need for us to try to speak of what must forever lie beyond words. “ T-18.IX.11 Heaven “can never be described” W-pI.122.8

“We say ‘God is,’ and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless. There are no lips to speak them, and no part of mind sufficiently distinct to feel that it is now aware of something not itself. “ W-pI.169.5.

“for what we cannot speak of, for you go from there to where words fail entirely, into a silence where the language is unspoken and yet surely understood.” W-pI.129.3

So, basically we are told that heaven is beyond our current understanding, but we will understand when we get there. Until then, nothing can be put into words that will mean anything.

This is one of the more problematic teachings of A Course in Miracles as it seems to correspond with a major tactic revealed about the ego:

I have said that the ego’s rule is, ‘Seek and do not find.’ Translated into curricular terms this means, ‘Try to learn but do not succeed.’” T-12.V.7

So we have the situation where many Course students would like to know what heaven is to give them more impetus to take focus off the dream world to awaken to the heavenly, but we are told this is something we cannot find, not until we irreversibly get there.

This answer is like that which many young people find irritating about Sunday School. They ask questions about God, sex in heaven or why a loving God created hell and they are told it is a mystery and you find all the answers after you die and return to God.

Well, many students would like to know more about heaven now. After all, we are told to give up everything to go there, for we can only live in one reality as indicated by the Course:

“It is impossible to see two worlds which have no overlap of any kind. Seek for the one; the other disappears. But one remains. They are the range of choice beyond which your decision cannot go. The real and the unreal are all there are to choose between, and nothing more than these.” W-pI.130.5

So we live in the unreal and we must let it go to the extent that it “disappears” so we can enter heaven. But why would we sacrifice everything that holds us to this reality for another of which we know close to nothing? If this is indeed the path we are supposed to take wouldn’t it make sense for Higher Intelligence to reveal more about our eternal destination?

Now each of us has a spark from God within us that can be contacted through the soul and because of this contact I know there are higher and more perfect realms than this, but if I had to go by merely what was written in ACIM I would be quite confused.

On the other hand, there are many who do go strictly by what has been written, some quite literally. Therefore, it may be helpful to carefully examine what A Course in Miracles says about heaven, for despite it saying that describing it is beyond words, it does give us some words that provide interesting insights.

First, as I said, it does tell us a few things that heaven is not. Let us look at some of these.

The one thing above all others that a Course student is supposed to realize is that there are no dualities in heaven. We have “to recognize a condition in which opposites do not exist. And this is the condition of knowledge. Without this awareness you have not met its conditions, and until you do you will not know it is yours already.” T-11.VII.4

In heaven therefore we will only experience the positive feelings, not the negative. There will be love, but not hate, peace and nothing to attack or disturb, joy and no pain or sorrow, formlessness and no form, and only winning for there will never “be a time when anything that it (God’s thoughts) created suffers any loss.” W-pII.11.1

Instead there will be “an awareness of perfect Oneness, and the knowledge that there is nothing else; nothing outside this Oneness, and nothing else within.” T-18.VI.1

Many students do not seem to realize that without the possibility of loss that there will be no games. Indeed the Course speaks negatively of them: We are told that heaven is a “place where truth abides and games are meaningless.” W-pI.153.14 Heaven is a place “where losing is impossible.” W-pI.129.4

And what is it that gives us mere mortals some of our greatest enjoyments in life?

Games, where losing is possible.

One of the famous teachers and writers of ACIM is Gary Renard and in his books he spends considerable time telling us how much he enjoys watching ball games. I found it amusing that he spoke with more enthusiasm about attending games than going to heaven. I wondered in reading his books if he realizes that there will be no games in heaven for there are no contrasting winners and losers there according to ACIM.

Indeed, even many spiritual writers are avid sports fans and like to attend or watch games in their free moments. Many also play games with friends and family when visiting.

We enjoy games because of the limitations for if we knew each move in advance it would be no fun.

I submit that it is the thrill of playing games that was the main draw that caused the separation. A large number of the Sons of God wanted to create a universe where we could struggle to win and when we win with a risk of losing we would experience a positive feeling unlike any available in the world of non duality.

Life itself with its limitations is like a challenging game. You set goals for personal achievement and then you set out to realize them, or to win at the game of life. Then when you are successful you get a positive feeling that is not achieved any other way.

If you think about it this giving up the fun connected with games may be the largest obstacle in the way of entering ACIM heaven for many. Part of the problem is that many students have not realized what the Course teachings are on this matter. Lesson 79 needs to be applied: “Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.”

If students do not realize the changes that need to be made to end the separation then the problem will never be solved.

That said, let us see what else we have here that may be missing in heaven.

There is no learning in heaven:

“The ability to learn has no value when change is no longer necessary. The eternally creative have nothing to learn.” T-2.II.5 “everything you learned is meaningless, replaced forever by the knowledge of love and its one meaning.” T-18.IX.12

There is no perception:

“nothing that the eyes have ever seen or ears have heard remains to be perceived.” T-27.III.7

“Perception did not exist until the separation introduced degrees, aspects and intervals” T-3.IV.1

“For the mind that knows this unequivocally, knows also that it dwells in eternity, and utilizes no perception at all.” UR T 13 A 1

There is no memory:

You will not remember change and shift in Heaven. You have need of contrast only here. T-13.XI.6

“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 “Nothing that you remember now will you remember. “T-19.IV.D.6

There is no choice:

“The power of decision, which you made in place of the power of creation” T-14.VI.5 “Nothing conflicts with oneness. … What is there to decide? For it is conflict that makes choice possible…. The truth makes no decisions, for there is nothing to decide between.” T-26.III.1 “There is no choice of function anywhere. The choice you fear to lose you never had.” T-27.III.7

There is no consciousness:

“Consciousness, the level of perception, was the first split introduced into the mind after the separation, making the mind a perceiver rather than a creator. Consciousness is correctly identified as the domain of the ego. The ego is a wrong-minded attempt to perceive yourself as you wish to be, rather than as you are.” T-3.IV.2

“Yet the very fact that it (consciousness) has levels and can be trained demonstrates that it cannot reach knowledge.” (where heaven is) C-1.7

There is no contrast:

“There is no darkness and there is no contrast. There is no variation. There is no interruption. “ T-13.XI.3

There is no time, space, form or motion

“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.3-4

“Here will time end forever. At this gate (of heaven) eternity itself will join with you.” S-1.V.4

It speaks of “the eternal formlessness of God.” C-6.5 and “what love will mean to you when formlessness has been restored to you is greater still.” W-pI.186.14

“As nothingness cannot be pictured, so there is no symbol for totality. Reality is ultimately known without a form, unpictured and unseen. T-27.III.5

There will be no special relationships

“All of your ‘friends,’ your ‘protectors’ and your ‘home’ will vanish. Nothing that you remember now will you remember.” T-19.IV.D.6

Everyone on earth has formed special relationships, and although this is not so in Heaven,” T-15.V.8

There is no change

“Nothing will ever change; no shifts nor shadings, no differences, no variations that made perception possible will still occur. “ T-17.II.4

“reality is wholly real, apart from size and shape and time and place–for differences cannot exist within it” M-8.6

There are no differences

“in Heaven They are all the same, without the differences which would have made a hell of Heaven and a heaven of hell, had such insanity been possible.” T-25.VII.10

There is no individuality.

“The structure of ‘individual consciousness’ is essentially irrelevant because it is a concept representing the ‘original error’ or the ‘original sin.’” C-in.1

We thus see that the Course tells us quite a few things that heaven is not. Without space, time and form what is left? It would seem that the answer would be nothing, but as we proceed we will see that is not quite the case,

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

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The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 9

Chapter Nine
The Bold Adventure

Concerning the separation the typical ACIM student interprets it this way. The Son (representing all of us) got this mad idea in his head – that creating a universe of time and space where each life is separate from other lives – would be a good thing to do. Thus was a dream world of illusion made and all of us are trapped in it until we awaken.

On the other hand, a careful reading of the Course reveals there is more to the story than this.

In Helen Schucman’s transcription before the edits we read this about the separation:

After the separation began “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. They had already split themselves and were bent on dividing rather than reintegrating. The levels they introduced into themselves turned against each other, and they, in turn, turned against one another. They established differences, divisions, cleavages, dispersion, and all the other concepts related to the increasing splits they produced. Not being in their right minds, they turned their defenses from protection to assault, and acted literally insanely.” T-2-V-3 COA

A key statement is that “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.”

This tells us that not all the Sons of God became separated. Instead there were many who stayed in heaven and never entered the dream state or the illusion.

This puts a very different light on the orthodox view that the Son as a whole entered into the separation.

The story of the Prodigal Son, which is used in the Course, supports this view. It is interesting that in the earliest Christian writings the parable was not called “The Prodigal Son,” but “A Story of Two Sons.”

It may be helpful to examine the whole parable:

“And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

“And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

“And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

“But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

“Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.

“And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.

“And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

“And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” Luke 15:11-32

From the Course we read: “Listen to the story of the prodigal son, and learn what God’s treasure is and yours:” T-8.VI.4

This verifies that the parable was an actual teaching presented by the Master and should be taken seriously by Course students.

The first thing we learn is that the sons were divided into two groups. The Prodigal left home and went to the far country. This represents the billions of us who came here to this material world which is “far” from heaven.

The other son would similarly represent a large number who stayed home with the Father.

What percentage left? Perhaps a clue is given in the Book of Revelation that tells us that a third of the residents fell from heaven. (See Rev 12:4)

This is in harmony with the quote noted earlier from the Course telling us of Sons who did not fall, but tried to prevent the   separation.

Also of note is that the one who stayed at home was the older, and the one who separated was the younger.

As we presented in Chapter Five, the Sons of God also have Sons. For instance: “The Kingdom of God includes all His Sons AND THEIR CHILDREN, who are as like the Sons as they are like the Father.” T-7.XI.7

The Son which is “A co-creator with the Father must have a Son. Yet must this Son have been created like Himself. ” T-24.III.6

Because the Sonship is ever extending there would be something akin to older and younger sons in heaven. On earth we see that many of our young children tend to have a natural skepticism of the parents’ teachings and ways of doing things and want to strike out on their own. Thus it was in the parable, the younger, less experienced son who wanted to leave behind that which always was and try something new seeking new experiences. After all, it is possible the older son had his own prodigal past and had learned his lessons.

It is assumed by students that there was just one separation, the Son as a whole entered the dream, the solution was implemented and that was it. It is over and done when we wake up it is as if nothing ever happened or will happen again.

When you think of it this makes no sense and doesn’t even harmonize with the Course’s teachings. According to the Course the creation of Sons is the way that God extends His kingdom. This has apparently been going on from eternity with God extending himself many times – thousand, billions, trillions of times or more. Do you think that there was only one batch of Sons who wanted to separate and play in the worlds of time and space and then it was over, never to be considered again? Does it make sense that there would be no more prodigals and no new children would have any curiosity about what life would be like in such a world?

The Course gives some powerful clues that the Prodigal making the separation was not just one occurrence but has happened many times:

“Time really, then, goes backward to an instant so ancient that it is beyond all memory, and past even the possibility of remembering. Yet because it is an instant that is relived again and again and still again, it seems to be now. … The world of time is the world of illusion. What happened long ago seems to be happening now. Choices made long since appear to be open; yet to be made. What has been learned and understood and long ago passed by is looked upon as a new thought, a fresh idea, a different approach.” M-2.3 & 4

We are told clearly here that the beginning of time, which was the beginning of the separation, “goes backward to an instant so ancient that it is beyond all memory, and past even the possibility of remembering.”

That is indeed a description of something that happened a very very long time ago. Perhaps it was farther back than the beginning of this universe. Perhaps thousands of universes have come and gone since this first manifestation of time at the first separation conceived by the first group of Sons.

This makes sense since it says that this instant of separation “is relived again and again and still again, it seems to be now.”

The orthodox interpretation is that there is no reliving but the Son rebelled one time with his mad idea and after he wakes up that will be it. There is no reliving the separation.

What is overlooked is that the creation of Sons is an eternal process and it his only logical that new sons would access the ancient memories along with the ideas of time and space and want to try them out.

The first event happened “So very long ago, for such a tiny interval of time, that not one note in Heaven’s song was missed. Yet in each unforgiving act or thought, in every judgment and in all belief in sin, is that one instant still called back, as if it could be made again in time. You keep an ancient memory before your eyes. And he who lives in memories alone is unaware of where he is.” T-26.V.5

The first separation was apparently a lot more disruptive than realized for we are told that it “shattered heaven.” T-18.I.12 But then God implemented a solution with the creation of the Holy Spirit and eventually all the prodigals in that first round returned home awake, safe and sound in their right minds.

After this heaven was no longer shattered by prodigal sons reliving the event and entering the dream for it was established that the sleep could only last an instant (which could be millions of years in heaven) and all would safely return making heaven complete.

This resolves the confusing idea presented by the Course that makes it sound to some like the separation never happened and we are not here. The first separation happened very anciently and the problem was solved and no longer exists in heaven yet new prodigal sons can enter a dream state and relive the event as is happening to us now.

And why would Sons want to do that? One significant reason is the desire for children to play games.

After all, there are no games in heaven for there is no duality or competition and younger sons especially want to play games. The Course tells us that the desire to play games was one of the motivations for the separation:

“The dream of judgment is a children’s game, in which the child becomes the father, powerful, but with the little wisdom of a child.” T-29.IX.6

We are told that heaven is a “place where truth abides and games are meaningless.” W-pI.153.14 It only makes sense then that there is always a percentage of the new creation of Sons who want to play games which are not available in heaven.

Just look around you and witness the great attraction that we as humans have for games. We pay our sports heroes many millions and they are idolized by many. Most everyone at one time or another either plays or watches a game and finds it a source of great pleasure even though there are winners and losers – which the Course says is contrary to the order of heaven. It is also of note that many esoteric and wisdom teachings tell us that we are attracted to the game aspect of material life and even call this existence “the playground of the Gods.”

These wisdom teachings also tell us that the first separation from spirit was so ancient that it is basically an eternity ago and repeats many times just as ACIM says. But each separation involves a new group of evolving lives, or “Sons” as ACIM would say.

The parable tells us that the prodigal took with him his inheritance of the father. That inheritance that belongs to the Son of God (us) is all the Father has for the Father and Son are one and share all things through mind: “you are of one mind and spirit with Him (God).” T-5.VII.3

“There is only one Mind” T-2.4.4 COA

“The mind is very powerful, and never loses its creative force. It never sleeps. Every instant it is creating. … All thinking produces form at some level.” T-2.VI.9

So how much power is wielded by the Son?

“There is now no limit on his (the Son’s) power, because it is the power of God.” M-23.2

The Son shares with the Father the ultimate power. We are told that God “has made you co-creator of the universe along with Him. He would but keep your will forever and forever limitless.” T-30.II.4

“What lies in you has joined with God Himself in all creation’s birth. Remember Him Who has created you, and through your will created everything. Not one created thing but gives you thanks, for it is by your will that it was born. No light of Heaven shines except for you, for it was set in Heaven by your will.” T-30.II.3

This indeed presents a glorious picture of the power that is in us but unrealized in this world of illusion. We are also told this:

“What God and His Sons create is eternal.” T-8.VI.3.

Basically, the Course does not consider something a creation unless it is eternal. It usually uses the word “make” when referring to the creation of things not eternal.

So in that ancient time, beyond all memory, the Father and the Son shared the same mind and were busy extending the creations of God when the Son came up with the “mad idea.” Now keep in mind that when this idea surfaced the Son was not asleep, but fully awake. Because it was conceived when the Son was awake it is written that “the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects. ” T-27.VIII.6

We are told that there are no real (or eternal) effects in the dream state but an idea conceived in the waking or eternal state has eternal consequences.

The interesting thing is that this eternal idea consisted of creating that which is not eternal and an idea conceived in non duality proposed the existence of a universe with dualities.

So what happens then when an eternal mind creates that which is not eternal? Sounds like an impossible conundrum, but not quite.

Now the orthodox view is that the Son entered the dream state, the Father created the Holy Spirit to reach out to us and the problem was solved. We are all awake in heaven an only think we are here on earth. The problem is solved never to be entertained again.

But it is not that simple since the idea was conceived when the Son was fully awake. This means that the universe of temporary things is eternal. This does seem like a mad idea, but here is how I believe it worked out.

In that far away time beyond any memory the Son had the idea and executed it. In turn the Father executed his plan, the temporary universe disappeared and the Son returned. The problem was solved for that generation of Sons. But then the existing Sons extended the creation of God by fathering new sons and some of these were captivated by the crazy idea and wanted to play games in a new universe of duality. Thus a new universe was created and history repeated itself. “What happened long ago seems to be happening now. ” M-2.3 & 4 This process has repeated itself an astonishing amount of times. In relation to eternity the birth and death of a universe is a mere instant.

So then the eternal mind of the Son did create the eternal out of something temporary. This gives a clue about it:

an idea is free, incapable of being kept in prison or limited in any way except by the mind that thought it. For it remains joined to its source, which is its jailer or its liberator, according to which it chooses as its purpose for itself. T-19.I.16.

Because the idea is eternal and cannot be destroyed it continues to be recycled and applied again and again by new generations of sons. So that which is made in time has an end, but the creative process is eternal since it was initiated by an eternal mind. Thus we have temporary universes of form appearing, disappearing and reappearing endlessly.

It is interesting that even in this separated state the power of eternal creation still exists, but is not used.

“It may surprise you to learn that had the ego wished 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. However, the decision to do this, rather than the ability to do it, is what the ego cannot tolerate.” T-4.7.11 COA

This interpretation multiple separations puts A Course in Miracles in alignment with many teachings from the east and the Ancient Wisdom which tells us of an eternal reappearance of universes and new souls to inhabit them whereas the old souls obtain liberation and move on to a heavenly state as in the teachings of nirvana, the great pralaya or return to Spirit.

Indeed ACIM tells us that it is not the only course teaching us about the path of return but it does give us some great clues as to how to speed up the process.

“There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome. They merely save time.” M-1.4

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

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The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 8

Chapter Eight
The Mad Idea

In the timeless beginning there was only God, but there was a problem. God was lonely and “God Himself did not will to be alone.” T-11.I.1

Since His will is all powerful a solution in the form of idea capable of manifesting came to mind. He would create a grand universe full of life, but it would be a unified life of many parts. Thus we are told that God “created you (the Son) out of Himself, but still within Him.” T-14.IV.4 and “The universe consists of nothing but the Son of God,” W-pI.183.10

So God created a universe out of Himself by extending Himself with many parts but one life and called this masterpiece his “Only Son.”

In creating the Son God took a great risk that may not have seemed obvious at the time. He made His Son like Himself and gave him all of his powers of mind, Spirit and creation. The Son would thus be a creator like the Father and cause a universal extension of all there is. The Son would give birth to other Sons and their Sons would create other Sons ad infinitum.

He also gave his Son free will like unto himself. This seemed to be without risk because being like the Father the Son could only create like himself within the universe of true reality. Every creation that is eternal and real has to be perfect and good, so what could go wrong?

Here is what the Course says went wrong.

“Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects.” T-27.VIII.6

The mad idea is explained somewhat here:

“Because of your likeness to your Creator you are creative. No child of God can lose this ability because it is inherent in what he is, but he can use it inappropriately by projecting. The inappropriate use of extension, or projection, occurs when you believe that some emptiness or lack exists in you, and that you can fill it with your own ideas instead of truth. This process involves the following steps:

First, you believe that what God created can be changed by your own mind.

Second, you believe that what is perfect can be rendered imperfect or lacking.

Third, you believe that you can distort the creations of God, including yourself.

Fourth, you believe that you can create yourself, and that the direction of your own creation is up to you.

“These related distortions represent a picture of what actually occurred in the separation, or the ‘detour into fear.’” T-2.I.1-2

This idea that we can create ourselves caused the creation of the ego, the false self that sees itself as separated from God and Spirit, but still has powers of the mind. Concerning this ego the Course says:

“This is the Son of God’s replacement for his will, a mad revolt against what must forever be. This is the statement that he has the power to make God powerless and so to take it for himself, and leave himself without what God has willed for him. This is the mad idea you have enshrined upon your altars, and which you worship.” T-21.II.6

We are told that “The ego made the world” T-5.III.11 It turns out that this world the ego made is much different than the universe created by God. The main difference is that everything in God’s universe, our true home, is eternal, perfect and unchangeable. On the other hand, everything created by the ego is temporary, imperfect and will have an end. Even the stars which seem to permanent to us will have an end and their lifespan of billions of years is rated as only an instant compared to eternity.

The ego’s most proud of its creation of the human body for this is the vehicle of the ultimate separation from God according to the Course:

“God cannot come into a body, nor can you join Him there. Limits on love will always seem to shut Him out, and keep you apart from Him. The body is a tiny fence around a little part of a glorious and complete idea. It draws a circle, infinitely small, around a very little segment of Heaven, splintered from the whole, proclaiming that within it is your kingdom, where God can enter not.

“Within this kingdom the ego rules, and cruelly. And to defend this little speck of dust it bids you fight against the universe. This fragment of your mind is such a tiny part of it that, could you but appreciate the whole, you would see instantly that it is like the smallest sunbeam to the sun, or like the faintest ripple on the surface of the ocean. In its amazing arrogance, this tiny sunbeam has decided it is the sun; this almost imperceptible ripple hails itself as the ocean.” T-18.VIII.2-3

Because everything in the ego’s universe is temporary it is not seen as real by the inhabitants of heaven. We are told that only that which is eternal is real and that all things with a beginning and an end are to be compared to a dream. The only difference is the dream of the Son is a longer dream than what we have at night, but compared to the   eternal true reality all the ego’s creations come and go in an instant, even if they last billions of years to us. It is notable that the Course uses the word “made” in reference to the ego’s creations and generally reserves the word “create” to refer to eternal things.

So, in a nutshell we have this situation. God extends Himself through his grand creation looking forward to an eternity of love, peace and joy of sharing with His Beloved Son.. Then something went wrong and the Son got a “mad idea” to make a world that was very different from heaven, one with dualities, time space, pain, pleasure and much more. The Son thought this would be an interesting diversion. Indeed in our reality children do not accept all the beliefs of their parents and often desire to do their own thing to the dismay of their parents. Apparently this was also the case with Father and Son in heaven.

The standard interpretation by most Course students of what happened next goes something like this.

The Son (which includes all of us) fell asleep and entered into an illusion that was totally not real (earth life where we are now). The Son entered a world of nightmares where there was pain, guilt and attacks of every kind one can imagine all ending in fear and death. What the Son did not realize when having all these nightmares was that he was only dreaming while his real self was still safe in heaven.

Even so, the Father was deprived of full fellowship with His Son while he was in his dream world so he immediately came up with a solution. Since he could not enter the dream state without making it real He created the Holy Spirit to awaken the Son. The Holy Spirit performed his job perfectly and the whole nightmare was over in an eternal instant. The Son woke up and it is now as if nothing happened.

Strangely many Course students repeat this idea almost like a mantra saying things like:

“The world has never existed.”

“I am not here.”

“Nothing here is real.”

“I am in heaven with God.”

“The separation never occurred.”

They say quite a number of things along this line. If a regular person unfamiliar with the Course were to overhear some conversations of ACIM students he may think that calling the men in white would be in order. On the other hand, the students see general humanity as buying into an insane “mad idea” from which they need to awaken.

So, are students in alignment with Course teachings when they insist that nothing exists or has happened in this world? Some focus so intently on this idea that you cannot have a reasonable discussion with them about anything that is happening. Tell them about a friend who has cancer and they’ll merely respond that the cancer is not real and show no empathy for the suffering person. They may quote something from the Course such as “The guiltless mind cannot suffer.” T-5.V.5 He reasons that if the suffering person realized he was not here there would be nothing to feel guilty about and nothing to suffer. Meanwhile, this idealist still has his own share of painful effects that he tries to ignore.

The problem is that the Course does seem to say some fairly radical things, but like all teachings one has to look at the whole rather than the part to get the full picture. For instance, if all we knew about Jesus was the story of him giving the money changers a good whipping then we wouldn’t be inclined to call him the Prince of Peace.

The Course does give teachings that lean in two directions at times and the tendency of students is to pick one and support it while ignoring anything said to the contrary. We see this in the Bible with its teachings on faith and works. There are scriptures that indicate that all we need is faith to be saved and others say works is necessary. Those who pick a side will ignore anything to the contrary.

In speaking of non existence ACIM says this:

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

“Everything you made has never been” T-12.VIII.6

“The body is the symbol of what you think you are. It is clearly a separation device, and therefore does not exist.” T-6.V.A.2

These and numerous other passages tend to cause some students tune out to the effects in this world to the extent that they go deeper into the illusion from which they wish to escape.

So to students who believe that the separation did not happen and we are not even here but in heaven let me ask this:

How is it that you are reading this with physical eyes?

Why did Jesus come here to a place that does not exist and give A Course in Miracles to Helen Schucman who does not exist?

Why did God create the Holy Spirit to deal with a problem that does not exist?

Why is “God is lonely without His Sons, ” T-2.III.5 after the separation that never happened?

Obviously the “never happened” crowd are missing a piece to the puzzle, for just denying our existence here does nothing to awaken us to the higher reality.

So, what is the truth of the matter?

The problem involved is one that has repeated itself in many teachings given out through the ages. When a master teacher gives out material designed to shift the thinking of the students he will often place extra strong emphasis on key points. Without this emphasis students are likely to gloss over the important principles and not make changes in their thinking. This strong emphasis has positive and negative effects. The positive is that it grabs the students attention and makes them think. The negative is that some go overboard in embracing the emphasized teachings and miss the intended enlightenment.

A Course in Miracles indeed has one particular controversial teaching that needs strong emphasis to get the attention of students which is this. This whole world is created by our minds similarly to how our dreams are created at night and does not exist in the higher reality. Now most people who study the course are not esoteric students who see the world as illusion, as do the Buddhists, but are ordinary folk who have bought into the idea that this universe is as real as their eyes tell them it is. Therefore the Voice of ACIM places extra strong emphasis on the idea that our world is not real.

Once this is understood the next question to ponder is how the Course defines what is real and what is not.

The Course basically gives the following differentiation between what is real and what is illusion: Since God is eternal that which he creates is also eternal and “only eternity is real.” T-1.15.2 COA That which is real has no beginning or end but continues forever.

That which is not real exists in time and space and has a beginning and an end:

“The stars will disappear, and night and day will be no more. All things that come and go, the tides, the seasons and the lives of men; all things that change with time and bloom and fade will not return. Where time has set an end is not where the eternal is.” T-29.VI.2

Anything that exists in our visible universe will have an end, even the stars with lifetimes of billions of years. Compared to eternity a billion years is an instant and when the star, the planet or the flower is gone it has then merely passed as does a dream, and when gone is no more real than a dream. We read:

“Time and eternity cannot both be real, because they contradict each other. If you will accept only what is timeless as real, you will begin to understand eternity and make it yours.” T-10.V.14

“The separation is a system of thought real enough in time, though not in eternity. 3 All beliefs are real to the believer.” T-3.VII.3

To see our universe as something that does not exist misses the point. The real point is that in the higher realty, the Course calls heaven, all attention is on eternal things that do not pass away and to awareness there it is as if our universe is not real. It only has a semblance of reality for the creator Son if he enters the dream state.

But consider this; even dreams have a reality to them. When you dream at night you are having a real experience and often the influence of the dream will carry over into the waking state. If you are being chased by a monster you may wake up sweating with a much faster heartbeat than normal. If you dream of a pleasant fantasy and wake up prematurely you may want to go back to sleep for a while and continue the dream.

Yes, dreams are illusions and not real on a higher level, but when you are in them you are having a real experience and some dreams even have an influence on the waking state.

But, unlike our dreams at night this greater dream is much more complex with very consistent effects. Our entrance into the dream “occurred over millions of years” T-2.VIII.2 says the Course. What could have motivated us to have entered into such a bold, extensive and lengthy venture?

Many reading the Course come to he conclusion that the Son (us) just had a crazy idea in a moment where he wasn’t thinking straight, but the dream was over in an instant and all is back to normal in heaven.

But what is overlooked is the Son shares the mind and intelligence of God so this plunge into time and space was not done thoughtlessly. Just look at the complexity of our DNA in just one of the trillions of cells within the body and ask yourself if this and all creations in this world were made by some mindless, thoughtless being?

There is obviously more to the story than just a small temporary lapse of judgment on the part of the Son. We’ll cover this next.

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

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The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 6

Chapter Six
The Holy Spirit and Angels

The idea of the Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, being three but one is presented similarly in A Course in Miracles and orthodox Christianity. The Father aspect, representing the all powerful creator has similar ingredients, but the Son is presented quite differently and in more detail in ACIM than in the New Testament. On the other hand, even though there is more about the Holy Spirit in the Course overall it is significantly in harmony with the Bible.

Concerning the Holy Spirit, Jesus of the New Testament says this:

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:16-17

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26

It is interesting that the word Comforter is translated from the Greek PARAKLĒTOS which means “One who is called in” or “called to one’s aid.”

The Course tells us that the creation of the Holy Spirit originated at the separation of the Son from the Father. He was indeed called in to aid in assisting the Son to return to his right mind. It is written:

“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. The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind.” T-5.I.5

So His purpose is to call us “to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind.”

Concerning the atonement the Course also says this:

“Atonement means correction, or the undoing of errors.” M-18.4

The “Atonement centers on the past, which is the source of separation, and where it must be undone. For separation must be corrected where it was made.” T-17.III.5

“The purpose of the Atonement is to restore everything to you—that is, to restore your awareness of everything. You had everything when you were created, just as everyone did. Having been restored to this original state, you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself.” T-1.I.26.6 COA

So then, in the ancient past we as Sons of God who had been given all the creative powers of the Father had what the Course calls a “mad idea.” We wondered what it would be like to live in a universe of time and space that was separate from God and based upon duality rather than unity, where there was evil as well as good, pain as well as joy. We had this idea, that could not be carried out in God’s reality so we created dream world of illusion and entered it as if falling asleep and dreaming. The trouble was that we went into such a deep state of sleep that we had no awareness that we were dreaming so we accepted the world of illusion as real and forgot that we even had a true home in the celestial realm.

The Course says the story of Adam symbolized what happened to us:

“Yet the Bible says that a deep sleep fell upon Adam, and nowhere is there reference to his waking up. The world has not yet experienced any comprehensive reawakening or rebirth. Such a rebirth is impossible as long as you continue to project or miscreate.” T-2.I.3

Only after the deep sleep fell upon Adam could he experience nightmares.” T-2.I.4

So one reason this whole separation was called a mad idea was that instead of just entering a universe that was interesting and challenging we also entered a dream state that gave us many “nightmares.”

This created a barrier in communication between the Father and the Son so deep that God decided a correction was necessary.

“God’s extending outward, though not His completeness, is blocked when the Sonship does not communicate with Him as one. So He thought, ‘My children sleep and must be awakened.’” T-6.V.1

So God wanted to awaken His Sons, but there was a major problem. Whatever God places His attention on becomes as if it is real. If God entered the dream to redeem his Sons then the dream would become real to Him as well and he would also be trapped. There would be created the risk of both the Father and the Son becoming eternally separated from their true home, eternally losing their identity.

To solve the problem and allow God to keep his attention focused on reality he created a special agent, The Holy Spirit, that could be a bridge between the two worlds.

So God created the “Holy Spirit, Who was God’s answer to the separation.” T-17.IV.4

“The Holy Spirit mediates higher to lower communication, keeping the direct channel from God to you open for revelation.” T-1.II.5

This gives some further light on the seriousness of the matter:

“He has created the Holy Spirit as the Mediator between perception and knowledge. Without this link with God, perception would have replaced knowledge forever in your mind. With this link with God, perception will become so changed and purified that it will lead to knowledge.”

So then, if the Holy Spirit had not been created as a link between the worlds “perception would have replaced knowledge forever.” Perception is what makes the world of illusion real and “seeing would be believing” forever without the aid of the Holy Spirit whose mission is to bring us the knowledge that there exists reality which is beyond normal vision.

In addition to being a comforter who reaches across worlds to us Jesus in the scripture told us the Holy Spirit would “abide with you for ever.”

This Biblical statement agrees with the Course which says:

“But what God creates is eternal. 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.

Next Jesus calls him, “the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him.”

The Course is in harmony with this scripture and adds:

“The Holy Spirit mediates between illusions and the truth. Since He must bridge the gap between reality and dreams, perception leads to knowledge through the grace that God has given Him, to be His gift to everyone who turns to Him for truth.” W-pII.7.1

“When you made visible what is not true, what is true became invisible to you. Yet it cannot be invisible in itself, for the Holy Spirit sees it with perfect clarity.” T-12.VIII.3

The scripture continues:

but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”

And the Course adds:

“The Holy Spirit is in you in a very literal sense. His is the Voice that calls you back to where you were before and will be again. 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

Next the scripture says:

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26

And the Course affirms as follows:

“The Holy Spirit, Who remembers this for you, merely teaches you how to remove the blocks that stand between you and what you know. His memory is yours.” T-14.IV.9

“truth can still set you free. Look as the Holy Spirit looks, and understand as He understands. His understanding looks back to God in remembrance of me. He is in communion with God always, and He is part of you.” T-5.III.11

The Course, however, goes beyond the Biblical statements of the Holy Spirit and sheds additional light.. One point that we already covered was the purpose of his creation which was to heal the separation from God.

The Course gives additional light on exactly what the Holy Spirit is. It says:

“He is part of the Holy Trinity, because His Mind is partly yours and also partly God’s. This needs clarification, not in statement but in experience. The Holy Spirit is the idea of healing. Being thought, the idea gains as it is shared. Being the Call for God, it is also the idea of God. Since you are part of God it is also the idea of yourself, as well as of all His creations.” T-5.III.1-2

When it speaks of its mind as “partly” ours it is speaking of the higher part of our minds:

“I do work with your higher mind, the home of the Holy Spirit.” T-4.IV.11

Then it adds this:

“Apart from the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit has no function. He is not separate from either, being in the Mind of Both, and knowing that Mind is One. He is a Thought of God, and God has given Him to you because He has no Thoughts He does not share.” T-13.VIII.4.

The Course emphasizes that the Holy Spirit is higher mind that dwells in both God and the higher part of ourselves, the same mind that was in Christ:

“The Holy Spirit is the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception.” T-5.I.5

As far as what its purpose is in addition to the atonement “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, and where you should go to do it” T-25.I.6

“The Holy Spirit holds this plan of God exactly as it was received of Him within the Mind of God and in your own.” W-pI.99.5

An important part of the mission of the Holy Spirit involves assisting us in the removal of guilt as guilt is a major barrier between man and God.

“You whose mind is darkened by doubt and guilt, remember this: God gave the Holy Spirit to you, and gave Him the mission to remove all doubt and every trace of guilt that His dear Son has laid upon himself. It is impossible that this mission fail.” T-13.XI.5

“The Holy Spirit knows that all salvation is escape from guilt. You have no other “enemy,” and against this strange distortion of the purity of the Son of God the Holy Spirit is your only Friend. He is the strong protector of the innocence that sets you free.” T-14.III.13

Finally a main part of his mission in connection with the Sons of God who are trapped within the illusionary dream is to link our minds with His and guide us until we awaken and arrive home. We cannot do it on our own and need His assistance:

“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

For eons the Sons of God have been trapped in the dark and dreary world., The Course tells us that the only way out is to switch our attention from the lower mind of the ego to the higher mind of the Holy Spirit which is linked to the eternal part of ourselves.

So what do we have to do to make this miracle of infallible guidance happen? The answer is amazingly simple.

We have to ask and when there is a response we then must receive. Jesus stated this simple principle in the New Testament:

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Matt 7:7-8

Here is what the Course says about asking:

“The very fact that the Holy Spirit has been asked for anything will ensure a response. Yet it is equally certain that no response given by Him will ever be one that would increase fear. It is possible that His answer will not be heard. It is impossible, however, that it will be lost. There are many answers you have already received but have not yet heard. I assure you that they are waiting for you.” T-9.II.3

“The Holy Spirit will answer every specific problem as long as you believe that problems are specific.” T-11.VIII.5

“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

The second part of the process is for the seeker to be open to receiving beyond theory, but in actuality. Here is what is asked of us to complete the process

“Your little part is but to give the Holy Spirit the whole idea of sacrifice. And to accept the peace He gives instead, without the limits that would hold its extension back, and so would limit your awareness of it. For what He gives must be extended if you would have its limitless power, and use it for the Son of God’s release.” T-19.IV.B.9

“you must choose to hear one of two voices within you. One you made yourself, and that one is not of God. But the other is given you by God, Who asks you only to listen to it.” T-5.II.3

“The Holy Spirit asks you to respond as God does, for He would teach you what you do not understand. God would respond to every need, whatever form it takes. And so He keeps this channel open to receive His communication to you, and yours to Him.” T-15.VIII.5

When full reliance is made on the side of the Holy Spirit we are told all future decisions will be effortless for the right choice will be obvious. For instance, if you were about to drive over a cliff and you realize you could prevent this by merely applying the brakes then what choice is there really? In theory you could choose to not hit the brakes but in reality the choice is so obvious that it is the only one to be made.

That is how choices along the path are seen for those who are at one mind with the Holy Spirit.

Angels

In addition to the Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit we are told there is one other group of inhabitants in heaven. This fourth group are the angels and the Course says a mysterious small amount about these beings . When it does mention them it often does so as a side item.

It may seem somewhat contradictory that there is a separate category of angels mentioned when we are told that:

“God created nothing beside you (the Son) and nothing beside you exists.” T-10.in.2

“The universe consists of nothing but the Son of God,” W-pI.183.10

Yet something else called angels apparently does exist. Here is one of the few pieces of knowledge given out concerning the angels.

“You 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.” T 1 B 30 OE

So The Son (us) is created “above” the angels, apparently meaning we are of a higher order because we are creators as well as protectors. Protection seems to be the job of angels.

Apparently after the fall into illusion the angels tried to recover us but were unable to:

“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.” T-2-V-COA

The only way to see harmony in this contradiction is to see the angels as a part of the Sonship but a group having a different job. Also of note is that teachings in the Ancient Wisdom tell us that angels eventually become Sons of God.

Here are some other quotes from the Course that give some light on the purpose of angels.

“Your newborn purpose is nursed by angels, cherished by the Holy Spirit and protected by God Himself.” T-19.IV.C.9

“Around you angels hover lovingly, to keep away all darkened thoughts of sin, and keep the light where it has entered in.” T-26.IX.7

“This do the body’s eyes behold in one (your brother) whom Heaven cherishes, the angels love and God created perfect.” W-pI.161.9

“God’s Name can not be heard without response, nor said without an echo in the mind that calls you to remember. Say His Name, and you invite the angels to surround the ground on which you stand, and sing to you as they spread out their wings to keep you safe, and shelter you from every worldly thought that would intrude upon your holiness.” W-pI.183.2

Note: The wings here must be symbolic as ACIM says there is no form in heaven.

“You do not walk alone. God’s angels hover near and all about. His Love surrounds you, and of this be sure; that I will never leave you comfortless.” W.ep.6

“He will not leave you comfortless, nor fail to send His angels down to answer you in His Own Name.” S-2.III.7

Thus we complete our examination of the four groups of lives which compose heaven, concerning who we are told are really one life to whom we give the generic title of God.

Read the Introduction HERE

Read Chapter One HERE.  Read Chapter Two HERE, Chapter Three HERE, Chapter Four HERE, Chapter Five HERE

Copyright by J J Dewey

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The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 5

Chapter Five
The One Son of God

The Course gives us more details on the Son than the Father. The Father is basically that life or “idea” that initiated all creation and the Son continues it. The Father, we are told, created the Son, the Son did not create Itself. Thus we have a difference between the two as noted here:

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

This agrees with Jesus of the Bible who said: “my Father is greater than I.” John 14:28

We are told then that God did not desire to be alone so he extended Himself by creating a Son like unto Himself with all the Father’s original creative powers. He could then take joy in the Son’s creations as if they are his own for they share the same mind. We are told that “He (God) created you (the Son) as part of Him.” T-24.VI.1 and “You were created only to create” T-14.I.4

The first thing a Course student must grasp about this mysterious figure called The Son, or Son of God is that it is a unity sharing oneness with God yet is composed of all of us and more. When, therefore, the Course states that God has only one Son it is speaking of a great life composed of many parts sharing the same mind and purpose.

Some students take the statement of the “one Son” or “Only Son” literally to the extent that they think this means there are no parts but just one life. Their thinking goes like this.

In this illusion we appear to be many but when we return to our Source we will no longer be an individual in any degree but all of us will awaken as the One Son with no parts. The One Son is just dreaming all of us into temporary existence as egos. You and I will disappear along with our egos when the final awakening happens.

This is not only an error in interpretation but such a view misses many statements in the course to the contrary.

One could make this same error with the Father and the Son which are also grouped as one, but that oneness does not mean sameness for the Course says, as quoted earlier that, “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

Then we read in the unedited version:

“the original statement was “are of one kind.” The Father and the Son are not identical, but you can say “Like Father, like Son.” T-1.I.46.18 COA

Just like the Father and the Son share one mind and one life, but are separate parts of the whole, even so, is the Son composed of many parts that make up the one great life. This is comparable to cells in the body that are parts of the one life that make up the whole of your body. It is one life, but composed of many parts. This analogy was used by Paul in a similar approach to the Course:

For as the body is one , and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, SO ALSO IS CHRIST. For by ONE SPIRIT we are all baptized into ONE body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into ONE SPIRIT. For the body is not one member, but MANY (All lives together)… Now Ye are the body of Christ (the Son), and members in particular.” I Cor 12:12-14, 27

Here the Course teaches a similar principle of the One and the Many:

“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. T-2.VII.6

“And here, 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

“So do the parts of God’s Son gradually join in time, and with each joining is the end of time brought nearer.” T-20.V.1

“God has but one Son, knowing them all as One.” T-9.VI.3

This one Son consists of many Sons and the principle of the many in the one will continue after the return home:

“When the Atonement is complete and the whole Sonship is healed there will be no Call to return. But what God creates is eternal. 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.

Notice that we are called “Sons of God,” plural, even after our final union with God.

This oneness applies to the entire Trinity:

“The Son of God is part of the Holy Trinity, but the Trinity Itself is One. There is no confusion within Its Levels, because They are of one Mind and one Will.” T-3.II.5 “you are of one mind and spirit with Him.” T-5.VII.3 “There is one life. That life you share with Him.” W-pI.156.2

So, just as you are a part of the “Only Son,” even so the Son “is part of the Holy Trinity.” The parts of the Son share a Oneness as do the three parts of the Trinity which “Itself is One.”

So what then produces this oneness? Is it caused by a merging where each part is exactly the same with no one having a unique contribution or individual existence?

No. What causes the oneness is that we all share the same Mind, Will, Spirit and Life The mind and Spirit of God is circulating within you now giving you life, yet you live your life as a unique contribution. That will not change when we awaken. Instead, we will merely lose our ego which sees us as a separate unconnected unit. When this happens we will see and accept the unity and oneness of life.

The Course makes it clear that when it speaks of the Son, plural or singular, it is talking about all of us for it says, “WE stand together as one Son of God.” But what is often missed his how inclusive the Sonship really is.

The Sonship is often referred to as an actual extension of God Himself:

“Very gently does God shine upon Himself, loving the extension of Himself that is His Son.” T-12.VI.7

Then it draws this fantastic conclusion:

“There is no end to God and His Son, for WE ARE THE UNIVERSE” and we are to “See His creations as His Son.” T-11.I.5.

“God created nothing beside you and nothing beside you exists.” T-10.in.2

“Without you there would be a lack in God, a Heaven incomplete, a Son without a Father. 2 There could be no universe and no reality.” T-24.VI.2

“The universe consists of nothing but the Son of God,” W-pI.183.10

Those are pretty inclusive statements for you and me but this one tops them all:

“How holy is the smallest grain of sand, when it is recognized as being part of the completed picture of God’s Son!” T-28.IV.9 “all living things as part of him.” M-23.2 “Know, then, the Sons of God, and you will know all creation.” T-7.XI.7

So the Son not only consists of you, me and all humanity but all life and creation down to “the smallest grain of sand.”

Since God created “nothing beside you” this means that when we achieve full awareness we will share life with all things even to the tiniest inorganic particles. Since we all belong to one mind and mind even creates the grain of sand we can suppose that mind and life envelopes all things as a unity.

The Course places us as Sons in a very powerful position. We have all the powers that God has but are just unaware of who we are.

We are told that 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.” M-23.2

According to the Course then we are truly made in the image and likeness of God with all the powers of godliness but instead of extending the work of the Father through true creation we used our unlimited power to limit ourselves in a world of illusion. Apparently we wanted the challenge of overcoming these self imposed limits.

According to the Course then, instead of having a fun challenge, we lost our true identity and have become trapped in the illusion and need help getting out. To that end was the reason the Course was written.

When we as Sons of God realize our true power nothing will be impossible, as was said by Jesus in the Bible.

When students read A Course in Miracles they usually see the creator Father as a single entity. The concept of the Son is not so cut and dried. It clearly tells us there is one Son and all of us from this illusion are part of it, but there is not agreement what happens when we return to heaven. Some think the end result will be Son that is a single entity with no individual parts and others see it as one united life composed of many parts.

Earlier we showed clear evidence from the Course writings that the latter is true. The Son has many parts but shares in the one mind, as does the Father.

What is not so clear is what the Father is and how He differs from the Son. Perhaps starting with an analogy will help.

If one is writing a book on parenting the writer may talk about the son, daughter or child in the singular even though the term may apply to the billions of them worldwide.

This he will also do with the father, mother or parent. The fact that he refers to “the son” or “the father” doesn’t mean there is just one entity on the planet in that position.

He same goes for A Course in Miracles. When it speaks of the one Son or the one Father it talks about a singular position, not a singular entity.

Now, getting back to the parent and child, the analogy also tells us this. The father was once a son and the son will someday be a father. But even when the son becomes a father he is still a son to his father, but also a father to his own son.

Contrary to common interpretation the Course’s teachings are in harmony with this example.

First, it clearly tells us that the Son of God (us) will have sons just as the Father had Sons.

“Without your Father you will not know your fatherhood. The Kingdom of God includes all His Sons AND THEIR CHILDREN, who are as like the Sons as they are like the Father.” T-7.XI.7

There you have it. The Sons of God will have “children, who are as like the Sons as they are like the Father.”

This idea is reinforced here:

“His joy lay in creating you, and He extends His Fatherhood to you so that you can extend yourself AS HE DID. You do not understand this because you do not understand Him.” T-8.VI.6

It is certainly true that many students do not understand the Father and Son concept but it is further clarified here:

“the Son gives Fatherhood to his Creator, and receives the gift that he has given Him. It is because he is God’s Son that HE MUST ALSO BE A FATHER, WHO CREATES AS GOD CREATED HIM. The circle of creation has no end.” T-28.II.1

And if the Son creates additional sons “as God created him” then what will the newly created sons call the creator Son?

They will call him “Father.” Yes this Son will be a Father to his Sons but also a Son to his Father. He is thus a father and a Son.

So why would this not apply to our Father? Would he also not be a Father to us but a Son to another creator?

Indeed. Consider this:

“The shining radiance of the Son of God, so like his Father that the memory of Him springs instantly to mind. And with this memory, THE SON REMEMBERS HIS OWN CREATIONS, AS LIKE TO HIM AS HE IS TO HIS FATHER.” T-24.II.6

The Sons creations (his children) are then to him “as he is to his Father.”

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

We will share Fatherhood with God the same way we do with our fathers here. When we have children in this world we share the principle of fatherhood with our earthly father the same as he did when he had us. The same goes for the next world. When we are Fathers we will be like our creator Father who is also a Son.

“The Son of God has both Father and Son, because he is both Father and Son. …What can the Son of God not accomplish with the Fatherhood of God in him?” T-11.II.1&4

“The Father must give fatherhood to His Son, because His Own Fatherhood must be extended outward. You who belong in God have the holy function of extending His Fatherhood by placing no limits upon it.” T-8.III.3

“A co-creator with the Father must have a Son. Yet must this Son have been created like Himself. A perfect being, all-encompassing.” T-24.III.6

Every creator Son is a Father and every Father is also a creator son. This is why we are told “The universe consists of nothing but the Son of God.” W-pI.183.10

The final and ultimate question is who is our Father’s Father and how far back does the lineage go? Most would say there is no beginning which is hard to fathom, but so it is.

Our Father identifies with all other Fathers in the universe through the one mind as one Father, and all awakened Sons identify as the one Son, also through the one mind, and through this one mind the Father and the Son are One.

Oneness Is.

Read the Introduction HERE

Read Chapter One HERE.  Read Chapter Two HERE, Chapter Three HERE, Chapter Four HERE

Copyright by J J Dewey

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The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 4

Chapter Four
What is God?

To lay a foundation of understanding of A Course in Miracles we need to understand what it teaches about the four major players that compose the true reality of the entire universe. They are all follows:

God, the Father

The Son

The Holy Spirit

Angels

Anything else that we may think exists is not real and only exists in the dream state and will disappear when fully awake according to ACIM.

God, of course, is the supreme creator who initiated all things. The Course is fairly sketchy about Him but does say a few things.

First it makes clear that when it speaks of God it is speaking of a real life for it says:

“God is not symbolic; He is Fact.” T-3.I.8

In examining the teachings the reader needs to recall that the author of the Course insists he does not speak in misleading symbols, but means what he says:

“you may believe from time to time that I am misdirecting you. 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

This gives evidence to the idea that when the author identifies with the historical Jesus that he is speaking literally and not symbolically. The first thing concerning God then that is obvious is that the Course identifies Him as a Father, a male figure. Some in our current generation are displeased with this and many figure the male identity was used because it was common vernacular at the time it was written to identify generic figures with the male gender and calling God and “It” seemed dis respectful. God is also called “Father” in the Bible.

Many Course students figure that it doesn’t matter whether we call God a “He” “She” or “It.” Others take it literally and feel that God is represented by the male gender. Most feel the female mother is somewhere in creation – maybe represented by creation itself.

Most students see the Father and the Son as merely convenient titles for life that is beyond duality, or male and female. After all, the Son, as taught in the Course, includes all of us no matter what gender with which we identify.

The Course doesn’t tell us where God came from. Instead, it merely makes this statement that is repeated by many students:

“God is” M-27.6

So, God just IS and beyond understanding and is a great mystery for it is written:

“No one on earth can grasp what Heaven is, or what its one Creator really means.” M-23.6

The Course does make this curious statement:

“God is an idea, and so your faith in Him is strengthened by sharing. What you find difficult to accept is the fact that, like your Father, you are an idea.” T-15.VI.4

So, here we are told that we are an idea. Obviously we are an idea in the mind of God since it is stated many times that he is our creator.

But if God is also an idea, as it says, the question to be asked is whose idea is God our creator? Is he merely His own idea or is there some even greater being still that created our creator?

Here is an interesting statement along this line:

“He (God) is first in the sense that He is the First in the Holy Trinity Itself. He is the Prime Creator, because He created His co-creators. ” T-7.I.7.

What we could take from this is that our God may not be the first of the Gods, but first in the sense that his position in the Trinity is first with the Son being second and the Holy Spirit third. All of them are “ideas” from some eternal Source.

We’ll examine this more closely when we discuss the Son.

As it is, our creator is said to have pretty vast creations. He is called, “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” T-19.IV.D.1

If there is a creator above our creator who came up with the idea of our God then our creator would share in its life as we are to share the life of our creator. Thus, if all the Gods are as one life they all would identify with being the creators of “everything.” Even of the Son it is written he is the “co-creator of the universe”. W-pI.152.8

The Course does give us a few more details about our Creator. We are told that God “is the universe” T-11.I.2 He is “the sum of everything, then what is not in Him does not exist,” T-29.II.10 He is “the Mind which caused all minds to be.” T-28.I.11

As Sons of God we are told that “there is one life, and that we share with Him, with all creation, with their thoughts as well, whom He created in a unity of life that cannot separate in death and leave the Source of life from where it came.”      W-pI.167.11

Even though God is said to have created everything, this world that we perceive is not part of creation for it is considered an illusion which does not exist from an eternal perspective. The Course says:

“The world as you perceive it cannot have been created by the Father, for the world is not as you see it. 2 God created only the eternal, and everything you see is perishable. 3 Therefore, there must be another world that you do not see. ” T-11.VII.1

As stated earlier the creation of the universe that we perceive is considered to not be from God, but a “mad idea” of the Son, an illusion or a bad dream. Understanding this illusion and how it fits in with reality is a key to understanding many of the mysteries of the Course. We will cover more on this later.

Most believers in God see Him as complete and in need of nothing. He just created us out of the goodness of His heart, but if we cross him in any way he will either annihilate us or send us to hell, so we will cease to be any bother for Him.

The Course tales a significantly different view on this. First, we are told that God loves all his creations and has no desire to punish them or bring them pain. In addition, God does not want to be alone and is lonely when any part of creation attempts to separate itself from Him.

We are plainly told: “He (God) did not set His Kingdom up alone.” T-30.II.1

Then there is this:

“You dwell in the Mind of God with your brother, for God Himself did not will to be alone.” T-11.I.1

“God is as dependent on you as you are on Him, because His Autonomy encompasses yours, and is therefore incomplete without it.” T-11.IV.7

So ACIM tells us that God did not set up his kingdom alone and it is contrary to His will that he be alone.

And why is that?

“God is lonely without His Sons, and they are lonely without Him.” T-2.III.5 “His joy is not complete because yours is incomplete. And this He does know. He knows it in His Own Being and its experience of His Son’s experience. The constant going out of His Love is blocked when His channels are closed, and He is lonely when the minds He created do not communicate fully with Him.” T-4.VII.6 “They are part of you, as you are part of God. You are as lonely without understanding this as God Himself is lonely when His Sons do not know Him.” T-7.VII.10

So the Course presents the rare teaching that neither God or us are complete without each other. God needs you and me and all of his creations to be complete. As it is, the Sons of God thought they could create a more interesting universe than God had at the home front and like typical children who reject the values of their parents they thought they could do better and made this dream world in which we live. Basically it has been the playground for the Sons of God.

But then, like the Prodigal Son, we eventually get tired of the pain and sorrows we have to endure here and decide to return home.

When we do, instead of being rejected God welcomes us back with open arms – for He is lonely without us.

In relation to this the Course says:

“His Son removed himself from His gift by refusing to accept what had been created for him, and what he had created in the Name of his Father. Heaven waits for his return, for it was created as the dwelling place of God’s Son. You are not at home anywhere else, or in any other condition. Do not deny yourself the joy that was created for you for the misery you have made for yourself. God has given you the means for undoing what you have made. Listen, and you will learn how to remember what you are.” T-10.V.11

Read the Introduction HERE

Read Chapter One HERE.  Read Chapter Two HERE, Chapter Three HERE

Copyright by J J Dewey

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The Mysteries of A Course in Miracles, Chapter 2

Chapter Two
Who Wrote A Course in Miracles?

Most believing ACIM students think that the Jesus of the Bible wrote the Course.

Why?

Because the author pretty much says so. Numerous times we come across statements where the author speaks in the first person as the voice of Jesus such as:

“I elected, for your sake and mine, to demonstrate that the most outrageous assault, as judged by the ego, does not matter. As the world judges these things, but not as God knows them, I was betrayed, abandoned, beaten, torn, and finally killed.” T-6.I.9

“When I said “I am come as a light into the world,” I meant that I came to share the light with you.” T-5.VI.11

“When I said “I am with you always,” I meant it literally. I am not absent to anyone in any situation.” T-7.III.1

“I have also made it clear that the resurrection was the means for the return to knowledge, which was accomplished by the union of my will with the Father’s.” T-3.V.1.

But then the author often speaks of Christ in the third person. For instance, he again speaks of the resurrection as follows :

“The resurrection is the complete triumph of Christ over the ego, not by attack but by transcendence. 7 For Christ does rise above the ego and all its works, and ascends to the Father and His Kingdom.” T-11.VI.1

Then statements such as this are typical of the third person referencing.

“Christ waits for your acceptance of Him as yourself, and of His Wholeness as yours.” T-11.IV.7

It may seem odd for an author to reference himself in the third person, but many have done it so this is certainly not without precedent. It can, however, arouse suspicion if authorship is in question.

In defense one could argue that ACIM teaches that the Christ, or the Son of God, in its wholeness is composed of all of us in our true nature, not just the one man, Jesus.

It is interesting that the most quoted authority on the Course who was also its original editor as well as a friend of Helen Schucman, Kenneth Wapnick, was not sure if the voice was the Jesus of history.

He wrote this:

“Returning now to Helen and the Course, while her experience most definitely was of Jesus-a person outside herself-relating to her and dictating to her, in truth the reality was much different. Helen was able to return her mind to that memory of God’s Love-her true Identity-symbolized by her as Jesus. By uniting with him, she united with love. That union has no form or specifics, for love, as we have seen, is abstract and beyond all divisions of the ego. This love, of which Jesus was the manifestation, flowed through the separated mind we know as Helen (the water taking shape in the glass) and came out to the world as the three books we know as A Course in Miracles. Absence of Felicity, Page 457

So, here Ken gives his view that Helen was not in contact with Jesus, a different entity than herself but “was able to return her mind to that memory of God’s Love-her true Identity-symbolized by her as Jesus.”

So, according to him Helen had the ability to unite with her Christ self which is still with God and through this contact, with what is often called “the Higher Self”, she was able to manifest the Course.

Are there any other possibilities?

Some, of course, believe that Helen, as a clever person, was the author. Most who have taken a serious study of it do not think she had the ability to create such a document.

Of course, many reactionary fundamentalist Christians believe that Satan was the author. This makes no sense for a number of reasons.

(1) ACIM emphasizes the most important teachings of the Biblical Jesus such as, love, forgiveness and the reality of the resurrection.

(2) One can disagree with some of the teachings but any astute student must admit the Course guides us toward a behavior that is good and not evil.

As noted, any honest student who has really examined the Course must admit that the mind that revealed it is of a very high order, seemingly far beyond Helen’s intelligence.

Is it possible that another entity who was neither Jesus or Helen revealed it? Is it possible that this entity also identified with Christ because he was speaking from the higher mind which is one with Christ or the “One Son” mentioned in the Course?

This is an interesting possibility not considered by most students.

Some who take a cursory interest in the Course may think the author is an astral entity such as those contacted in the trance state or by automatic writing. But most of these channelings do not create writings of such a high order of intelligence as ACIM. Those entities who are one with the Christ mind do not use such methods, but will use a means of mental impression or mental telepathy.

In Helen’s case it was mental telepathy.

In September 1965 Helen Schucman was working to advance her career as a psychologist at Columbia University working in association with Bill Thetford, also a psychologist.

Out of the blue she started getting some impressions, visions and hearing an inner voice. She kept getting the feeling that something unusual was going to happen.

Then one evening in October while sitting in her bedroom she clearly and consciously registered a Voice which said: “This is a course in miracles. Please take notes.”

She was somewhat alarmed, thinking she may be experiencing a psychological problem and called Bill for advice. Fortunately, instead of dismissing it he told her to write down what the Voice said and they would talk about it in the morning.

The next day Bill reviewed Helens notes and saw they were far from the gibberish of someone with a mental problem. The writing seemed to be presented with high intelligence and her notes ended with this profound statement:

“Nothing real can be threatened.

Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.”

Bill was impressed and advised her to continue taking notes. He wanted to read more.

She took down a few more notes and began to wonder what the Course was all about and what its purpose was. She asked the voice and received this reply:

“The world situation is worsening to an alarming degree. People all over the world are being called on to help, and are making their individual contributions as part of an overall prearranged plan. Part of the plan is taking down A Course in Miracles, and I am fulfilling my part in the agreement, as you will fulfill yours. You will be using abilities you developed long ago, and which you are not really ready to use again. Because of the acute emergency, however, the usual slow, evolutionary process is being by-passed in what might best be described as a celestial speed-up.”

For the next seven years Helen took the Voice down in shorthand and read them off to Bill who typed them up.

Unlike many new age trance channelers Helen was quite reluctant and sometimes dragged her feet and delayed the work. Like the voice said, she was not ready for the job but apparently the world situation called for her early cooperation. Fortunately, her sense of duty got the best of her.

She was a non religious Jew and didn’t feel she was a good choice for the job so she asked the voice: “Why me? I’m not religious; I don’t understand these things; I don’t even believe them. I’m about the poorest choice you could make.”

The answer came back very clearly. “On the contrary; you are an excellent choice. In fact, the best.”

“But why?” she anguished. And then, without a hint of doubt she heard the answer; “Because you’ll do it.”

(Quotations from Journey Without Distance by Robert Skutch)

Later she learned that she had been an Essene in a past life, apparently in the days of Jesus, and had developed the mental skills necessary for her current work as a scribe using mental telepathy.

Kenneth Wapnick refers to the process of her work as “‘internal dictation’; that is, she did not go into an altered state, a trance, or engage in automatic writing. She was always aware of what she was doing, even if she chose not to pay attention to it. Regardless of her attitude, the writing would continue.”

Many students of Eastern teachings, Theosophy and the Ancient Wisdom will rule out most anything from the trance state or automatic writing and believe that true masters use a process similar to what Helen described. This is very similar to how Alice A. Bailey received her teachings and ironically she was also very reluctant to take the notes at the beginning.

So then we have a scribe receiving through a high order of telepathy giving us writings from a mind with intelligence beyond mortal wisdom. Whether one believes this was the mind of Jesus or some other high intelligence, the writing is compelling enough that any serious thinker would be wise to take its content seriously.

Read the Introduction HERE

Read Chapter One HERE

Copyright by J J Dewey

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