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 they are 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.” UR T 2 C 19
“The Spiritual eye is the mechanism of miracles, because what the Spiritual eye perceives IS truth. The Spiritual eye perceives both the Creations of God AND the creations of man. Among the creations of man, 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.” UR T 1 B 32c
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
What then 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 principle 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. 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 he 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 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 nonphysical 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 an 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 is 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 where we are “without a body” 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 through 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 follow the precepts of the Course, such as forgiving 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.”
What is the difference then 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 followed 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
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
Copyright by J J Dewey
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