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 each other. 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.” UR T 2 B 43-44

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 is verified in this quote

“The world is an illusion. Those who choose to come to it are seeking for a place where they can be illusions, and avoid their own reality.” W-pI.155.2

Notice the wording here: “Those who choose to come…” This tells us that there was a choice to come or not to come and obviously the Sons of God lined up on both sides of this great decision.

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

Here is an interesting reference dividing Sons, even among the Prodigals, into older and young with Jesus being the older

“You stand below me and I stand below God. In the process of “rising up,” I am higher because without me the distance between God and man would be too great for you to encompass. I bridge the distance as an elder brother to you on the one hand, and as a Son of God on the other.” T-1.II.4

What percentage of the Sons 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 and Jesus now returned to heaven is called an “elder brother.”

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 and  when we wake up it will be 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.” M-2.3

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.

What is overlooked is that the creation of Sons is an eternal process and it is 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) 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 on earth. 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 if it 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” UR T 2 B 26

“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 unification proposed the existence of a universe with diverse 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 ACIM 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 and 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 This process has repeated itself an astonishing number 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 for the universes come and go forever. 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 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. But the DECISION to do this, rather than the ABILITY to do it is what the ego cannot tolerate.” UR T 4 F 13

This interpretation of 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, Chapter Nine HERE, Chapter Ten HERE, Chapter Eleven HERE, Chapter Twelve HERE, Chapter Thirteen HERE, Chapter Fourteen HERE, Fifteen HERE, Sixteen HERE, Seventeen HERE,       Eighteen HERE, Nineteen HERE, Twenty HERE, Twenty-One HERE, Twenty-Two HERE, Twenty-Three HERE, Twenty-Four HERE, Twenty-Five HERE, Twenty-Six HERE, Twenty-Seven  HERE, Twenty-Eight  HERE, Twenty-Nine HERE, Thirty HERE

ACIM Conversations, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part  16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25

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