Here is a question that came from the “Ask Lorri” page of my website, www.lorricoburn.com
Hi, Lorri - My question is about the world around me. Is it a group illusion or is it completely something that I have made up? What I am most concerned about is other people. I am fairly new to the Course, but not all the concepts it teaches. Is the Course saying that everything is in my head, including other people? For example did I make you up? Did I make up my wife? Or, is ACIM simply saying my perception is falsely colored by my illusory experience and I am not seeing others as they really are? The rub I have is that if I am indeed making this all up I am doing a poor job of it, yet at the same time am pretty creative as I have written every screen play and painted every piece of art within the confines of my head. As you can see, I am a little confused. Thanks!
Hi, Ryan, Thanks for writing. This is a great question, and I can tell you have some background in metaphysical concepts.
You ask, “Is everything in my head and did I make you up and did I make up my wife?” Yes. You are also making up the body/personality construct called “Ryan,” with which you are temporarily identified. In the Oneness, there are no bodies and there is no physical form at all. Once there is form, there is two-ness, not oneness. There are two things, a subject and an object. So in ultimate Truth, there is only Love/God/Oneness/Mind, whatever label you want to give It.
Since Love/God/Oneness/Mind is All There Is, We are It. When Jesus said in the Bible, “I and the Father are One,” this is what he meant. He says it in A Course in Miracles more directly and more often, because now we are ready to hear it. Two thousand years ago they crucified him for telling the Truth, but now more and more of us are awakening to our true Identity as the Christ.
The Workbook lessons of the Course train your mind to accept this Identity. There are a number of them that speak directly to this, and most speak indirectly of it. For example, Lesson 191: I am the Holy Son of God Himself; Lesson 252: The Son of God is my Identity; Lesson 96: Salvation Comes from my One Self; and I Am as God Created Me, which is Lessons 94, 110, and 162. It is the only Workbook lesson that is repeated. It then is repeated in the reviews, so it is mentioned 144 times in the Course. “I Am as God Created Me” means you are the Christ. You are the Self, capital “S.”
Your identity as Ryan is a false projection from the mind. You are the Mind of God, but have chosen to project the idea of yourself into an illusory world and an illusory body. There is nothing outside of your Mind. When you do the Workbook lessons, and when you forgive every single thing, this Truth starts dawning on you. At first you get glimpses, then it becomes more consistent, until finally your True Identity becomes a permanent state in your awareness.
Your other question: Is ACIM simply saying my perception is falsely colored by my illusory experience and I am not seeing others as they really are?
ACIM is saying there is no world, period. This is the central thought the course attempts to teach. (Lesson 132). However, this is quite scary to the ego, so until our minds are ready to accept this we are led gently down the path of the right-minded perception of the world. This perception shows a world forgiven, innocent and illusory. We are aware that we are dreaming it all up. In this awareness, we see beyond bodies to the one Christ Self in each of us. There is one ego dream, and one Christ Self. The Course trains us to see all the apparent fragments as One. If you see someone as a body, you are not seeing him as he truly is. He is the Christ. In Lesson 158 we are told that Christ vision has one law—it sees no one as a body.
The idea that your perception is falsely colored by your illusory experience is partially correct, but A Course in Miracles takes that concept all the way. Not one single thing in form is true. There is no ego thought system. That is just a concept to help us understand. There is no dream. That is another concept. There is no individual self. Again, the only thing that’s real is God/Love/Mind/Oneness.
However, this is not death or nihilism, as the ego would define it. When we let go of the individual self, we move into a Love so grand and beautiful that we can’t describe it here. We are giving up nothing (the small self) for everything. We are not losing anything. You, your wife, and all your loved ones are thoughts in the Mind of God. They are thoughts of Love, and they are never lost. You are never lost. You are eternal Spirit, forever connected to the All.
It’s as if there’s a big pie, and the small self is one piece. You are exchanging your single piece for the whole pie.
Your other question: Is it a group illusion?
Yes. There is one ego thought system as a whole. The ego does a poor job of everything. You personally are not making up the ego script, as that was a false idea that made up the dream world. It was over long ago, but in reality never happened. Part of the ego script is a dream figure called Ryan. If Ryan stays blind and doesn’t choose love or the Holy Spirit, Ryan is a robot. He is a puppet in the dream. Once Ryan asks for a new perception, asks the Holy Spirit to replace fear with love, Ryan is free. This is where Ryan slowly gains an understanding that he is the Christ, not a body.
Your responsibility is to choose Truth, to choose the Holy Spirit over the ego, or to choose love over fear. Only you can do this, and each seeming individual person has to do this for himself. Once he chooses rightly, he sees there never was a choice, because his mind has returned to choiceless Oneness. But until that time, it appears there is a choice, and it is one that has to be made if we are to awaken. We will not awaken if we try to make the world of form real, while simply saying bodies are unreal. Many people want to make the cosmos real, while stating we are spiritual beings within the universe. The Course tells us we are spiritual beings that are home with God, not in a universe of form. Part of awakening is realizing you’re not here. You are not in time and space because time and space are the ego thought system.
The Course says it’s all or nothing. You cannot keep one piece of it falsely, because you see either Truth or illusion. The two thought systems are completely incompatible. If you’re holding onto any bit of illusion, you’re in ego.
There is one answer to the ego’s thought system, which is the Holy Spirit’s right-minded perception, which is that the entire ego/world of form is unreal. The One Son of God appeared to fragment into billions of sons. There is only One Son, therefore it is a group illusion. At the same time, your particular identity as Ryan has to make the choice to return to your True Identity. As you become aware that you are not separate from anyone or anything, you will see that every person/thing is yourself. Lesson 60, which is a review of Lesson 48, “There is nothing to Fear,” states, “How safe the world will look to me when I can see it. It will not look anything like what I imagine I see now. Everyone and everything will lean toward me to bless me. I will recognize in everyone my dearest Friend.” Note that this verse says, “when I can see it.” We do not see truly with the body’s eyes. The body can only see other bodies and the world of illusion. Christ vision, which is outside time and space, sees Oneness. “Friend” is capitalized because it refers to the one Christ Self. When you wake up, you will see that everyone and everything is the Christ/God/Love/Mind. There is nothing else. When you see this, you will stop attacking and judging “other people,” because there are no other people. It is a beautiful experience.
Everyone needs to ask the Holy Spirit for his own guidance. There are many different teachers of the Course, and there are different interpretations. For you, the perfect one is your own inner voice. What outside teachers say needs to be weighed against your inner guidance. A Course in Miracles tells us the curriculum is highly individualized, so the specific teachings and tools you need to get back home will be provided for you. In that light, take what I say if it works for you, or leave it if it doesn’t.
I hope this helps. You may need to read and re-read it. That’s what I did with the teachings I received from David Hoffmeister, www.teacherofteachers.net. I got confused often, then the light came on.
Let me know if you need further clarification.