A Course in Miracles

Chapter 18 - Dream and The Reality

The Purpose of the Body

It is only the awareness of the body that makes love seem limited, for the body is a limit on love. The belief in limited love was its origin. And it was made to limit the unlimited. Think not that this is merely allegorical, for it was made to limit you.

Can you who see yourselves within a body know yourself as an idea? Everything you recognize you identify with externals, something outside itself. You cannot even think of God without a body, or some form you think you recognize.

The body cannot know, and while you limit your awareness to its tiny senses, you will not see the grandeur which surrounds you. God cannot come into a body, nor can you join Him there. Limits on love will always seem to shut Him out, and to 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. Think how alone and frightened is this little thought, this infinitesimal illusion, holding itself apart against the universe. The sun becomes the sunbeam’s “enemy” which would devour it, and the ocean terrifies the little ripple and wants to swallow it.

Yet neither sun nor ocean is even aware of all this strange and meaningless activity. They merely continue, unaware that they are feared and hated by a tiny segment of themselves. Even that segment is not lost to them, for it could not survive apart from them. And what it thinks it is in no way changes its total dependence on them for its being. Its whole existence still remains in them. Without the sun the sunbeam would be gone; the ripple without the ocean is inconceivable.

Such is the strange position in which those in a world inhabited by bodies seem to be. Each body seems to house a separate mind, a disconnected thought, living alone and in no way joined to the Thought by which it was created. Each tiny fragment seems to be self-contained, needing each other for some things, but by no means totally dependent on their one Creator for everything, and needing the whole to give them any meaning, for by themselves they do mean nothing. Nor have they any life apart and by themselves.

Like to the sun and ocean your Self continues, unmindful that this tiny part regards itself as you.

It is not missing; it could not exist if it were separate, nor would the whole be whole without it. It is not a separate kingdom, ruled by an idea of separation from the rest. Nor does a fence surround it, preventing it from joining with the rest, and keeping it apart from its Creator. This little aspect is no different from the whole, being continuous with it and at one with it. It leads no separate life because its life is the oneness in which its being was created.

Do not accept this little, fenced-off aspect as yourself.

The sun and ocean are as nothing beside what you are. The sunbeam sparkles only in the sunlight, and the ripple dances as it rests upon the ocean. Yet in neither sun nor ocean is the power that rests in you. Would you remain within your tiny kingdom, a sorry king, a bitter ruler of all he surveys, who looks on nothing, yet who would still die to defend it? This little self is not your kingdom. Arched high above it and surrounding it with love is the glorious whole, which offers all its happiness and deep content to every part. The little aspect which you think you set apart is no exception.

Love knows no bodies, and reaches to everything created like itself. Its total lack of limit is its meaning. It is completely impartial in its giving, encompassing only to preserve and keep complete what it would give. In your tiny kingdom you have so little! Should it not, then, be there that you would call on love to enter? Look at the desert, dry and unproductive, scorched and joyless, which makes up your little kingdom, and realize the life and joy which love would bring to it from where it comes, and where it would return with you.

The Thought of God surrounds your little kingdom, waiting at the barrier you built to come inside and shine upon the barren ground. See how life springs up everywhere! The desert becomes a garden, green and deep and quiet, offering rest to those who lost their way and wander in the dust. Give them a place of refuge, prepared by love for them where once a desert was, and everyone you welcome will bring love with him from Heaven for you. They enter one by one into this holy place, but they will not depart as they had come, alone. The love they brought with them will stay with them, as it will stay with you. And under its beneficence, your little garden will expand, and reach out to everyone who thirsts for living water, but has grown too weary to go on alone.

Go out and find them, for they bring your Self with them; and lead them gently to your quiet garden, and receive their blessing there. So will it grow and stretch across the desert, leaving no lonely little kingdoms locked away from love, and leaving you inside. And you will recognize yourself, and see your little garden gently transformed into the Kingdom of Heaven, with all the love of its Creator shining upon it. The holy instant is your invitation to love, to enter into your bleak and joyless kingdom, and to transform it into a garden of peace and welcome.

Love’s answer is inevitable. It will come because you came without the body, and interposed no barriers which would interfere with its glad coming. In the holy instant, you ask of love only what it offers everyone, neither less nor more. Asking for everything, you will receive it. And your shining Self will lift the tiny aspect which you tried to hide from Heaven straight into Heaven. No part of love calls on the whole in vain. No Son of God remains outside His Fatherhood.

Be sure of this; love has entered your special relationship, and entered fully at your weak request. You do not recognize that love has come because you have not yet let go of all the barriers you hold against each other, and you will not be able to give love welcome separately. You could no more know God alone than He knows you without your brother. But, together, you could no more be unaware of love than love could know you not, or fail to recognize itself in you.

You have reached the end of an ancient journey, not realizing yet that it is over. You are still worn and tired, and the desert’s dust still seems to cloud your eyes and keep you sightless. Yet He Whom you welcomed has come to you, and would welcome you. He has waited long to give you this. Receive it now of Him, for He would have you know Him. Only a little wall of dust still stands between you. Blow on it lightly and with happy laughter and it will fall away, and walk into the garden love has prepared for both of you.

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles

Chapter 18 - Dream and The Reality

Delusional Thought System

You have been told to bring the darkness to the light, and guilt to holiness. And you have also been told that error must be corrected at its source. Therefore, it is the tiny part of yourself, the little thought that seems split off and separate, which the Holy Spirit needs. The rest is fully in God’s keeping, and needs no guide. Yet this wild and delusional thought needs help because, in its delusions, it thinks it is the Son of God, whole and omnipotent, sole ruler of the kingdom it set apart to tyrannize by madness into obedience and slavery.

This is the little part of you you think you stole from Heaven. Give it back to Heaven. Heaven has not lost it, but you have lost sight of Heaven. Let the Holy Spirit remove it from the withered kingdom in which you set it off,

  • surrounded by darkness,
  • guarded by attack, and
  • reinforced by hate.

Within its barricades is still a tiny segment of the Son of God, complete and holy, serene and unaware of what you think surrounds it. Be you not separate, for the One Who does surround it has brought union to you, returning your little offering of darkness to the eternal Light.

How is this done?

It is extremely simple, being based on what this little kingdom really is. The barren sands, the darkness and the lifelessness are seen only through the body’s eyes. Its vision is distorted, and the messages it transmits to you—who made it to limit your awareness—are little and limited, and so fragmented they are meaningless. From the world of bodies, made by insanity, insane messages seem to be returned to the mind which made it; and these messages bear witness to this world, pronouncing it as true, for you sent forth these messengers to bring this back to you.

Everything these messages relay to you is quite external. There are no messages which speak of what lies underneath, for it is not the body that could speak of this. Its eyes perceive it not; its senses remain quite unaware of it; its tongue cannot relay its messages. Yet God can bring you there, if you are willing to follow the Holy Spirit through seeming terror, trusting Him not to abandon you and leave you there, for it is not His purpose to frighten you, but only yours. You are severely tempted to abandon Him at the outside ring of fear, but He would lead you safely through and far beyond.

Dark Clouds of Guilt

The circle of fear lies just below the level the body sees, and seems to be the whole foundation on which the world is based. Here are ...

  • all the illusions,
  • all the twisted thoughts,
  • all the insane attacks,
  • the fury, vengeance and betrayal

that were made to keep the guilt in place, so that the world could rise from it and keep it (guilt) hidden. Its shadow rises to the surface, enough to hold its most external manifestations in darkness, and to bring despair and loneliness to it and keep it joyless. Yet its (guilt's) intensity is veiled by its heavy coverings, and kept apart from what was made to keep it hidden.

The body cannot see this, for the body arose from this for its (guilt's) protection, which must always depend on keeping it not seen. The body’s eyes will never look on it. Yet they will see what it dictates.

The body will remain guilt’s messenger, and will act as it directs, as long as you believe that guilt is real. For the reality of guilt is the illusion which seems to make it heavy and opaque, impenetrable, and a real foundation for the ego’s thought system. Its (guilt's) 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.

This heavy-seeming barrier, this artificial floor which looks like rock, is like a bank of low dark clouds that seems to be a solid wall before the sun. Its impenetrable appearance is wholly an illusion. It gives way softly to the mountain tops which rise above it, and has no power at all to hold back anyone willing to climb above it and see the sun. It is not strong enough to stop a button’s fall, nor hold a feather. Try but to touch it and it disappears; attempt to grasp it and your hands hold nothing.

Yet in this cloud bank it is easy to see a whole world rising. A solid mountain range, a lake, a city, all rise in your imagination, and from the clouds, the messengers of your perception return to you, assuring you that it is all there. Figures stand out and move about, actions seem real, and forms appear and shift from loveliness to the grotesque. And back and forth they go, as long as you would play the game of children’s make believe. Yet however long you play it, and regardless of how much imagination you bring to it, you do not confuse it with the world below, nor seek to make it real.

So should it be with the dark clouds of guilt, no more impenetrable and no more substantial. You will not bruise yourself against them in traveling through. Let your Guide teach you their unsubstantial nature as He leads you past them. For beneath them is a world of light whereon they cast no shadows. Their shadows lie upon the world beyond them, still further from the light. Yet from them to the light, their shadows cannot fall.

This world of light, this circle of brightness, is the real world where guilt meets with forgiveness. Here, the world outside is seen anew, without the shadow of guilt upon it.

Here are you forgiven, for here you have forgiven everyone.

Here 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 had laid upon it. Here there is no attack upon the Son of God, and you are welcome. Here is your innocence, waiting to clothe you and protect you, and make you ready for the final step in the journey inward. Here are the dark and heavy garments of guilt laid by, and gently replaced by purity and love.

Yet even forgiveness is not the end. Forgiveness does make lovely, but it does not create. It is the source of healing, but it is the messenger of love, and not its Source. Here you are led that God Himself can take the final step unhindered, for here does nothing interfere with love, letting it be itself. A step beyond this holy place, a step still further inward but the one you cannot take, transports you to something completely different. Here is the Source of light; nothing perceived, forgiven nor transformed, but merely KNOWN.

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles

Chapter 18 - Dream and The Reality

Passing of the Dream

This course will lead to knowledge, but knowledge itself is still beyond the scope of our curriculum. Nor is there any need for us to try to speak of what must forever lie beyond words. We need remember only that whoever attains the real world, beyond which learning cannot go, will go beyond it, but in a different way.

Where learning ends there God begins, for learning ends before Him Who is complete where He begins, and where there is no end. It is not for us to dwell on what cannot be attained. There is too much to learn. The readiness for knowledge still must be attained.

Love is not learned.

Its meaning lies in itself, and learning ends when you have recognized all it is not. That is the interference; that is what needs to be undone. Love is not learned because there never was a time in which you knew it not. Learning is useless in the Presence of your Creator, Whose acknowledgement of you and yours of Him so far transcend all learning that everything you learned is meaningless, replaced forever by the knowledge of love and its one meaning.

Your relationship has been uprooted from the world of shadows, and its unholy purpose has been safely brought through the barriers of guilt, washed with forgiveness, and set shining and firmly rooted in the world of light. From there, it calls to you to follow the course it took, lifted high above the darkness, and gently placed before the gates of Heaven.

The holy instant in which you were united is but the messenger of love, sent from beyond forgiveness to remind you of all that lies beyond it. Yet it is through forgiveness that it will be remembered.

And when the memory of God has come to you in the holy place of forgiveness, you will remember nothing else, and memory will be as useless as learning, for your only purpose will be creating. Yet this you cannot know until every perception has been cleansed and purified, and finally removed forever.

Forgiveness removes only the untrue, lifting the shadows from the world and carrying it, safe and sure within its gentleness, to the bright world of new and clean perception. There is your purpose now And it is there that peace awaits you.

 

 
 

Home | Download | About ACIM | About Us | Video | Recommended