Course in Miracles
18 - The Dream and The Reality
as a Defense
To substitute is to accept instead. If you would
but consider exactly what this entails, you would perceive at once
how much at variance this is with the goal the Holy Spirit has given
you and would accomplish for you. To
substitute is to choose between, renouncing one in favor of the
other. For this special purpose, one is judged more valuable and
the other is replaced by him. The relationship in which the substitution
occurred is thus fragmented, and its purpose split accordingly.
To fragment is to exclude, and substitution is the strongest defense
the ego has for separation.
The Holy Spirit never
uses substitutes. Where the ego perceives one person as a replacement
for another, the Holy Spirit sees them joined and indivisible. He
does not judge between them, knowing they are one. Being united,
they are one because they are the same. Substitution is clearly
a process in which they are perceived as different. One would unite;
the other separate. Nothing can come between what God has joined,
and what the Holy Spirit sees as one. But everything seems to come
between the fragmented relationships the ego sponsors to destroy.
The one emotion in
which substitution is impossible is love; fear involves substitution
by definition, for it is love’s replacement. Fear is both
a fragmented and a fragmenting emotion. It seems to take many forms,
and each seems to require a different form of acting out for satisfaction.
While this appears to introduce quite variable behavior, a far more
serious effect lies in the fragmented perception from which the
behavior stems; no one is seen complete. The body is emphasized,
with special emphasis on certain parts, and used as the standard
for comparison for either acceptance or rejection of suitability
for acting out a special form of fear.
The Original Error
You who believe that
God is fear made but one substitution. It has taken many forms,
because it was the substitution of
illusion for truth; of fragmentation for wholeness. It
has become so splintered and subdivided and divided again, over
and over, that it is now almost impossible to perceive it once was
one, and still is what it was.
That one error, which
- truth to illusion,
- infinity to time,
- life to death,
was all you ever made.
Your whole world rests upon it. Everything you see reflects it,
and every special relationship which you have ever made is part
You have expressed
surprise at hearing 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 further substitutions.
That was the first
projection of error outward.
The world arose to
hide it and became the screen on which it was projected and drawn
between you and the truth; for truth extends inward, where the idea
of loss is meaningless and only increase is conceivable. Do you
really think it strange that a world in which everything is backwards
and upside-down arose from this? For truth brought to this could
only remain within in quiet and take no part in all the mad projection
by which this world was made.
Call it not sin but
madness, for such it was, and so it still remains. Invest it not
with guilt, for guilt implies it was accomplished in reality. And
above all, be not afraid of it.
When you seem to
see some twisted form of the original error rise to frighten you,
say only, “God is not fear, but love,” and it will
The truth will save
It has not left you,
to go out into the mad world and so depart from you. Inward is sanity;
insanity is outside you. You but believe it is the other way; that
truth is outside, and error and guilt within. Your little, senseless
substitutions, touched with insanity and swirling lightly off on
a mad course like feathers dancing insanely in the wind, have no
substance. They fuse and merge and separate, in shifting and totally
meaningless patterns which need not be judged at all. To judge them
individually is pointless. Their tiny differences in form are no
real differences at all. None of them matters. That they have in
common, and nothing else. Yet what else is necessary to make them
all the same?
Let them all go, dancing
in the wind, dipping and turning till they disappear from sight,
far, far outside you. And turn you to the stately calm within, where
in holy stillness dwells the living God you never left, and Who
never left you. The Holy Spirit takes you gently by the hand, and
retraces with you your mad journey outside yourself, leading you
gently back to the truth and safety within. He brings all your insane
projections and you wild substitutions which you have placed outside
you to the truth. Thus He reverses the course of insanity, and restores
you to reason.
In your relationship,
where He has taken charge of everything at your request, He has
set the course inward, to the truth you share. In the mad world
outside you, nothing can be shared but only substituted, and sharing
and substituting have nothing in common in reality.
you love each other with a perfect love. Here
is holy ground, in which no substitution can enter, and where only
the truth about each other can abide. Here you are joined in God,
as much together as you are with Him—the
original error has not entered here, nor ever will. Here is the
radiant truth, to which the Holy Spirit has committed your relationship.
Let Him bring it here, where you would have it be. Give Him but
a little faith in each other, to help him show you that no substitute
you made for Heaven can keep you from it. In you there is no separation,
and no substitute can keep you from each other. Your reality was
God’s creation, and has no substitute.
You are so firmly
joined in truth that only God is there, and He would never accept
"something else" instead of you. He loves you both, equally
and as one, and as He loves you, so you are. God is with you, my
brothers. Let us join in Him in peace and gratitude, and accept
His gift as our most holy and perfect reality, which we share in
Heaven is restored
to all the Sonship through your relationship, for in it lies the
Sonship, whole and beautiful, safe in your love. Heaven has entered
quietly, for all illusions have been gently brought unto the truth
in you, and love has shined upon you, blessing your relationship
with truth. God and His whole creation have entered it together.
How lovely and how holy is your relationship, with the truth shining
upon it! Heaven beholds it, and rejoices that you have let it come
to you. The universe within you stands with you, together. And Heaven
looks with love on what is joined in it, along with its Creator.
Whom God has called
should hear no substitutes. Their call is but an echo of the original
error which shattered Heaven. And what became of peace in those
who heard? Return with me to Heaven, walking together out of this
world and through another to the loveliness and joy the other holds
within it. Would you still further weaken and break apart what is
already broken and hopeless? Is it here that you would look for
happiness? Or would you not prefer to heal what has been broken,
and join in making whole what has been ravaged by separation and
You have been called,
together, to the most holy function that this world contains. It
is the only one which has no limits, and reaches out to every broken
fragment of the Sonship with healing and uniting comfort. This is
offered you, in your holy relationship. Accept it here, and you
will give as you have accepted. The peace of God is given you with
the glowing purpose in which you join. The holy light that brought
you together must extend, as you accepted it.