A Course in Miracles

Chapter 18 - The Dream and The Reality

Substitution 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 brought...

    • truth to illusion,
    • infinity to time, and
    • 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 of it.

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 disappear.

The truth will save you.

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.

Within yourselves 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 Him.

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 disease?

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.

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles

Chapter 18 - The Dream and The Reality

Basis of the Dream

Does not a world that seems quite real arise in dreams?
Yet think what this world is. It is clearly not the world you saw before you slept. Rather, it is a distortion of the world, planned solely around what you would have preferred. Here, you are “free” to make over whatever seemed to attack you, and change it into a tribute to your ego, which was outraged by the “attack.” This would not be your wish unless you saw yourself as one with the ego, which always looks upon itself, and therefore on you, as under attack and highly vulnerable to it.

Dreams are chaotic because they are governed by your conflicting wishes, and therefore they have no concern with what is true. They are the best example you could have of how perception can be utilized to substitute illusions for truth. You do not take them seriously on awaking, because the fact that reality is so outrageously violated in them becomes apparent. Yet they are a way of looking at the world, and changing it to suit the ego better. They provide striking examples, both of the ego’s inability to tolerate reality, and your willingness to change reality on its behalf.

You do not find the differences between what you see in sleep and on awaking disturbing. You recognize that what you see on waking is blotted out in dreams. Yet on awakening, you do not expect it to be gone.

In dreams, you arrange everything. People become what you would have them be, and what they do you order. No limits on substitution is laid upon you. For a time, it seems as if the world were given you, to make it what you will. You do not realize that you are attacking it, trying to triumph over it and make it serve you.

Dreams are perceptual temper tantrums, in which you literally scream, “I want it THUS! ”

And thus it seems to be. And yet, the dream cannot escape its origin. Anger and fear pervade it, and in an instant, the illusion of satisfaction is invaded by the illusion of terror. For the dream of your ability to control reality by substituting a world which you prefer, is terrifying. Your attempts to blot out reality are very fearful, but this you are not willing to accept. And so you substitute the fantasy that reality is fearful, not what you would do to it. And thus is guilt made real.

Dreams show you that you have the power to make a world as you would have it be; and that because you want it, you see it, and while you see it, you do not doubt that it is real. Yet here is a world, clearly within your mind, that seems to be outside. You do not respond to it as though you made it, nor do you realize that the emotions which the dream produce must come from you. It is the figures in the dream and what they do that seem to make the dream. You do not realize that you are making them act out for you, for if you did, the guilt would not be theirs, and the illusion of satisfaction would be gone. In dreams these features are not obscure. You seem to waken, and the dream is gone. Yet what you fail to recognize is that what caused the dream has not gone with it.

Your wish to make another world that is not real remains with you. And what you seem to wake to is but another form of this same world you see in dreams. All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and your waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. Their content is the same. They are your protest against reality, and your fixed and insane idea that you can change it. In your waking dreams, the special relationship is your determination to keep your hold on unreality, and to prevent yourself from waking; and while you see more value in sleeping than in waking, you will not let go of it.

The Holy Spirit, ever practical in His wisdom, accepts your dreams, and uses them as means for waking. You would have used them to remain asleep. We once said that the first change, before dreams disappear, is that your dreams of fear are changed to happy dreams. That is what the Holy Spirit does in your special relationship. He does not destroy it, nor snatch it away from you.

Your special relationship will remain, not as a source of pain and guilt, but as a source of joy and freedom. It will not be for you alone, for therein lay its misery. As its unholiness kept it a thing apart, its holiness will become an offering to everyone. Your special relationship will be a means for undoing guilt in everyone blessed through your holy relationship. It will be a happy dream, and one which you will share with all who come within your sight; through it, the blessing which the Holy Spirit has laid upon it will be extended. Think not that He has forgotten anyone in the purpose He has given you. And think not that He has forgotten you to whom He gave the gift. He uses everyone who calls on Him as means for the salvation of everyone. And He will waken everyone through you who offered your relationship to Him. If you but recognized His gratitude! Or mine through His! For we are joined as in one purpose, being of one mind with Him.

Let not the dream take hold to close your eyes.

It is not strange that dreams can make a world that is unreal. The wish to make it is incredible. Your relationship has become one in which the wish has been removed, because its purpose has been changed from one of dreams to one of truth. You are not sure of this because you think it may be this that is the dream. You are so used to choosing between dreams you do not see that you have made, at last, the choice between the truth and all illusions.

Yet Heaven is sure. This is no dream.

Its coming means that you have chosen truth, and it has come because you have been willing to let your special relationship meet its conditions. In your relationship, the Holy Spirit has gently laid the real world; the world of happy dreams, from which awaking is so easy and so natural. For as your sleeping and your waking dreams represent the same wishes in your mind, so do the real world and the truth of Heaven join in the Will of God. The dream of waking is easily transferred to its reality, for this dream comes from your will joined with the Will of God. And what this Will would have accomplished has never not been done.

 

Dreams are perceptual temper tantrums, in which you literally scream, “I want it THUS! ” And thus it seems to be. And yet, the dream cannot escape its origin. Anger and fear pervade it, and in an instant, the illusion of satisfaction is invaded by the illusion of terror. For the dream of your ability to control reality by substituting a world which you prefer, is terrifying.
 

A Course in Miracles

Chapter 18 - The Dream and The Reality

Light In The Dream

You, who have spent your lives in bringing..

  • truth to illusion,
  • reality to fantasy,

have walked the way of dreams, for you have gone from waking to sleeping, and on and on to a yet deeper sleep. Each dream has led to other dreams, and every fantasy which seemed to bring a light into the darkness but made the darkness deeper. Your goal was darkness, in which no ray of light could enter; and you sought a blackness so complete that you could hide from truth forever, in complete insanity. What you forgot was simply that God cannot destroy Himself. The light is in you. Darkness can cover it, but cannot put it out.

As the light comes nearer you will rush to darkness, shrinking from the truth, sometimes retreating to the lesser forms of fear, and sometimes to stark terror. But you will advance because your goal is the advance from fear to truth. You know this. The goal which you accepted is the goal of knowledge, for which you signified your willingness. Fear seems to live in darkness, and when you are afraid you have stepped back. Let us then join quickly in an instant of light, and it will be enough to remind you that your goal is light. Truth has rushed to meet you since you called upon it.

If you knew Who walks beside you on this way which you have chosen, fear would be impossible. You do not know because the journey into darkness has been long and cruel, and you have gone deep into it. A little flicker of your eyelids, closed so long, has not yet been sufficient to give you confidence in yourselves, so long despised. You go toward love still hating it, and terribly afraid of its judgment upon you; and you do not realize that you are not afraid of love, but only of what you have made of it.

You are advancing to love’s meaning, and away from all illusions in which you have surrounded it. When you retreat to the illusion your fear increases, for there is little doubt that what you think it means is fearful. Yet what is that to us who travel surely and very swiftly away from fear?

You who hold each other’s hand also hold mine, for when you joined each other you were not alone. Do you believe that I would leave you in the darkness you agreed to leave with me?

In your relationship is this world’s light, and fear must disappear before you now. Be tempted not to snatch away the gift of faith you offered to each other. You will succeed only in frightening yourselves. The gift is given forever, for God Himself received it. You cannot take it back. You have accepted God. The holiness of your relationship is established in Heaven. You do not understand what you accepted, but remember that your understanding is not necessary. All that was necessary was merely the wish to understand. That wish was the desire to be holy. The will of God is granted you, for you desire the only thing you ever had, or ever were.

Each instant that we spend together will teach you that this goal is possible, and will strengthen your desire to reach it, and in your desire lies its accomplishment. Your desire is now in complete accord with all the power of the Holy Spirit’s Will. No little, faltering footsteps that you may take can separate your desire from His Will and from His strength. I hold your hand as surely as you agreed to take each other’s. You will not separate for I stand with you, and walk with you in your advance to truth, and where we go we carry God with us.

In your relationship, you have joined with me in bringing Heaven to the Son of God, who hid in darkness. You have been willing to bring the darkness to light, and this willingness has given strength to everyone who would remain in darkness. Those who would see will see. And they will join with me in carrying their light into the darkness, when the darkness in them is offered to the light, and is removed forever. My need for you, joined with me in the holy light of your relationship, is your need for salvation. Would I not give you what you gave to me? For when you joined each other, you answered me.

You, who are now the bringers of salvation, have the function of bringing light to darkness. The darkness in you has been brought to light. Carry it back to darkness, from the holy instant to which you brought it. We are made whole in our desire to make whole.

Let not time worry you, for all the fear that you experience is really past. Time has been re-adjusted to help us do, together, what your separate pasts would hinder. You have gone past fear, for no two minds can join in the desire for love without love’s joining them.

Not one light in Heaven but goes with you.

Not one ray that shines forever in the Mind of God but shines on you. Heaven is joined with you in your advance to Heaven. When such great light has joined with you to give the little spark of your desire the power of God Himself, can you remain in darkness?

You are coming home together, after a long and meaningless journey which you undertook apart, and which led nowhere. You have found each other, and will light each other’s way. And from this light will the great rays extend back into darkness and forward unto God, to shine away the past and so make room for His eternal Presence, in Which everything is radiant in the light.

 

Truth has rushed to meet you since you called upon it. If you knew Who walks beside you on this way which you have chosen, fear would be impossible.
 
 

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