DON’T PRETEND INEQUALITY & INJUSTICE DON’T EXIST IN THE WORLD
While it’s crucial that we remember who we and everyone else really is in Truth as the Holy Spirit would have us remember, it’s vital that we don’t pretend that inequality and injustice don’t exist within the world of form. They obviously do; it’s just that this world in which they occur doesn’t exist. We are not asked to deny the hatred, abuse, violence, inequality, and injustice we see in the world. We are asked to understand that a world in which injustice and inequality exist must be false and therefore illusory, because God is perfect love and only God is real. If we are aware of anything apart from God, we are clearly not yet able to fully comprehend that. And yes, that applies to all of us who think we are here. So just as importantly, we are asked to understand why we appear to live in a false and imperfect world if God is love and only God is true. And for this, it’s absolutely essential to delve into the metaphysics of the Course.
THE WORLD IS A SYMBOL OF ATTACK DESIGNED TO ILLUSTRATE THE REALITY OF SIN
Understanding the metaphysics of the Course is essential in helping explain why inequality, violence, tragedy, and injustice are rife within the world. Although the world is dualistic in nature in that good and bad both seem to coexist within it, overall, it is not described as a very nice place. The bad can get horrific and the good can quickly turn bad. This is because the Course teaches that the world was literally made to reflect injustice. Specifically, it was made to reflect the original injustice we think we perpetrated against God: our wrong-minded belief that separating from God was an attack on Him.
“The world was made as an attack on God” (W-pII.3.2:1).
The world is therefore a symbol of attack that was made to illustrate the reality of this original attack. In other words, it was designed to prove that separation and sin are real. It’s for this reason that inequality and oppression are core and abiding undercurrents built into the fabric of life in the world of separation. The world of form comes from the ego thought system and is therefore a picture of it. Its purpose is to convince us that sin, suffering, hate, inequality, death, and attack are real, and God is not. In other words, the world is essentially ego propaganda that gives visual form to the ego beliefs we first accepted as true in our mind.
In short, the Course teaches that the world is an effect of the mind that is outside of time and space, meaning that the mind is the cause of the world and everything in it. The only way to understand why inequality and injustice exists in the world is to go to their source, to understand why and how they originated in the mind.
INJUSTICE & INEQUALITY ARE CENTRAL IDEAS TO THE EGO’S STORY OF SEPARATION
The ideas of injustice and inequality stem from our belief in separation as both are derived from the wrong-minded interpretation of the separation as a sin. The ego’s story maintains that the separation from God was an injustice to God, a terrible assault on Him that destroyed Heaven. This also means that it destroyed our equality with Him: we are no longer one with God in a state of perfect, undifferentiated non-duality, which is the state of Heaven. Instead, we believe that we attacked Him, stole His life, and and usurped His power as creator.
In our wrong mind, we feverishly imagine that we are now self-made, not God-created. We are now unequal to God in the sense that we are different to Him: separate and sinful, not whole and innocent. And so our belief in separation gives rise to the false experience that we are indeed separate to God, and thus appear to reside in a world that must be Heaven’s opposite: in an imperfect state of duality defined by the attack, sin, injustice and inequality that our separation from Him entailed (according to the ego’s deceitful version of events).
UNDERSTAND THE EGO THOUGHT SYSTEM TO UNDERSTAND THE WORLD
The key to understanding the world then, is to understand the ego’s wrong-minded thought system, because the world is literally a projection of it. Projection is how the world was made. It is therefore the ideas cherished in the wrong mind that the world represents and pictures.
THE WRONG-MINDED MYTH IS OUR METAPHYSICAL ORIGIN STORY
So what is the ego’s wrong-minded interpretation of the separation? The ego tells us that the separation really happened and was not just a vicious attack on God, but that this attack was also a sin. It’s called a sin because unlike mistakes, it deems the separation to be irreversible and unfixable. This results in an enormous amount of guilt because sin implies that we can’t take back what we did. That is, we will never be able to return to the perfect Love that is our Home, because sin is not a silly mistake that can be corrected and undone- the consequences are too real and grave. The guilt induced by our belief in this egoic interpretation of the separation was unfathomably painful. It was so intolerable that the ego proposed a magical ‘solution’ to our problem of guilt that would fool us into thinking we could get rid of it. Its real purpose however, was to ensure we never left its clutches.
LISTENING TO THE HOLY SPIRIT IS AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO THE EGO
The only other alternative to the ego’s plan would be for us to listen to the Holy Spirit. He would teach us that we aren’t guilty because we could not, and never did attack God, let alone separate from Him. However, the ego needed to keep us from ever listening to the Holy Spirit’s right-minded reasoning, because to believe His insistence that we are not guilty would result in us withdrawing our belief in the ego. The possibility of this is incredibly threatening to the ego as it is our belief in it that gives the ego the appearance of life, meaning that to withdraw our belief in its tall tales would effectively end its imaginary existence.
PROJECTION: THE EGO’S PLAN TO SAVE US FROM OUR GUILT
In other words, the ego’s magical solution to the problem of our unbearable guilt, was concocted to serve its purpose of keeping us blind to the Holy Spirit’s right-minded solution- that we are not guilty and there is no sin because we never separated from God. Keeping us unaware of the Holy Spirit would prevent us from ever being able to change our mind and choose against the ego. To keep us allied with it, the ego’s plan to ‘save us’ from our guilt was simple: to get us to project the guilt outside of our mind so we could imagine it was no longer in us. Doing this would dupe us into insanely thinking that we were able to reclaim the innocence we believed we lost when we separated from God. And this is exactly what we did on the level of the mind.
THE METAPHYSICS OF THE COURSE EXPLAIN OUR ORIGIN STORY
This in a nutshell, is the Course’s creation myth- our origin story- that explains how the world of separation was made: by imagining that we, the split mind of the separated Son, successfully dumped our guilt outside of our mind. In this way, we could see it and our sinfulness outside of us rather than within us- and thereby imagine that we are now innocent rather than guilty. This means that the imaginary world we made up via projection can’t be defined by anything other than what we gave it. That is, the world reflects back to us the ideas we projected outside of our mind and onto it instead: separation, attack, sin, injustice, inequality, guilt, and fear.
“Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that” (T-21.in.1:1-2).
GOING FROM MIND TO BODY: PROJECTION-DISSOCIATION-FRAGMENTATION
Keep in mind that the insanity of this deluded plan to ‘save us’ from our unfounded guilt also drove us out of our mind. In other words, the consequence of choosing to believe the ego was that we literally dissociated from our mind, which is to say that we imagined that we packed up and left our very self. The ‘veil of forgetfulness’ was then drawn across our awareness, fragmenting the mind even further due to our dissociation. The result? Our mind splintered off into a countless number of seemingly separate pieces, and we forgot our identity as the split mind of the separated Son of God. We became mind-less by imagining we were now an individual body living within the illusory world of many bodies, with no memory that we were the one who made up the world of bodies, let alone why and how we did so.
THE ORIGIN OF THE GUILT-ATTACK CYCLE IN THE WRONG MIND
Another way of understanding the mechanisms of injustice and inequality as they originate in the mind, is to explore a related aspect of our metaphysical origin story. Namely, that our egoic belief in the separation from God also birthed the attack-guilt cycle. As with all of the false yet horrific ideas that are housed, protected and promoted by the ego thought system, we first accepted the reality of attack and guilt within the wrong mind and then continuously project them onto the world.
To restate the basic narrative of the wrong mind, the ego convinced us that we attacked God by separating from Him, and this led to our belief that we are guilty and deserve to be punished. This is the original, ontological, attack-guilt dynamic. It became a cycle because the guilt from our attack on God was so unbearably painful that we had to project it outside of us in an attempt to free ourselves from it.
PROJECTION = ATTACK > GUILT > PROJECTION = ATTACK > GUILT… & REPEAT
However, projecting our guilt outside of our mind once wasn’t the end of the story because the ego tells us that our projection of guilt actually amounted to another attack against God. That is, its solution to our problem of guilt- projecting it outside of us- is the same as having attacked again because it is a way we continue to dissociate from, or deny, Truth/God. As the belief that we have attacked always incurs guilt, this egoic interpretation of projection both reinforces, and tops up, our original guilt over our original attack on (/denial/rejection of) God.
According to the ego, we first attacked (denied/rejected) God by separating from Him, and then when we follow its guidance and project our guilt outside of us (as the split mind), we are told we have attacked once more because we are separating from Him once more. It’s important to note that all attack is Self-attack. We are also attacking our self by splitting off further from our mind, and thereby also technically attacking (by projecting onto) the world that we imagine exists outside of our mind.
In short, the ego encourages us to project our guilt to get rid of it, but as we do, it says that we have attacked again because we have separated again- something it assures us is a sin worthy of punishment. Believing this projection to be another attack reinforces the belief that we are sinful and makes us to feel even more guilty, which leads us to project (/attack/separate) again to get rid of the guilt of that ‘sinful attack.’ More guilt inevitably results, which is immediately followed by the same urge to project/attack/separate again to get rid of that guilt, and on and on.
PROJECTION IS THE EGO’S SELF-PRESERVATION TOOL THAT TRAPS US IN GUILT
This is the vicious cycle of attack and guilt that exists within the wrong mind, and arose from our belief in the original attack on God. It is our constant projection of guilt outside our mind and onto the imaginary world that results in even more guilt that leads us to project again and again in an ongoing repetitive process. It is in essence the ego’s ingenious self-preservation device that traps us in a guilt of our own imagining. As such, this perpetual attack-guilt cycle is what keeps our secret belief in separation alive, but even more deeply hidden within our unconscious mind.
GUILT IS NOT REAL…
Two things to keep in mind (pardon the pun) at this point. First, note that the guilt we are trying to escape by following the ego’s advice by projecting it, is actually made up. As the Holy Spirit would teach us; the guilt is imaginary because the separation didn’t actually occur- there is no sin so there is no guilt in truth. Trying to solve an imaginary problem (guilt), with an imaginary solution (projection) that actually preserves the problem, by following the advice of an imaginary guide (the ego), is literally nuts. It’s what Ken Wapnick from the Foundation for ACIM, succinctly referred to as “a maladaptive solution to a non-existent problem.” In essence, this process describes our mad descent into insanity.
“The descent into hell follows step by step in an inevitable course, once the decision that guilt is real has been made” (P-2.IV.3:1).
…BECAUSE THE MIND CANNOT ATTACK OR BE ATTACKED
Second, this mythical story relates to what happened on the level of the mind when we seemed to separate from God. However, as Jesus assures us, we cannot, and did not attack God, Reality, or the world as:
“…the mind cannot attack or be attacked” (T-7.VIII.4:3).
In other words, there is no guilt because there is no sin, because there was no attack, meaning there is no separation.
“The mind cannot attack, but it can deceive itself” (T-18.VI.4:3).
There is no separate world and God cannot be attacked. We are the only ones in this delusional, dream-like state of separation, so we are really only ever attacking our Self. That is, by believing we sinned against God, and every time we uphold this false belief by projecting guilt outside our mind, we are essentially destroying our own sanity. We are destroying our awareness of what is true: who we really are (the one Son of God), where we really are (in the true non-dualistic Reality of Heaven or Love), and who we’re really with (the oneness of God which includes Jesus and the Holy Spirit). There is no one else but us present in our delusions. And if our mind is not really capable of attack, we are simply, and only ever really, hallucinating or dreaming that attack and separation are possible, even though they are not. We are only deceiving ourselves.
PROJECTION PROTECTS OUR ILLUSIONS FROM THE TRUTH & OUR ERROR FROM CORRECTION
Getting back to the attack-guilt cycle, it’s important to understand that this awful dynamic is what sustains the illusion of a separate world, because it protects its source- our wrong minded belief in guilt- from correction. If there was no guilt, there would not be a seemingly separate guilty world. And if we don’t know we have the problem of guilt in the mind, we cannot fix it. We can’t fix a problem we don’t know we have and can’t recognise as a problem.
PROJECTION IS NOT A REAL SOLUTION BECAUSE IT MAINTAINS THE PROBLEM
Notice that it is also a self-sustaining cycle because the problem with this insane egoic ‘solution’ to our guilt is that it does not work. We can never really get rid of our guilt by projecting it outside of us because there is nothing outside of us (‘we’ being the mind beyond space and time). The world of separation is an illusion, and we remain in the mind even though we’re completely unaware of it, believing we are bodies in the world instead. As such, the guilt that we believe in, while completely made-up, still remains buried out of sight within us.
The key ACIM principle that explains why this ego ‘solution’ of projection doesn’t work is that “ideas leave not their source” (W-p1.132.5:3). The ego on the other hand, would have us believe that ideas can leave their source through projection.
“There is no world apart from your ideas because ideas leave not their source, and you maintain the world within your mind in thought” (W-p1.132.10:3).
YOU CAN ONLY FREE YOURSELF OF SUFFERING AT THE ROOT CAUSE
The wrong mind is the source of the idea that the separation is real and constitutes an attack that makes it a sin, and in turn gives rise to guilt. As ‘ideas leave not their source,’ these destructive yet false ideas must remain in the mind that thought them up. They will continue to exist within us until we become aware of them, and decide to weed them out at their source in the wrong mind where they are rooted.
This is the only way of genuinely freeing ourselves from our horrible burden of guilt, which is the unconscious, metaphysical source of all suffering. We must learn to become aware of it, evaluate it honestly, and then release our belief in sin if we are to free ourselves from the pain of guilt that always follows it. In this way, we will eventually realise that there was no guilt, and never could be, because we are still one with God. The separation never occurred, so we remain innocent of all the false egoic charges we laid upon ourselves on the level of the mind.
THE GUILT-ATTACK CYCLE IS HIDDEN IN THE MIND BUT MIRRORED IN THE WORLD
The fact that we have dissociated from, and completely forgotten we have a mind is the reason we continue to follow the wrong minded thought system. This condemns us to keep re-implementing the same ineffective ego strategy. We project the guilt within our wrong mind out onto the illusory world of separation and everything within it, in a bid to escape the pain of it, and so as to never again recall the horror of sin. On the level of the mind, we remain stuck in the ego’s punishing thought system, with no relief or resolution in sight, yet unknowingly becoming more and more deeply mired in the prison of suffering and hopelessness caused by the guilt it protects and reinforces.
The result of this as it plays out for us individually on the level of form, is that we now see our unconscious guilt made convincingly real and visible in the world- in other bodies, our own body, events, and everything else within the material universe. In other words, we see the evil we secretly believe exists within us in the mind, as the mind, outside of us in the world, as bodies. This is the ego’s ingenious trap. We see guilt all around us while being completely unaware that all of the guilt we see in our body, other bodies, and in the world are really all simply projections of the guilt that exists in our unconscious mind. And by seeing it outside of us, we increase and preserve our hidden guilt within.
THE PROBLEMS IN THE WORLD ARE INGENIOUS DISTRACTIONS FROM THE CAUSE OF ALL PROBLEMS IN THE MIND
The fact that all the terrible, unfair, and hurtful things that occur in the world seem undoubtedly real, is extremely effective at keeping us mindlessly distracted with all the faults we find in others, in our individual selves, and the world. And this just continues to compound our unconscious guilt, lead to projecting again and again to escape the pain of it, and conceals the fact that this guilt that lies hidden within our mind, is the source of every problem and thus the only ‘real’ problem. The world gives us many seemingly valid and objective reasons to blame others, and thus continue to project our guilt onto them by judging them as the bad and guilty ones.
WE ARE NOT POWERLESS OR HELPLESS
And this is exactly what makes the Course so difficult- how right and justified we often seem to be on the level of form, in seeing sinfulness and guilt outside of us. Without a thorough understanding of ACIM’s metaphysics, the terrible things that occur here do make forgiveness seem like a pipe-dream that makes a mockery of true salvation. Nevertheless, as the Jesus puts in in ACIM, there is “nothing so blinding as perception of form” (T-22.III.6:7). All of the awfulness we see in our bodies, other bodies, and in the world are really all simply projections of the guilt that remains in our unconscious mind. And recognising this is game changing. It means we have the power to do something meaningful about it. We are not the powerless, hapless, and helpless victims we may appear to be.
* This concludes part 2 of the 5-part series titled, ‘ACIM on Racism & Injustice in the World.’ Please click on the arrow below to continue reading part 3 in the series.