THE WORLD & BODIES ARE SYMBOLS THAT CAN LEAD YOU BACK INTO THE MIND & YOUR TRUE HOME IN GOD
Although bodies and the world are not real, they can be extremely helpful symbols if we choose to use them for the right-minded purpose of awakening. Now they become signposts that can remind us of, and lead us back to our mind, which is what really needs healing. The Course describes everything in form, including the body, as inherently neutral. The world and all the bodies and situations within it, being illusory, are nothing in and of themselves. So whether we see them as destructive or helpful is determined by the interpretive filter of the mind that we first choose: the ego’s wrong-minded thought system of sin, or the Holy Spirit’s right-minded thought system of forgiveness. This wrong or right-minded filter we adopt is what then colours how we view everything in form.
Seen through the ego’s wrong-minded thought system, the world and bodies become the means for imprisoning us in our imaginary guilt over our imaginary ‘crime’ of ‘attacking’ (aka separating from) God. However, from the right-minded perspective, our lives as individuals in the world become the means to lead our awareness back to the mind where we can free ourselves from our mistaken and insane belief in the separation from God. The world and bodies are then valuable to the extent that we choose to use them to lead us back to our split mind and motivate us to heal it. Practiced faithfully, this process will increasingly remind you of what is real- innocence, peace, love, God- the acceptance of which is what truly heals.
CHOOSING THE HOLY SPIRIT CHANGES HOW YOU INTERPRET EVERYTHING
As the wrong mind, we made up the world to convince us of the reality of separation, sin, guilt, and fear. To fix our mistaken choice for the ego, the Holy Spirit would have us look at all the witnesses to its thought system- the world itself and everything in it- and remember that everything in form are merely shadows of ideas we accepted in our wrong mind that need to be erased there. You undo them by recognising that beneath the external problems you see, the real problem always originates from, and remains within, the wrong mind. You correct it, by choosing to release your wrong-minded belief in the separation, sin, guilt, and fear, and replacing the ego with the Holy Spirit as your inner Guide instead.
This change results in a shift in how you interpret what you see in the world of form. Instead of what you see justifying and reinforcing your mistaken belief in guilt, seeing everything now through the right-minded lens of true perception (Christ vision or spiritual sight) will attest to the reality of love and innocence where it really is- within you and all around you beyond the illusion of form. Not ‘you’ as the body, but ‘you’ being the right or sane part of your split mind in which the Memory of God resides.
REMEMBER THAT YOU HAVE BEEN MISTAKEN & THANK GOD FOR THAT (…literally)!
Does this mean that oppression, tragedy, inequality, and suffering will suddenly disappear from the world? No; this is impossible while the wrong mind (the world’s source) remains unhealed of its belief in sin, which is the only ‘real’ source of all suffering. What will change is that you will no longer let the appearance of oppression, tragedy, inequality, and suffering, deceive you into thinking that sin, guilt, and fear define our true reality. Moreover, you will now be motivated by what occurs here, to actually look at and undo, the ‘true’ cause of suffering in the mind through forgiveness.
Sure, oppression and inequality may be a fundamental law of the land of illusions (i.e. the world) but how could they not be when they are the bedrock of the ego’s thought system? The aim isn’t to deny, or struggle to perfect, a world that is imperfect by design. Its to remember that this isn’t our real home; it’s the equivalent of a delirious hallucination, so it makes sense that all manner of crazy would be part of its status quo. Accepting this signals that you’re now willing to learn that you’ve simply been mistaken, because the separation from God did not really happen.
“The world may seem to cause you pain. And yet the world, as causeless, has no power to cause. As an effect, it cannot make effects. As an illusion, it is what you wish.” (W-P1.190.7:1-4)
NOTHING EXTERNAL CAN TAKE AWAY YOUR INNER PEACE OR GIVE YOU THE PEACE OF GOD
In more practical terms, this means that we won’t give oppression and inequality in the world, the power to take the peace, love and joy of God away from us. We won’t be fooled into believing that anything or anyone in the world can either rob us of peace and happiness or give us peace and happiness. Happiness, as well as misery, are inside jobs that depend on who we interpret everything with- the ego or the Holy Spirit.
“It is your thoughts alone that cause you pain. Nothing external to your mind can hurt or injure you in any way. There is no cause beyond yourself that can reach down and bring oppression. No one but yourself affects you. There is nothing in the world that has the power to make you ill or sad, or weak or frail.” (W-P1.190.5:1-5)
TRAIN YOURSELF TO HEAR YOUR OWN CALL FOR LOVE IN EVERYONE & EVERYWHERE
What is of the world, of the dream- what is illusory- is never the true source of our peace, power and love, or the real reason for our lack of peace, power and love. Another way of thinking about this is that anything that appears to contradict the reality of love and innocence becomes a clear call for love within us, because it represents our belief in lovelessness, fear, and guilt. Seen in this way, we can also understand that the pain within our wrong mind can be answered by the deep well of love within our right mind, and that we can become increasingly aware of, willing to turn to, and identify with it.
Applied to our daily lives, this means that when we see oppression and suffering anywhere- in the world, in our own lives, or the lives of our loved ones- we will recognise it as an indication of our own oppressive belief in the insane, wrong-minded ideas we have chosen on the level of the mind. Oppression and suffering in the world thus remind us of the oppression and suffering that we ourselves are unconsciously suffering from by our own election. They therefore symbolically picture our own deep-seated pain and fear that can only be answered by love. Problems of hate, injustice, and inequality thus constitute a call for love that we must learn to supply within our mind, by letting go of the ego as our guide and choosing the Teacher of peace- Jesus or the Holy Spirit- in its place.
VICTIMS & VICTIMISERS REFLECT YOUR WRONG-MINDED DUAL SELF CONCEPT AS POWERLESS & EVIL
Everybody you see (including your own embodied self), who in many different ways will each play the role of victim and victimiser in various scenarios, phases, and relationships within the dream of separation, are all symbols of you (the split mind). Both the suffering ‘innocent’ people in the world and the hurtful ‘bad’ ones, represent two sides of the same false egoic self-concept.
Victims are seen as good and reflect the side of the ego’s dual self concept that says the Son of God is the innocent but powerless victim of God. He is not responsible for the separation because ‘God made me do it- it was His fault I had to leave because He didn’t love me enough to give me what I wanted- specialness.’ Victimisers are seen as bad, and reflect the flip side of the ego’s dual self concept of the Son of God as powerful but guilty. In this egoic distortion, the Son is to blame for the separation. God is the innocent, loving victim of His evil, sinful Son who selfishly attacked Him despite having given His Son everything.
TO STOP REJECTING GOD’S LOVE, TRAIN YOURSELF TO REJECT THE EGO’S LIES
If you see others as purely victims or victimisers- limited and defined by their experiences and behaviour as individuals in the world- you will have walked straight into the ego’s identity-distorting trap. Victims and victimisers alike will stand for and reinforce your belief in the separation, guilt, and fear you accepted within the wrong mind. Said differently, they will represent the love of God that you rejected, by rejecting the Holy Spirit’s right-minded awareness that there is no separation from God.
Seen through the true perception induced by forgiveness, we can learn to view every person as a symbol of the same holy identity we all share as the one Son of God. This perception of shared holiness will be seen in everyone without exception: no matter how often they may have played the role of a victim or victimiser as an individual in the world of form, in big or small ways. This will help restore your awareness of yourself as the Son of God, who in truth, is both innocent and powerful- not innocent and powerless, or evil and powerful as the ego wants you to believe.
DON’T LET THE ROLES PEOPLE PLAY IN THE WORLD DECEIVE YOU ABOUT WHO THEY (& THEREFORE YOU) REALLY ARE IN TRUTH
Thanks to the wrong-minded self concept we have as being both an innocent but powerless victim, and a guilty and powerful victimiser, everyone- regardless of what role they seem to be playing in any particular moment in time- is calling for love that they do not believe they deserve. You are wordlessly, ceaselessly, calling for love that you don’t believe you are worthy of.
Ultimately everyone secretly believes they are who you secretly think you are: a guilty sinner. As such, everyone is tormented by the belief that they attacked God and will never again be welcomed back into the Love that is their Home. We are the same because we share the same wrong mind, the same right mind, and the same ability to choose between them. Take the opportunity then to fill that hidden need within us all, by turning once again away from the teacher of hatred and pain- the ego- and replacing it with the Holy Spirit, the Teacher of love and innocence that surpasses anything the world could ever provide.
While it’s incredibly tempting to judge appearances as reality, your task is to not let the role people are playing here fool you. Whether they seem to play the horrible, evil, powerful villain, or the sweet, innocent, and powerless victim- or anything in between- the mask of their individual self (their words, actions, beliefs, history, and circumstances) that seems to define them is not who they really are. No matter what the world shows you, or others believe of themselves, we are all the same: equally innocent and powerful in Truth, because we are still the one Son of God who never left our home in Heaven. Get into the habit of silently recognising this truth in everyone.
WE ARE THE ONE, INNOCENT & POWERFUL SON OF GOD IN TRUTH- NOT IN ILLUSIONS
You are asked to recognise the desperate need we all have for forgiveness; the desperate call for love hidden beneath all illusions, including the most powerless, tragic, cruel, vicious, mean and ugly behaviour. By challenging yourself to recall the truth beyond the appearances of the world, you recognise and silently answer the great need we all have to know that we aren’t the murderous, guilty, sinner we all unconsciously believe we are- whether we seem to be helpless, hurtful, or helpful individuals in the world, at any given point in time.
Remember that you and everyone else- without exception– are innocent and powerful in Truth because we are spirit, even if you and/or others do not appear to be innocent or powerful in illusions as bodies. Therefore, nothing that anybody appears to do, fail to do, or suffer in the world of form, could ever change this ultimate Reality because we are all still as God created us.
You will not receive awards or external validation for practicing forgiveness and viewing everything as the Holy Spirit does. But neither do you need it. The real reward and outcome of this practice will be internal: nothing short of the unshakeable and unchanging peace, love, and joy of God. The validation will be of your true identity: the inner remembrance that you really are the innocent, safe, healed, and holy Son of God Himself, whose Love you will progressively begin to see reflected all around you, regardless of what occurs in the world. Not by changing anyone or anything around you. Or waiting until others change in some way you would prefer. But by changing how you perceive (i.e., interpret) the world, yourself, and everyone else around you right now.
As Jesus would have us remember:
“We have a mission here. We did not come to reinforce the madness that we once believed in. Let us not forget the goal that we accepted. It is more than just our happiness alone we came to gain. What we accept as what we are proclaims what everyone must be, along with us. Fail not your brothers, or you fail yourself. Look lovingly on them, that they may know that they are part of you, and you of them.
This does Atonement teach, and demonstrates the Oneness of God’s Son is unassailed by his belief he knows not what he is. Today accept Atonement, not to change reality, but merely to accept the truth about yourself, and go your way rejoicing in the endless Love of God. It is but this that we are asked to do. It is but this that we will do today.” (W-PI.139.9:1-7; 10:1-4)
* This concludes part 5 of the 5-part series titled, ‘ACIM on Racism & Injustice in the World.’