This website is devoted to the teachings of A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and to the topic of illusion. Author Raveena Nash has three published beautiful books devoted to ACIM:
“God did not create a meaningless world.”
“…What God did not create does not exist. And everything that does exist exists as He created it. The world you see has nothing to do with reality. It is of your own making, and it does not exist.” ACIM, Workbook (W) p 23, Lesson 14.
Some people believe that everything we see in the world is not as it seems; things seem solid, tangible and real when, in fact, the world and everything in it is really nothing more than a projection of the mind. We are living a collective dream, and the activities that absorb us during our waking hours are as real as the dreams we experience when we are asleep.
It’s All An Illusion!, deals in depth with the topic of illusion; it explores the topic of illusion from the perspective of A Course in Miracles and compares and contrasts it with the Buddhist and Hindu views on the same subject. Topics covered include, among other things, the creation of the universe; the concept of being trapped in time; the ego’s tools of sickness, pain and death; the deviousness of the ego and how to overcome it; the One Mind; forgiveness and enlightenment.
It’s All An Illusion! is aimed at all those who are searching for meaning in life and who are trying to make sense out of a seemingly meaningless world. It has the aim of clarifying some of the teachings of A Course in Miracles and showing that forgiveness is one of the paths that will lead us out of the world of illusion and takes us back Home. The book is a good introduction to ACIM because its teachings are simplified and repeated throughout the book. Those who feel drawn to the spiritual beliefs of the Far East may also find this book interesting.
Key Concepts of A Course in Miracles
A Course in Miracles (ACIM) consists of three books: a 669-page Text, a 488-page Workbook for Students, and a 92-page Manual for Teachers, followed by a 92-page Clarification of Terms. Some versions also contain supplements at the end, which are extensions of the teachings of the Course. The text is the theoretical portion of the book, and it deals in great detail with the concepts of the Course’s thought system. The Workbook consists of 365 lessons for students to study on their own, either at their own pace or at the pace of one lesson a day for a period of one year. ACIM is a course in mind training; its aim is to change our perception of the world, awaken from the illusion, know our true Self and heal our split minds.
The central teaching of ACIM is that the ego, the physical body and the world of form are illusions. Only the spirit is real and only the spirit has been created by God. This view is backed up by logic: Since God is eternal, changeless and omnipotent whatever He creates will share these characteristics with Him. An interesting point to bear in mind is that the spirit is deemed to be an extension of God. “…In the creation, God extended Himself to His creations and imbued them with the same loving Will to create. You have not only been fully created, but have also been created perfect. There is no emptiness in you. Because of your likeness to your Creator you are creative….” ACIM, Text, p. 17.
Spirit contains the mind, which is its creative aspect. Unfortunately for us, the mind split at some point after the creation, into wrong mind and right mind. It was the wrong portion of the mind that brought the ego into existence, which, in turn, created the physical body and the world of form. But it must be remembered that this only appeared to happen; it was simply a mental projection and it didn’t actually take place. In fact, the definition of the ego is nothingness, because it doesn’t exist. “Who asks you to define the ego and explain how it arose can be but he who thinks it real, and seeks by definition to ensure that its illusive nature is concealed behind the words that seem to make it so.” ACIM, Clarification of Terms, p. 81.
It is important to understand that when the mind split in two, and the ego was created by the wrong mind as a substitute for God, it experienced great fear and guilt because of this, thinking that God would be wrathful and revengeful towards it for trying to usurp His place. So guilt and fear at the very core of the illusory ego’s belief system. To make it feel better about itself, the ego projects all its guilt and fear onto others, and it then becomes judgemental, vengeful and unforgiving towards others, believing that they are in the wrong.
So what is a miracle? The Course tells us that it is the exact opposite of the ego. A miracle is also part of the illusory set-up of the world, but it is needed to help us awaken from our collective dream. A miracle is the change of perception that takes place within us, when we awaken to the fact that the world of the ego is an illusory world. It is a change of mind that shifts our perception from the ego’s world of sin, fear and guilt, to the Holy Spirit’s world of forgiveness A miracle undoes error in the mind and helps us return to the right portion of the mind.
Forgiveness is at the very core of the teachings of the Course. When we realise this world is not real and, therefore, change our perception of the world, we forgive all those who appear to have offended or hurt us in any way. Each time we do that a miracle has taken place. As we are all joined together and are, in fact, one with each other and one with God, by forgiving others, we ourselves are forgiven and this is the process of Atonement. Our minds have now become healed and are no longer split into right and wrong portions. “The miracle is the means, the Atonement is the principle, and healing is the result.” ACIM, Text p. 23.
The instant in which we choose forgiveness instead of guilt, fear and attack, is called a holy instant. In this instant we are choosing to listen to the Holy Spirit, who is in the right portion of the mind, and we are ignoring the ego. The Holy Spirit can be considered to be God’s Ambassador. He is the communication link between this illusory world and Heaven. He is known as the Voice for God and He reminds us of our true identity and helps us overcome the ego, which we must do if we are to achieve salvation and return to our Source.
What do other belief systems say about the topic of illusion? The unreality of physical forms and of the ego are concepts that are definitely incorporated into Buddhist beliefs. We read in the Dhammapada, which is a collection of 423 verses from the Pali Cannon of Buddhism, “All forms are unreal, he who knows and see this becomes passive in pain; this is the way that leads to purity.” [Source: www.sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe10/sbe1022.htm]. And in the Lankavatara Sutra, an important Mayahana Buddhist text, it says, “When it is recognised that the world as it presents itself is no more than a manifestation of mind, then birth is seen as no-birth and all existing objects, concerning which discrimination asserts that they are and are not, are non-existent and, therefore, un-born; being devoid of agent and action, things are un-born. If things are not born of being and non-being, but are simply manifestations of mind itself, they have no reality, no self-nature….” [Source: www.sacred-texts.com/bud/bb/bb10.htm]
The concept of maya (illusion or ignorance)…
…is a key concept in Hindu beliefs and many believe that it is maya that is responsible for our physical appearance on earth and for the appearance of all physical forms. In the Dakshinamurthy stotram (hymn) it is stated, “….All our mundane experience is a display of Mâyâ. Like unto sushupti (unconscious mind or deep sleep), Mâyâ is nullified by knowledge of Atman (Brahman or the immortal aspect of man). The name ‘mâyȁ’ is given to an appearance which cannot be accounted for. It is not non-existent, because it appears; neither is it existent, because it is nullified. It is not distinct from the Light, as the dark shadow is distinct from the sun. Neither is it identical with the Light because it is insentient. Nor can it be both distinct from and identical with the Light, because it is a contradiction in terms. It is not said to be made up of parts, because no parts caused it. Neither is it devoid of parts, since in the effects it is made up of parts…” [Source: www.sacred-texts.com/hin/dast/dast12.htm. In other words maya could be described as nothingness as it is neither existent nor non-existent. It could be regarded as simply a mental projection.
The illusory nature of the world is explained very well on this website: www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/concepts/advaitaconcept.asp. With reference to the Advaita Vedanta, the non-dualistic school of Hindu Upanishads, it is stated, “According to this school of philosophy, Brahman is the one and only reality and everything else is a mere appearance or illusion. Atman, the individual self is but Brahman only. A jiva is a deluded soul under the mistaken notion of duality and separation. He is chained to the cycles of birth and death and the laws of karma as long as he is not free from the objective reality to which he is subject. The world that we see is unreal, an appearance or illusion or a mirage that we experience because of the activities of the senses and the mind. Man can attain salvation by knowing his true nature and overcoming this duality, withdrawing his senses and developing detachment, dispassion and discretion…” This passage clearly depicts the world as an illusion that we experience because of the activities of the senses and the mind.
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