November 2014 – “A meaningless world engenders fear”

“Actually, a meaningless world is impossible. Nothing without meaning exists.  However, it does not follow that you will not think you perceive something that has no meaning. On the contrary, you will be particularly likely to think you do perceive it…”  ACIM, Workbook page 21, Lesson 13.

It is probably true to say that we do find meaning in this world, especially when we are young. It does seem meaningful to get a good education, have a successful career, start a family, buy one’s own home, travel, etc. And in our dream world these things are  meaningful. But we have to remember that in A Course in Miracles Jesus is not talking about what is going on in our dream world. He is only concerned with getting us to understand that our world is unreal, and that awakening from the dream is the only worthwhile, meaningful goal.

Our world is unreal because, according to the Course, we never separated from God. Non-separation from God and Heaven is at the foundation of this great spiritual teaching. Moreover, there is no God and us; there is only God. We are contained within His Mind and are a part of Him and, therefore, we are a part of His only Son.

The problem is that when we had the tiny, mad idea to split away from Heaven, we developed amnesia and forgot about our oneness with God. At that point the mind became split into right mind and wrong mind. The wrong mind created the ego as a substitute for God, and the ego created the body and the world of form and duality, as a place of refuge from Heaven. Both time and space are the creations or the “miscreations” of the ego. Furthermore, in removing itself from eternity and from God, the ego became extremely fearful and guilty. Fearful of the wrath of God and guilty because it believed that it had somehow conquered God. A Course in Miracles tells us that none of this actually happened; that is why it says our world is an illusion. All that we are experiencing is simply our thoughts projected outwards, and we must remember that, “Thought cannot be made into flesh except by belief, since thought is not physical.” T152.

In Lesson 13 Jesus informs us: “Recognition of meaninglessness arouses intense anxiety in the separated ones. It represents a situation in which God and the ego ‘challenge’ each other as to whose meaning is to be written in the empty space that meaninglessness provides. The ego rushes in frantically to establish its own ideas there, fearful that the void may otherwise be used to demonstrate its own impotence and unreality…”

As we reach middle age and have had many different experiences, it is quite likely that, at some point, we begin to realise that all the paths of this world are actually dead-ends. This may seem pessimistic but it is the truth. (This could be one of the reasons why we see so many people who are suffering from depression.) As long we continue to find meaning to life in the world of the ego, we will not be motivated to rise above the ego and awaken from our collective dream. When we begin to understand the futility of life, it can be quite a scary experience because life, as we know it here on earth, is so familiar and we have forgotten about our true nature as a son of God, living in peace and harmony in Heaven.

So Jesus has this advice for us: “It is essential, therefore, that you learn to recognize the meaningless, and accept it without fear. It you are fearful, it is certain that you will endow the world with attributes that it does not possess, and crowd it with images that do not exist. To the ego illusions are safety devices, as they must also be to you who equate yourself with the ego.” W21. We fill our lives up to the brim so that we don’t discover the inherent meaninglessness of our world. It is when we actually withdraw from the world a little, switch off the radio and television and try to sit alone without doing anything at all, that we may begin to perceive this. But this is not a bad thing because when we discover the futility of life (and it makes no difference how “successful” or “unsuccessful” we believe our lives are) we are likely to begin our search for a path that will lead us out of the world of illusion and take us back Home.

“A meaningless world engenders fear” because we are all vulnerable in this world—all of humanity—even those who won’t admit it. At any moment sickness, tragedy or death could strike us. There is nothing that we can really control and there is nothing that lasts for ever. It is all this that makes the world meaningless. When we remember our true nature and return in our awareness to our oneness with God, Jesus tells us we will experience only eternal bliss. God is Love and love is the opposite of fear, so fear does not exist in Heaven. Neither does impermanence, change, sickness or death.

This is his description of what we can expect to see when we rise above the ego and lose our identification with our physical bodies and the world of form: “Beyond the body, beyond the sun and the stars, past everything you see and yet somehow familiar, is an arc of golden light that stretches as you look into a great and shining circle. And all the circle fills with light before your eyes. The edges of the circle disappear, and what is in it is no longer contained at all. The light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity forever shining and with no break or limit anywhere. Within it everything is joined in perfect continuity. Nor is it possible to imagine that anything could be outside, for there is nowhere that this light is not.” T447. Light will replace darkness; love will replace fear and eternal life with replace death.

So when we are able to acknowledge that this world is inherently meaningless (despite the happy moments we experience) and when we are ready to awaken from the dream, we have a lot to look forward to. Jesus tells us that we were created by God as eternal and immortal spirit, joined with him in perfect oneness and unable to experience fear in any form because Love is all that exists in Heaven. We just need to have faith and trust in Jesus’ teachings and find a path that will lead us Home.

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