In the early workbook lessons 31 and 32 in A Course in Miracles, we read that we are not the victim of the world we see, because we invented it (W-pI.32.1:2). Jesus goes on to state that “You can give it up as easily as you made it up. You will see it or not see it, as you wish.” (W-pI.32.1:3-4). At first, this seems rather odd, if not insulting. Did I make up everything I see in the world news? Did I make up the illness that I see striking the loved ones around me? Did I make up all the things that seem to go terribly wrong in my life? What is Jesus talking about?
In these early workbook lessons, Jesus is subtly and gently introducing the Course’s metaphysics to us. Its strictly nondualistic essence is rather radical to say the least, and needs careful introduction if it is to be accepted to any degree. Consider: according to the Course, the world you and I seem to live in is just as much a dream as our nocturnal dreams are. When we wake up in the morning, we actually wake up to the “waking dream”, which is just as illusory as our nightly dreams. In fact, time and space are themselves unreal. The body was strictly made to experience a life within time and space; it cannot go beyond them. Our essence is therefore not a body, but spirit, outside time and space. Bodies are forms; spirit is content. Although there seem to be billions of bodies (forms), they all emanate from the same content, which is spirit.
To any seemingly separated body living here, this whole story seems preposterous, at least while we are convinced our sensory organs report the truth to us. But is it the truth? Quantum physicists have found that ultimately, both time and space are indeed illusory. But most scientists are still in great resistance to this conclusion, for it ultimately means that many decades of ‘scientific evidence’ will have to be reconsidered, which, again, is way too radical and, since we still trust our sensory organs, lacks any practical application for our daily lives. But the real reason we don’t follow through on that conclusion, according to Jesus in A Course in Miracles, is that we don’t want to give up this world, since that would mean giving up our perceived individual autonomy of the self we think we are.
Again speaking from a nondualistic metaphysical point of view, the cause of the world was the “tiny, mad idea” (T-27.VIII.6:2-3) of wanting to be on our own, separate from the Oneness Love which is God. We, as Christ, the One Son of God, are the effect of that Love. The “tiny, mad idea” is the quantum possibility of the One Son of God musing about how it would be to not be an effect, but to be a creator himself; to be on his own. At that point consciousness was born and the ego with it. The ego is not some evil entity on its own. The ego is merely the thought system of separation, of individuality, and therefore of attack on oneness, which the One Son of God seemed to consider seriously. When the Son realized the consequences of this seriousness, his mind was flooded with guilt. Deathly afraid of the perceived wrath of God the Creator, the terrified amnesiac Son of God followed the advice of the ego to fragment into billions of pieces, to hide from the vengeful Creator. This caused the Big Bang and the beginning of the dream of time and space.
So when Jesus says we invented the world we see, in one sense he means this literally: every separated form we see around us is but part of the ‘waking dream’ in which we invented to hide in a myriad of forms so God cannot find us and punish us. But here’s the trick: since the Son of God finds the guilt over his heinous ‘sin of separation‘ too terrible to face, he projects this away, so that all evil now seems to be outside him. So every fragmented form in the dream of time and space thinks that sin and guilt are in everyone and everything else. Consequently, anything and anyone can attack the innocent little I, and so each of us walks this dream-like planet “uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear” (T-31.VIII.7:1). That’s why the Course describes the making of this world as an attack on God (W-pII.3.2:1), and summarizes it as a veritable hell (P.2.IV.3:1) — a hell, mind you, that we made up, and which remains nothing more than a dream (a nightmare really), from which we could choose to awaken as soon as we want to.
One of the most confronting aspects of A Course in Miracles is Jesus’ message that this world — this hell — was not thrust upon us: we wanted it and we made it; we still want it; we still make it; we still choose it. This is the ego’s strategy of maintaining the illusion of separation from God, but having all others but me be responsible for it: “The world you see depicts exactly what you thought you did. Except that now you think that what you did is being done to you. The guilt for what you thought is being placed outside yourself… […] But once deluded into blaming them you will not see the cause of what they do, because you want the guilt to rest on them” (T-27.VIII.7:2-4; 8:2). At least I can keep up the illusion that I am an innocent separated individual, not to be punished by God.
So when Jesus says we invented the world we see, he means this also in the sense that “I have invented my perception of the world I see”. I’ve chosen to interpret the world as guilty, hostile, and poised to attack me as an innocent individual — in short, I’ve chosen the ego as my guide in the world. And precisely because my interpretation is my choice, my mind is able to choose another interpretation. This freedom of choice is my only hope of finding a way out of pain, a way out of the dream, out of time and space, and back to my true inheritance as an effect of the oneness Love of God. The way out of the nightmare is to change my perception of the world, by choosing another Teacher, Who fortunately came with us into the dream of time and space, since our link with God can never be broken .
This other Teacher is called the Holy Spirit in A Course in Miracles. In the workbook, He is more or less introduced in lesson 34: “I could see peace instead of this”. The lesson’s title might as easily have been: “I could see The Holy Spirit instead of this”, or “I could see God’s Love instead of this”, or “I could see Jesus instead of this” — these are all expressions of the same content. As soon as I realize that the world is not being done to me, but I (as holographic part of the sleeping Son of God) am the dreamer of this dream of time and space, I can withdraw my investment in the myriad of forms, and focus on the content in my mind. And this content is always either fear (ego) or love (Holy Spirit). Instead of seeing guilt, hate, attack and pain all around me (which is a sure sign that I also unconsciously think this is within myself, my conscious thoughts to the contrary), I could choose to see past the forms to the loving content of light that’s the essence of all that I perceive. This is what Jesus calls true perception. And this is a choice — the most important choice to be made in this life.
“It is from your peace of mind that a peaceful perception of the world arises.” (W-pI.34.1:4). That is why A Course in Miracles is a curriculum in mind training (T-1.VII.4:1). Our mind is usually not very much at peace, but this need not be (T-4.IV.1). A peaceful mind is a choice, and A Course in Miracles can be a useful aid in training the mind in true perception and find peace. Now, this inner peace will certainly not immediately put an end to all the horrors we see on the world news. But instead of believing in the reality of the dream and trying to fix the dream (which will never work because it doesn’t solve the cause of the world), we could learn to think beyond the dream and once again identify with the Holy Spirit, the Voice for God’s Love, which is our true inheritance. If I want to experience any measure of peace in my life, I will have to start with my self, that is, within my mind, and not hope for something external to magically bring me peace. Remember: “Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world” (T-21.in.1:7).
Changing my mind about the world results in true perception and ushers in the real world, which is still within the dream world of time and space, but doesn’t breed any more separation, guilt, and fear. How’s that for motivation? As you practice this new perception (through your daily practice of A Course in Miracles), you become a light of love in this world that shines away the darkness of uncertainty, loneliness, and constant fear. And this will not go unnoticed: emanating peace results in peacefulness around you. Which dream would you choose; that is: which teacher would you choose in this dream world? This is ultimately the only remaining freedom of choice in this dream world. Choose wisely, in spite of doubts and fears. “Concentrate only on this [your willingness to choose another teacher], and do not be disturbed that shadows surround it. That is why you came. If you could come without them you would not need the holy instant [of choosing Love once again]” (T-18.IV.2:4-6).
See also “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com: