Chapter 1 THE MEANING OF MIRACLES
VI. The Illusion of Needs
- You who want peace can find it only by complete forgiveness. No learning is acquired by anyone unless he wants to learn it and believes in some way that he needs it. While lack does not exist in the creation of God, it is very apparent in what you have made. It is, in fact, the essential difference between them. Lack implies that you would be better off in a state somehow different from the one you are in. Until the “separation,” which is the meaning of the “fall,” nothing was lacking. There were no needs at all. Needs arise only when you deprive yourself. You act according to the particular order of needs you establish. This, in turn, depends on your perception of what you are.
- A sense of separation from God is the only lack you really need correct. This sense of separation would never have arisen if you had not distorted your perception of truth and had thus perceived yourself as lacking. The idea of order of needs arose because, having made this fundamental error, you had already fragmented yourself into levels with different needs. As you integrate you become one, and your needs become one accordingly. Unified needs lead to unified action because this produces a lack of conflict.
- The idea of orders of need, which follows from the original error that one can be separate from God, requires correction at its own level before the error of perceiving levels at all can be corrected. You cannot behave effectively while you function on different levels. However, while you do, correction must be introduced vertically from the bottom up. This is because you think you live in space, where concepts such as “up” and “down” are meaningful. Ultimately, space is as meaningless as time. Both are merely beliefs.
- The real purpose of this world is to use it to correct your unbelief. You can never control the effects of fear yourself because you made fear, and you believe in what you made. In attitude, then, though not in content, you resemble your Creator, Who has perfect faith in His creations because He created them. Belief produces the acceptance of existence. That is why you can believe what no one else thinks is true. It is true for you because it was made by you.
- All aspects of fear are untrue because they do not exist at the creative level, and therefore do not exist at all. To whatever extent you are willing to submit your beliefs to this test, to that extent are your perceptions corrected. In sorting out the false from the true, the miracle proceeds along these lines:
Perfect love casts out fear. If fear exists, then there is not perfect love.
Only perfect love exists. If there is fear, It produces a state that does not exist.
Believe this and you will be free. Only God can establish this solution, and this faith is His gift.
In today’s reading of section six of Chapter One, The Meaning of Miracles, Jesus tells us that we have needs because we are thinking from a place of separation from God. At one with God, there are no needs at all. In the spiritual realm where there is only wholeness and unity and equality nothing is lacking. Peace is a state of being that is certain and fixed and everlasting. We suffer a sense of need here in this realm because we no longer have what once we took for granted. In fact, we have nothing that we experienced in spirit and wholeness in separation except little patches of love and peace and joy that are disrupted by conflict, unhappiness, and fear in between times.
Jesus points out that when we feel deprived of any one thing, we act in accord with that need – if we want peace, we go to battle against the thing or the person whom we judge as disturbing our peace. Instead of making it better, we make it worse and any peace we do establish is tentative and temporary and cannot be called peace at all. But when we remember who we are in Christ, we know about wholeness and Spirit. We know about the Golden Rule that is proactive and not reactive. We know that any particular nuisance is not to be hated or feared, but to be forgiven and blessed and made perfect right along with us – and when we do it this way, things turn out different. We have the peace for which we have yearned because we have recognized reality, we have recognized our brotherhood.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs came to mind while I read this passage. The five levels of human needs are physiological or survival, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization (as in fulfilling one’s potential). Only when a person has adequately fulfilled one level of needs is one ready for the emerging needs of the next level. According to this theory, a person who is still trying to figure out how to provide food, shelter, and clothing for himself cannot concern himself much with higher, spiritual needs. Jesus says however, that order of needs is an illusion in and of itself.
In paragraph two, Jesus teaches that the only need we have is to remember that we are not separated from God. God has not abandoned us, and He never will. He has created us to be part of His Kingdom forever and that has not changed. The only reason we think that God is separate from us is because we made up a lie and began to believe in it – we needed something more than abundance, more than wholeness, more than our brother. Already thinking of ourselves as needy, we bring order to our needs only to satisfy the levels we ourselves make between one another. Some people will never reach the top of Maslow’s pyramid for instance. They will forever be stuck in poverty, in hand-to-mouth existence, in a state of spiritual unawareness. This is not God’s order of needs, Jesus says. This is a man-made construct for man-made levels.
However, when we experience the shift in consciousness that reminds us of who and what we really are, the manmade levels disappear. We are one – we love our brothers as ourselves. Nobody has to go through four different levels of needs to reach the pinnacle of self-actualization – we have no needs because our love for one another reinstates our wholeness, our unity, our sense of being one with God. No more conflict, no more need for superiority, no more need for pity, no more need to feel more special that our brothers. Nobody goes without because in oneness we are all for one and one for all. No more need.
In short, by seeking first the Kingdom of God, we have everything. We exist in a realm of constant and certain abundance. When we put God in charge first and believe in His Kingdom instead of the lie we made, God provides everything for our return to Him.
Jesus states in paragraph three that we cannot behave effectively while we function on different levels. I take this to mean that as long as we see each other at different levels of needs, there is no way we will be able to practice the Golden Rule because while I may give my brother a book that has meant so much to my spiritual awakening, he would toss it aside because what he thought he needed was a bag of groceries! As long as we are perceiving different levels of needs, we start at the bottom – with the body’s need for survival. We go from there to the higher needs for security, for love and belonging, for purpose and meaning, for ultimate reunion with God. As long as we think in levels, correction occurs in levels. This is a mere courtesy of course because levels have no meaning to God. God would much prefer us to forsake our belief in the body altogether which is the aim of this course.
The real purpose of the world is not to set up our kingdom here, but to live out the lies we have made up, to correct our belief in fear and in scarcity, to understand there is no power greater than His Perfect Love and no form greater than Spirit. This is not Creation. This is the lie about Creation that we all contributed to and have formed in our own image. Every single one of us who end up here, have come here because we made up another version of Creation which we believed was better and therefore truer than the one that God made. Every single one of us can live in the lie of Creation for as long as we desire, but the longer we are here the more we will realize how far from truth we are, how far from peace and love and joy. When each person believes in a different lie, it becomes true to them but separates them even more from their brothers.
The positive purpose of this world is to correct our unbelief in God’s love and our state of conflict and disagreement with Him. If we continue to believe that God made this world, we will continue to believe that God is not a God of love, but a God of war, bloodshed, death, and despair. Jesus teaches us the reality of, not this world, but the kingdom of God within each of our hearts. Love, peace, and joy are calling to us; our yearnings for brotherhood, for unity, for innocence and purity are fulfilled only by seeking that Kingdom. Here within our very beings we find God Who has placed His Mark upon us and will not rest until we put down this world of lies in exchange for the real Kingdom of Truth.
All aspects of fear do not exist at the creative level because fear is a lack and is not substantive on its own. Fear is not creative; fear is derivative. Here is creation; fear is afraid of creation. Fear is a state that does not exist because God did not create anything fearful. God did not create anything in which to do battle. God did not create a world which has a vicious nature. The world and its viciousness is the world we made in exile from Him. It cannot be taken into eternity. Terror gives us nothing to build upon and accomplishes nothing. Fear is a sinkhole. It is a state of mind that is based upon darkness, not light. We who are afraid, we who perform and promote vicious acts, we who deny the brotherhood of Christ and the Sonship of God are choosing the wrong kingdom, the kingdom made of men, of unholiness, of brutality and death. We are living and teaching falsehoods which remain locked in time. Perfect love exists, my brothers. In this state of perfect love there resides no fear. If there is fear, it is not true, and you can ask God to remove it from your consciousness and let the peace of God shine out from you. This is something we cannot do on our own for we believe in what we have been taught as truth, we believe in our own lies and falsehoods. Being set free from illusion is a gift from God to you and can only be accomplished when you ask for it and are willing to reach out in faith and accept what He offers.
Join with me in prayer as we bow our minds and hearts before Him:
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for freeing us from all fear, from all illusions, from all neediness and poverty and jealousy and self-pity over the uneven distribution of wealth and power in the world. Give us holy faith in the Kingdom of God within us, dear Father. Let us remember Your great love and devotion to us. Let us not blame the state of the world upon You O Most High but realize we are in the fallen kingdom, the separated kingdom which has lifted other gods up and called them better, stronger, smarter, and more worthy than You. Let us not follow gods of our own creations which encourage us to kill our brothers, to taunt and torture and humiliate, to perform acts of terror in their name. Humble our hearts, dear Father. Let us bring to you our shame and dread of all the dastardly deeds in which we committed in our zeal for that which is not You. Let us bring to you our fear and lack of peace and understanding. Here is our darkness, Lord! We want it no more. We only want Your Light. Here is our hatred dear Father. We want it no more. We only want Your Love. Here is our calls for battle – for we want only to accept Your peace. Thank you dear Father for forgiving us our mistakes and falsehoods. Thank you Father for correcting us and bring us to Truth. In the name of Jesus, with Whom we are one. Amen.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 1:VI The illusion of needs. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992). pp.
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com
Thank you to James F. and Linda J. for the learning, teaching, and increased understanding you brought to this particular section.