IX. The Two Worlds
1. You have been told to bring the darkness to light, and guilt to holiness. And you have also been told that error must be corrected at its source. Therefore, it is the tiny part of yourself, the little thought that seems split off and separate, the Holy Spirit needs. The rest is fully in God’s keeping and needs no guide. Yet this wild and delusional thought needs help because, in its delusions, it thinks it is the Son of God, whole and omnipotent, sole ruler of the kingdom it set apart to tyrannize by madness into obedience and slavery. This is the little part you think you stole from Heaven. Give it back to Heaven. Heaven has not lost it, but you have lost sight of Heaven. Let the Holy Spirit remove it from the withered kingdom in which you set it off, surrounded by darkness, guarded by attack and reinforced by hate. Within its barricades is still a tiny segment of the Son of God, complete and holy, serene and unaware of what you think surrounds it.
2. Be you not separate, for the One Who does surround it has brought union to you, returning your little offering of darkness to the eternal light. How is this done? It is extremely simple, being based on what this little kingdom really is. The barren sands, the darkness and the lifelessness, are seen only through the body’s eyes. Its bleak sight is distorted, and the messages it transmits to you who made it to limit your awareness are little and limited, and so fragmented they are meaningless.
3. For the world of bodies, made by insanity, insane messages seem to be returned to the mind that made it. And these messages bear witness to this world, pronouncing it as true. For you sent forth these messengers to bring this back to you. Everything these messages relay to you is quite external. There are no messages that speak of what lies underneath, for it is not the body that could speak of this. Its eyes perceive it not; its senses remain quite unaware of it; its tongue cannot relay its messages. Yet God can bring you there, if you are willing to follow the Holy Spirit through seeming terror, trusting Him not to abandon you and leave you there. For it is not His purpose to frighten you and leave you there. You are severely tempted to abandon Him at the outside ring of fear, but He would lead you safely through and far beyond.
4. The circle of fear lies just below the level the body sees and seems to be the whole foundation on which the world is based. Here are all illusions, all the twisted thoughts, all the insane attacks, the fury, the vengeance and betrayal that were made to keep the guilt in place, so that the world could rise from it and keep it hidden. Its shadow rises to the surface, enough to hold its most external manifestations in darkness, and to bring despair and loneliness to it and keep it joyless. Yet its intensity is veiled by its heavy coverings and kept apart from what was made to keep it hidden. The body cannot see this, for the body arose from this for its protection, which depends on keeping it not seen. The body’s eyes will never look on it. Yet they will see what it dictates.
The body will remain guilt’s messenger and will act as it directs as long as you believe that guilt is real. For the reality of guilt is the illusion that seems to make it heavy and opaque, impenetrable, and a real foundation for the ego’s thought system. Its thinness and transparency are not apparent until you see the light behind it. And then you see it as a fragile veil before the light.
6. This heavy-seeming barrier, this artificial floor that looks like rock, is like a bank of low dark clouds that seem to be a solid wall before the sun. Its impenetrable appearance is wholly an illusion. It gives way softly to the mountain tops that rise above it and has no power at all to hold back anyone willing to climb above it and see the sun. It is not strong enough to stop a button’s fall, nor hold a feather. Nothing can rest upon it, for it is but an illusion of a foundation. Try but to touch it and it disappears; attempt to grasp it and your hands hold nothing.
7. Yet in this cloud bank it is easy to see a whole world rising. A solid mountain range, a lake, a city, all rise in your imagination, and from the clouds the messengers of your perception return to you, assuring you that it is there. Figures stand out and move about, actions seem real, and forms appear and shift from loveliness to the grotesque. And back and forth they go, as long as you would play the game of children’s make-believe. Yet however long you play it, and regardless of how much imagination you bring to it, you do not confuse it with the world below, nor seek to make it real.
8. So should it be with the dark clouds of guilt, no more impenetrable and no more substantial. You will not bruise yourself against them in traveling through. Let your Guide teach you their unsubstantial nature as He leads you past them, for beneath them is a world of light whereon they cast no shadows. Their shadows lie upon the world beyond them, still further from the light. Yet from them to the light their shadows cannot fall.
9. This world of light, this circle of brightness is the real world, where guilt meets with forgiveness. Here the world outside is seen anew, without the shadow of guilt upon it. Here are you forgiven, for here you have forgiven everyone. Here is the new perception, where everything is bright and shining with innocence, washed in the waters of forgiveness, and cleansed of every evil thought you laid upon it. Here there is no attack upon the Son of God, and you are welcome. Here is your innocence, waiting to clothe you and protect you, and make you ready for the final step in the journey inward. Here are the dark and heavy garments of guilt laid by and gently replaced by purity and love.
10. Yet even forgiveness is not the end. Forgiveness does make lovely, but it does not create. It is the source of healing, but it is the messenger of love and not its Source. Here you are led, that God Himself can take the final step unhindered, for here does nothing interfere with love, letting it be itself. A step beyond this holy place of forgiveness, a step still further inward but the one you cannot take, transports you to something completely different. Here is the Source of light; nothing perceived, forgiven nor transformed. But merely known.
11. This course will lead to knowledge, but knowledge itself is still beyond the scope of this curriculum. Nor is there any need for us to try to speak of what must forever lie beyond words. We need to remember only that whoever attains the real world, beyond which learning cannot go, will go beyond it, but in a different way. Where learning ends, there God begins, for learning ends before Him Who is complete where He begins, and where there is no end. It is not for us to dwell on what cannot be attained. There is too much to learn. The readiness for knowledge still must be attained.
12. Love is not learned. Its meaning lies within itself. And learning ends when you have recognized all it is not. That is the interference; that is what needs to be undone. Love is not learned, because there never was a time in which you knew it not. Learning is useless in the Presence of your Creator, Whose acknowledgement of you and yours of Him so far transcend all learning that everything you learned is meaningless, replaced forever by the knowledge of love and its one meaning.
13. Your relationship with your brother has been uprooted from the world of shadows, and its unholy purpose has been safely brought through the barriers of guilt, washed with forgiveness, and set shining and firmly rooted in the world of light. From there it calls to you to follow the course it took, lifted high above the darkness and gently placed before the gates of Heaven. The holy instant in which you and your brother were united is but the messenger of love, sent from beyond forgiveness to remind you of all that lies beyond it. Yet it is through forgiveness that it will be remembered.
14. And when the memory of God has come to you in the holy place of forgiveness you will remember nothing else, and memory will be as useless as learning for your only purpose will be creating. Yet this you cannot know until every perception has been cleansed and purified, and finally removed forever. Forgiveness removes only the untrue, lifting the shadows from the world and carrying it, safe and sure within its gentleness, to the bright world of new and clean perception. There is your purpose now. And it is there that peace awaits you.
As we come to the end of Chapter 18, Jesus speaks to us of the two worlds – This world of illusions in which our very physicality is made for the dream of fear, separateness, opposition, and opposites and the Real World in which our perceptions are healed, we are united in love, and we are cleansed of all that would oppose the mutuality and equality of God’s Kingdom.
As we set aside time each day to ponder the things of God, to answer the call within us, to seek truth and the reality of God and His Kingdom, our human perceptions are cleansed, they are exposed for what they are – dark arts of puppetry and meaningless dramatic episodes based upon that which would make us afraid of one another, to cower in darkness rather than speak the truth in light, to seek for power over one another rather than uphold and support one another in love, peace, and joy.
In our personal devotional times today, pay particular attention to paragraphs six and seven, asking Holy Spirit to illuminate for you the way in which the perceptual world convinces us of its reality. Understand that this perceptual world is the world of the past. For the time of the perceptual world is always past, it is over, it no sooner beings than it is lost in the void of nothingness. When our hopes and dreams, our efforts and sacrifices are spent in pursuit of the things that the perceptual world hold out to us, we are playing a child’s game of make-believe, a game of live-to-die-another-day. Sometimes it will feel like we are winning; other times it will feel like we are losing. Sometimes we will be up and sometimes we will be down – but we will never experience the reality that is beyond this world as long as we rely on the perceptual cues of this world. Jesus tells us that no matter how much we invest in it, it will never be real. This world will always be in the past, yesterday’s guilts, shame, and sorrows will be recycled and regurgitated over and over again in many different forms but always empty of any meaningful content.
In a world which made an opposite for love, Love’s meaning is lost. When we have learned all that is not Love, all that is not Love is undone in our minds and hearts. Simplistically speaking, when we learn that chasing the dollar is not love, so does not make us happy, chasing the dollar is undone in our lives. When we learn that seeking to be the best and to rise above our brothers is not love, so does not bring us joy nor peace, the seeking of specialness is undone in our lives. When we learn that any substance, any passion, any particular person, place, or thing will never take the place of the holiness and wholeness of Love, all that is unholy and unwholesome is undone in our lives. It is undone when we learn to pay no attention to the perception that would lead us to listen to its false promises, to believe in its lies, to let its suffering and sorrow tempt us to put down our yearning for God and His Kingdom of Love, Joy, and Peace.
We learn of mutuality when we see one another in the mercy and forgiveness of Brotherhood. We are Sons who have lost their way – and each one of us is in the same position in our humanity. When we see each other in mutuality, we cannot judge or condemn, but only forgive for in my mercy for you, I acknowledge that we are the same and in your mercy for me you acknowledge we are the same. We go beyond the perceptual world of superiority and inferiority; of rich and poor, of glory and shame, of black and white, of love and hate. We are willing to see each other as we really are – as Sons of God – not jealously, connivingly nipping at one another for our perceptual differences, but as Sons of God learning the mind of Christ, the mind of Brotherhood, the mind of oneness and unity.
Let this reading of the two worlds rest upon your mind. Use the holy instant to share these insights with the special relationships in your life. When we learn to use the holy instant as a means of communicating with our loved ones, with others who pose a consternation to us, as a way to bring wholeness to brokenness of any kind, we disrupt the perceptual world. We no longer deal in the interferences posed by flesh; we go directly to Spirit. When I call you on the telephone, you may not pick up the phone; you may ignore my messages, you may or may not respond to my texts, but you will respond to the holy instant for it is beyond the guilt and shame, the jealousy and misjudgment, indeed all that would intrude upon our oneness. Practice the holy instant; for the holy instant is a messenger of Love.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 18 The passing of the dream. IX The two worlds. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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