1. The body is the central figure in the dreaming of the world. There is no dream without it, nor does it exist without the dream in which it acts as if it were a person to be seen and be believed. It takes the central place in every dream, which tells the story of how it was made by other bodies, born into the world outside the body, lives a little while and dies, to be united in the dust with other bodies dying like itself. In the brief time allotted it to live, it seeks for other bodies as its friends and enemies. Its safety is its main concern, its comfort is its guiding role. It tries to look for pleasure and avoid the things that would be hurtful. Above all, it tries to teach itself its pains and joys are different and can be told apart.
2. The dreaming of the world takes many forms, because the body seeks in many ways to prove it is autonomous and real. It puts things on itself that it has bought with little metal discs or paper strips the world proclaims as valuable and real. It works to get them, doing senseless things, and tosses them away for senseless things that it does not need and does not even want. It hires other bodies, that it may protect it and collect more senseless things that it can call its own. It looks about for special bodies that can share its dream. Sometimes it dreams it is a conqueror of bodies weaker than itself. But in some phases of the dream, it is the slave of bodies that would hurt and torture it.
3. The body’s serial adventures, from the time of birth to dying are the theme of every dream the world has ever had. The “hero” of this dream will never change, nor will its purpose. Though the dream itself takes many forms and seems to show a great variety of places and events where in its “hero” finds itself, the dream has but one purpose, taught in many ways. This single lesson does it try to teach again, and still again, and yet once more; that it is cause and not effect. And you are its effect and cannot be its cause.
4. Thus are you not the dreamer, but the dream. And so you wander idly in and out of places and events that it contrives. That this is all the body does is true, for it is but a figure in a dream. But who reacts to figures in a dream unless he sees them as if they were real? The instant that he sees them as they are they have no more effects on him, because he understands he gave them their effects by causing them and making them seem real.
5. How willing are you to escape effects of all the dreams the world has ever had? Is it your wish to let no dream appear to be the cause of what it is you do? Then let us merely look upon the dream’s beginning, for the part you see is but the second part, whose cause lies in the first. No one asleep and dreaming in the world remembers his attack upon himself. No one believes there really was a time when he knew nothing of a body and could never have conceived this world as real. He would have seen at once that these ideas are one illusion, too ridiculous for anything but to be laughed away. How serious they now appear to be! And no one can remember when they would have met with laughter and with disbelief. We can remember this if we but look directly at their cause. And we will see the grounds for laughter, not a cause for fear.
6. Let us return the dream he gave away unto the dreamer, who perceives the dream as separate from himself and done to him. Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which this Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects. Together, we can laugh them both away, and understand that time cannot intrude upon eternity. It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity, which means there is no time.
7. A timelessness in which is time made real, a part of God that can attack itself, a separate brother as an enemy, a mind within a body all are forms of circularity whose ending starts at its beginning, ending at its cause. The world you see depicts exactly what you thought it 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, and on a guilty world that dreams your dreams and thinks your thoughts instead of you. It brings its vengeance, not your own. It keeps you narrowly confined within a body, which it punishes because of all the simple things the body does within its dream. You have no power to make the body stop its evil deeds because you did not make it and cannot control its actions nor its purpose nor its fate.
8. The world but demonstrates an ancient truth; you will believe that others do to you exactly what you think you did to them. 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. How childish is the petulant device to keep your innocence by pushing guilt outside yourself, but never letting go! It is not easy to perceive the jest when all around you do your eyes behold its heavy consequences, but without their trifling cause. Without the cause do its effects seem serious and sad indeed. Yet they but follow. And it is their cause that follows nothing and is but a jest.
9. In gentle laughter does the Holy Spirit perceive the cause and looks not too effects. How else could He correct your error, who have overlooked the cause entirely? He bids you bring each terrible effect to Him that you may look together on its foolish cause and laugh with Him awhile. You judge effects, but He has judged their cause. And by His judgment are effects removed. Perhaps you come in tears. But hear Him say, “My brother, holy Son of God, behold your idle dream, in which this could occur.” And you will leave the holy instant with your laughter and your brother’s joined with His.
10. The secret of salvation is but this: that you are doing this unto yourself. No matter what the form of the attack, this still is true. Whoever takes the role of enemy and of attacker, still is this the truth. Whatever seems to be the cause of any pain and suffering you feel, this is still true. For you would not react at all to figures in a dream you knew that you were dreaming. Let them be as hateful and as vicious as they may, they could have no effect on you unless you failed to recognize it is your dream.
11. This single lesson learned will set you free from suffering, whatever form it takes. The Holy Spirit will repeat this one inclusive lesson of deliverance until it has been learned, regardless of the form of suffering that brings you pain. Whatever hurt you bring to Him He will make answer with this very simple truth. For this one answer takes away the cause of every form of sorrow and of pain. The form affects His answer not at all, for He would teach you but the single cause of all of them, no matter what their form. And you will understand that miracles reflect this simple statement, “I have done this thing, and it is this I would undo.”
12. Bring, then, all forms of suffering to Him who knows that every one is like the rest. He sees no differences where none exists, and He will teach you how each one is caused. None has a different cause from all the rest, and all of them are easily undone by but a single lesson truly learned. Salvation is a secret you have kept but from yourself. The universe proclaims it so. Yet its witnesses you pay no heed at all. For they attest the thing you do not want to know. They seem to keep it secret from you. Yet you need but learn you chose but not to listen, not to see.
13. How differently will you perceive the world when this is recognized! When you forgive the world your guilt, you will be free of it. Its innocence does not demand your guilt, nor does your guiltlessness rest on its sins. This is the obvious; a secret kept from no one but yourself. And it is this that has maintained you separate from the world, and kept your brother separate from you. Now need you but to learn that both of you are innocent or guilty. The one thing that is impossible is that you be unlike each other, that they both be true. This is the only secret yet to learn. And it will be no secret you are healed. 
The way we escape the body’s serial adventures through time, is by learning the secret of salvation. When we finally weary of the trite melodramas, the ongoing wars and battles and vengeance seeking, the diseases, deaths, and losses, the limitations and restrictions, the demands and vulnerability of the body – we reach for the higher consciousness of Holy Spirit. We cannot find our Self in the body for the body is only “real” in the dream of time, it is a mere construct in which to enforce limits on that which can have no limits.
We awaken from the dream we dream by disengaging from it. Each of us will come to see it for what it is. To take responsibility for the role we play in it, to understand the difference between cause and effects, we bring everything to Holy Spirit within us. Crying, sighing, dying, weary, frustrated, or bored – we come away from the encounter with joy and laughter. It was merely a dream. The sins we made up that came between us and God’s love never happened. It was a figment of our imagination, a dream of specialness, separation, and fear. A false reality that opposed the reality of God.
You may have a different dream than mine, it may take a completely different form than mine – but your dream and my dream have the same source, the same cause. It is a dream of separation, it is a dream of specialness, it is a dream where my innocence makes you guilty and you and your kind are to blame for my unhappiness and strife. As long as I choose to live in this dream, time will bind me to the laws of this world – seek but do not find; ask but deny the straight and true answer, yearn for love but settle for a fear-driven vain substitute of loneliness, looking forward to death.
We believe our dreams unique and distinct from others. We cherish our murders and mysteries, our pain and suffering, our hurt and disappointment, our boredom, frustration, and weariness as long as we can name it or blame it on someone else. But you are the dreamer of your dream, and I am the dreamer of mine, and the world we made divides us, makes us decidedly different and remarkably weird to each other. Only a dream would make of us a puzzle, going about in circles, chasing after meaning, purpose, and truth, while the very universe proclaims the oneness of our reality.
Today in your personal devotions, ask Holy Spirit to show you the difference between cause and effects. See the cause as separation, see the results of separation as the call to unity. The one thing that is impossible is for me to awaken without you for Heaven will not be Heaven without you, and you and I must awaken together as one. Picture this state in your mind as one of laughter, the joy of being together, of truly communicating and Being. In this state we do not substitute the bliss of our Being with gossip, slander, and intrigue, blame and shame. These subjects hold no interest to us for we see each other in our true and liberated form. We have no need for rules or limitations for we are pure. As we reach for the higher consciousness of Holy Spirit, the adventures are no longer serial ones limited by a flesh body with all its dull demands and vulnerabilities, but one everlasting happy state of Being filled with certainty and surety of purpose – that we Be as God created us to be. Like Him in the Ideals that have no rival or reversals.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 27 The healing of the dream. viii. the “hero” of the dream. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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