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ACIM CHAPTER 29 THE AWAKENING IV. Dream Roles

1. Do you believe that truth can be but some illusions? They are dreams because they are not true. Their equal lack of truth becomes the basis for the miracle, which means that you have understood that dreams are dreams and that escape depends, not on the dream, but only on awakening. Could it be some dreams are kept and others wakened from? The choice is not between which dreams to keep, but only if you want to live in dreams or to awaken from them. Thus it is the miracle does not select some dreams to leave untouched by its beneficence. You cannot dream some dreams and wake from some, for you are either sleeping or awake. And dreaming goes with only one of these.

2. The dreams you think you like would hold you back as much as those in which the fear is seen. For every dream is but a dream of fear, no matter what the form it seems to take. The fear is seen within, without, or both. Or it can be disguised in pleasant form. But never is it absent from the dream, for fear is the material of dreams, from which they all are made. Their form can change, but they cannot be made of something else. The miracle were treacherous indeed if it allowed you still to be afraid because you did not recognize the fear. You would not then be willing to awake, for which the miracle prepares the way.

3. In simplest form, it can be said attack is a response to function unfulfilled as you perceive the function. It can be in you or someone else, but where it is perceived it will be there it is attacked. Depression or assault must be the theme of every dream for they are made of fear. The thin disguise of pleasure and of joy in which they may be wrapped but slightly veils the heavy lump of fear that is their core. And it is this the miracle perceives and not the wrappings in which it is bound.

4. When you are angry, is it not because someone has failed to fill the function you allotted him? And does not this become the “reason” your attack is justified? The dreams you think you like are those in which the functions you have given have been filled, the needs which you ascribe to you are met. It does not matter if they be fulfilled or merely wanted. It is the idea that they exist from which the fears arise. Dreams are not wanted more or less. They are desired or not. And each one represents some function that you have assigned, some goal which an event, or body, or a thing should represent and should achieve for you. If it succeeds you think you like the dream. If it should fail you think the dream is sad. But whether it succeeds or fails is not its core, but just the flimsy covering.

5. How happy would your dreams become if you were not the one who gave the “proper” role to every figure which the dream contains. No one can fail but your idea of him, and there is no betrayal but of this. The core of dreams the Holy Spirit gives is never one of fear. The coverings may not appear to change, but what they mean has changed because they cover something else. Perceptions are determined by their purpose; in that they seem to be what they are for. A shadow figure who attacks becomes a brother giving you a chance to help, if this becomes the function of the dream. And dreams of sadness thus are turned to joy.

6. What is your brother for? You do not know, because your function is obscure to you. Do not ascribe a role to him that you imagine would bring happiness to you. And do not try to hurt him when he fails to take the part that you assigned to him, in what you dream your life was meant to be. He asks for help in every dream he has, and you have help to give him if you see the function of the dream as He perceives its function, Who can utilize all dreams as means to serve the function given Him. Because He loves the dreamer, not the dream, each dream becomes an offering of love. For at its center is His Love for you, which lights whatever form it takes with love. [1]

We are not going to find truth in illusion – everything we dream, every encounter, every circumstance, every interaction that we have is the illusion of separateness.  I am not going to find you in the gaps between us or in the outline of your body sitting next to me or sitting across the world from me.  All I will encounter is a dream figure playing a role which I have assigned to you to play.  Coming to this, understanding this, and accepting this is the basis for the miracle which heals us, restores our sense of unity and thereby awakens us to our completion in each other and in God.

When we realize it is the dream itself which would deceive us and keep us separate from each other, we do not select between what forms of separation are acceptable to us and which are not.  Miracles do not select some aspects of the illusion to lull us back to sleep out of fear of disturbing our slumber.  A dream is a dream whether it is a pleasant one or an unpleasant one, and all dreams are dreams based upon fear.  While dreams can masquerade as ones we like and hold dear, we must not let them hold us back from our enlightenment and salvation.  For every single dream in this realm can and does change in an instant.  Bosom buddies turn on you with vengeance over some imagined slight! Our beloved children are snatched away never to be seen or heard from again. Fame, wealth, and power are stripped away by soured public opinion, political unrest, or the jealousy and envy of would-be friends. There is nothing safe, sacred, or certain in dreams.

While it is often the dream’s peril and uncertainty that provokes us to reach for what lies beyond, how do we awaken?  We know that illusions exist because of our belief in them, and our fear of their “reality.” When we hold others accountable for not fulfilling the roles we assign to them in the manner in which we think they should, we live in fear of their failure to keep us warm, safe, and properly armed for the world.  We make them responsible for making us happy or unhappy, for keeping us safe or putting us in danger, for doing us proud or making us feel ashamed.  Whether it is me expecting this of you or you expecting this from me, there is the fear between us that no matter how well you are performing your duties today and making me happy, safe, and proud, someday and in someway you may not fulfill your function.  Cycles of depression and assault are the underlying themes that keep such dreams going.  At the core of every relationship, every encounter, every single event or circumstance – there is this fear. We seldom address this squarely or honestly.  But today we do.  We face it. We no longer deny it. We look at fear and we choose not to be afraid.  

In paragraph four, Jesus explores our responsibility in maintaining the dream. My anger with you stems from how you failed to uphold the role I assigned to you.  Now I have every right to go into depression over how you failed me, and I have every right to build a case and attack you for what you did to me.  Conversely, my happiness and pride in you will be based upon how willing you were to fulfill the role I made up for you to fill.  I will be happy that you showed up on time, you did not show up empty-handed, you practiced good manners while you were a guest in my home.  You complied with what I said would make me happy.  In other words, I had expectations which you fulfilled.  But what about next time?  And how long will it be before my expectations of you will change? Perhaps I will expect more and more from you until no matter what you do – I will not be happy.

Fears arises from the roles and expectations we assign to other dreamers and the dream itself.  When we are ready to awaken we let such role assignments go. We let go of the ego’s need to have an opinion about the meaning and purpose of the interactions, encounters, and events in the dream.  Because there is nothing in dreams that represents or achieves reality, we should not see this as frightening, but rather enlightening.  While I am not here to make you happy; neither are you here to make me happy – our happiness will never be achieved in any aspect of this dream, and so we do not have to jump through the hoops and work so hard to endear ourselves to each other.  We can simply relax and know that our only function is to awaken. 

In this state of mind, our dreams become happy because once we are free of assigning roles to all our loved ones, coworkers, and the world at large nobody can fail us unless we give him a role in which to fail us.  As we walk through the dream guided by Holy Spirit, we offer only grace and mercy, beauty and light for that is what we have and to have is to give.  We live our dream lives only to awaken others for to dream of a Heaven without each other, is the dream of hell. 

Read the last paragraph carefully, asking Holy Spirit to enlighten your mind to the concept that Jesus is teaching.  We simply are not in a position to know what the role of others is in our lives as long as our own function is not clear to us.  When we stop assigning roles to others in our efforts to make them responsible for our happiness, well-being, and social support, we stop attacking them when they fail to fulfill the parts they seem to play in keeping us from the life we were “meant” to have.  Nobody is standing in our way to Reality. Nobody is denying us anything.  It is all part of the crazy-making illusion. This is the realm for us who have forsaken and forgotten who and what we really are. We will keep showing up in each other’s dreams, assigning roles, making others responsible for protecting us from the nightmare of fear, until we realize we are not here to make dreams come true.  Dreams are dreams because they are not real and never can be.  The only worthwhile function in all dreams – seemingly pleasant or otherwise – is to awaken.  Every dreamer in every dream, no matter what role or form, is a call to love.  The Voice for God in you and the Voice for God in me compels us to love the dreamer, but not the dream.  

Today in your spiritual practice, examine the dreamers in your dream and begin to free each one from all roles that you have assigned to them. Only when we are willing to step out of the blame and shame cycles that assign others to make us happy and keep us safe, can we awaken the Sonship that makes us one. Be gentle, kind, and above all quiet. Do not judge your own process. 

Our family and friends believe they know us, but they only know us in the dreams they dream about us.  They only know us in the roles they have assigned to us. They may or may not understand what we are reaching for – and it is best if we do not let this concern us.  Awakening is a quiet, personal, inward journey that we are not compelled to share with others until led by Holy Spirit.  The simple act of deciding for Christ, to see Christ in all, frees us from any weird separatist practices that would require a following, financial support, and denominational backing.  When we reach for Christ, we reach for our true Identity as Sons of God. Stay close to Holy Spirit and go to Him often for He is our only Friend who knows us as we were created. Holy Spirit never fails to remind us of our true Identity in Sonship.


[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 29 The awakening iv dream roles. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.

Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com

Filed under: ACIM, Teaching and Learning

About the Author

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Coming up on sixty, my love for God, home and hearth, my husband and family fueled my decision to devote the rest of my life only to pursuits which brought love, joy, peace, and purpose. I am a writer, seeker, student, and teacher with experience professional and otherwise from waitressing to teaching the English language in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. I hold a BA in Psychology from Bloomsburg University, which took nearly 30 years to attain while I squeezed courses in between raising my children, journaling, relationships, work, and an assortment of escapades, some of which I would rather forget! An ongoing passion for reading, writing, adventure, food, and fun, eventually led me to the love of my life, James, whom I met in 1996 and married in 1997. Our life together has been an exciting journey of work and travel, spiritual awakening, and domestic bliss ever since. Although we have experienced the tragic loss of family members and friends through death and estrangement, we have managed to turn our special relationship into a holy one by the grace of God and an acute and growing awareness of “there must be a better way!” In 2006, I published my first novel, Luella’s Calling, and am currently working on my second, Grover Good and the Stone Chateau. From 2013 through 2018, I worked as a Prevention Education Specialist for Transitions, a local domestic violence sexual abuse victim’s service agency. My work there, fueled by a lifelong enthusiasm for teaching, led me to obtain an MS in Education from Scranton University. In 2018, I resigned to accompany James on his work travels while focusing on my calling to study and teach A Course in Miracles. To that end, I dedicate the rest of my days to writing, sharing, and teaching the message of salvation found within the Course pages. Thank you for your interest in this blog. As I do not respond to comments on the posts, if you care to contact me, please email me at eckief@yahoo.com.

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