“Forgiveness offers everything I want. Today I have accepted this as true. Today I have received the gifts of God.” L-122

Through forgiveness, the Course exposes the secret dream (belief in the separation) and its relationship to the world dream. The purpose of this topic is to examine this correlation in a way that gives new meaning to our daily experiences. The guilt resulting from the secret dream is what gets acted out in the world dream. Nothing occurs in the world dream that does not reflect the secret dream. While many of us know conceptually that the secret dream is a dream of separation from God- Reality-Self, we have not looked closely at the implications of this idea and how it relates to our daily experience.

I assume, by the very fact that you are studying A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and reading this topic, that you have entertained the idea: “There must be a better way” to experience the world you seem to find yourself in.  Your current framework for understanding the world has given you no hope of attaining peace. This is compellingly expressed in CH. 31 “Attainment of the Real World.” This is truly a devastating moment because our current way of understanding reveals a meaningless world filled with pain, suffering and death.   Joy is really just a lesser form of fear and ultimately itself a source of fear: the fear of losing the experience. This undeniably ubiquitous theme permeates every aspect of “recorded history.”

A Course in Miracles gives us a different framework for interpreting our experience in the world.  Following this framework the Course uses forgiveness to afford us a direct experience of the cause of all upsetting thoughts in our mind. Forgiveness always (Refer to Model-of-Mind Chart) (1) identifies cause as mind’s belief in separation, (2) allows for choice to let go of this belief and (3) returns our mind to Spirit for correct perception of the world. (See lesson 23.5)  I want to stress that this is not an “intellectual” experience, it is an experience wherein you identify with the dissociated mind (dreamer/observer) and you perceive the cause of your experience.  These three steps in the forgiveness process are critical because they place your mind within the framework that gives rise to Spirits corrected perception.  It guarantees the experience because the experience is inherent in the framework. .  “Place cause and effect in their true sequence in one respect, and the learning will generalize and transform the world.”  TM5-II.4

Forgiveness truly offers everything we want.  When you are not at peace, you are identifying with the ego, believe in the separation (secret dream) and therefore experience yourself as figure in the world dream. In other words, the world appears as cause and your figure its effect. This is the ego’s framework.  The Course’s framework identifies you as dreamer/observer and therefore cause of your experience.  No longer identifying with the idea of separation you are willing to let go of the ego and join with Spirit.  This is called the “Holy Instant” and it is here you look at your emotions/guilt in the context of the separation and directly experience your attack on your (observer) mind resulting from your belief in the separation.  Spirit cannot take away your fear, but He can, in this Holy Instant, lovingly show you the cause so that your own thoughts can set you free.

All thoughts in your dissociated mind are a function of listening to an “inner voice,” (ego or Spirit.)  You experience this as a figure in the world because you (observer) have projected these thoughts which now appear as images in the world, your figure being but one of these images. As dreamer/observer you see your own split mind everywhere you look.  This one dissociated mind is massively dissociated and you therefore experience yourself as a particular figure.  All “sensations and perceptions” are actually the secret wishes of the dreamer’s/observer’s dissociated mind.  This is very similar to what you experience in a “nighttime dream:” all thoughts which actually occur in the dreamer’s mind seem to be experienced by the figure in the dream.

The world dream is very important.  We will not heal our mind until we learn to interpret our experiences differently.  The first step in our seeing differently is desire and “a little willingness:” A willingness to embrace ACIM’s new frame-of-reference for interpreting all of our experiences. Without this willingness we will not allow Spirit’s corrected perception, already in our mind, to enter our awareness. The “new experience” referred to in ACIM is obtained by interpreting all perceptions from this frame-of-reference (T-II.VI.3). This is so critical to the forgiveness process that I want to go into it in depth.

At this stage of our learning, practicing inner listening is very important.  Let’s look at this idea a little closer. Because we (observer) perceive images which appear to be outside of our mind we do not realize that everything we “see” are actually thoughts in our mind. You can have a direct experience of this by practicing inner listening at all times.  Your initial response/reaction will be transformed as you personally experience these thoughts in your mind.  Again, “place cause and effect in their true sequence in one respect, and the learning will generalize and transform the world.”

I would like you to begin this experience of inner listening by daily exercises in consciously changing the state of your experiences from being at the effect to observing/listening . Your experience will be as if you were watching a movie of your experience, where all the emotions, images and dialogue will be observed in your mind, including, of course, your experience of listening to/observing yourself having the experience. The fact is that all of your experiences are a function of observing (look at the chart).  When you are not aware of this you will be listening to the ego and appear to be at the effect of your experience.  When you are aware of this fact you will be listening to Spirit and experience peace.  Just have this be your intention every day.

After you feel comfortable with this experience the next step is to discern what gives rise to what you are listening to.  As you can see from the chart, you (observer) choose wrong-minded ego identification or right-minded Spirit identification.  All experiences in our dissociated state emanates from this choice. Either you choose Spirit or the ego, no other choice is possible! The default is the ego which means that if you do not consciously choose Spirit, you have chosen the ego. This, of course, is due to the original error or choice to believe in the separation and make up and identify with the ego thought system.

How can you (observer) discern which voice you are listening to?  Pay attention to content not form. Spirit’s content is always an expression of love and therefore leads to peace; the ego’s content is always an expression of fear and therefore attack in some form. If you perceive the world and body as real you are listening to the ego.  As you learn to experience your negative emotions in the context of the separation (secret dream) you will no longer experience guilt or need to project onto world dream and your negative emotions will be transformed to peace. Notice if the voice (idea in mind) is loving or attacking.  The more you practice the more discerning you will become.  If the voice (idea) is attacking, judging, condemning, all different forms of fear, you recognize you chose to identify with the ego and now can observe the form your guilt over that choice is taking.  What you are experiencing in the world dream is what you projected and, now observing the real cause, your guilt over the separation, you can forgive your choice for the ego, choose again and join with Spirit.

We continue to play our various roles, however, our experience will be determined by our purpose: If we want to continue to deny our reality we will appear to be the victim of our dream; if we want to heal our mind we will forgive all temptation to be a victim, thus experience love where there was fear. Although in principle all forms of fear are the same, we are clearly more invested in some forms then others.  The key idea is discerning which voice you are listening to.  Your peace comes only from listening to Spirits Voice and practicing forgiveness is the means for maintaining this experience. As the Course says: It is not that you have no impure thoughts, just none that you keep. T-15.IV.9