Confusion of Levels

You don’t give up what in the world is considered common sense when you become a student of A Course in Miracles. You don’t throw out what a lifetime of living in the world has taught you about it. The laws of the world hold for the world; the laws of God hold for God. (As the Bible puts it, “Render under Caesar what belongs to Caesar; render unto God what belongs to God”). Trying to cross those laws over into each other is what the Course calls “confusion of levels”, meaning you are confusing the mutually exclusive levels of your mind: God and the personal mind. For example, some students think that since your mind is One in God that you are supposed to change the social and political structure of the world-level of your mind to reflect this Oneness. This is not only unnecessary, since the world is an effect of your mind and changing it is meaningless, but also impossible. Diverse form cannot be One; that is why the world and God are mutually exclusive.

In the world, trust in others must be developed and justified over time, but every now and then I run across a student who interprets the passages in the Course about “trusting your brother” to mean that they should automatically trust everyone they meet. Those passages were very specific to Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford, who were in a reciprocal Holy relationship. The Holy Spirit was with them in their relationship and knew what was in each of their minds. It knew where and when they could trust each other. The lesson in this for the rest of us is that we can trust the Holy Spirit in our relationships with others, not that we should automatically trust everyone we meet. You are justified in trusting Truth and Its guidance, but trusting in illusions is foolish. Your trust belongs to the God level of your mind, not to the personal mind and what it perceives.

When the Course points out the thought systems of your seemingly split mind, it is simply stating how they work so that you can sort them out from each other and make a real choice between them. It is not saying that you should try to make the personal mind like God. For example, the Course points out that the personal mind is possessive; it’s all about ownership for the personal mind. Some students think that the Course is telling them to give up their possessions. This is confusing the levels of their mind because in the world (form) possession is necessary for survival. Even at the barest minimum you possess a body. Possession means nothing to the Holy Spirit, however, because Its awareness of What It is (and therefore has) is increased by Its extending It, or giving It, since It is Boundless, Formless Being. The laws of Boundless Being cannot be applied to limited form. The awareness that you are truly Boundless Being, however, will lead you to not be attached to possessions in the world in the recognition that they are temporary because they serve you only in time. Changing which level of your mind with which you perceive the world will change how you see the world but it will not make the world more God-like.

Read The Message of A Course in Miracles: A translation of the Text in plain language at


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