How "the world isn't real" Shows Up

I often tell students that much of this path has not unfolded in the way that I expected. I had ideas about how it was going to look and feel. So I often missed shifts in my experience because I was looking elsewhere for a shift. Or I simply didn’t recognize them for what they were. Eventually I learned I have no idea how this will unfold! I learned to release expectations, to trust the process,  and to keep an open mind.

One of the first examples of this is with the awareness that the world isn’t real. It’s hard to know how I expected this would show up. I think I expected a wholesale shift in my perception and that the world would disappear. But the shift in awareness began almost immediately after I became a student of A Course in Miracles with a shift in my values.
           
A Course in Miracles tells us that we believe in what we value:
“Remember that where your heart is, there is your treasure also. You believe in what you value.” (T-2.II.1)
“And your thinking but reflects your choice of what you want to see. Your values are determiners of this, for what you value you must want to see, believing what you see is really there.” (W-130.1)
“I am grateful that this world is not real, and that I need not see it at all unless I choose to value it.” (W-53.2 [12])

This used to confound me. I thought it was backwards. Don’t I have to believe something is real before I value it? No, ACIM was telling me my giving something value is what makes it real to me. I did not understand this until I experienced it. The way that “this isn’t real” first showed up for me was in my no longer according value to certain thing that I once valued. They no longer seemed significant or to have meaning for me. So I did not think about something “this is not real” or “this is an illusion”. Instead I just stopped thinking about it no longer had meaning for me. It “disappeared” for me in that it was no longer on my mind even if in form it was still in my mind. What has no meaning to me does not exist for me. Eventually, this generalized to the whole world as I found value and meaning in my awareness of Truth instead of in the world.

This is not a foreign experience. Everyone does this all the time. You do not give your attention to thousands of things that pass before you every day. The whole world does not exist for you all of the time. Your attention automatically goes to what has value for you. And things that once had value for you fall away from your attention when something you value more comes into your awareness.

Another way that “the world is not real” showed up for me was in the acceptance that everything in the universe of form passes. This includes not just painful things but also pleasures. Only the Eternal is real because it always is. What passes is not real because it passes. Interestingly, this not only mitigated the pain of life in the world for me. But I enjoy pleasures more because I do not cling to them in desperation to “save” me from the pain of the human experience. I accept them for the time that they are present and then let them go. So my enjoyment of them is not diminished by my desperation to hold on to them. All in the world passes but the Eternal is always with me.

Lately another way that the world isn’t real shows up for me is in how stories in my mind about the world fall away easily. They can be about the past, present, or future. They can be a story for this self or a person I know or a public figure. As soon as I start to give anything any real thought I become acutely aware that it is only a story in my mind and nothing more. Then it seems to turn to dust and fall away and my mind is set free.


I do not go around thinking “this is not real” all of the time because that awareness has quietly become my “new normal”. This came about through a slow and steady shift in my mind over time. I become aware of how dramatically my mind has changed only when I hear how much others still believe in the world and are so invested in it. Then I remember that I used to be that way, too, and I feel the contrast. I can remember that I used to be that way but I cannot recall the actual experience. It seems alien to me now and it doesn’t make sense.

>>>>
Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace at www.acimmentor.com.

Comments

Christine said…
I have arrived at this point, too - slowly and incrementally. If I had read this ten or even five years ago, I would have thought, "What is she talking about?" Thanks - very clear messages lately (I am seeing them more clearly lately.)
Anonymous said…
Bless you for sharing Liz. I'm in a stage in the development of trust that of late has been distressing at times and to have these blogs to go to helps shine the light on the "new normal" for me with an inner, ahhh!
will said…
You are taking the Blog to the next level.
Hal Seeley said…
This very thing happened to me over the last two weeks. I discovered that an activity that I valued and enjoyed very much was an opportunity to judge myself, and was nothing more than a diversion, a distraction on my path of awakening. Amazingly all the locations where I could participate in this activity no longer catch my eye or my attention.
Anonymous said…
What surprised me most was the awareness that my art and photography does not call me like before. My art was something I highly valued, it was what defined me, the artist me. I still create but now with a different purpose and from a different place.
Diana said…
Thank you for the relatable examples of understanding the illusory nature of our experiences. This helped me tremendously and I move forward with a new understanding about everything.
will said…
Liz,

Say your not feeling well or worse have something like menopause or something. The course says it is a projection of the mind. My expectations have been that at some point the Holy Spirit will (override, cancel?)these thoughts of sickness and the sickness will stop or does the sickness just stay the same but there is a sense of detachment? In my personal mind when I read about the power of the Holy Spirit compared to the ego I assumed the sickness would stop. But as I'm writing this down I know that's never going to happen, there is not going to be an intervention. Anyway what's your take on this.
will said…
With spirituality I've always come away with this feeling of being manipulated, the ole catch 22. The course or religion goes to great lengths to assure us that the Holy Spirit has such great power compared to the ego and then goes on to give examples like it's the difference between the sun and a match. Over and over again this is repeated. Problem is we are never going to have access to this power as it's sold to us. The best we can hope for is some peace of mind (maybe). Jesus or the Holy Spirit whoever's in charge of this stuff needs to talk to us in very simple terms of what our expectations can be. The best we have so far is you telling us your experience which is a lot different than what I was led to believe studying the course. Stuff, it's just stuff, but when I write this kind of thing down, try to get real, I'm going to get an answer from the powers that be.
will said…
The course says that death is nothing. It says this in many different ways. In Wapnick’s book, Absence from Felicity, a book about Helen Schucman and her scribing of a Course in Miracles the book is full of her conversations with Jesus that she took down in her notebooks. Jesus talks with her throughout the book about her past lives. That she was at his crucifixion, was a priestess, was a scribe, many of her previous lives involve Bill in various relationships. Jesus tells Helen he choose her to scribe his course because “he knew she would " (she and Bill were scribes in previous lives). If you want to believe she really is talking with Jesus then it’s clear that the dream does not end at death which opens the door for all kinds of questions. Saying it’s a dream, it’s not real reminds me a lot of my years of being Catholic. When there isn’t an answer it’s “a mystery.”
Anonymous said…
A short “story” to share of my experience on this Sunday morning, as I woke with the awareness of, Oh My God I AM MIND. So, the story briefly . . . For some time now, well since studying the Course (almost 2 years), I have been practicing forgiveness of a special relationship I have with my older sister Kathleen, a woman riddled with illusory troubles, who pops in and out of my life when she feels like it and I, keep letting her in. I experience this body in my dream as a special love and special hate relationship and lately, it is appearing as special hate, reflecting my fear of rejection (guilt). So being a good Course student, I know to practice forgiveness, which by the way, has been in the same form, the same script that keeps playing over and over. Evidently I am not letting it truly go if I keep choosing the ego script to experience over and over. This last choosing however, I did realize I am not letting it go in totality so I decided differently, to stop deciding and the thought came through to write a love letter of forgiveness to Kathleen, never to be sent in form. This time, I did let it go because later on, I took a drive to town and experienced a miracle. The thought came through with these words “Forgive The Idea” and as I repeated the words, “Forgive The Idea” I got it, by jov I got it. My mind shifted with the thought that Kathleen is an idea in my mind, not a body that is rejecting another body. The problem is not outside myself but in my mind.

Over the next few days, if she came to my mind, I would still try to reach her (in form) on the phone (still no response) but this time, I was without the worry and instead I blessed her with my light, “Forgive The Idea” were present. So fast forward to today . . . the shift in awareness just showed up in my mind and with the worry gone, I made the shift to the real world. With Kathleen placed as an idea in my mind (ideas leave not their source) my projected guilt representing by my own fear of rejection, was released.
Anonymous said…
A gift to those who enjoy the gift of music, I share these lyrics from a song by Barbra Steisand called Somewhere. Funny story; I originally chose this as my wedding song to walk down the isle to but it came in too slow so it did not seem fitting (form). I later was reacquainted with the song after my husband (forgiveness relationship) of 4 short years woke from the dream and then knew how just fitting it was (content).

There's a place for us
Somewhere a place for us
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us somewhere


There's a time for us
Someday a time for us
Time together with time to spare
Time to learn
And a time to care


Someday
Somewhere
We'll find a new way of living
We'll find there's a way of forgiving
Somewhere


There's a place for us (a place for us)
Somewhere there is a place for us
Hold my hand and we're half way there
Hold my hand and I'll take you there


Some day, some day, somewhere, somewhere
We'll find a new way of living
We'll find there's a way of forgiving
Somewhere


There's a place for us
A time and a place for us
Somewhere
Somewhere
Somewhere


ACIM Mentor said…
Will, once I met a doctor who told me that being a doctor isn't what she thought it would be. That's life! Our expectations do not line up with reality. Why should a spiritual path be any different? Our expectations are shaped by our desires and interpretations and filters. If there is any misleading we do it to ourselves by presuming to understand an experience without having yet had it. The lesson here is not to find some teacher or teaching to blame. The lesson is to open our mind and to let our own process unfold in its own way.
Anonymous' excellent share highlights that if you perceive it, it's in your mind. It does not come into your mind from a source outside of you. So forgive (release) your expectations and relax and watch your spiritual process unfold as it will.
ACIM Mentor said…
Will, with regard to the conflict between what Helen was told and what ACIM teaches about reincarnation not being real: When you read what the HS says to another what you want to take away is that they were answered, not necessarily the answer they were given. This is why you must study with the Holy Spirit. Bring any fears, incongruities, conflicts, etc. to the Holy Spirit. You will receive an answer that is perfect for where you are now. Is it truth for all time? No. It's what you need now. This is why a teacher's teaching changes over time. This is why a single teacher can seem to contradict themselves. They evolve (I hope!). So do not take lessons meant for another for yourself. If something seems off ask the HS for clarification. This is how I learned to hear and trust the HS. There is nothing hidden; no "mysteries". When I was truly open to an answer I received it.
will said…
In the three or four days I have been looking at Absence of Felicity I have been open to what the HS was saying. I wouldn't have been that focused otherwise. Students change over time Liz, they evolve. You need not take what is going on with this mind personally. Conflict happens but it is rarely about the issue at hand. Step back, be gracious. Because I question in order to understand you needn't take it as an attack on yourself.
will said…
Liz,
What I wrote on the blog this week were either questions dealing with my own health issues or comments about what I am studying. None of it was directed at you or anyone else.
ACIM Mentor said…
I don't take anything personally anymore, Will. Read anything I write with a charge-neutral voice because that's how it is written.
will said…
Let me explain my “comments.” In Absence of Felicity there is page after page of Helen’s conversations with Jesus that she scribed into her notebook. Direct conversations. Jesus talking directly to her. Helen believed she was talking to the historical Jesus and Jesus supported that in the conversations. There are any number of ways to interpret this. Wapnick called it the voice that Helen thought was Jesus. He was dismissive of it being the ‘historical’ Jesus. He goes on to explain how everything she is writing down is just thoughts from her own mind (this mind). It isn’t just Wapnick, others are quick to explain it away and that’s fine it’s just opinions after all. But when I was studying it, to me it was obviously Jesus, the historical Jesus. Again it’s just my opinion. But if it is Jesus I want to really look hard at what is being said. I have been reading and re-reading sections of the book for some time. My comments are about my studying of this. Everyone has their own beliefs on this kind of thing and that’s fine. I’m not out to convince anyone or argue about it. But on the off chance that this is the historical Jesus I would expect students would rush to read this, see what it says, what it’s about and not doing it so they can give some opinion on a blog on whether it’s “real” or not. This is important stuff.
Given my history I can understand how people would think I’m out to prove a point, I know ‘this minds’ ups and downs, but in this case it is about the possibility that this IS Jesus which I choose to believe it is.
will said…
I may have to retract what I wrote about Wapnick's opinion of what was going on with Helen.
will said…
I did forget about ideas leave not their source.

Popular posts from this blog

The Two Spiritual Goals

Ask: Can you comment on the satisfaction of accomplishment as a trap?

An Example of Misusing the Specificity of ACIM