Deal at Your Level of Awareness

Often when I answer in my newsletter/blog a question from someone experiencing an upset in their life they explain that they have tried and failed over and over again to forgive the situation as just a projected image in their mind. This effort would seem to be in line with A Course in Miracles but in practice it is not helpful. If your awareness has not grown to the point where you see something as just a projected image trying to forgive it leads to repression rather than to release (forgiveness).

What shows up at the level of form is the result of cause and effect at the level of form. The mind in which this occurs is the one split mind, which ACIM calls the “Son of God” or the “dreamer of the dream”. What you experience as “you” having the upset is a figure in the dream. Your mind is ultimately the one split mind (dreamer), but that is not how you experience it. You experience it as though it is the figure in the dream. And you have to deal with the thoughts in your mind at the level at which you experience them. It is not helpful to pretend you have an awareness that you have not yet attained. So my answers address how the writer experiences their problem at the level of form. I deal with their projected interpretation of what they see rather than with the image itself because their upset is in response to their interpretation, not to the actual image.

For example, sometimes I get emails where someone writes something like: “I just learned that my sister has stage 3 cancer. Since she is an image that I project I have tried and tried to forgive this but her cancer persists. I want to know what I’m doing wrong. How did I cause this? What thoughts do I have to forgive to heal her?”

At the level of form the writer is not responsible for all of the forms that she sees. She did not think her sister into cancer. Logically, how could that be? She does not live in a vacuum with her sister. What about everyone else in her sister’s life? Did they contribute to her having cancer also? If this were the case then everyone who ever saw the image of her sister would have to heal whatever it was in their mind that caused her cancer so that she could heal! And what about her sister’s own mind? Didn’t that contribute also? The writer is not responsible for the cancer but for what she tells herself about the cancer and its effect on her sister and her own life. These stories are what determine her experience of peace or conflict.

When you do rise in awareness and become aware that you do project what you see you are no longer identifying with the figure in the dream. You are the “dreamer of the dream”. You realize you are the one split mind and that you project the whole dream not just individual parts. And you also see that it is nothing. In other words, forgiveness and the awareness that you are the dreamer occur simultaneously. The “dreamer of the dream” is the level of awareness that is forgiveness. Until you have that awareness, concerning yourself with what shows up rather than just with the meaning (interpretation) that you project onto it only increases guilt. Form is still real to you and you think that it has meaning. So deal with undoing the meaning that you project onto the images that you see and eventually you will realize that what you see has no meaning in itself. It is nothing. All the meaning that you see you give to it. This will help you to see that there is no justification for guilt. And as guilt falls away your awareness will transcend the dream and forgive it.

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


nicci said…
so, the lesson here is to remember that the defended-false self has given this situation all the meaning it has. and then, forgive that meaning-projection, and turn it gently over to the Inner Presence for undoing and healing. and await the Holy Spirit to restore to this mind the realization i (what is this i?) seek . . . my - this sense of a separate self - has given all form all meaning it appears to have. thank you ever. i (?) will go deeper with this and see what is revealed.... nicci
Jeremy said…
Thanks, Liz! Very helpful!

It seems that the level of my awareness is in flux. And that must be because I what I want is in flux. Sometimes I want the dream to be real; sometimes I want to see the dream as but a dream. I have not sorted out what it is that I truly want. It seems that I am 'sitting on the fence'. But I suppose that even sitting on the fence is also more than that. I am comparing, so that I will eventually know clearly what I want.

ACIM Mentor said…
Jeremy, that's the process! You will seem to be on the fence for a while. But actually you've made the choice. You are just watching that choice unfold.
Desert Dreams said…
Thanks Liz! Very helpful indeed. I find that I immerse myself in the teachings of the Course daily and I've begun this year to take them with me all during the day, which is pretty exciting. But the weirdest thing is happening. I can 'experience' a change in my relationships and feel an inner peace, which is awesome. But I seem to be doing this from the prospective of the split mind in-the-dream. I am this mind that is seeking, in each Holy instant (as best I can) to see and learn from 'discomfort'; identify projection; see my brothers with a beam of light inside of them that is Pure Innocence; forgive myself when I hear, and act on, the ego.

But, it is when I attempt to see myself as the 'dreamer of the dream' and that this world is a pure projection and that I give it the only meaning it has....that's when all hell breaks lose in my mind. I start to eat obsessively (which is always my sign that something is not fitting right).

I think I'm rebelling!! I am totally in LOVE with my illusion of this reality!! Even when I say to myself... Dude, how can you resist this offer from Truth? "There is no sin, you are innocent and have never sinned, and you will live forever; BUT all you have to do is see your brother as sinless, and the world as a dream, sickness is a defense against the truth and that you give the meaning to everything in this world and to everything that happens! LOL

Any suggestions?
Sage Starfield said…
DD, I don't think there's a problem with loving the illusion of reality as long as you're aware that it's an illusion. It's one of the ways we can have fun and learn from this human existence. Like in lucid dreaming, we can play with appearances as much as we want to, hopefully in a way which doesn't tromp on anyone's elses dream, although sometimes that is inevitable. As far as eating goes, perhaps you're just feeling a temporary existential discomfort which eating helps to numb? Being with and embracing discomfort is a challenge for sure, but one which will pay off in the long run. So when you get hungry it might be a sign you're having a breakthrough. Maybe try meditating first and sensing into what's going on...
Desert Dreams said…
SS, thank you! You are so right!! Now that you mention it, I HAVE had the experience of being playful with the dream (because this whole waking-up-thing comes in fits and spurts for me! LOL) What you have reminded me of, also works for all sorts of unfortunate things that seem to happen in the world. I could bring up examples on a global level but a more personal one would make my point just as well. I saw a dead deer on the road to Boulder one morning. She was obviously pregnant. The shock to me was immediate and strong but pulling back and seeing that I give everything the meaning it holds and that reality is benign, so to speak, really helped me stay in the present and not fall into a sad story of illusion.

Thanks again for your response. It's also similar to one given recently to someone who was asking how to want to make changes in the world if everything has already happened and what we see is an illusory dream. The person responding said, you don't give up what you're doing in the world (teacher, social worker, fireman, retired...) you just do it with a different perspective. You do it with love and gratitude. And whenever you lose your peace, you find the lesson there. You don't so much look for specific outcomes and become attached to them. You live each day with Love and Forgiveness and take responsibility for all the meaning that comes and know it comes from our minds.

I love that!
Thanks again
ACIM Mentor said…
Desert Dreams: Forget about being the “dreamer of the dream”. As I said in the article that’s an awareness that comes later. You only have to attend to your immediate projections of meaning. When something upsets you sort out the facts from the projection of meaning that you give to it (right/wrong; good/bad, etc.). Your projections of meaning are usually tied to your personal identity or story. After you practice this for a while you will recognize how you give everything the meaning that it has for you. Your “world” is the stories that you tell yourself about form, not the actual universe of form, which has no meaning.

jerryo said…
Feelings asscociated with what comes into awareness tend to throw me off balance.
There needs to be a way not to feel anything.
hannah said…
this brings up a question thats been hovering in my mind. it seems to me that nothing existing in a vacuum must mean that even in a story which has no reality, and therefore no meaning, everything that happens (be it moving toward an awareness of truth or away from an awareness of truth) is part of one weave/story that can be seen as perfect when attachment to parts of the weave is dropped? perfect not because of meaning, but because its lack of meaning helps me to choose truth? perfect because the mind seeming to dream of insanity is perfect?

so its like.. if im moving away from an awareness of only the truth being true, the world feels like it is in conflict, its like puzzle pieces that dont fit together, or the picture doesnt make sense. but if im moving towards an awareness that only the truth is true, then all the pieces fit perfectly, no piece is missing, even though the puzzle still has no meaning?

im really unsure if im seeing gods reality present now, or trying to spiritualise not truth when i see perfection in everything that has happened to me, all the shit and all the joy, in every experience of love and in every detour leading to illumination and teaching me to choose again. i See sometimes that this world ahs no meaning (though i still try and give it meaning on a regular basis ;) ) and yet i see perfection weaving its way through all that meaninglessness, present in every situation no matter what meaning the ego may attribute it with, because i can use it to waken.
hannah said…
i take vacuum to mean.. disconnected, or not one, not god. so everything must be connected in one mind!?
Desert Dreams said…
jerryo, Tara Brach speaks to this. You can find her on YouTube. I don't want to stop feeling, mainly because the occasional conflict I feel shows me a hidden part of my mind that is still identified with the ego, directly attached to whatever caused me to choose to lose my peace, and as ACIM Mentor says, those feelings are derived from whatever story I'm believing about myself and what I'm experiencing. Those feelings let me know that I can see the situation differently. Kind of wakes me up.
Anonymous said…
In the wee hours of the morning, I experienced a lucid dream as a thought in my mind kept repeating (no image just words), “be one with spirit . . . be one with spirit . . . be one with spirit”. Meditating, I am further guided and would like to offer this as well, “be gentle with self . . . be gentle with self . . . be gentle with self". This self is going to forget from time to time and maybe judge or not remember to forgive or may get caught up in a story or one of the myriad illusions of the world and well, that is okay. Still a child, on a journey to grow awareness of Being One with Spirit, we get frightened at times but with gentleness, "Harm is impossible for God's teachers" M 4.IV). We may have once felt compelled to look under the bed for illusory monsters or mistook a branch for a snake, to later realize, oh how silly, I was just mistaken. Then one day as self worth grew, the belief in this fear stops. There was no effort, no thought about it, one day we just stopped looking under the bed?

Maybe our fears take on different forms but like the illusory monster under the bed, they too shall pass, the fear lessens. Gentleness is a characteristic of God's teachers and I further offer from the Manual For Teachers . . . "Therefore, God's teachers are wholly gentle" . . . The might of God's teachers lies in their gentleness" . . . "Thus did they join their thoughts with Him Who is their Source".

Peace to the mind that fears.

Desert Dreams said…
Lovely thoughts to start the day. I'm striving to practice being kind on this journey, as well. All this 'forgiveness' and 'Awareness' should at least be extended to this small self who thinks it's in a world, as well as to our brothers.
ACIM Mentor said…
Jerry-O, it's as Desert Dreams says: Your feeling reveal your conscious and unconscious beliefs. When you work those out bad feelings will stop. So look at them as opportunities to learn what is really going on in your mind so you can undo them.
ACIM Mentor said…
Hannah, you can look at form as not "perfect" in itself but "perfect" in the opportunity it gives you to learn and grow your awareness of Truth. Remember it's not the form that causes your feelings of peace or conflict but your interpretation.
Sage Starfield said…
I like DD's comments and what Hannahlily said about "moving towards" vs. "moving away from" as being the defining element in our perception. I translate this to "inclusivity" vs. "exclusivity". When we include eveything, there's no "perfect" or "imperfect" (concepts), no "good" or "bad" feelings, only Suchness - Isness. What Is - free from judgment or evaluation - Like Liz says: just opportunities to learn. To see how we perceive based on false beliefs. If we just rest in the Suchness of "moving towards" and "including" all experiences then we can feel the inherent Truth and Joy which is part of it. My 2 cents! Thank you all. : )
hannah said…
thank you, liz, that is perfect! much clearer than 'everything that happens (be it moving toward an awareness of truth or away from an awareness of truth) is part of one weave/story that can be seen as perfect when attachment to parts of the weave is dropped? perfect not because of meaning, but because its lack of meaning helps me to choose truth? perfect because the mind seeming to dream of insanity is perfect?' ive been asking that question in different ways for a while, now the answer feels wonderfully rounded out, untangled.

oo, deja vu! i hear you sage, inclusivity is the liberating factor!

i just woke from a dream where i was worrying about someone, and i heard liz' voice telling me that this form of 'care' for the person was simply a reflection of self absorption, and then i felt myself detach from, or step back from, the story. my first response was.. it felt less involved and vibrant on one level, less.. involved, connected and specific, 'cold and detached', but then i felt it again as inclusive, peaceful and loving and connecting to reality rather than detaching from reality. . um. like less me, but more everything. and then i was laughing with joy. then i heard liz' voice again telling me that it wasnt liz showing me this, but that her awareness was a factor in the experience!

my question after that experience is, there seemed to be two different experiences of joy in that, one was quiet and calmer, and the second involved laughter, more emotion, but more of a feeling of self had returned. liz, as you detached from self attachment, did you detach from more than sorrow fear etc? did the heights of happiness .. flatten out? or is this simply an ego backlash question!?
jerryo said…
We can't respond directly to the post here ,
i just like to say thanks when you folks reach to others.

i recall acim mentioned ' bring our illusions to truth ' ,
well that sounds good but how does it actually work ?
i have a study going on and its interesting to discover that
its our 'feelings' that bring truth to the illusion.
Gotta look at both sides .Psychology books help out along these lines.
Ego or whatever its labeled likes to present things to me inverted apparently.
Its a feelings first dynamic in my world.
So that being seen I'm back to normal , the beliefs from beneath have lesser
pull as time goes on
..... Shadows turn out to be angels of light.

thanks again
ACIM Mentor said…
Hannah, it all flattens out. No highs or lows.
ACIM Mentor said…
Jerryo, your feelings reveal your conscious and unconscious beliefs. Those you bring to the Holy Spirit to question and undo.
hannah said…
i think i may mourn the highs! just a bit.. hmm. are highs part of.. filling a lack???
Christine said…
Liz, can forgiveness, ie., "forgiving your brother" (as the Course explains it) also be termed "releasing your brother"? I kind of understand 'release' rather than 'forgive' - like releasing the other, or removing the responsibility that one thinks the other has in taking away one's Peace.
Sage Starfield said…
No highs or lows - just Bliss!!! ( : Semantics again! :)
jerryo said…
I am burdened with the belief i have been rejected
and am unwanted by God.

So then the 'belief' swimming in the depths is the belief and associated
feelings from childhood of believing simply ' I am rejected '.
Its childish , but it is what it is. Once the mind detects lack and scarcity
as a small person it sticks in the back of the mind forever.

Thats the best i can do with psychology Liz

Im on top of the situation , i think seeing what i have seen
the beliefs are exposed ,
and the feelings undone for the most part.
hannah said…
this is exactly what ive been looking at in my own mind, jerryo, but from the point of view of the enormous guilt i feel when im the rejecter. i guess the two things are so interwoven, feeling inferior/lacking in okness due to feeling rejected, and feeling guilty and like a bad person for wanting to reject. i often feel overwhelmed by those closest to me feeling great pain or self loathing, and do everything i can to avoid having to be around them, rather than be there with them like i believe a kind person would be. for most of my life i wore the feeling of responsibility and worry like a crown of goodness. im working on seeing this differently now, but letting go of belief in rejection is proving tricky!

i just read this this evening in one of liz' earlier blogs, thought id share here as it feel relevant.

"The inappropriate use of extension, or projection, occurs when you believe that some emptiness or lack exists in you, and that you can fill it with your own ideas instead of truth. (T-2.I.1)

The physical universe is not our creation either. It is a projection we made to fill the void left by our rejecting God. When we rejected God, we rejected out true creation, too. Our creation is to us what we are to God – an extension of our True Mind. So, in essence, as an extension of God our Mind extends Itself – God. Can you see how the Course uses a concept we made – creation - to bring us back again and again to God as the only Truth? God extends God extends God extends God extends God…into infinity. That is creation."

the top quote answered my question re highs filling a lack.. (at least, i think it answers it!) i see how highs and lows are both aspects of lack projection. lows are when we perceive lack unfulfilled, highs are when we perceive lack fulfilled.

ACIM Mentor said…
Jerryo, you also may want to look at your concept of God. As long as God is "other" to you there is a distance between you and you can be rejected or reject. But when you understand that by "God" ACIM means your True Being you realize that rejection one way or the other is not possible.
My next article addresses this.
ACIM Mentor said…
Hannah, yes, the highs are there to offset the lows. But they are flip sides of the same coin.Truth is an experience of nothingness but an abundant nothingness. There is no-thing but you experience wholeness instead of lack.
ACIM Mentor said…
Christine, yes, you can read "release" for "forgiveness".
hannah said…
thanks liz. once again this is that uncomfortable mix of comforting and butterfly-in-the-stomach inducing.

very much looking forward to the next blog! the idea of not believing in rejection.. to really completely accept that. it must feel just about as close to heaven as being on earth can feel. it must reach into most if not every ego belief and loosen it!?
hannah said…
laughing.. it MUST! not very demanding am i ;)
Anonymous said…
Divine timing as I have been looking at how rejection is showing up and so looking forward to next blog as well. Also, just this morning I spent some time processing accusation, being accused of . . . belief I've sinned, I did something bad and immediately caught my thought of wanting to defend, I didn't do it, it wasn't me, I am innocent. It was as if that parent child dynamic was playing out once again. The comment about using the word release instead of forgive, felt this situation needed to be released verses forgiven so thank you. dsb
Anonymous said…
Rules for Decision
(Text • Chapter 30 • Section I)
Excerpts from the Workshop held at the
Foundation for A Course in Miracles
Temecula CA
Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
Part XII
Excerpts from Rules 4 through 7

Let's now turn to the last paragraph of Chapter 5, which is a wonderful elaboration of this fourth rule for decision: "at least I can decide I do not like what I feel now." I can't emphasize enough how important it is that you allow yourself to feel your pain, to feel your ego's thought system in whatever way it comes to you. If you do not allow yourself to feel it, which again is what the blissninnies attempt to do (in other words, cover it over and everything is wonderful), then there will be no motivation to learn and practice this course. If you really believe you are happy and at peace, then what do you need a course for? The purpose of this course is to give you a way of undoing your pain. If you don't believe you have any pain, then you don't need this. So again, one of the first ideas in working with this course is to understand that one of Jesus' central purposes is to have you recognize that you do not recognize how much in pain you are.
hannah said…
anonymous (deb?) just before i came across the course, i was going through a period of feeling i was going mad with resistance and fear. i read in one of eckhart tolles books a line which went something like 'and if you cannot accept the isness of the now, can you accept that you cannot accept', and i felt such JOY when i realised i could accept that, it was such a relief to be able to accept something!
Deb said…
Eckhart Tolle's teachings were like a prerequisite for me as a student of A Course in Miracles but much before Eckhart, I "studied" with a woman 37 years my senior, an amazing friend and spiritual mentor. She was a student of ACIM before our teacher pupil relationship formed and I was in the early years of seeking Spirit before we joined. I remember reading A Return to Love which awakened something within and then I moved so I could meet Onalie. I "studied" with her for 15 years until her passing 6 years ago. She gifted me with the blue book with gold lettering but I wasn't ready. It wasn't until 18 years later with her death and my husbands death that brought me to this better way. I see the story playing out and mentor after mentor showing up, Onalie, Williamson, Eckhart, Ken, Liz, all gifts as I journey with the Holy Spirit in my mind. I am with Joy & Gratitude and Trust I am Guided every "step" of the Way. Muchos Gracias.
hannah said…
the first person i considered to be my spiritual teacher was also a woman 40 years older than me. she didnt read acim, she said she found it dry and clinical, and she was very much into aliens, but she was the person i ended up trusting with opening to looking at my anger etc, as she was the one person i knew who i could honestly express the depth of my anger/blame/guilt who never sympathised with me as a victim, or in any way supported any character in my tales as good or bad. thank god for the teachers of Love! <3

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