As Though It Should Be Different
“Dreams are perceptual temper tantrums, in which you literally scream, "I want it thus!" And thus it seems to be. And yet the dream cannot escape its origin. Anger and fear pervade it, and in an instant the illusion of satisfaction is invaded by the illusion of terror. For the dream of your ability to control reality by substituting a world that you prefer is terrifying. Your attempts to blot out reality are very fearful, but this you are not willing to accept. And so you substitute the fantasy that reality is fearful, not what you would do to it. And thus is guilt made real.” (T-18.II.4)
A Course in Miracles likens the experience of the universe of form to a dream that is a temper tantrum against Reality (Truth/God). The dreamer is the “Son of God” (split-mind) and the self with which you identify is a figure in the dream, one of billions of projections of the Son of God. (To be clear: This dream is only a meaningless idea of the opposite-of-God that has no intention behind it. Only within the dream does the dream seem to have the intention to be in defiance of God).
There are many layers to the way ACIM addresses the idea of “dreams”. The section that includes the quote above begins with the dreams you have at night when you sleep. Then it segues into discussing the whole experience of form as a dream. In any case, any dream is an attempt to have another reality, whether that new reality is meant to replace the “reality” of the awake-dream or to replace Reality Itself with the awake-dream. And it is not the dream-to-replace-reality (the universe of form) or Reality that are frightening. Your resistance to them and your attempts to change them frighten you by increasing your guilt. Only if the world is real are you guilty. And you only try to change it because you think it’s real.
So in identification with the ego (personal thought system) you resist not only Reality but the reality (universe of form) that is meant to replace It. On a daily basis you struggle against the way things are in the world. A lot of the sense of being a victim that one has in the world comes from an often unconscious belief that the world is supposed to be different from the way that it is. It is an unconscious belief not just that the world is perfectible, but that the perfect world is here and that somehow you are kept from reaching it.
For example, Georgette leaves job after job because in each job she finds that she is in conflict with someone. Well, yeah, the world is a place of conflict between personal identities (egos). She will be in conflict with everyone she knows sometimes. And she will be in conflict with someone in every situation. The process of growth into full adulthood is adjusting to this by taking responsibility for one’s own attitudes, beliefs and behaviors to mitigate conflicts. But Georgette’s attitude is that there is a job out there where she will get along with absolutely everybody all the time. This may not be a conscious attitude, but unconsciously she goes from job to job seeking for the perfect situation. And when she can’t find it she feels that she is being unfairly deprived.
The world is not a perfect place and it never will be. It is not meant to be. It is the idea of the opposite of Perfection (Truth). It is a place of lack and conflict and dysfunction. It is not perfectible because then it wouldn’t be what it is. If it was perfectible it would no longer be the opposite of Perfection.
This does not mean that you should never work to change things in the world for what you think would be the better. But it does mean that you have to accept that you will never change the world to be perfect. If you seek to improve (the world as well as the self with which you identify) rather than perfect, you take a lot of pressure off yourself. And you eliminate a sense of victimhood, too. The world is not perfect for anyone.
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