The Universe is a Dream [ACIM Series Part 2]

in #spirituality2 years ago (edited)

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In this second part of the ACIM series, I want to have a deeper look with you, on one of the most important concepts of A Course in Miracles (and other non-dual teachings), that the Universe is a dream.
In Part 1 I already talked about this, in the context of forgiveness, but since this is such an important point, I think it’s worth it to elaborate.

What does „Everything is a Dream“ mean?

There are many metaphors in ACIM, that are beautiful pictures, and we are invited to decipher them, to truly understand the deeper meaning.
„The Universe is a Dream“ is not one of them.
It’s not a metaphor. I’s meant literally.
So contrary to our belief, that movies like The Matrix or spiritual teachings from the Advaita Vedanta tradition etc. are only meant to be allegories and we have to understand what they really mean, they are much more like documentaries. It’s a fact, not fiction.
In other words: Everything you are experiencing through any of your senses (the five physical senses, as well as all non-physical senses like „energy“ and „intuition“) is an illusion.
Illusion doesn’t mean, that it’s not there - it only means, that it seems to be there, but actually isn’t.
So you don’t need to run around, telling yourself and everyone, that everything is an illusion, because there is no one you could tell that.
What it means is, that everything is Mind and everything in it, is made out of only one substance: Mind (also sometimes called consciousness, God etc.)
So the substance of the world is not matter, but Mind - and matter, bodies, brains and all „things“ in it, are made out of this one substance.

„There is no hierarchy of illusions“

When I heard the concept of „Everything is a Dream“ many years ago (I think it was through a book called „Sophies World“, when I was a teenager) and understood its implications mentally, it took many years and studying the teachers of countless philosophical as well as spiritual traditions from around the world, to sort out the misunderstandings I still had.
Basically I knew, that everything was a dream and illusionary, but I still believed, that there were some illusions, that were less illusionary as others.
The „less illusionary“ things I called (my) truth, and unfortunately no one noticed this hypocrisy - of course me neither…

Then came ACIM and I read these words: „There is no hierarchy of Illusions“.
There, in one sentence, was a wakeup call!
What this means is, that you can’t understand the illusionary nature of the Universe, and on the same time live your life as if there were differences in illusions!
In a very radical way this is saying, that everything in the perceived Universe is on the very same level.
So cancer is not any more meaningful as having a cold and taking a prescribed medication is not less spiritual as going to a Reiki healer.
As long as you are in the dream, everything you do, is part of the same dream. You are finding dream solutions for dreamt up problems.

As obvious as this seems, I have met many doctors, healers, therapists and seasoned spiritual practitioners and teachers over the years, who clearly oversee this basic principle. They all believe, that their special method is superior to others. They may even tell you, that they are aware of the world being a dream, but still behave as if there is a hierarchy of illusions inside the dream.

Waking up from the Dream

If you are aware, that everything is a dream and you are trying to wake up from the dream (to what is called „Truth“ or „Reality“) and you are using methods from inside the dream, you are basically screwed.
Anything you do inside the dream to wake up, is part of the very same dream (=dreamed up solutions for a dreamed up problem) and therefore confirming the seeming reality of the dream. These solutions are solidifying the dream. So what to do?

First you have to realize, that the dream (=not-truth) and Truth have nothing in common.
Everything that seems to be true inside of the dream, is not true in Reality.
Everything you see, hear, taste, feel or sense is part of the dream and is made out of the substance of illusion.
It’s basically hallucinating, that we are different from God_Oneness_Truth.
Even more so, the fact that you are seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling and sensing, is the proof that you are hallucinating!
As explained in Part 1 of this series, this separation from God has never really happened - that’s why it’s only imaginary.
So to wake up really means, to realize, that all the time you were only dreaming and everything you tried to wake up, was also part of the very same dream.
You never needed to wake up, because in Truth, nothing ever happened.

Now, this is hard to swallow - especially if you are hearing this for the first time. I basically just told you, that you are mad and you are a hallucinating schizophrenic. 😀

The bad news: There is no hope in this world!
The good news: There is no world!

As long as you believe there is hope in the world, you will keep on dreaming.
Waking up only becomes interesting to you, when you have lost all your hope in finding solutions inside the dream world.
Only then, you will find the only hope there is….

ACIM has a really good news for us! I don’t want to leave you in hopelessness and despair! 😉
There is one tiny thing inside the dream, that really can help us to wake up.
This tiny thing, is actually the only thing that is a remembrance of Truth.
It’s still part of the dream, but a symbol of what Reality „looks“ like.
There are many names for it, but they all hint to the very same „thing“.
It’s called Love! (or Jesus, The Holy Spirit in ACIM)

Love is a symbol for Unity - Oneness. In the end, ACIM tells us, all there is is only Love (=Truth, Oneness, God) or calls for Love (= everything else in the dream).
In this light it may become clearer, what is meant with Forgiveness as explained in Part 1 of this series.
It’s looking at the world with fresh eyes - looking with Love (Jesus, the Holy Spirit) - looking at Duality and only seeing Oneness.
It’s much like the Magic Eye pictures - when you stare long enough at them, you will see a 3D image in a 2D picture. 😀

What makes this very simple realization so difficult, is our resistance against waking up. We are lured into the Egos thought system with promises and a lot of fear from „the other side“. We want to keep sleeping.
The Ego will tell us, that what you just read here is not true, because it feels like death to it. It fears this realization like nothing else, because it basically means, that it doesn’t exist. The Ego will prefer to suffer endless pain to waking up. These resistances will be the main topic of the next part in the ACIM series.

Until then - much Love,

Atmos

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I believe, that if you can see Love, just the same as you see the world, as part of your Dream, then can you truly wake up.

Love exists when you still have a self-identity to associate with in your Dream. But then, in this Dream what self-identity is real?

Every self-identity, be it Jesus or Buddha or Krishna, comes from God. We cannot say, "Oh, Jesus came from God. But NO! The Buddha and Krishna came not from God." Otherwise this is obviously religious bias and may even give rise to conflicts and misunderstandings, such as "My religion is true, while your religion is false."

"The bad news: There is no hope in this world!
The good news: There is no world!"
Love these news very much.

Thank you @dorky for bringing up these important points!
I want to answer, how I see them at this moment.
First, no self-identity is real, which should not prevent us to have one. The difference then is, that whenever we take on some identity, we don't take it that serious anymore.
Second, all the teachers you mentioned are only symbols of the right mind.
It's not important which symbol you use, as long it represents the mind of God for you, which is peace and love.
None of them are real, but so are you. 😀
In other words: Don't make Jesus, Buddha or Krishna more real as you are. Again: There is no hierarchy of illusion. This is also the case for symbols of truth like Jesus, Buddha or Krishna. It's only important what they represent in your mind. What religions did, is to make the form (= the symbol) more important than the content.
If you remember only this in your life, you have taken a huge step on your journey: Form is irrelevant. Content is everything.
This is not only the case with symbols of truth, but for everything and everyone you encounter.
Much Love and Blessings! ❤️🙏

Yes!
Love it!
WE are the guru. Everything else is just a concept. The "illusion", as we call it, is what we do for fun and experience! The Creator first dreams the creation before then making it real.
Peace!

Thank you! 🙏
I would only add, that God is not the creator, because he didn't create anything. The world is nothing - so it's also no creation.
In ACIM there are many passages, were Jesus says very clearly, that we shouldn't ask him or God for fixing things inside the dream, because how can he fix something, that is not there? He then elaborates, that God doesn't even know about "us", because the thought of separation is impossible to him. It is only our dream and the dream's basic premise is, that we could create something outside of God. This is what made us feel guilty and then the Ego projected this guilt onto other bodies inside the dream, to prove its innocence. From here on, this whole "creation" starts to get really messy and things escalated quickly 😀
Well, this is a whole other "creation story" as presented in religions. So please don't tell anyone. It shouldn't be posted on some blockchain to be conserved for all eternity.
This is dangerous stuff - so please move on - there is nothing to see here... lol

The way I understand creation, can be explained by Hinduism's version of depicting Vishnu in active dreaming, resulting in multiverses being created.
I am not an Hindu, by the way, but used it as example because its symbolic description is very compatible with what I know.
God does create this world (and countless other worlds) through what we term as "dreams".
And we are the avatars of God.
Through multiple levels and realms of dreams, God experiences Himself.
One danger from having higher spiritual knowledge is that we tend to go from one extreme end, such as "There is a creator", or "There is a world", to another extreme end, such as "There is no creator", or "There is no world."
Such understanding is itself an illusion in this world-dream, and may even have "fatalistic" result.
For if there is no form, how can the content be presented and be made known?
Buddhism famously taught "Form is Emptiness. Emptiness is Form."
Yes, the message is important, but how can the message be transmitted without any medium whatsoever?
Try not to hold stiff to any particular dogma, whether it be "is" or "is-not" regarding a particular subject.

Again, very valid points you are making. Most of my life Advaita Vedanta has been "my" spiritual path and therefore also much of the Hindu philosophy.
Until one point, when all the (very masculine) wisdom teachings had to be balanced out by the (more feminine) quality of Love. Which cleared the path for a much broader integration of both.
Regarding the teachings of ACIM: Yes, it would be fatalistic if it would only say, that the world dream is just a place of suffering and despair. It also offers the hope of "the right mind", which is the content in form as a remembrance of the Truth. This is our decision - the only decision we can take. So there may be form, but all form is, is a symbol. Form is Emptiness and Emptiness is Form describes this very good. It's not about denying form, but just to see, that form is nothing.

...And in the words of Nisargadattta; "Nothing is Everything".
Beautiful. Both of you. These are the conversations I love.

I have found this "idea" of Reality our minds love to play with can be best described as; "Reality- when every point in the Universe agrees to what happens next in the experience."
Another way to comprehend "Reality" is to ask; "Did a part of the Universe experience it?" and then to ask, "Is there a memory of it?"
Since the dream is a creation, it is real. It has been experienced. It does not, however, exist or sustain in continuum. It will eventually disappear as if it never existed.
A common teaching I have found in literally all spiritual philosophies including Buddhism and Hindu is the observation; "All that exists is in constant transformation." The Illusion concept should not to be confused with the idea of 'was it real or was it not real'. It appears to regard the context that nothing in the Universe sustains eternally. In time, whatever it is, will eventually not exist. It will transform. Therefore all is an illusion. Only the Observer sustains.
A troubling association I commonly hear is the notion that, "If it is an illusion, then it must have no meaning or importance." Why does this make my buttocks clench. (?)
If it is imagined into the dream,.. then it is important. But only for the moment it exists, and only within the context it was dreamed.

Well, according to ACIM the dream movie is projected through one of 2 filters. These filters (which are also part of the illusion) give the dream a totally different meaning (=importance).
One is the Ego-filter and it gives the dream the meaning of specialness, time, cause and effect (guilt), attack and defense etc. This filter is very meaning-full.
The other filter is the filter of the Holy Spirit ("the right mind" or Jesus or whatever symbol of Truth).
This filter is the remembrance of Oneness and reverses all meaning and importance of the Ego-filter. Through this filter - in comparison to the other - everything has indeed to become meaningless for a while, before it gets the new meaning of Oneness.
This is just a very quick overview on how ACIM sees this and after studying nearly all the big philosophies and spiritual teachings from around the world, this was really a game changer for me.

About the topic of what is "real" and what is not, I can only tell you, that I have stopped asking me this question, because in my experience it doesn't lead anywhere but to philosophical mind-fucking.
For me, if you can see it, hear it, taste it, feel it or sense it, it's an illusion and has no reality on it's own. It's a symbol of the egos thought system and here to be forgiven (which is the courses version of "seeing the REALity behind it") .
Thank you for your comment! I really appreciate to take this topic deeper with you guys! 🙏

Does it mean that there is no illusion less than another?
Whatever you do inside the dream to wake up, it's part of the same dream that I loved, that happens often when you dream I've spent in the dream I try to do something to wake up and I achieve it but I wake up in the same dream and that's a madness, I loved reading you

Yes, there is no illusion less than another - but there is also no illusion higher than another!
Indeed, dreams are nested illusions - like in the movie "Inception" - basically there are 2 different types of dreams though. One is the "world dream" and below that is the "secret dream" - this is the dream, that we have made the impossible possible, namely the separation from God. All conflicts in the worlds dream are based on this secret dream of being separated from God. So in the end, if you "get" this, you don't need to find solutions for problems in the worlds dream, because you have resolved the basic illusion itself. Then you rest in the Peace of God. 🙏

In your experience does the dream change after these realizations? Like once you stop looking outward for solutions and find love instead what are you perceiving, what is the experience like? I'm quite curious to hear, I think I've asked you a similar question in the past, but at least for me changes to the quality of the dream such as more intimacy with things and more knowing of the environment and myself become quite apparent.

In my experience, the dream doesn't change. It's still the same movie and it was filmed aeons ago. It's done. What does change, is the experience of the movie.
If you sit in the cinema and you get angry at one character, he will still do the same things as if you are sitting there loving it. Your experience as the watcher will be different though.
For me it's much more like my main focus in on the screen and I'm in love with the screen and not with the pictures on it. There are moments, when I get distracted by the movie (like situations with my boss, I told you about...), but since this always ends in some form of suffering (because I tried to find Love & Peace in the movie, where it's not), I relatively "soon" come back to focusing on the screen instead. There I find the real Peace & Love I was looking for. From this forward, it's much more like becoming the screen or realizing, that I am the screen. I guess, this is the furthest you can take this metaphor. 😀

Ahhh, that clears things up for me, Rupert Spira often uses the example of the screen. Thank you for the clarification. I still have some realizations to make, but I'm getting there, hopefully my writing and articles clear up as I go as well :)

No need to hurry - your writing is beautiful as it is! ❤️

The ultimate aim of the ego is not to see something, but to be something.

So don't trust but to be it
Thanks @atmosblack as always pleasure to read your writings ..☺️

Yes! Did I write that? haha
The aim of the Ego is to prove its existence as a separate being. So the "something" it tries to be, is God. At the same time, this is also its greatest fear, because to reach this goal, it would mean that it can "kill" God and therefore to make the original sin of separation from God possible. This dynamic is at the core of the Ego dream.
Thank you!! 🙏

this is awesome keep up the good works

No.. no.. you didnt write that.. it was my views on Ego in a positive way.lol

"The ego is nothing other than the focus of conscious attention" ego not a bad thing at all if we know the limits it ll bring best out of us ..

Oh, you wrote that! In this case, you are a genius! 😀
Thanks for sharing!

"I basically just told you, that you are mad and you are a hallucinating schizophrenic." This made me laugh. Labeling people as schizophrenic or mentally ill, kind of gets pulled the rug under its feet, once you realize everything is an illusion.

And yeah, theres no hierarchy in illusions. Couldnt agree more. However that doesnt mean we cant or shouldnt play inside the dream ;)

The Course says nothing about what you should or shouldn't do in form (the dream). ACIM is a course in content and not form. It couldn't be otherwise, since form is an illusion anyway and content is truth.
The other thing that's important here is, that the focus on content means to ask yourself "What is the purpose?" of anything. If your purpose of "playing" inside the dream is to make you happy, through making the right moves, it would consider this a "red flag", since nothing in form will ever make you happy. The only true happiness - that is constant and eternal - lies in the non-dual nature of God. So seeking happiness, love or peace inside the dream is the basic dynamics, that keeps you sleeping.
I know, that this is the last thing our Ego wants to hear, because it's marketing campaign promises these things to be found in the world of form and through it's decisions! ACIM just wants to make us aware, that calling it "playing inside the dream" won't change the issue, as long as it's purpose is to seek things inside the dream, that are not there.
Of course, this doesn't mean, that playing inside the dream is wrong or sinful or bad, it just says, that it is insane. 😀
Yes, ACIM is radical - it will go to the core issues and this is always the content and not the form.
Please let this not prevent you from playing inside the dream @innerspace 😀Thank you for your comment and giving me the chance to take this topic even deeper! 🙏

I first came to realise that reality is nothing but an illusion when I was at school. Once the science teacher explained the electromagnetic nature of light and how our minds interpret them into light. I was shocked at the realization that what we see is not real.
With my further reading I came to a sold understanding that everything else is illusion even these words that we utter are mental indicators to thing we don’t know their true essence.
But when it comes to awakening from the illusion and silencing the ego There is no solid ground to start with. Even love is an indication of a feeling that might be illusory as other feelings.
Thank you.

Thank you for sharing your insights! Yes, when love is seen as a feeling, it is only part of the same dream. Love as I use the word is not a feeling, but a way of looking at the world.
What really helped on my journey is to know, that every moment I have a choice - actually the only choice there really is - to listen to the voice of the Ego or to listen to the voice of Love. Blessings! 🙏

What I believe is that there are layers and layers of perception. When we fathom one layer we believe the next to be the most reality and so on.

I am very happy to read this part number 2 of ACIM

I had a very different concept of illusion now I understand how you say it The illusion does not mean that it is not there, it only means that it seems to be there, but in reality it is not, we believe that an illusion is something that will not be possible or that is a lie but Now I understand that it is not like that, always happy to read you

Oh, I'm happy this helped! Yes, sometimes when we hear, that everything is an illusion, we take a "negative" approach and try to get rid of the illusion through denial.
As you said, this is not the way you want to treat something that is not there in the first place. Why should you try to get rid of something that is not there? 😀
If you got a headache, it won't help to tell yourself, that it's just an illusion. You will simply take some Aspirin and treat the illusionary headache with an illusionary medicine. This is not bad and by all means no proof, that you are not spiritual enough or whatever. This is just a normal thing to do. Blessings! ❤️

This is how we think that because it is an illusion it is negative and now with this I see that it is not so blessings for you too.

I love reading you

You are fastanstico, your posts are from another world the truth, that I take the time to read them in their completeness

Thank you so much! 🙏

This is some really deep stuff my man, you've cut to the heart of self inquiry.

I've been trying to wake up from the dream since the 60s and sometimes I have come close...

How did you know you where close and what did "prevent" the waking up in your perspective?

A bit like I think when you wander into a room and there's someone else there; if you don't see them and yet are aware then you become conscious of them, but if you're asleep you may not know they are in the room with you...

Ah, I understand! So you got a sense of what is beyond the dream, right?
In this case I would say, that every moment is the possibility to sense "the beyond" and decide for the Egos dream of suffering or for the "beyonds voice" of Love and Unity. ❤️

Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live.

If the universe is a dream, how then are the laws consistent? This is because dreams change anyhow and anytime. The eternal truth is Love; the message of Jesus Christ.

Well, the laws are seemingly consistent, because time itself is part of the dream. There is no time in God, because God is only eternity.

...God is eternity. Deep.

good write @atmosblack
good luck in youre life
my drem is a best plyer in football

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