The world is an illusion, and God does not create it. These two precepts form a central and primary point of view in A Course in Miracles.
Here is Ken Wapnick’s three part definition from his Glossary Index.
[It is] the expression of the belief of time and space, it was not created by god;
In the wrong mind, it is a prison of separation which reinforces the ego’s belief in sin and guilt, perpetuation the seeming existence of this world.
In the Right mind it is a classroom wherin we learn our lessons of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit’s teaching device to help us to transcend the world; thus the purpose of the world is to teach us there is no world.
It is difficult to change our belief that God creates the world, because it is shielded within us by layers of beliefs: teachings from religions, and family and social structures. A paradigm shift, a change of mind, is needed to abandon the comfort that God takes care of us in the world instead of accepting that our perception causes it to spin in front of our eyes, and therefore; we are responsible for our experiences here.
In the introduction of Text Chapter 2, REASON AND PERCEPTION, Jesus offers us clear teachings which reveal this view. I emphasized the middle sentence because it insists that we change our mind to alter our beliefs.
Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result and not a cause. And that is why order of difficulty in miracles is meaningless. Everything looked upon with vision is healed and holy. Nothing perceived without it means anything. And where there is no imparts meaning, there is chaos. [T-21.In.1] (my emphasis)
This way of thinking differs profoundly from the many “self-help” methods which tout ways for us to change the world.
The final sentence in the above passage recalls my last blog about the men in Sweden and Las Vegas who murdered their fellow humans. My view was that they felt they lived in a meaningless world. The result was chaos and murder. How can we cope with this? The following two lessons in the Workbook for Students contain helpful ideas.
The workbook is divided into two parts. First, here are passages from LESSON 23 in Part I.
I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts. The idea for today [the above in bold] contains the only way out of fear that will ever succeed. Nothing else will work; everything else is meaningless. But this way cannot fail. Every thought you have makes up some segment of the world you see. It is with your thoughts, then, that we must work, if your perception of the world is to be changed.
In practice for this lesson we are instructed to express this thought.
I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts about __________.
The blank can be filed with any name we chose. The nightly news, replete with attacks, provides many to select. Fill the blank, hold the thought in our mind, and let it go. Include both our attack on others, and those directed at ourselves. We need to be let go of both ─ forgiven.
Part II consists of 14 Questions, which include discussion and answers to its question. The following passages are from question number 3, What Is the World, which builds on Lesson 23.
The world is false perception. It is born of error, and it has not left its source. It will remain no longer than the thought that gave it birth is cherished. When the thought of separation has been changed to one of true forgiveness, will the world be seen in quite another light; and one which leads to truth, where all the world must disappear and all its errors vanish. Now its source has gone, and its effects are gone as well.
The world was made as an attack on God. It symbolizes fear. And what is fear except love’s absence? Thus the world was meant to be a place where God could enter not, and where His Son could be apart from Him. Here was perception born, for knowledge could not cause such insane thoughts. But eyes deceive, and ears hear falsely. Now mistakes become quite possible, for certainty has gone. [w.pII.3.1-2]
These dramatic excerpts illustrate Jesus’ unequivocal teaching about the world. They complement teachings in the Text and Manual for Teachers.
The Supplement to the Course, known as the Psychotherapy Pamphlet, contains Helen Shuchman’s final words from Jesus. They give us a further way to escape from the world. They apply to all of us (as well as psychiatrists) while we try to make sense of this world and help our sisters/brothers do the same. These words offer certain help for us to cope with the world we make happen.
[While contemplating the following, keep in mind that in Course teachings prior to this Pamphlet, to heal refers to healing our mind about sickness and the role of bodies in making the separation: our helper is The Holy Spirit (synonymous with Jesus): and the Christ is Jesus/The Holy Spirit and God’s Son ─ all of us.]
Physician, healer, therapist, teacher, heal thyself. Many will come to you carrying the gift of healing, if you so elect. The Holy Spirit never refuses an invitation to enter and abide with you. He will give you endless opportunities to open the door to your salvation, for such is His function. He will also tell you exactly what your function is in every circumstance and at all times. Whoever He sends you will reach you, holding out his hand to his Friend. Let the Christ in you bid him welcome, for that same Christ is in him as well. Deny him entrance, and you have denied the Christ in you. Remember the sorrowful story of the world, and the glad tidings of salvation. Remember the plan of God for the restoration of joy and peace. And do not forget how very simple are the ways of God:
You were lost in the darkness of the world until you asked for light.
And then God sent His Son to give it to you. [P-3.III.8]
The Son God sent to us to give us light is the Holy Spirit/Jesus.