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Consciousness IS the illusion

Some of the research being done by cognitive scientists into the
nature of consciousness has fascinating parallels with what the Course
says: that the world and all we see in it is a vast illusion. Our
senses are deceiving us.

"How simple is salvation! All it says is what was never true is not
true now, and never will be. The impossible has not occurred, and can
have no effects. And that is all. Can this be hard to learn by anyone
who WANTS it to be true? Only unwillingness to learn it could make
such an easy lesson difficult. How hard is it to see that what is
false can not be true, and what is true can not be false? You can no
longer say that you perceive no differences in false and true. You
have been told exactly how to tell one from the other, and just what
to do if you become confused. Why, then, do you persist in learning
not such simple things?" (Start of Chapter 31, HLC). [The way to tell,
of course, is to ask whether it is eternal, since only the eternal is
true].

"Have you not wondered what the world is REALLY like; how it would
look through HAPPY eyes? The world you see is but a judgment on
yourself. It is not there at all. Yet judgment lays a sentence on it,
justifies it, and makes it REAL. Such is the world you see;
a judgment on yourself, and made by YOU. This sickly picture of
yourself is carefully preserved by the ego, whose image it is and
which it loves, and placed outside you in the world. And to this world
must you adjust, as long as you believe this picture is outside, and
has you at its mercy. This world IS merciless, and were it outside
you, you should indeed be fearful. Yet it was you who MADE it
merciless, and now if mercilessness seems to look back at you, it can
be CORRECTED." (Chapter 20, Sin As An Adjustment, HLC).

"It is as needful that you recognize you made the world you see as
that you recognize that you did not create yourself. THEY ARE THE SAME
MISTAKE. Nothing created not by your Creator has any influence over
you. And if you think what you have made can tell you what you see and
feel, and place your faith in its ability to do so, you are
denying your Creator, and believing that you made yourself. For if you
think the world you made has power to make you what it wills, you ARE
confusing Son and Father; effect and Source." (Chapter 21, The
Responsibility for Sight, HLC).

If you doubt that your senses are deceiving you, remember the
high-school experiment where you drew two dots on a sheet of cardboard
or paper, spaced about as far apart as the distance between your eyes
(around 5 inches or 13 cm). Now hold the cardboard up in front of you,
and close your left eye. Focus your right eye on the left dot, and
moving the cardboard back and forth until it reaches a distance where
the second dot disappears and all you see is the background (plain
white if you are using white cardboard). If you tried, you may want to
know why this happens. At the point where the optic nerve joins the
retina, there is a blind spot which, unless the brain filled it in,
would look like a black spot on your vision. The brain automatically
fills in this spot all the time, and because it is not near the focus
of our vision (that is, it is not in the centre of our vision field,
but a little below and to one side), we do not normally notice that it
has been filled in by the brain, which looks at the whole picture and
extrapolates what that section "must" look like. Obviously, the brain
does this at some level below the conscious threshold,  since at the
conscious level we know that what the brain (eye) seems to be
reporting is not true.

How much else of what the brain or eye is reporting is not true?
Physicist Paul Davies, in his book About Time (Penguin 1995) tells of
the following experiment:

Psychologists have devised some ingenious ways to help unpack the
human "now". Consider how we run those jerky movie frames together
into a smooth and continuous conscious stream. This is known as the
"phi phenomenon".  The essence of the phi phenomenon shows up in
experiments in a darkened room where two small spots are briefly lit
in quick succession in slightly separated locations. What the subjects
report seeing is not a succession of spots, but a *single* spot moving
continuously back and forth…

In a fascinating refinement of the experiment, the first spot is
colored red, the second green. This clearly presents the brain with a
problem. How will it join together the two discontinuous
experiences—red spot, green spot—smoothly? …In fact, subjects report
seeing the spot change color abruptly in the middle of the imagined
trajectory, and are even able to indicate exactly where using a
pointer. This result leaves us wondering how the subject can
apparently experience the "correct" color sensation *before* the green
spot lights up. Is it a type of precognition? Commenting on this eerie
phenomenon, the philosopher Nelson Goodman wrote suggestively: "The
intervening motion is produced retrospectively, built only after the
second flash occurs and projected backwards in time." (pp 266-267)

And a little later in the same chapter, Davies quotes the Multiple
Drafts theory of consciousness proposed by philosopher Daniel Dennett,
which theorizes that consciousness is the sum total of all the streams
of data received by the brain, taken together:

In the Multiple Drafts theory, there is nothing so clear-cut as a
one-to-one matching of physical events with mental events. The subject
builds up a narrative about the world from a range of information
streams (drafts) which are continually subject to editing and even
retraction. Each stream may provide its own time line, to be placed
alongside the time line of objective events. It may often happen that
an informational time line "loops back" for a few milliseconds
relative to other informational time lines, or to "objective time",
thereby further refining the editing process. The result is the
compelling illusion of a smooth and consistent meta-narrative being
presented to an independent spectator.

In other words, your brain is lying to you, and Lesson 7 of the Course
is literally true. "I see only the past." Not only is egoic perception
limited, and edited to match, previous experience (so that the future
is a continual recreation of the past as same moment of fear is lived
over and over) but I literally delay my conscious experience of the
world and my body so that I can ensure discrepancies in the data flow
can be edited out. This may include anything that is at odds with my
previous worldview!

In other words, I have no way of knowing how much of what my brain is
feeding me is true.

According to the Course, none of it.

"I am upset because I see what is not there."

Only when you are no longer upset can you see correctly, with Vision
rather than sight. Forgiveness is the key to giving up all upset.
Happy eyes look out on a world filled with love, seeing past the form,
or through it, to the certainty of Oneness.

Stephen
www.notabody.com

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Choose once again

Subject: Choose once again....

 How simple is salvation!  All it says is what was never true is not true now, and never will be.  The impossible has not occurred, and can have no effects.  And that is all.  Can this be hard to learn by anyone who wants it to be true?  Only unwillingness to learn it could make such an easy lesson difficult.  How hard is it to see that what is false can not be true, and what is true can not be false?  You can no longer say that you perceive no differences in false and true.  You have been told exactly how to tell one from the other, and just what to do if you become confused.  Why, then, do you persist in learning not such simple things?
T-31.I.1.
 
FACT:  The state of your BEING remains forever unaltered.
 
FACT:  To remember this right NOW, just let go.  You will not recognize and remember your only reality as Spirit as long as you obsess about, or look for, or try to  recognize, barriers and limitations within your thought processes.
 
FACT:  Why?  Because when you see barriers and limitations it is because you do not see yourself as FULLY AWAKE NOW.  And from this one illusion, the world of duality and choices, as you experience it, unfold.
 
FACT:  As long as you continue to tell yourself, "Yes.  I know I am Spirit.  I know none of this is real."  And yet you continue to act as though you are asleep and that you are trying to wake up, and waking up appears to be connected to some future event in time, you have not fully acknowledged that you still choose to be here (in the world as you see it) and to think you are asleep.
 
FACT:  Being is experienced the moment that you choose It wholly, totally.  So why not choose NOW?
 
FACT:  How could there ever be anything for you to do, to undo what never done?  This is the essence of, "I need do nothing."  All, and I do mean all, doing and striving is of the ego.  And to do or to strive toward anything it to refuse to acknowledge RIGHT NOW THAT I AM SPIRIT, WHOLE, AWAKE. 
 
FACT:  There is only one choice for you to consciously make, and that is the choice to recognize your BEING and wake up to your WHOLE MIND.  If you choose to make this choice in this moment, it cannot be denied you.
 
FACT:  Once the reality of WHO You ARE AND WHAT YOUR ARE dawns upon your conscious mind, the only thing left for you to do is simply and effortlessly BE IT.
 
FACT:  YOU ARE AWAKE.  You think you are dreaming, and that is the only illusion.  You will never ever see or experience any more or any less than what you accept into your conscious mind to be the truth.  What will you choose to accept into your conscious mind right NOW?
 
FACT:  Forgiveness is the only illusion that leads to TRUTH because only one who thinks they are asleep could possibly think they need to forgive anything.  Forgiveness thus is an acknowledgment of the reality of Spirit.  This does not require time.
 
FACT:  So I think Altar said it best of all when he said:
 
Hanging onto the idea that we are insane, and looking for a way out, simply reinforces the dream and exacerbates our fervor about it. We are in heaven now, and thus not insane. If we truly were in a dream, we would be insane...but thankfully, that is impossible. If one's purpose is thought to be escaping the dream, they will never escape...for such thinking is neglecting their own salvation. Not a bad thing mind you, we all dabble in that. The key is not in looking for the "Exit Procedures Manual," but in looking at reality. Nothing else is required of you, nor can anything else bring atonement's blessing into view. All other pathways and lessons and steps, ideas and methods...are simply to bring you to that simple resonance wherein you look at reality. If that step seems to say look to the left or to the right, you may know it is indirect, and therefore oriented in egoic thought.  

Only LOVE is real...
Nothing that is LOVE can be threatened...
Nothing that is not LOVE exists...
Herein lies the PEACE of GOD.

> >  How simple is salvation! 
>
> Yes it is, but why are we all still here?
>

We’re not in the dream. Therefore there can be no answer capable of
satisfying that question. But you can believe you are in the dream for
as long as you like...but you cannot make it real. - al


>  How simple is salvation! 

Yes it is, but why are we all still here?

Enjoy all the nice stuff.  Love, peace, joy, oneness, something that
has been taught through, music, song, spoken word, all dedicated to
these wonderful ideas since the beginning of man's recorded history
and beyond that.

We could be home in an instant ... but do you really want to be home
in an instant? or do you just want your life to be a little easier here in the
dream while you think about it?

Many say they want Peace, Love, Joy, But yet we are still here in a
place that does not recognize such gifts.

Ever wonder why?

We seem to get a kick out of telling each other what is real and not
real, but we are still here (sounds like blind leading the blind)

However, ACIM teaches us why. 

The Course teaches us the only way out of this dream/illusion is not
through love, peace, joy, etc.

The way out of this nightmare is through forgiveness.
Forgiveness removes the obstacles
Once the obstacles are removed Our natural inheritance shines through
When that happens there is no I, we, you, they
There is only the One.  That is why we are still here
We are not ready to be with the One.
If you feel you truly are, you would not be here.

I was in PalTalk last night and someone said we should not be
discussing how to go Home, because going home is easy, it is the most
natural thing to do. We instead should try to be as honest as we can with
ourselves and discuss why we choose to stay in the dream/illusion.

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I also wanted to add as nice as it is to discuss and chat among other
illusory bodies, we just really need to be aware of just how invested
we are staying in this illusion.  After you become aware then you can
make a choice.  But covering it up with what the world calls love
does not work (e.g., love covers a multitudes of sins)  Love like God
does not know about sin.  It simply Is.

So the next time you think you are full of love, joy and peace, take
a look in the mirror and if you see your reflection in the mirror, it
is not Love, it is the rotting shell in which we choose to hide. 
 
"Condemn him not by seeing him within the rotting prison (body)
where he sees himself. 
It is your special function to ensure the door be opened, that he may come
forth to shine on you, and give you back the gift of freedom by receiving it
of you.  What is the Holy Spirit's special function but to release the holy
Son of God from the imprisonment he made to keep himself from justice?
Could your function be a task apart and separate from His Own?"

Our special function is to forgive ... accept the atonement for ourselves. 
Nothing more, nothing less.

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Ruminations in the Yahoo! Group

To choose is to select, which requests duality. Choosing is impossible (per
ACIM). Previously, you "believed" you chose against the wholeness of reality in
this way, your partial thought attempted to request duality, and this could
not be granted or even entertained, but the thought itself generated
corresponding partial vision you could think about and believe you see. Thus your
request for duality (selection possibility) became the only thing it could ever be,
an apparition of vision that could not correspond to reality (and thus could
not be at all beyond that illusion). You focused and concentrated upon it with
partial (and thus false) use of mind's function to know (making belief). You
emotionally bonded to it with with partial (and thus false) use of mind's
function to "inperience" joy (making multiple partial feelings). You sensed your
made up partial idols in every way you could imagine with partial, multiple
senses...trying to see and hear and taste and smell and touch them...and made up
thoughtforms to represent the outcomes of those senses, attempting to prove
your success, building a great mass of false witnesses to testify to your prowess
at partial (and thus false) grandeur (making arrogant grandiosity).

All of this "making" and idolatry became very convincing, and belief in
evidence-supported convincingness was substituted in priority for faith in the
faithful reality of yourself as spirit. At some point, at least intellectually,
and perhaps emotionally, you recognized that you were not satisfied and
fulfilled with these illusory idols and outcomes and began looking for substitutes for
them...which were equally disappointing. Why? Because you looked for them
among your repertoire of selectable choices...that never were...and chose one of
them. When it came to ideas about atonement, the inner Christ spirit, and so
on, you applied this same method to these. You even followed the instructions
in a wonderful book, written by a trusted authority who instructed you
specifically to choose again. The problem is and has always been that choosing is
impossible...even choosing Christ or Christ's "thought system" (which is
nonexistent) is impossible. You argued that to move your mind toward anything was
choosing, and therefore you jumped right in, agreeing with that author, and
attempted to choose Christ, the Holy Spirit, true perception, right thinking, etc.

I will say again, and it cannot be repeated too many times...choice is
impossible per ACIM. Yes, it also says only one choice is possible and instructs
you over and over to choose it...and yet, this is impossible. If there were, in
fact, Christ AND a dream, choosing would make perfect sense, and to the mind
who believes it is dreaming, it does make perfect sense. This thinking cannot
however, make choosing real or possible. If you want to call it choosing, so be
it, but to do so is defeating your own stated purpose...for to stop choosing
is NOT choosing...it is accepting Christ's guidance and allowing that guidance
to have its proper (first, and eventually only) priority once again. To choose
Christ is like a gopher choosing to be a gopher... it is simply a senseless
idea. If you burn your draft card, and then believe it was a poor choice, you
cannot reestablish your draft card's existence by burning it again. The very
idea that it was real and burnable cannot be true, and its opposite therefore,
also cannot be true...for that which IS true, has no opposite. In other words,
while you can believe you chose the objectification of separation in mind as a
dream, that does not make this false dream the opposite of love. Since your
original choice (in its many forms) was false, was a mistaken idea...and since
false ideation has no effect, there is nothing to be done. The complete
reversal if thinking private, partial, separate thoughts...is not thinking more of
them...it is NOT thinking private, partial, separate thoughts (or in other
words, not choosing, for that is what thinking is). Christ is what you are. You are
not a thought among many thoughts. You are not a choice you might select
someday if you get it right. You are reality itself...as you are created by the
activity of your livingness being what it is...love arising from peace in joy.

When you chose, and when you choose again and again, you divide your
attention, which makes multiplicity of separated partial visions. Once your
seemingly split attention is believed in by objectification or idolatry, it seems
to be very difficult to restore the truth of whole vision because you believe in
unwholeness and are substituting its partial vision before your sight. Rather
than compounding this problem, simply allow Christ to guide you...which
guidance does not require any choosing of any kind, but only requires a tiny
willingness to be led instead of choosing. True willingness is not choosing, but is
meekness and openness to be shown the truth, rather than trying to figure it all
out. If your habit keeps seeming to override your attention with more and more
choices needing to be made...do not worry about it, but simply look to Christ
within...your true self...and be led as much as you are able. That is all you
can do, and it is enough, for the Christ of you is just and faithful to forgive
you and your visions by undoing the error underlying them. That undoing is
undone by resubstitution...placing the vision of Christ where visions of idols
were once thought to be. It is called many things...restitution, restoration,
renewal, salvation, atonement, healing, forgiveness, love, faithfulness, true
perception, true judgment, truth....on and on and on. What it is called
matters not...but your cooperating with it is the required curriculum, and it is
indeed required. There is no one able to change this requirement...not you, not
me, not Christ, not God the Father...no one...for it is as it always was, and
is faithful to itself without exception, and it is this faithfulness to
wholeness as it is that is its certainty.

> >>You will never ever see or experience any more or any less than what you >
> accept into your conscious mind to be the truth.<<

Clearly the intent of this statement is about looking to truth, however, it
is mixing ideas a little. To see is to see reality, and must be whole. To
experience is to use an external view of sensed objects, events and relationships
in duality's time framed substituted view. When you use vision of reality to
determine reality, it cannot determine it, for it IS reality...and can only be reality,
allowing you to look at it and see it as it is. Thus seeing is not
about determining, but is about recognition. When you use vision of illusions to
determine reality, these also cannot determine it, for those visions by their
very nature of partiality, exclude whole vision and what it would show. Seeing,
being the whole function of mind's sight, can never see the dream, for wholeness
can never be unwhole. On the other hand, perception or the reports of the
senses as experience, can never see reality, for their attention is split into
beliefs in partial visions, for unwholeness can never be wholeness. Thus
seeing and experience are unrelated.

Nevertheless, what you accept proffers your vision wholeness if you look
wholly, and unwholeness if you refuse to look wholly. Wholeness entertains no
concept of "more or less" for it is all. Unwholeness constantly judges more or
less of many values and value systems, and chooses between objects, actions,
relationships, and all sorts of false values arbitrarily assigned to the partial
visions of a supposed experiential environment. When the mind's attention, and
thus it's vision, is not divided by choosing, it automatically sees wholly.
When it is said that the Father takes this final step for you (after an apparent
process of atonement), it simply means that you, the Father and creator of
the love that you are, is evident when your use of mind is in full acceptance
and agreement with the truth of the reality of yourself...and when you choose to
refuse to see wholly, your vision will support your decision...but can do so
only in vision.

>>What will you choose to accept into your conscious mind right NOW?<<

Your will is not variable, although you have chosen to perceive it as such.
Your will is God's will because that is who you are. There is nothing about
your reality that would generate fear if you looked upon yourself. Therefore, you
can freely look upon yourself wholly now. To willingly look wholly guarantees
seeing wholly. Still, because of your soul-generated habits, due to your
choosing, the thought of whole willingness to look will not produce actually whole
willingness to look...without allowing soul to be cleansed by pouring your
attention toward your wholeness now and waiting upon the Lord (your true self) to
realign your vision to that faithful attention. It is faithful attention
because it is given to that which is faithful, and is given to the faithful by
your gift. Thus is whole or faithful vision restored to all who would come, and
come wholly. At first, it may seem impossible...but it is not impossible, but
is faster than instantaneous...it is right now. Accept yourself right now...and
that is the atonement...always required to be accepted now (specifically not
in the future).

altarlight

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I had a question about the ACIM take on animals. I've read the Q/A
about it on the FACIM question service and it made a lot of sense, but I was 
still wondering how the consciousness of an animal fits in.
Everything in this universe is a symbol, all of us, all the rocks, trees, oceans, 
mosquitoes, etc. But some of those symbols are going to wake up to 
enlightenment some eons hence (hopefully not tooooooo long), and
some of them (a rock, for instance) are not. So where does my dog fit on that 
scale? Do I see a piece of the sleeping Christ looking out at me
from her eyes, or it there really nothing there?

-----------------------

Mark,

Funny you should ask. I wrote FACIM at some point in my early readings
of the Course on this as well. It took a while to grasp their response
and even more to experience it.

So.. here is my understanding thus far:

Homo Sapiens (mankind) is just part of the dream, a seeming fragment
of the Sonship.

The Sonship is not made of Humans, it is made of CHRIST.

The dream of death is dreamt by humans as well as animals... when was
the last time you saw a tiger devour an antelope? A shark eat some
small fish?

Rocks, fish, lettuce, and humans are all part of the illusion of the
sleeping Son of God, to whom the Course is addressed.

However, this Son of God in his forgetting has some reason chosen the
human 'form' as its identity when it thinks of itself as a separated
individual, as the Course says, encased in a little wall of sand (the
body).

Did you know that your psyche is not human? Did you ever dream that
you are an animal? A tree?  A worm?

The entire physical universe is the physical representation of the
thought of guilt, the "body" of the Sleeping Son!

As such, your dog and you are part of the same CHRIST consciousness
that thinks it is a separate being. It thinks it is you when it thinks
it is you. It thinks it is a dog, when it thinks it is a dog.

Time is not linear, nor real. So the time in which it thinks it is a
dog, and the time in which it thinks it is a human are simultaneous,
although they appear to be different "beings" they are just the same
"being" with a little case of SPLIT PERSONALITY!

We're kind of like SYBIL you see? (Do you recall that very sad movie?)
Sybil, though a terror filled childhood had developed a little syndrome
in her psyche called Multiple Personality Disorder. Her therapist
ultimately identified some 50 something known personalities. However,
none was aware of the others. The therapy consisted in her slowly
integrating all these parts of her self, that seemed to be different
people.

So your brother is not just a human. It can be your dog. Or the
circus elephant. I know this sounds far fetched, but if the entire
physical universe is part of the dream, well, so is everything we
appear to experience in it. The dream is being dreamed by ONE mind,
and as such, all aspects of the dream are part of that one Mind: dogs,
cats, sharks, humans, and lettuce.

There is no hierarchy of illusions... no illusion is more real than
another, and no illusion is higher on a any dreamed up echelon than
another. We are all in equal footing.

However, who's to say your dog didn't already remember and is just
some awakened portion of the Mind  now here to show you unconditional
Love in just that "form?"

We don't "know" anything.

But if we are to Trust Jesus on this one, then we have to realize that
even the smallest ant, the smallest micro-organism is part of the CHRIST.

Now... don't go on feeling guilty if you just stepped on an ant...
because it wasn't alive... just like you aren't either. I'm not sure
the ant thinks it's alive, but you do.

Yet the Course tells us that Only what is in Heaven is truly ALIVE,
because outside of God (Heaven) nothing really is...

This is what makes the games of the ego even more fun to watch and
unmask as you go on... we think that it is wrong to "kill" a human,
but not an ant. But we also think humans are so mighty that we can
actually "kill" something, in opposition to the Giver of LIFE Himself.

Nothing lives, nothing dies, nothing is higher, nothing is lower,
nothing is better, nothing is worse... all things in this dream are
simply just NOT there.

So.. Animals and plants and minerals and humans are all part of the
illusion, part of the dream of the ONE mind that is dreaming all this up.

Even in the Bible Jesus is said that he could be found in the smallest
grain of sand.

The CHRIST is LIFE itself. And it is all-encompassing. With or without
a body, human or not human.

When Jesus woke up, we were all there, he says, and I'm pretty sure my
dog Chico, was there too...

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