I've been wrong about the world. Again.
My view of what the world IS has changed a lot recently. I see now that ACIM is telling me the world itself was projected out as "nothing", or an empty screen, and THEN we projected secondary meaning onto it and "gave" it meaning. We can give it egoic meaning, or we can give it heavenly meaning. And thus it acts like a mirror to REFLECT an outward picture of an inward condition. This is projected on top of what the world IS, which is a veil of illusions.
What I USED to believe was quite different. Some people say there is an "objective world", and that the course is telling us we have "subjective" perceptions about it. In this view we have beliefs ABOUT the world. I never liked this approach because it seemed to imply the world had to be objective, which meant it was real. And clearly other parts of ACIM tell us God did NOT create the world. So then I threw out the idea that we were really having ideas ABOUT the world, which led to believing the world ITSELF was a more direct "belief".
What seemed to make more sense was to say that there is no objective world, especially in light of "there is no world." And there are statements like "the world is false perception" and "there is no world apart from what you wish", etc. These seem to imply, coupled with "projection makes perception", that we literally project out the physical world in one single act, and how it appears to us depends on "how we made it" or what we projected it from. Such that there is no objective world, ONLY subjective fluctuating worlds that live INSIDE of subjectivity.
I thought this made sense for a long time because there is a lot in the course about how you cannot see both worlds, how you can have either false or true perception, how you see what you project, and how forgiveness/christ-vision doesn't look upon bodies. Again, major parts of the course seemed to click into place, but there were always a few things which seemed to not quite line up.
I'd also find that there would always be SOME people who believed certain other chunks of the course, which contradicted my ideas about the world. Maybe they got those parts RIGHT, BUT also got OTHER parts wrong, and so still didn't have the whole picture. Some things they said seemed to side with a partial view, that the world must be objectively real, created by God, and that's why the course talks about projecting ONTO it. But this couldn't be based on what else is written.
So it always seemed like everyone had a big chunk of the truth but not the whole picture. And I thought I had the whole picture too. But apparently I did not. Because what I see in the course now tells me something different. Something which produces far less contradictions and seems to be a more complete picture.
What it says is that in the separation, we came up with the idea of an opposite to God, which is really an idea of nothingness, since God is everything. This was projected out from the mind, which "made the world". We're talking here about the making of space and time and setting the wheels of physical objects/evolution in motion. But because this was an idea of nothing, it really had no meaning of its own. You might also notice that "outer space" is really mostly empty nothingness.
"That was the first projection of error outward. ***The world arose to hide it (a first projection), and became the screen on which it was projected ( a second projection)***, and drawn between you and truth."
"The world you made is therefore totally chaotic, governed by arbitrary and senseless "laws," and without meaning of ANY kind. For it was made out of what you do NOT want, projected FROM your mind, because you were AFRAID of it."
"***The world is nothing in itself. Your mind must give it meaning.*** And what you behold ***upon it*** are your wishes, acted out so you can look on them and think them real."
"It represents a situation in which God and the ego "challenge" each other as to whose meaning is to be written ***in the empty space*** which meaninglessness provides. The ego rushes in frantically to establish its own "ideas" there, fearful that ******the void****** may otherwise be used to demonstrate its own unreality."
"Yet separation is but empty space, enclosing nothing, doing nothing, and as unsubstantial as the vacant place between the ripples that a ship has made in passing by."
Clearly then, what has taken place are TWO steps. The first is that we projected out the physical world of bodies - really empty nothingness ("the body is nothing" etc). This was a world of nothing and the idea of sin or "absence of love/everything". It's really neutral because it's nothing and has no meaning. A meaningless world. This world then became A SCREEN onto which we SECONDARILY PROJECTED the mind's belief in it, which GAVE it meaning, GAVE it reality, and projected sin and guilt onto it.
In a sense then, there ARE two kinds of layers to the world. What the world IS, and what we MAKE OF IT. This then doesn't mean the world is objectively real, only that it is in some way "separate" from the secondary projections we put ONTO it. The meaning we GIVE to it. This also corresponds to the idea that the world itself is an illusion, which we have further illusions ABOUT.
For example, the world is an illusion and is unreal. When we then project untruth onto it, trying to MAKE it real by GIVING it reality, this is what we call false perception. It makes a world which is actually an illusion, SEEM as if it's is REAL world. And now physical form is believed and appearances deceive and the mind is lost, insane and confused. The alternative is true perception which recognizes the world for WHAT IT IS, "accurate perception", which reveals the world IS an illusion, IS nothing, and does not really exist.
So it all still lines up perfectly with what the course says, provided you now recognize that the interpretation of what you THOUGHT it MEANT, or what it was referring to, might be a little different. That the world is "distinct" from what you project onto it, doesn't have to mean or imply that God created it. And because it IS "separate" from your projections onto it, or beliefs about it, you CAN change your mind ABOUT it. And we are indeed asked over and over again to do this.
"The world you see (false perceptions about an illusory world) cannot be the world God loves, and yet His Word assures us that He loves the world (loves the illusory world through truth). God's Word has promised us that peace is possible here, and what He promises can hardly be impossible. But it is true that the world must be looked at differently, if His promises are to be accepted. What the world is, is but a fact (as though, a distinct separate "thing"). You cannot choose what this should be (because it was projected in the first projection). But you can choose how you would see it (per the second projection). Indeed, you must choose this."
So now it becomes possible to reinterpret the "world you made", by reinterpreting the "world you see" ie your psychological interpretation of what you made, or what you "make of" what you made. When you take the neutral meaningless illusory world you made, and you take away from it the projection of sin and guilt, and leave "an empty space", uncluttered from ego projections, UPON which you project God, love, light, holiness, the "world you made" now reflects heaven's light, and you see "God in everything you see." But bear in mind this is a REFLECTION in a mirror which has no meaning of its own, and is STILL just nothing. It does not mean the mirror is God or is heaven.
What this means for me is that I now recognize there ARE two parts to this world. There is the world we made, the physical world of forms, which in and of itself is nothing and means nothing. Then there is meaning we GIVE to it which is what I project ONTO it which produces my perceptions ABOUT it.
This results in my "joining the camp" which claimed that perception was always "about the world", but WITHOUT the clause that suggested "this must mean God created it." Rather than merely think that "the world is in my mind", ie that its contents are my mind's contents, I can now approach "the world I made" but without the false-perception ego baggage.
In a way this means no longer "throwing the world out with the bathwater". The dirty water of ego projections ONTO it can be let go, and I can then become more willing to look at this same world, the physical world, through eyes of Christ. Devoid of the projected sin and guilt, or labels of wrongfulness. Which also overlooks appearances and differences and forms and transcends the hierarchy of illusions.
Recognizing that, eventually, I can still look at "this world" through more loving eyes, WITHOUT it having to mean that God created it, because of the clarity that we DID project it out in a first step BEFORE we projected ONTO it. I notice now many references to how we look UPON the world, project UPON the world, and therefore FILTER the world, depending on where our mind is at, and this can be thought of as SEPARATE FROM the physical world itself.
I can now stop resisting the idea of blades of grass being "a sign of God's perfection", because if seen through loving eyes they are reinterpreted as SYMBOLS that REFLECT God's perfection. Not because they are made of God or are created BY him, but because they are forgiven.
"All this beauty will rise to bless your sight, as you look upon the world with forgiving eyes. For forgiveness literally TRANSFORMS vision, and lets you see the real world, reaching quietly and gently across chaos, and removing all illusions that had twisted your perception, and fixed it on the past. The smallest leaf becomes a thing of wonder, and a blade of grass a sign of God's perfection. From the forgiven world, the Son of God is lifted easily to his home. And there, he knows that he has ALWAYS rested there in peace."
What this means is that a kind of ... reunion of sorts, between me and the physical world, up to a point of course. A willingness to recognize that it can MAKE SENSE, to suggest I can look at it still but in a way that doesn't take its illusions seriously, OR condemn it, OR needing to make it out to be negative. Because what the world IS is in fact completely neutral and nothing, ultimately.
My egoic false perceptions about it, were mistaken for what the world IS. Guilt and sin and fear we ASSOCIATED WITH the world, thought to be ONE THING, when in fact they are two things. I did this as part of my DIS-association of guilt in my mind, which bound my guilt to the world and made me believe IT was inherently guilty. The world cannot be inherently anything, because it is really nothing. There is no world at all.
If what the world IS is not inherently evil, because it is nothing, then this at least provides the logical basis for being able to project love onto it. Rather than the impossibility of loving an inherently false world. If the world can act to reflect heaven, then it makes it OK to "love it", even if this is a temporary love designed ultimately to dispel it.
I also see that I thought that moving into a higher perception meant "not seeing the physical world", and I had associated the physical world with false perception. I thought it should become invisible and unseen, when approaching christ vision. But I see now that in fact a big part of reaching forgiveness still entails looking upon the physical world but WITH forgiveness, which overlooks its forms and such and gives it a love to reflect back. Recognizing it as a mirror with no meaning of its own. As such blades of grass and leaves can become "things of wonder" and the world can appear beautiful, as it prepares to vanish.
"Christ's vision has one law. It does not look upon a body and mistake it for the Son whom God created (but still looks upon a body). It beholds a light beyond the body (at the same time); an idea beyond what can be touched, a purity undimmed by errors, pitiful mistakes, and fearful thoughts of guilt from dreams of sin. It sees no separation. And it looks on everyone, on every circumstance, all happenings and all events (which is still physical), without the slightest fading of the light it sees."
"For you will not interpret what you see without the Aid that God has given you. And in His sight there IS another world. You live in that world just as much as this, for BOTH are concepts of yourself, which can be interchanged, but never jointly held."
"Have you wondered what the world is REALLY like? How would it look through HAPPY eyes? The world you see is but a judgment on YOURSELF. IT is not there at all. But 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.”
Notice how that paragraph is really talking about your secondary projection onto the world, which places an image INTO the world, seemingly outside of you, which is a picture of your sick self you projected ONTO it. This is what the EGO makes of you and of the world - the void - the emptiness, in trying to fill it with images.
"It is essential, therefore, that you learn to ***recognize the meaningless, and accept it without fear***. If you are fearful (in ego/false perception), it is certain that you will endow the world with attributes which it does not possess, and crowd it (project onto it secondarily) with images that do not exist."
The world we made ITSELF, can be "a thing of wonder." But only if it is seen through "loving eyes".
"There IS another purpose in the world that error made because it has another Maker, Who CAN reconcile its goal with His Creator's Purpose."
"The real world is attained simply by the COMPLETE forgiveness of the old; the world you see WITHOUT forgiveness. The Great Transformer of perception will undertake WITH you the careful searching of the mind that MADE this world, and uncover TO YOU the SEEMING reasons for your making it. In the light of the REAL reason that He brings, as you follow Him, He will SHOW you that there is NO reason here at all. Each spot HIS reason touches, grows alive with beauty. And what SEEMED ugly, in the darkness of your LACK of reason, is suddenly released to loveliness. Not even what the Son of God made in insanity, could be without a hidden spark of beauty, that gentleness could release."
"Again we come to the question of judgment. This time, ask yourself whether your judgment or the Word of God is more likely to be true. For they say different things about the world, and things so opposite that it is pointless to try to reconcile them. God offers the world salvation; your judgment would condemn it. God says there is no death; your judgment sees but death as the inevitable end of life. God's Word assures you that He loves the world; your judgment says it is unlovable. Who is right? For one of you is wrong. It must be so."
"Peace is impossible to those who look on war. Peace is inevitable to those who offer peace. How easily, then, is your judgment of the world escaped. It is not the world which makes peace seem impossible. It is the world you see that is impossible. Yet has God's Judgment on this distorted world redeemed it and made it fit to welcome peace. And peace descends on it in joyous answer. Peace now belongs here, because a Thought of God has entered. What else but a Thought of God turns hell to Heaven merely by being what It is? The earth bows down before Its gracious Presence, and It leans down in answer to raise it up again. Now is the question different. It is no longer, "Can peace be possible in this world?" but instead, "Is it not impossible that peace be absent here?"
"Into this empty space, from which the GOAL of sin has been removed, is Heaven free to be remembered. Here its peace can come, and perfect healing take the place of death. The body can become a sign of life, a promise of redemption, and a breath of immortality to those grown sick of breathing in the fetid scent of death. Let it have healing as its PURPOSE. Then will it send forth the message it received, and by its health and loveliness proclaim the truth and value that it represents. Let it receive the power to represent an endless life, forever unattacked. And to your brother let its message be, "Behold me, brother, at your hand I live."
"The world stands like a block before Christ's face. But true perception looks on it as nothing more than just a fragile veil, so easily dispelled that it can last no longer than an instant. It is seen at last for ***only what it is***. And now it ***cannot fail to disappear***, for now there is an ***empty place made clean and ready***. Where destruction was perceived the face of Christ appears, and in that instant is ***the world forgot, with time forever ended as the world spins into nothingness*** from where it came."