To understand the separation from God, consider the relationship between light and darkness.
At first, light is everywhere in heaven. Then in the separation, the presence of light is resisted by trying not to will that there be light. This "puts the brakes" on creation, as an unwillingness to extend love, and a selfish attempt to retain everything for yourself. This is kind of like a light bulb that does not want to let its light shine because it wants to keep the light for itself.
When the light is shining, all is well. When there is a blockage or a denial of the light, the light SEEMS to dim. And now a seeming shadow or darkness forms. The shadow appears darker, as though there is less light there. As if light has gone away.
If you look carefully, you may notice that the shadow totally DEPENDS on the light being blocked. When the light is not blocked, there is no shadow. When the block appears, the shadow appears. And the shadow has no say in this.
On the one hand, a discerning mind should recognize that the shadow itself doesn't really have ability to assert its own existence. It can't decide to stay on its own. It can't resist the light. Nor can it cause light to go away.
Really, the darkness isn't ACTUALLY darkness. It's the absence of light. These are not the same thing. Light being absent, and darkness being "present" are different. If darkness is truly present, then darkness actually removes light as light's equal and causes light to go away, or can resist it.
In the separation, all that we really did was block the light. We blocked it with blocks to awareness, which are forms of denial, unwillingness and resistance. By being unwilling to will with God, we were unwilling to extend light. These are attempts to stop light from shining, to hold back the extension of love, and to INDUCE darkness.
Having done this, it seems like we go into a darkened state of mind. What we're going into is the appearance of a "lack of light" or "absence of light". We don't actually go into an "actual" darkness. There is in fact no such thing as an actual darkness. Similarly to how there isn't really evil or hell.
"Just because "nature abhors a vacuum," which is true enough, it does NOT follow that "a vacuum is filled with hellfire."
"Those who have not yet "changed their minds" have entered the "hellfire" concept into it."
The sane recognition that darkness is only the seeming absence of light, produced by a blockage, cast as a shadow, is what it means to recognize that this blockage is just a MISTAKE or error. There is no real darkness there at all, ONLY an illusion that makes it appear light is absent.
When you fail to recognize that the blockage is just an illusion, you start to believe that the darkness is, itself, a "positive creation", something which can cause light to go away, some kind of "actual real evil".
This is also the difference between mistakes/errors and sins. A mistake is recognized as simply a "lack of light", whereas when the appearance of light lacking is given artificial attributes of reality, it is considered to be "real darkness."
We lend it the darkness reality, truth, power, causation, will, a mind of its own, etc... and now what is really only the ILLUSION of light being absent, is now interpreted as the PRESENCE of active living darkness. And now we believe that this darkness has the power TO HIDE something, to actually blot it out.
This is the insane egoic belief that darkness has power over the light, and can cause light to go away. That darkness shines away light. It is the belief in evil and in sin and of having POWER OVER GOD. It is the authority problem and is level confusion. It is the belief that separation is real, and that guilt is true. And it is also fear. And believing that darkness can hide stuff induces fear that something evil IS hiding in the dark, which you cannot see.
"Miracles are associated with fear only because of the fallacy that darkness can hide."
"It is only in darkness and in ignorance that you perceive the frightening, and you shrink away from it to further darkness. And yet, it is only the hidden that CAN terrify, NOT for what it IS, but FOR its hiddenness."
By believing that what actually is only an ILLUSION OF light's absence, is actually the PRESENCE OF a "real darkness", is the entire ego thought system. It is the belief that sin is real and death is happening and impossible suffering can occur and that hell is evil and real. That the boogie man is hiding in the dark shadows. It's the stuff of nightmares.
When we denied the light of heaven, we pushed our mind into a darkened state. A state of the appearance of the lack of love and light and life. This was only really a state of the ILLUSION that light CAN be absent.
It's an illusion because light is actually permanent and can never be destroyed, and so DENIAL is the belief that it's not there, even though it is. Believing that light is not present, when it is, must mean that you believe something is true which is not. This is an ILLUSION. There is deception and temptation because something impossible seems possible.
This means also that so long as there is a state where light seems absent at all, there IS illusion. The state of light's absence is ITSELF an illusion, because it's not true that light can really be absent anywhere. So when it APPEARS that light is not present, in any way, this can't be TRUE, but it SEEMS true to insane minds.
The really big thing is this. WE MADE A WORLD OUT OF THIS DARKNESS - WITHIN the illusion of the lack of light. It is in fact THE lack of light. Another term for a lack or light or love, in ACIM, is error. The seeming lack of light appears to be an erroneous world.
"For it was made out of what you do NOT want, projected FROM your mind, because you were AFRAID of it."
Then, if this erroneous world is believed to be REAL, it is converted from the ILLUSION of light's absence, to the belief that it is REAL DARKNESS. That this world is in fact, the PRESENCE of a world. That there really is a world there, alive and willfull and with mind and power and causation. A world which has OVERTHROWN the Kingdom. This belief is a misperception of the illusion of the lack of light, and nothing more.
What this means is, the world we made, which includes the planet Earth, originally was simply the illusion of light seeming to be lacking. It WAS the 'absence'. It was a mis-creation, or a sort of failed creation. A limited expression, infused with unwillingness and denial. It was made in the thought of the denial of God, and as an attack on God. An attack on light, if interpreted as "actual darkness".
Then as we moved further into believing in it, we invested this illusion of light's absence with the qualities of God, such as reality and truth and power and life and will and causation. And now what merely was **IN TRUTH** an ILLUSORY WORLD, in the shape of the ABSENCE of light, was converted by our belief in it as "REAL DARKNESS" to a WORLD OF SIN.
"The body is the idea of sin made flesh"
What this means is, a world which is in fact ONLY an illusion of light's absence, and exists ONLY so long as the light REMAINS blocked, NOT made of light, was invested with greater belief in order to ASSERT that it is in fact a REAL DARK PLACE - a real living hell.
The physical world is this world, a world made of shadows cast from blockages in the mind, invested with belief and given reality, to try to convince ourselves that hell exists instead of heaven. This is the world of bodies and of forms and planets and other objects. And this world exists ONLY WITHIN our false perception. ONLY IN THE LACK OF LIGHT.
"The world is false perception."
"The world of bodies is the world of sin. For only if there were a body is sin possible."
"From the world of bodies, MADE by insanity, insane messages seem to be returned to the mind which made it. And these messages bear witness to this world, pronouncing it as true."
Note that another word for sin is insanity. "Sin is insanity." Which means that investing darkness with the belief that it is reality, is insane. This is because darkness is NOT the presence of evil, or of ANYTHING. Nor is it s REAL darkness. Just as planet Earth is not really hell. But believing that the earth is real, IS a belief in sin, and DOES cause you to experience the Earth as though it is a REAL hell.
What we're now describing here is false perception, which really is the false BELIEF that an illusory world made of darkness is reality. It is the kind of perception which takes the physical world to be real and true and valid. It is a deceptive perception, in which something which IS an illusion is MIS-PERCEIVED AS a reality. Just as darkness ie lack of light is mis-perceived as the real presence of evil.
The Earth, in its original construction, was born of error, and projected outward, and believed in by insane twisted minds, which both produced it through their denial of light, and reinforced it through their belief in evil. This is why ACIM refers to it as "the hell you made."
"That was the first projection of error outward. The world arose to hide it, and became the screen on which it was projected, and drawn between you and truth."
"Guilt ASKS FOR punishment, and its request is granted. NOT in truth, but in the world of shadows and illusions BUILT on sin."
"The learning of the world is built upon a concept of the self adjusted to the world's reality. It fits it well. For this an image is that suits a world of shadows and illusions."
The body was also made as part of the illusion of light's absence, masquerading as the PRESENCE of a "real something". But the body is really nothing at all, just as Earth is nothing at all. This is why there is no world and the body is not an actual positive creation. The body and the world DO NOT REALLY EXIST.
The body is given senses designed to reinforce the world of apparent SIN, ie Earth believed to be "real darkness", to give it reality, to make it seem real, and to give it all the meaning it has. This is in order to reinforce the idea that real darkness exists. This was its original evil purpose. This is why we "made it" by NOT creating reality.
"Only the body makes the world seem real."
"Temptation has ONE lesson it would teach, in ALL its forms, WHEREVER it occurs. It would persuade the holy Son of God he is a body, born in what must die, unable to escape its frailty, and bound by what it orders him to feel."
To the ego, creation means taking something that does not exist and trying to give it life, in terms of taking the ILLUSION that light can be absent and reinforcing it to the point where it seems darkness has CAUSED light to disappear.
As such, Earth was made by us to seem to REPLACE the world of light that is Heaven, to blot it out and hide it and destroy it. Indeed to destroy the light of God and his children. "The world was made as an attack on God. A place where God (light) could enter not" etc. It was born from an evil thought - a mad idea.
What then needs to happen, is the UNDOING of all this distortion and lies. This confusion and hallucination and the belief that Earth (darkness) really exists. What we need is forgiveness. We have to re-trace the steps. This means that first of all, we need to recognize (as described) how we got into this mess, and what the mess IS.
The mess is, that we have denied God's light, which has produced the UNTRUE ILLUSION that light is indeed absent, which has taken the shape of A WORLD OF BODIES, and which has then been invested with reality and fear and evil thought to try to GIVE IT immortality and reality. To make it permanently replace heaven. However, this is not possible.
"This aching world has not the power to touch the living world at all. You could not give it that"
"Nothing you made but has the mark of death upon it. Hold it not dear, for it is old and tired, and ready to return to dust, even as you made it."
What we then need to do is recognize the facts. If we have belief in the world as "real", or existing, or causing, or happening, or being valuable, or having power over the light, or able to kill immortal beings, or capable in any way of enforcing darkness and suffering, then we DO believe that darkness can make light go away. And as such Earth is interpreted as REAL hell.
This is the belief that the world of bodies ***IS NOT an illusion***. Believing it IS NOT an illusion, IS A DENIAL of the FACT that it is. It's an inability to see and recognize that the world is made of light's absence, and CAN ONLY last so long as the light remains absent. It's even more heavily the belief that the world is actually real and has REPLACED the reality of Heaven.
If we believe this in any way, we need to look at this and undo this belief. We need to stop believing that the world IS real. That belief IS FALSE PERCEPTION and is a belief in evil. What we've put ONTO the world, given it is ONLY an illusion of light's absence, is the heaviness of sin and guilt and value and meaning. We've tried to turn an ILLUSION of a world into a reality, to convert "lights absence" into "darkness's presence."
All this projected meaning, the "perceptions about the world", the sin and hate and guilt we throw onto it, the condemnation of it, the false beliefs about it, is all part of our attempt to reinforce the idea that the world IS real and DOES have power over God and his Son. If you believe it REALLY IS sinful, then you are using it to stay in the illusion that darkness really exists. Which also means that to NOT do that, you have to STOP believing the world is real.
So then we set about withdrawing these projections of "real sin", and of reality, and of rebellion, and of attack and harm, and of guilt and fear, which we have put ONTO AN ILLUSION OF A WORLD. We have in fact laid illusions ON TOP OF ILLUSION, in an attempt to DENY that the world IS an illusion, so that we can MAKE IT REAL to us. This is a DOUBLE DENIAL.
"But what you have forgot can be remembered, given willingness to reconsider the decision which is doubly shielded by oblivion."
"It adds illusions to illusions, thus making correction doubly difficult."
When, through forgiveness, we lift away from the world our belief in sin and guilt, we in fact lifting away REALITY from it. We are withdrawing BELIEF in it. We are stripping it of value, and meaning, and all the heavy dark USES of the world to victimize and to attack. We are taking back our FUTILE attempt to PROVE that darkness can destroy the light, that death trumphs over life, and that the Son of God can be killed in the flesh.
Once we stop doing this, the world that we have been "attacking", in an effort to LEND IT reality, in order to keep it, begins to be RECOGNIZED FOR WHAT IT REALLY IS. Since a false perception of the world makes it seem REAL - because false perception is a CONFUSED perception, a true perception of it does THE OPPOSITE. It takes AWAY its reality. It strips it of its causal power. It diminishes it in your sight. And it reduces its value to you. It removes what it is NOT, and reveals what it IS.
At the end of this process, the world which lives in and is made OF the illusion of light's absence, is seen NOT as a world capable of destroying life, or of sinning, or of inducing guilt, or of making life into suffering, but instead it is RECOGNIZED as ONLY AN ILLUSION OF LIGHT'S ABSENCE. In effect, its TRUE nature, is not that it is real, but that it IS NOT REAL.
"Enlightenment is but a recognition and not a change at all."
"LOVE ALWAYS ANSWERS, being unable to deny a call for help, or not to hear the cries of pain that rise to it, from every part of this strange world you made, but do not want. The only effort you need make, to give this world away in glad exchange for what you did NOT make is willingness to learn THE ONE YOU MADE IS FALSE."
Recognizing the world for what it IS - a FALSE appearance of the absence of God, does not mean recognizing that it IS real or true. Recognizing the truth ABOUT the world, does not necessarily imply that the world IS true. Only that we are looking at it WITH truth and seeing it "truly", to find out ***IF*** it is true. Seeing what IS ACTUALLY there. But it is entirely possible that what is ACTUALLY there, IS AN ILLUSION, and NOT a reality.
"The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as Himself. Yet there is nothing in the world you see that will endure forever. Some things will last in time a little while longer than others. But the time will come when all things visible will have an end."
The world in fact ONLY exists as an illusory world. It is like a veil of shadows and darkness. It PRETENDS to be a world - a something. It is really, in truth, THE ABSENCE OF A WORLD. It is the seeming form that shadows take when light is blocked. It is ONLY the interior seeming contents and shifting patterns of the SHADOW cast by light's blockage. And as a result, the dark world is really ONLY an illusion. Believing it is real sin is a SECOND error designed to convert illusions into reality. This is like 3 levels.
1) Heaven/reality (no illusory world, only the world of light).
2) Illusory world regarded as unreal (true perception).
3) Illusory world regarded as real (false perception).
More to the point, the world is in fact, in its "true form", seen clearly and accurately, NOT a world made of "real sin", NOT a world that can cause anything to be threatened, but ONLY a world that IS FICTION. It is smoke and mirrors. It is the illusion that there is no light. It is MADE OF denial. It is the denial of existence, and so it denies ITS OWN existence.
"What denies its own existence and attacks itself is not of Him. He did not make two minds, with Heaven as the glad effect of one, and earth the other's sorry outcome which is Heaven's opposite in every way."
When the "lack of light", which can at most be an ILLUSION OF a lack of light, since light cannot be really lacking, is recognized for what it IS, it is NOT regarded as a "real" anything. It is not a real world, or a real darkness, or a real sin. Its TRUE nature is that it is an ABSENCE of anything real, and an illusion of LACK.
Like a shadow, the world then CANNOT LAST, IF the blocks to the awareness of light are removed. The world DEPENDS ON this "separation" in order to maintain its seeming existence. If you lift away the dark blockages and the denial, and the light comes in, the darkness IS GONE. This is because darkness can ONLY SEEM to exist PROVIDED light seems to be absent. It is a lack, and not a presence. Forgiving it brings light in, and makes the world GO AWAY.
"A world forgiven cannot last. It was the home of bodies. But forgiveness looks past bodies."
The darkness does not TURN INTO light either. Light shines it AWAY, because darkness is just a sort of fictional label we give to "the part that seems lacking". A name for the lack ITSELF. But lack is not a positive creation, it is more like a "hole" in creation. A seeming place where light was not allowed to enter. A place where God was not allowed to dwell. Where life was denied.
When the light comes, that which is the absence of light and not the presence of darkness, SIMPLY DISAPPEARS. It at first appears to become lighter, because light is beginning to REPLACE it. It seems to be a mixture of darkness and light. It brightens and sparkles and seems fresh and new. Sin is lifted from it, guilt is removed from it, and REALITY IS WITHDRAWN from it.
"If you give no power to the fog to obscure the light, it HAS none, for it has power ONLY because the Son of God gave power TO it. He must HIMSELF withdraw that power, remembering that all power is of God."
BUT, at the same time, the presence of the darkness is decreasing, BECAUSE the light is increasing. The LACK of light is going away. "Miracles supply a lack." As such, anything "made of darkness", or which was really merely the ILLUSION that darkness was present, is now shown to have been really NOT the presence of ANYTHING. Like it was just some dream that passed by. And so the shadow world now simply FADES OUT and vanishes and disappears and is gone forever, leaving NO TRACE. In truth, it WAS NEVER REALLY ANYTHING.
"The old one has left no trace upon it in its passing."
"An unremembered world will leave no trace behind its going, when God's gifts have been accepted as the only thing you want."
"Idols MUST disappear, and leave no trace behind their going."
This is why ACIM teaches that "there is no world." The world, Earth, this planet, this physicality, is NOTHING pretending to be something. It is nothing other than a ILLUSION of a world, made of the LACK OF A WORLD, due to the REJECTION of heaven, masquerading as existence. It is what you end up with, limited and withering and half dead, when you try to BLOCK LIFE. It is a world of DEATH. It is made OF death and HAS no life.
"Without the idea of death, there is no world."
"There IS no life outside of Heaven."
"Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is NOT in Heaven is not ANYWHERE. Outside of Heaven (in the "darkness"), only the conflict of illusions stands (illusion of light being absent); senseless, ***impossible***, and beyond ALL reason, and yet perceived as an eternal BARRIER to Heaven (interpreting the illusion of the lack of a world AS a SOLID world). Illusions ARE but forms. Their content is NEVER true."
"In ANY state apart from Heaven, life is illusion. At best, it SEEMS like life; at worst, like death. Yet both are judgments on what is NOT life, equal in their inaccuracy and lack of meaning. Life not in Heaven is impossible, and what is NOT in Heaven is not ANYWHERE."
"it merely seems to go to sleep a while. It dreams of time; an interval in which what seems to happen never has occurred, the changes wrought are substanceless, and all events are nowhere.
There is no world, ie there is no Earth, because at MOST it is comprised of and DEPENDS ON maintaining heaven's ABSENCE. It REJECTS reality. It is not compatible with life. And it has NO REAL PROPERTIES of its own. It is utterly slave to the shadow projection, dependent on the maintenance of blockages, and dwells SOLELY in denial. It cannot exist WHERE there is light.
"Only the body makes the world seem real, for being separate it could not remain where separation is impossible. "
As the awareness of the light increases, the LACK of light decreases. The illusion that light is not HERE lifts, like a veil. The veil of a "solid world" becomes transparent. Heavy sin and causation and evil are lifted FROM the illusory world, SO THAT it is not believed to be real. And the more light infuses where it seems to be, the LESS it can be seen. The world fade OUT, and heaven fades IN.
Eventually, upon opening up to the FULL experience of the light, the face of Christ appears, "Gone are bodies in the blazing light on the altar to the son of God.", the Earth is literally SHONE AWAY by the light and REPLACED AND UNDONE FOREVER, it literally DISAPPEARS, and its NOTHINGNESS is truly apparent. There then IS no world. There is ONLY light, and "Heaven is all that remains."
"Together we can watch the world disappear and its symbol vanish as it does so."
"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."
Earth is the ABSENCE of reality and the ABSENCE of heaven. It remains only so long as heaven is blocked. And once heaven shines, the world is shone away forever. When believing in real sin, earth reflects hell. When NOT believing in real sin, earth is recognized as a meaningless MIRROR in which heaven's LIGHT is temporarily reflected. And then the world VANISHES just as eternity is finally permitted its full expression, and where there was darkness now there is only light, and the world cannot be found.
This is why we are to be THE LIGHT of the world. This is why we are to see the REFLECTION of heaven's light ACROSS the CHAOS of the illusion of light's absence. And this is why ultimately the light itself will shine the world away completely.
"What SEEMS eternal all will have an end. The stars will disappear, and night and day will be no more. All things that come and go, the tides, the seasons, and the lives of man; all things that change with time and bloom and fade, will not return."
"The stars will disappear in light, and the sun, which opened up the world to beauty, will vanish. Perception will be meaningless, when it has been perfected. For everything that has been used for learning, will have no function. Nothing will ever change; no shifts nor shadings, no differences, no variations that made perception possible, will occur. The perception of the real world will be so short, that you will barely have time to thank God for it. For God will take the last step swiftly, when you have reached the real world, and have been made ready for Him."