In the separation from God, we introduced an idea of "separateness" into wholeness. We believed it was possible for there to be a lack of wholeness. This produced the idea of "over here" and "over there", each distinct and different and seeming to lack the some part of the whole, setting them apart.
This laid the foundation for both space and time - notions that what is here is not there, or what is there lacks what is here. And so each seeming part of it seems to have a different form, a partial collection of attributes which sets them apart from each other. And neither has everything.
"You who believe that God is fear made but ONE substitution. It has taken many forms, because it was the substitution of fragmentation for wholeness." And then we continued to subdivide and split the mind. We tried to assign certain collections of properties, aspects, characteristics, to some parts, and others to the rest. To break wholeness into seeming isolated chunks of form.
Each part took on a different form and meaning. Various forms or examples or versions of the same one error of separateness. This caused a multitude of differences to seem to appear, each held apart from the rest and separated out as if many things.
This inevitably produced an entire universe of many "forms of error", where each object or body is different to the rest. Each lacks what the others have, rooted in sacrifice and limitation. Not one is whole, and every one is partial.
And so each form appears to comprise different materials, shapes, structures, behaviors, colors, textures and appearances. From these scattered fragments of illusion, entire worlds seemed to arise, each unlike the others and unique in its appearance. Including every human body and every atom.
An illusion is the appearance that something is other than what it actually is - seeming to be something it is not. The single idea of separation, the one problem, shows up as multiple things and multiple problems. It is really one thing, but separateness leads to many forms. And every form is an illusion that the one error is many errors.
Each form says, "look at the ways I am not the same as the rest". And so as one form pulls itself away from sameness, another form does the same. And the two forms try to disguise the fact they are one thing.
And now each form seems to vie for attention. Every form is different, and therefore in conflict and competition. Some are larger, smaller, more or less important, more or less valuable, more or less serious, more or less difficult to deal with.
And now we have an entire hierarchy of illusions, from the gigantic to the tiny, and everything in between. The form that each form takes deceives by distracting you with its claim that it is not like the rest. My car is not a house. My boat is not an airplane. My trousers are not shoes. My ice cream is not a burger.
Every form is designed to assert a deception, a temptation, an illusion, that if its form is real and true, then it IS NOT the other things. This was founded in the simple premise that this world is NOT reality, or the negation of God, and so everything appears to be NOT the rest.
If you believe it, you are deceived. Because every form is a form of deception, an illusion that a singular idea of separation is many things.
One part says, I am not like the other part. Look at how I am different. Look at my different shape, color, size and makeup. Look at what sets me apart. Look at what I have which the other lacks. Look at our differences. Look how we are separate and not the same at all.
And to believe this is to be completely blinded to the the truth. Because if you fall for this and take sides, if you come to prefer one form over another, or think they are truthfully unique and valuable, then you have fallen for the ONE temptation of the world.
Every form is a lie. Every physical object and every body is a lie. Every planet and every star and galaxy is a lie. They are all designed to hide and disguise the one single illusion of separation.
So long as you are caught up in a life where the worshipping of DIFFERENCES prevails, where you prefer some forms over others, where you think that two things are not THE SAME, you are deceived and blinded. There is nothing so blinding as to fixate your vision on the perception of FORM, making the separation real.
The body's eyes look only upon the forms of error. Only the body makes the world seem real. Its fixation on differences, changes, inequalities and comparisons, blinds you to seeing any kind of singular truth. It sees a world of a billion truths, none making any sense or meaning anything at all. The whole message of ACIM is that we need to transition AWAY from a world of differences, towards wholeness. To repair the sense of fragmentation in the mind and restore singular oneness.
This requires seeing THROUGH the deception of form, and not believing it. Not believing that a car and a house are real differences. Not believing that a living body and a dead body are real differences. Not believing that some objects are more important or valuable than others. Realizing that we gave the world of forms ALL the meanings that they have.
To flatten the hierarchy of illusions is to recognize that ALL illusions are one illusion. A single error presents itself to you in every conceivable form of deception. If you buy into it, you think there is an order of difficulty, where some things are harder to deal with or change than others.
To recognize there IS no hierarchy, is to recognize that all forms are the SAME. That every form of suffering is the SAME. That every form of sickness and death and life is the SAME. That there is ONE thing here, not many. That the manyness and the differences are entirely untrue. That one thing is sneakily showing up as a massive multitude to HIDE its true nature of being just one thing.
This is why there is really only one lesson the Holy Spirit teaches, that ALL FORMS of suffering have a SINGLE cause. This is why the workbook lessons have us NOT be selective in which forms we apply things to, so that we will learn that forms are meaningless decoys. This is why we are to recognize there is ONE problem not many. And this is why there is ONE truth and ONE law and ONE atonement.
Every form that the world takes is a lie. Every time it says you should want this form or that form, it is trying to get you to take sides. Every time you take sides there is war. Every difference of form IS conflict. Everything you see with the body IS conflicted, with objects vying for attention, some nearer some further, some louder some quieter, some more "appealing" than others.
All of this is ONE thing, one effort, one scheme, to TEMPT you to believe in the differences so that you will not recognize they are ALL THE SAME. That this whole world is entirely unreal. That not one form is more real or important or valuable than another. That there aren't billions of choices, there is only one choice.
ALL illusory forms are like two characters who act and speak and present themselves differently to try to create the illusion that they are not ONE actor. The mind is ONE actor, taking on the role of multiple simultaneous parts, pitted against each other. So long as you do not recognize that ONE mind is playing ALL the roles, of both victim and victimizer, you will be deceived by form.
In a world of forms, all the forms are untrue. Not one of them IS reality. And none of them show you what is true. To see only physical form is to see nothing but error and sin. True vision will show you that their many appearances are lies, and that there is a singular truth behind them. We are addicted to a world of forms, believing in specialness and made-up values. Made-up worth. Made-up importance. Goals and toys and special jobs and relationships and things you want and things you don't want.
All designed to keep you locked into a hell of form and separation. To keep you tempted that the next big thing will save you. That the next form the illusion takes will be the one you've always wanted. So that you never realize NONE of them are true, NONE of them are real, and NONE of them are what you really want.
That without deception, lies, falsehood and temptation, there is NO WORLD HERE AT ALL. Without form, there is no planet and no body. And behind all forms is the one lie that started it all, which the world of forms was made to hide - that separation is even possibe.
"A problem can appear in MANY forms, and it will do so while the problem lasts."
"It is not a thought which judges an illusion by its size, its seeming gravity, or anything that is related to the form it takes. It merely focuses on what it is, and knows that no illusion can be real."
"For how can one illusion differ from another but in attributes which have no substance, no reality, no core, and nothing that is truly different?"
"Today's idea is another giant stride in the perception of the same as the same, and the different as different. On one side stand all illusions. All truth stands on the other."
"Illusions battle ONLY with themselves. Being fragmented, they fragment."
"Illusions CAN conflict, because their forms ARE different. And they do battle ONLY to establish which FORM is true."
"The meeting of illusions leads to war."
"EVERY illusion is an assault on truth."
"Bodies may battle, but the clash of forms is meaningless."
"The gap is carefully concealed in fog, and misty pictures rise to cover it with vague, uncertain forms and changing shapes, forever unsubstantial and unsure. Yet in the gap is NOTHING."
"The thought of sacrifice gives rise to all the forms that suffering appears to take."
"Sickness takes many forms, and so does unforgiveness. The forms of one but reproduce the forms of the other, for they are the same illusion."
"For time and space are ONE illusion, which takes different forms."
"The dream is but illusion in the mind."
"The forms the broken pieces seem to take mean nothing."
"Your sleeping and waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. THEIR CONTENT IS THE SAME. They are your protest AGAINST reality, and your fixed and insane wish to CHANGE it."
"You are so used to choosing between dreams, you do not see that you have made, at last, the choice between the truth and ALL ILLUSIONS."
"This course attempts to teach no more than that the power of decision cannot lie in choosing different forms of what is still the SAME illusion and the SAME mistake."
"Death is a thought which takes on many forms, often unrecognized."
"Whatever form it takes must therefore be illusion."
"Those who are special MUST defend illusions against the truth."
"Guilt ASKS FOR punishment, and its request is granted. NOT in truth, but in the world of shadows and illusions BUILT on sin."
"What is perceived takes many forms, but NONE has meaning. Brought to truth, its senselessness is quite apparent."
"Yet has God given Answer to the world of sickness, Which applies to ALL its forms."
"NO illusion has ANY truth in it. Yet it appears some are MORE true than others, although this clearly makes no sense at all. All that a hierarchy of illusions can show is PREFERENCE, NOT reality."
"What relevance has preference to the truth? Illusions are illusions, and are false."
"Illusions HAVE no witnesses, and no effects. Who looks on them is but deceived."
"The first chaotic law is that the truth is different for everyone. Like all these principles, this one maintains that each is separate, and has a different set of thoughts which SETS HIM OFF from others. This principle evolves from the belief there is a hierarchy of illusions; some are MORE valuable, and THEREFORE true."
"For this establishes degrees of TRUTH among illusions, making it appear that some are HARDER to be overcome than others."
"Outside of Heaven, only the conflict of illusions stands; senseless, impossible, and beyond ALL reason, and yet perceived as an eternal BARRIER to Heaven. Illusions ARE but forms. Their content is NEVER true."
"The laws of chaos govern ALL illusions. Their forms conflict, making it SEEM quite possible to value some above the others."
"This illusion can take many forms."
"Forgiveness is the only thing that stands for truth in the illusions of the world. It sees their nothingness, and looks right through the thousand forms in which they may appear. It looks on lies but it is not deceived. It does not heed the self-accusing shrieks of sinners mad with guilt. It looks on them with quiet eyes, and merely says to them, "My brother, what you think is not the truth.""
"The strength of pardon is its honesty, which is so uncorrupted that it sees illusions as illusions, not as truth."
"The dreaming of the world takes many forms, because the body seeks in many ways to PROVE it is autonomous and real."
"Though the dream itself takes many forms, and SEEMS to show a great variety of places and events wherein its "hero" finds itself, the dream has but ONE purpose, taught in many ways."
"Bring, then, all forms of suffering to Him Who knows that every one is like the rest. He sees NO differences where none exist, and He will teach you how each one is CAUSED. None has a DIFFERENT cause from all the rest, and ALL of them are easily undone by but a SINGLE lesson truly learned."
"Not once do the advanced teachers of God consider the forms of sickness in which their brother believes."
"The gap that is not there is filled with toys in countless forms."
"The body's eyes see ONLY form. They cannot see BEYOND what they were MADE to see. And they were made to look on error, and NOT see past it. Theirs is indeed a strange perception, for they can see ONLY illusions, unable to look beyond the granite block of sin, and stopping at the outside FORM of nothing. To this distorted form of vision, the OUTSIDE of everything, the wall that stands between you and the truth, is wholly true."
"Only MISTAKES have different forms, and so they CAN deceive. You CAN change form, BECAUSE it is not true. It COULD not be reality, BECAUSE it can be changed. Reason will tell you that, if form is NOT reality, it MUST be an illusion. And is Not THERE to see. And, IF you see it, you MUST be mistaken, for you are seeing what can NOT be real, as if it WERE. What cannot see BEYOND what is not there, MUST be distorted perception. And must perceive illusions AS THE TRUTH. Could it, then, RECOGNIZE the truth?"
"You are advancing to love's MEANING, and away from ALL illusions in which you have surrounded it."
"You who believe that God is fear made but ONE substitution. It has taken many forms, because it was the substitution of fragmentation for wholeness. It has become splintered and subdivided and divided again, over and over, that it is now almost impossible to perceive it once was one, and still IS what it was. That ONE error, which brought truth to illusion, infinity to time, and life to death, was all you ever made. Your whole world rests upon it. Everything you see reflects it. And every special relationship you ever made is PART of it."
"Temptation has ONE lesson it would teach, in ALL its forms, WHEREVER it occurs."
"Elusive happiness, or happiness in changing forms that shift with time and place, is an illusion that has no meaning."
"Never foster this illusion in yourself, or encourage it in others. An "object" is incapable of release, because it is a concept which is deprived of creative power."
"What is seen as "reality" is simply what the mind prefers. Its hierarchy of values is projected outward, and it sends the body's eyes to find it."
"All that a hierarchy of illusions can show is PREFERENCE, NOT reality."
"Fear is the emotion of the world. It has but one. Its forms are many - call them what you will - but it is one in content."
"See how the body's eyes rest on externals, and CANNOT go beyond. Watch how they STOP at nothingness, unable to go BEYOND the form to meaning. ... Nothing so blinding as perception of form. For sight of form MEANS understanding HAS BEEN obscured."
"Before a holy relationship, there IS no sin. The FORM of error is no longer seen."