The idea that the world is just a dream, may sound very simple. But to fully and completely embrace it is a very tall order. If the world is just a dream, it changes your ENTIRE relationship to everything, to all people and object and events and places. Every single happening is framed differently, every interaction has a different meaning, and every piece of physical matter is up for question.
To accept this idea intellectually is very easy. It makes a lot of sense. If you can see the logic behind it, that we made this world as an opposite to God, and is therefore not real, you can accept that as making sense.
But to live it, to deep dive into it, to apply it everywhere and at all times, to remember it in the midsts of all happenings, to use it in all relationships, and to completely uproot all previous beliefs is long term challenge.
For me, the seemingly logical and clear conclusion that the world is not real, has become so refined and polished that I can see nothing to contradict it. Like, it makes total sense on paper. However, I still have a vast repository of "other beliefs" which have been convinced otherwise over time.
Beliefs in bodies being real. Beliefs in being a body. Beliefs in other people being bodies. Beliefs in events happening. Beliefs in seriousness and importance. Beliefs in value and priorities and hierarchies of difficulty. Beliefs in justified reactions and ego emotions and normality and human nature. All of those things scream that the world is real.
So what I find is that although I understand it in theory, my mind and beliefs still are quite uncertain about this idea. I go towards it a little more only to find other beliefs springing up into awareness saying, "but what about....". And every SINGLE one of those beliefs is rooted in the belief that the world is reality. The basic opposite premise of the dream. Each one of them signals and testifies that this is not just a dream.
So the mind then finds itself pulled in two directions. One direction pulls toward the seemingly glowing new "idea" or light, that it's true the world is just a dream and nothing is happening and no-one has ever sinned. And the other direction pulls towards the old worn out darkness of nightmares and hell, that there is sin everywhere and no hope for salvation.
"Some of your greatest advances YOU have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats YOU have evaluated as success."
"If you want to be different, I will wait until you change your mind. I can teach you, but only you can choose to listen to my teaching."
I will go towards the light of the truth, and the ego mind will go into doubt, which is fear. It will say, but what about this, and what about that.... there will be an uncertainty and a "not sure about this" and a "can this really be true?". There is a DIS-BELIEF.
"Ultimately, space is as meaningless as time. Both are merely beliefs. The real purpose of this world is to use it to correct your unbelief."
And the fact is that EVERY single opposition to the truth has to be uprooted and corrected and dispelled in order to have NO OBJECTIONS to accepting the atonement. If there is even a slight reason why you might not trust the truth, or suspect that it is false, or have a slight confusion about whether it is true or false, then you will not whole-heartedly accept the salvation it offers. Atonement can only be fully accepted through TOTAL willingness and certainty.
So I keep "naturally" checking and re-checking, looking at what the course says, reminding myself of its facts, re-considering the possibility that I might be mistaken about this new idea. I can't help but be "open minded" about the possibility that it is WRONG, because my ego already believes it is wrong and this pulls me into entertaining its possibility. And until I am wholly certain of its truth, which has to run VERY deeply and fully, this will keep happening.
"Until this distinction is made, however, the vacillations between free and imprisoned will cannot but continue."
These vacillations are to be expected for anyone who is attempting to awaken from the dream. If the world IS a dream and we have been believing it is NOT a dream, but a reality, then our entire way of believing and thinking and perceiving is going to have to go through a 180-degree transformation. Or as Jesus puts it, the upside-down thought system has to be turned right-side up, and that means nothing short of a complete reversal of your thought system and "world view".
Reversing your thought system WILL entail nothing less than realizing that everything you thought was what you did NOT want, you want. Everything you thought was evil, is good. Everything you thought was good, is evil. And all ego beliefs which claim a lie are actually claiming something else. It requires a tremendous sorting out of what is TRUE and what is FALSE, and in this endeavor you WILL be mistaken throughout the process. Which is why it requires a little willingness to consider the possibility that something else might be true, beyond what you currently believe.
I approach and I retreat. I get closer to accepting and then the ego fear pops up. I use the confusion as an opportunity to find more clarity, and then advance forward again. Each time becoming a little and more convinced, not just in theory but in practice, in direct experience, of the world's unreality. Because if what ACIM says is true, then "awareness of dreaming" and "the body is a dream" must become my new reality, before I can go home to God.
One thing is for sure, the road home to God is winding with spluttering false starts and lurches and gradual progress."I can but choose to wander off a while, and then return. Your loving Voice will always call me back, and guide my feet aright.""He will return and go still farther, or perhaps step back a while and then return again."
"Let us return the dream he gave away unto the dreamer, who perceives the dream"
"The Second Coming is merely the return of sense."