There is a non-duality model which is frequently projected on ACIM's teachings. It suggests that in truth there is only "one", and that in the separation from God many individuals were formed. This however is very unlike what ACIM actually says when you go read it.
ACIM's teaching is that God created many individual beings - souls - who also share everything simultaneously. This comprises the sonship, which is a permanent family of living beings who each have their own self and yet share identity through the Christ mind, creating as one. Individuality was given to each soul/mind and therefore everyone has a real self. It is not a "blob" of one being sitting there all alone. It is a community.
In the separation from God, it was not an event where individuality was invented. It was an event where pre-existing individuals tried to be selfish. They didn't want to share everything with everyone, so they tried to separate themselves off. They became selfish, hoarding, possessive, owning, isolating, exclusive, special and rejecting of others.
The separation then was a breakdown in communication or a disruption of the family unit of the sonship. It's where some individuals became "the separated ones", by freely choosing individually to not share with others. It was like an attempt to rebel against the family and go off on their own as prodigal sons. But there is nothing about being a prodigal son that deletes you from existence when you return home.
What actually happened in the separation was you attempted to reject your wholeness and your self and your family. You tried to stop sharing with your permanent brothers. You wanted some special favor from God, which he would give you alone and not anyone else. It was simply an attitudinal problem, one of selfishness, and not an issue of trying to be an individual."The ego is the idea of selfishness."
Selfishness is an attitude. You can have a person who is an individual who shares, and you can have the same person who adopts a selfish attitude. Just because you're being selfish doesn't mean you suddenly invent an individuality.
In the separation, in denying our shared identity and family coherence, we actually tried to deny that we had a self. The ego is the idea of self denial, repression, hiding and withdrawal. It was an attempt to reject your self and to not be a self. In fact the ego idea even takes it so far as to try to eradicate your self entirely, which is why it is so murderous and always has the goal of the death of the sons of God in mind.
In death the ego reports that it is triumphant in erasing your self and removing your individuality. It is in death that you stop being an individual or having a self at all. Death is the attempt to destroy who and what you really are. And death is not about the production of an individual life, it's about ending it.
This also means that when you go in the opposite direction towards heaven, towards eternal life, you are moving away from the lack of individuality, towards individuality. Towards having a self. It's a movement back towards the family of God and towards the sonship and your equal brothers. It's a reintegration of self and a return to wholeness. It's a reclaiming of your identity and a recognizing that you do exist as an individual being. As a soul.
Jesus also states in the course that as you awaken, your sense of self actually expands, becoming more full and complete. This doesn't mean you are simply returning to one big blob in the sky, it means you are returning to being yourself. And the goal of the course is to "know thyself."
So in fact the traditional models of individuality are upside down. Especially in some eastern traditions which suggests that reality is no-self while illusion is self. This is completely backwards. The fact is that when you decide to try to reject your self, to deny your soul, you bring illusions of separation into your mind. Blocks and walls and grievances and attack thoughts etc enter the mind to try to cut down, isolate, narrow, limit, confine and section off who and what you are from the rest.
These walls and limits seem to form a restricted or reduced sense of self, surrounded with pictures of bodies and things that are too small to encompass what you really are, so that you'll believe that you are not the magnitude or scope of your unlimited self. And as you "identify with" these things, such as with the body, you believe that you are something small and little and cut off and separate. And this "bodily identity" in your mind forms a sense of who and what you are, which is a false sense of identity. But really it's a false IDENTIFICATION WITH something, not the invention of identity itself.
Those who are deceived, believe that this false sense of identity is their self. Such as believing you are your body. And it is this false sense of self which ends when you wake up to reality. It is this sense of being separated off and not sharing and not being whole, that ends. Which means you actually return to a greater fullness of self, more expansive and inclusive. You actually become full of self. You identity WITH your spiritual self and DIS-IDENTIFY from the false body."The soul is the idea of self fullness."
But self here does not mean selfishness, or an isolated self. It means a self that shares all of itself with other selves, in unity and oneness, as in having a real open and full relationship with all other individual beings in reality. God included.
So you have to then realize that ego is actually the attempted denial of your self and the denial of individuality. It's the attempt to suggest you do not exist and do not have any self and are dead. And just because this denial of self shows up as the seeming "presence" of an artificial identity, it does not mean that you have created an individuality. It's actually an ILLUSION OF an individual, which is ACTUALLY NOT an individual. Because remember the ego is always deceptive, being an illusion.
Your ego is really the absence of self, the absence of individuality, the suppression of personality, the denial of wholeness, and the rejection of being as God created you. The illusion of a separated off, selfish self, is undone as you awaken. This does not mean that your individuality is thrown out with the bathwater. What it means is that your individuality opens back up to sharing with the rest of your God-given family. It is actually a return to having a self. It is self acknowledgement, acceptance and awareness.
So when you have people teaching that ACIM is non-duality, or that you have no real self, or that you do not exist, or that you're supposed to deny yourself, or that your entire identity is going to just disappear someday, they are teaching absolute bullshit. They are teaching you that you do not exist, which is an ego teaching. It is an improper use of denial.
You're supposed to deny the DENIAL OF self, not deny that you have a self. You are to deny the ego, which is an illusion of a self, but which is actually the attempt to not have a self. You are to deny that you do not have a self. That is how you return to what you really are as a self in heaven. As an individual being which God created to share with others and co-create with Him.
"God who encompasses all being nevertheless created separate beings who have everything individually and want to share it to increase their joy."When you project these non-duality teachings onto ACIM and you start to claim that the path to enlightenment is self repression or self denial or "you don't exist" and trying to be so neutral and passive as if you don't even have a self at all, that is actually SELF DESTRUCTION, which is completely in accord with the ego. It is the ego attempting to be spiritual, in fact. The absolute pinnacle of the spiritualized ego is to deny that you exist, in the name of being spiritual and growing in size. It is arrogant and narcissistic and a mistake.
This is why ACIM's teaching is not the same as the teachings that people keep projecting onto it. It is not a non-duality teaching and it is NOT about trying to get rid of yourself. Remember you were created by God to HAVE a self in the first place. Your self is divine and holy and perfect. You also have equal brothers who are divine and holy and perfect, created by God as well. And you share everything with everyone always. That produces a perfect harmony of souls in the sonship who have and share everything with each other, as the family of God.
That is what is written in ACIM and that is what it teaches. That you had a self before the ego came along, and you will have a self again when the ego is erased. This is not a course in self destruction or repression of the sonship or the depressing argument of trying to not exist. You should not deny your soul, or you are denying reality. This is a course in awakening to who and what you are as created by God, as one of many of his beloved children in heaven.
All anti-individuality sentiment is therefore destructive and death-worshipping and depressing and a rejection of God's will. Ego does not mean or equate to individuality. It equates only to an ATTITUDE which an individual has that runs contrary to the sharing nature of the sonship. Removing the attitude problem does not have to entail you destroying yourself. You are in fact supposed to embrace yourself and your freedom and thank God that you have been given life to share with others forever.