The difference between horizontal and vertical perception

Monday, Sep 16, 2019 2785 words 12 mins 22 secs
An A Course in Miracles Blog  © 2019 Paul West

There is one reference to "vertical perception" in ACIM, as part of miracle principle 41. Jesus says:

"41. The miracle is a learning device which lessens the need for time. The sudden shifts from horizontal to vertical perception which the miracle entails introduces an interval from which the doer and the receiver both emerge much farther along in time than they would otherwise have been."

So he introduces this idea that there is a horizontally oriented way of perceiving, and a vertical way. The horizontal way is what you don't want, and the vertical way is what you should be trying to shift towards. But what are these two ways of perceiving?

Let's start by saying the world doesn't exist yet. You are designing a new world inside a computer. You're using some 3D software to model forms and objects and are placing them in a scene. Your intention is to create a 3D holographic movie of various CGI scenes, in which anything goes.

As far as you are concerned, as the director and editor, it's a level playing field. There are no inherent rules or laws as to what is possible or what can happen. There are no laws of physics set up. There are no limitations. Your imagination can run wild.

So you start designing this environment, composed of what seem to be models of objects - cars, buildings, bodies etc. But simply by putting them in the scene, nothing happens. They just sit there. Nothing causes anything. There are no consequences. There are no laws. There are no forces of repulsion or gravity or collisions between things. Objects can exist in the same space overlapping even. There are no chemical reactions. No biological processes.

From this perspective, which we'll call "vertical" or "above the battlefield", you are in a position of vertical causality. The level you are on is ABOVE the level of the world you're making below. Whatever you decide, happens. So if you decide to move one of the models of a car, the car moves. It can't move on its own. But moving it doesn't do anything. There are no effects or limits. You can even move one car to overlap another car, without anything happening. But let's say you want to make it SEEM as if there is a car crash. What do you do?

Well, you're first going to have to CAUSE there to be a scene with two cars in it. You're going to have to cause the two cars to SEEM to move. They will not be moving as a result of having an engine, that's just a pretend engine "for show". Your mind is going to determine where the cars are. You can even pick up the cars and plonk them down somewhere else, or make them float in the air, with no regard for any laws of physics. So you deliberately move both cars in what appears to be a direction towards each other, on a fake road, pretending they are "driving" and making "broom boom" sounds like children at play.

When the cars approach and seem like they should "crash", nothing's going to happen. They'll pass through each other. So you have make up some fictional "laws of physics". You make up some rules which suggest, when this car touches the other car, it will SEEM as if they push into each other, "causing" a crash. One car might be thought of as SEEMING to "cause the crash". But this is entirely illusory. It's on purpose. The car does nothing. The mind that causes EVERYTHING about the car, causes what seems to be the crash.

The director - the true causer - is deciding that car A will crash into car B. And the director also has to deliberately model the way car B will deform to make it LOOK AS IF car A's impact caused bodily damage. So when you now "play the scene", it's going to SEEM as if it's an animation in which the two cars move towards each other on a road - under their seeming own power - not seeing the hidden hand of the director - and collide. Car B seems to become damaged, and it looks like car A was the cause. But it's just an illusion. Everything that happens is orchestrated from above. Did you fall for it?

You know better. You know that NEITHER of the cars has any causal power. You know from this vertical position, looking down on the whole scene from above, as the director, who can pull all the strings and change anything at will, even changing or breaking the laws of physics, that it's NOT TRUE OR REAL that car A crashes into car B. But based on appearances, viewed through a camera (the body's eyes), it SEEMS as if car A causes damage to car B. The camera frames the scene just right to make it seem believable.

This is because when you look at the scene through the camera, which ONLY looks at the **end result** of the director's work, the body's eyes do NOT see that the entire scene is fabricated, they do NOT see that if the director so chooses the car will not be damaged, they do NOT see that there are strings being pulled to create the ILLUSION of laws of physics, and they do NOT see that the movement of both cars is being orchestrated by the ACTUAL CAUSE, the mind. All the laws of physics are EFFECTS, not causes.

Even the damage to car B cannot occur without the higher level mind causing it. It is NOT caused by car A. The illusion that car A has causal power is AN ILLUSION! It's "causality" is ONCE REMOVED from what the REAL cause is. And taken at face value, the body is "blinded by perception of form" and appearances, not looking past them and not seeing the trickery and lies that are producing this illusion. And so it is tempted and deceived by what it sees.

So at the level of the world, which is the scene containing the objects, viewed through the body as the camera, looking at the props and taking them to be not only real but the FIRST ORIGIN OF CAUSALITY, your body assumes there is no other cause that CAME BEFORE, no prior or higher cause, no bigger picture, no author, no orchestration of the world, no secret agenda, no plot to deceive, and just takes it at face value. It thinks then that the car ITSELF had causal power. And now there's reason to blame the car for "causing it".

Seeing the scene this way, is what we call FALSE PERCEPTION. The entire physical world IS FALSE. All the objects are false. ALL the laws of physics are false. ALL of it is a lie. It's a movie set. Every apparent "horizontal causality", where it seems something on this level in the world CAUSES something, or is the true origin or chooser of something, creates the illusion that the world has real consequences, causal power, makes things happen on its own, and isn't being run by a deeper, hidden author.

The DREAMER - the director of all things that happen - goes unnoticed and hidden behind the scenes. He is the cause of the "causes" in the world. He is the one deciding that all objects move. He is the one making up the laws. HE is the one deciding what SEEMS to affect what. HE makes both the causes and the effects that we see as being on the same level. He orchestrates all events and has power OVER everything.

He can also BREAK all the laws and consistencies and illusions of the world through his seemingly "miraculous" freedom and transcending of all illusions. He can rewrite the world. He can make mountains move in an instant. He can reverse death. He can make a pretend body seem to walk on pretend water, as if gravity were total nonsense. He MADE UP gravity, and is not bound by it. He MADE what we call sickness and death, and can ABOLISH both. He is the director. He has the power to dominate all things in the world. There is NOTHING his holiness cannot do. His mind has the power to make WORLDS appear!

To those on the horizontally perceiving level, who are living within the context of ASSUMING the world is real and causal, when the awakened dreamer - a miracle worker - decides to CHANGE the dream in a way that BREAKS the normal order and laws, having shifted into vertical perception, and EXPRESSING a vertical causality, SEEMS to be doing things which are "impossible".

He seems to be breaking the laws of physics. He's walking on water, he's multiplying objects, he's cancelling death, he's curing all sickness, he's moving mountains with his mind, and seems completely unlimited by anything in the world. To those asleep, he appears miraculous. Yet he is just being natural. He is in touch with the power to cause and choose, under NO LAWS but God's. Those fixated on the body's world see him as OUTSIDE what's possible. He breaks their reality. And they do not understand how he can do this.

When you are believing everything the body sees, which is an illusion, the illusory world of form, you are having "horizontal perception". It's the same thing as false perception. And everything in the world, all objects, all laws, are what you see when you are only looking through the camera which was designed on purpose to NOT SEE the secret behind-the-scenes activities. The body fixates only on the story, the appearance, and the illusion. The end result or effect. The dream. "Only the body makes the world seem real."

To horizontal perception, ie false perception, everything in the world seems to be lined up side by side. Like in a crowd of people. All horizontally spaced out. And so if one of the bodies is sick, and dies, the appearance is that not only is the sickness and death "reality", there is also a strong BELIEF IN (being deceived by) these appearances. The divisions between things make the body's appearances seem very tangible and pronounced. Differences are emphasized, so as to blind you to the deeper truth.

Someone operating on the level of false perception believes that sickness is real, death really happens, the world is dangerous, people sin in bodies, stuff is attackable, there are causes to be afraid of, we are victimized by the world, and are at the effect of the world. To them, the FORM of differences are very strongly deceptive, bodies all seem different, problems seem different, and the world is highly fragmented. What the body sees is believed. And then all kinds of coping strategies arise from that perception of horrors.

To move into "vertical perception" ie true perception, you're not merely going upwards above the battlefield and still perceiving in a horozontal way, you're moving OUTSIDE of horizontal causality and seeing from an entirely different perspective. Outside of the laws of space and time and physics. You're lifting up out of the illusory world, the story, the fictional movie. You're taking your perception OUT of the role of "character in a dream", and becoming aware that YOU ARE THE DREAMER. You are that one who MADE the world, made the bodies, made the planets, and invented all the laws. And you recognize you have been "doing it to yourself" - which is the secret of salvation.

You made up bodies, made up a world, made up laws, made up scenarios, forgot who you were, believed YOUR MOVIE was orchestrating YOUR life, that your scene had causal power over you, that you were now a character IN the movie, a body - the hero of the dream, and thought the dream was happening to "you". You lost touch with your vertical causality, the fact you are directing the whole thing from above, and that you are under NO LAWS BUT GOD's!

Your "miraculous" freedom FROM all causality and laws on the horizontal level, allows you to perform "miracles" - or rather, expressions of vertical causality, which BREAK AND DEFY these "second hand" "once removed" causes. Illusions of causes and illusions of laws are nothing to a miracle worker, who recognizes there is no order of difficulty because ALL of the lower orders are at YOUR effect, including what seem to be causes. You are free from all limitations. The hierarchy of illusion is FLAT to you. ALL illusions are the same. Raising the dead is no harder than healing a headache.

From the higher vantage point of vertical perception, looking down on the WHOLE scene from above, the distracting ILLUSION of appearances is SEEN THROUGH. The spiritual eye, Christ vision, looks PAST the movie set. It sees all the props and cameramen and sound crew. It reads between the lines. It sees the glue holding the scene together. It sees the light of the room in which the movie is being edited.

It does not BELIEVE FOR A MOMENT anything that the appearance of the movie would say is true. It doesn't even buy that physical objects are even really there. It pays no attention to appearances of form, shapes, colors, sizes, distances, weights, laws, or supposed differences of any kind. It has the VISION to SEE the WHOLE scene, including all hidden parts and mechanisms and trickery. It recognizes it is all an illusion. It is not DECEIVED by anything at the level of the world. Vertical perception is inclusive, horizontal perception is exclusive.

Mind is cause. World is effect/dream. Mind being causal is vertically positioned above the world. Everything below, in the world, is an illusion of horizontal causality. Nothing about the world is TRUE. Believing it is false perception. When you are in true perception you do not REGISTER the illusions of differences between things. Bodies are not separate. Objects are not real. There is a subtle connectedness that you didn't see before. A light which sparkles between things. A glue which you become aware of. A sparkling unity and sameness that seems to be behind everything.

A vertically perceived world is a forgiven world. Being aware of ALL the information about the scene is awareness of the real world. You cease to project sin and guilt and fear and death onto the scene. These arise only from false perceptions. You don't see it from a horizontal vantage point. You ignore the eyes of the body. You know that nothing in the world is real, so nothing is sick, and nothing is dying, and everything is one thing.

You see death as not an end, at the end of a horizontal linear sequence, but as a dipping DOWN from a higher level to a lower level perception. As an immersion into falseness. And from above, you know death is TOTAL FICTION. Just some arrangement of fake particles that you DECIDED you would call death. Which can easily be rearranged and reanimated if you so choose. It's totally fake. Actors in a movie do not die when their character dies.

Here, above the battlefield, you know you cannot die. You are the author of the world. You are not a body. You are not the story. You make the rules. You can break them. And nothing in the world has any bearing on anything real. Death is now vertically no longer seen as an interruption, but as merely another form of objects on par with all others. Just an effect you have power over. You can choose not to make it happen.

Dead bodies, living bodies, they are all illusions. They have NO inherent meaning. The world has no inherent meaning. You give it all the meaning it has when you design it, projecting made-up stories onto it. The world is nothing but fiction. You are not bound or limited by any of it. You are free. The director of a movie is not bound by ANYTHING that seems to happen. And edits can be made at any time. You have power over the world, because you are its cause.

"W-pI.190.5. It is your thoughts alone that cause you pain. 2 Nothing external to your mind (horizontal) can hurt or injure you in anyway. 3 There is no cause (at the horizontal level) beyond yourself (who are above it) that can reach down and bring oppression. 4 No one but yourself affects you. (from above) 5 There is nothing in the world (below) that has the power to make you ill or sad, or weak or frail. 6 But it is you who have the power to dominate all things you see (as director, author, dreamer, law-maker) by merely recognizing what you are (from a position vertically aligned above the world)."

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