The world is meaningless and nothing in itself
"Heaven remains your one alternative to this strange world you made" .... "earth the other's sorry outcome which is Heaven's opposite in every way".
We made this world, the physical world, complete with stars and galaxies and planets and bodies, in an attempt to be COMPLETELY OPPOSITE to God's reality. It therefore HAS to have the properties that are OPPOSITE to God.
Heaven is everything, and so the world you made LACKED EVERYTHING and IS therefore nothing. Heaven is entirely meaningful, and so the world you made LACKS ALL MEANING and is utterly meaningless. Heaven is reality, and so the world you made IS COMPLETELY UNREAL. Heaven exists, and so the world you made DOES NOT EXIST. Heaven is the truth, and so the world you made IS COMPLETELY FALSE. Heaven is all possibility, and so the world you made is IMPOSSIBLE.
So what you have ended up with is an imagined, hallucinated world, within your mind, which presents an illusion of a world. An image of a world which seems to be there, but isn't. Which seems to do things which are impossible in truth. And which seems to exist in some way, but still doesn't. It is a fiction, a dream, a make-believe wishful-thinking desire to have something be possible that isn't. As a result, "the world" in and of itself IS NOTHING AT ALL. It has NO meaning, NO truth, NO life, NO reality, NO power, NO will, NO mind, NOTHING AT ALL. And we're talking here about what the world IS, not about your interpretations and perceptions of it.
"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."
"We also have observed that man can create an empty shell, but cannot create nothing at all. This emptiness provides the screen for the misuse of projection."
In the separation we made "an empty shell", which has no inherent meaning or reality of its own, which becomes a seemingly "neutral screen", ONTO which we project meaning. This is because the world in and of itself has NO meaning and IS NOTHING. It can only act like a mirror to reflect back whatever meaning you GIVE to it.
"It is essential, therefore, that you learn to recognize the meaningless, and accept it without fear. If you are fearful, it is certain that you will endow the world with attributes which it does not possess, and crowd it with images that do not exist. To the ego illusions are safety devices, as they must also be to you who equate yourself with the ego." "That is all the world of the ego is. NOTHING. It has no meaning. It does not exist."
So what happened was, we made this NOTHING world, a meaningless empty mirror devoid of ANY meaning, good or bad. And then what we call "the ego", really the ATTEMPTED BELIEF that an opposite to God HAS the attributes of God, began to project ITS meanings onto the meaningless world. It wanted the world to be real, to have truth, to mean something, to be alive, to have power and mind and will, and to replace heaven as a real existence.
All of that was meaning PROJECTED ONTO the meaningless world by the ego in the mind. The belief in, or the desire to WANT the world to BE something it can never be, has pushed our minds into egoic states of insanity where we believe this world is reality.
We have fallen for illusions, given value to stuff that doesn't exist, have interpreted NOTHING as SOMETHING, have GIVEN the world meanings so that the forms of objects mean different things, we have decided that the world has power over us, and have tried to force it to act as if it is alive.
All in an attempt to turn what is really essentially NOTHING into something that seems like it really exists. We've tried to MAKE it be real, even though it can NEVER BE. By doing this, we've now failed to recognize that the world simply is still a "neutral mirror", or basically a NOTHINGNESS, which is empty in every way and lacks any kind of meaning. It is not positive, or negative. It is not light or dark. It is not evil or holy. It is not ANYTHING. It's not even really there at all. But we've tried to invest it with attributes of SOMETHING, whether it be that we've tried to give it ego attributes or holy attributes. And BOTH are incorrect, because it in and of itself IS NOT THERE.
"Earth can reflect (because it has no truth of its own) Heaven or hell; God or the ego."
"To see a SINLESS body is impossible. For holiness is POSITIVE, and the body is merely neutral. It is NOT sinful, but neither is it sinless. ***As nothing, which it IS, the body cannot meaningfully be invested with attributes of Christ OR of the ego.*** EITHER must be an error, for both would place the attributes where they cannot BE. And BOTH must be undone, for purposes of truth."
"What is meaningless is neither good nor bad. Why, then, should a meaningless world upset you? If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy. But because it is meaningless, you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be. It is this you see in it. It is this that is meaningless in truth."
"All these attributes are given it by you. The world is meaningless in itself."
"I am looking at a meaningless world."
So Jesus is really trying to get us to realize that "the world" is in fact absolutely utterly NOTHING. It is not this or that, or up or down, or good or bad, or anything. That ANY kind of judgement about it is wrong. That even trying to assign it positive meanings is invalid. It can't BE holy, because it doesn't exist. It can't BE given life, because it cannot be eternal. It isn't an evil hell, nor is it a heaven. It is an empty lifeless nothing mirror in which you see, at best, a REFLECTION of what YOU PUT THERE TO SEE. It can REFLECT heaven, but it cannot ever BE heaven.
This is where perception comes in. Or rather, projection makes perception. Your mind is always projecting something. If it projects from ego then it GIVES the meaningless world EGO meanings, and this somewhat transforms the NOTHING world into a "hell on earth" kind of experience. It makes the world a nightmare for you because your mind is now ASSIGNING all kinds of unnatural, inappropriate, incorrect meanings to everything you see.
This in turn makes the world SEEM dark and foreboding and frightening and dangerous. It sets up a hierarchy of illusions in which different forms seem to have different meanings or importance or severity. And now your whole experience of a NOTHING WORLD transforms into a NEGATIVE experience of hellish nightmares, victimhood, victory, and everything in between.
The whole of ACIM is geared towards lifting AWAY these projected false meanings that you've "given to everything you see", so that you stop trying to turn NOTHING into SOMETHING. Which really is the definition of making mountains out of molehills - creating drama from nothing at all.
Jesus is then saying that if you lift away from the world all of the ego meaning, sin, attack, giult, fear etc, that you PUT ONTO IT unnaturally, then a light will shine in your mind from the Holy Spirit which will "light up" the meaningless world, and you will GIVE IT A HAPPY MEANING.
This happier meaning, aligned with God, is in turn STILL an illusion and a projection of meaning. The world is GIVEN a sense of innocence, purity, love, etc. Not because it HAS that, and not because it is inherent to it. In fact the world is STILL NOTHING. But your mind is able to "bless it" with the giving of love, so that what you "see in it" is a REFLECTION of the love you gave.
You then look upon "what you made" with forgiving eyes, and see the forgiven world. Not a world that's REAL or TRUE, but a REFLECTION in a MEANINGLESS world that is shining back at you the light that you are PUTTING there to see in it. This is how "God is in everything I see because God is in my mind", NOT because God is in the world or as the world.
And eventually this will give way to the complete DISAPPEARING OF THE MIRROR as "the world" disappears in light and is no more. It never was really anything to begin with. It has always been nothing and never really became anything. And so "the world was over long ago."
What this means for us is that in ACIM there is a very powerful and deep thread which basically says, the central lesson is, "there is no world." Not that the world is inherently anything, it is not hell or heaven, it can at best REFLECT them but cannot BE them. It's just an empty shell, a meaningless nothingness which, IF you invest it with belief, seems to become a "something" with real existence and life, but when seen truly, is RECOGNIZED as NOTHING AT ALL.
"The eyes of Christ look on a world forgiven. In His sight are all its sins forgiven, for He sees no sin in anything He looks upon."
"And as we look upon a world forgiven, it is He Who calls to us and comes to take us home, reminding us of our Identity Which our forgiveness has restored to us."
"A world forgiven cannot last. It was the home of bodies. But forgiveness looks past bodies. This is its holiness; this is how it heals."
The central core message then is simply this. The world is nothing at all. The body is nothing at all. There is no war. There is no death. There is no sickness. There is no attack. There is no sin. There is no guilt. There are no victims. There is no suffering. There is no unhappiness. There is no history of the human race. There is no space or time or galaxies. There are no civilizations of bodies. There are no cities or streets. There is no devouring nature. There is no decay or loss or deprivation or sacrifice. There is NOTHING HERE AT ALL.
It is only when we mistake this nothingness for SOMETHING, that we become upset. Now we have made it real and given it belief. Now we have confused it for having a life and mind and will of its own. Now we think the world we made as nothing, has become something, and has risen up out of nowhere to do something by a will of its own, against our will. And now we are victims and are afraid and suffering and dying at its hand. And now we accuse others who seem to populate the world of being the cause of sin against us. And all of this is confused, insane and mistaken, because the entire world IS NOT DOING ANYTHING AT ALL.
"******The world is nothing in itself.***** Your mind must give it meaning. And what you behold upon it are your wishes, acted out so you can look on them and think them real. Perhaps you think you did not make the world, but came unwillingly to what was made already (as if it objectively exists), hardly waiting for your thoughts to give it meaning. Yet in truth you found exactly what you looked for when you came. There is no world apart from what you wish, and herein lies your ultimate release. Change but your mind on what you want to see, and all the world must change accordingly."
"*****There is no world!***** This is the central thought the course attempts to teach. Not everyone is ready to accept it, and each one must go as far as he can let himself be led along the road to truth. He will return and go still farther, or perhaps step back a while and then return again. But healing is the gift of those who are prepared to learn there is no world, and can accept the lesson now. Their readiness will bring the lesson to them in some form which they can understand and recognize."
"*****There is no world***** because it is a thought apart from God, and made to separate the Father and the Son, and break away a part of God Himself and thus destroy His wholeness."
"Without the idea of death *****there is no world*****. All dreams will end with this one. This is salvation's final goal; the end of all illusions."
"He does NOT realize that HE MAKES THIS WORLD, for *****there IS no world outside him.*****"
Excellent article, as usual.
I understand perfectly what you explain and I agree with the explanations, this world is an illusion created by the mind/ego.
The only thing is how do you get rid of the illusion and go fully back to where you belong? Is there any way to achieve it? Realization about it is not enough.
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