For many years I have thought that there are kind of 3 states. There is false perception, then true perception, then heaven. And this is kind of true, and some aspects of ACIM support this.
However, what there really is are just two states. Heaven and hell, reality and illusions. Life and death. Knowledge and Perception.When we think about true perception it's easy to think of it as a state in and of itself. But we need to remember we're talking about PERCEIVING. And that means it's much more to do with "looking at" something.
If you ask yourself, what does false perception LOOK AT, it really kind of looks AT itself. Because false perception IS an internalized, isolated, exclusive state, where perception feeds upon itself and is blinded by form. It does not really see anything, and it cannot see reality. It is selfish and self-deceptive. It's like an obsession with itself, a closed perception that does not see.
When you then look at what the course says about true perception, it's much more to do with NOT dwelling on itself. NOT dwelling on the body. Looking BEYOND illusion. Overlooking. Seeing past. And there is a great deal of evidence that it entails an ability to literally SEE reality. To see God, Christ, the Sonship, perfection, etc, which are IN heaven.
The more I look into it the more it makes sense. Perception is about "what you look at" or how you look at it. Yes you have states of mind - for example wrong mindendess (or closed mindedness) produces false perception. While open mindedness or miracle/right mindedness produces true perception. But from these seeming "states" or the states from which perception EMITS, perception itself LOOKS and is a form of vision. So it needs something to look AT. So let's say...
False perception LOOKS AT HELL.
True perception LOOKS AT HEAVEN.
While there seem to be two "states of mind" within dreaming, ie wrong-mindedness and right-mindedness, really when it comes to perception there is either "the inability to see reality' (per the body which cannot really see reality), and the vision of christ which can see christ. "Love looks upon love" etc.
If wrong mindedness CAUSES perceptual blindness and an inability to see PAST the illusions of falseness itself, right mindedness CAUSES vision and an ability to see PAST illusions. The only thing that is BEYOND illusions, is GODS KINGDOM.
This seems to in many cases line up with what the course says and in its wording, as to how "the real world" is a PERCEPTION OF THE KINGDOM. That the innocence can see God. That perception can even see "the real world" (heaven) under the holy spirit's guidance. That you can see the face of christ, who is in heaven. etc.
So again I come back to, false perception being like living in a prison cell inside a room with no windows. And true perception is like living in a glass greenhouse where you can see THROUGH the walls and see the outside environment (heaven). The PERCEPTION OF the real world - the perception OF heaven, using perception TO see, is still an illusion. "The real world still is but a dream"... BUT, it IS a perception ABOUT heaven - reality. And it is so close to true sight that it makes crossing over to reality easy. It's like window-shopping then going inside the store.
I don't really see anything that contradicts this model. In fact I see MORE contradictions in the model that true perception is "cut off from heaven" completely. As though, we're hiding inside a completely dark room the whole time with NO ACCESS whatsoever to reality, and only upon leaving the room AFTER true perception do we experience even a hint of God. This seems to fly in the face of so much of what the course says, about you bringing light to the world, a reflection of heaven on earth, how earth can reflect heaven's light, how the light of heaven can shine into the world, how love of God can shine into the world, etc. Heaven clearly LEAKS INTO the dream realm through its radiance. That's how you be the light of the world.
I am finding that this simpler model of "two states", heaven and hell, or reality and illusions, makes things a lot SIMPLER to deal with. We can just look to "what is true in reality" versus "illusions which are false". Or look to God's laws and the nature of the soul, versus the laws of the world and the nature of the ego. It's a much easier comparison, between opposites.
We can also then see that forgiveness really is about overlooking illusions entirely, looking BEYOND them, and there's nothing beyond them but reality. So forgiveness, ie atonement as acceptance of truth, is really about reaching out to heaven from WITHIN the dream. Sitting in the dream with goggles on, looking out beyond the walls of spacetime, to heaven... which is truly "the real world". A reality.
This also then makes more sense in terms of how the course says that God gave the real world to his son.... if the real world is a state in the middle of two other states, it would imply god created the real world to be a permanent creation, which it cannot be.
The quesiton then becomes much easier to think about. Are you aligning with God, or with ego? With life or with death? With light or darkness? With truth or lies? And as you APPRAOCH total alignment with truth you are still within the realm of perception, up until the end, when you cross over into heaven completely. This is akin to walking towards the transparent walls, then passing through the door into the reality of the kingdom beyond.
It's then not so much to do with trying to aim to enter a state of forgiveness or atonement, but that you want to become ABLE TO SEE REALITY, to see past this world to the Kingdom. This also reveals that "it its impossible to see two worlds" and "beyond this world there is a world I want" ties into wanting the Kingdom, or at least a perception of it, NOT some kind of pretend "in-between" state. An inbetween state has no meaning of its own and is logically unsupported. It means nothing other than to say it LOOKS AT one of two opposites. There is either the Kingdom or not the Kingdom, there is nothing else.