Fantasies Are a Means of Making False Associations and Attempting to Obtain Pleasure from Them

vangogh_cafe1888“Fantasies are a means of making false associations and attempting to obtain pleasure from them. (T15)”

Affirmation: “May I not indulge in meaningless fantasies.”

Reflections:

1 – Fantasies Are Untruths

Many of us are prone to this unreality. We are bade to leave fantasies behind, as they are untruths that do not lead to the real world. The “false associations” are just that–lies that we tell ourselves. And would we not do well to stop lying to ourselves?

2 – Personal Experience

I once spent a an unhealthy amount of time in fantasies, not just for trying to get “pleasure” in my fantasies, but because the fantasies seemed to me to be a type of dream in which I could learn something. I wanted to learn more about my life and how I fitted into my overall picture of living. I wanted to know how I fitted in with the other people whom I knew and whom I wished to know. So I let my mind rove freely in reverie, which is a kind of fantasy.

3 – Continued. . .

Of course, I derived pleasure from these reveries as well, or I would not have continued so long in them. They were particularly prevalent, as the fantasies are for many people, when in high school I discovered boys. My first boyfriend, when I was 16, was a rich source of material for fantasy. But was this healthy? And is it healthy for anybody? I think not.

4 – Fantasies from Vivid Dreams

Later on, I had vivid dreams that seemed to me to tell me something more about my life than daily life could tell. And I enlarged on these nighttime dreams by “listening” in reverie. I do not discount that some of this fantasy may have been an attempt to make contact with the knowledge of the Holy Spirit. But in this passage for today, Jesus does not recommend such meanderings in the thought process. He will later tell us that we are much too prone to “mind wandering,” and that every thought creates form at some level.

5 – Creation of Form

While we cannot understand this form creation, we can see that we are on dangerous ground. And we can pull back.

6 – This World

When we live totally in this world, it is almost inevitable that we will find ourselves lost in fantasies. These fantasies are a way of coping in a world that seems far too cruel to allow us to live easily. But there is another way, a better way. And the Course always says the same thing: Turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance. He will lead us out of an illusory present into a real world that will bring happiness.

7 – We Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

We may still know pain, though Jesus assures us that we do not have to learn through pain. In our world, though, pain as a means of learning is more common than any other way. In the pain, we turn to God. We do not have to learn this way, but if it happens to us, we would be foolish not to take the new pathway that God points to–away from the pain. Fantasies then have no meaning in a world made anew by turning to spirit for answers and finding the wholly satisfying nature of true reality.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

I have indulged in fantasies when the world seemed too cruel. Fantasies were an escape. May, instead, I welcome Your teaching that will free me from unreal concepts of the world. Then I will find joy instead of sorrow.

May I leave fantasies behind as I follow the Holy Spirit into the real world, a world of forgiveness and joy.

May my brothers and sisters in this world also see the value of leaving behind an illusory world of fantasy. Perhaps the more we leave behind fantasy, the more ready for the real world we may become.

Amen.

2 thoughts on “Fantasies Are a Means of Making False Associations and Attempting to Obtain Pleasure from Them

  1. KJ

    This one is confusing at times. Sometimes I have read that if you want to create something because it brings you joy it is helpful to think about it and visualize it occurring in order to co-create it. Isn’t that sort of like fantasizing?

    Reply
    1. Celia Hales Post author

      You have a good point. I have never considered that visualizations and fantasies have much in common, but they do. I think that the question of whether either is good or bad has to do with the intent. I think of visualizations as having a goal to create something positive in my life. I think of fantasies as “mind wandering” (and this mind wandering is specifically said to be bad for us, when A Course in Miracles says, “You are much too tolerant of mind wandering. (T-2.VI.4)”)

      I did a search on the term “visualizations” in both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. The term is not used in ACIM, and it is mentioned in only one place in ACOL, and the text seems to imply that this is not what we have been primarily called to do:

      “I am not calling you to just another version of being good or mentally healthy, to exercises in visualization or positive thinking. I am calling you to live by the truth and to never deny it. To see no circumstance as cause to abandon it. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: A Treatise on the Personal Self, 20.10)”

      But would visualizations be helpful? I think that ACIM and ACOL are quite silent on the use of visualizations to bring about a positive change in our circumstances. This doesn’t have to imply disapproval, though, and it is only the mental dwelling on fantasies that are miscreations that we want to avoid (“passively condoning your mind’s miscreations” T-2.VI.4), something that ACIM simply rejects.

      Thank you for your question. I would welcome further dialogue on this matter.

      Most cordially, Celia

      Reply

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