1 – The Mind
“By definition, an illusion is an attempt to make something real that is regarded as of major importance, but is recognized as being untrue. The mind therefore seeks to make it true out of its intensity of desire to have it for itself. (M24)”
This definition of illusion can be understood by many of us because of life situations in which we have tried to “fool ourselves” into believing, sometimes vehemently, something that is not true. In our depths we often recognize that what we fervently want to believe is not true, because we may get a curious “stop” to our attempts to pray for this outcome. If this happens to us, we would do well to reflect on what is actually at stake.
2 – Illusions
Illusions are prevalent in our world. There is so much pain in even everyday life that we retreat from feverish dreams into an illusory world that seems–but only “seems”–better. Somewhere is our deepest being we recognize that we are believing in an illusion, and we, somewhere, feel self-betrayed. We do not often let this deeper understanding surface, though. We may live for years with illusions that would have been left behind in the beginning if we had only turned to the Holy Spirit earlier.
3 – Self-Betraying
The mind is very powerful, and it can seem to make an illusion true. Such tactics are self-betraying in the long run, though. We don’t want to believe a falsehood, and our intensity of desire for an illusion is the real culprit here. The desire will abate when we recognize that we are fooling ourselves and when we turn to the Holy Spirit for more substantive consolation. Then and only then will we be free to let the illusion fall away.
4 – Feverish Dreams
“Finding health a burden, it retreats into feverish dreams. And in these dreams the mind is separate, different from other minds, with different interests of its own, and able to gratify its needs at the expense of others. (M24)”
5 – Tangled Up
Our “feverish dreams” are the tangles we get ourselves into when we seek for answer with our ego. The ego doesn’t know, and, most importantly, we can tell when the ego is uppermost in our minds. We need to let go at that point. Relax and let the guidance of the Holy Spirit come through. We will always know when we have momentarily released the ego, because we will immediately feel calmer.
6 – Wily Mind
The mind is a wily creature. It wants to stay with a bad experience just to see it out. Don’t get trapped by this feverish dream.
7 – Others’ Needs
Be sure to take others’ needs into account. All too often, when we are suffering, we think that it is all we can do to manage ourselves. But we don’t have to manage ourselves; turn the self over to God. Is this easier said than done? Only when we are agitated. Take a break. Have a cup of tea. Pray. Meditate, if only briefly. The world you return to will seem different, somehow. And that difference is that you have let go of your feverish dreams. We can be very stubborn sometimes, and resist the letting go. But we are ever so much better off when we remain flexible, or when we return to flexibility. We need to be able to turn on a dime, when intuition prompts a different decision.
8 – Seeing
“Only the mind evaluates their [the differences] messages, and so only the mind is responsible for seeing. It alone decides whether what is seen is real or illusory, desirable or undesirable, pleasurable or painful. (M24)”
The mind is not really where we want to stay, according to a possible sequel to A Course in Miracles, entitled A Course of Love. We want to be in the heart, which does not need the reasoning that the mind requires. We just “know,” when in the heart. And ACOL recommends that mind and heart be joined, into what is called “wholeheartedness.” This is the way home.
9 – Perception
“It is in the sorting out and categorizing activities of the mind that errors in perception enter. And it is here correction must be made. (M24)”
We don’t need to analyze our perceptions so much. Perceptions are always varying, because they are perceptions of changing illusions, changing dreams.
10 – Knowledge
We need to move to knowledge (from perception), which the Holy Spirit will help us with. Knowledge is of God, and knowledge cannot be “proved.” It just is. We will know the difference.
May I leave illusions behind. May I seek only what is true, only what I know in my depths is true.
If I have derived pleasure from believing my illusions, this has not been also without pain. May I recognize that I do not want pain, and may I let my illusions leave me.