Difference between Reality and Illusion

“Just as reality is wholly real, apart from size and shape and time and place—for differences cannot exist within it—so too are illusions without distinctions.” (ACIM, M-8.6)

This quotation compares reality to illusions, suggesting that they have some things in common. All through reality, and all through illusions, we do not have differences. All that is reality is real, and all that is illusion is not real. But size and shape and time and place do seem different, in reality and in illusion. It is the permeating sameness of both reality and illusions that we are considering today.

We don’t really know what Jesus means by “reality.” We don’t know if he means a physical reality that is true rather than illusion; or if physical reality, because it has form, is not real. The formless does indeed seem more likely to be real. And this “formless” includes the best values of our environment, the love, joy, peace, harmony in which we wish to live permanently. The fact that we don’t live in these intangibles permanently may cause many of us to weep and wail. But there is a reason. We have not gone back far enough to get out of the illusion. Time is likened in A Course in Miracles to a long carpet on which steps are being retraced so that we head back to the beginning of our detour into fear. The carpet is then rolled up, and we are at home in God again. Jesus corrects all mistakes that we cannot correct. It is true that he gives himself a great deal of work to do in this world, but is that not what a savior does?

Illusions are something about which we have a better handle. Illusions are not true. And we live in illusions, for sure, at least as long as we have not reach Christ-consciousness or Awakening. We project the world that we see from within, and if this world looks bleak to us, then our inner life is bleak as well. We create our own reality, as so many in the New Age camp have said. We do not blame those who live in bad circumstances; we help them, when they are open to our help. But we know that life can get better even in illusion. The Holy Spirit brings happy dreams.

We may be tempted to stay in these happy dreams granted by the Holy Spirit. But we will not be creating a new world, which Jesus has encouraged us to do within the pages of A Course of Love. We need to do what we can to remove the blocks to love’s awareness, which all of us can do. God Himself makes the all-important decision to grant Awakening or Christ-consciousness, when he metaphorically reaches down to us and lifts us up. We don’t have direct control, therefore, over when we awaken. But we can walk the path back to Him in patience, knowing that His timing is always right. The moment when we know Christ-consciousness is already determined, as is much else on our pathway. We merely walk a path that has already been laid out, retracing our steps back to God.

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