“Sit quietly and look upon the world you see, and tell yourself: ‘The real world is not like this. It has no buildings and there are no streets where people walk alone and separate. There are no stores where people buy an endless list of things they do not need. It is not lit with artificial light, and night comes not upon it. There is no day that brightens and grows dim. There is no loss. Nothing is there but shines, and shines forever.” (A Course in Miracles, T-13.VII.1)
A particularly picturesque scene might come to mind when reading this description. We can imagine that the Vision that is of God doesn’t include the mundane details of a city street. When we are joined with others in a loving sense, we aren’t aware of places in our world where we might walk in separate bodies, alone and lonely. When we love, really love with the Vision of God, we are never alone and lonely.
Jesus takes a negative view of our materialism, and this attitude comes out more precisely in this quotation than in any other place in A Course in Miracles. He talks about buying an “endless list of things” that we do not need. Why do we buy things we don’t need? Basically, we are trying to find in material things the solace that we haven’t found in spirituality. And we haven’t found solace in spirituality because we haven’t sought deeply enough within ourselves, where God is.
The fact of no darkness in the real world may seem to be that Jesus is talking about the Other Side, and it is surely unclear if this is indeed what he means. But later on, in ACIM, he discusses the “real world,” and he indicates that we will inhabit this real world fleetingly before God Himself will reach down and lift us up into Awakening.
So I think that Jesus is engaging in metaphor here of the real world that is full of intangibles that don’t impinge on materialism at all. We want peace, joy, harmony, rest—all things that we can have and that we will have when we have walked the pathway that Jesus is pointing out. These intangibles are the way that we get around the need, the incessant need, to find solace in physical objects.
The intangibles will never disappoint, and they are here for the asking.