“The world is an illusion. Those who choose to come to it are seeking for a place where they can be illusions, and avoid their own reality...” Workbook page 291, Lesson 155
This lesson states, in no uncertain terms, that our world is an illusion and the reason we appear to be here is because we have chosen to replace reality (i.e. eternally abiding in the Mind of God) with a substitute for God, namely the ego. The lesson goes on to explain that there are those who renounce the world, even though it still appears to have meaning for them. These people suffer from a sense of loss and are not freed from the world. There are also others who, “…have chosen nothing but the world, and they have suffered from a sense of loss still deeper, which they did not understand.” W291. One will inevitably suffer from a sense of loss if one believes one can find meaning in this world, for the simple reason that nothing lasts. The world of the ego—the world of form—is a world of change, transiency and ultimate death. There is no escaping that fact.
There are also other people who realise that this world is an illusion, and they discover their reality, whilst living in the world. Of these Jesus says, “Yet when they find their own reality is even here, then they step back and let it lead the way. What other choice is really theirs to make? To let illusions walk ahead of truth is madness. But to let illusion sink behind the truth and let the truth stand forth as what it is, is merely sanity.”
Jesus tells us that to give up this world may appear to be a sacrifice, but it is not, because how can it be a sacrifice to give up something unreal? He reiterates: “We walk to God. Pause and reflect on this. Could any way be holier, or more deserving of your effort, of your Love and of your full intent?” He asks the ego/lower self to step back and let God lead the way—which means following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Who is our link with God in this world.
We are told in this lesson that eventually everyone will realise that this world is unreal. Jesus asks those who already know this, to reach out and help others who are still immersed in the illusion. He said they will not feel that it is a sacrifice to turn from illusions to truth because there is no cost to renouncing illusions—only gain. It is interesting to note that Jesus frequently emphasises that death is the outcome of believing in illusions. When we find the truth we will no longer experience death—only eternal life.
In The Way of Mastery Jesus advises us not to hate the world but simply to relinquish it. And in ACIM on page 228 of the Text he tells us: “You do not want the world. The only thing of value in it is whatever part of it you look upon with love. This gives it the only reality it will ever have.”
So how do we let the Holy Spirit lead the way back to God? Through releasing illusions, which is what forgiveness really is, and by listening to His Voice. He knows the way to God because he is part of God. But he is also in part of our minds and his function is to save humanity by helping us awaken from the dream of separation. “The Holy Spirit abides in the part of your mind that is part of the Christ Mind…He seems to be a Voice, for in that form He speaks God’s Word to you. He seems to be a Guide through a far country, for you need that form of help…” M89. Some people can actually hear this Voice audibly. Others can channel His words by writing them down on paper. Some receive His guidance during meditation. But since the Holy Spirit abides in all of our minds, then we should all be able to access Him in some way. It is just a matter of willingness, motivation and the ability to block out the ego’s raucous voice for a while.
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