A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple

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Chapter 16: The Forgiveness of Illusions

Section IV: The Illusion and the Reality of Love

Read ACIM Chapter 16, Section IV (pages 337-340)

What is the difference between the illusion and the reality of Love?

In this section we learn why the meaning we give to the word ‘love’ in this world is not what Love is in truth. The world does not know what true Love is and what true Love does. That is why Jesus tells us, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false. Every illusion is one of fear, whatever form it takes. And the attempt to escape from one illusion into another must fail. If you seek love outside yourself you can be certain that you perceive hatred within, and are afraid of it.” (6:1-5)

If we are Love and Love is all there Is, we do not have to seek for What we are. Once we see our replacements for Love as just an attempt to deny what Love is, we will recognize that every illusion is one of fear, no matter what form it takes.

In Reality, Love is universal because there is nothing other than Love. Love’s substitute is seen as nothing and nowhere. The special love in this world is seen as impossible and is not taken as anything that could be real.

What is the purpose of the special love relationship?

In this world, because we have rejected Love as Love is, we think we are separate from Love. Because we are rejecting the Love within us, we feel a lack. We then begin looking for a substitute for God’s Love in what we perceive as special love. Jesus tells us, “Yet peace will never come from the illusion of love, but only from its reality. Recognize this, for it is true, and truth must be recognized if it is to be distinguished from illusion: The special love relationship is an attempt to bring love into separation. And, as such, it is nothing more than an attempt to bring love into fear, and make it real in fear. In fundamental violation of love’s one condition, the special love relationship would (try to) accomplish the impossible.” (6:6, 7:1-3)

In God’s perfect Love, all is an extension of one, unified Love. Nothing is separate from Love, which is indivisible. There is no uniqueness, no specialness, no distinguishing differences. The ego thought system is based on the rejection of the unity of Love. When we make ego thoughts real through image making, we are rejecting or making a barrier against Love because we are not accepting the oneness of Love.

Jesus encourages us to look at the real motives for the ego’s form of love so that we see it for what it really is and will gladly let it go. He tells us, “The special love relationship is an attempt to limit the destructive effects of hate (rejecting or hating the oneness of Love) by finding a haven in the storm of guilt.” (3:1) When we do not accept Love as Love is, we are judging against It and with this judgment comes guilt. That is why Jesus then says, “It (the special love relationship) makes no attempt to rise above the storm (of guilt), into the sunlight. On the contrary, it (the special love relationship) emphasizes the guilt outside the haven by attempting to build barricades against it, (guilt) and keeping within them (the barricades of special love).” (3:2-3)

In this world the seeming value of the special love relationship is in the sense of safety from the ego’s hatred. Jesus tells us this false sense of safety will never work. He says, “For it is the attempt to balance hate with love that makes love (Real Love) meaningless to you.” (1:8) When we forget what Love is, we forget our real Identity as one in Love. We forget that only Love could ever be real. We feel lost and alone. We feel a sense of lack or that something is missing from us. We do not feel complete. We then try to fill that sense of incompleteness with all the forms of special love we find in this world in order to be happy. These forms of special love show up in our lives when we look for outer approval or when we seek for special things and certain special people to make us happy.

What does special love deprive us of?

To help us let go of valuing special love, Jesus tells us, “Every illusion you accept into your mind by judging it to be attainable removes your own sense of completion, and thus denies the Wholeness of your Father. Every fantasy, be it of love or hate, deprives you of knowledge for fantasies are the veil behind which truth is hidden. To lift the veil that seems so dark and heavy, it is only needful to value truth beyond all fantasy, and to be entirely unwilling to settle for illusion in place of truth.” (10:2-4)

How do we transform our special relationships into holy relationships?

Students reading this section may be tempted to ask themselves, “What about the people I consider ‘special’ in my life? Am I to have no relationships at all? What about my partner or my parents or my children? How does this work in the context of what Jesus is telling us in this section?”

The ego’s way of seeing guilt and differences in others that we perceive as outside us is the way we keep the illusion of separation intact. The reversal to this thinking is to open our minds to the Holy Spirit, where we will be reminded of the face of Christ behind the veil of every body. So instead of seeing differences, we now see the one face of Christ. (Another way to do this is to let the veil be lifted to become aware of the universal peace that is always there behind every form of uniqueness.) We allow the Holy Spirit to remind us that in truth, we come from one Source and are still united with the one Mind of God. We remember that the differences we see are simply illusions. This is how we transform our special relationships into holy relationships. We allow ourselves to be lifted outside the context of the ego thought system.

In a holy relationship we see that there are not different kinds of love. We see that we all are the same Love. We include everyone equally in the one Love that we all are equally. We pay less attention to behavior and more attention to what is Real beyond what bodies say or do. We do not make the ego thoughts real. We may still observe them, but we let ourselves rise above them to see the Love that is real.

Why is it so important to change our minds rather than change the outer form?

Remember we are going through an ‘undoing’ process of changing our minds about what we are seeing. We are in the process of recognizing our substitutes for the Reality of Love. This process of undoing all the meaning that we give to the things of this world means that we do not try to change the outer form — we merely change our minds about what we are experiencing with the body’s senses.

During this process of undoing, we learn to think differently about our relationships. We learn to think differently about everything we see in this world of specialness. Instead of making ourselves guilty for believing in the world, which is what the ego does, we step back and let the Holy Spirit, our true Self “drive the bus” of our mind. We take a back seat and follow. We join with the peace of unity instead of the conflict that comes with making differences appear to be real. We relax and place trust in God instead of placing our trust in the ego’s fearful dream of separation.

In this section Jesus tells us, “To lift the veil that seems so dark and heavy, it is only needful to value truth beyond all fantasy, and to be entirely unwilling to settle for illusion in place of truth.” (10:4) In truth, we are whole. There is no lack in us. We have and are All That Is because God creates only wholeness. “Whom God remembers must be whole. And God has never forgotten what makes Him whole. In your completion lie the memory of His Wholeness and His gratitude to you for His completion. In His link with you lie both His inability to forget and your ability to remember. In Him are joined your willingness to love and all the Love of God, Who forgot you not.” (11:10-14)

As we continue to reinforce the truth instead of illusions, we gravitate to the mindset of the holy instant instead of continuing to believe in the fearful stories of the ego.

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Reference Keys for
A Course in Miracles Quotes

How to Read References for Quotes from A Course in Miracles

Below are example references to specific sentences using the notation of the Second & Third Editions of A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace:

T-26.IV.4:7 = Text, Chapt. 26, Section IV, paragraph 4, sentence 7.

W-pI.169.5:2 = Workbook, Part I, Lesson 169, paragraph 5, sentence 2.

M-13.3:2 = Manual for Teachers, Question 13, paragraph 3, sentence 2.

C-6.4:6 = Clarification of Terms, Term 6, paragraph 4, sentence 6

The above numbering system of the Second & Third Editions is © Copyright 1992, The Foundation for A Course in Miracles.

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