A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple

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Chapter 16: The Forgiveness of Illusions

Section VII: The End of Illusions

Read ACIM Chapter 16, Section VII (pages 347-350)

Why is the special relationship an attempt to re-enact the past and change it?

For the last few sections Jesus has talked about the importance the ego places on special relationships in its role as a substitute for God’s Love. In this section, he goes on to show us how, underneath the gloss of our special relationships, we are really attempting to redeem the past through vengeance and retribution. He tells us, “For the special relationship is an attempt to re-enact the past and change it. Imagined slights, remembered pain, past disappointments, perceived injustices and deprivations all enter into the special relationship, which becomes a way in which you seek to restore your wounded self-esteem.” (1:1-3)

In Section V we learned that the special relationship was born of the hidden wish for special love from God and that, because God could not give this, we renounced God’s Love and made up our own substitute — the special love relationship. Our substitute for God is what the ego thought system is. We could never leave God in truth, but in our dream of separation, we imagine it really happened.

The special relationship — our substitute for God’s Love — was born out of hatred and vengeance for not getting what we wanted, so naturally, hatred and vengeance are reflected in our dreams of specialness. We dream a dream of vengeance against God because of ‘past’ hurts. Because it is a dream of hurt and deprivation, we ‘remember’ past hurts and try again and again to change the dream to restore our wounded self-esteem. Jesus tells us, “What basis would you have for choosing a special partner without the past? Every such choice is made because of something ‘evil’ in the past to which you cling, and for which must someone else atone.” (1:4-5)

Because we have tried to leave God, we have deprived ourselves of our awareness of our real power. In this state of mind, we dream a dream of deprivation and then try to blame what we now see as ‘outside us’ for all our imagined problems. In the dream we try to take vengeance on those we see in the dream, not realizing we are only taking vengeance on ourselves. We do not realize we are at war only with ourselves.

The good news is we are only dreaming of depriving ourselves, and it will last only as long as we insist on clinging to our dream of deprivation in an endless search for the specialness we think we lack. Jesus makes it clear that it is not in our best interest to continue this alliance with the ego thought system when he says, “For the ego remembers everything you have done that has offended it, and seeks retribution of you. The fantasies it brings to its chosen relationships in which to act out its hate are fantasies of your destruction. For the ego holds the past against you, and in your escape from the past it sees itself deprived of the vengeance it believes you so justly merit. (3:5-6)

It is truly a happy discovery that we do have the choice to wake up from or let go of the dream of vengeance and deprivation. Jesus tells us, “There is no fantasy that does not contain the dream of retribution for the past. Would you act out the dream, or let it go?” (4:2-3)

What are we hiding from ourselves when we seek the special relationship?

It’s important to remember that God’s Son, which we are, is an extension of Him. He gave all of His glory to His creation, so God’s glory is ours. To find completion, we need only accept the glory of God that is already ours. When we seek the special relationship, we are denying that glory in favor of a substitute. What we hide from ourselves is that our substitute is actually vengeance against God for not giving us the specialness we have asked for. When we don’t forgive our illusions, we are not wanting to give up the search for specialness because it would mean giving up vengeance for not getting what we want from God. Vengeance is the ego’s idea of salvation, its substitute for Atonement.

While we value the illusion of specialness, we will not experience the full enlightenment of the holy instant. Our attachment to our illusion of specialness is like a veil drawn across our vision, which interferes with our awareness of the truth the Holy Spirit is offering us. “The illusions you bring with you will weaken your experience of Him for a while, and will prevent you from keeping the experience in your mind.” (7:4) We cannot hang on to our illusions and know the truth. Truth and illusions cannot coexist.

Why is it inevitable that we will experience the holy instant in its fullness?

The good news is that we will experience the holy instant in its fullness because, “What God has given you is truly given, and will be truly received. ...And everything the Holy Spirit teaches is to remind you that you have received what God has given you” (8:1,8) As we learn from the Holy Spirit to forgive the illusions we hold against our brothers, we will learn that we have been forgiven for our illusions. And this is the way that guilt is undone in our tortured minds. Forgiving illusions brings the peace of mind that replaces all the unrest and dis-ease that was there before.

It is the Holy Spirit’s gift of the holy instant that restores God’s Kingdom to us. It is our job to accept the Holy Spirit’s gift. “Seek and find His message in the holy instant, where all illusions are forgiven. From there the miracle extends to bless everyone and to resolve all problems, be they perceived as great or small, possible or impossible. There is nothing that will not give place to Him and to His majesty.” (11:1-3)

The title of this section is “The End of Illusions.” Here we are told exactly how to end, or forgive all illusions. Our job is to accept the gift of the holy instant from the Holy Spirit. The holy instant brings with it an awareness of our true relationship with God. In our relationship with God, no illusions can enter. We would have no other gods before Him. We see that God’s holiness is ours. We see that there is no separation from the one Love that includes all and is all.

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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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