A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple

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Chapter 21: Reason and Perception

Section V: The Function of Reason

Read ACIM Chapter 21, Section V (pages 456-58)

Is what we see our choice or is it an unchangeable fact?

Jesus answers this question in this way: “Perception selects, and makes the world you see. It literally picks it out as the mind directs. ...For what you look for you are far more likely to discover than what you would prefer to overlook. The still, small Voice for God is not drowned out by all the ego’s raucous screams and senseless ravings to those who want to hear it. Perception is a choice and not a fact. ...For on the voice you choose to hear, and on the sights you choose to see, depends entirely your whole belief in what you are. Perception is a witness but to this, and never to reality.” (1:1-2,5-7,9-10)

This is a very succinct and direct answer. Here we come to understand that what we see with our body’s eyes is not what is real. It is not a fact, but an illusion that comes from what we are choosing to see and what we want to be. If we want to be something other than our true Identity — an extension of God’s Love — we can dream dreams that make it look like this is so. We see the dream of separate bodies as real because we want the dream to seem real to us. If we want to be a separate identity, we will be attracted to stories of unique identities and want to think that they are real and not just stories.

Jesus makes it clear to us that we have only two choices of where we want our mind to reside. And on this choice we will hear either the ego’s voice or the Holy Spirit’s voice. This puts our experience solidly in our laps and upsets the ego’s little game of making it look like we are at the mercy of a dangerous ‘outside’ world that is not of our making. He makes it clear here that we have chosen to be in this world of separation and were not forced into it against our will. God did not put us here; we did this ‘on our own.’

Why does our awareness of Reality need our help?

The answer to this is crucial to our becoming aware of the truth. We must want to become aware of Reality. We must want the truth instead of the ego’s false perceptions of separate identities. We must want to return to the awareness of God’s one Mind of Love. We must want to let go of our grievances against our brother and let these grievances be replaced by seeing that nothing has happened to change God’s one Son. God’s Son has not really split up into trillions of separate and unique identities. God’s one Son has not really changed from how He was created — He has not changed from perfect Love. We are all still joined in the one Mind of Love. There is still only one relationship, and that is our relationship with God, because there is nothing other than God that is real.

What happens when we listen to the ego’s voice?

Jesus is very specific about what happens when we listen to the ego’s voice: “Listen to what the ego says, and see what it directs you see, and it is sure that you will see yourself as tiny, vulnerable and afraid. You will experience depression, a sense of worthlessness, and feelings of impermanence and unreality. You will believe that you are helpless prey to forces far beyond your own control, and far more powerful than you. And you will think the world you made directs your destiny. For this will be your faith. But never believe because it is your faith it makes reality.” (2:3-8) The good news is that we do not need to continue placing our faith or belief in the ego. We can change our mind about what we want to see.

How do we go about changing our mind?

We are not left hanging without help to return from this dream of separation from God. God gave us the Holy Spirit, Who still resides in our mind, waiting to lead us out of dreams of separation. This part of our mind, where the Holy Spirit resides, is the part we are learning to listen to. We have made up a false, separate mind, and this is the part that we are learning to let go of. Jesus is guiding us to get familiar with the part of our mind where the Holy Spirit resides so we will be led back Home, where we belong.

Jesus tells us, “There is another vision and another Voice in Which your freedom lies, awaiting but your choice. And if you place your faith in Them [Holy Spirit’s vision and Voice], you will perceive another self in you. This other self sees miracles as natural. They [miracles] are as simple and as natural to it as breathing to the body. They [miracles] are the obvious response to calls for help, the only one it makes.” (3:1-5)

Where does reason reside in our mind and what is its function?

No matter how deeply entrenched we have gotten into the ego thought system, there is still a part of our mind that remembers Reality. It is here the Holy Spirit resides. This part of our mind could be called our real Self, and it is here that reason lies. When we identify with the ego, we cut off our awareness of this Self. But as we are willing to begin questioning the ego thought system, we begin to open the door to reason. “Faith and belief, upheld by reason, cannot fail to lead to changed perception.” (10:4)

Reason is the means that the Holy Spirit uses to lead us out of the insanity of the ego thought system. Because it comes from our right mind, our true Self, it cannot be distorted by the ego and used to reinforce the belief in separation. “The part of mind where reason lies was dedicated, by your will in union with your Father’s, to the undoing of insanity.” (9:1)

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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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