ACIM 3. What Is the World? This section tells us the world is a false perception, and tells us how to save the world.
1. The world is false perception. ²It is born of error, and it has not left its source. ³It will remain no longer than the thought that gave it birth is cherished. ⁴When the thought of separation has been changed to one of true forgiveness, will the world be seen in quite another light; and one which leads to truth, where all the world must disappear and all its errors vanish. ⁵Now its source has gone, and its effects are gone as well.
2. The world was made as an attack on God. ²It symbolizes fear. ³And what is fear except love’s absence? ⁴Thus the world was meant to be a place where God could enter not, and where His Son could be apart from Him. ⁵Here was perception born, for knowledge could not cause such insane thoughts. ⁶But eyes deceive, and ears hear falsely. ⁷Now mistakes become quite possible, for certainty has gone.
How the World Came to Be
This is exciting! We are going to learn more about the world we seem to be living in and sometimes seem to be victims to. Right off, Jesus gives us a very important bit of information. He says that the world is a false perception. Perception is a way of seeing something. It is the ability to become aware of something through the senses. It is not the truth, not reality. This is why we made bodies with senses. It is so that we could use them to perceive what it is we want to experience.
This is also why you might perceive a political situation in one way and your neighbor perceives the situation in an entirely different way. Perception is how you choose to understand something. When we become fixated on our particular perception we become confused and think it is fact. We do this kind of thing all the time and it is the source of some very serious conflicts.
So, we know what perception is and how it works. Since everyone has changed their minds about how they perceived something, we know it is not fixed. That is another way we know that perception is not Reality, not Creation. What is created does not change and does not end. Jesus also says this about the world. It is a false perception. If we believe this world is real, we are mistaken because it is just a false perception.
Jesus goes on to give us more valuable information. He says that the world was borne of error. Simply stated, we made a mistake and this mistake led to the false perception of a world. He further states that it has not left its source. So, we had an idea of what we wanted to experience. We then made bodies with senses that would report to us the experience we sought. With this information, we falsely perceived a world in which to have our experience. We became fixated on our false perception to the exclusion of truth. All this began with a thought and is only a thought given form in our minds and that is where it has stayed until we change our minds. It has not left its source.
Seeing the World Differently
Jesus is telling us that the world remains because we want it. It will remain as long as we cherish it. No, wait, that is not what he is saying. This is more accurate: It will remain as long as the thought that gave birth to it is cherished. A thought made the world and that thought remains in our mind because we want it, we cherish it, and the world will appear to exist until we decide differently.
I tell you the truth, I feel like I am truly done with the world, but evidently, I am not. I still believe in it even as I do not believe in it. Split mind, anyone? I’m not alone in this, of course. I ask myself what is it that we cherish about the world and I wish I could tell you it’s the beauty of nature and the heartening generosity of strangers. Or maybe the magnificence of some extraordinary achievements of mankind. But I don’t think that is it. None of that excites me any longer, and even if it does for others, could Heaven offer less? There is the love we feel for each other but we don’t need a world for that.
Then Why Do We Keep Up This Farse?
I suspect that we cling to the world for some pretty ridiculous ideas. We have become very used to it for one thing. We are accustomed to seeing ourselves in these limiting containers we call bodies. It feels strange and even a little scary to think of not being in one. We have become accustomed to thinking of them as protective and that is just crazy since they are fragile and vulnerable and are absolutely destined to die.
It is such a senseless idea that I don’t allow myself to think of it much and when I do, I ask the Holy Spirit to look with me and dissolve that error. There is also the fear of the unknown. We do know what was before our little mental jaunt through the world but we have agreed that the price for the trip is amnesia. We have to suspend all common sense to get on this ride. Otherwise, it would be a pretty boring experience, I guess. So, there is fear of what we don’t remember.
Bound by Our Own Fear
More importantly, I suspect, is the fear of God, the fear that we have misused the power and might of God to separate ourselves from Him and if we leave this dream world we will have to face Him and take the consequences. As Jesus says: The world was made as an attack on God. ²It symbolizes fear. It seems to be a place where we can keep God out.
This is why so many fearful things occur here and at the same time, why we hesitate to release the idea of the world and let it disappear. No one said that we were entirely sane in our fear and confusion. Though it may seem a hopeless situation for us, the way out is simple. We can forgive the whole thing as soon as we want to. We are not prisoners here.
3. The mechanisms of illusion have been born instead. ²And now they go to find what has been given them to seek. ³Their aim is to fulfill the purpose which the world was made to witness and make real. ⁴They see in its illusions but a solid base where truth exists, upheld apart from lies. ⁵Yet everything that they report is but illusion which is kept apart from truth.
4. As sight was made to lead away from truth, it can be redirected. ²Sounds become the call for God, and all perception can be given a new purpose by the One Whom God appointed Savior to the world. ³Follow His light, and see the world as He beholds it. ⁴Hear His Voice alone in all that speaks to you. ⁵And let Him give you peace and certainty, which you have thrown away, but Heaven has preserved for you in Him.
5. Let us not rest content until the world has joined our changed perception. ²Let us not be satisfied until forgiveness has been made complete. ³And let us not attempt to change our function. ⁴We must save the world. ⁵For we who made it must behold it through the eyes of Christ, that what was made to die can be restored to everlasting life.
We Must Save the World
We made a mechanism that allows us to made the world seem real and to report to us what we want it to be. Then we believe in our own illusions. It seems so solid and real but it is upheld by lies. There is nothing we can do to make this world anything but an illusion, a dream, and not even that, just an ancient memory of what we made and that lasted but an instant.
That we think we are trapped here is just part of the illusion. The exit is right here in our mind next to the illusion. Let us forgive the belief we want a world and forgive all the thoughts that support it. We made sight to lead us away from truth, but we can give it a new purpose. We can start listening to the Holy Spirit and follow His Light and we will see the world He beholds. Remember that He speaks to us all through the day. We need only listen to Him rather than to our own split mind.
It is really that simple. It seems hard only when we slip back into taking our cues from the ego. The ego does not wish us well, it only desires to keep the world it made. But we can learn to turn away from that false voice and Hear His Voice instead. We can learn to take advice from the Holy Spirit instead of the ego and ask the Holy Spirit to interpret for us what the ego would use to distract and confuse.
This is our function, to save the world through accepting the Atonement for ourselves. What we accept for ourselves, we accept for the whole Sonship. Let us not forget our function today. Let us remember why we came this time, not to play around in the illusions, but to undo them, to return our awareness to God instead. And to help all the sleeping Sons to awaken. ⁴We must save the world. ⁵For we who made it must behold it through the eyes of Christ, that what was made to die can be restored to everlasting life.
If you found this content helpful, please share on social media so more people can read and learn.