Excerpts from the Workshop held at the
Foundation for A Course in Miracles
Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
"The Vision of Sinlessness" (T-20.VIII)
We will turn now to paragraph 7 of "The Vision of Sinlessness" (T-20.VIII).
(7:1) Judgment is but a toy, a whim, the senseless means to play the idle game of death in your imagination.
This entire world is part of our imagination. It has no basis in reality. Keep in mind that when we made the original judgment, we thought it was anything but a toy. We thought it was very, very serious. This was a judgment that said we turned against God and stole from Him, that we destroyed God, Christ, and the unity of Heaven. That hardly seems like a toy! We are saying that our mind is extremely powerful. Look what it accomplished: the impossible. That is the original judgment, and it is expressed over and over again in everything that goes on in the world, without exception. Everything seems so heavy, so important, so real, so valuable, so vicious and destructive, and wonderful, etc. And all of it comes from the original judgment that I did a terrible thing to God. The other side is: "But isn't it wonderful? I now have my own individuality; I'm unique and self-important." And, of course, I stole all that from God, which means the underside of that sense of wonderment and joy is the terror. But the truth is that it is all a toy. Nothing happened. I only thought I stole from God. I only thought I destroyed Him. I only thought I destroyed Jesus on the cross. Nothing happened. The whole thing was made up.
(7:2) But vision sets all things right, bringing them gently within the kindly sway of Heaven's laws.
Vision takes place when we look with Jesus at all our terrible judgments—the terrible judgments I make about you and the terrible judgments I make about myself, for of course they are one and the same. I look with Jesus at them and say, "This is just a toy. It has no effect on the Love of Christ in either you or me. It has no effect on Jesus' love for me." In other words, nothing happened. That is what vision tells us.
(7:3-4) What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up?
Jesus means these words very literally. An hallucination from a clinical point of view refers to seeing, hearing, or smelling something that is not there. Jesus is telling us the whole world is an hallucination—we are literally seeing something that is not there. The world is simply a projection of a thought in our mind that itself is not there. The world that we perceive and experience is a world of separation, differences, and judgment. Because ideas leave not their source in our mind, the world simply reflects the thought of judgment, the perception of differences in our mind. But that thought does not exist either, because we in truth never left our Father's house.
(7:5-7) What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it [the world], to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal? Could you have faith in what you see, if you accepted this? And would you see it?
The answer of course is that we are afraid of realizing that this world is an hallucination, that it is all made up, and therefore we do not see it that way. We are afraid of seeing it is all made up because then the seemingly external world has no more value as a defense. If I believe the world is real, I do not have to look at my mind. If I realize the world is made up, then I understand that what I am perceiving outside is a projection of what is inside my mind. And that means I must look inside at this terrible thought of judgment. And I do not want to do that.
(8:1-2) Hallucinations disappear when they are recognized for what they are. This is the healing and the remedy.
This is really the crux of the second step of judgment, and I would like to spend a few minutes discussing it. If I recognize that what I am perceiving is made up, it loses its value as a defense, which means it disappears, for I have no further need of it. The world continues to exist for us only because we have a need for it to protect us from the guilt of the original judgment. That is the purpose of the world. If I now realize there is no world out there, and everything I am seeing is made up, then I have exploded the myth of the defense, which means the defense disappears.
So "hallucinations disappear when they are recognized for what they are." In other words, I have to look at them. We always come back to this. I look at the fact that I am getting angry, that I am getting anxious, that I am in a rage, that I am in excruciating pain, that I am in ecstasy, that I can't wait for some wonderful event to happen. It does not matter whether it is positive or negative; I look forward to something I believe will bring me pleasure, or I dread something I believe will bring me pain. I have only to realize that I am making it up. I do not have to stop believing in it, dreading it, or getting excited about it. I simply have to know what I have done. That is all the "little willingness" is asking of us. It is not asking us to let the whole thing go—we are too terrified.
That is why in the Course, with very few exceptions (e.g., T-5.II.3:10; M-17.8:4), Jesus asks us to have a little willingness. The little willingness is simply the willingness to begin the process of stepping back and looking, which automatically means stepping back with Jesus—the ego would never let us look at itself without judgment. If I am looking at my ego without judgment, I must be looking with Jesus, which means looking at my ego and saying, "This is what I am doing. I am being stubborn and resistant. I am holding on to this because I'm afraid of the Love of God. I would much rather murder you than have God murder me. I would much rather indulge myself with all of my specialness than have the peace of God." At least I know that is what I am doing. I don't have to change it, because if I feel I have to change it, then I've made it real. If you ever believe that Jesus (or the Holy Spirit) is forcing you to do something, then it is not Jesus. It is your ego's Jesus. Jesus would never force you to do anything, because he knows there is nothing that has to be done. All he does, by his very presence in our minds, is gently remind us that we could look at what is going on differently. We do not have to look at it differently, just recognize that there is another way of looking. We may not choose to do it right away; but recognizing that there is a different way is the healing and the remedy.
(8:3) Believe them not [don't believe the hallucinations] and they are gone.
This is a process. I may intellectually believe that these are hallucinations, but a part of me still holds onto them. So I look at that and realize, yes, I understand that all of this is made up. Yes, I understand that I am never upset for the reason I think. And yet I still want to hold onto this specialness, this grievance, this depression and pain—because I am more afraid of what these conceal: the Love and the peace of God. That is what I am afraid of, but at least now I know it.
Here is the next very important line:
(8:4) And all you need to do is recognize that you did this.
Jesus does not say all you have to do is give it up, or change it, or fight against it, or struggle against it. He says, "all you need to do is recognize that you did this."
(8:5-6) Once you accept this simple fact and take unto yourself the power you gave them, you are released from them. One thing is sure; hallucinations serve a purpose, and when that purpose is no longer held they disappear.
The purpose hallucinations serve is to protect me from the Love of God. But if I can begin to know that the love of Jesus is fully present within me, even though I'm still afraid of him, and that my only problem is that I keep pushing him away, then I no longer need a defense against this. I no longer have to believe that the problem is external to me because now I know the problem is internal. Maybe I am still afraid of the solution. Maybe I am still afraid of the love, but now at least I understand what I am afraid of. I am not afraid of you. I am not afraid of growing old and dying. I am not afraid of not having enough money. I am not afraid of getting AIDS. I am not afraid of another war breaking out. I am not afraid of a recession. I am afraid of the Love of God, and I do not call my fear by any other name. I now know this is what it is. I may still choose to keep Jesus away, but at least now I know what I am doing.
(8:7) Therefore, the question never is whether you want them, but always, do you want the purpose that they serve?
This is extremely important. The issue is never all the idols, all the forms the hallucination takes. The problem is that I want the purpose they serve. I want to keep the Love of God away from me. That is what I am afraid of, because in the presence of the Love of God, I will disappear as a separated individual. Again, we do not disappear all at once: "Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality" (T-16.VI.8:1). Before I totally disappear, what disappears is my anxiety, guilt, depression, pain, etc.—all the negative things that I am feeling. And what takes their place is the Love and the peace of God, which I experience within the separated self I believe I am. But now at least I know the difference between reality and illusion. That means I am starting to grow up. I am no longer in diapers.
That is what this step in the process is: I simply understand the real problem and call it by its proper name. The problem is not anything external. Its proper name is my fear of God's Love. I am now aware of how I have used the world and everyone in my personal world and all of my specialness to resist and defend against this Love. If I can begin to look at what I have been doing, with the love of Jesus next to me, then I am beginning to understand that love does not condemn or punish me. If I can begin to experience looking at how hateful I have been toward Jesus, and therefore how hateful I have been with everyone else, and if I can look at that with his love next to me—a love that is not judging me for the hatred—I may begin to understand that "judgment is but a toy, a whim." It is not reality. That is why it is important to look with Jesus or the Holy Spirit.
(8:8-10) This world seems to hold out many purposes, each different and with different values. Yet they are all the same. Again there is no order; only a seeming hierarchy of values.
The only purpose everything in the world serves is to keep the Love of God away—there is no order within that.