I’m going to attempt to put into words my own recent leap. An irrevocable awakening has occurred. This is really quite funny because it happened without me. I had no idea what had occurred at the time. Let me explain.
I’ve had many epiphanies and awakenings over the past few decades but they came and then, over time they faded and disappeared. I would then find my mind sliding back into believing the many seductive temptations of fear, doubt and self-loathing. Disappointment, disillusionment, and at times even depression would come to haunt me. Its underlying message was that I just couldn’t make it. Why? Because the “me” identity was the one still trying to awaken. Over thirty years it had evolved magnificently. It had become an ace spiritual student and seeker. But the one thing I didn’t know back then was that this self, no matter how spiritual it appears to become, can never awaken.
Many of us on the spiritual awakening path believe that the self embarks on its journey and at some point, it awakens. The one who begins the spiritual journey, studying the text, meditating and practicing the lessons, is the ego. It fantasizes about becoming a better self, a more spiritualized self, a happier self, perhaps even teaching while making its body and world a better dream. It would never commence the transfer of trust from fear to Love if it knew that in this transfer “it” would disappear.
This body-self concept is fear. Its inception as fear emerged from fear. While the mind still values a private mind and body, it will also value fear. Furthermore, as fear, it will interpret Love as a threat.
In the Course Jesus speaks about “the bridge to the Real World.” This seems to be a journey of awakening that we undertake. In a way, we make a transition across the bridge in every Holy Instant. The bridge symbol is used as a vehicle by which we appear to transmigrate from fear to Love, from ego to Holy Self, from split mind to unified Mind. It may appear to be a spiritual metamorphosis.
But in the long journey of the transfer of trust from fear to Love, what I have experienced is that the self who gingerly steps onto that spiritual bridge taking its first few feeble steps, is not the one that steps off the bridge on the other side. While some people may call this awakening, I think a more truthful term might be “replacement.” The illusory self-concept as a private mind and separate body ceases to exist. The choice to believe in it is divinely replaced by what was always there –as unified Mind – although unrecognized because our earlier choice for separation had obscured it from awareness.
The illusory fear-driven self does not survive the bridge’s transition. Instead, it is blazed away by the light of Love and innocence.
My experience reveals that during this seeming transition there is most definitely a period of purification. Jesus describes the six stages of this awakening transition as the “development of trust” (Manual for Teachers in the Course). He also describes the overarching three steps of transition required in “The Lessons of the Holy Spirit,” in Chapter six of the Course.
We are Love and nothing but Love! Some of us may be able to identify with the first part of this idea, “I am Love.” However this means absolutely nothing if we’re not vigilantly attuned to applying the second part of the sentence, “I am nothing but Love.” This part is the most important because through forgiving everyone, and every thought or judgment that is not Love, we come to know without a shadow of a doubt that we are Love.
The Transition as Shades of Gray
We will refer to some images here. We’ll use a spectrum that depicts our transfer of trust as awakening from 100% imagined fear as the separation, all the way through to 100% perfect Love. In the following diagram, fear is represented by a solid black box on the far left. And on the far right is perfect Love as a solid white box. In between we have many shades of gray. These represent the varied idols and vacillations we still value as we transition this journey, with the body itself being the top idol.
Using it for pleasure, pain, conflict, sickness or death reveals that we still believe the imaginary body is more powerful than our mind that made it, and therefore, we must still value the body either good or bad. We do not yet know that the body is nothing in our experience. It is still “something,” being used by the split mind to manifest that the separation has indeed occurred.
No judgment here but if we want to heal, this self-attack must be recognized with Holy Spirit and given over to the Atonement. Not until the body is free of all signs of attack can it be used to witness that it is known as nothing; it is purely a projected image or reflection of the state of the mind.
Referring again to the diagram, when we begin the spiritual journey we seem to be okay to play in the shades of gray for a long time, perhaps still valuing dream idols such as special relationships and the body. We will believe in and react to the ego-body’s illusory sensory perception and relish in its sensual appetites, etc. We may even try to spiritualize the body during this transition. While there remains see-sawing between the gray areas and we still hold out hope that through our own “will” we can control our body, relationships and life (independent of God), we will delay the inevitable stage of recognizing the unbearable contrast between illusion and Truth, between fear and Love, between guilt and incorruptible innocence.
In the gray zones we continue to compartmentalize our relationships, the body, our life, and the seeming world as we see them through the body’s sensory perception, keeping certain areas private for our self apart from Holy Spirit. Thus we communicate with our self and others in-authentically. Because we value this private compartmentalizing, we unwittingly value miscommunication which leads to projection of conflict, scarcity, pain and illness.
Playing within the shades of gray, we think we know our own best interests. We don’t realize that we cannot safely discern what will bring us happiness, pleasure or pain. The false-self’s concept of love is often riddled with fear, obligation, pain, conflict, blame, guilt, confusion, doubt and loss. We honestly do not know what undivided Love is. Because we still remain heavily body-identified, we often choose pain mistaking it for happiness.
However, we eventually reach a point where the necessary “contrast learning” which is made apparent from playing within the gray zones, becomes so stark as to be literally intolerable (see the lower two boxes in accompanying diagram). The gray zones are no longer an option and we are faced with making an unequivocal choice. Jesus says it well here: “The third step, then, is a statement of what you want to believe, and entails a willingness to relinquish everything else.” T-6.V.C.10:1
For me, I recognized that while the gray zones appeared to be composed of differing degrees of fear, any shade of gray might as well be 100% fear. I saw that Love and fear were completely irreconcilable. Fear and Love are each mutually exclusive thought systems. Fear does not exist. But we cannot know and therefore, demonstrate this while we believe that fear, along with its seeming effects are real.
This experience took me to the two opposed boxes in the lower part of the diagram. With the gray zones gone, and no more wiggle room, glaring back at me was the unmasked, stark raving insanity of fear – or – the glorious, breathtaking presence of Love, peace and infinite joy. Then I knew there was no choice to be made. This must be the “choiceless choice.” At this point there was a divine recognition that only changeless, perfect Love exists. I AM nothing but this. And so are you. Temptation to fear may still arise but I am no longer hooked by it.
At this point too, it was recognized that all fear, irrespective of its form and severity, is solely the fear of Love.
“This lesson is unequivocal in that it teaches there must be no exceptions, although it does not deny that the temptation to make exceptions will occur. Here, then, your consistency is called on despite chaos. Yet chaos and consistency cannot coexist for long, since they are mutually exclusive. As long as you must be vigilant against anything, however, you are not recognizing this mutual exclusiveness, and still believe that you can choose either one. By teaching [what] to choose, the Holy Spirit will ultimately teach you that you need not choose at all. This will finally liberate your mind from choice, and direct it towards creation within the Kingdom.” T-6.V.4:5-10
Here, at the final contrast between fear and Love, we can make an unequivocal choice for Love and nothing but Love. I guess this could be called step three in the Course’s “The Lessons of the Holy Spirit,” where we practice being vigilant only for God and His Kingdom. By the way, we are His Kingdom, so we’re learning to be vigilant against anything that is not the changeless innocence and Love that we all are behind the illusory self and its body. Here we learn and practice “true denial.” Jesus speaks of this here:
“You can do anything I ask. I have asked you to perform miracles, and have made it clear that miracles are natural, corrective, healing and universal. There is nothing they cannot do, but they cannot be performed in the spirit of doubt or fear. When you are afraid of anything, you are acknowledging its power to hurt you. Remember that where your heart is, there is your treasure also. You believe in what you value. If you are afraid, you are valuing wrongly. Your understanding will then inevitably value wrongly, and by endowing all thoughts with equal power will inevitably destroy peace. That is why the Bible speaks of “the peace of God which passeth understanding.” This peace is totally incapable of being shaken by errors of any kind. It denies the ability of anything not of God to affect you. This is the proper use of denial. It is not used to hide anything, but to correct error. It brings all error into the light, and since error and darkness are the same, it corrects error automatically.”
“True denial is a powerful protective device. You can and should deny any belief that error can hurt you. This kind of denial is not a concealment but a correction. Your right mind depends on it.” T-2.II.1,2:1-4
Any triggers are seen as the valuable gifts they actually are. When recognized correctly, they always serve the one extraordinary purpose of exposing any remaining hidden un-forgiveness in our mind so it can be healed instantly. And for these we are eternally grateful. As we accept the Atonement we stay in the light. We learn to anticipate only the miracle behind all appearances of fear, pain and suffering. In fact we come to rejoice in the certainty of the miracle even in the face of seeming fear. By expecting only the light behind each appearance of darkness, we invoke it. This is God’s Will.
“There is no strain in doing God’s Will as soon as you recognize that it is also your own.” T-2.VI.6:4
We joyfully recognize that our will and God’s Will are one and the same. Oh what a relief!
“Miracles are in accord with the Will of God, Whose Will you do not know because you are confused about what [you] will. This means that you are confused about what you are. If you are God’s Will and do not accept His Will, you are denying joy. The miracle is therefore a lesson in what joy is. Being a lesson in sharing it is a lesson in love, which [is] joy. Every miracle is thus a lesson in truth, and by offering truth you are learning the difference between pain and joy.” T-7.X.8.
“You are afraid to know God’s Will, because you believe it is not yours. This belief is your whole sickness and your whole fear. Every symptom of sickness and fear arises here, because this is the belief that makes you [want] not to know. Believing this you hide in darkness, denying that the light is in you.” T-11.I.10:3-6
Everyone’s experience of awakening in the dream is highly individualized. My experience of “divine replacement” occurred in Israel in 2019. This really defies explanation. There are literally no words to describe it really because it is a quantum mind healing and cannot possibly be described or understood in a linear way. I can only say that the ramifications of this awakening feel somewhat like a nuclear blast. Nothing at all is as it was before this. I cannot express adequately in words the impact of this shift but I can share just a little here that may be helpful.
But before I share this experience of the self being divinely replaced by the Self, I am reminded of a particular passage in the Course. The false-self is terrified of the Truth that beams relentlessly from this powerful statement following below. The recovery of our whole Mind and the uninterrupted joy it knows depends on welcoming this statement wholly. The self and the Self cannot coexist. One must eventually go:
“This is a crucial period in this course, for here the separation of you and the ego must be made complete.”… “Now must you choose between yourself and an illusion of yourself. Not both, but one. There is no point in trying to avoid this one decision. It must be made. Faith and belief can fall to either side, but reason tells you misery lies only on one side and joy upon the other.” … “There is no part of Heaven you can take and weave into illusions. Nor is there one illusion you can enter Heaven with.” T-22.II.6:1,6-10,8:1-2
The location was in Old Jerusalem. The circumstances were of great significance to me however it doesn’t feel right to go into detail about this here. At the perfect point in time, time itself vanished and I found my awareness in the undivided presence of God. It was precipitated by an exceedingly high voltage, blinding light that torched away all remnants of personal will, leaving it in ashes. An experience of incomprehensible light illuminated the Mind. In this, the body’s eyes were rendered blind and I could not lift my eyes upward. They were fixed, cast downward and incapacitated so as I would open instead to the Mind’s inner Vision. The physical blindness lasted a few hours and it was around twenty four hours before I could open and lift my eyes up again.
It took two months after this “replacement” to learn to integrate back into the seeming body and life. This may seem strange but at the time of this profound awakening, I did not know what it was. As I said in my opening paragraph, it happened without me. No doubt it will continue to unpack itself as more levels of awakening flood in.
I was literally struck dumb and blind. So there was an adjustment period following it. There are some common symptoms of this integration period occurring still. And one of them is disorientation, particularly performing mundane duties like thinking, cooking, driving and grocery shopping, etc. I need help with these for a while.
The mind does not tolerate superficial or meaningless activities or conversations any longer. And alongside of this there is a rapidly growing conviction in the unopposed power of the miracle to heal everything, all phenomena that the illusion of fear made. In addition there is a heightened knowing now that our one, shared Mind is not at all compartmentalized as it seems. Thus in this open and unified Mind, there is a natural ability to see and to heal what I could not access before from the personal mind. Some might say this promotes miraculous healing and psychic abilities. But I would say that these are “shared gifts” we all have, although while we negate them via the false-self, we will not claim them or extend them.
Looking back at my time journeying through those gray zones before this awakening, the following paragraph from Jesus was so precious to me. The undeniable Truth in it which I trusted, was largely responsible for helping me to keep aligned with Truth, as I felt I was groping in the dark so much of the time along the journey:
“When you unite with me you are uniting without the ego, because I have renounced the ego in myself and therefore cannot unite with yours. Our union is therefore the way to renounce the ego in you. The truth in both of us is beyond the ego. Our success in transcending the ego is guaranteed by God, and I share this confidence for both of us and all of us. I bring God’s peace back to all His children because I received it of Him for us all. Nothing can prevail against our united wills because nothing can prevail against God’s.” T-8.V.4.
As mentioned earlier, everyone’s awakening is highly individualized although the content is always the same – which is the realization that we are all entirely sinless and guiltless. Once this fearless state has bloomed inwardly, the peace of God is its natural result. And inseparable from this peace, is abounding grace and gratitude. Changeless Love, joy, and happiness are the state of being. While unassailable safety and security are also hallmarks of this state once fear falls away.
Some of the joyous consequences of this divine replacement also include the falling away of self-doubt and of feeling unfairly treated (victimized) in any way. Upon reflection here, it becomes starkly apparent that previous bouts of self-doubt and “poor me” pity parties were not at all random. They were all valued choices made to uphold the illusion of a separate-self. Of course, we don’t recognize this until our genuine desire for peace – via unrelenting forgiveness –out weighs our desire to be unfairly treated.
For me, the journey seemed an especially long one because in a way, I was pioneering in this pathway of Holy Relationships, making every conceivable mistake during the transfer. While they were all helpful, now we have a proven road-map so to speak, one that is fool-proof if we apply the tools consistently (the Seven Key Principles, Forgiveness/Atonement, Holy Instant, Holy Relationships and ACIM lessons).
Please don’t be discouraged if it appears to you that there is a long and arduous journey ahead especially if you have recently begun. This is a course in miracles! This means the more you want to undo the separate self-concept, the more that miracles will collapse the concept of time. See the following quote:
“One source of perceived discouragement from which you may suffer is your belief that this takes time, and that the results of the Holy Spirit’s teaching are far in the future. This is not so. For the Holy Spirit uses time in His Own way, and is not bound by it. Time is His friend in teaching. It does not waste Him, as it does you.”
If you are tempted to be dispirited by thinking how long it would take to change your mind so completely, ask yourself, “How long is an instant?” Could you not give so short a time to the Holy Spirit for your salvation? He asks no more, for He has no need of more. It takes far longer to teach you to be willing to give Him this than for Him to use this tiny instant to offer you the whole of Heaven. In exchange for this instant He stands ready to give you the remembrance of eternity.”
If your genuine desire is to heal your mind, your relationships, and to prioritize forgiveness and the peace of God, then Holy Spirit will quicken the healing, bringing miracles you could never have imagined. The Holy Instant is forever present and available to you. He knows your intent. He never judges you. He is never disappointed in you. He always holds your impeccable innocence for you when you forget. But do you stop to rest in the sanctity of this blessed moment to feel and to receive His benediction? One Holy Instant is all it takes to wipe away all perception pain.
The Holy Spirit knows you only as the risen Christ. He knows you as whole and totally immune to sickness, loss or pain of any kind. In any Holy Instant that you allow, He calls you deeply into your heart to “receive” this immutable peace and thereby be healed by it. God’s Will is your perfect immunity to all the ego’s dreams of pain, conflict, loss and even death. God’s Will is done. That means that once we learn to trust His Will…all that is left for us is to accept and receive it with gratitude. Once we abdicate our choice for guilt and fear, nothing can oppose His Loving Will for us. Nothing.
Another thing is that because we all literally share the one Mind with the awakened ones including Jesus and the Angels, we can invoke their help in any Holy Instant. To the degree we sincerely desire and welcome their guidance with gratitude – not in fear – is the extent to which we give them permission to do so.
“How long can it take to be where God would have you? For you are where you have forever been and will forever be. All that you have, you have forever. The blessed instant reaches out to encompass time, as God extends Himself to encompass you.”
Holy Relationship – The Quickening
Jesus shares that a Holy Relationship with one or more people is the catalyst for our final awakening not just in the dream but from it altogether. It leads us to the very last dream, the Real World. Specialness must undone in order to reveal the unopposed nature of Love and innocence we are.
While we continue to believe erroneously that we are private minds with separate bodies our attraction to conflict, pain and death will persist. Not until we join with at least one other person in a truly common goal together with the means as forgiveness, will we know that we are indeed the Holy and unified Self.
As Jesus tells us in the following quotes, we fulfill the most Holy function that this world contains through Holy Relationship.
“You have been called, together with your brother, to the most holy function this world contains. It is the only one that has no limits, and reaches out to every broken fragment of the Sonship with healing and uniting comfort. This is offered you, in your holy relationship.” T-18.I.13:1-3
“When brothers join in purpose in the world of fear, they stand already at the edge of the real world.” T-30.V.7:1
“In your relationship the Holy Spirit has gently laid the real world; the world of happy dreams, from which awaking is so easy and so natural.” T-8.II.9:4
“In your relationship is this world’s light. And fear must disappear before you now.” T-18.III.4:3-4
NOTE: please listen (or read) PART TWO of this section, click here. It’s about the “Final Awakening from the Dream of Death.”