In 1992, two beings appeared to Gary Renard, told him they were ascended masters, and, over a period of years, gave him their interpretation of A Course in Miracles, later to be published in his book The Disappearance of the Universe. The Course is a profound work, almost 1,300 pages, poetically expressed and difficult to understand, which was spiritually dictated by Jesus to a psychologist, Helen Schucman. It enables a person who studies and practices its teachings and mental exercises to gradually eliminate the ego.
In spiritual teachings, the ego is one’s false sense of identity, of who and what one really is. It is like a collection of related thoughts that arises from and includes the basic, underlying thought that we are separate from God. It keeps one oblivious of the fact that they are standing in the presence of God a course in miracles . It causes us to believe we are limited, mortal beings, instead of unlimited, eternal Spirit, one with God.
From the ego arise guilt, fear, attachment to the body, selfishness and suffering. God and our true identity, the immortal Self, are blocked from our awareness acim . The purpose of the Course is to dissolve the ego and its false ideas so that we can directly experience God, God’s extension as Spirit (also spoken of as the collective Son, the Self, or Christ), and Heaven. The Course contains many powerful declarations about the nature of God, Spirit, and their creations, and the truth that the seemingly separate Sons of God are divine, created in the image and likeness of God. These declarations help to dissolve the ego and its illusions and lead us toward direct knowledge of our reality as Spirit.
In the Course, Jesus speaks of God as being transcendental, beyond form and duality, in other words, beyond the world, or universe, as we perceive it. In order to dispel our illusions and heal our minds, God created the Holy Spirit to work with us in the world, guiding and inspiring us through the “inner voice” and through divine messengers. The Holy Spirit leads us out of darkness into the light and love of the Christ. When all our illusions are gone, we are filed with love and light, and realize our eternal oneness with God.
The Course teaches that the world is not real. This makes sense if we think of “reality” in terms of the glorious, transcendental reality of God as the Absolute, beyond form and duality. This kind of reality is very different from the reality we ascribe to the world as it is experienced with the physical senses, brain, and ordinary thought processes. Truly enlightened beings, who through oneness with the Christ Mind are able to experience the blissful, eternal reality of God, Spirit, and Heaven, teach that the world, as seen with the body’s eyes and the thoughts of the ego, is an illusion, although some of them speak of it as having existence. By this they mean that the illusion of it exists.
Arten and Pursah – the two beings who interpreted the Course for The Disappearance of the Universe – say that, before the illusion of the world arose, there was only God and the Christ Mind (a glorious extension of God, wholly identified with God, Its Creator). Then, a very small aspect of the Christ Mind wondered what it might be like to be on its own, in other words, apart from the rest of Spirit. From the creative power of this thought arose the ego and the actual experience of being separate from God. They go on to say that this tiny aspect of the Christ Mind came to accept the ego as part of itself and the ego’s thoughts as its own. Next, feeling guilt for having separated itself from God, it made the universe and bodies as a “hiding place” to escape imagined punishment for what it had done, and, dividing itself into many individual minds, it entered these bodies. Since they were under the influence of the ego’s physically oriented, false concepts, these minds had lost their awareness of being one with their Creator and, thus, identified themselves with the physical body and its limitations. According to Arten and Pursah, this is how humanity came into being. The entire scenario (Disappearance, Chapter 4) took place in thought only – not in reality, as reality is understood in the context of the Course – hence it is an illusion.
Arten and Pursah’s teachings about why and how the universe and human bodies were made are not found in the Course. The Course says that the Sons of God made a world of their own imagining, but does not give any details about the sequence of events or try to put into words the nature of the “substance” from which the world was made. However, many enlightened masters have taught that the universe and bodies were created by God or an aspect of God and infused with Spirit, and that humans, or at least many of them, having been given the gift of free will to think and act as they chose, imagined themselves as separate from each other and God, and fell from grace. Some sacred writings mention that God is still creating and explain the nature of the Fall. Though different masters describe the Creation from different perspectives, they all concur with the teaching of the Course that the world is unreal, in the sense that we perceive it in terms of dualities (opposites), relativity and change. From their own, personal experience during exalted states of awareness, they are familiar with the glorious, eternal, unchanging reality of God, Spirit, and the highest heaven – the Heaven spoken of in the Course – and they teach that, in contrast, the world, as we experience it, is an illusion and not real. They usually speak of it as a cosmic motion picture or dream, projected onto the screen of human consciousness, which is unlike God, Spirit, or the highest heaven, or even the divine light that is the substance of this cosmic dream. In addition, each person’s experience of the world is subjective, colored by the nature and content of that person’s mind. Even time is an illusion, for, as Jesus and the masters tell us, only the eternal present is real.
According to ancient, Hindu teachings, God as the Creator (in Sanskrit, Prakriti), invested with power from God as the Transcendental Spirit (often called the Absolute), manifests, sustains, and dissolves the world. (For a complete explanation of the concept of Prakriti, see God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita, by Paramahansa Yogananda, Self-Realization Fellowship.) Through the power of God’s light, the illusion (or cosmic dream) of the universe takes place, which we perceive in terms of the concepts and judgments in our minds.
Through explanations, affirmations and mental exercises, the Course helps us to change our concepts and the way we think about the world. It helps us to forgive all perceived injustices and sins, thereby releasing ourselves and others from guilt and condemnation, with which we have made the world into a place of fear and attack. Also, it makes us more aware of the voice of the Holy Spirit. As we replace thoughts of evil, sin, and guilt with thoughts of forgiveness, love, gratitude and peace and let the Holy Spirit guide us, we begin to see divine beauty in the world and all beings and eventually are able to perceive everything in the oneness, light, and love of God. With a transformed and illumined mind, we see the world in a new light. From the beauty of this “forgiven world,” it is but a small step into the ultimate reality of God. This is a sacred path to enlightenment.