One major stumbling block for ACIM Live students attempting to Live ACIM has to do with what the Course calls "level confusion." That means that by raising body thoughts to the level of mind, you believe they are causative and you believe that you do have control over them!
It is a pretty common belief which results in false responsibility, overwhelm and exasperated delusion. So let's explore it in more detail...
“A major step in the Atonement plan is to undo error at all levels. Sickness or "not-right-mindedness" is the result of level confusion, because it always entails the belief that what is amiss on one level can adversely affect another. We have referred to miracles as the means of correcting level confusion, for all mistakes must be corrected at the level on which they occur. Only the mind is capable of error. The body can act wrongly only when it is responding to misthought. The body cannot create, and the belief that it can, a fundamental error, produces all physical symptoms. Physical illness represents a belief in magic.” ACIM Quote (T-2.IV.2)
Because we believe in a "self concept" an image or persona that God did not create, that is the conflict in the mind. That is the competition, this battle of the "selves." That is the meaningless world, the one that God did not create.
The world isn’t to blame for fear. "A meaningless world engenders fear because I believe I’m in competition with God." It is the belief in the ego (this separate identity) that engenders the fear, not the world that the ego projected, not the cosmos of time and space.
It’s a great relief when you begin to recognize this because suddenly you realize it's not your BMI that is upsetting you, or the unflattering photo your friend just posted, or the bucket of mac n' cheese you just wolfed down on day one of your gluten free diet. It is not your mother who always criticized your hair, or the brother who taunted your thighs, or the humidity that has frizzed your hair into a fro or even the gigantic pimple that looks like a third eye in the center of your face. It is nothing of the world.
The world doesn’t have the power to upset us at all!
Level confusion in essence is an identity crisis about who we are and what we have control over!
It is this belief in the mind that I am something different than how God created me. Now, that is a problem! If God created me perfect, if God created me eternal and created me as spirit and created me as oneness and I believe something different, then I believe I am separate and apart. With private minds, private thoughts, judgments, and preferences I’ve got my own past and my own personal future and ambitions. If I believe I am this human construct this self-concept that God didn’t create and doesn’t even know about, then that is an enormous identity confusion. Instead of being an eternal creation I believe I am this little time, space creature at the mercy of the world.
Most of the questions that human have are about effects. That is false cause and effect! The world is a projection. If the world is a world of images and there is nothing in time and space—then none of these images are eternal. All of these projections are coming from the ego, and if you can pull the plug on the ego, you’ve pulled the plug on the whole lie.
So we can’t blame the world. We can’t blame any circumstances. We can only pull the plug on the entire drama. We don’t want to be distracted by "things" when they mean no-thing so here is part of Chapter 2 from A Course in Miracles where Jesus is talking to us directly. Allow the Holy Spirit to intimately address any concerns you might have as you read through. After all awakening is a highly individualized experience!
A Course in Miracles Chapter 2 – VI. Fear and Conflict
"Being afraid seems to be involuntary; something beyond your own control. Yet I have said already that only constructive acts should be involuntary. My control can take over everything that does not matter, while my guidance can direct everything that does, if you so choose. Fear cannot be controlled by me, but it can be self-controlled. Fear prevents me from giving you my control. The presence of fear shows that you have raised body thoughts to the level of the mind. This removes them from my control, and makes you feel personally responsible for them. This is an obvious confusion of levels.
I do not foster level confusion, but you must choose to correct it. You would not excuse insane behavior on your part by saying you could not help it. Why should you condone insane thinking? There is a confusion here that you would do well to look at clearly. You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think. You cannot separate yourself from the truth by "giving" autonomy to behavior. This is controlled by me automatically as soon as you place what you think under my guidance. Whenever you are afraid, it is a sure sign that you have allowed your mind to miscreate and have not allowed me to guide it.
It is pointless to believe that controlling the outcome of misthought can result in healing. When you are fearful, you have chosen wrongly. That is why you feel responsible for it. You must change your mind, not your behavior, and this is a matter of willingness. You do not need guidance except at the mind level. Correction belongs only at the level where change is possible. Change does not mean anything at the symptom level, where it cannot work.
The correction of fear is your responsibility. When you ask for release from fear, you are implying that it is not. You should ask, instead, for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about. These conditions always entail a willingness to be separate. At that level you can help it. You are much too tolerant of mind wandering, and are passively condoning your mind's miscreations. The particular result does not matter, but the fundamental error does. The correction is always the same. Before you choose to do anything, ask me if your choice is in accord with mine. If you are sure that it is, there will be no fear.
Fear is always a sign of strain, arising whenever what you want conflicts with what you do. This situation arises in two ways: First, you can choose to do conflicting things, either simultaneously or successively. This produces conflicted behavior, which is intolerable to you because the part of the mind that wants to do something else is outraged. Second, you can behave as you think you should, but without entirely wanting to do so. This produces consistent behavior, but entails great strain. In both cases, the mind and the behavior are out of accord, resulting in a situation in which you are doing what you do not wholly want to do. This arouses a sense of coercion that usually produces rage, and projection is likely to follow. Whenever there is fear, it is because you have not made up your mind. Your mind is therefore split, and your behavior inevitably becomes erratic. Correcting at the behavioral level can shift the error from the first to the second type, but will not obliterate the fear.
It is possible to reach a state in which you bring your mind under my guidance without conscious effort, but this implies a willingness that you have not developed as yet. The Holy Spirit cannot ask more than you are willing to do. The strength to do comes from your undivided decision. There is no strain in doing God's Will as soon as you recognize that it is also your own. The lesson here is quite simple, but particularly apt to be overlooked. I will therefore repeat it, urging you to listen. Only your mind can produce fear. It does so whenever it is conflicted in what it wants, producing inevitable strain because wanting and doing are discordant. This can be corrected only by accepting a unified goal.
The first corrective step in undoing the error is to know first that the conflict is an expression of fear. Say to yourself that you must somehow have chosen not to love, or the fear could not have arisen. Then the whole process of correction becomes nothing more than a series of pragmatic steps in the larger process of accepting the Atonement as the remedy. These steps may be summarized in this way:
- Know first that this is fear.
- Fear arises from lack of love.
- The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love.
- Perfect love is the Atonement.
I have emphasized that the miracle, or the expression of Atonement, is always a sign of respect from the worthy to the worthy. The recognition of this worth is reestablished by the Atonement. It is obvious, then, that when you are afraid, you have placed yourself in a position where you need Atonement. You have done something loveless, having chosen without love. This is precisely the situation for which the Atonement was offered. The need for the remedy inspired its establishment. As long as you recognize only the need for the remedy, you will remain fearful. However, as soon as you accept the remedy, you have abolished the fear. This is how true healing occurs.
Everyone experiences fear. Yet it would take very little right thinking to realize why fear occurs. Few appreciate the real power of the mind, and no one remains fully aware of it all the time. However, if you hope to spare yourself from fear there are some things you must realize, and realize fully. The mind is very powerful, and never loses its creative force. It never sleeps. Every instant it is creating. It is hard to recognize that thought and belief combine into a power surge that can literally move mountains. It appears at first glance that to believe such power about yourself is arrogant, but that is not the real reason you do not believe it. You prefer to believe that your thoughts cannot exert real influence because you are actually afraid of them. This may allay awareness of the guilt, but at the cost of perceiving the mind as impotent. If you believe that what you think is ineffectual you may cease to be afraid of it, but you are hardly likely to respect it. There are no idle thoughts. All thinking produces form at some level." A Course in Miracles (T-2.VI.1-9)
Do not raise body thoughts to the level of the mind
Jesus is saying that first; I am responsible for my state of mind and that He is an equal yet elder brother to ask for guidance and support from. He goes on to clarify that He can't override my own willingness.
This tells me if I have to take responsibility for my state of mind and release this fear myself—then it has got to come from my own willingness, my own discipline and my own dedication. I cannot wait for a miracle to be bestowed on me it is up to me to invite miracle awareness by welcoming a change of mind.
Like any elder brother Jesus wants to help us but as long as we are fearful, we are blocking his support. We are saying, “No, thank you. I’d rather be an autonomous human being and be something that God didn’t create rather than be as God created me." It's like "See-ya wouldn't want to be ya!" :) If I refuse to do the inner work—then I’m not going to allow the purification and I’m not going to accept the healing, because I’m not going to follow what Jesus is asking me to do in the Course. It is like making fear your friend believing it still offers you "some-thing you want" instead of Love which offers you "every-thing!"
Jesus then reminds us of the second reason; "Fear cannot be controlled by me but it can be self controlled. Fear prevents me from giving you my control. The presence of fear shows that you have raised body thoughts to the level of mind." Fear is controlling us in our mind. It is blocking the awareness that you have taken body thoughts and raised them to the level of mind. You have tried to give them causation.
Your mind is causative. And Jesus says by raising body thoughts to the level of mind, this is where your problem is occurring; this is where your level confusion is. God is at the level of mind; Christ is at the level of mind. The mind is powerful; the mind is causative. Jesus is saying, "The presence of fear shows that you have raised body thoughts to the level of mind."
Now, what could that mean in a practical way except that by raising body thoughts to the level of mind, you believe they are causative and you believe that you do have control over them!
And this is so common in this world. If somebody asks you about your physique and you said, “Well, I have direct control over my body. I’m the one who is in charge of how fat or skinny it is, how beautiful or ugly it is. I’m the one who’s in charge of its fitness level and tooth decay. I’m responsible for how it looks; I’m responsible for taking care of it." And not just this body but other bodies too... If I have a mom concept or a dad concept, I'm responsible for baby bodies too until they are old enough to care for themselves (whatever age that is 18, 21 47!)
When you take direct responsibility for the body (personal responsibility), you are simply saying that you have raised body thoughts to the level of mind instead of seeing that bodies are unreal effects from an unreal cause. The unreal effect being these temporal, little unreal fleshy things that are not eternal. These bodies are ego projections. They are unreal effects from an unreal cause. And what’s the unreal cause? The ego. The ego isn’t even a real cause; it doesn’t even have a source. It wasn’t created by God, it didn’t come from anything. The ego is a denial of love! If God is pure Love. God wouldn’t create something that denies love. God creates Christ an extension of pure Love. Which is Who You Are, yet when you forget that—then you are back in level confusion!
So we’re getting down to the key thing: - The presence of fear shows that you have raised body thoughts to the level of mind - We acknowledge that Jesus can't intervene and take away our fear - We accept fear must be self controlled - The reason we have fear is we are raising body thoughts to the level of mind. - If invited Jesus can help with looking at the conditions that created the fear in the mind (conflicting beliefs and desires) - Miracles cannot be performed when there’s fear and doubt. - You are responsible for your state of mind and your "no" must be respected
(Don’t come into my mind. I want to control my body, the world and all time and space.)
- You are having an identity crisis
- You are still entitled to Miracles - Jesus needs you for just a moment to be free of fear and doubt to allow a miracle - You have given causation to the body, and it is just an unreal effect from an unreal cause. - There is no coercion. You can change your mind about your mind sooner or later (there is no need to prolong confusion and pain)
- You are not responsible for the error but you are responsible for the Correction
(it is safe to accept our innate Innocence and allow the Miracle)
Hey even thinking you can control your own pets is level confusion!
The belief in manifesting is level confusion.
The belief in creating your own reality is level confusion.
It is a false premise that you create or control your own reality. God is the creator of reality; thank God. God is spirit. God creates reality in spirit. We are spirit in reality; we are not flesh; we are not dense; we are not these creatures. In heaven there are no pandemics; there is no disease; there is just love and light. And we are gently waking up to that.
We are worthy of giving up this level confusion. God wants us to know what is really true and creative and what has no creative ability. He wants us to know the difference. He wants us to know the difference between extension, which is extending the love of God, and projection, which is trying to get rid of something you don’t want, by seeing it as if it’s outside of you. (anything of the world) That’s a big trick. Projection is a big ego trick.
When you feel that you’ve let your children down because you didn't feed them a balanced meal, this is level confusion.
When you feel you’ve let your parents down because you can't pay your own rent this is level confusion.
When you think that you are fat because you didn’t exercise enough and you ate too much junk food this is level confusion.
When you think you don’t look pretty today because the rain washed off your makeup, this is level confusion.
When you feel you have cramps because you are mestruating, this is level confusion.
If we want to LIVE ACIM we need first: to turn our mind, our heart, and our bodies (and every other body) everything over to Jesus. "My control can take over everything that does not matter, while my guidance can direct everything that does, if you so choose." Choose to be under Christ control. And secondly to accept what Jesus says, "Fear cannot be controlled by me but it can be self controlled." Let's use our small willingness to "ask, instead, for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about." These will always be conflicting beliefs and desires in the mind. Some false responsibility for ourselves, others, or the world. For this we suggest doing a Levels of Mind worksheet for a Miracle turnaround every time.
RECOMMENDED: What is Levels of Mind?
Photo by the talented Julia Caesar on Unsplash
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