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What is Level Confusion in A Course in Miracles?

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

In embracing your desire to LIVE ACIM. It is essential to clarify your understanding of A Course in Miracles' metaphysics! One major stumbling block for ACIM Live students attempting to Live ACIM has to do with what the Course calls "level confusion." “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) Question: Is there anything I can do to make my mind more ready or wake up faster? In the beginning we all want to get through to the end of the Course—we want that happy dream experience that ACIM talks about. We claim we are ready to bow out of our former lives of pain and suffering like when Bill Thetford expressed his frustration over the working atmosphere in his psychology department and exclaimed "there has to be a better way!" And Helen Schuckman his research assistant said she would help find it.

Tired of being gazumped by fear we open our hearts and minds to the Spirit's plan for us. And just like Bill and Helen—the two first students of A Course in Miracles—this 3-volume book is the Answer for us too! Exactly as Jesus shared it—no interpretation required. If we have any questions, Jesus always clarifies them in the next few lines! Sometimes it seems that fear is an involuntary emotion, it can suddenly overwhelm striking like a tornado. We seem to be at the mercy of it. A Course in Miracles shares that "a meaningless world engenders fear" and Lesson 13 in the workbook is where Jesus first introduces the idea of fear being a choice in the mind. Because the fear is actually coming from a conflict in the mind that needs to be seen.

In the workbook, Jesus says that we may see an insane world, a crazy world, a dark world, a fearful world. We may see a lot of things that ego is projecting onto the world, but actually a meaningless world—a world without meaning at all—engenders fear because, He says, "I think that I am in competition with God." We may resist this idea, or refute it but that doesn't change that the world itself means nothing.

Because we believe in a "self concept" an image or persona that God didn’t 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. It engenders 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 the credit card debt that is upsetting you, or the guy that cut you off in traffic, or the burnt toast. It's not the pandemic that is upsetting us. it’s not my mother, brother, partner or even my loud neighbors. It’s nothing of the world. The world means nothing, nada, zero, zip. 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 or the egos god.

So we can’t blame the world. We can’t blame any circumstances. We can only pull the plug on the whole thing so that you can laugh and go, wow, that was silly, to have believed something that’s not true about my own identity. That was crazy; that was deceptive. That was not truthful to believe I was so tiny and so small when actually I was so vast as God created me.

Most of the questions that humans have are about effects. 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. But if all of these projections are just coming from the ego, and if you could get down and pull the plug on the ego, you’ve just pulled the plug on all the suffering in human history, past or future; you’ve just pulled the plug on the whole lie. You've just pulled the plug on everything! That’s why we are drawn to teachers like Jesus and Buddha who remember Who They Are. They remember their Source. And they don’t fall into this trap of maya; of believing illusions, of believing lies about their identity. They remember the true Source and therefore, they are happy. God’s will for us is perfect happiness; not partial happiness, perfect happiness, eternal happiness. In heaven there aren’t versions of anything; just simple, divine love. 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!

If you receive Jesus here you would never need to defend or explain anything in this world again. You would simply rest in your Source once clear.

When you really read this, you will see that Jesus is a very good Teacher and so there is no need for confusion at all! :)


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)


If we want to LIVE ACIM we need first: to turn our mind, our heart, our soul, our life, 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?

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