Almost everyone wonders from time to time what is the definition of reality.
Is reality what we see and hear or is it more objective than that and this is only our interpretation of it?
The best book that provided guidance on this subject for me is A Course In Miracles.
Let’s see what reality is according to ACIM.
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What Is the Definition of Reality?
The Merrian-Webster dictionary defines reality as the quality or state of being real.
Ok, but what is the state of being real?
And this is where we will find many different interpretations.
Most assume that the state of being real is what is experienced by our senses.
In my opinion, that definition is extremely limited.
It assumes that we are bodies and nothing else and whatever our bodies experience is reality.
Therefore, it changes from person to person, it depends on individual perceptions.
That simply cannot be.
Different realities are meaningless, for reality must be one. (ACIM, T-14.IX.2:6)
Reality is safe and sure, and wholly kind to everyone and everything. (ACIM, T-16.II.8:6)
You may be surprised to hear how very different is reality from what you see. ²You do not realize the magnitude of that one error. ³It was so vast and so completely incredible that from it a world of total unreality had to emerge. (ACIM, T-18.I.5:1-3)
Related: The Way To Happiness – A Course In Miracles Review
What Reality Is Not
It is very hard for us humans, mainly focused in the physical form, to understand what reality truly is.
Sometimes the best way to describe what something is, is to realize what it is not.
Reality is NOT:
- what you are looking at
- what you hear
- your body
- changing and unstable
- experiencing yourself as alone
- pain and death
In your madness you overlook reality completely, and you see only your own split mind everywhere you look. (ACIM, T-13.V.6:5)
As long as you perceive the body as your reality, so long will you perceive yourself as lonely and deprived. (ACIM, T-15.XI.5:1)
The separation is merely a faulty formulation of reality, with no effect at all. (ACIM, T-13.VIII.3:5)
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This Is A Good News
I know that at first this might sound very fearful.
But let’s examine our definition of reality.
In our definition of reality the entire world is perishable.
It is born in pain, experiences pain and dies in pain.
Is the “reality” really worth preserving?
Is the idea of pain and death worth finding for?
The world you see is a vengeful world, and everything in it is a symbol of vengeance. ²Each of your perceptions of “external reality” is a pictorial representation of your own attack thoughts. ³One can well ask if this can be called seeing. ⁴Is not fantasy a better word for such a process, and hallucination a more appropriate term for the result? (ACIM, W-23.3:1-4)
Related: Are You Ready To Be Happy?
Reality According To ACIM
Some people study the course for years to be able to grasp the main message in it.
The reality presented in ACIM is so beautiful but it requires letting go of our current definition of reality.
This idea is another step in the direction of identifying cause and effect as it really operates in the world. ²You see no neutral things because you have no neutral thoughts. ³It is always the thought that comes first, despite the temptation to believe that it is the other way around. ⁴This is not the way the world thinks, but you must learn that it is the way you think. ⁵If it were not so, perception would have no cause, and would itself be the cause of reality. ⁶In view of its highly variable nature, this is hardly likely. (ACIM, W-17.1:1-6)
Your reality is only spirit. (ACIM, T-1.III.5:5)
How can faith in reality be yours while you are bent on making it unreal? ²And are you really safer in maintaining the reality of illusions than you would be in joyously accepting truth for what it is, and giving thanks for it? (ACIM, T-16.II.5:1-2)
The power of decision is your one remaining freedom as a prisoner of this world. ²You can decide to see it right. ³What you made of it is not its reality, for its reality is only what you give it. (ACIM, T-12.VII.9:1-3)
The world as you perceive it cannot have been created by the Father, for the world is not as you see it. ²God created only the eternal, and everything you see is perishable. ³Therefore, there must be another world that you do not see. (ACIM, T-11.VII.1:1-3)
For hell and oblivion are ideas that you made up, and you are bent on demonstrating their reality to establish yours. (ACIM, T-13.IV.2:3)
Reality is ultimately known without a form, pictured and unseen. (ACIM, T-27.III.5:2)
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How To Start Practicing ACIM
With eyes closed, think of all the horrors in the world that cross your mind. ²Name each one as it occurs to you, and then deny its reality. ³God did not create it, and so it is not real. ⁴Say, for example:
⁵God did not create that war, and so it is not real.
⁶God did not create that airplane crash, and so it is not real.
⁷God did not create that disaster [specify], and so it is not real.(ACIM, W-14.4:1-7)
You do not want the world. ²The only thing of value in it is whatever part of it you look upon with love. ³This gives it the only reality it will ever have. ⁴Its value is not in itself, but yours is in you. (ACIM, T-12.VI.3:1-4)
We don’t have to be scared.
The book ensures us that the transition will be smooth.
Time will be on our side.
While we will most likely experience a time of disorientation it will not last long.
Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality. (ACIM, T-16.VI.8:1)
Time is kind, and if you use it on behalf of reality, it will keep gentle pace with you in your transition.
The urgency is only in dislodging your mind from its fixed position here.
This will not leave you homeless and without a frame of reference.
The period of disorientation, which precedes the actual transition, is far shorter than the time it took to fix your mind so firmly on illusions.
Delay will hurt you now more than before, only because you realize it is delay, and that escape from pain is really possible.
Find hope and comfort, rather than despair, in this: You could not long find even the illusion of love in any special relationship here.
For you are no longer wholly insane, and you would soon recognize the guilt of self-betrayal for what it is. (ACIM, T-16.VI.8:2-8)
The more I work on my life and who my self is, the more I am aware that all of the power lies in the intangible. All these things we see and touch are ‘real’ in a sense. Someone being sick is ‘real’ to them and all involved, but I think that the understanding that the disease itself has no power and at some level there is no disease, is the vibration that will manifest healing. I have read ACIM and no matter how many times I do, something comes alive that I didn’t see before. Thank you for this article and for the many reminders.
Hello JJ, thank you for your comment. I 100% agree with you when it comes to reading ACIM. I probably ready it now 7 times and every single time it is like reading a different book. I get new messages and see different things in it. It’s a beautiful book for those that are ready for it. I remember picking the book up some 12 years ago. I could not get through the text, it was just a bunch of mumble jumble. Now, years later, this is the most beautiful book I have ever come across. This is the only book that I need in my life right now. Full of knowledge and wonderful visions.
Today , as I contemplated on the C I M ” I have no neutral thoughts” hit me like a loaded truck filled with rocks , as indeed I have no neutral thoughts which are likewise attack thoughts which I project on a otherwise neutral reality . Also the needless sacrifice is so liberating to me , enter “The Passion” which was attended by millions vs the “last temptation of Christ by comparison attracted so few . After a few minutes with the The Passion I headed for the exit . Was it the sex reference in the Last Temptation that made it so repulsive to the average guilt laden American who sat through The Passion as Jesus was endlessly beaten to a bloody pulp ? Thanks ever so much for your take on the C I M message on the concept of reality .
Thank you for your comment.
There are no neutral thoughts, that’s a very scary concept.
We usually don’t pay too much attention to our thoughts and allow them to go wild in whatever direction they want to go.
Not everyone is able to accept this truth but my journey is to find the ultimate truth even if it threatens my perception of the world and myself.
Paying attention to my thoughts has become my daily practice.