There is a myth in the ACIM community relating to how perception works. It's based on the belief that we only have one perception, one outlook. There's us, in the body, perceiving. We read stuff about how perception shifts and how it changes what we see.
So we think ok, my one perception will shift and it will show me a different world. In other words, the bad stuff I was seeing will seem to disappear and I will see good stuff. We read about the spiritual eye and christ vision and we start to think that our entire perception is going to shift to ONLY seeing perfection and beauty.
This of course then implies that all the bad stuff, all the sickness, the wars, the conflict, the decay, it's all going to magically disappear from my perception and I will not see it at all. Which in turn means, all the hospitals will be empty, everyone with broken limbs will magically be fixed, it's my dream so the entire physical contents of the world will transform into a heavenly condition.
This is not what ACIM teaches.
Perception is a little more complicated because there are actually two perceptual mechanisms involved, and Jesus goes to great lengths describing them.
One perception mechanism, the spiritual eye, is direct "mind seeing", also referred to as the eyes of Christ or Christ Vision. This seeing does not rely on or depend on the body whatsoever. It is not limited by space or time or distance. The mind can be anywhere, go anywhere, see anywhere. It can see through walls.
In fact, the spiritual eye does not really acknowledge what ACIM refers to as "the veil" of physical matter, the granite block of sin. It looks right THROUGH it as if it's not even there and looks to the light of the real world beyond. This fixation on the face of Christ is one way of perceiving. But there is another.
The body has its own perceptual mechanism. It has physical eyeballs. Its form of perception depends entirely on illusions. And the body's perception is not capable of seeing anything else.
"Everything the body sees is an illusion."
"These eyes made not to see will never see"
"The body's eyes are therefore not the means by which the real world can be seen, for the illusions that they look upon must lead to more illusions of reality."
"The body's eyes behold it as solid granite"
"Nothing the body's eyes seem to see can be anything but a form of temptation"
"This is the function you have given your body's eyes. 5 It is not seeing. 6 It is image making. 7 It takes the place of seeing, replacing vision with illusions."
The body's perception relies entirely on the laws of physics, which the spiritual eye completely transcends. They rely on photons of light, concentrated particles of finite energy. Light has to collide with surfaces of physical forms, objects, matter, and be "denied" by the form. The light is thus "reflected" rather than passing through it. This reflected light then enters the body's eyes and passes images to the mind for interpretation.
This is a fundamental difference between the two types of perception. What Jesus refers to as "physical sight" can only "see" when vision is blocked. In other words, seeing has to stop at the surface of objects, in order to see them as being there. This seeing is therefore blinded by physical objects. "Nothing so blinding as perception of form." Your eyes cannot see through matter.
Spiritual vision is the opposite, in that it does not stop at physical objects, it is not limited by matter or surfaces, it looks right through them as though they are just a very thin transparent veil. It overlooks the physical world because "to forgive is to overlook", looking beyond to the light.
Christ vision sees past the illusion of physical form to something beyond it - the face of Christ. Vision therefore doesn't really pay attention to what we would call physical stuff or the world of bodies, nor dose it function based on "seeing photons".
"This world of idols IS a veil across the Face of Christ"
"the veil of sin that hangs between you and the face of Christ"
"Christ's vision has one law. It does not look upon a body, and mistake it for the Son whom God created. It beholds a light beyond the body"
"The fourth obstacle to be surmounted hangs like a heavy veil before the face of Christ."
"Real vision is not only unlimited by space and distance, but it does not depend on the body's eyes at all"
Essentially, body vision is blinded by perception of the form of physical objects/matter, but to the body this causes it to "see" them. ie my vision "stopped at" the surface. Spiritual vision does not use photons of light, does not depend on physical matter, and sees directly with the mind.
The thing is this. For anyone who has a body or is in a body, BOTH mechanisms for seeing are simultaneously functioning. It does not matter how asleep or awake you are, whether you have false perception or true perception. It does not matter if your mind is sick or healed. If you still have a body, the body's eyes STILL will continue to report images of the PHYSICAL ONLY world to the mind, at the same time as the mind trying to see past it. It will still see the forms of matter, bodies, wars, sickness and death.
This is also why for example you can read the ACIM workbook and STILL READ THE WORDS, even if you are making progress in opening christ vision, because you are still using the body's eyes at the same time. Those who wake up in the world are still perfectly capable of watching tv and choosing food and navigating around a building and driving a car.
This "double vision" of body sight and mind vision, will occur as a kind of parallel perception. As the spiritual eye opens, as your mind opens up to direct vision, as you overlook (forgive) the world of matter, your body is still going to function in exactly the same biologically limited manner. It is still going to relay messages to the mind as to what it senses and sees. And the mind has to sort out what these messages mean to it.
Mind, as the only seer ("only the mind sees"), is therefore receiving impressions either directly (the real world, face of Christ), or indirectly (via the body's eyes). It is experiencing TWO inputs for a while. In order to open the spiritual vision, investment in physical sight has to be diminished. But this only means that the images coming from the body are recognized as illusions not to be believed. Visions of reality are accepted as true, visions of the physical are recognized as false. There are two levels of perception:
"Pain thresholds can be high, but they are not limitless. Eventually, everybody begins to recognize, however dimly, that there MUST be a better way. As this recognition is more firmly established, it becomes a perceptual turning-point. This ultimately reawakens the spiritual eye (which is now a second way to perceive), simultaneously weakening the investment in physical sight. The alternating investment in the ***two types or levels of perception*** is usually experienced as conflict for a long time, and can become very acute."
"The body's eyes will continue to see differences. 2 But the mind ***that has let itself be healed*** (has christ vision AND is using the body) will no longer acknowledge them. 3 ****There will be those who seem to be "sicker" than others (seen with the body's eyes still), and the body's eyes will report their changed appearances as before****. 4 But the healed mind (having true perception, accurate recognition) will put them all in one category; they are unreal (recognized as false)."
This does not mean the mind is blind to sick bodies. NOR does it mean that seeing sick bodies is proof that your mind is sick! You see them because your BODY shows them to you, but your mind decides whether to BELIEVE what the body sees.
You still see physical signs of sickness because you're still USING the body. Even when the body is used by the Holy Spirit for communication and healing, even when your spiritual eye is very open, physical sight STILL functions and the mind DOES still SEE the images of the physical world. But it categorizes these images as "these are not reality, they are illusions." It is not tempted by them, deceived by them, nor does it believe they depict the truth. This means you are AWARE that you are in a dream ie "awake in the dream."
"Awareness of dreaming is the real function of God's teachers. ***They watch the dream figures come and go, shift and change, suffer and die*** (via physical eyes).Yet they are not deceived by what they see (because the mind is not tempted and doesn't believe the physical is real)."
So you see (pun intended), while having a body, your mind is going to be in a state where you keep seeing the physical world, in its continued condition of constant inescapable corruption and death, complete with sick broken bodies and suffering and time and everything going wrong. BUT, the condition of your mind will be such that the MEANING of these images will be different. How they strike your mind will be different. And what you recognize them AS will be different.
You WILL still see the same FORM of physical matter, people with missing limbs, rotting leaves, dead carcasses, the signs of decay and weathering, rot and animals eating animals etc. But your mind will not regard them as true, real, valid, wanted, heaven, or God-created. They are simply recognized as an illusory dream. You will be aware that it is a dream. This doesn't mean you are blind to them, it means you see them accurately for what they are. True perception produces ACCURATE perception, which correctly interprets body visions, and is therefore NOT an INABILITY to see bodies.
Being in this position, where your mind can see beyond the physical world to the light of reality, where all differences and forms and shapes are not given credence, but where the physical is STILL included in what is seen due to still having eyeballs, you are now above the battlefield, in the world but not of it, aware of dreaming. And now you are in a position to be truly helpful.
What that means is, you can discern accurately what others are doing in the world. You can see their physical ailments. You can recognize their emotional and mental sickness - their call for love. And you are in a position to offer them help, WITHOUT making their sickness real. It's because you DO NOT believe the sickness (that you do see) is real, that you CAN help.
"But forgiveness looks past bodies. This is its holiness; this is how it heals."
This is what makes you a teacher of God. Being in a position of greater truth YET STILL IN THE WORLD. Able to still REACH those who are still in bodies, able to heal both the minds AND bodies of others, able to see sickness and famine and war and death, and able to offer help. Able to heal the sick, transform matter, raise the dead, move mountains, etc.
This sets you up for the situation where there is a ground for performing miracles. Because only if you can be "more healed" (have opened christ vision, mind seeing past bodies) while simultaneously being exposed to those who are "less healed" (can still see them with the body's mechanisms), do you have any way to HELP anyone. You are still "where the sickness is" but are not sick yourself.
And miracles are a service. They are given by those who temporarily have more to those who temporarily have less. They supply a lack. This is ONLY possible if you can be in the world in a healed state, NOT disappearing into a state of perfection. This is the function of a teacher of God. They help those who are less loving than themselves. They dissipate the fear in others. They raise the dead and heal the sick. This is ONLY possible because you have simultaneous Vision and body sight.
Christ needs your body to reach those who need reaching at a PHYSICAL level. Miracles are needed to demonstrate PHYSICALLY symbols of truth and to prove to those whose eyes are not open that there is a better way. The body is used to communicate to those who see only bodies, that their spiritual vision may open. And miracles are performed to liberate their minds from being blinded by perception of form. To demonstrate that the laws of the world can be broken.
ONLY when the face of Christ is FULLY seen, at the instant of atonement, is the investment in physical sight COMPLETELY undone. And investment only means dependence upon and belief in. The "veil" of physical matter, which the body alone can see ("only the body makes the world seem real"), appears as thin and transparent to the healed mind. It is seen through like x-ray vision to the light beyond.
And then eventually it vanishes from sight completely as the real world is seen but for an instant. Only as the world is not seen AT ALL do you stop seeing sick bodies. Because only as the BODY ITSELF is utterly transcended and let go does the mind awaken to a body-less reality. This means the mind goes beyond being awake in the dream (vision + body vision), and returns to a state of ONLY seeing with the mind (and only seeing the Kingdom of God). That's what it means to wake up FROM dreaming, in which for you the world ends.
This is why Jesus was able to walk the Earth in a highly healed state of mind, HELP OTHERS, perform miracles, SEE LEPERS, SEE THE DEAD, and demonstrate the laws of God. Without his BODY'S SIGHT, he would not have been able to see OR communicate with those who were limited to bodies. And because He had both christ vision and body sight, he could act as a Teacher of God in this world, before he woke up FROM the dream of death entirely.
"But the face of Christ is the great symbol of forgiveness. It is salvation. It is the symbol of the real world. Whoever looks on this ***no longer sees the world***."
"For what appears to hide the Face of Christ is powerless before His Majesty, ***and disappears*** before His holy sight."
"Now there are no distinctions. Differences have disappeared and Love looks on Itself. ***What further sight is needed***? What remains that vision could accomplish? We have seen the face of Christ, His sinlessness, His Love ***behind all forms***, beyond all purposes. "
"Where destruction was perceived the face of Christ appears, and ***in that instant is the world forgot***, with time forever ended as the world spins into nothingness from which it came."
"Gone is perception, false and true alike. Gone is forgiveness, for its task is done. And ***gone are bodies*** (sick ones and healthy ones) in the blazing light upon the altar to the Son of God. God knows it is His Own, as it is his. And here They join, for here the face of Christ has shone away time's final instant, and now is the last perception of the world without a purpose and without a cause. For where God's memory has come at last there is no journey, no belief in sin, ***no walls, no bodies***, and the grim appeal of guilt and death is there snuffed out forever."