"How is the idea of death relinquished?"
Wow, such a big question in so few words. I think Jesus said that His final lesson was the undoing or overlooking of death. If it was His final lesson, it probably is something finally learned in a very advanced state having tackled untold volumes of prior lessons which helped to undo all of the illusions surrounding the entire ego thought system, such that seeing through the illusion of death was "easy".
Death is the central theme of the ego's dream and you could say that every single illusion is fundamentally based in this idea. Separation itself is the idea of death - the end of God, the end of Life, the undoing of the Son of God, the complete reversal of cause and effect, absolute victimhood, an attempt to deal with conflict by pretending to not decide anything at all, etc. There is so much that has gone into this that your entire effort to forgive and undo illusions is going to gradually chip away at your belief in death.
Death isn't real. At best, death is a state of denial. Death is an attempt to change the truth that you cannot be dead, but fails to do so. It creates a picture, an illusion, of death happening, but it isn't "real death", and it isn't taking place in reality. It's only taking place in a fantasy dream and nothing real can die. Remember, "nothing real can be threatened."
Death as denial is a denial of the truth, so it's not really changing the truth and actually bringing death to God or the Son of God, it's just an attempt to shut the truth out of awareness completely. To do that, to become temporarily unaware of the presence of Life, requires a profound degree of unconsciousness, and death basically can be equated with unconsciousness. That just means that death is a state of not being aware, of hiding from the truth.
The fact is, we cannot make God go away. We cannot change what the truth is. We cannot stop God from loving us or from being aware of us or from Creating us constantly. We can't have any effect on Him at all. So we get this really strange idea that if WE hide our own awareness OF God, we can make it seem as though God is also not PRESENT because He seems to have "disappeared". We actually believe that if we cover up our own awareness of God, that this equates to God no longer being aware of US. It creates an illusion that God has gone away and does not exist, so is an illusion of God having been attacked and destroyed.
This is where the whole idea that "darkness can hide" comes in. It's the idea that light doesn't dispel darkness, but that darkness somehow has this ability to "hide light", as though to cause light to go away. It's a ridiculous idea. Even symbolized in the physical world as light and darkness, photons of light do not get obliterated by darkness, they shine the darkness away. Believing that darkness can "stop" light from shining is insane, and is a belief in magic.
Darkness is an illusion of an absence of light, not an actual removal of the light. Darkness has zero power over light. If the light comes, it's game over for the darkness. And since darkness has no real properties of its own at all, it really does not exist. But we come to believe it DOES exist and that it has some kind of magical power over the light which can cause the light to be ended or stopped or disappeared. It's an insane belief and completely false and unreal. Believing it requires a huge denial of the truth.
A similar analogy is that of clouds. Clouds are just water which is transparent but when the cloud is dense, it seems to block the light. The light from the sun doesn't then seem to penetrate all the way through the cloud and so the lower levels of the cloud appear "dark" as if there is no light there. Simply, the cloud is in shadow, and seems to be blocking the light, which creates the ILLUSION that there is a "dark cloud". The cloud is not dark, not inherently. There is just an illusion of an absence of light and the darkness is just a judgement-call, like deciding whether a glass is half empty or half full.
The truth is that God is Eternal Life and you have Eternal Life and you are immortal, forever light, you cannot cease or stop or fail in any way. But death is this idea that this is not true and that something else is true. Death is wishful thinking. Like I said you can't really change the facts, you can't actually make immortal spirit stop being immortal. But you can DENY that it is immortal, you can pretend that it isn't and convince yourself it isn't and create an ILLUSION that seems as though it is proved not to be. That's all that death can do, just pretend that death is possible within an illusion. Facts are facts. The immortal cannot die.
Death is denial of the fact that you have eternal life. It isn't the actual end of eternal life and has no effect on eternal life whatsoever. It is powerless over life. It cannot change God and it cannot change the truth whatsoever. So it has to be a state of blindness and artificial pretense and faking it. Literally every "death" is a fake death. Someone is pretending they can die. Someone immortal is pretending they are a mortal body and that they can die along with it.
It's pretty funny to recognize that we are actually immortal beings who can never die even slightly, who are pretending to play this role and put on a performance, like a play on a theater stage, where we seem to reach a climax of a dramatic, tragic death at the end. But then the play is over and we get up and admit that we're just actors and that the death was faked and wasn't real and we take a bow. And of course if that were admitted to, the whole illusion of the death being real would be shown for the fakery that it is.
Death does not happen in reality or to reality. It has no effect on God or the Son of God, not really. ACIM tells us that Spirit is in a state of grace forever and Spirit is absolutely unaffected by dreams of death. This is the absolute truth. This is REAL. Any form of death or any way that death is showing up, is actually part of a fantasy dream in a fantasy world happening in the imagination. It's all going on inside of the tiny mad idea, an impossible idea which can't happen for real, which is really just a wondering "what IF it were to happen", and then imagining what it might be like. But it's not it actually happening, like a visualization.
It's similar to if you are planning a vacation to some new place that you never went before, and you see all the brochures and pictures and you dream about what it's going to be like. You create pictures in your mind and have little fantasy experiences. But then you actually go there and experience it and it's very different to what you imagined.
There is a huge difference between what you can actually experience in reality, and your daydreams about what it's possibly like. In terms of the truth, you have this fantasy about being separate from God and what it might be like to die, but you never ACTUALLY do it. "Ideas leave not their source", means that this idea is still just an idea in the mind, it did not actually occur in reality. And yet within this idea, this visualization, it can SEEM like a huge real experience.
So now here we are in this supposed world believing we are a mortal body that can suffer and die. A world where starved and thirsty creatures come to die, or come to wither and hate for a while and then die. The world is the stage on which this theatrical performance is being played out. It's here that we are trying to fake the death of an immortal being. And we're really, REALLY good at faking it.
The major factor in our "acting" as though we can and do die, is the contribution that the idea of separation brings to the table. Separation, a split mind, allows us to play the role of being a separate limited being - a body - which is separated off from the rest of the whole - the world - and to create the illusion that you are not the whole at all. A split ego mind means your own mind has been divided into two parts - conscious and unconscious - your will has been split in two, and you are now at war with yourself.
The mind has been split in such a way that it's created all these little pockets of conscious awareness - separate conscious illusory selves, surrounded by a thick wall of "flesh" which is really just an image in the mind creating an illusion of a confined, separate identity. Then outside of this wall of flesh there is all this "not myself", unconscious self, which the conscious self has disassociated from, to make it seem like it is completely unrelated to it. And yet everything outside the body, and everything inside the body, and the body itself, are all happening within this one mind.
So this one mind has this strange scenario playing out within it, with little conscious selves and a much larger unconscious self, and all the little conscious selves do not believe that they are in any way related to the larger unconscious self - that the "world out there" is not themselves at all and that they did not put it there. Accompanying this is the belief and perception, through disassociation, that "you" did not put the world there and you did not set events in motion and you did not make stuff happen to you, that the world is an objectively real world which exists on its own separate from you.
There is all this unconscious stuff going on and now it seems like things are happening by what the course calls an "alien will", a separate will. There now seem to be multiple wills acting at once, and usually against each other, and now it seems possible for there to be conflict and war because one portion of will is capable of acting against another portion of will. The split in the one mind has created this situation of self attack, where it is attacking itself by playing both sides, being both the attacker and the attacked, both the victim and the victimizer.
But the role of victimizer is often suppressed and made unconscious so that the victim doesn't perceive that they themselves are doing it to themselves. And so along comes death as though you did not ask for it, but you did. This is where the illusion of death is a huge lie which you're doing to yourself.
Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that no-one dies without their own consent. This is absolutely true. It should also be noted that nothing happens to anyone against their will and everything going on in this world is absolutely deliberate, with no mistakes or accidents, and it's all completely chosen on purpose. Nothing is out of place, everyone is exactly where they are supposed to be doing exactly what they are intending to do on purpose and everything has been carefully planned.
The ego split mind has this property that it is always two-faced and has a split will. It is always doing two separate things at once. Usually one portion of the mind is conscious and the other part is unconscious. On the surface, in terms of what you are consciously aware of, there will usually be this facade of innocence, of not wanting anything bad to happen, not being the one who is guilty, not being the one who has chosen sin or attack, etc. This is the ego's way of pretending that it did not sin against God.
This conscious self, the persona, is a fake identity which seems 'visible' and creates a picture of a self that has not sinned and is not guilty. It completely disowns the self, because it's entire secret agenda is really to get rid of the Son of God. It dissects the mind and identifies parts of it as unacceptable, and then rejects them using denial, which makes the effects of that judgement go unconscious. The conscious self is trying to get rid of the whole self as much as possible, to disown the Self and dis-identify from Christ. It wants to make Christ unconscious.
So now the mind has attacked itself and judged itself as guilty or wrong or bad, and has then made that unconscious to try to escape from it. The conscious mind, the persona, is constantly trying to make itself look holy and perfect and guiltless, to cover up its guilt about the separation. But that means constantly and viciously stripping away any indication that it seems to be the one who has chosen to be separate. This is a profound state of denial and underneath it this unconscious mind hides the fact that you did attack yourself, you did sin, and you do believe in separation. That means, you do want yourself to be dead.
So we all have this death wish, which comes from the belief that we really did sin against God. We want to believe that we successfully separated from God, which is technically absolutely impossible, and is an insane idea. But we try to believe it anyway, which is why we are insane. Sin automatically condemns you to death and demands that you die in order to "atone" for what you did to God.
The split mind reasons that because it believes heavily that sin is real and the separation has affected reality, that reality is therefore seriously harmed and destroyed, and therefore you have this profound belief in destruction and death. Ultimately since it was you who have tried to destroy yourself (since you are One with God and so must go down with Him), this sin is against yourself and is an attempt to destroy yourself. So by sinning, or at least believing you sinned, you form this death wish upon yourself which is relentless and "fixed" until the point where you question whether sin is real. So if you don't do that, you're pretty much going to find a way, somehow, to destroy yourself on God's behalf.
So the way this plays out, the conscious part of your mind which is your attempt to be in DENIAL of the fact that you believe you sinned and should die, tries to pretend that it did not actually sin and that all of the sin is separate from itself and "other" than itself. It puts all of that sin stuff into the unconscious mind and condemns a large portion of the Self in order to try to get rid of the Self. What's left is this "little" conscious self which pretends to be innocent, in order to maintain a denial of the fact that underneath that fake innocence is a huge amount of denial that YOU actually do believe you deserve to die because of a real sin.
So on the surface then, in the physical life, it will play out where you - the conscious innocent self - seem to want to be all good and lovely, helplessly innocent, vulnerable as though to say you couldn't possibly be the one who sinned or who could hurt a fly or cause anything, and are profoundly unconsciously of how you are attacking yourself with sin.
On the surface you will have this portrayal of yourself, awareness of yourself, as though you are not asking for anything bad to happen at all. You make this illusion that you are all sweet and innocent and nice and just want to be a "good person", and that all the "bad stuff" is completely separate from your intentions. Except that, all that bad stuff is actually ending up in your unconscious mind where you have to put it in order TO seem innocent.
Your unconscious self is then going to house all this self-hate and self-attack and sin and guilt, which the conscious self is going to be afraid of. The conscious self wants to maintain denial of its belief that you should die, to stop the "truth from coming out", ie the evidence of self attack from coming out of the unconscious mind back into awareness.
If you were to become aware of the fact that you have attacked yourself, you would not be able to be in denial of this fact and wouldn't be able to convince yourself (or anyone) that you did not attack yourself. You need this cover-up job in order to make it seem as though you are not the one who attacks. You keep the unconscious unconscious to maintain the illusion that you didn't sin, because secretly you believe that you did, and revealing this might make you change your mind about all the scapegoats you have been using to project blame.
But then what happens is, your unconscious will show up "externally" from your conscious self (in "the world" - which is the unconscious mind), since you made it separate from your conscious self which seems to be "inside" the body. The unconscious mind shows up outside the body as people and events which seem to be transpiring against you. Or some evil enemy shows up with an alien will and attacks you, as though they are justified in doing so. And this basically is because YOU attacked that portion of your whole mind and hurt it and now it seems to be coming back for revenge.
Your belief in sin automatically creates a death wish and demands punishment. You yourself are making that punishment happen to you - or you intend to, and your own unconscious unhealed mind is the alleged instigator. The "shadow self" attacks the conscious "persona self", in a way to try to reveal the truth that the persona is fake and its innocence is fake and it is a lie. The good-seeming persona self is actually the CAUSE of the creation of the shadow/unconscious self, because it is the part of the mind which has implemented attack and denial in the first place, trying to pretend it is innocent when in fact it is a criminal.
Just to quickly recap, you believed that separation from God was real and possible and could happen in reality, that you'd really done it, but this all took place within your own Self, within your mind. So you attacked yourself and created separation within your mind. This was "sin" or a belief in sin being real, which led to attempts to deny the sin such as pretending that you really feel guilty when in fact you wanted the sin all along. And then the guilt further leads to denial which portrays you as innocent as though you could not possibly be guilty, so that no-one including yourself would suspect that you'd committed a sin. And then you go about the world pretending to be an innocent victim, so that when shit happens to you by your unconscious mind, you will be able to claim it is unjustified and that you didn't ask for it, allowing you to orchestrate "death" without looking like you did it. This symbolizes the idea that "the innocent killed God."
The secret is that it was you who attacked yourself, it was you who believed in sin, it was you who has hurt yourself, and it is this hurt part of you which now seems to be coming back into your "awareness" to undermine the illusion of your innocence. And so on the surface it always looks like you are not choosing it, you don't want it, it's unwelcome, it's attacking "you" against your will, it's an "alien will" that's not even your will at all or a part of your "self", and you totally don't want it to be happening. BUT YOU DO. Because you have this secret death wish and believe that you deserve to die.
Fear works the same way. On the surface, fear seems like it is unwanted, that you're afraid because of what someone else is doing to you (or will do), that you are powerless to stop it, that you are helpless and innocent and did not ask for this. But fear is a lie as well.
Fear is actually a device for pretending that you have no choice. It's an attempt to portray yourself as weak and afraid so that even you would not suspect that you are actually orchestrating what's happening to you. Fear is a way to disown more of yourself, to sort of displace your own power and ability to choose far outside of what seems to be your conscious self, into the hands of another, so that you can claim that they're doing this to you and it's their fault.
It's part of your attempt to project ownership or responsibility for sin onto other people. If they are making you afraid, then they are the guilty one, and this maintains your denial and fake innocence. Meaning, you WANT to be afraid because it allows you to shift the blame for sin onto someone else, even if you APPEAR to be in a state of not wanting to be terrified and are consciously acting as though you "really are afraid."
This is why you need to be careful and discerning around people who are victims (including yourself) because they actually are lying and misrepresenting themselves. Their experience of terror and victimization may SEEM real on the surface, and their fear may seem completely justified given the ILLUSION that they did not in any way ask for this mistreatment or attack. So it's very easy to buy into that illusion and then end up feeling SORRY for them and having false empathy, because the illusion depicts them as a "genuine victim".
But what if you could actually see the person attacking themselves, arranging events to transpire against themselves, hiring actors to come along and play the role of attacker, and you could uncover this secret contract which they signed with everyone involved that it was completely acceptable to be attacked and completely justified that they suffer? What if they signed on the dotted line that they accepted all suffering and were completely responsible for every single thing they would willingly experience. Would you then believe their fictional story of how innocent they are and how much they did not ask for this? Or their act of fear or their pretend guilt or their fake vulnerability or their unexplainable suffering and sickness which appears to have come out of nowhere?
It is ONLY because there is a lack of awareness of the "full story", that we believe the illusion of victimhood. You cannot be a victim unless YOU are the victimizer, and you are only a victim because of your own unconscious belief that you sinned, for which YOU believe that you should die. And your victimhood is a huge lie to cover up your guilt and make yourself seem innocent. And no matter how much it seems on the surface that stuff happens to you against your will, rest assured that you have asked for it and it has been given exactly as you asked.
This whole idea that stuff happens to you against your will is a complete fiction. Somewhere within you, you asked for whatever is happening and you are receiving it. As the Course teaches us, we always are asking for what we want, we are always getting exactly what we asked for, and we are never getting anything that we did not ask for. This is completely bullet-proof, so to speak. It means everything is deliberate, nothing can happen without your consent, and the only way for something to happen to you is that you DO IT TO YOURSELF. There are no real "others" or "alien wills" that can do anything to you against your will, and absolutely nothing can happen - the world cannot even exist - without you "making it" seem to be there.
It requires a profound degree of honesty, admitting to the truth, and owning up to the awareness that you are in fact attacking yourself, in order to reveal this. Those who are afraid of punishment are afraid of their own punishment. And they themselves are the one who actually implements the punishment. And while they may seem not to enjoy the punishment, due to being unaware that they asked for it, we have to be willing to admit that they actually have asked for it and are actually doing it for a REASON, with a PURPOSE, because it is serving their secret agenda to keep their sin unconscious and further their death wish.
Let's say that someone comes along and kicks you in the leg for no apparent reason. What is happening here? Well, you secretly unconsciously asked for that person to come along and kick you in the leg, because you believed you deserved it, because you secretly believe that you are guilty, because you sinned. In conscious awareness, there may appear to be no evidence at all for your participation in this. But there is an active part of your mind which is below conscious awareness - sub-conscious - which is actually still orchestrating events and making stuff happen.
So when someone gets to the point where they "die", it ALWAYS looks as though they did not choose it. Jesus describes death as the illusion that you are solving conflict by attempting to not make any decision at all. Decisions are powerful and causal, so making absolutely no decision is an attempt to have no power and to not be able to cause anything. It's a claim that you have no causal power left at all and are merely at the effect of the world.
Anyone who approaches death always looks as though they do not want it, have not asked for it, didn't choose it, would rather it not happen, that it is happening unfairly, they they are being mis-treated, that stuff is happening to them completely outside of their control, they don't know why it's happening, and they have no power to stop it.
They really, really believe that, and given the evidence that they are aware of, which isn't much, they conclude that they are then justified in being terrified of death. And of course they are, because they are in such a profound degree of unconsciousness that they simply are not AWARE of how they themselves are attacking themselves, or how they secretly have a death wish and believe they should suffer, because they attempted to kill God.
And because the power of the mind is so great, and operates "invisibly", nobody involved, not even the family or friends or even the person themselves, none of them SEE the causality which is producing the suffering. None of them are AWARE of the way in which the person is choosing to die. So it looks as though they are not choosing at all, which commands sympathy and false empathy and sadness and loss as though they are completely justified.
Jesus again tells us, that nobody dies without their own consent. Jesus is an Ascended Master and knows a thing or two. He has no illusions. He is not in denial. He has completely admitted to the truth and has taken full responsibility for His existence and everything that happens "to Him" by His Will.
He knows that He cannot possibly in any way be a victim and nothing can happen to Him against His Will, because there IS no will other than the Will He now shares with God. God wills only eternal life, and therefore it is Jesus's shared will to live forever and never die. Jesus also knows that death is an illusion, in a dream, that it cannot take place in reality, has no effect on anything real, and is just a huge lie of deceit. Death is simply false.
So I think it is safe to TRUST Him on this. That if we were to become extremely honest, and really really admit to all of the levels of denial that we've placed on our mind, and all the ways that we are actually CHOOSING TO DIE, we would have to admit that yes, it is US that is attacking ourselves, it is us ALONE who is orchestrating our death, and our death is a really extreme case of illusion and denial and pretending that you are not immortal.
Death doesn't work. It is incapable of actually bringing about the end of the Son of God, or God Himself. It is an illusion, within an illusory world, of being successful at this. But it's still an illusion. That which cannot die, your Real Self or Spirit Self, is utterly unaffected by it and continues on forever even if the body seems to die. Even the death of the body is not "real death" because some portion of what you are always remains unaffected - your Spirit continues on and is forever invulnerable and immortal.
Death is like the most extreme case of self deception. It is the biggest lie possible. It is the most fake state of being. It is a profound degree of dishonesty and irresponsibility. It is an attempt to completely disown yourself, to separate yourself off and make yourself so completely unconscious that there is no conscious self left. It is a complete, 100% shifting of blame and responsibility for the sin that you secretly WANT to believe you committed. It is so profoundly irresponsible and such a huge lie that if you knew people were doing it on purpose you would probably be disgusted.
It's like, if there were a person who was being really, really irresponsible and going off the rails, and this person was a total liar, deceptive, insane, not wanting to admit to anything true, creating a huge cover-up, had become self-destructive and hated themselves and everyone around them, fakes being afraid all the time, is constantly pretending to be sick and creating psychosomatic illnesses, destroys everyone's lives and then tries to fake their own death to top if off... that's what is really happening EVERY TIME someone "dies".
The only reason that we don't get all up in arms about how completely "evil" and fake "dyers" are, is because of the ILLUSION that they are in fact the most sweet innocent undeserving helpless little victims on the planet, which is an absolutely huge lie. And it's such a big lie that just about everyone on the planet believes in it. But they also believe in it because they themselves have this same unconscious death wish and want to die. People come into this world to die ... it's a world "where starved and thirsty creatures come to die."
It's only because of ILLUSIONS which present this picture of not choosing it, not wanting it, having absolutely nothing do with sin, completely disowning all sense of sin and choice and freedom and power, a complete disownership of WHO YOU ARE, which is itself an attempt to destroy yourself by getting rid of yourself through separation and projection, that people don't realize just how much of a big fat lie is taking place every time someone dies "against their will."
If all of the facts were laid out on the table for everyone to see, if there was absolutely no denial and no unconsciousness, if there was complete full awareness of everything a person was doing, a total owning-up to what they were doing, everyone would be able to SEE and RECOGNIZE all of the illusions which the person was attempting to invent. They would see that this person was the SOLE responsible agent in everything that happened, and all of their lies would be exposed as untrue.
They'd easily be able to agree that this person was the one who did all of this to themselves and absolutely no-one else is responsible for it. They'd see all the ways that this person very cleverly disguised themselves to look like they were not the culprit (of original sin), and absolutely no-one would believe their story that they died against their will. No-one would fall for it, because all of the facts would be out in the open. All of the causes and all of the effects would be obvious, and the entire illusion could not be believed at all.
That's what AWARENESS gives you, the ability to honestly overlook the lies and recognize the truth and realize that this so-called "victim" was the most self-destructive individual that ever lived, who was trying to destroy themselves and everyone around them, and yet who made it look as though everyone and everything other than themselves was being the destructive one.
All of the responsibility for death is shifted onto an external cause. It is the belief that you are nothing more than the effect of an external power which completely decides your fate for you against your will, with such power and ability to affect you that when it decides you will die, you WILL die, and you will have absolutely no ability or willingness to stop it. That's the state of mind which we get into which causes death.
It's the total giving up of the will to live, and a complete reversal of cause and effect - believing that the dream, an effect, has causal power to destroy you. It gave birth to you and now it will kill you, hence the saying "the Lord giveth and He taketh away", which is placing the blame for chosen death on God. God does not cause death, God causes eternal life. People choose death.
The will to live is the will to be alive, which means to be WILLING to accept to some degree that God's truth is true. That eternal life is desirable. That you genuinely believe you can and should and do live forever. Giving up on life is a choice, and it comes about only through false beliefs. It means relinquishing the willingness to admit the truth, the willingness to surrender the ego, the willingness to accept that God's truth is true. This lack of willingness comes about through the conviction that your false beliefs are completely true and have completely replaced the real truth.
You are so convinced by false beliefs that you accept them as though they are the absolute gospel, to be "lived by". You agree with what they say. And this actually makes it appear to you as though death is the TRUTH, as though death is SALVATION, and as though death is what you DESERVE and LOVE and WANT more of.
You actually can in such a state of suicide come to see death as a way to escape from what you believe is a terrible inescapable enemy (God). Death starts to look attractive and appealing. You actually convince yourself that there is truth to death, that the beliefs that have led to it are so convincing that you ACCEPT death as though it is the complete and whole truth about reality and is something that you WANT. Thus you would become willing to completely "surrender" to it, would allow it to come and finish you off as though to receive it with open arms, and you will not put up a single authentic fight against it.
In death, you have become completely passive, a complete victim, the total recipient of the causality of the dream world, totally at the effect of everything "not yourself" (which is really yourself acting against you), and get yourself into a position of just laying down and accepting this as though it is written in stone. This really is an extension coming all the way from the original idea of sin, which said that you sinned and therefore you deserve to die. The death wish starts in sin and carries on enforcing itself all the way to death, unless you change your mind. Death is the ultimate deliberate victimhood.
So we need to learn to recognize that death is a HUGE LIE, it is something that only "happens" because people choose it, ALL death is suicide, it is impossible to die without your consent, and death is like a really bad excuse being made by someone who does not want to admit to the truth. It's like a total cop-out. And I know this will possibly be upsetting for people who have experienced loved ones dying (me included) and so on because there are so many painful illusions around this - death is the biggest cause of suffering on the planet.
When death seems to happen to loved ones typically there is a strong belief in the mind of others that separation has "really happened", and it re-enacts the entire separation from God in symbolic form all over again. It's like a ritual that tries to make the death of God real. If you believe death is real, that separation has really happened, and therefore there really has been a "loss" or now an absence of love or life or value or specialness, then you WILL suffer an experience of what we call "grief".
It is not necessary to grieve, at all. But if you believe in separation, and someone you are attached to or using for ego purposes (which you won't admit to) or who you think is special and valuable to you in their FORM, if they die, then you WILL experience profound grief and loss and sadness. And the extent of that can be really extremely deep and far-reaching and produce an absolutely horrifying sense of despair, loneliness, abandonment, emptiness, like part of your own self was lost, etc... all of which re-enacts the separation from God and how you "felt" after it.
It's really an attempt to make that real and believe in it, rather than to recognize that real death has NOT happened and separation has NOT occurred and life has continued unchanged because life is eternal. This is a huge lesson for everyone and VERY hard to overcome, but it IS an illusion and it CAN be overcome completely. Why would the Son of God be grieved about a separation from God, from Love, which has not really happened at all? He would laugh at death and chuckle at its ridiculous claim, not taking it seriously at all.
When Jesus says "let the dead bury the dead", He speaks of how those who are asleep and unconscious and therefore ARE the "living dead" themselves, in a state of semi-death, they believe in death and want death and need death and thus will experience it as real and upsetting, and they will thus have their funerals and their grief and loss and suffering. It's what they have chosen to experience because they believe in it. He's saying to let them, rather than resist them or judge them for it. Those who remain "alive" when others die, are themselves not fully alive, because they believe in the ego, which means they believe in death and are partly dead themselves. Most people on the planet are not fully alive at all.
The truth is still true. Death is an attempt to give up on life and to be completely unwilling to accept true responsibility for who and what you are and what you believe you've done to yourself. There is nothing honorable about it at all. And yet all the world protects death and worships death like it is the most natural normal thing to happen, that it is "inevitable" (yes, if you believe in sin that is true), and few are willing to even begin to question whether death is real or the truth, or necessary.
We just take it as a given and expect it. And then we attempt to prepare ourselves for it, with ridiculous mal-adaptions such as having a "bucket list" of all the things you will do before you WILL die, which is almost as bad as "life insurance" for when you WILL die, and trying to "die in peace" or "be at peace" with the fact that you WILL die, which is impossible.
There is no peace in death. That is an absolute extreme perversion of what peace is. Peace is a state of LIFE. It is a state of no conflict and no victimhood and nothing happening against your will. Peace is a state of being vital and alive and eternal and happy forever. Death cannot in any way be related to true peace. You might die "with minimal suffering", but... the dying process could be relatively painless but death itself still happens eventually, and that is hardly an escape from suffering. It is the maximum suffering. It's as if to say, I will prepare myself for a smooth transition into an absolutely horrible extreme self-murder.
Another way that death occurs is by way of defenses against the truth, which is denial, which creates sickness. In sickness, you've perceived the truth as a threat and decide that it means something you do not want, and that it completely undermines the ego that you want to protect and keep real. So then you put up defenses of denial against it, creating separations between yourself and Life. These separations are blocks to awareness, turning you unconscious, creating sickness and symptoms of suffering, and eventually leads to death.
So in effect, your attempt to "save your life" by protecting your ego-identified self from the truth that it doesn't understand, causes you to lose your life. The problem is one of identity. Who you are, or your sense of self. If your "self" is identified with Christ and eternal life, then you're good to go. But if your "self" becomes identified with the ego - a false identity, such as the conscious persona fake innocent self or the unconscious self-hated self, then now you're in a confusing state of mind.
You will want to defend your "self" from what you perceive as any death threat. You will protect whatever you believe is the truth of yourself, because even in the ego the truth is something everyone protects despite the fact it is really false. You just don't RECOGNIZE that it is false, so you think it's really the truth and you want to keep that. So you accidentally end up defending the ego, believing that your mis-perception is telling you the truth and that you do not want what seems "false". You'll put up defenses against anything which undermines your idea of what the truth is, regardless of it being not the truth, and therefore will choose a path straight to hell while believing you're going to heaven.
God is seen as "false", to the ego. It sees God as evil, the exact opposite of itself, and sees itself as holy. So if your sense of identity is all caught up in the ego, then you're going to see God as a threat and try to defend your ego against Him. You're really trying to defend your "Self" because life is self-preserving. There's nothing wrong with you wanting to sustain your self forever - it's part of eternal life. But when it's mixed up with the ego, it becomes about sustaining the ego self as well. Your protection of a false truth, although it seems like an attempt to save your life, is actually - in the big picture - an attempt to destroy your True Self.
So by trying to save your life, your confused idea of life, from attacks of the Real Truth, which you don't want to admit to as being your real self, you'll choose death. You think that death is completely justified then, because it's actually helping to keep you SAFE from attack from what you THINK is death, which is God. Your ego has this all backwards. It sees God as death and evil and hell, it believes heaven is hell, and it believes death and hell are some kind of sacred perfect state of being which is all glowy and sparkly and desirable and attractive.
No-one in their RIGHT MIND would choose to die. And given whatever evidence you are AWARE of, you would always try to do what seems to make SENSE to you or which seems logically consistent with your truth, even if you've made "sense" out of insanity. However, people are not in their right mind. If they were in their right mind they would recognize illusions and wouldn't deceive themselves or others and wouldn't in any way see death as appealing or an option. They would see no truth in it and recognize it as completely false, unreal, untrue, and really nothing at all.
But when people are in their "wrong mind", ie insane ego mind, confused about who they are, believing they are an ego self which is unconscious of reality, everything in that context seems to "make sense" and it is through the attempt to make sense of an unconscious state which leads to all kinds of false conclusions. You'll conclude that death is actually the truth, death is God, and that you want it - that it makes sense and is perfectly obvious as what you should do.
People who we usually regard as committing suicide are usually those who are more "consciously" aware that their belief in death seems real. They see life as hopeless, because of the guilt that's in their mind. They've suffered so unfairly (it seems), and life seems to be meaningless, and everything truly good and pure seems inaccessible or separated off (perhaps due to abuse or "life" or whatever), and then death seems like it would actually HELP you and bring about some kind of relief from the suffering.
Death's door seems like a way out, leading to some kind of truth or salvation. Death seems like it will save you. You cannot possibly commit suicide without having beliefs along these lines, because no-one who is aware of the truth could ever conceive of doing such a thing, because it makes no sense when you have all of the facts. You choose death because you do not have all the facts, and have deceived yourself.
However, the people who we normally think of as so desperately confused that they see no way to carry on with the punishment they're experiencing, who perhaps just don't yet have the "awareness tools" to help them to see the situation differently, are not the only ones who commit suicide. EVERYONE WHO DIES is committing suicide. And we're talking about billions of people! In one form or another, death can ONLY happen when someone chooses it. The mass-death of humanity is not something anyone wants to question or admit to as being false and unjustified. It is not natural, it is completely unnatural.
They may not in any way seem to be choosing it consciously, it may seem completely uncalled for or unfair or un-asked for, it may seem to come through vicious means like a stray bullet or a house fire or whatever it is, but we have to be honest and admit that on some level somewhere in the mind, that person asked for this and received what they asked for. It is all orchestrated and planned. There are no victims in the truth.
There is a script for their life which involves lessons and sometimes death is a part of that, perhaps that the person had enough of their lessons and needed a break or whatever. Maybe they knew they were not ready to get "the whole truth" in this lifetime. Maybe they learned what they came into this particular lifetime to learn and had no more plan for the usefulness of this particular body in this particular lifetime story, so they needed to exit, to go off to some other lifetime to learn something else in another way. In that sense there may be less guilt attached to the event of death given that it may simply be another part of a much larger story, and everyone eventually wakes up to the ultimate truth of who they really are.
So in terms of how to relinquish the idea of death, or the belief in it, you have to look at ALL of the illusions in your mind, own up to what you are doing to yourself, admit to the real truth and heal the separation in the mind. Death stems from sin, so if you have this secret unconscious belief in real sin then you basically are choosing to die.
Sin is judgement and condemnation, like a death-sentence. It is self-attack. Guilt comes from it to identify that you are the one who "did it" and now you deserve punishment, which leads to death. It's just that, YOU will be the one to decide this, agree with this, believe in this, and therefore CARRY OUT all of the steps of CAUSING your own death. But you'll make it look like it's not you doing it.
To die, you have to disown yourself, lose all will to live, let go of all responsibility, lie to yourself, be in denial, portray yourself as an innocent victim, make it look like you have no choice at all, create an extensive illusion that makes it seem like stuff is happening against your will, and generally set yourself as a sitting duck waiting for something bad to happen to you - which you yourself will make happen, but it will totally LOOK LIKE you are not in any way doing this.
It's not possible to die in any other way, because it is through all of these choices and actions that you bring about the state of such extreme denial of the truth. So everyone who dies will always look like they are the picture I just painted, of an innocent victim who has absolutely no power to do anything about their situation, and who must just lay down and die and accept it as "their time". Everyone dies in the same way, therefore, because the conditions for death are always the same.
Death is the only dis-ease, no matter how many flavors sickness may pretend to have. Whether it's that someone's body is broken in an "accident" or someone's car crashes and mangles their form, or someone has cancer and dies from it, or someone suffered from heart problems, or whatever... they are all just signs of the onset of death. They are aspects of death, and eventually if they lead to death, it's because the death wish finally reveals itself and manifests fully in its real form - the total condemnation that you should die completely.
The truth is that the person dying is choosing not to choose, or rather, is creating the illusion that they have no choice, which is itself a choice. And they will likely claim that this is an unfair statement because they do not SEE any choice, but that's because they made their choice unconscious.
You create an illusion of victimhood, which requires the full use of your mind's power. You orchestrate unwilling events unconsciously, which requires a tremendous amount of will. And you create scenarios where it seems like you FINALLY have completely disowned all responsibility for your "original sin", for which you are fully responsible.
These are the ways that death is an illusion. All death is a fake death. Death therefore only takes place in a fictional illusory world, by people who want to die. They believe it is real BECAUSE they believe in the death wish, which is a set of beliefs about how sin is real, this world is really happening, events are real, people in bodies are real, and so on. But it's actually all taking place within a DREAM. It's a dream of death, which the Son of God is imagining and wondering what it would be like IF it were possible to happen in reality.
The Son of God tries to infuse that illusion with "reality" and "truth", to invest it with some semblance of believability, so that He can try to convince Himself that it has replaced the truth of God. He tries to "make real" his illusions, and He does a PROFOUND job of it! It's very convincing. But the Son of God will not ever be able to ACTUALLY "make real" this illusion, or actually cause a "real death".
Death is ENTIRELY made up of illusions, every single part of it. Including all of the ways that the body seems to suffer, all the ways that the Son of God becomes identified with the body through sickness, and all of the ways that death seems to happen to Him. Even the existence of the body itself is an illusion. It's all illusions. But if you are not able to recognize these illusions - lies - for what they are, then you will BELIEVE what your false perception is showing you. If you yourself believe in your own death, then you will not be able to overlook the illusions of other people dying either, and will SUPPORT their death and secretly encourage them toward it.
And make no mistake this is a really "strong" illusion to overlook. The whole world has been convinced about it. Death has been so "accepted" as the truth in this world that few question it and almost all are convinced it is real and inescapable. You could survey and find 99% of people believing that death happens and is real, and that they will die someday. How extreme this is!
This entire physical universe has been set up based on the idea of separation, and therefore the idea of sin and death being real. Death IS separation. All atoms which are separate from each other depict the idea of death being made visible and real. All objects seem to grow and meet a sweet spot in the middle only to wither and die. No forms last forever.
And hence comes the quite-true belief that "every body dies". But, that doesn't mean that every-one HAS to die. It's just that so few are questioning the illusions or choosing an alternative. Jesus didn't die, He is alive and well and has transcended the entire illusion of death, showing us that it is possible. He transcended the entire need for a body, which is a device for death, and overcame death completely. He now laughs in the face of death, knowing it is not real or true and cannot really happen at all, and you can too.
To "not die" you simply are going to have to work on not choosing to do so. And that means uncovering all of your lies and learning all your lessons and reclaiming full responsibility for the power of your mind and its power to choose. You're going to have to own up to everything you've done to yourself, all the ways that you use these devices of denial and deception to make it seem like you're not the one who sinned, and then undo the entire belief in sin.
Your mind is going to need to be healed of all of its belief in separation, and all of your false identities which have arisen in the split mind are going to have to be cancelled out and undone, including the entire content of your conscious self and your unconscious self. All of your false self, your persona and your shadow, and the illusions that keep them separate, must be seen for what they are and let go, so that your AWARENESS can return to fullness, to become aware of who you really are.
Then, in awakening to the truth, re-identification with Christ, and complete admitting of God's truth being truth through total surrender of all ego constructs, you will be free from the illusion of death and never again will you choose to die, or to make it seem like you die against your will. You will admit to yourself that death isn't real, that it has no power, and it is nothing at all.
You will confess that it only ever seemed to take place in a dream, that the Son of God has not been harmed and cannot die, and you will own up to your immortality - which has never ever even for a second been threatened or caused to suffer in any way. You are innocent because the Atonement is the truth - nothing has happened, and the dream of death does not exist, and there is no ego at all.
Thus you will come to recognize that the dream of death was just a dream, dreams are over, you are awake now, and you are still with God in ETERNAL LIFE just as you always have been. Your Spirit-self is immortal. You cannot die and you never will. This is the truth about you and about everyone. The real truth. A truth that you can actually live and experience. It's not a fiction or an illusion at all. You literally live forever and cannot die. So why are you believing in death?
What's all this other stuff about, all these lemmings throwing themselves off the cliff, all these people committing suicide by the thousands every day, and all these expressions of death being the truth? It's all insanity. It's the ego, pretending the self can die by identifying the self with the body and making it suffer. Illusions of suffering are not real suffering. Illusions of death are not real death. Illusions of punishment and guilt and sin are not real either. Separation isn't real, and the Son of God lives forever.
Resurrection is the goal of awakening, which means that you "return to Life" by relinquishing the belief in death and all the ways and consequences that you have produced from your belief in real sin. It literally means the UN-DOING of every form of death, every symptom, every side-effect, every distortion, every mental illness, every way that death - ie separation - has shown up in you. You will return to your real, living self, and "come back to life".
You have to admit therefore that in your dream of death, in your belief in death, you are NOT fully alive. You are half dead - like those starved and thirsty creatures, and you've come here to complete your dying process. But this need not be. You can return to life, resurrect, come back to life and rise up from "the dead". This is what is ultimately meant by "raising the dead".
Death is not real and death can be UNDONE, because it has not really been done. It is just a state of denial, and once the truth has come, death must be reversed and seen to have been UNTRUE. Death was false. And the truth in the mind is so powerful it can completely undo and reverse death, in all its expressions, including physical death.
It is literally possible to "raise the dead". Jesus tells us, you made sickness and death and therefore can abolish both! He is not lying or being metaphorical. All death can be reversed in all its ways on all levels, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. Of course only spiritual life is real life, but it can still be symbolized by resurrection in the dream as well as out of it. And you gain this power WHEN you yourself have resurrected to eternal life, or at least far enough along the way toward it.
Such miracles are not impossible by any means. There are people in this world today who have literally raised the dead - reversed death - in numerous cases, bringing what APPEARS to be a "really dead person" back to life. After all, that person was actually faking being dead, because all death is fake. It's as though telling someone who is pretending to be dead, "get up and live, you silly thing, I know you're just pretending." And indeed Jesus demonstrated this very attitude.
A Course in Miracles tells us that not one note in Heaven's song has been missed despite the separation, and this seems difficult to accept because we believe this separation HAS happened. And so we can't reconcile how it can have interrupted the song and yet not interrupt it. It has NOT been interrupted because this dream of death HAS NOT HAPPENED at all! The Song of eternity has continued on, unchanged and uninterrupted, and not a single note has been missed. Death has never happened and no-one has ever nor will ever die in reality.
You will resurrect and return to eternal life with God. There is nothing that can stop you other than YOUR OWN willingness to avoid and delay it. You already are eternal as immortal spirit and cannot die, so all of this other "dying" stuff is fiction. You're pretending. You need to awaken to and own up to the truth and become really deeply honest throughout your whole self. You cannot die. It's the truth. So why pretend otherwise? You are immortal, pretending to be mortal, and nobody's buying it.
Come back to Immortal Life, Son of God, and remember you Live Forever.
A final message from Jesus from ACIM: "There is no death because the Son of God is like his Father. Nothing you can do can change Eternal Love. Forget your dreams of sin and guilt, and come with me instead to share the resurrection of God’s Son. And bring with you all those whom He has sent to you to care for as I care for you."