When you dream at night, your mind is perfectly capable of creating entire environments in great detail. These dreams are not real, and so are projections of ego thoughts from the mind, but at the time they seem like real places. Your mind is able to create oceans, streets, buildings, people, all manner of creatures and locations.
It's even able to embed an extraordinary variety of subtle feelings into the scene or ways of experiencing what's happening, such that it seems to mean something very specific to you, or so that you get a certain impression from it.
Your mind can create people and experiences which are a perfectly symbolic representation of any idea or feeling or experience it cares to make. It has at its disposal an absolutely unlimited number of variations in both appearance and meaning and emotional content. If you can imagine it, your mind can invent it.
As your mind projects such environments, it can also sometimes project you as a character in the environment in a third-person manner, or sometimes you can also experience it from a first-person perspective. You can manifest any kind of body. The body can also be changed into any form and express any kind of disease or situation regardless of any rules or laws whatsoever.
In your dreaming, objects can be transformed into other objects. You can pass through objects, you can fly, you can control things with your mind, you can communicate telepathically, you can have encounters with any kind of being imaginable, and you can teleport instantly to any location. There is practically nothing that's impossible.
All of this happens inside your mind. All of this is your mind "dreaming", which correlates to Jesus's definition of "projecting". The mind is literally projecting a three-dimensional movie scene down to the finest detail, complete with storyline and all manner of events and interactions. As such, this projection "creates perception".
So as you're in the dreaming state, your mind is literally projecting everything you then "see". So if it projects a beach and an ocean on a sunny day, this projecting manifests those things in full and then you witness them or "perceive" them. The projecting comes first. The perceiving comes second.
Now, in the physical world, you're tempted not to believe this same mechanism applies. You believe certainly that you perceive, and that you perceive what seems to be a world out there complete with people and places and events, but you don't for a moment think it possible that your own mind is projecting it. But it is.
In A Course in Miracles, Jesus speaks of projection and many have come to interpret this to mean that you project ONTO something which is already out there. This is the result of not believing or recognizing that your mind actually makes the world appear in its entirety, or that this world is in fact just another dream. Yet Jesus tells us:
"...what you seem to waken to is but another form of this same world you see in dreams. All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and your waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. Their content is the same."
However, because we do not recognize or believe that this "physical world" is just another dream environment, that our mind is perfectly powerful enough to create in the finest detail, we think that it must be really "out there" objectively, or that it came to be there from some other powerful cause.
The result of this unawareness as to how it truly comes into being, is the belief that when ACIM talks about projection it's talking about what your mind projects ONTO this pre-existing world. People will then work with their "forgiveness process" to take these projections back and undo them.
There is some validity to that step because even inside of the dream itself, there is a whole other layer of "personal projection" whereby individuals add an extra layer of projection and denial to everything they see in the world. They project extra guilt and sin onto others and onto the environment. So to take back those projections is a very helpful step in owning up to who and what you are.
However, that's not the only form of projection taking place here in this dream. The dream ITSELF is a projection. You could say, your personal projections are coming from your own private mind, as one Son in the Sonship. But the collective Sonship or Christ mind is also projecting this entire world. That's who the dreamer really is.
You can take back all your personal projections and come to a place of clarity or awakening, becoming aware of this world with a clear perception of it. This means your perceiving has been clarified. This is an awakening to true perception. But this does not mean that you have undone PROJECTION. Projection comes before perception because projection makes it possible to perceive.
Once perception is purified and is clear, which will produce an experience of being awake WITHIN the dream, able to perceive the dream clearly, there is then another stage where the projecting OF the dream needs to now be undone. Removing projections onto the dream is the reversal of perception, which is where most ACIM students focus, but we have to realize that the projection that made the "stuff" we are perceiving clearly is also an activity of the mind which needs to be undone.
Undoing the projecting of the world itself - yes the physical world - is the second layer of awakening. It means realizing that you are still dreaming this world, you are still manifesting objects and people and environments, and you are still inside of a dream. You are still subject to every law that the dreaming puts in place, because those laws are established in the projecting of the world. You may be fully awakened to be able to see the dream clearly, but now the dreaming itself needs to stop.
When you are projecting personal stuff onto the world, it's like having a dream within a dream. You are already inside a dream (which you think is a real world) and now proceed to dream within it. Just like a daydream. Your projections at the personal level therefore place your unconscious crap outside of your conscious separate self. But it still exists within the world. Taking all of that back and fully undoing it won't undo the world itself, because the world itself is being projected on a much greater scale by a much bigger mind - the collective Christ Mind.
For you to see a car or a house or a person or a tree means that these forms have been projected by the Christ mind. The Christ mind is unlimited in its power to dream of forms. It has invented an entire universe, just like your little personal mind invents fictional places and characters at night - stories which are entirely believable and which you experience as though completely real.
Therefore, if you are still perceiving at all, if you are still having perception of the presence of objects, forms, people, buildings etc, then this must mean there is STILL projection happening from a larger level of mind. The reversal/healing of that collective projection is the undoing of this entire so-called "world".
This is the level at which the Course addresses when it says "There is no world, this is the central theme the Course would attempt to teach." It literally means that this physical world and everything in it is a dream, a projection, which DOES NOT REALLY EXIST AT ALL, just like how our nighttime dreams do not really exist at all.
Literally, all physical forms are ILLUSIONS, i.e. dreams. They are not there at all. There is no truth to them, no reality to them, they are absolutely completely fictional in every way. The mind is making them up. And when this is fully recognized by the whole Sonship, this entire physical universe will be recognized as having never existed - i.e. it does not exist now, and it never will exist, and there simply is no world here.
This is also why the Course tells us that "at no time does the body really exist." Many students love to keep the body and make it special and explain how the body does exist or how it can be seen in the present moment or used for a holy purpose or whatever. Ultimately, factually, in Jesus's words, it DOES NOT EXIST. It is an illusion at most. It cannot exist in Eternity and it does not really exist at all.
Now, you can see perhaps that in the ACIM community there is a tremendous amount of confusion because of these two kind of "levels" in the making of illusions. The level of the personal individual conscious self and its seeming scope of influence or illusions, and the level of the collective shared mind of Christ which IS responsible for dreaming this entire universe.
For the most part, most students are fixated on and can only really relate to the experience of being a separate self in a separate body, the projections that their personal self makes onto the allegedly pre-existing world, and so their undoing process usually entails taking back projections that are placed onto other people, or changing your mind "about the world" instead of attempting to change the world itself.
This has produced a huge division in the Course community between those who believe the Course is telling us to find a personal sense of peace "in" the world, in spite of the world, in spite of sickness, in spite of death, and those who believe that this ultimately falls short of the whole truth and that the entire world itself is not there. The result is an attempt to be at peace with sickness, to keep the body and deny it through some kind of transcendence, and still results in death. This distortion of the Course then produces two camps.
The first camp basically sees themselves as a little individual body self, who has their own personal stories and projections. They do not consider the world to literally not exist, and cannot conceive of how they might have power over it. What they end up doing is focusing on undoing their personal stories and projections "onto" the world, or "onto" others, as though this is all that the Course is asking them to do.
They will refuse to believe anything beyond the scope of this, and will justify it with various quotes from the Course. Now, the thing is, they are not wrong. The Course DOES teach that at the LEVEL of the personal level, you need to take back projections from others, find peace in spite of what's happening, come to see God "in" the world because God is in your mind, work on changing how you look at the world rather than trying to change the world, never attempting to take the spirituality of the Course to others because it seems like a private process, and just generally everything which fits nice and tidily into this "box" of how the individual separate self perceives an objective world.
There are plenty of parts of the Course which tell us seemingly straight-out that this is what we are supposed to be doing and that this is the truth and will use this interpretation to justify not doing anything outside of this definition. The thing is, A Course in Miracles actually has multiple "levels" of truth, and this is not a contradiction. There are truths which apply on a certain level.
In terms of the personal self, we do indeed need to stop projecting shit onto other people and change how we "perceive" the world, to reach true perception or to have corrected perception. However, this isn't the end of the story. The people who see the Course as saying this, which is easy to do given that this actually is part of the process of complete awakening, will try to fit EVERYTHING the Course says into this box. And this also includes miracles.
To these believers in personal awakening inside the dream, they tend to justify that other things the Course says must fit inside the box of correcting perception, in order for there to seem to be consistency and integrity. And you can sort of find slightly skewed interpretations of what these other parts of the Course say to make them seem to "fit" into that box. And this is what has happened with miracles.
Such people will then explain that a miracle has got something to do with perception shifting, correcting perception, the process of waking up to true perception or is just another way of saying "changing your mind" about the world. This is understandable given that they see the Course as one whole consistent unit and don't realize that it's being presented on multiple levels, or that there are multiple levels of sleeping.
The Son of God, Christ, is the source of the dream of death - the dream of this entire physical universe. And within Christ, within that dream, there is a fragmentation of identity into the Sonship, which comprises many individuals, and each individual has their own separate seeming "private world" of misperceptions. But what they are mis-perceiving is the dream which a HIGHER LEVEL has dreamed, thinking it is a given and is real and is outside the scope of their conscious awareness. Indeed it is outside the scope of their identity, because it's coming from a level of much greater unified identity as Christ - the ONE Mind.
Therefore to try to explain what miracles are or what Christ is, these individuals will try to fit all of the Course's references to miracles and Christ into the same box of "what applies to individual Sons". And that's a mistake. This gives rise then to a complete stripping down of what Christ is, a stripping away of the POWER that must be present to dream an entire universe and make it seem physically real, and a complete diminishing of any concept of "real miracles" which have the power to do anything - including healing the sick, raising the dead, walking on water, or whatever.
Trying to fit all of that inside a "I am a separate Son, one of many" kind of box, to have it make sense TO that one limited identity or scope of awareness, completely glosses over what miracles are or and what Christ's power is. People will then have an awakening up to the level of the maximum scope of their INDIVIDUAL consciousness, i.e. an awareness of being one of many Sons of God, and will refer to that as being Christ or aware of the Christ in others. IT IS NOT. Not in ACIM's definition.
Christ is a mind so vast and powerful that it can dream entire planets, can create a whole universe - or multiple universes. It can put in place an absolutely countless number of particles of matter to form buildings and people and environments which people believe is SO real that it must really be a real world. Seeing the holiness of an individual Son in other individual Sons is not the same as seeing the face of Christ. It is definitely a state of mind of profound unity and oneness, but there is an entire other level to awareness which is vastly beyond this.
To reach this other level of awareness requires a complete transcendence not only of the personal ego self or personality but also moving beyond being a separate Son. It means being THE WHOLE SONSHIP as One. In this, there can no longer be a personality, or a separate mind, or separate thoughts, or reliance on a body. It is a very advanced state.
Such an experience is way beyond the personal body self or what the body self is capable of doing. The Christ Self is vastly powerful, unlimited in the truest sense, and can literally do anything because He is able to dream this entire world. To Him, this world is recognized as not being real at all, being something He Himself is dreaming in its entirety. It does not exist without His dreaming and has no inherent reality of its own. If it were not for Christ dreaming the world, this entire physical universe would disappear instantly.
At this level, which is what forms the second "camp" in the ACIM community, it is recognized that there is an entire level of truth in the Course way bigger and more expanded than the parts which apply to the individual self. At this level, we're talking about a mind and an identity which is truly One, singular, as God's One Son. This mind, this Self, is beyond all Higher Selves and includes them all.
Such a Christ mind is responsible for dreaming this entire physical universe and for therefore putting in place absolutely all of the things, objects, people and events which appear to exist here. Such a mind is so powerful, there is literally nothing it cannot do. Such a mind is transcendent of all bodies and forms, transcendent of all of the laws of the physical universe, and can completely override absolutely anything in an instant. This mind is extremely creative, is totally at-cause, and is not at the effect of ANYTHING in this world whatsoever.
Such a mind is completely invulnerable, literally immortal, unlimited in its power, able to manifest objects - in fact planets and solar systems - out of nothing, and for such a mind miracles of healing and manifestation at a "human level" is practically nothing. THIS is the level of mind which Jesus demonstrated, and it is this level of mind which is responsible for SUPERNATURAL MIRACLES.
You could therefore say, that the level of the personal self-awakening is a level of "natural miracles", and the level of awakening as CHRIST is a level of "super-natural miracles". It is very common that those in the first camp tend not to believe in super-natural miracles because they do not see the parts of the Course relating to or teaching about the Christ-level of mind. Instead they see the watered down, nice tidy little keep-it-in-a-box relating to the individual self interpretation of what miracles are. In other words, miracles are just little changes in perception experienced by an individual. It's not true.
Miracles in A Course in Miracles LITERALLY are super-natural miracles, as evidenced by practically every single thing that the Course ever says about their nature. When correctly understood OUTSIDE of the box of the closed-minded and still "a part of the dream" personal self, everything Jesus teaches about miracles points to their supernatural power, the Power of God, the ability to LITERALLY move mountains, to heal the sick, to undo all forms of disease and suffering, to undo death itself and produce resurrection.
There can be no complete resurrection without this supernatural level of awakening, because death is only fully overcome at the level of the Christ mind, not at the level of the awakened individual Higher Self. There are an increasing number of people waking up IN the dream and staying in the dream who do not exhibit any signs of supernatural miracles whatsoever, because their mind is only just now at the beginning of opening up to the Christ mind.
You will find that all of these people still go through DEATH, because they have not escaped the dream of death and have not fully awoken FROM the dream of death. The absence of miracles, the nature of which Jesus demonstrated, which He has told us in many ways we are perfectly capable of, is the first sign you will see that shows that awakening to the Higher Self or highest individual self is still short of a complete awakening.
The Course will make so much more sense when understood to contain more than one level. This doesn't mean we're dividing up the Course into imaginary levels as such. There ARE different levels because there are stages in separation. Christ, the One Son, is a very different level in terms of scope and power and capability and awareness and identity, compared to the level of one individual "son" in the Sonship. Awakening to the Sonship is profound and an extraordinary experience of waking up from the even littler self - the ego false self. But going from the ego little self to being one of many Sons is not the same thing as being ALL Sons with a single mind, wielding the Power of God to produce real miracles.
A Course in Miracles therefore IS literally teaching us that miracles - supernatural miracles - are not only possible but something that we can become capable of IF we are willing to go all the way to awakening in the dream and then awakening FROM the dream. We might be aware of who the dreamer is, but until we decide to BE that dreamer and realize the sheer power that we have as that dreamer, we will still be subject to all the laws that the dream puts in place, seemingly powerless to stop them or change them. And as such we will not see miracles.
It should be clear then, that the only reason we seem unable to change objects, heal the sick, manifest matter out of thin air, feed 5000 people from a few fish and loaves of bread, to walk on water or raise the dead etc, is only because there is a LARGER MIND which is dreaming this world who has FAR more power than our little personal mind, and it is that larger mind which has implemented the physical world and its laws.
It is that larger mind that is sustaining the physical world and its laws. So if you want to be able to override that dream, you need to become aware of and access that larger mind, from which you will be able to demonstrate truly supernatural miracles. This is why in the dream, we seem so powerless, so unable to change hardly anything, to barely even have a shred of telekinesis, to be incapable of stopping aging or death, and to hardly have any power whatsoever over sickness or suffering. It's because the larger mind is very powerfully "holding" all of those things in place.
If we want to be able to gain access to the power to undo death and sickness and so on, we need to wake up ALL the way to the Christ mind, to the DREAMER, to become total causality. In that mind, in that awareness, and with that Identity of Authority over all illusions, we WILL then have the ability to do absolutely literally anything in this world.
Recognize then that Jesus does speak at different "levels" in the Course and not just all at one level. When He speaks of very high-level Christ-level things, these things cannot be properly applied or understood at the level of individual self. Trying to do so will lead to all manner of misunderstandings and disempowerment of your full potential.
Being able to recognize which level Jesus is speaking at - which level of awareness and identity - helps you to know what applies to the scope or context that you're referring to, and also helps you to make much more sense out of what Jesus is teaching. Without that, trying to smash everything into one little box will severely fall short of what A Course in Miracles is teaching, not to mention producing a lot of confusion and conflict.
The Christ mind is projecting the physical universe. It is a dream. It is not real and it does not exist. The single-son mind is within this dream, as an individual character, and that individual has its own dreaming that it projects onto the dream. Dreams within dreams. When that son wakes up and stops projecting onto the dream, He has "awoken" to an awareness of being One among many sons, and at this level it is possible for other Sons to still be sleeping. But THERE IS MORE beyond this.
The single Son in the sonship must now go further to become aware of the collective Single Identity as God's Holy Son - as Christ - an identity which has so much scope and power that it is capable of unlimited miracles. It is at this level that Jesus refers to when He says just about everything He says about miracles. For example, "miracles should be happening all the time". I could go into this much more deeply but that's for another article.
Realize then there are at least 2 stages in awakening, two levels, and that Jesus speaks to each level in the Course at different times. There are actually at least 3 levels because level 1 is the ego false self identity, level 2 is the Higher Self (one son of God in the Sonship) and level 3 is the Christ Self (the whole Sonship/Christ consciousness). There is actually a little more:
Level 5: Heaven/Spirit
Level 4: Christ/christ universe (creates all of the levels below this)
Level 3: Higher Self/higher universe (where most awakened people actually are)
Level 2: Holy Spirit/spiritual universe/astral plane
Level 1: Ego-self/physical world
The first awakening level typically takes people to level 2 then 3. This is a level where miracles aren't happening very much, but the potential is there. Level 4/Christ is where the demonstrations of Jesus correlate - extraordinarily mild-blowing miracles. And then there is Heaven - the home of Spirit. When Jesus speaks of Spirit He always talks of how it is already in a state of grace forever and nothing has happened to it whatsoever. That's the level of pure reality. Home in Heaven.
It should be apparent then that it is very common for ACIM students to try to relate everything the Course says to the level of "my separate self", within the context of being a body separate from others, and within the scope of "my mind" as in their own little separate conscious self, whose perceptions and projections onto a completely separate world make up the entire focus of their grasp of awakening.
They will then believe that once they experience "waking up", they're done. But they're not done. Where are the miracles? Where is the demonstration that you are dreaming the world and have total power over all illusions and forms? Where is the proof that there is no death? Where is the real resurrection and signs that show that you are immortal?
And yet this undoing of distortions of perception at the individual level only brings us to an awakening that reveals the full scope of our SEPARATE self within the Sonship, it doesn't bring us to awareness of being Christ. There is a whole other level of awakening which is vast and extraordinarily powerful, a single shared identity for whom supernatural miracles are effortless and continual.
I will finish with this final quote which I enjoy, and which is speaking of the level of Christ:
"You who perceive yourself as weak and frail, born but to die, to weep and suffer pain, hear this: All power is given unto you in Earth and Heaven. There is nothing you cannot do."
Wake up! Then wake up some more!