When I came to A Course in Miracles, it was through Gary Renard's books, which I later learned were deeply based on Ken W's teachings. They also presented a view that was championed as "non-duality".
The books spoke of the world as being a shitty place, a hell hole, psycho planet, a world of death and suffering, spinning its wheels and going nowhere. A world which you would not want and should want to leave behind. This seemed to provide a kind of motivation to want to escape it.
The solution that was presented then was a form of forgiveness which largely entailed maintaining the view that the world sucked, but realizing that it was not real. That it was just a dream. This formed a picture where, you're in the world, dreaming of the world, the world STILL sucks, but you recognize it's not real. There was nothing positive about this, it was a very clinical view.
More importantly, in this view there was NEVER a single mention of the "real world". There was no mention of saving the world, the great crusade, being a miracle worker, performing miracles to help others, healing others, healing bodies, or anything else which could be construed as "making the world better".
It was kind of an attitude of, the world is hell, so let's jump straight out of hell into heaven. And that the way we do this is by remembering it's a dream of hell, will always be hell, and once you can just "not believe it" you'll be saved. This basically reinforces a view that the world still is hell, it can only ever be hell, and there is no point or way to actually come to love or forgive the world. It was more like a message of, the world it shit, let's escape it.
In fact part of what made those books popular was the self-proclaimed "brutal honesty" about the world, which acted to judge it harshly and point out its flaws. This was supposedly a refreshing honesty but at the same time portrayed the world as only CAPABLE of being a negative place. And that therefore you had to do what you could, psychologically, to try not to be affected by it, by remembering it's just a dream of death.
The problem as I see it now, is that this model was largely fostered by the non-duality conceptualization of the course, which is deeply flawed. That is, this idea that there's either heaven as the only reality, or earth as the opposite ie hell. And nothing in between. Either duality, or pure non-duality. Either you're in the shit world, or you're in God's arms. But that's a major issue, because it COMPLETELY ignores a vast majority of what ACIM actually teaches.
In particular, there is absolutely no mention made of the real world. There is no presentation of the idea that the Holy Spirit has MADE an alternative dream world which is seen through the eyes of Christ, is a forgiven world, has no sin or guilt in it, and is not seen as hell. It's true also that the real world does not contain bodies, since it transcends forms. And it's also true that we're supposed to be learning to SEE the real world, by learning to LOVE the world.
If you were to try to present the idea of loving the world to the non-duality folks, they would run the other way. It's incompatible with the cold, clinical view of the course's structures, which attempt to maintain that the world is hell at all costs - kind of a form of false forgiveness really in which the world is made real and then you try to forgive it. If we BYPASS the real world, as a VITAL stepping stone on our way to awakening, we're NOT really getting the course's message.
The course isn't asking us to love hell. It's not saying hey, this world has ONE form, one nature, and you need to learn to love it. Rather, it's saying that, the world of form seems like hell because of HOW you are looking at it, and WHO you are looking at it with. Which yes btw means a HUGE emphasis on looking WITH the holy spirit, with christ vision, which was more or less obliterated from these teachings about non-duality (because certain teachers do no like the idea of the Holy Spirit having anything to do with this).
It is telling us that the reason you see bodies, forms, objects, planets, is because this is how the BODY was made to see, and it can ONLY see falsely. Everything it sees is a false INTERPRETATION of the world ladened with sin and guilt. It's not capable of seeing the world as it is. The body can never see the real world. But that does not mean you should not attempt to see the real world. In fact, this is what the ENTIRE course is aimed towards.
You are meant to awaken another form of vision - the spiritual eye, which does not use the body's eyes, and sees BEYOND what the physical sees, so that you are not really looking at or distracted by forms, bodies, appearances of sickness and death, etc. You temporarily use the body to allow you to interact with "the world", but "the world" as you have known it is actually a combination of a neutral world + false perceptions. And without the false perceptions, the neutral world becomes the FORGIVEN world - the real world. And this real world is beautiful, lovely, forgiving, shining and sparkling like new, innocent and free from all sense of sin and guilt. You are meant to be learning to SEE THAT in place of the physical separations of form. An underlying, transcendental unity BEHIND all forms.
And when you do this, instead of seeing "the world is a shit hole", which focuses on the closed box of being blinded by sight of form, you start to see a "world" beyond the physical, a canvas of love, which IS LOVABLE, and which God loves, and which the Holy Spirit sees as the face of Christ. This is a VITAL step in the course. Becoming able to see that happier dream. The happy dream is the forgiven world. A reinterpreted world, reinterpreted by the Holy Spirit, where sin and guilt and fear no longer exist and where you have forgiven yourself and everyone. ie not simply a "hell recognized as a dream" world, but a world which is practically almost the same thing as HEAVEN, because you see PAST its illusory forms and separations.
I was fooled by this omission. I bought into it totally, that yes it's true, the world of bodies is a world of sin and death and suffering and victims and war and murder. As Jesus himself even tells us in the course, THAT world IS a cruel world, a world God did not create, a world opposite in its nature to heaven, basically hell on earth. A nightmare world. That IS what you see when you have NOT forgiven. The UNFORGIVEN world. That's the hell you'll see when your mind has sin and guilt in it. That's NOT the world you'll see when your mind has forgiven itself. Because it will now look within, see love, and extend love TO the world, seeing love IN IT.
This is why we're supposed to learn to see God in the world. Not to see God equated at the same level as forms and physicality, but to see that God is "in" or rather BEHIND or UNDERLYING the illusions of forms and objects. That this "Real world" is there, a world of love, which can be seen INSTEAD of the world of bodies. This is what the whole teaching about "you cannot see both worlds" is about. "Beyond this world there is a world I want" speaks to this also - there is a "real world" that you should WANT TO LOVE (not heaven), which is hidden behind the illusion of form. And developing "vision", the entire function of the workbook, is what allows you to see it.
So if someone had told me years ago, hey, the world you see seems like hell but only because you have sin in your mind, and when you remove the sin in your mind you'll see PAST the world and see a world that you can love and forgive.... that would've painted a very different picture, and would've set things up quite differently to come to different conclusions about the world. It would've changed my attitude, and I would've have become so negative about the world's faults.
We are to learn to forgive and love the world FIRST, to approach the happy dream of the holy spirit's christ vision, which looks upon OUR wold WITH forgiveness to show us an underlying love that we didn't see before, in it... and THEN transition to heaven. We can't get there by making the world's sinfulness real to ourselves and to then attempt to forgive it. This is exactly what we do in false perception - body perception. There is another way of looking at the world, this is a VITAL piece of information. And it means you no longer have to hate the world or think of it as "inherently hell."
Change your mind about what you want to see IN the world, and it's transform into a reflection of heaven. Not physically as such, because the physicality ONLY exists in FALSE perception, but psychologically and perceptually you'll see the truth.
“Vision already holds a replacement for everything you think you see now. Loveliness can light your images, and so transform them that you will love them, even though they were made of hate. For you will not be making them alone.”
"The world you see (with false perception) cannot be the world God loves, and yet His Word assures us that He loves the (real) world."
"God's Word has promised that peace is possible here, and what He promises can hardly be impossible."
"But it is true that the world must be looked at differently, if His promises are to be accepted. What the world is, is but a fact. You cannot choose what this should be. But you can choose how you would see it. Indeed, you must choose this."
"God's Word assures you that He loves the world; your judgment says it is unlovable. Who is right? For one of you is wrong. It must be so."
"Peace is impossible to those who look on war. Peace is inevitable to those who offer peace. How easily, then, is your judgment of the world escaped!"
"It is not the world (as neutral) that makes peace seem impossible. It is the world you see (in false perception of the neutral world) that is impossible. Yet has God's Judgment on this distorted (false) world redeemed it (neutral world seen with true perception) and made it fit to welcome peace. And peace descends on it in joyous answer"
"Knowledge (flipping to a non-duality level 1 viewpoint) is not the remedy for false perception since, being another level, they can never meet. The one correction possible for false perception must be true perception (a third state which we should focus on attaining first). It will not endure. But for the time it lasts it comes to heal. For true perception is a remedy with many names. Forgiveness, salvation, Atonement, true perception, all are one. They are the one beginning, with the end to lead to oneness far beyond themselves. True perception is the means by which the world is saved from sin, for sin does not exist. And it is this that true perception sees."