I always believed that the goal in ACIM was awakening to the awareness of God's presence, which was some kind of a singular state of being. As I read and worked with the Course it at first seemed plausible that every reference to 'what truth is like', or the high-level metaphysics, all described a single absolute state of being/mind.
I felt confused by some of the interpretations of this that other people were expressing because it seemed there was a level of truth deeper or 'more true' than what most other people were understanding. So I felt I needed to go deeper into re-reading it and re-learning what it has to say. So I started reading the urtext. And I actually learned a lot, much of which made me question what the status quo understanding was on many topics. I polished and refined my grasp of what the truth really meant, all still within this idea of 'there is only one kind of awakening', like, either you are totally doing it perfectly or you're kidding yourself.
I even saw how some people who claim to be awake were still falling short of what I believed that should really entail. I always felt a certain faith in Jesus and his example, and never could see anyone matching up to that. Yet I felt that in the Course it does directly speak to the kind of total mastery that he demonstrated. This included the ability to heal all sickness, raise the dead, have total mastery over illusions, be capable of changing form, of appearing as any kind of a body, absolute invulnerability (literally), not dying simply because you choose not to etc. I had Jesus practically flying around the room.
The thing is, all of the metaphysics in ACIM seemed to point to this potential and it made total logical sense to me that we "should" be able to wield total power over all illusions. Just like Jesus. So I had in my mind this kind of very high-level 'goal', which was very lofty, which I thought we were meant to strive to achieve. That was my idea of what it means to be fully awake, and anything short of that was not it. I felt frustrated that some people were saying they were awake and yet were clearly not demonstrating Jesus's level of mastery, and so of course that led to judgement but also confusion. Why was the Course saying one thing and then other things were happening? Why were people not matching up to Jesus's level and how is it possible there (obviously) has been an awakening of some kind in some people and yet they still can't raise the dead? The Course clearly spoke of some extremely high-level truths and implications which nobody seemed to be getting.
Well. As it turns out, the Course actually encompasses several "levels" of metaphysics. I had no idea of this, so I was always lumping everything together as a kind of super-level and then trying to attain that. I had no idea about this until Michael Murray started to bring forward this information about "the levels", or rather, the timing of me stumbling upon his videos and being ready to listen. Basically, there is much more going on than it appears, and without this extra information you'll make the huge mistakes I've made.
In very brief summary... this physical universe is only one of several levels or dimensions of the dream of separation. These dimensions are all states of mind but they also, to our senses, appear to be 'places' which have entire universes of their own. The physical universe is the lowest level. Above this there is a "spiritual universe" which is also the level at which the Holy Spirit resides. You might've heard it referred to also as the astral plane or similar. These levels are btw somewhat referred to in Hinduism and some other religions and you might be more familiar with them if you are "new age". Anyway.. above "level 2" the Holy Spirit's mind, there is a level 3 where our "higher self" resides, and also this is where angels seem to exist, the akashic records, and also this is where "the sonship" is - as separate higher selves. Above this level there is a fourth level which is the level of Christ where the sonship is ONE. Jesus 'the higher self' was the first to transcend the previous level and unify as Christ. Then above this level is Heaven - God.
Ok so... here's what I did totally wrong and this is where my spiritualizing ego got totally screwed up, and this is also probably where you are doing the same. Clearly, because there are levels to the dream beyond the physical, there are effectively different levels of awakening. This also means there are different levels of 'capability' and mastery (someone at level 3 does not have mastery over level 3 because to do that you must be on level 4). Also because of these levels, there are certain "capabilities" that are only possible at certain levels and there are certain 'parts' of the Course that are directly related to certain levels, e.g. the 'real world 'is a very high level thing (and nothing to do with the physical world). This also reveals that the Course itself 'speaks' on many different levels, in other words, in relation to different dimensions of the dream and different universes where the experience is on a whole different level. Truths which apply on one level totally superceded stuff on the levels below, so as we ASSUME that all of this is just ONE BIG LEVEL, or 'the one goal', we get really messed up and confused about what's being asked of us.
Also because of these levels, typically in order to go "up" the levels you need to go in sequence. You can't just jump to the 5th level or just pop into heaven when you're still down at level 1. And pretty much most of us are on level 1, me included. So here's the huge mistake I made.
In assuming there were no levels, and lumping them all together, and in becoming aware of the Christ-level truths in the Course, I created for myself an extremely lofty Christ-level goal, comparable to Jesus. Because I can see the parts of the Course which DO speak of/from this level (all of the course comes from the Christ level but speaks OF or as-if from other levels also), this 'highest truth' level became my concept of "the only level" or "what awakening means".
So I was basically down here on level 1, with my big ego, and trying to BYPASS all the way up to the Christ level in one straight shot. I wanted to embody and encompass ALL of the characteristics of Christ, in a kind of all-or nothing grand-master-of-the-universe power-over-everything ultra-mastery i-can-fly-around-the-room-if-i-like-and-
Having this extremely lofty goal of "be Christ", bypassing all of the levels that are REQUIRED to go THROUGH in order to get there, put an ENORMOUS BURDEN on my shoulders. A huge weight of guilt at falling short and not even barely being able to accomplish it. And believe me I tried, really hard. I even attained some small ability to bring about healing through Holy Spirit, some of the time, in small amounts. And I KNEW that the parts of the Course that speak of the Christ-level were true. So this kept me dangling from a thread, chasing after this carrot of perfection and power, but falling way short. All this did was put PRESSURE on me (and my wife) to match up to this enormous responsibility which is far beyond what 'I' (level 1 me) am actually capable of. Yes my Christ self IS capable of such things, but that's way above where I'm at or can even GET TO or ACCESS from where I'm at.
The truth is that we are only really capable of going from level 1 to level 2. The first awakening. Some people bypass this and jump to level 3 but only in extreme rare circumstances. The rest of us can only, and are only really asked to, go from level 1 to level 2, which in Course terms meaning letting go of the persona and shadow and aligning with Holy Spirit's mind and letting go of the *physical* world level. This lets us be in the "spiritual universe", or to move up from there. But we can't just jump to the top, especially not WITH the ego. And that's what we're all trying to do - a huge spiritual bypass in which our ego gets to try to be Christ.
So this is a blow to the ego. Here's little me down in level 1 world believing that I'm oh-so-spiritual, advanced, getting ready to graduate, believing that I'm more spiritual than others, and finding out that I actually am probably on this level BECAUSE I am still on level 1. Hah. Not level 2 or 3 or 4 or 5... level 1. Sucks! lol ... BUT the freedom comes from this realization..... you don't need to try to be Christ. You don't need to even try to be the higher self or to jump up to that level. You ONLY need to get to level 2 - the Holy Spirit's mind. So this somewhat lets you off the hook.
It means that you can drop all of huge expectation that you're putting on yourself to be Christ-like. It means you can stop trying to raise the dead or expect yourself to be able to. I have to tell you, I recently got a 'sty' in my eye and it was sort of infected and stuff, unsightly and uncomfortable, and I really dug DEEP into possible causes and unforgivenesses in attempt to heal it, because I was really convinced I was SUPPOSED to be able to just 'make it go away' with my mind. I did some healing, yes, but the dam fucker did not change. It didn't just disappear. So this was a blow to the spiritual ego, which thought it had to be Jesus-like or that it could. And I had to accept I just cant do that. Fuck it.
But this is really a relief. It's a huge relief to realize that you do not have to "try" to be christ. You do not have to be responsible for stuff that is in "the script" - a script written by and powered by a mind far huger than yours is now. You don't have to try to be this dead-raising master. You don't have to turn water into wine or be some extraordinary guru. You're not capable of that until probably the 5th dimensional awakening. You don't have to blame yourself for all the shit that comes from the unconscious mind that you are not consciously choosing, as if it's all your fault. You don't have to own every single little thing that happens as if, just by it happening, it proves that you SUCK and that you're a total course failure. You don't have to keep beating yourself up for "not doing the course right" ie not matching up to the kind of capabilities that you pretty much CANNOT accomplish until you ARE at the Christ level, which is not going to happen until you've at least gone through 2 or 3 other levels of awakening.
So there's all this huge weight of guilt and expectation that we've all been putting on ourselves because we're all trying to live up to this extraordinary goal of being Christ when, in fact, from this level 1, we can only really be expected to get to level 2. It's true that there is no world and its just a dream and that the Christ mind can create planets... ok... but little me, little you... at level 1, no, there isn't going to be any planets getting made. So that's not something you can be responsible for. We have this hugely inflated spiritual ego (ok, speaking for myself, but I bet you do too) that's trying to claim the "power" of being Christ while still being very limited and incapable.
We have to stop putting level 3/4/5+ realities and responsibilities and powers onto our shoulders as level 1 ego folks and stop expecting ourselves to live up to this hugely lofty standard. WE have to accept that we are NOT at the level of Jesus and probably very few people are going to be. We have to accept that even the best of the best of the ACIM teachers aren't even at that level. Not even the enlightened gurus and yogis necessarily at that level. All we need to do is do our SIMPLE job of forgiveness and development of trust in Holy Spirit and come into his mind and accept his truth and his way of perceiving. The other levels and the potency and power of those other levels will follow on from there naturally as the 'next steps'. But we can't just bypass and jump to those steps. And we have to admit we've been doing this, our spiritualized egos are about to POP, and we can take a big sigh of relief that we're NOT supposed to expect such huge things of ourselves.
This should relieve us of all the guilt, all the sense of failure, all of the exasperation at not getting it, all of the fear and guilt and frustration that we have to accomplish Christ-level capabilities otherwise we're going to die, etc. We have to strip it all back. Let go of the highest goals. Focus on the NEXT step which is just getting to level 2 - Holy Spirit's level, and letting go of the idea that our LEVEL 1 EGO is EVER going to be capable of being at the Christ level, LET ALONE even level 2. And yet it's trying. It's been trying hard this whole time to live up to some kind of universe-creating mega goal. It loves to. Even though it's a total failure at it. So we can at least admit, we don't have to think of ourselves as total failures any more because we were never meant to be level-5 ego's to begin with.
All this comes from the clarity that the Course contains levels, that we're on level 1 trying to get to level 2, and that everything else is irrelevant. Yes at some point we will create planets but not today. First things first. One step at a time. We're getting ahead of ourselves and our expectation and fear of not being able to match up to the high-level truths is, thankfully, not even being asked of us right now.