There is no cause and effect in matter. The belief that there is, is the belief in magic.

The whole distortion that made magic rests on the belief that there is a creative ability in matter which the mind cannot control.” (T-2.IV.2:8-9)

What does that mean? That means that if you seem to stub your toe in the illusion and your toe seems to have pain, the seeming pain (the seeming effect) is not caused by the seeming stubbing of the toe (the seeming cause). There is a whole ego thought system which produces the seeming “experience” of pain and its seeming causes.

In effect, we are pretending there is a body that is us, that has a toe, that can be stubbed and that can experience pain. In order to participate in this child’s game of make believe, we have to accept all the premises of the ego thought system, most importantly that we are a body which eventually and inevitably dies.

And the last to be overcome will be death.” Of course! Without the idea of death there is no world. All dreams will end with this one. This is salvation’s final goal; the end of all illusions.” (M-27.6:1-5)

The body is the central figure in the dreaming of the world. There is no dream without it, nor does it exist without the dream in which it acts as if it were a person to be seen and be believed. It takes the central place in every dream, which tells the story of how it was made by other bodies, born into the world outside the body, lives a little while and dies, to be united in the dust with other bodies dying like itself. In the brief time allotted it to live, it seeks for other bodies as its friends and enemies. Its safety is its main concern. Its comfort is its guiding rule. It tries to look for pleasure, and avoid the things that would be hurtful. Above all, it tries to teach itself its pains and joys are different and can be told apart.” (T-27.VIII.1:1-8)

The body’s serial adventures, from the time of birth to dying are the theme of every dream the world has ever had.” (T-27.VIII.3:1-2)

We must also dissociate reality in order be able to play the child’s game of fantasy.

The separated mind cannot maintain the separation except by dissociating.” (T-4.VI.4:2)

There is nothing happening in the illusion. All seeming cause and effect is a made up story in the mind that we accept as real. Our acceptance of it as real, our willing participation in the seeming suspension of reality allows us to play this game. But now, by the trick of dissociation, we are seemingly trapped in the game with no way out. We do not doubt the fantasy that the self we made, the avatar, is cause. We put all of our faith and belief in the fantasy game. We have become certain that it is real. We believe we are the self we made and that the self is causal in the illusion. The truth is that the avatar causes nothing. It has no effects. But we continue to play the game as if it does.

The Course admonishes us to put down our childish toys.

Little child, the light is there. You do but dream, and idols are the toys you dream you play with. Who has need of toys but children? They pretend they rule the world, and give their toys the power to move about, and talk and think and feel and speak for them. Yet everything their toys appear to do is in the minds of those who play with them. But they are eager to forget that they made up the dream in which their toys are real, nor recognize their wishes are their own.” (T-29.IX.4:3-8)

How liberating. I am not causing anything bad or good to happen in form. It is all just a story that I am pretending is real, a game I am choosing to play. But if I want to get home, the problem is not that I am playing a game. The problem is the purpose for which I am playing the game. The ego’s purpose is to use the game to prove that the separation is real. The Holy Spirit’s purpose is to use the game to teach us that the separation is unreal, that it never happened.

To align with the ego’s purpose, we must believe we are a body and dissociate reality. We must participate in the world as if it were real having goals and aspirations, preferences and problems, pains and pleasures and above all else we must have the belief that the self we made is cause.

To align with the Holy Spirit’s purpose we must question the belief that we are a body and seek reality. We must “…retire from the world, to seek reality instead.” (W-ep.3:2-3) We must be willing to “give up” everything we have made including the self. We must be willing to become nameless, faceless servants of the Spirit. We must develop the ability to see the false without accepting it as true, to be aware of dreaming and to be aware of the unity behind the dream, to not make real, and to have no preference of outcome. We must use our “participation” in the illusion only for mind training.

And yet, because it does, it (in this case the Course is referring to the body, but it can be extrapolated to include any miscreation) can be seen as not your home, but merely as an aid to help you reach the home where God abides.” (T-28.VII.3:6)

The Course repeatedly challenges us to stop participating in the world as if it were real, to retire from it. We are told that it has nothing to offer us. The Course tells us not to make plans and have worldly goals. One of the reasons this is so difficult can be found in the following…

The therapist is seen as one who is attacking the patient’s most cherished possession; his picture of himself. And since this picture has become the patient’s security as he perceives it, the therapist cannot but be seen as a real source of danger, to be attacked and even killed.” (P-2.IV.9:5-6)

We see the world and the self we made as our safety and stability. We value them. These things we made, these miscreations that we accept as real, we believe are our salvation. But the Course tells us that our salvation comes with the undoing of all of this, from our withdrawing our faith, belief and trust from the seen and putting it in the unseen.

Salvation is no more than a reminder this world is not your home. Its laws are not imposed on you, its values are not yours. And nothing that you think you see in it is really there at all. This is seen and understood as each one takes his part in its undoing, as he did in making it. He has the means for either, as he always did.” (T-25.VI.6:1-5)

There are two salvations because there are two different goals. The ego’s goal is to make the separation seem real so it can perpetuate itself. The Holy Spirit’s goal is to get us home to God. The ego’s goal is in the mind. But we cannot get to it to undo it until we stop having goals as the selves we made in the illusion. Those illusory goals are hiding the true goal of the ego mind. They simultaneously hide the Holy Spirit’s goal at the level of the mind. Stop participating in the illusion as if it were real. Close the door on the illusion. That gives us access to the mind level. We can then address the real problem at the causal level, the level of the mind.