What Is Level Confusion?

Students have been confused about level confusion ever since the Course was published. I have been, too. In the end, to really understand it, you have to go back to Helen Schucman’s original notes, especially her notes on the miracle principles, where it is actually the focus of three of them.

In these notes, we can see that level confusion itself is quite a broad principle. It is any instance in which you take the attributes of one level and assign them to another level. This can take many forms.

However, there is one main form it takes, and that is confusing the spiritual level with the physical level. This means assigning attributes to the physical level that properly belong to the spiritual level. It means, for example, thinking that the body, not the spirit, is “the altar of truth.” It means thinking that sex, rather than union with God, brings real “closeness” and “love.” It means thinking that one’s identity lies in the body, rather than in the spirit.

In other words, the main meaning of “level confusion” is seeing the attributes of the spiritual level—truth, our identity, love, closeness, and happiness—as residing instead in the physical. Now this seemingly arcane concept becomes extremely relevant and practical, for this kind of confusion characterizes our lives. We live in a constant state of seeing reality, identity, and happiness as residing in the physical rather than the spiritual. This confusion is so profound that it seems like it would take a miracle to straighten us out, and that’s true. In fact, this is much of the purpose of miracles: “A miracle rearranges the order of perception, and places the levels in their true perspective.” Wouldn’t it be great to finally see those levels in their true perspective?

If you enjoyed this story you might enjoy this one!
Or you may be interested in delving deeper into A Course in Miracles.