Your belief in a thought from the unreal ego wrong mind is what you are learning to forgive in A Course in Miracles (Searchable ACIM Audio). Belief is intangible as it is nothing more than an agreement or investment of the mind in an particular idea or thought. You use choice to invest belief in the ego thoughts which harvests the power of the mind into the miscreation of this world. It is your belief in these ideas that is in need of forgiveness and what makes forgiveness appear difficult. Decision making in the mind is what you use all the time to believe or not believe any thought at any given moment. This choice ability is where you have all the power to choose between Heaven and hell.
There are two famous lines in the Course about making the unreal appear real and about ideas not leaving their source. Choice and belief are directly involved in both. Here’s three (3) key definitions of word symbols we’ll consider to further the discussion:
Thought: An idea or opinion occurring in the mind.
Choice: The ability, act or possibility of making a selection between two or more ideas.
Belief: Accepting an idea as true or real.
If we look at these definitions in order, it is readily apparent why the Course is aimed at the decision making (choice) ability in the mind which can observe thoughts (ideas) and decide to believe or not believe them. It is the observation ability where the choice is made to believe in the unreal or to withdrawal belief in it (forgive) and thus correct the mind.
Making It Real
Students of the Course frequently misunderstand what it means to make something real and how choice and belief are what does that in the mind. Having an unreal ego thought, and choosing to believe it, is what makes it appear real. It invests the mind and thus the idea stays with you as you’ve taken it seriously. Belief is judgment that you agree with the unreal idea over reality.
Let’s consider it another way. First, you only have to go to the trouble of choosing to believe in something, i.e., making the unreal appear real, if it is “unreal” since the unreal doesn’t exist. If you laughed and left it alone, what doesn’t exist remains non-existent. Second, you will only go to that much trouble to prove that your unreal idea is correct and hence why the Course states that it comes down to whether you want to be right or be happy.
Choosing belief in an unreal idea is the choice to prove your idea correct thus making it appear real and forgiveness (withdrawing belief) appear difficult because you’ve invested a lot of effort into your miscreation and being right. That leads us to the next theme where ideas do not leave you as the source.