Unlearning Classroom

W-25: I do not know what anything is for.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

hands_making_love_heart_with_shining_lightJesus tells us in Lesson 25, “… the ego is not you.”  This means you are not the ego; you are not your body; you are not your personality; you are not a person.  In Chapter 6, we learn “When God created you He made you part of Him.”

Our goals have been centered around the person and the body, not our Self.  When we begin to experience clicks of recognition that we are not the person, but God’s Child (One Self), we want to withdraw our interest in worldly goals.  At first there is some inner conflict, but then it becomes clear that to Love and Be Loved because we are Love is our sole purpose and meaning.

We understand the purpose of worldly things, like a cell phone is used to make contact with another person.  But that contact is not true Communication.  Communication is what the ego has tried to usurp, and Communication is what the Holy Spirit helps us restore.

Lesson 25 is a step in the direction of being willing to give up the goals we have established for everything.

“You cannot know the conflict until you fully understand the basic fact that the ego cannot know anything.  The Holy Spirit does not speak first, but He always answers.” (T-6.VI.3:1-2)

My practice today goes like this:

“I do not know what that door is for.  I do not know what this cat is for.  … I do not know what that machine-thing is for. … I do not know what that square is … I do not know what anything is for … because I do not know anything.”  There is a bit of irritation in the stomach … and then a long, full exhale of relief.

How relaxing to give up all my goals.  All my goals.   Life is now–not the ego’s version of the present, but the Timeless-Always-Now.  I do not know what anything is for when I’m looking with the ego’s eyes.  But place myself in Spirit’s hands and golden vision filters through the dream while “I” still seem to be a bit groggy.

LESSON 25

I do not know what anything is for.

Purpose is meaning.  Today’s idea explains why nothing you see means anything.  You do not know what it is for.  Therefore, it is meaningless to you.  Everything is for your own best interests.  That is what it is for; that is its purpose; that is what it means.  It is in recognizing this that your goals become unified.  It is in recognizing this that what you see is given meaning.

You perceive the world and everything in it as meaningful in terms of ego goals.  These goals have nothing to do with your own best interests, because the ego is not you.  This false identification makes you incapable of understanding what anything is for.  As a result, you are bound to misuse it.  When you believe this, you will try to withdraw the goals you have assigned to the world, instead of attempting to reinforce them.

Another way of describing the goals you now perceive is to say that they are all concerned with “personal” interests.  Since you have no personal interests, your goals are really concerned with nothing.  In cherishing them, therefore, you have no goals at all.  And thus you do not know what anything is for.

Before you  can make sense out of the exercises for today, one more thought is necessary.  At the most superficial levels, you do recognize purpose.  Yet purpose cannot be understood at these levels.  For example, you do understand that a telephone is for the purpose of talking to someone who is not physically in your immediate vicinity.  What you do not understand is what you want to reach him for.  And it is this that makes your contact with him meaningful or not.

It is crucial to your learning to be willing to give up the goals you have established for everything.  The recognition that they are meaningless, rather than “good” or “bad,” is the only way to accomplish this.  The idea for today is a step in this direction.

Six practice periods, each of two-minutes duration, are required.   Each practice period should begin with a slow repetition of the idea for today, followed by looking about you and letting your glance rest on whatever happens to catch your eye, near or far, “important” or “unimportant,” “human” or “nonhuman.”  With your eyes resting on each subject you so select, say, for example:

I do not know what this chair is for.
I do not know what this pencil is for.
I do not know what this hand is for.

Say this quite slowly, without shifting your eyes from the subject until you have completed the statement about it.  Then move on to the next subject, and apply today’s idea as before.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and listen to me reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

W-23: I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

This lesson is riveting.  We are given the “only way out of fear that will ever succeed.”  And it cannot fail.  The cause of the world I see is my attack thoughts.  Period.  If I give up my attack thoughts, my perception of the world will change–this is the happy dream which the Course talks about in the Text.

First, we need to identify what has caused the world–choosing the ego thought system.  Second, we need to be willing to let go of our attachment to the ego thought system.  Third, God takes the final step for us and reveals the Light and Love which we already are.

One tricky point is that our thoughts of attacking someone or something else are exactly the same as our thoughts that someone or something (e.g., a tsunami) is attacking us.  We have to get the hang of understanding that an attack thought is an attack thought no matter which direction it is going … it still indicates we have chosen the ego.

And now, here comes one of the many Course definitions of “salvation.”  Salvation is escaping from the cause of the world.  Salvation is that moment of decision when we opt for the Holy Spirit’s Vision rather than ego-seeing, eyesight.  Then loveliness can light all of our images. 

Now get this:  “There is no point in lamenting the world.  There is no point in trying to change the world.  It is incapable of change because it is merely an effect. [emphasis mine]”   What a huge relief.  I no longer have to lament the world.  I do not have to worry about Mother Nature and the countless ways we defile Her.  I do not have to hate myself for not being an organ donor, for not adopting every orphan child and animal out there, for not always recycling!

What’s more, I need to grasp that the world is an effect of my choice to think through the ego mind.  It is a narrow mind, filled with guilt and fear, and it believes it has separated from God. That’s what’s happening.  That is the cause of me picturing a world.  I am outpicturing, projecting an image outwards … an image of attack, hatred, fear, retribution, vengeance.  And the world I see is the effect of my thoughts.

So Jesus says if I change my thoughts I will change my mind.  I will literally switch over from the limited edition ego mind 🙂 to the Full Edition.  We see a world but we don’t see ourselves as the image maker of the world.  We call that arrogance, to claim we could make a world–isn’t that a brilliant way of avoiding the Truth?

This led to a discussion between me and Scott about the law of attraction.  Scott said that he read a book on the subject a while back and found that “there was no traction in the law of attraction” for him.  He didn’t feel drawn to the teachings–he had an innate sense of this lesson: I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts, which originated during his 12-year-old lacrosse experience (see blogpost “W-21: I am determined to see things differently” posted on Jan 21, 2015).

There’s been some public concern about the law of attraction being used for greedy manifestation without spirituality.  True law of attraction taps into a higher vibration that guarantees the highest good of all.

My sense of the law of attraction is that the undoing process can bring us to the point when a piece of God’s mind said, “Let’s try being separate from God.  Let’s try duality.  Let’s try felt experience and gross form” and that this pure moment was free of fear, attack, hatred, guilt, death, etc.  This was still within eternity and could be achieved playfully in endless ways … this is my sense of what the law of attraction provides: a way to write our dream script in all variety of gorgeous, abundant, brilliant, peaceful, harmonious ways, just for the fun of it.

Playing at God’s feet, so to speak, and awakening refreshed when we feel like it.  Some of us want to pause here and have some fun in the world.  Some of us are ready to go Home.  What’s interesting to me is that Helen wasn’t thinking about the law of attraction when she scribed the Course–Jesus didn’t offer her an alternative to living in the world for manifestation purposes.  He offered her an alternative thought system–a doorway Home because that must be what she asked for whether she always knew it consciously or not.

LESSON 23

I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.

The idea for today contains the only way out of fear that will ever succeed.  Nothing else will work; everything else is meaningless.  But this way cannot fail.  Every thought you have makes up some segment of the world you see.  It is with your thoughts, then, that we must work, if your perception of the world is to be changed.

If the cause of the world you see is attack thoughts, you must learn that it is these thoughts which you do  not want.  There is no point in lamenting the world.  There is no point in trying to change the world.  It is incapable of change because it is merely an effect.  But there is indeed a point in changing your thoughts about the world.  Here you are changing the cause.  The effect will change automatically.

The world you see is a vengeful world, and everything in it is a symbol of vengeance.  Each of your perceptions of  “external reality” is a pictorial representation of your own attack thoughts.  One can well ask if this can be called seeing.  Is not fantasy a better word for such a process, and hallucination a more appropriate term for the result?

You see the world that you have made, but you do not see yourself as the image maker.  You cannot be saved from the world, but you can escape from its cause.  This is what salvation means, for where is the world you see when its cause is gone?  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 idea for today introduces the thought that you are not trapped in the world you see, because its cause can be changed.  This change requires, first, that the cause be identified and then let go, so that it can be replaced.  The first two steps in this process require your cooperation.  The final one does not.  Your images have already been replaced.  By taking the first two steps, you will see that this is so.

Besides using it throughout the day as the need arises, five practice periods are required in applying today’s idea.  As you look about you, repeat the idea slowly to yourself first, and then close your eyes and devote about a minute to searching your mind for as many attack thoughts as occur to you.  As each one crosses your mind say:

I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts about _________.

Hold each attack thought in mind as you say this, and then dismiss that thought and go on to the next.

In the practice periods, be sure to include both your thoughts of attacking and of being attacked.  Their effects are exactly the same because they are exactly the same.  You do not recognize this as yet, and you are asked at this time only to treat them as the same in today’s practice periods.  We are still at the stage of identifying the cause of the world you see.  When you finally learn that thoughts of attack and of being attacked are not different, you will be ready to let the cause go.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and listen to me reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

 

Why Subscribe to Workin’ the Workbook?

WtW verticalWorkin’ the Workbook (WtW) is an online class that helps structure, clarify and support your Course in Miracles Workbook practice.  WtW also helps you persevere and stick with all 365 lessons. Many people quit before completing the Workbook and don’t get to experience the rewards of choosing the Holy Spirit rather than the ego.

You can begin at any lesson — start with Lesson 1 or resume where you left off.  The price is $37 a month (just a bit more than a dollar a day) and no one is turned away due to lack of funds (email me at miracles@amytorresacim.com to ask about scholarships).  The classroom is open to you for as long as it takes to finish all 365 lessons.

Most importantly, WtW encourages you to trust your personal experience. Messages and signs that you might overlook will be illuminated as WtW helps you recognize symbols of God’s Love and Light.

As you do the workbook practice, you will find it easier to connect with your Internal Teacher, the Holy Spirit, and recognize His guidance. You will develop more focus, faith and trust as your own experience strengthens the Truth which is already in your mind.  Here are some basic recommendations from the Holy Spirit as given by Jesus in ACIM:

Recommendations from the Holy Spirit

★ Develop the good habit of practicing your workbook lesson as close to awakening, and going to sleep, as possible.

★ All the workbook lessons should be done in an unhurried manner. A comfortable sense of leisure is essential.

★ As you practice the idea for the day, use it totally indiscriminately. Do not attempt to apply it to everything you see, for these exercises should not become ritualistic. Only be sure that nothing you see is specifically excluded. One thing is like another as far as the application of the idea is concerned. This is important because it impresses on the mind the first miracle principle: “There is no order of difficulty in miracles.” When this becomes real to us, there is nothing else to do but naturally and effortlessly spend our lives extending miracles.

★ “The curriculum is highly individualized, and all aspects are under the Holy Spirit’s particular care and guidance.” ACIM, M-29. Isn’t it comforting and inspiring to know that the Holy Spirit is working with you individually?*

★ Open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and feel His power surging Life and Love into you. Doing the workbook practice is like plugging in your cell phone–a powerful energy is charging you up! And there will be signs to boost your confidence along the way.

★ There is also a purification process involved, so it’s natural to experience unpleasant side effects at times. But remember, when swimming pools are disinfected, first the muddy, murky sludge that has gathered at the bottom is churned up to the surface. Only after the filter has been going for a while does the water become clear. In the same way, you are cleansed and purified through the workbook practice. After a while fear and darkness dissolve, and all that remains is the loving light You Really Are.

* There will come a day when you realize that you were working with the Holy Spirit, not He with you.  He helps you awaken to Reality, not dream a better dream.  When you choose His guidance, you are choosing against illusions and enlightenment is recognized as always here, always true. “The Holy Spirit must work through you to teach you He is in you.  This is an intermediary step towards the knowledge that you are in God because you are part of Him.” (T-7.IV.2:1-2)

For a long time, it seems as if your path is your own–very personal and filled with unique experiences. It is your particular set of experiences, relationships and understandings. This is because first you must become your self, and that readies you to realize your Self.

Imagine you are climbing a ladder to Heaven, rung by rung. Each rung is brightened with more and more light, as you draw nearer and nearer to Heavenly Light. The Holy Spirit is not shining brighter – you are drawing nearer. And when you reach the top you realize there is no individual “you”– there is one unified Us 🙂

WtW Lauren crisp n clear

Let’s practice together!  Click here for more information and to sign-up for Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.  

W-22: What I see is a form of vengeance.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

In 1998, there was great resistance to this lesson because I took it personally.  I thought Jesus was not acknowledging how far I had come in not judging people and being open-minded.

Now it is clear that Jesus is not speaking to little ego-fragment “me, Amy”, as a person.  He is simply stating that ego eyesight shows us forms and forms were made to obscure the Formless God-Self we truly are.

Forms can be transformed–the undoing process is an unforming, which these early lessons initiate.  Forms do not stop at material objects–forms begin with thought-form.

If I have attack thoughts, criticisms and judgments of myself or others, then I must see the world as vengeful.  The Course says I’ve projected my own anger out at the world and I expect revenge in return; I expect to be attacked.  Expecting attack, I lash out (and often lie to myself and say I’m being nice, or that I wouldn’t have lashed out if you hadn’t started “it”) and call it self defense.

“Why’d you have to make me do it?”

And so there is a vicious cycle of fear of attack leading to attack over and over again.  All the forms I see are a testament to my belief that I’ve separated from God and that I’m afraid I’ll be punished, so my best defense is an offensive strike.

Another way of putting it is that every form I see is a curtain I’ve drawn between myself and God.  This curtain obscures my Source so that I won’t remember God exists.  I don’t realize that I’m the dreamer dreaming an unreal dream which will end, and I with it, when “I” awaken … awakening is the opposite of condensation … a spreading back into Wholeness where All is the same One.

Jesus assures us that none of this is real; it is a savage fantasy from which we can “escape.”   There is a trans-formation process where we ask the Holy Spirit to use the forms we made for His Purpose of Love and Unification.  For a while we still see forms but from a Unifying Perspective.We made up the whole story of the world and humanity, because we dreamed we separated from God, and we dreamed up the hatred and murder with which we live.  But actually we are seeing “only the perishable,” “nothing that will last,” because what we see is not real–what we see is a form of vengeance.  Vengeance can be transformed with the Holy Spirit’s Vision … to help ourselves look with Him, we ask ourselves, “Is this the world I really want to see?”

LESSON 22

What I see is a form of vengeance.

Today’s idea accurately describes the way anyone who holds attack thoughts in his mind must see the world.  Having projected his anger onto the world, he sees vengeance about to strike at him.  His own attack is thus perceived as self defense.  This becomes an increasingly vicious circle until he is willing to change how he sees.  Otherwise, thoughts of attack and counter-attack will preoccupy him and people his entire world.  What peace of mind is possible to him then?

It is from this savage fantasy that you want to escape.  Is it not joyous news to hear that it is not real?  Is it not a happy discovery to find that you can escape?  You made what you would destroy; everything that you hate and would attack and kill.  All that you fear does not exist.  Look at the world about you at least five times today, for at least a minute each time.  As your eyes move slowly from one object to another, from one body to another, say to yourself:

I see only the perishable.
I see nothing that will last.
What I see is not real.
What I see is a form of vengeance.

At the end of each practice period, ask yourself:

Is this the world I really want to see?

The answer is surely obvious.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and listen to me reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

 

W-21: I am determined to see things differently.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

This is the lesson that tells us that “a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury.”

Anger is anger no matter what gradation we experience.  Most of us are very uncomfortable with anger anyway, and cannot permit ourselves to know how angry we are–the consequences of our anger are too threatening to us.

In the kind of psychotherapy work I used to do, we are invited to fully feel our emotions in the safety of the therapy room, and find out that they can run their course, be released, and we can feel relieved, re-balanced, and transformed from that process.

For example, if I allow myself to yell at someone who’s not actually there using Gestalt chairwork, and express that energy through my voice, body language, eyes, etc., then I will find out more.  I may grow angrier and feel the effects in my body: shaking hands, heat rising through my torso into my face, etc.

I may feel impotent as the person I am angry at ignores me or mocks me.  I may feel satisfied that I’ve said my piece.  I may feel frightened that I could hurt the other person, or myself through a violent gesture, or by internal bursting–a stroke or a heart attack.

Eventually, if I practice this technique and use it well, I will learn that strong feelings are energy in motion, e-motion, and that at the other side of this swell of anger is peace.  Underneath every human emotion is peace, joy and love … if we are willing to plumb the depths.  At the depth we discover our truth: we are all the same and we are just frightened that we are alone, misunderstood and deserving of punishment.

“I’d rather go fishin’.”

Scott told me that he learned this lesson when he was 12 years old and was on a lacrosse team.  It became clear to him that if he faced his opponent down by running straight at him,  penetrating him with a look that said, “I’m going to kill you” and wielding his lacrosse stick with fury, that he would win the game.  He fully grasped in that moment that under the veils of learning lacrosse technique and back-slapping team camaraderie was simply “kill or be killed.”  And he never went back to lacrosse.  He may not have known it at the time, but he was determined to see things differently 🙂

Yesterday’s lesson, morphed into, “I will not be deterred…”  Today I feel confident that I will not be blinded by the ego because my willingness is Greater than ego objections.  Willingness adheres to the Truth, my true Will Power, my Source.  Let the ego hypnotize and swirl and makes its magic.  Magic disappears in a poof of smoke when Light pours through.  And I am able to see … things … differently.

Ramana Maharshi

Ramana Maharshi offers the mantra, “I am that I am.”  I am that I am clears away debris and ego darkness.  I am that I am sweeps obstructions away.  Enough I am that I am clears space for the Light.  Seems similar.

LESSON 21

I am determined to see things differently.

The idea for today is obviously a continuation and extension of the preceding one.  This time, however, specific mind-searching periods are necessary, in addition to applying the idea to particular situations as they may arise.  Five practice periods are urged, allowing a full minute for each.

In the practice periods, begin by repeating the idea to yourself.  Then close your eyes and search your mind carefully for situations past, present or anticipated that arouse anger in you.  The anger may take the form of any reaction ranging from mild irritation to rage.  The degree of the emotion you experience does not matter.  You will become increasingly aware that a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury.

Try, therefore, not to let the “little” thoughts of anger escape you in the practice periods.  Remember that you do not really recognize what arouses anger in you, and nothing that you believe in this connection means anything.  You will probably be tempted to dwell more on some situations or persons more than others, on the fallacious grounds that they are more “obvious.”  This is not so.  It is merely an example of the belief that some forms of attack are more justified than others.

As you search your mind for all the forms in which attack thoughts present themselves, hold each one in mind while you tell yourself:

I am determined to see __________ [name of person] differently.
I am determined to see __________ [specify the situation] differently.

Try to be as specific as possible.  You may, for example, focus your anger on a particular attribute of a particular person, believing that the anger is limited to this aspect.  If your perception is suffering from this form of distortion, say:

I am determined to see _____________ [specify the attribute] in _____________ [name of person] differently.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and listen to me reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

 

W-9: I see nothing as it is now.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

I only see the past.  My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.  These previous lessons lead to this one: “I see nothing as it is now.”  What I seem to see is not really here.

All Jesus asks is that we apply the idea by doing the exercises.  We don’t understand, that much is obvious.  And if we did understand we wouldn’t need this workbook.  Jesus says, “Each small step will clear a little of the darkness away, and understanding will finally come to lighten every corner of the mind that has been cleared of the debris that darkens it.”  Practicing is as wonderfully, comfortingly mundane as cleaning out our closets.  As I practice, clutter is removed, space is opened, and light dawns.

As usual, we are told that when doing the exercise, “remember the need for its indiscriminate application, and the essential rule of excluding nothing.”

Here goes:

I do not see this _____________ as it is now.

I do not see this blog as it is now. I do not see these fingers as they are now.  I do not see this book as it is now.  I do not see these crystal pyramids as they are now.  I do not see this whirling dervish statuette as it is now.  I do not see this glass of water as it is now.  I do not see these reading glasses as they are now.  I do not see this waste basket as it is now.

Cleaning out closets, uncluttering my mind.  Little by little.  My heart feel light and care-free.

LESSON 9

I see nothing as it is now.

This idea obviously follows from the two preceding ones.  But while you may be able to accept it intellectually, it is unlikely that it will mean anything to you as yet.  However, understanding is not necessary at this point.  In fact, the recognition that you do not understand is a prerequisite for undoing your false ideas.  These exercises are concerned with practice, not with understanding.  You do not need to practice what you already understand.  It would indeed be circular to aim at understanding, and assume that you have it already.

It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems to picture is not there.  This idea can be quite disturbing, and may meet with active resistance in any number of forms.  Yet that does not preclude applying it.  No more than that is required for these or any other exercises.  Each small step will clear a little of the darkness away, and understanding will finally come to lighten every corner of the mind that has been cleared of the debris that darkens it.

These exercises, for which three or four practice periods are sufficient, involve looking about you and applying the idea for the day to whatever you see, remembering the need for its indiscriminate application, and the essential rule of excluding nothing.  For example:

I do not see this typewriter as it is now.
I do not see this telephone as it is now.
I do not see this arm as it is now.

Begin with things that are nearest you, and then extend the range outward:

I do not see that coat rack as it is now.
I do not see that door as it is now.
I do not see that face as it is now.

It is emphasized again that while complete inclusion should not be attempted, specific exclusion must be avoided.  Be sure you are honest with yourself in making this distinction.  You may be tempted to obscure it.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and listen to me reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

 

W-8: My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

This is getting funny now.  The lesson says no one really sees anything, we’re just “seeing” our thoughts projected outward.  I comprehend this through a swooping suction-y feeling, as if the content of my mind is being sucked through my forehead and vortexed forward and out.  There it goes, what I believe, outpictured and accepted as reality.  Yikes.

The lesson goes on to say that the only true thought about the past is that is doesn’t exist, therefore what we call thinking is actually in a state of blankness.  Today’s exercise begins to train the mind to recognize when it is not thinking at all.  That might make meditating easier.  I could close my eyes and think about how all those passing thoughts are the past and my mind is actually blank.  The thoughtless ideas I call thinking actually block the Truth.  The Truth is there, but preoccupation with the past (Jesus is kind here — “obsession” is often more accurate)  blocks the Truth.

This is important:  Jesus says, “The purpose of the exercises for today is to begin to train your mind to recognize when it is not really thinking at all.”   Stop.  Let’s take that in.

The practice is: “I seem to be thinking about _________.” Fill in the blank and conclude with “But my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.”

The purpose is to train my mind to recognize when it is not really thinking at all.  The practice is to examine my thoughts.  Purpose.  Practice.  Purpose.  Practice.

Here goes:  I seem to be thinking about having a snack and worrying that, at this rate, I’ll just get fatter and fatter.  I seem to be thinking about my taxes and, oddly, feeling a sense of pleasure at being able to afford them.  I seem to be thinking about that background noise: is the cat throwing up?  I seem to be feeling irritated, but the exercise said that’s okay as long as I note my feeling.  And anyway, all that’s actually happening is that my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.

I am more the breath than I am the body.  If I undo the body, I get back to the breath.  The breath is invisible … except when it mists in cold temperatures.  The breath is the bridge to Formlessness.

If God’s name is the sound of the breath, as I’ve learned more than once from various spiritual teachings, identifying with the breath takes me closer to God … I’ve also heard it said that when God exhales we inhale, and when God inhales we exhale.  I’ve been invited to let God breath me.  To put an end to my effortful breathing, my tense, constricted breathing, my shallow, inadequate inhales and overly depleting exhales and to just let myself fall into God’s flow, God’s rhythm, God’s breath of Life.

There’s been too much striving and trying for me.  Even worse than perfectionism, all that trying.  My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts, but something is budding, Something is making Itself felt.   In spite of myself, thank God, the Truth shines on and Its Gleam within me glows softly, dimly, increasingly.

The lesson directs the practice for today, “I seem to be thinking about ______________.”

I seem to be thinking about my vision–there seems to be no comfortable distance from which I can read clearly.  With contacts or without contacts, with reading glasses or without reading glasses, everything is mostly blurry and I feel sad about that.  Many times I feel irritable, the texture-y anger and helpless that I call frustration.  Right now I feel sad because I’m so engrossed in reading and writing these days and would like to enjoy reading and writing smoothly and effortlessly.  But what’s really going on is that my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.  Right now :)

I seem to be thinking about  …

But my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.

Four to five times of practice is suggested for today … unless the lesson is irritating me, lol.

LESSON 8

My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.

This idea is, of course, the reason why you only see the past.  No one really sees anything.  His sees only his thoughts projected outward.  The mind’s preoccupation with the past is the cause of the misconception about time from which your seeing suffers.  Your mind cannot grasp the present, which is the only time there is.  It therefore cannot understand time, and cannot, in fact, understand anything.

The one wholly true thought one can hold about the past is that it is not here.  To think about it at all is therefore to think about illusions.  Very few have realized what is actually entailed in picturing the past or in anticipating the future.  The mind is actually blank when it does this, because it is not really thinking about anything.

The purpose of the exercises for today is to begin to train your mind to recognize when it is not really thinking at all.  While thoughtless ideas preoccupy your mind, the truth is blocked.  Recognizing that your mind has been merely blank, rather than believing that it is filled with real ideas, is the first step to opening the way to vision.

The exercises for today should be done with eyes closed.  This is because you can actually not see anything, and it is easier to recognize that no matter how vividly you may picture a thought, you are not seeing anything.  With as little investment as possible, search your mind for the usual minute or so, merely noting the thoughts you find there.  Name each one by the central figure or theme it contains, and pass on to the next.  Introduce the practice period by saying:

I seem to be thinking about __________.

Then name each of your thoughts specifically, for example:

I seem to be thinking about [name of a person], about [name of an object], about [name of an emotion],

and so on, concluding at the end of the mind-searching period with:

But my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.

This can be done four or five times during the day, unless you find it irritates you.  If you find it trying, three or four times is sufficient.  You might find it helpful, however, to include your irritation, or any emotion that the idea for today may induce, in the mind searching itself.

For more on “I seem to be thinking about …” read Coming Apart at the “Seems”.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and listen to me reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

 

W-7: I see only the past.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

I see only the past and that is why everything makes no sense and I can’t understand it.  Not to mention I’m not really seeing anything.  And as I look around and apply the idea, very specifically and yet not excluding anything, I begin to lose the ability to remember the names of objects.  “I see only the past in that mouse pad.  I see only the past in that TV.  I see only the past in the wire thing.  I see only the past in that … thing.  I see only the past in … that.  I see only the past … ”  Not sure if this is me really getting into the spirit of the exercise (or the Spirit of the exercise in me :) ) or whether the ego is throwing in some interference.  Either way it’s nice to know that what never happened is over.

Okay, here I go again:

I see only the past.
I see only the past in my precious book Unified.
I see only the past in the tree outside my window.
I see only the past in this glass of water.
I see only the past in the veins on my hands.
I see only the past in my highlighter pen.

Then Lesson 7 reviews how the statement “I see only the past” is the rationale for all six preceding lessons:

I see only the past is the reason why nothing I see means anything.
Because I’m filtering everything I see through the lens of the past.
Because in seeing the past I don’t see the present.
Because ego-seeing is an outpicturing of a false thought.

I see only the past is the reason why I have given everything I see all the meaning it has for me.  I’m the one assigning meaning to the past.  I’m the one assigning meaning to what I “see” which is not actually seeing at all.  I’m the one hurling a thought out of my Mind and calling that “seeing.”  I like what Raj/Jesus (http://www.nwffacim.org/) pointed out about the sentence in the Course which says,”Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality.” T-16.VI.  Raj says we could interpret this to mean that we do not have to fear being hurled into reality because reality is gooooood.  Come to think of it, if we originally hurled a thought of our Mind, then, technically, we would be unhurling :)

I see only the past is the reason my thoughts do not mean anything.
My thoughts are always out of date.  Like spoilt milk–not fit for consumption.  False thought can imagine a past, but True Thought simply extends from the Father through His Son–us.

I see only the past is the reason why I am never upset for the reason I think.  If I’m always immersed in the past, I don’t know what is actually upsetting me in the present.  Nothing would be upsetting me in the present.  The present is Beingness Itself.

I keep myself hypnotized by seeing only the past.  In that way I keep from my awareness what is actually upsetting me … which is that I’m believing I’ve managed to separate from God and can never get back to Heaven and I’m expecting to be punished by God as well.  Seeing the past is a delusion in itself.  The ego makes up the past by saying something has happened which has not.

The ego says we have separated from God’s Mind, even though we have not.  The ego psyches itself out by telling itself its pretend game has become real.  It takes the idea that the pretend game has become real seriously and that is the beginning of  beliefs, of its fearful belief system.  “Fearful” because it is full of fear, similar to the fullness of God’s Mind, but opposite in the feeling of fear rather than Love.  The ego mimics God’s Mind but in a distorted manner–it has double “vision”/seeing, and makes duality out of non-duality/Absoluteness.

If the ego did not psych itself out, and did not take itself seriously, we could still play the “pretend-we-are-separate-from-God-game” and enjoy it.  We could dress up in God’s robes, and play with the power of His mind, and enjoy the puzzle pieces we threw onto the floor until we solve the puzzle, or until we grow tired of the puzzle, and then, in a blink, release the fantasy, open our Spiritual Eye, and return to the Reality from which we Come.

I see only the past is the reason why I am upset because I see something that is not there.  I feel the undoing process … I feel the mind quiet.  Jesus’ insistent logic is loosening the ego hold … my thoughts slow, I feel peaceful.  I do not  understand anything at this point.  This does not feel like ego sleepiness.  Here is the peace of God.

LESSON 7

I see only the past.

This idea is particularly difficult to believe at first.  Yet it is the rationale for all of the preceding ones.

It is the reason why nothing that you see means anything.
It is the reason why you have given everything you see all the meaning that it has for you.
It is the reason why you do not understand anything you see.
It is the reason why your thoughts do not mean anything, and why they are like the things you see.
It is the reason why you are never upset for the reason you think.
It is the reason why you are upset because you see something that is not there.

Old ideas about time are very difficult to change, because everything you believe is rooted in time, and depends on your not learning these new ideas about time.  This first time idea is not really so strange as it may sound at first.

Look at a cup, for example.  Do you see a cup, or are you merely reviewing your past experience of picking up a cup, being thirsty, drinking from a cup, feeling the rim of a cup against your lips, having breakfast and so on?  Are not your aesthestic reactions to the cup, too, based on past experiences?  How else would you know whether or not this kind of cup will break if you drop it?  What do you know about this cup except what you learned in the past?  You would have no idea what this cup is, except for your past learning.  Do you, then, really see it?

Look about you.  This is equally true of whatever you look at.  Acknowledge this by applying the idea for today indiscriminately to whatever catches your eye.  For example:

I see only the past in this pencil.
I see only the past in this shoe.
I see only the past in this hand.
I see only the past in that body.
I see only the past in that face.

Do not linger over any one thing in particular, but remember to omit nothing specifically. Glance briefly at each subject, and then move on to the next. Three or four practice periods, each to last a minute or so, will be enough.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and listen to me reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

 

W-6: I am upset because I see something that is not there.

scary shadow tim burton

Ego “seeing” and ego “thinking” are forms and perceptions.  Forms and perceptions are illusory.

Reality is Content and Truth, not form and perception.  Content and Truth are formless.

Without a body, there is no perception and no need for perception.

Communication is Immediate, Natural and flows without obstruction directly from God-Source.

It is the ego which obstructs communication with upsets, grievances, wounds, perception, duality and other insane ideas which seem indisputably convincing when you’ve chosen the limitations of ego-time-body-mind, but, as The Everly Brothers sang, Wishing Won’t Make It So.

Our treasured wounds keep us upset.  At first it is unthinkable that we would treasure our wounds.  But as you contemplate your wounds, you can discover many ways that they serve you.

Wounds maintain loyalty bonds, the perverse power of victimization, inertia, procrastination, excuses for avoiding life, justifying failure, etc.

It’s well worth discovering what your wounds are and how they have served you — if you’re ready to shed your self-imposed shackles.

LESSON 6

I am upset because I see something that is not there.

The exercises with this idea are very similar to the preceding ones.  Again, it is necessary to name both the form of upset (anger, fear, worry, depression and so on) and the perceived source very specifically for any application of the idea.  For example:

I am angry at ____ because I see something that is not there.

I am worried about _____ because I see something that is not there.

Today’s idea is useful for application to anything that seems to upset you, and can profitably be used throughout the day for that purpose.  However, the three of four practice periods which are required should be preceded by a minute or so of mind searching, as before, and the application of the idea to each upsetting thought uncovered in the search.

Again, if you resist applying the idea to some upsetting thoughts more than others, remind yourself of the cautions stated in the previous lesson:

There are no small upsets.  They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.

And:

I cannot keep this form of upset and let the others go.  For the purposes of these exercises, then, I will regard them all as the same.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and listen to me reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

W-5: I am never upset for the reason I think.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

Fear, guilt and death keep us involved in ego “thinking” … in other words, the ego is playing us.

00-Smooth-Youve_Been_Played_(Menace_II_Society)-(CDM)-1993-(CD)-hlmTo be “played” is urban jargon for he/she used you for his/her own personal gain until he/she got what was needed and dumped you. Guys do it, spies do it, gals do it, cops do it, gangstas do it, mobsters do it, even people with angel-faces do it – you get the picture.

And guess who is the original player?  The ego.  The inventor of play — as in mind games.  Play in which the fun is short-lived at best.

Lesson 5 makes it very clear that we are never upset for the reason we think.  Listen to “That’s Not the Reason Why” and notice the lyrics.

The only reason we are ever upset, really, is we’re afraid of uncovering the truth of what we really are because then the personal identity disappears.  The ego tells us that to be without personal identity is death, but that’s simply not true.  And you can function in this dream realm, within the time-body, for a while longer after personal identity is gone … as Mooji says, it’s like turning off the switch on a fan.  The fan continues whirring for a while until it comes to a complete halt.

LESSON 5

I am never upset for the reason I think.

This idea, like the preceding one, can be used with any person, situation or event you think is causing you pain.  Apply it specifically to whatever you believe is the cause of your upset, using the description of the feeling in whatever term seems accurate to you.  The upset may seem to be fear, worry, depression, anxiety, anger, hatred, jealousy or any number of forms, all of which will be perceived as different.  This is not true.  However, until you learn that form does not matter, each form becomes a proper subject for the exercises for the day.  Applying the same idea to each of them separately is the first step in ultimately recognizing they are all the same.

When using the idea for today for a specific perceived cause of an upset in any form, use both the name of the form in which you see the upset, and the cause which you ascribe to it.  For example:

I am not angry at ______ for the reason I think.
I am not afraid of _______ for the reason I think.

But again, this should not be substituted for practice periods in which you first search your mind for “sources” of upset in which you believe, and forms of upset which you think result.

In these exercises, more than in the preceding ones, you may find it hard to be indiscriminate, and to avoid giving greater weight to some subjects than to others.  It might help to precede the exercises with the statement:

There are no small upsets.  They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.

Then examine your mind for whatever is distressing you, regardless of how much or how little you think it is doing so.

You may also find yourself less willing to apply today’s idea to some perceived sources of upset than to others.  If this occurs, think first of this:

I cannot keep this form of upset and let the others go.  For the purposes of these exercises, then, I will regard them all as the same.

Then search your mind for no more than a minute or so, and try to identify a number of different forms of upset that are disturbing you, regardless of the relative importance you may give them.  Apply the idea for today to each of them, using the name of both the source of the upset as you perceive it, and of the feeling as you experience it.  Further examples are:

I am not worried about ___________ for the reason I think.
I am not depressed about _____________ for the reason I think.

Three or four times during the day is enough.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and listen to me reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

To ask Amy a question, email miracles@amytorresacim.com