Lesson 24 – I do not perceive my own best interests.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

I burst out laughing as I read today’s lesson.  Experience has taught me how true, how ludicrous and how funny it is to think I could perceive my own best interests when identifying as a person is stepping into the ego booby trap!

When I reached the part that says, “The idea for today is a step toward opening your mind so that learning can begin.”  I felt something open in my mind.  And writing this now, I feel it again–an opening, spreading feeling in my head, very pleasant–other-worldly.

We are told that the exercises require much more honesty than we are accustomed to using.  If you’ve ever done 12-step work, or journaled, or challenged yourself with some good psychotherapy, you’re familiar with taking self-inventory and exposing the parts of you that are hardest to look at.  If not, start now!  The exercises reveal how contradictory our thoughts are and clarify how true it is that we do not perceive our own best interests without the help of the Holy Spirit.

So let’s give it a whirl on a topic to which many can relate:  in the situation involving wanting to eat anything I desire, I would like to lose weight in the process, and to lower my cholesterol, while eating as much partially hydrogenated food as I like. I do not perceive my own best interests in this situation.  Jesus is right again–my thoughts are definitely contradictory.

I want to lose weight to feel comfortable within  my own skin, fit into my skinny pants, and I also want to enjoy eating and eat anything I want.  Also, devoting my purpose to my body is surely not in my best interest because I lose sight of being Spirit, as usual 🙂  And, as usual, I place myself back in your hands, Holy Spirit, and ask that I recognize my purpose and be led by You.  This could go on all day 🙂

By the way, if you’re interested in spiritual wisdom about weight loss, Marianne Williamson’s book, A Course in Weight Loss, is worth reading.  You can find it at  http://www.marianne.com/ or http://www.amazon.com/.  Ken Wapnick has a book called, Overeating, A Dialogue, and click here for Frances and Amy Talk Food.


I do not perceive my own best interests.

In no situation that arises do you realize the outcome that would make you happy.  Therefore, you have no guide to appropriate action, and no way of judging the result.  What you do is determined by your perception of the situation, and the perception is wrong.  It is inevitable then, that you will not serve your own best interests.  Yet they are your only goal in any situation which is correctly perceived.  Otherwise, you will not recognize what they are.

If you realized that you do not perceive your own best interests, you could be taught what they are.  But in the presence of your conviction that you do know what they are, you cannot learn.  The idea for today is a step toward opening your mind so that learning can begin.

The exercises for today require much more honesty than you are accustomed to using.  A few subjects, honestly and carefully considered in each of the five practice periods which should be undertaken today, will be more helpful than a more cursory examination of a large number.  Two minutes are suggested for each of the mind-searching periods which the exercises involve.

The practice periods should being with repeating today’s idea, followed by searching the mind, with closed eyes, for unresolved situations about which you are currently concerned.  The emphasis should be on uncovering the outcome you want.  You will quickly realize that you have a number of goals in mind as part of the desired outcome, and also that these goals are on different levels and often conflict.

In applying the idea for today, name each situation that occurs to you, and then enumerate carefully as many goals as possible that you would like to be met in its resolution.  The form of each application should be roughly as follows:

In the situation involving _________, I would like __________ to happen, and _____________ to happen,

and so on.  Try to cover as many different kinds of outcomes as may honestly occur to you, even if some of them do not appear to be directly related to the situation, or even to be inherent in it at all.

If these exercises are done properly, you will quickly recognize that you are making a large number of demands of the situation which have nothing to do with it.  You will also recognize that many of your goals are contradictory, that you have no unified outcome in mind, and that you must experience disappointment in connection with some of your goals, however the situation turns out.

After covering the list of as many hoped-for goals as possible, for each unresolved situation that crosses your mind say to yourself:

I do not perceive my own best interests in this situation,

and go on to the next one.

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.