W-12: I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

We, humanity, are experiencing a major perceptual distortion.  We have given the world all the attributes it has for us, whereas the world is actually completely meaningless.  The exercises are specifically instructing us to use our eyes to look around … and, occasionally, to close our eyes to better become aware of our thoughts.  Eyesight is not Vision.  But eyes, the windows to the soul, can be used for Vision’s Message to be communicated through us.

We are instructed to  find a measured rhythm as we look around in this lesson … again, as in Lesson 11, this reminds me of the Sufi turn, the spiritual practice of Rumi and, after him, the whirling dervishes.

Amy Whirling at Sufi Retreat. Photo: Scott Johnson

Being in a rhythm quiets thinking.   Even a frenetic rock’n’roll drummer has a quiet mind as his body clicks into a groove of rhythm from his head through his heart, ears, arms, hands, legs, feet.

Internally his visceral organs must become, what is called in heart rhythm meditation, “coherent” or, in layman’s language, harmonized.  Good percussionists are unhurried, deep in their felt sense of the beat, be it fast or slow.

Then it goes on to say, a bad world, a good world, it’s all the same.  We may not understand how a good world experience could be the same as a bad one, but at least we can comprehend that “bad” suggests “good,” in another words, a dualistic experience.  God is beyond dual and non-dual … He simply Is.

And then, Lesson 12 says, “What is meaningless is neither good nor bad.  Why, then, should a meaningless world upset you?  If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy. But because it is meaningless, you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be.  It is this you see in it.  It is this that is meaningless in truth.

Beneath your words is written the Word of God. The truth upsets you now, but when the words have been erased, you will see His.  That is the ultimate purpose of these exercises.” [bold mine]  How comforting!  A click of recognition is felt within — Truth has true authority and feel liberating, not oppressive.  Beneath the meaning I have given the world is Real Meaning Itself.  As the Workbook works its undoing within us, God’s Message becomes clear.  Amen.

It occurs to me that in that tiny, mad moment when we thought we could separate from God’s mind, we made a blank canvas for ourselves.  A previous lesson has said our mind is actually blank.  Then we paint “meaning” onto this blank canvas “mind”  …  The blank canvas “mind” isn’t real–it’s just an unachievable idea.  The meaning we paint onto the blank canvas is not truly meaningful, it’s just a bunch of defensive ideas sprouting forth from  the first tiny, mad idea that we could separate and be an autonomous god-self, encased in individual bodies …

LESSON 12

I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

The importance of this idea lies in the fact that it contains a correction for a major perceptual distortion.  You think that what upsets you is a frightening world, or a sad world, or a violent world, or an insane world.  All these attributes are given it by you.  The world is meaningless in itself.

These exercises are done with eyes open.  Look around you, this time quite slowly.  Try to pace yourself so that the slow shifting of your glance from one thing to another involves a fairly constant time interval.  Do not allow the time of the shift to become markedly longer or shorter, but try, instead, to keep a measure, even tempo throughout.  What you see does not matter.  You teach yourself this as you give whatever your glance rests on equal attention and equal time.  This is a beginning step in learning to give them all equal value.

As you look about you, say to yourself:

I think I see a fearful world, a dangerous world, a hostile world, a sad world, a wicked world, a crazy world,

and so on, using whatever descriptive terms happen to occur to you.  If terms which seem positive rather than negative occur to you, include them.  For example, you might think of “a good world,” or “a satisfying world.”  If such terms occur to you, use them along with the rest.  You may not yet understand why these “nice” adjectives belong in these exercises but remember that a “good world” implies a “bad” one, and “a satisfying world” implies an “unsatisfying” one.  All terms which cross your mind are suitable subjects for today’s exercises.  Their seeming quality does not matter.

Be sure that you do not alter the time intervals between applying today’s idea to what you think is pleasant and what you think is unpleasant.  For the purposes of these exercises, there is no difference between them.  At the end of the practice period, add:

But I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

What is meaningless is neither good nor bad.  Why, then, should a meaningless world upset you?  If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy.  But because it is meaningless, you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be.  It is this you see in it.  It is this that is meaningless in truth.  Beneath your words is written the Word of God.  The truth upsets you now, but when the words have been erased, you will see His.  That is the ultimate purpose of these exercises.

Three or four times is enough for practicing the idea for today.  Nor should the practice periods exceed a minute.  You may find even this is too long.  Terminate the exercises whenever you experience a sense of strain.

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.