Workbook Review Lessons 8-14
Lesson 8: My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.
In the last lesson you learned that you see only the past. The reason you see only the past is that your mind is preoccupied with past thoughts. “As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world." (T-21.In.6-7). And simultaneously you will also be choosing to change your mind about yourself. “The world you see but shows you how much joy you have allowed yourself to see in you, and to accept as yours. And, if this is its meaning, then the power to give it joy must lie within you.” You may also project fear onto the world and will therefore see a fearful world, as “projection makes perception.” Remember, you are not as you suppose yourself to be; you are as God created you. “Spirit is in a state of grace forever.” (ACIM.T-1.III.5:4)
What you see is your own thoughts projected outward. Therefore you are not seeing anything outside you, but projecting what is in your minds onto the “world.” In so doing, you do not see what is really there, you see only what you think is there, and that determines what you perceive to be there. In essence, then, you are not really “seeing” at all! The idea that what you see must be there, because so many others appear to see what you see, is not relevant, as all the "separated ones" are perceiving but not seeing. You have a lot of company in the dysfunction of your thinking and seeing.
The purpose of this exercise is to begin to train your mind to recognize when it is not really thinking or seeing 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 Christ’s vision.
Lesson 9: I see nothing as it is now.
Does this idea mean anything to you? The recognition that you do not really understand these lessons is the prerequisite for undoing your false ideas. All of these lessons are concerned with practicing them in order to understand them. You do not need to practice what you already understand. It would indeed be circular to aim at understanding and yet assume you already do.
So with the assumption that you do not understand these lessons, practice them diligently and allow the understanding to enter your mind. In this manner, your mind will be trained to see and to understand what you are seeing with a clearer perspective, which eventually will lead to knowledge. Each small step will clear a little of the darkness, and understanding will finally come to lighten every corner of the mind that has been cleared of the debris that darkens it.
You may understand this lesson intellectually – after all you have had enough of the lessons thus far to have an idea of what they are demonstrating – yet it is unlikely that you have a complete working understanding of the idea, enough that will allow you as yet to see clearly with Christ’s vision.
Lesson 10: My thoughts do not mean anything.
As if it was not enough that you do not see anything with meaning, now your thoughts do not mean anything either? The emphasis of these lessons now is on the lack of reality of what you think you think! In fact, the presence of these thoughts that you are thinking, indicates that you are really not thinking at all. So the purpose of this lesson is to help you to recognize nothingness when you think you are seeing something. This is the prerequisite for Christ’s vision.
Lesson 11: My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.
A world without meaning is so unacceptable to you that you immediately want to give it a meaning – quickly, before you adopt the insecure feeling of emptiness. So you write upon the world something -- anything -- to fill the void. You write what you would have it be. It does not matter if it is true or not, as just about anything will suffice as long as the void is filled, for you perceive filling the void as your goal. It is said that nature abhors a vacuum. It could also be said that man is uncomfortable in a perceived void. Yet once you have allowed your words, which you erroneously perceived to be filling the void, to be erased, you will see the truth your words hid from your mind.. And that is the ultimate purpose of these exercises.
This is the first idea you have had that is related to a major phase of the correction process; the reversal of the thinking of the world. It seems as if the world determines what you perceive. Today’s idea introduces the concept that your thoughts determine the world you see. The key to forgiveness lies in this idea.
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 may think that what upsets you is a frightening world, or a sad world, or a violent world, an insane world, or an unloving world, a trivial world – or perhaps perceived as worst of all: an unkind and selfish or even cruel world which cares nothing for you and only for itself. All these attributes are given it by you from your perception of your past experiences, or from what you have learned, or from what your mind conceives as true from whatever questionable source. Yet the truth is “the world is meaningless in itself.”
However, deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you. Acknowledge but that you have been mistaken, and all effects of your mistakes will disappear. Understand this:
I am responsible for what I see.
I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked.
What is meaningless is neither good nor bad. Once you recognize the world is meaningless, you will simultaneously recognize that it cannot hurt you or bother you. And once you step back and cease perceiving and projecting your thoughts upon the world and asking for what you do not want, you will then be open to letting the truth be written upon it for you. And know this: the truth will render you indescribably happy. In fact, the truth will set you free!
Lesson 13: A meaningless world engenders fear.
Actually a meaningless world is impossible. Nothing without meaning exists. It is essential, therefore, that you learn to recognize what appears as meaninglessness, and accept it without fear so you can see what does have meaning. If you are fearful, it is certain that you will endow the world with attributes that it does not possess, and crowd it with images that do not exist. The more you do this, the more there will be to undo. The less you do this, the clearer your mind becomes.
Miracles undo the past in the present, and thus release the future. (ACIM T-1.MP13)
Rather than taking it upon yourself to determine the meaning of the world, or of anything or anyone in the world, would it be wiser to look to God for His meaning to be written in the empty space that meaningless provides? Rather than allowing the ego to frantically rush in to fill the void it perceives (which may otherwise be used to demonstrate its own unreality), is it wiser to let go, and let God teach us the truth? You are not in competition with Him to determine the meaning of the world – or the meaning of ourselves. He is the Cause and we are His Effects. It is not the other way around. Thankfully this is so.
Lesson 14: God did not create a meaningless world.
What God did not create does not exist. Did He create “sin”? Of course not, a loving Father cannot create something that goes against the idea of love. So sin does not exist. Did He create isolation, deprivation, scarcity, and lack? No. He created love and abundance for all. Nothing in your personal repertory of horrors which you see in the world (war, illness, accidents, etc.) was created by God and therefore it does not exist. Even though it may appear in your mind or in your sight, it is not real. (Read Chapter 18, The Passing of the Dream.)
Picture a movie screen with all the horrors of war on it. Yet when the movie is over, is the war still there? No, you walk out of the theater the same as when you walked in, though maybe a little shaken from the exposure. And you will be lifted right out of this imaginary world, too, into Heaven where you are and never have left except in the idea of dreams. The world you see has nothing to do with reality. It is of your own making, and it does not exist. Our Father is merciful and will not allow you to experience anything but His love. Realize this, quit imagining anything but love, and remember God is but Love, and therefore so are you.
This Self alone knows love.
This Self alone is perfectly consistent in Its thoughts;
knows Its Creator,
is perfect in Its knowledge and Its love,
and never changes from Its constant state of union with Its Father and Itself.
When you keep your mind filled with happy memories and happy thoughts, you will be aware that the greatest love of all, GOD, goes with you wherever you go and remains with you. Remembering only the loving and happy experiences of the past, will help you remember your oneness with God. And then you will no longer have to make the effort to remember anything, because memory will have metamorphosed into omnipotent omnipresent omniscience. In that omniscient light of divine knowledge, you shall not only remember – you shall know that you are God's Son, the Infinite Spirit of Christ. ❤