“Why wait for Heaven? Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes. The light is in them now. Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all…” ACIM, Workbook page 357, Lesson 188.
This passage stresses that all we need to do to find ourselves back in Heaven is to recognise that we are still there. The difficulty lies in the fact that the physical world is distracting us from our reality and is concealing the light within us. We find it extremely difficult to turn off thoughts pertaining to our daily lives and completely forget about the world we seem to live in. Yet, this is the key to the recognition that the peace of God is shining within us. We have to get the physical world out of the way and switch off our minds (ego minds). Then we might stand a chance of experiencing the light within.
“Sit quietly and close your eyes. The light within you is sufficient. It alone has power to give the gift of sight to you. Exclude the outer world, and let your thoughts fly to the peace within…” W358. Meditation seems to be the key but, as long as we are living very busy lives, it isn’t easy to accomplish. However, we are given some guidelines further on in Lesson 188. “We practice coming nearer to the light in us today. We take our wandering thoughts, and gently bring them back to where they fall in line with all the thoughts we share with God. We will not let them stray. We let the light within our minds direct them to come home…” Each time an intruding thought enters our mind, we need to gently turn away from it and try to silence the mind. We will probably have to do this many times during a meditation session because thoughts tend to flow in an almost continuous stream through our minds.
Lesson 188 insists that we just have to recognise that we are already enlightened but it stresses that as long as we choose to see this world, then we won’t be able to reach the light that is shining within us. We are told that our physical world is completely different from the “real world” where forgiveness and peace reign—the last stop before Heaven. But we will not be able to experience the real world if we focus on the physical world. “…A world in which forgiveness shines on everything, and peace offers its gentle light to everyone, is inconceivable to those who see a world of hatred rising from attack, poised to avenge, to murder and destroy.”
Lesson 15, “My thoughts are images that I have made,” makes it clear exactly why we have trouble forgetting this world. “It is because the thoughts you think you think appear as images that you do not recognize them as nothing. You think you think them, and so you think you see them. This is how your ‘seeing’ was made. This is the function you have given your body’s eyes. It is not seeing. It is image making. It takes the place of seeing, replacing vision with illusions.” W25. In other words, we can’t trust what we see with our eyes because they are tools of the ego to keep us in bondage to it; they show us only illusions, which we believe exist. Our aim is vision—Christ’s vision—which does not depend on the eyes but which leads us out of the world of illusions.
If we wish to continue living in our dream world, then that is what we will do. In Lesson 132 it is explained, “There is no world apart from what you wish, and herein lies your ultimate release. Change but your mind on what you want to see, and all the world must change accordingly. Ideas leave not their source…There is no world! This is the central thought the course attempts to teach… healing is the gift of those who are prepared to learn there is no world, and can accept the lesson now.” Therefore, if we can accept that the world is an illusion, we will be able to heal our split minds. Healing our split minds is the equivalent of liberation. ACIM tells us that once are minds are healed we will recognise that the separation from God never took place. This is the Atonement, which will result in our release from the world of the ego.
We need to have the humility to acknowledge that we are lost here on earth. We are like strangers wandering in a foreign land. If we call upon God, He will show us the way out of this foreign land. “Father, we do not know the way to You. But we have called, and You have answered us…Yours is the way that we would find and follow…” Lesson 189. We can make a habit of asking Jesus or the Holy Spirit every day for help in freeing us from our illusions and leading us to the truth; it will be very difficult to do so on our own.
When we finally manage to still our thoughts, forget this world and see God’s Light, Jesus tells us that we will experience great joy. “When the light comes and you have said, ‘God’s Will is mine,’ you will see such beauty that you will know it is not of you…This bleak little world will vanish into nothingness, and your heart will be so filled with joy that it will leap into Heaven, and into the Presence of God…” T199. Wow!
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