“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...” Workbook page 15, Lesson 9
This lesson follows on from the two preceding lessons which deal with the fact that our minds are preoccupied with the past. These lessons explain that when we are thinking about the past we are not really thinking at all. “...No one really sees anything. He sees only his thoughts projected outward...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...” W13. This is an important point to make because we all think about the past. Whether it is recalling happy moments spent with loved ones or remembering things that upset us, we often thinking about the past and this, Jesus tells us, is equivalent to having a blank mind. “...The mind is actually blank when it does this, because it is not really thinking about anything.”
It seems harmless enough to let one’s mind wander back in time to relive a happy occasion but there is a very good reason why we should not do this: “...While thoughtless ideas preoccupy your mind, the truth is blocked...” W13. When we catch ourselves daydreaming about a past event we could gently bring our mind back to the present by remembering, “This instant is the only time there is.” Lesson 308
To return to this month’s lesson, Lesson 9, we are told that we cannot understand that we see nothing as it is now. But this is all right because, “In fact, the recognition that you do not understand is a prerequisite for undoing your false ideas...” W15. And undoing our false ideas is one of the goals of A Course in Miracles, which states, on page 16 of the Text, that it is a course in mind training. We need to train our minds to think with the “right portion” in which the Holy Spirit/Higher Self resides, as opposed to the “wrong portion” in which the ego dwells. When we are completely healed and whole our minds will no longer be split, and we will return in our awareness to our oneness with God and all of creation.
The Course tells us that all the things created by the ego are meaningless, even things that actually seem very important to us. We read in Lesson 76, “...You think you must obey the ‘laws’ of medicine, or economics and of health. Protect the body, and you will be saved. These are not laws, but madness. The body is endangered by the mind that hurts itself...There are no laws except the laws of God...Your magic has no meaning. What it is meant to save does not exist. Only what it is meant to hide will save you.” W134. So many times the Course points out that the mind is the cause of all our suffering and the body is a neutral thing which is governed by the mind. The word magic in this passage refers to all the man-made devices we have at our disposal to bring about the health and well-being of the body. This, according to ACIM, is meaningless and futile because the only thing that can help the body is the mind, but in order to do so it must tune in to the Holy Spirit.
“...Only one Teacher knows what your reality is. If learning to remove the obstacles to that knowledge is the purpose of the curriculum, you must learn it of Him. The ego does not know what it is trying to teach. It is trying to teach you what you are without knowing what you are. It is expert only in confusion...” T139. And that is why we see nothing as it is now, because we are seeing with our egoic minds (lower minds).
It takes humility to acknowledge that we see nothing as it is now; we spend all our lives studying, learning new things, being trained in one skill or another, acquiring qualifications, etc., so it doesn’t come naturally to us to admit that, actually, we know nothing and that our thoughts are meaningless. But this is the first step we have to take in this course in mind training if we want to achieve the ultimate goal, which is the Atonement or recognition that the separation from God never took place.
As one contemplates all that is going on in the world it often seems incomprehensible. One just shakes one’s head as it seems impossible to find solutions to the problems we are confronted with. Some of the things we see on television news bulletins are totally meaningless. All we can do is admit that we see nothing as it really is now (Lesson 9) and our meaningless thoughts are showing us a meaningless world (Lesson 11). The way to find meaning and to rise above the ego is, as mentioned above, to call upon the Holy Spirit.
How do we turn to the Holy Spirit? First, we acknowledge that we see nothing as it is now and then we call upon Him and ask for His guidance. We could do this last thing at night and first thing in the morning. We may, when we are calm, hear His Voice; or we may receive guidance through a dream; or we may have a sudden flash of inspiration or a strong gut feeling; or we may open a spiritual book at random and read a few words of wisdom that are relevant to us.
Lessons 361 to 365 in the Workbook ask us to offer holy instants to the Holy Spirit:
This holy instant would I give to You.
Be You in charge. For I would follow You,
Certain that your direction gives me peace.
It is worth stating this frequently throughout the day especially when one is feeling troubled or confused. Each time we forgive someone we are experiencing a holy instant. The more holy instants we are able to experience, the more likely we are to completely awaken from the dream. Holy instants are steps along the path of forgiveness and, as such, they are miracles, to use Course terminology. Miracles have the ability to save us time and speed-up our journey Home.
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