Undoing the Way We See Things Now
Lesson 9 I see nothing as it is now.
This idea obviously follows from the two preceding ones. But while you may be able to accept it intellectually, it is unlikely that it will mean anything to you as yet. However, understanding is not necessary at this point. In fact, the recognition that you do not understand is a prerequisite for undoing your false ideas. These exercises are concerned with practice, not with understanding. You do not need to practice what you already understand. It would indeed be circular to aim at understanding and assume that you have it already.
It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what is seems to picture is not there. This idea can be quite disturbing and may meet with active resistance in any number of forms. Yet that does not preclude applying it. No more than that is required for these or any other exercises. Each small step will clear a little of the darkness away, and understanding will finally come to lighten every corner of the mind that has been cleared of the debris that darkens it.
These exercises, for which three or four practice periods are sufficient, involve looking about you and applying the idea for the day to whatever you see, remembering the need for its indiscriminate application, and the essential rule of excluding nothing. For example:
I do not see this typewriter as it is now.
I do not see this telephone as it is now.
I do not see this arm as it is now.
Begin with the things that are nearest you, and then extend the range outward:
I do not see that coat rack as it is now.
I do not see that door as it is now.
I do not see that face as it is now.
It is emphasized again that while complete inclusion should not be attempted, specific exclusions must be avoided. Be sure you are honest with yourself in meeting this distinction. You may be tempted to obscure it.
Notes and Personal Application (2019): It is a good thing for me that we are not expected to understand the exercises in order to benefit from doing them. So here goes, Lord Jesus:
I do not see my framed certificates and degrees as they are now.
I do not see the light switch as it is now.
I do not see the world globe as it is now.
I do not see the fan as it is now.
I do not see the bedside table as it is now.
I do not see the big book on human anatomy as it is now.
I do not understand this lesson. This is why I did not do the lessons years ago after I first purchased the book. I do not have to understand the lessons to do them. So I will just do them and not make a fuss.
Notes and Personal Application (2020): Ugh. This morning the flu is doing its best to settle over me. Up in the night, I got the coffee started early but after it brewed, was no longer interested in it. James got up for work and offered to make me a cup, but just the thought of raising a cup to my lips felt like too much work! In any case, I was tempted to forgo our Course lesson this morning, but then remembered how important it is to build one lesson upon the previous ones. Last year, when I was doing this by myself, I had the time it took to catch up if I missed a lesson here and there; this year, this is the only window of time we have during the day to devote to the study.
So he sat on the hotel couch with me, we held hands for our devotional prayer, and then read the lesson together. James mentioned how long ago this has been written. There were still typewriters! This led to a discussion about the 1960s and 1970s when the Course was given to Helen. Although never hearing about A Course in Miracles until much later in my life, I remember sharing much the same ideas with my friend, Linda, whose grandmother was a Pentecostal minister during that same time period. I also attended a few ecumenical services with another friend, Gail, who belonged to a Presbyterian church, where I learned through hymns and Sunday School lessons about a God of unity, oneness, and tolerance.
As I traveled with my mother on her missionary trips, passed out gospel tracts warning unbelievers of hellfire and torment, listened to Christians rhapsodizing over the blood of Jesus, my mind turned away from the concept of the bloodthirsty, judgmental god to the God of love, peace, and comfort. Inner experiences of intense love, acceptance, and certain salvation throughout the sixties and seventies, indeed throughout my whole life, proved to me that there was no earning our salvation, no sacrifice, no list of rules and regulations – just God’s perfect Love for His perfect creations.
So why the exercises? What does this lesson stand for? What is its purpose and meaning? These are the questions we ask each other each day. Why was Helen saying in 1969, “I do not see this typewriter as it is now?” We both concluded that just as in the two previous lessons, in admitting to ourselves that what we see “now” with our temporal, flesh eyes does not exist in reality, we begin to identify with our real Self.
With this in mind, we look around the hotel room, and we can say, without feeling too silly:
“I do not see the television as it is now. I do not see the dining table as it is now. I do not see the desk lamp as it now. I do not see the book stand as it is now. I do not see the coffee cup as it is now. I do not see the light as it is now. I do not see my hand as it is now. I do not see the pillow as it is now.”
Letting go of what only seems to be the “now,” is a powerful way to let go of all assumptions about reality. This exercise is yet another way we can say, “We want reality, Father. We give up the temporal for the eternal. We want only the truth and we want it forever.”
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students Lesson 9 I see nothing…Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition, p. 15.