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Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now

Lesson 19 I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.

  1. The idea for today is obviously the reason why your seeing does not affect you alone.  You will notice that at times the ideas related to thinking precede those related to perceiving, while at other times the order is reversed.  The reason is that the order does not matter.  Thinking and its results are really simultaneous, for cause and effect are never separate.
  2. Today we are again emphasizing the fact that minds are joined.  This is rarely a wholly welcome idea at first, since it seems to carry with it an enormous sense of responsibility and may even be regarded as an “invasion of privacy.”  Yet it is a fact that there are no private thoughts.  Despite your initial resistance to this idea, you will yet understand that it must be true if salvation is possible at all.  And salvation must be possible because it is the Will of God. 
  3. The minute or so of mind searching which today’s exercises require is to be undertaken with eyes closed.  The idea for today is to be repeated first, and then the mind should be carefully searched for the thoughts it contains at that time. 
  4. As you consider each one, name it in terms of the central person or theme it contains, and holding it in your mind as you do, say: I am not alone in experiencing the effects of this thought about _____________.
  5. The requirement of as much indiscriminateness as possible in selecting subjects for the practice periods should be quite familiar to you by now, and will no longer be repeated each day, although it will occasionally be included as a reminder.  Do not forget, however, that random selection of subjects for all practice periods remains essential throughout.  Lack of order in this connection will ultimately make the recognition of lack of order in miracles meaningful to you. 
  6. Apart from the “as needed” application of today’s idea, at least three practice periods are required, shortening the length of time involved, if necessary.  Do not attempt more than four.[1] 
Photo credit: http://www.amenclinics.com

Notes and Personal Application (2019):

First practice period:

  • I am not alone in experiencing the effects of this thought about Father Brown, the show we are watching on Netflix. 
  • I am not alone in experiencing the effects of this thought I have about my degrees and having them framed on the wall.
  • I am not alone in experiencing the effects of this thought I have about the binoculars.
  • I am not alone in experiencing the effects of this thought I have about Jared’s Excursion purchase. 

Today it really hit me what the Course is teaching me and how applicable it is to my spiritual and mental health.  I have struggled yesterday and even this morning a bit on why it has to be so “hard” and “complicated.”  I am willing to study and write papers and read feverishly so many other things that are in the world, but this Course my ego thinks of as “too hard and too complicated” for me to get – asking me to deny a fallen world, asking me to live on a higher plane than the ego, asking me to give up my ego in favor of performing the miracle of Atonement for myself and others. 

And then when I pondered the idea: I am not alone in experiencing the effects of what I see and of what I think, I realized that our minds really are joined.  There are no private or special or unique thoughts.  We are linked together – me and my brothers and sisters – and this is why it is so critical that I love instead of withhold love. 

This morning I was shown that I was withholding love and forgiveness toward Susan M. The Holy Spirit showed me that my ego wanted to withhold love and forgiveness because she had not addressed issues in the way in which they needed to be addressed.  I realized that I thought of her as being too timid to reprimand employees that needed correction or confront the lack of recognition and worth of prevention education or to go out on a limb for it, to be that strong voice.  It surprised me.  I had not been aware that I was holding a grudge until the Holy Spirit brought it to my awareness.  And I can now say: “I am not upset with Susan because of the reason I thought.  I was seeing something that was not there.” 

This is all coming to me now as I write this but at the time, I was in the bathroom and looking in the mirror and I just offered her love and forgiveness, simply without thinking about “seeing something that was not there.”  I was shown that I cannot pick and choose whom I offer this miracle to but must be indiscriminate and offer it to everyone I meet whether in my thoughts or in the flesh.  So I offered it to her in the spirit.  I am not asked to go to her or offer her anything in the physical world, in fact, quite the opposite.  This year the Holy Spirit has directed me to stay away from Transitions in general and see that work for what it really was for me.  In the ego the work there was a way to avoid my true calling.  When given to the Holy Spirit and used as a learning tool, my work there was a blessing, an education in and of itself, and everyone there, not just Susan, were loving teachers who taught me lessons rich with meaning and purpose. 

I really got it today though about our minds being joined and that there are no private thoughts.

Reviewing of the lessons, just saying them and letting the concepts rest on my mind for a bit before going to the next one was very helpful as an overview and made me realize more fully why the Holy Spirit told me to study this course. 

I ask Jesus to guide and protect me and keep me on the right path. I have followed the guidance of Jesus in studying the Course, and I trust in Jesus to protect my mind. 

To review my lessons so far:

  1. Nothing I see (in this room…) has any meaning.
  2. I have given everything I see (in this room…) the meaning it has.
  3. I do not understand anything I see (in this room…).
  4. My thoughts do not have any meaning. They are like the things I see (in this room…), [I have given them all their meaning and I do not understand my thoughts.]
  5. I am never upset … for the reason I think.
  6. I am upset…because I see something that is not there.
  7. I see only the past. 
  8. My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.
  9. I see nothing as it is now. 
  10. My thoughts do not mean anything.
  11. My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.
  12. I am upset because I see a meaningless world.
  13. A meaningless world engenders fear, (because I think I am in competition with God). 
  14. God did not create a meaningless world. 
  15. My thoughts are images that I have made. 
  16. I have no neutral thoughts.
  17. I see no neutral things.
  18. I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.
  19. I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.

Notes and Personal Application (2020):  It was a travel day and we wanted to get an early start because there were white-out warnings along our route to Virginia.  So we didn’t have our devotions or do our lesson until the next morning.  James was keen about doing our lessons together again.  All week while I was in Florida, I had texted the daily lessons without my notes and personal applications.  James said that he had missed the exposition. 

For the brothers at group I had always taken private details out of my notes and personal applications, simply to be polite and protect both myself and anybody else that happened to be the subject of my practices.  The Holy Spirit has directed me to just share them, names and all.  That sharing them is not the big deal that I would think it would be – that we are all one and that there are no private thoughts and that hiding my real process is an impediment, not a virtue.  So I read to him the thoughts I had been having toward Susan and how surprised I was a year ago when the hard feelings, that I was not even aware were there, had been revealed to me.  Rather than judging or correcting me, James seemed genuinely happy that I had shared at that level and we talked about other hidden feelings that we harbor toward people and how it ruins relationships and keeps us from truly loving and forgiving one another.   As humans, many times we are not aware of the negative thoughts and effects we cherish and hold dear, while simultaneously being all too aware and sensitive toward the negative thoughts and their effects against us. 

Recall the backbiting, gossiping, and spite that goes on in the workplace, in families, in churches, friendships, and anywhere people meet, and today’s lesson becomes tangible instead of an abstract, spiritual concept. The brokenness in my own life that I suffer with family members all stem from today’s idea:  I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.  It all started with shared conjecture, rumor, bad manners, disrespectful deeds, unkind thoughts, and judgmental attitudes.  I blamed; I was blamed.   And yet all minds are joined; we are not alone in experiencing the effects of our thoughts, because our thoughts are not private; they are joined.  As our lesson states, thinking and its results are simultaneous; cause and effect are not separate.  When I am harboring ill will toward another, I am acting upon their thoughts and perceptions; when others are harboring ill will toward me, they are acting upon my thoughts and perceptions.    No matter how much we would like to absolve ourselves and blame the other, we must understand that this is true in order to accept God’s plan of saving us from our separated state. 

Because in this idea is God’s plan of salvation.  No more blame. No more judgment.  We are one.  Nobody gets to go to God without everybody going to God.  There are no innocent egos; there are no guilty brothers.  We are forgiven for all the deeds of our egos for we are eternal spirits without spot and without blemish.  Thanks be to our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. 


[1] A Course in Miracles.  Workbook for Students. Lesson 19 I am not alone…Circle of Atonement, Complete and Annotated Edition, p. 964-965.