Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
Lesson 22 What I see is a form of vengeance.
- Today’s idea accurately describes the way anyone who holds attack thoughts in his mind must see the world. Having projected his anger onto the world, he sees vengeance about to strike at him. His own attack is thus perceived as self-defense. This becomes an increasingly vicious cycle until he is willing to change how he sees. Otherwise, thoughts of attack and counterattack will preoccupy him and people his entire world. What peace of mind is possible to him then?
- It is from this savage fantasy that you want to escape. Is it not joyous news to hear that it is not real? Is it not a happy discovery to find that you can escape? You made what you would destroy, everything that you hate, and would attack and kill. All that you fear does not exist.
- Look at the world about you at least five times today, for at least a minute each time. As your eyes move slowly from one object to another, from one body to another, say to yourself:
I see only the perishable.
I see nothing that will last.
What I see is not real.
What I see is a form of vengeance.
At the end of each practice period, ask yourself:
Is this the world I really want to see?
The answer is surely obvious.
Notes and Personal Application (2019): I see only the perishable (as I look about my office and take in the world maps, my diplomas, the books and the memorabilia in the bookcase, the globe and the pretty pictures, the desks and the filing cabinet and my novel. I see the hole punch and the binders filled with my journal from 2018. I see the perishable in the cards I got for my birthday, and I see the perishable in the pile of flannel graphs from mom. I see only the perishable.
I see nothing that will last, including my age-spotted hands and my clothes. I see nothing that will last. What I see is not real. It is perishable, and it will not last, and therefore it is not real.
What I see is a form of vengeance. It is a temporary and much inferior and separated from the Creator – it is dirty, rotting, and decaying by the moment and cannot last no matter what. It is a form of vengeance. Is this the world I want to see? No. I want to see the real world.
3:00 p.m. At the grocery store, I see only the perishable. At L.T. Evans, I see only the perishable – the people, the food, the tables, the bar, my sister, my own body, my purse, our forks and knives, the napkins, the lights, the one-eyed snowman – I see only the perishable. I see nothing that will last. Nothing at the grocery store or the restaurant, or in my car will last. Nothing brings real and lasting satisfaction.
What I see is not real. What I see is a form of vengeance. Is this the world I really want to see? No, I want to see the real world; I want to see God’s world.
5:00 Good or bad, whatever I see, whether it pleases me or doesn’t please me, whether it is deemed good or not-so-good, is not real and is a form of vengeance. Vengeance? Vengeance against whom? Vengeance against our Creator, who did not make this unreal world.
Today’s lesson is handwritten on notepaper and tucked in my shirt pocket for reference. I apply this lesson to everything I see in whatever room I am in and whatever situation I find myself.
Thank you, Teacher, for my lesson today.
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.
Notes and Personal Application (2020): Today, I read our lesson aloud as James sat on the hotel sofa next to me. James said that the lessons are making more sense to him each day. One of the things we like to do on occasion is to imagine our lives together from the beginning. How different we would be if we could only go back in time with all the lessons we have learned throughout the years to apply to the confused and lost young man and woman we were in the 1970s. All the pitfalls we could have avoided! All the train wrecked relationships that would have never happened. How wholesome and holy we would have been – no fornication. No adultery. Just the two of us, together from the start.
We start making things up – for instance, neither one of us are willing to give up the children we had with other partners, so we say that we would still have them. And then I start thinking of stuff I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on from my other life – the trips I took before James and the people I met. I so enjoyed my work at the foster care agency, and I loved being around my niece and nephews while they were growing up. (In our imagination, we always go where James was because he was the one who had real goals for his life and went after them while I got sidetracked in go-nowhere relationships.)
We love to imagine that I am in Japan with him as a young man in the Navy. We would have all these shared memories. Though I am friends with his old Navy buddies now, think of all the fun we would have had together. All of that memorabilia that he brought home would be in our possession instead of in his ex-wife’s! What a kick they would have gotten out of little Jared and Colette, James said last night, as we discussed a changed past.
Then during today’s lesson, we both realized that this thought experiment is only another form of vengeance. It is at attempt to spend more time in a nightmare, something that never existed in the first place because it is a dream, an illusion, a substitute for the reality and certainty of God. The whole purpose of this realm is vengeance against the existence and certainty of God. There is no going back to the past because, in one sense, it is over before it even began.
This realm teaches us separation, and when we learn our lessons, we learn that the only thing that we take from this realm is the desire to return to God, to life everlasting, to joy, love, and peace. To get caught in a loop of trying to fix this world, this life, this body, our relationship is a cycle of despair. I am reminded of the pharmaceutical commercials which offer relief from a malady on the one hand while listing a score of side effects that seem equally troublesome on the other! Our past is transformed by the love of Jesus, who takes all of our mistakes, train wrecks, loneliness, despair, confusion, and unholy alliances and transforms them into something real, beautiful, and everlasting. Who could ask for anything more when you have everything in God?
The Certainty of God relieves us of all that would darken our path and hinder our journey.
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 22 What I see…Circle of Atonement, Complete and Annotated Version, p. 970