Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
Lesson 30 God is in everything I see because God is in my mind.
- The idea for today is the springboard for vision. From this idea will the world open up before you, and you will look upon it and see in it what you have never seen before. Nor will what you saw before be even faintly visible to you.
- Today we are trying to use a new kind of “protection.” We are not attempting to get rid of what we do not like by seeing it outside. Instead, we are trying to see in the world what is in our minds, and what we want to recognize is there. Thus, we are trying to join with what we see, rather than keeping it apart from us. That is the fundamental difference between vision and the way you see.
- Today’s idea should be applied as often as possible throughout the day. Whenever you have a moment or so, repeat it to yourself slowly, looking about you, and trying to realize that the idea applies to everything you do see now, or could see now if it were within the range of your sight.
- Real vision is not limited to concepts such as “near” and “far.” To help you begin to get used to this idea, try to think of things beyond your present range as well as those you can actually see, as you apply today’s idea.
- Real vision is not only unlimited by space and distance, but it does not depend on the body’s eyes at all. The mind is its only source. To aid in helping you to become more accustomed to this idea as well, devote several practice periods to applying today’s idea with your eyes closed, using whatever subjects come to mind, and looking within rather than without. Today’s idea applies equally to both.
Notes and Personal Application (2019): I am having a difficult time putting my mind around this idea. The pain that had been in my arm for days and the weakness started troubling me in a serious way. According to the Course, pain is the ego’s way to convince us that God can’t be real, or we would not be subject to pain and so therefore the ego isn’t real, and the pain is only a lie of the ego and the separated mind. Try telling that to the pain, I thought to myself, but this is what happened when I told myself it wasn’t real anyway – it is only another lie of the ego and the separated state: It ceased to stress me because I realized that it was true, it might “feel” like pain, and it might be perceived as pain, but it just isn’t real and it is not going to convince me that I can ever be separated from my Creator. And I chose to ignore it. And when I chose to ignore it, it would have to remind me a few times throughout the day that it was still there in order for me to even perceive it. I thought this was interesting.
Then I thought about psychic pain – the pain of rejection, jealousy, ill intent, resentment, old sorrows, guilt, shame – these are also lies of the ego to keep me thinking of separation and not communion and communication. What if I chose to think of that kind of pain the same way I chose to feel about the arm pain? What if I chose to say and believe that it just isn’t real? That it is the ego trying to keep me separated from my Savior, from my Creator, and from my brothers and sisters and the rest of Creation? So this is what I have committed to doing: Say in response to any kind of pain – physical and psychic – It’s not real. It’s just the ego trying to convince me of separation and vulnerability. It’s not real – it’s just the ego keeping me from communion and communication with God and with my fellows creations.
Notes and Personal Application (2020): This year I am studying the lessons from another edition of the Course, which has helpful notes and footnotes. Last year I was having a hard time understanding the lesson but applied it was best as possible. This year I realized that God’s purpose for our minds is to see what the world is telling us, to use His vision to see what we are not perceiving with our physical eyes.
I am not going to kid myself – this lesson’s concept is as hard and difficult for me as it was last year this time. We are being instructed to take what we see in the outside world and look at it from the inside. God is in our mind and God will use what we are seeing in the outside world to teach us what He wants us to know about the separation and what we need to know about salvation.
God is in our mind and we are bringing the outside world into our mind and looking at it with His vision. Instead of projecting what we don’t like in our own minds to the outside world, we are going to take the outside world and bring it into our minds, we must get creative here and decide what we want the outside world to look like, what we want to recognize there and join with it rather than keeping it apart from us.
I went online to see what other students are experiencing with this lesson and quite frankly after watching two YouTube videos, I was not at all enlightened. In fact I was even more confused than before. And so I asked the Holy Spirit to help me to understand, to give me an illustration in my daily life to show me what this lesson means. The annotated version that I am working from this year, says that God’s purpose exists in our minds, and it is through this different kind of projection (or extension) we assign the purpose to all the objects that we see.
Yesterday at lunch with my son, we went through an old album of pictures that I had collected and organized for him years ago when he enlisted in the Marines. There were pictures of friends and family at his going away picnic. Some pictures that he had sent me from faraway ports in Hawaii, Japan, and Korea featured people that he barely remembered. He told me some great stories; we had some good laughs, and when we saw the pictures with his sister and one of his Marine buddies who had both died in car accidents, we had those memories, too. We were trying to decide what to do with the pictures in this digital age – do we keep them, or do we digitize them and throw them away?
There were some pictures in particular that triggered memories in me that were not particularly pleasant. Old stuff that I had thought was long forgiven and forgotten flared back to life in my mind, and I wasn’t sure how to process them. Should I look more carefully at them and process the memories through the eyes of the ego and raise my defenses or should I process the memories through the eyes of love and forgiveness and only see love? And since I thought that I have already done this, then why do I have to keep doing it over again? It made me tired, drained, and not particularly thrilled with A Course in Miracles. Where was the miracle? I have been doing this for over a year now, and I still have not mastered this love and forgiveness bit? I was also loath to bring up old stuff within my relationships – isn’t the past supposed to have never happened? And if it didn’t happen, then why is it still bothering me and sending me warning flags?
The Holy Spirit is showing me that when I bring the situation into the mind and look at it with God’s vision, I can see that way back when these hurtful things were happening, I chose not to address them. I chose to pretend that I was too cool and tough and above it all, and later I just left the people who were responsible for hurting me because it was too painful and too revealing for me to face what was going on in both myself and in them. Allowing these memories into my mind, (rather than projecting them outward) gave me an opportunity to walk through those shadows of pain and suffering, to realize that it wasn’t the others who were victimizing innocent me, but that we were both engaged in unholiness. I had to look at it through the eyes of pain and suffering and loss before I could truly love and forgive it. We must understand this concept from the very core of our being – we must understand that we are all preying upon one another in the ego – we are all striking out and punishing one another for being separate, for our loneliness and despair and weakness, we are all counting desperately on each other to help us survive, and we strike out in terror when others fail to meet the need we have for the Oneness of God.
In order for me to have a holy relationship with others, I must face this truth and fully look upon and understand the special relationships that I once had with others. I must be careful not to romanticize it, to glory in it, to long for it in any single way except to realize completely that I could never forgive, I could never “love” again, I could never trust or be loyal within a special relationship of any kind. This has been an eye-opener for me because there are times, I resent the Lord for expecting so much of me. “How could I love such a person?” I ask. “How can I forgive bad manners and disrespect and ill will? Look at the lies she has told, the tricks she has played!”
With God’s vision and in my mind where He abides, I am asked to see beyond the shadow and recognize their Sonship and my Sonship, the love that binds us and makes us one. I am asked to look beyond the spiteful things that were done to me or to those I love and forgive them for not knowing who and what they are – Sons of God! I am asked to love the Sonship, not the ego-barge.
When we say: “God is in everything we see because God is in our minds,” we are saying – we are going to stop projecting our attack and defense thoughts, our ego-based thinking, and joining the hellish tit-for-tat that goes on in the physical realm. Instead we are going to project something else altogether. We will use our minds to bring those projections back where they belong and heal them. We will recognize that we are all in the same boat. We long and yearn for connection, to be loved, to be one with one another, to be real. Here in our separate bodies and our separate lives we strike out in anger and in frustration again and again because we try so desperately to fulfill our yearning for oneness with people, possessions, religious affiliations, and knowledge. We hurt one another; we disappoint one another; we fail one another. We shift loyalties; we find a whole new set of friends and allies, and then we start the cycle all over again!
God is in our minds. He has placed His true purpose within our minds, and it will never leave us because we belong to Him. We will project our need for God into the world and be cruelly frustrated and confused, hurt, bewildered, and licking our wounds in anger and fear.
Our lesson says that the basic difference between vision and the way we see things now is that vision compels us to use our Sonship, our creativity, and see through Christ’s eyes, while how we see things now is allowing the ego to choose what we see. When the ego chooses what we see, we will be caught up in turmoil; our heads will spin; our hearts will race; we will experience shame, sorrow, outrage, and victimization. We will also experience adventure, joy, excitement, thrills – but these will be short-lived and come at a high price. When everything we see shows us God, we begin to see God’s purpose for the world and are able to love it and forgive it.
When I looked at those old photographs, I saw what I had refused to see before. Inside I knew that I was engaged in unholy, go-nowhere, be-nothing relationships. They were full of fun, good times, and laughter, yes, but they were also full of hidden agendas, spite, vengefulness, and duplicity. These relationships are impossible to maintain, and we cannot take them into eternity. And yet we feel stuck with them, accepting that “this is as good as it gets” and blundering on.
Real vision is not limited by time, space, and distance; it does not even depend upon our eyes. The mind, where God abides, is the source of real vision. How do I apply vision to the memories that were captured in snapshots over two decades ago? Stoutly, I looked upon what had filled me with anger and fear. First, I felt outrage, anger, sorrow, and a deep sense of stupidity for allowing things to transpire that should have never been. Then I felt something else, a dawning realization of the role that the ego had in my own life – the ways in which I had planted the seeds that brought those situations about. That was very uncomfortable, but I looked at it anyway, felt the weight and the disgrace of it, and then gave it to the Holy Spirit – not blindly handing Him unidentified bits of dirt and shame, but knowing exactly what I was handing over, naming it and forgiving myself and others.
Through vision, we learn that nobody can take from us what belongs to us, no matter what tricks they play or schemes they come up with. Vision shows us that what is ours does not need to be defended; what is not ours would have never brought us lasting joy, peace, and happiness. Vision shows us that when someone wants to make us their scapegoat, we are under no obligation to play the part. When these memories come to our mind, we are not supposed to look the other way or otherwise distract ourselves – we are to look at them, study them for a moment, and ask for God’s vision.
God is in everything we see because God is in our mind. We learn what we need to learn when we are ready for God’s vision.
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 30 God is in everything…Circle of Atonement, Complete and Annotated Edition (2017). p. 985.