Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
Lesson 44 God is the light in which I see.
- Today we are continuing the idea for yesterday, adding another dimension to it. You cannot see in darkness, and you cannot make light. You can make darkness and think you see in it, but light reflects life, and is, therefore, an aspect of creation. Creation and darkness cannot coexist, but light and life must go together, being but different aspects of creation.
- In order to see, you must recognize that light is within, not without. You do not see outside yourself, nor is the equipment for seeing outside you. An essential part of this equipment is the light that makes seeing possible. It is with you always, making vision possible in every circumstance.
- Today we are going to attempt to reach that light. For this purpose, we will use a form of exercise which has been suggested before, and which we will utilize increasingly. It is a particularly difficult form for the undisciplined mind and represents a major goal of mind training. It requires precisely what the untrained mind lacks. Yet this training must be accomplished if you are to see.
- Have at least three practice periods today, each lasting three to five minutes. A longer time is highly recommended, but only if you find the time slipping by with little or no sense of strain. The form of practice we will use today is the most natural and easy one in the world for the trained mind, just as it seems to be the most unnatural and difficult for the untrained mind.
- Your mind is no longer wholly untrained. You are quite ready to learn the form of exercise we will use today, but you may find that you will encounter strong resistance. The reason is very simple. While you practice in this way, you leave behind everything that you now believe, and all the thoughts that you have made up. Properly speaking, this is the release from hell, yet perceived through the ego’s eyes, it is loss of identity and a descent into hell.
- If you can stand aside from the ego by ever so little, you will have no difficulty in recognizing that its opposition and its fears are meaningless. You might find it helpful to remind yourself, from time to time, that to reach light is to escape from darkness, whatever you may believe to the contrary. God is the light in which you see. You are attempting to reach Him.
- Begin the practice period by repeating today’s idea with your eyes open, and close them slowly, repeating the idea several times more. Then try to sink into your mind, letting go every kind of interference and intrusion by quietly sinking past them. Your mind cannot be stopped in this unless you choose to stop it. It is merely taking its natural course. Try to observe your passing thoughts without involvement and slip quietly by them.
- While no particular approach is advocated for this form of exercise, what is needful is a sense of the importance of what you are doing; it’s inestimable value to you, and an awareness that you are attempting something very holy. Salvation is your happiest accomplishment. It is also the only one that has any meaning because it is the only one that has any real use to you at all.
- If resistance rises in any form, pause long enough to repeat today’s idea, keeping your eyes closed unless you are aware of fear. In that case, you will probably find it more reassuring to open your eyes briefly. Try however, to return to the exercises with eyes closed as soon as possible.
- If you are doing the exercises correctly, you should experience some sense of relaxation, and even a feeling that you are approaching, if not actually entering into light. Try to think of light, formless, and without limit, as you pass by the thoughts of this world. And do not forget that they cannot hold you to the world unless you give them the power to do so.
- Throughout the day, repeat the idea often, with eyes open or closed as seems better to you at the time, but do not forget above all be determined not to forget today.
Notes and Personal Application (2019): God is the Light in which I see. God is the Light in which I see myself. God is the Light in which I see my breakfast at the Hampton Inn. God is the Light in which I see the housekeeper. God is the Light in which I see James. God is the Light in which I see the rental car. God is the Light in which I see Dunedin. God is the Light in which I see my mom’s sister and brother-in-law. God is the Light in which I see my cousins. God is the Light in which I see Tarpon Springs. God is the Light in which I see the condo the May’s live in. God is the Light in which I see.
Notes and Personal Application (2020): While we were having our devotion today, and I read the personal application from last year, I was a bit startled in how superficially I had practiced the lesson. Surely it was only because we were on vacation, and there were so many plans and little outings involved, that I did not follow the outlined practices and become more meditative and explore the inner world.
Now, a year later, as I share the experience of what exploring the inner world accomplishes with James, I am finding it difficult to find words to describe, not the process, but what is experienced during and at the end of the process. Our lesson today touches upon this, and I do not want us to miss it, as I did last year.
Creation and darkness cannot coexist, Jesus states in the last line of paragraph one. Light and life are different aspects of creation but must go together. What we see here is not creation, Jesus is saying. Creation and darkness cannot coexist. We see a shadow world of creation then. We think we see in it, but all we see are shadows and distorted reflections of the real world. Here things bloom but for a season. The beauty, vigor, and passion of youth pass all too quickly to the next generation, and we must work hard and make sacrifices to survive middle and old age. The happiness we manage to derive from this world comes at a high price, requiring us to shut our eyes and close our ears to the grand scale suffering of the majority of people worldwide. We think we see in this world, but Jesus says this is not real vision.
Our light is within. We will never find the light in other people. There are no relationships in the world that will bring us to light. Our possessions will not bring us light. Nor will magic, spirituality, religion, or the occult. All the advanced degrees in the world, all the books we study, the scientific research we amass, the papers we write will not bring us light. Jesus says that it is not out there. The light and the equipment to see the light are both inside and is with us always and in every circumstance.
Getting to that light is difficult for the untrained mind. Remembering that this Course is a course in mind-training will keep our attitudes correct about what we are doing. We are not trying to replace the “holy” books in the world; we are not studying a doctrine; we are not promoting any one person or any one religion as the one and only way. We are training our minds. Our minds must be trained if we are to see.
Otherwise, all those scattered thoughts, all the things in the world, will fill your mind and keep the light obscured. And so we quiet the mind. We tell the mind, “God is the light in which I see.” When we say God is the light in which I see, we are telling our mind that the world is not providing me the light to see. All I see is the shadow world – a world of both good and bad, right and wrong, life and death, positive and negative. And this shadow world fills my untrained mind with all manner of drives, passions, thirsts, hungers, and yearnings. It is never quiet; it is always chattering away about something in order to keep us from the light.
When we meditate, we leave behind this chattering the mind and the shadow world in which we have made our home. We leave our cars behind, our books, our houses, our children, our grandchildren, our spouses. We leave behind our wardrobes, our professions, our hunger, our thirst, our credit cards, and bank accounts. When we go within, we can take none of that with us. In a way, it feels like death because we have so identified with who and what we thought we were here in our bodies, with our family, friends, and colleagues, our profession titles, our experiences, and accomplishments, both good and bad. No matter how proud or how ashamed of what we have identified with, that identity must remain behind as we go within. Those identities hide the fact that we are Sons of God.
Jesus says that this is a release from hell, but to the ego, it feels like hell; it feels like madness; it feels like confusion and loss and sacrifice. But when we step aside from the ego, we realize that all we have clung so desperately to, all that we have chased and attached ourselves to and worked so hard to attain is meaningless to our inner, invisible Selves. We realize that meaninglessness has obscured our inner light, our true and wondrous worth.
By doing today’s exercises in the way that Jesus outlines for us, we are escaping that darkness. We are reaching out to God. We are putting into practical application the Lord’s Prayer: God’s Kingdom come; God’s Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Jesus tells us it is necessary to sense the importance of what we are doing when we practice this meditation. It is very holy, He says. It is the way to salvation, and the only thing that has any real use to us at all.
For our first application today, we set my phone timer for five minutes from 5:45 to 5:48 a.m. We plan two more forms – one in the afternoon and one before bed. James said he was having a hard time with it. His thoughts about work, about being home, about what he wants to do seem to take precedence over any kind of inner encounters, but he is going to keep trying to get past it. The idea of going within is new to him.
We were taught that all we had to do is invite Jesus to come in our hearts and we were automatically saved. That kind of salvation is easy. It does not require inner work. We show up at church, tuck some money in an envelope, stand and sing, sit down and listen to a – more often than not – boring sermon, get up, smile at everybody, shake hands with the preacher at the door, and go somewhere and eat a big Sunday lunch. It was easy, but it was also monotonous and meaningless. It did not really save us from anything – we were still stuck with our egos in a church full of egos. The only escape was death, and they were all dying just to escape the monotony it would seem!
Asking us to go inward, to put the Lord’s Prayer into practical application, to be a part of bringing God’s Kingdom to earth through perception transformed by the Holy Spirit, is a new concept for most of us. It would seem easy; we do not have to go to a retreat or a conference; we have no church coffers to fill; we can do it in our pajamas if we wish.
Today’s exercises are a perfect way to start this inward return to God. Three five-minute intervals to be set aside for simply quieting your mind, repeating today’s idea, and loosening the hold that the world has upon your identity as you return it to the Sonship of God. Nothing can hold us to the world and keep us from God’s Kingdom within unless we give it the power to do so, Jesus assures us. Above all else, let us determine, not to forget to do our mind-training exercises today, for this is how we train our minds to identify with the Sonship and escape the hellish realm of death, disease, and despair.
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 44 God is the light…Foundation of Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992). pp. 69-70.