“...To feel the Love of God within you is to see the world anew, shining in innocence, alive with hope and blessed with perfect charity and love.” ACIM, Workbook page 359, Lesson 189
It is not easy so see our world “shining in innocence, alive with hope and blessed with perfect charity and love.” As we look upon the world, read the newspapers and watch the news on television, we see a very different world—a tragic world that often seems hopeless and without meaning. But the reason for this is that we are looking at the world with the body’s eyes, which means we are using the ego’s mind, because the body is the creation of the ego, according to A Course in Miracles.
Lesson 189, however, is not dealing with our normal vision, as we can see from this passage: “There is a light in you the world can not perceive. And with its eyes you will not see this light, for you are blinded by the world. Yet you have eyes to see it. It is there for you to look upon…” Forgiveness is the light which enables us to “see the world anew.” Through forgiveness, which is simply a recognition that we have not sinned and neither has anyone else, we can see the world in a different light; to do so we have to remember that all that is going on in the world is unreal. “Today we pass illusions, as we seek to reach to what is true in us, and feel its all-embracing tenderness, its Love which knows us perfect as itself, its sight which is the gift its Love bestows on us…”
Lesson 189 continues: “…Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false or good or bad…Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything. Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God.” In this interesting passage we can see what the true purpose of A Course in Miracles is; it has the aim of changing our perception of the world so that we are able to see the world in a completely different light and awaken from the dream. As we read in the Introduction to the Workbook, “The purpose of the workbook is to train your mind in a systematic way to a different perception of everyone and everything in the world…” The way we change our perception is to follow the advice given in Lesson 189 and forget all the concepts we have learned about the world, all our beliefs, our conditioning and our ideas about good and bad. It’s ironic to think that we spend long years at school and university learning all about our world and then we have to unlearn it all if we want to awaken. The reason, of course, is that this world is just a dream; the separation from Heaven never took place but we believe it did. “There is no world! This is the central thought the course attempts to teach…” Lesson 132.
So, in order to feel the Love of God within us and to see the world through forgiving eyes we need to start at the beginning of the Workbook and study the first 30 or so lessons, which have the aim of undoing our beliefs and perception of the world. Take Lesson 1: “Nothing I see…means anything.” This lesson teaches us that all the things we see around us have no meaning because they are unreal; they are unreal because our thoughts about the things we see are images we have made. (See Lesson 15) As we work our way through the Workbook, we will gradually begin to change our perception of the world and make progress along the path of forgiveness. The difficulty lies in the fact that we have been hoodwinked by the ego for so many lifetimes, and so we are not too keen to change our perception of the world. Furthermore, if we do manage to change our perception and look upon the world with Christ’s vision, this will entail the demise of the ego, which is the goal of awakening, but the ego will, of course, do all that it can to prevent this from happening. Consequently, there is a battle going on in all of us between our right and wrong minds, which will only cease when our minds are healed and whole. And the healing of our minds is one of the goals of the Course.
Lesson 189 tells us that we shouldn’t worry if we don’t know how to find our way back Home. All we have to do is to, “...allow all obstacles that you have interposed between the son and God the Father to be quietly removed forever. God will do His part in joyful and immediate response. Ask and receive…we do not choose the way in which we go to Him. But we do choose to let Him come. And with this choice we rest. And in our quiet hearts and open minds, His Love will blaze its pathway of itself…” Thus, initially, we need to have the desire to awaken and to overcome the ego; then we have to have the intention to remove the obstacles to love’s presence; then we have to allow our perception of the world and our beliefs to change and, finally, we have to surrender to God’s will. These are the four keys to Heaven, as mentioned in The Way of Mastery—desire, intention, allowance and surrender.
Fear, guilt, criticism, attack and judgement are the obstacles to love’s presence, which we will be able to remove if we can change our perception of everyone and everything in the world. When we have succeeded in doing this, we really will feel the Love of God within us. But it takes a lot of hard work. Constant vigilance and self-observation are needed as well as a one-pointed desire to find our way Home. And in the midst of all our frantic ego-based endeavours we need to tell ourselves: “Let me remember that my goal is God.” (Lesson 258)
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