This lesson always feels like a big step to me, one of those leaps that the ego would dearly love we refuse to make. That’s because it contains the critical idea that what we see is a “form of vengenance,” which is – once we accept it – a major undoing. We encounter this idea in numerous forms throughout the workbook and text. Right now, I think it appears mainly to enable us to reaffirm our commitment to seeing differently.
This lesson is a preview of a more dramatic statement that will occur in part II of the workbook.
The world was made as an attack on God. It symbolizes fear. And what is fear but love’s absence? (W-pII.3.2:1-3)
That is powerful language – “an attack on God.” Most of us resist it – and feel righteous in that decision. But it is a core concept in the Course, an ancillary idea to projection that we cannot ignore if we hope to raise our perception to miraculous levels and thus enable our awakening.
We project because we cannot bear what we see inside. We believe we are separated from God. We feel guilt at having turned from him and fear of his retribution. Rather than look at that guilt and fear we either a) deny it or – when it resist denial – b) project it. The world is the projection of our guilt and fear. It is our attempt to obscure the fact of the separation. It is the feeble “making” by which we try and usurp God’s creative abilities.
The world is – finally and fully – a vicious place. It is an attack. And – as its makers who know full well its capacity for attack – we fear it and seek always to “defend” against it. This is indeed as the lesson observes a “vicious circle,” from which there is no escape. There is a theme in the urtext that does not show up in the text or lessons – the way you deal with a desert is you leave it. That’s all. You don’t look for an oasis, you don’t build waystations, you don’t train yourself to deal with heat and thirst, you don’t bulk up on desert survival supplies.
You walk away.
How do we deal with the vengeance that we see in the world?
We let it go. We walk away.
That is the crux of the lesson, really, and the essence of that last little bit – which I personally so often forget to tack on! We don’t just remind ourselves that the world is perishable and passing and vengeful. We also ask ourselves if this is really the world we want to see. And the answer – No – neatly reminds us of the affirmations of the previous two lessons. We are determined to reverse this thinking process. Our determination will breed willingness and the willingness will ultimately allow us to avail ourselves of Jesus’ help. Our success might take time but it is assured.
One last thought. While I was doing this lesson this morning, I was feeling pretty good. Looking over the snow, the barns, the manure pile, the bare trees. Yeah, that’s perishable, that’s not real, that’s vengeance. Then, suddenly, a blue jay settled right before me on a fence post and it was so clear and bright and beautiful that the lesson just sailed right out of my mind. And when it came back – oh right, I’m supposed to be practicing A Course in Miracles – I didn’t want to inclue the blue jay. How can such beauty be vengeful?
The answer is that the scraps of beauty the world allows are just bread crumbs dropped by the ego in an effort to buy our allegiance a little while longer. If I buy into the lovely winter scene, then the separation is real because the world is real. So I can’t make exceptions. I included it – sadly and with some confusion – and moved on.
I note this only to show that perfection is not part of the process. There are always going to be bluejays (lucky for me it wasn’t a cardinal or I’d probably have crossed right over to Heaven) or children or chocolate cakes that draw our attention. We can’t let these symbols of love – for they are that – stand in our way. See them, take note of them – forgive them – and continue on your way.