I do not understand anything I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place].
I love this lesson. For some reason, owning up to confusion has never been hard for me. I can accept it without feeling compromised or belittled. There’s very little conscious resistance. And ACIM lesson 3 is all about confusion – accepting without judgment that what our physical eyes behold eludes entirely our capacity for understanding.
It is fun to take note of how the lessons build on one another. The first time I went through them, I was very studious and ambitious. I was the super earnest student who’ll kiss any butt for an A. I wanted to graduate at the top of the class for A Course in Miracles.
This is the third time I’ve formally done this lesson. And I see in it now a thread that reaches back to the first two. Jesus is guiding very gently to a place where we can renounce our dependence of the ego and it’s mechanism of physical sight. First we learn that the world is meaningless. Then we learn that well, okay, there’s meaning but we put it there. It’s all on us.
And now we’re being told that we don’t have the first clue about what it is we’re perceiving. There’s a subtle denigration at work here. If Lesson 2 concedes the creative power of our minds, Lesson 3 is candidly alerting us to the fact that we’re all but certain to misuse that power based on our inability to truly comprehend it.
This is really the foundation of forgiveness, which the course will spend an exorbitant amount of time on – and which the lessons, soon enough, will be dedicated to exploring. For now, let’s agree that forgiveness, in ACIM terms, means seeing with our right mind, our God-lit mind.
Seeing that way is a decision – we choose to remember our oneness with God and are accordingly integrated. What we see then is free from the egoic thoughts and narratives that so often cloud and clutter our vision. But how do we make that decision?
Well, for starters, we have to accept that our own tools and tricks aren’t working. We have to be able to say – as Lesson 3 says – that we don’t understand anything that we see. This is an admission of powerlessness. It is also a declaration of need – if we are going to renounce the ego and reclaim our identity in God, then we are going to need help. Help comes when we acknowledge the need for it.
Thus, lesson 3 is really our first adventure in forgiveness. From this base we will start to venture out into relationships, worldly idols, dualistic thought patterns. Each time we are able to release these from the death-grip of our ego (whose raison d’etre is understanding – or rather, it’s chaotic substitute for understanding), then we are going to be correspondingly healed and led another step closer to God.
Have fun with this. Be grateful for a chance to not have to understand. You aren’t in charge. And that’s not just okay – it’s amazing. It’s a relief. The whole path to Heaven is lit up by that one simple fact.