A Course in Miracles: Lesson 36

My holiness envelopes everything I see.

This ACIM lesson reminds me of zazen for some reason – or maybe just my own experience of it so many years ago. It brings some intensity to my experience of seeing, charging every object that falls into my line of vision or thinking, lending a clarity that is otherwise not present.

This is a function of two things that are going on in this lesson. One of them is summed up by these lines:

You are holy because your mind is part of God’s. And because you are holy, your sight must be holy . . . If your mind is part of God’s you must be sinless or a part of his mind would be sinful. Your sight is related to His Holiness, not to your ego, and therefore not to your body (W-pI.36.1:2-3,7-8).

The self that is doing the seeing is not the egoic self. It’s the self that is a thought in the mind of God and remains there. This is a tricky idea to handle – the more so because trying to get it intellectually is an almost surefire way to miss it altogether. The question is how to do make contact with that real self, that self that is part of God. How do we let go of the ego? And the answer is that – for most of us anyway – we have to let go of the ego piecemeal, step by step, one day at a time. Maybe one lifetime at a time. And what remains when the ego is quieted away to nothing is God.

So instead of trying to understand this idea – as it’s presented in this lesson – I simply try to be willing to experience it. That’s all. I gently remind myself of the main idea and then just go about doing the lesson. Four sessions and as many in between as I can remember. I try not to expect much. It’s about showing up, doing the lessons, getting on with life.

As I’ve said before, a lot of the benefits of doing the lessons is deeply internal – we don’t really recognize it as it happens. It shows up later. Or maybe it doesn’t have observable effects at all. We have to be patient.

I do find that when I really focus on something – a chair, a passing cat, a leaf trapped in ice – and experience it (or be willing to experience it) as enveloped in a holiness of which I am a part, that my actual seeing becomes quite intense. That’s what reminds me of my brief (and very half-assed) Zen experience. I see all the hairline fractures in the ice, the brittle brown veins of the leaf, the slight curl of the leaf tip, the green and red sparkles of sunlight rendered prismatic in the ice.

This is related – for this student, anyway – to the Holy Instant, which is a ways down the road yet in both lessons and text. It brings me into an intense awareness of what is, right now, right here. That’s a hard state to manage, usually because I start to analyze it, question it, get greedy about possessing it, wonder how I can market it, whatever. But this lesson is a subtle tip on how to have that experience without blowing it. Just focus on this, then focus on that, and let the goal of your seeing be holiness.

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