The world I see holds nothing that I want.
Today’s lesson is not a statement about the world. Rather, it is a statement about what we are in truth. It is an invitation to remember our true self, and in doing so, to let go of the small self whose investment is not in truth but in the deceptive fictions of the world made by the ego.
This is a decision that we make. It is an active choice from which effects naturally follow. Reality wants to be seen, but we have to want to see it.
Each thing you value here is but a chain that binds you to the world, and it will serve no other end but this. For everything must serve the purpose you have given it, until you see a different purpose there (W-pI.128.2:1-2).
So, perhaps I value my home – its gardens and little orchards, its quiet spaces for meditation, its lovely view to the east, et cetera. Most people won’t begrudge me this; most people say “nice place you’ve got there.” But A Course in Miracles suggests that the value I set on this place is effectively a “bar across the door that leads to true awareness of your Self” (W-pI.128.3:3).
In part, this is because the things of this world are temporary. They change and shift. They bear many meanings and values, some of which conflict. They can be stolen or destroyed. In truth, the things of the world attest to nothing permanent or real but rather to what is impermanent. They are not a rock on which to remember our Creator and Creation but rather the shifting sands in which ego’s empty promises seem useful and thus function to hide our Creator and Creation.
But also, more problematic, these external objects – be they houses or lovers or landscapes or family heirlooms – by virtue of their impermanence, are symbols of the body’s impermanence. They teach us that since the body too is shift and impermanent, capable of bearing conflicting meanings and values, it too is an unworthy home of truth. And this we cannot bear, for it flies right in the face of ego’s assertion that the body is our only home, which we believe and to which belief we cling.
Yet even this can be undone.
The ego regards the body as its home, and tries to satisfy itself through the body. But the idea that this is possible is a decision of the mind, which has become completely confused about what is really possible (T-4.II.7:8-9).
Lesson 128 is an opportunity to shift our focus – away from the world and, by extension, from the body – in order to remember what we are in truth. This shift in focus is a decision, which means that it is an active step we take. We become still and quiet and resolve to withdraw all our investment in the world – its objects, its ideas, its patterns, its messages and then see what happens.
. . . release your mind from chains and let it seek the level where it finds itself at home. It will be grateful to be free a while. It knows where it belongs. But free its wings and it will fly in sureness and in joy to join its holy purpose (W-pI.128.6:1-4).
This freedom – this experience of freedom – does not occur at the level of the body, but at the level of the mind. It is critical for us to discern between the two. We are not trying to make the world a better place today, nor find for our embodied self a better fit in it. We are seeking the abstract creative perfection of mind and resting there. We are choosing this. We are declaring that this is what we really want. And God, who is reality, responds accordingly.
The suggestion is that when we do this, even briefly, we will not return to the world unchanged. Our perspective on the external world of appearances will have shifted (W-pI.128.7:3), because we will better understand that it is our construction. We are doing this to ourselves (T-27.VIII.10:1). And we can choose another – a happier and more peaceful – way.