Into His Presence I would enter now.
Let us take this lesson in two parts, in recognitition of both its simplicity and its depth.
The first part – the part that we practice – is simply to be still, as often as possible, for as long as is feasible, in anticipation of “a touch of Heaven” (W-pI.157.3:1). We do nothing but offer ourselves empty-handed to Creation. We make no demands, refuse all fantasies, and simply wait. Here I am, Lord. Your Will, not mind, be done.
He will direct your practicing today, for what you ask for now is what He wills. And having joined your will with His this day, what you are asking must be given you. Nothing is needed but today’s idea to light your mind, and let it rest in still anticipation and in quiet joy . . . (W-pI.157.4:1-3).
It is hard to do this! And sometimes, that is the lesson. That our anticipation and expectation cloud the openness in which God’s gifts to us are recognized and received. I want my touch of Heaven now! And I want it to look and feel like everything I dream of. These thoughts are not crimes against God or Nature but they do block the gentle flow that is our awareness of Heaven.
That is why we practice often and in a sustained way. We want to become aware of the way in which ego – under the guise of sincerity and enthusiasm – can drown out the Voice for God.
This leads to our second – more metaphysical, more analytical – understanding of this lesson.
Heaven is not of the world. A Course in Miracles is not about refining our experience of being embodied; it is not about perfecting the world by bringing it to some new order. This world is a dream, and like all dreams is gone when the mind that dreams it wakes up.
Thus, awakening is not an actual event, like those that occur in the world. Nor does it happen to anybody – like Sean or whomever. That is why the course teaches us that experiences of Heaven cannot be given directly (W-pI.157.6:2).
Something happens that “leaves a vision in our eyes which we can offer everyone, that they may come the sooner to the same experience in which the world is quietly forgot, and Heaven is remembered for a while” (W-pI.157.6:3).
If you ask what the something is, there is no answer. If you covet the something, then there is nothing to be gained. If you fake the something, you refuse the something.
All we can do is be humble and come with empty hands to God, saying – and meaning, with the intensity of one who has learned their will is wholly inadequate to the work of Love – your will, not mine, be done.
In the world – in the body – this will be translated to a happy dream in which the world “becomes a little closer to the end of time; a little more like Heaven in its ways; a little nearer its deliverance” (W-pI.157.7:1). And we, in turn, will learn that we are not bodies, eventually no longer even needing bodies in order to spread the light of Love (e.g., W-pI.157.7:3).
Not needing bodies to communicate is a big leap for most of us . . .
Heaven is beyond our imagination, yet we know it (W-pI.157.8:1). It cannot be taught because it cannot be learned (W-pI.157.9:3). It merely is. We “see” it as a vision – first of Christ’s Face (which we will remember in the world – it is simply the face of your brother or sister), and then of the sweet nothingness that language can neither compass nor encompass.
So Lesson 157 inaugurates a new phase of our study and practice. It emphasizes the radical nature of its metaphysics while simultaneously emphasizing the way in which those metaphsyics are realized. We literally do nothing but make ourselves as empty and open unto God as possible. God does the rest, because it is already done. All our learning – our devotion and intensity, all our discipleship – is but a dream that ended long ago.