I feel the love of God in me now.
This lesson is dog-eared in my book – I’ve read it and re-read it, folded the corner for easy access, held it open on my lap while drifting between analysis and prayer, thought and the space between thoughts.
I love this lesson. I come back to it often.
There is a light in you the world cannot perceive. And with its eyes you will not see this light, for you are blinded by the world (W-pI.189.1:1-2).
These are powerful lines – both a promise of what is already accomplished, and a description of why we still think it has not been accomplished. It offers the mysterious but deeply helpful image of the world blinding us to the truth of what we are.
Can you look at the world for a moment – the walls around you, the trees and clouds, the cats and the unwashed dishes and the cars and bookshelves and beaches and imagine all of it is hiding from you what you are in truth?
This world is beautiful sometimes but often not. It is terrifying sometimes, and sometimes cruel. Somebody is always suffering somewhere, which is proof that you could be next.
. . . do not let your mind forget this law of seeing: You will look upon that which you feel within. If hatred finds a placed within your heart, you will perceive a fearful world, held cruelly in death’s sharp-pointed, bony fingers (W-pI.189.5:3-4).
That is what most of us ARE seeing. But A Course in Miracles teaches us another way, a way to see “a world in which forgiveness shines on everything, and peace offers its gentle light to everyone” (W-pI.189.3:5).
Yet is the world of hatred equally unseen and inconceivable to those who feel God’s Love in them . . . If you feel the Love of God within you, you will look out on a world of mercy and of love upon a world of mercy (W-pI.189.4:1, 5:5).
We seek for love outside of ourselves – in the form of relationships, or food, or money or shoes or whatever. Yet the Love of God is already within us, waiting to be recognized and acknowledged. The only thing that keeps us from experiencing this inner love is our own thoughts and beliefs.
We are, as the Course so consistently points out, doing this to ourselves (T-27.VIII.10:1). The world we see testifies to our internal state; it shows us whether we are listening to ego or the Holy Spirit.
If we would remember God – if we would cleanse the interior landscape and restore the world to peace and mercy, justice and love – then we must come to stillness. That is the direction in which the lesson points.
Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto nothing (W-pI.189.7:1-3).
This is easier said than done. Yet the exercise is helpful even if all we take from it is “I can’t do that. I don’t know how.”
It is a profound gift to realize that we cannot let of the world, the self, our ideas and thoughts, our values and ideals, our trauma and our treasure. It is a gift because only when we realize how incapable we are – how far from grace we are – are we able at last to open what the Love of God reveals.
Not as a matter of virtue or discipline or merit. But simply because we no longer have the capacity to resist. We surrender to the Light.
And what that light reveals is that we need nothing but the Love of God. Hence the directive – very much at the heart of my practice of A Course in Miracles – “Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God” (W-pI.189.7:5).
This is a joyful poverty. It is not a sacrifice – it is not even a letting go. It is more like a realization that there is nothing we want or need but the Love of God. Hence the essence of the beautiful prayer which concludes the lesson:
Father, we do not know the way to You. But we have called, and You have answered us. We will not interfere (W-pI.189.10:1-3).
The way to reach God is merely to let God be God. Nothing could be easier; nothing else is.