Above all else I want to see.
The early lessons of A Course in Miracles invite us to question both how we see and what we see. Our natural human reliance is on the physical eyes. In general, we accept without question the world our sight provides. This leads to a curious belief, though: that what can’t be perceived with the eyes does not actually exist. The course aims to reverse this thinking.
Our lives are built around desire. We want to eat and drink, make love and make happy, be sheltered and entertained, and we want to live forever. Among these many desires, A Course in Miracles gently teaches us to prioritize vision in order that we might “see” what the eyes insist does not exist.
You cannot lay aside the obstacles to real vision without looking upon them, for to lay aside means to judge against. If you will look, the Holy Spirit will judge, and He will judge truly. Yet He cannot shine away what you keep hidden, for you have not offered it to Him and He cannot take it away from you (T-12.II.9:6-8).
We are called to be willing participants in our salvation.
Lesson 27 – under the guise of a declaration of enthusiastic commitment – is really a quiet declaration of our evolving intention to be healed through our practice of A Course in Miracles.
There are two interesting facets to this lesson that can help deepen both our practice of ACIM and our experience of the Holy Spirit’s vision.
The first is that there is no judgment with respect to the depth of our sincerity. We are not more or less worthy of salvation based on the intensity and integrity with which we declare our desire to see above all else.
This does not matter. The purpose of today’s exercises is to bring the time when the idea will be wholly true a little nearer (W-pI.27.1:4-5).
Ego judges; it finds us to be good students or bad students. It compares us to other learners and always finds us wanting. The workbook – both here and in other instances – makes unconditionally clear that this judgment is false (both when it finds us to be poor students and when it finds us exceptional).
Our presence – our little willingness – is literally all that matters.
The second aspect is the suggestion that to wield the vision of the Holy Spirit involves sacrifice. We don’t want to give up gazing at Cezanne paintings, or watching football games, or baking chocolate cakes, or holding our children’s hands, or being sexually intimate.
It feels as if to become holy as the course seems to define it – we are not bodies (W-pI.199.h) and there is no world (W-pI.132.6:2) – then we are going to have to give up a lot.
Not so, suggests this lesson. “Vision has no cost to anyone” (W-pI.27.2:3). Moreover, it “can only bless” (W-pI.27.2:5).
It is not incumbent on us to understand this; it is simply important to see the way in which we are scared and to allow that there is another way. This is a form of humility and open-mindedness that facilitates the Holy Spirit’s capacity for healing.
Lesson 27 invites us to structure our day around its core affirmation, and leaves to us the determination of which structure works best. And, to the extent that this becomes a distraction (should I do fifteen minutes? Thirty?), we are reminded that the real question is not the form we select but how often we remember to utter the declaration and how badly we want it to be true (W-pI.27.4:1-2).
Critically – reinforcing the underlying theme of being non-judgmental – the lesson states clearly that we cannot actually fail.
You will probably miss several applications and perhaps quite a few. Do not be disturbed by this . . . If only once during the day you feel that you were perfectly sincere while you were repeating today’s idea, you can be sure that you have saved yourself many years of effort (W-pI.27.4:4-6).
Such patient and gentle instruction is itself a powerful motivation. Here, in this lesson, we begin to sense that we are not alone, and that our Guide is greater in love than our capacity to imagine.