This ACIM lesson is another good example of how the one builds on the one before it – while echoing ideas that have been raised and applied earlier – while also providing a degree of specificity that is largely absent from the text. I know there are people who just read the book and don’t bother with the lessons – and I don’t doubt that’s right for them and does more good than not – but it’s hard for me to imagine my own practice that way. The lessons ground me practice, keep me in the world, and enable my mind to turn always in the direction of atonement.
In one of his books, Tara Singh talks about how if we could really see an orange – free of all our ideas about oranges, our opinions about oranges and free, too, of our inclination to gather data and spew it all out – then we would be enlightened and all of us would just waltz into Heaven. He didn’t say it quite like that. He had more dignity than I do. But his point was well-taken, and he may well have had Lesson 28 in mind when he made it.
Yesterday we were affirming our commitment to seeing with Jesus, attaining right perception, seeing right-mindedly. Today, we bring that to bear more specifically. We select things and we focus on them and we announce our commitment to see that thing – whatever it is – new, in the light of God, guided by Christ mind. The workbook makes clear that we are not engaging in any pedestrian task here. There are no things – there is one thing. And if we can find our way past or through the fragmentation and segmentation, then we can perceive the wholeness of the universe in anything. A table, a star, a piglet, an orange.
I spent a few hours on this lesson this morning, because unexpectedly I had a lot of free time. I walked up and down a quiet road adjoining the barn where we board our horse and where my daughter works. My chess partner couldn’t play and so I just strolled. Every few minutes I would stop, look at something, and try to see it differently. It was a beautiful morning. We had a minor ice storm here and the warm sun was sparkling on everything – the snow, the trees, the phone wires. Everything was glittering and sharp and clear. I walked for a couple of hours, lost in prayer, repeating over and over my desire to see differently.
Those are precious times – and they are gifts. We can’t really manufacture them or demand them. But more and more I find that if I am willing to let Jesus – or my right mind – or whatever metaphor or symbol for Love makes sense – take the reins, then I am far more likely to experience joy and peace. It is as if that is my true default and everything I think and do – everything – simply moves me away from that natural condition. Just being, if I can say that without sounding self-righteous or spiritually presumptuous, is more than enough. There really is very little that we have to do.
And did I see things differently? I did. It’s hard to explain. It isn’t that the things themselves change, but that our receptivity does. Something loosens inside us – maybe the ego fades a little – and suddenly it’s like we are blessed with new eyes, or shared eyes is a better way to put it. There’s no sense of being rushed or of needing to be right. The ice is just ice but wow! It’s beautiful ice. I stood for fifteen, twenty minutes in some places just admiring how lovely the morning was. I’m sure it seemed a little loopy to the few cars that passed. That was okay too, though.
I hope that your practice is going well. The lessons have a tremendous ability to transform our minds. Don’t worry about where you’re at or where you’re going. Be honest about where you’re at. Bring as much intensity to the process as you can without causing strain or despair. And be ready for the gift. It is coming soon.