Above all else I want to see things differently.
Lesson 28 is a more specific application of Lesson 27. It is an opportunity to explore our commitment to learning – to seeing differently – in the context of bodies in the world. This is okay – it is more than okay – because as the lesson observes, “we are still at the beginning” (W-pI.28.1:5).
Our perception of the self and world is body-centered and body-oriented. That means we perceive distinctions; that means that separation is the foundation of experience. The tea cup is different from the hand which picks it up and both are different from the chickadee outside the window.
A Course in Miracles insists that this form of seeing – so natural to bodies, so essential to bodies – is not actually seeing at all (e.g., W-pI.28.2:5) and that there is a better way.
You either see or not. When you have seen one thing differently, you will see all things differently. The light you will see in any one of them is the same light you will see in them all (W-pI.28.2:6-8).
All this means is that when we gaze at a table or a teacup or a sunset, we are withdrawing our preconceived ideas about and thus allowing another meaning and purpose to be given it. We don’t know what anything is for (e.g., T-17.VI.2:1-3); this lesson begins deepens our commitment to actually leaning into our ignorance in order to see the real world.
Indeed, the lesson promises that if we can entirely release our own ideas about what an object is, and what it is for, then we will gain vision itself. This is because gazing at anything with an open mind allows us to see with the mind, rather than merely the body’s eyes. What is seen – a table, a tea cup, a sunset – is thus transformed.
It has something to show you; something beautiful and clean and of infinite value, full happiness and hope. Hidden under all your ideas about it is its real purpose, the purpose it shares with all the universe (W-pI.28.5:2-3).
Thus, when we gaze at anything which appears as a separate object – distinguished from and set apart from everything else – we are really gazing at the cosmos and asking what its purpose and function are.
Just as there are no degrees of difficulty in miracles, there is no meaningful distinction between the so-called objects that we see. Anyone of them can wake us up.
Tara Singh said that if one 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. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but still. His point was well-taken, and he may well have had Lesson 28 in mind when he made it.
There is another aspect to this lesson that requires our attention. All we are actually doing is seeing all that we are doing and resolving to do less of it. We are basically getting out of our own way in order to allow what is given to be more clearly and radiantly itself. For each object we are letting its purpose be revealed to us, rather than forcing it to conform to our own judgment.
This is an act of letting go; this is an exercise in humility; this is a way of seeing that what is given includes rather than excludes us; and it is a way of tasting the sameness – the radical equality – that will briefly be our experience of love in this world before God takes us home at last.