I have invented the world I see.
Today’s lesson of A Course in Miracles picks up on yesterday’s in what should seem like a predictable way. We are not victims of the world we see because we invented the world we see.
You could give it up as easily as you made it up. You will see it or not see it, as you wish. While you want it you will see it; when you no longer want it, it will not be there for you to see (W-pI.32.1:3-5).
In this way, the lesson keeps our focus on revising our understanding of cause and effect, essentially, reversing it. In the world’s understanding, external causes create internal emotional effects. We are well or not well based on what’s happening outside of us – and we have no control over those external events. Our inner state is unreliable because the outer state is as well, and the outer causes the inner.
A Course in Miracles suggests instead that we look inside, see the kind of world we want to see – one that supports our commitment to separation, guilt and fear – and then project it outward (e.g., T-13.V.3:5). The inner is the cause of the outer. We’ve got perception – and cause-and-effect – backwards.
In truth, the inner world and the outer are the same (W-pI.32.2:1) because both are in our imagination (W-pI.32.2:3).
In a sense, this sequence of lessons revolves around the idea of will. Whose will is being exercised? Whose is being suppressed? To what ends are the exercise or suppression being put?
For most of us, especially as ACIM beginners, we are exercising self-will, which is of the ego, which is also a de facto suppression of God’s Will. Ego is very selective in terms of what it allows into awareness and what it excludes. Its selectivity is predicated on judgment – this is good, this is bad. And the standard of judgment is always its survival. Does [insert perceived object/idea] perpetuate ego’s existence? If yes, then it’s good. If not, then forget about it. And forget you forgot about it. For the ego, there is no other standard. Why should there be?
This is part of why A Course in Miracles so often suggests that we ask what everything is for things are for (T-17.VI.2:1-2). Ego’s judgment decides the function of everything based on whether it will keep the ego alive and active. But that’s its goal, not ours. Our goal is to undo the ego and be free of the limitations its thought system forces on us. So we have to shift our focus. Even when we think we know what something is for, it’s helpful to ask again. Is there another way to see our job? Our children? Our routines?
Remembering that we are creators of the world and not merely passive observers can help us to ask these questions more pointedly as well as be more open-minded with respect to the answers.
The “answers,” by the way, are always some variation of “yes. There is a way to see this that brings forth love, not fear.”
Of course, this series of lessons is not really proactive in the sense of telling us how to undo the ego. The course is inviting us to notice – by giving attention to – how ego functions. What are its effects? How shall we evaluate those effects?
Thus, ACIM is really about changing our minds about mind. That’s it. If we can see the ego, and if we can accept that we do not share its agenda, then we will naturally withdraw our support from its frantic spinning of story and world. What happens after that is in God’s hands.
This is what A Course in Miracles means when it tells us that we are already saved, that the journey is already over. We aren’t creating new selves or improving on old ones. Rather, we are allowing our true selves – which are hidden but by no means ruined or gone because they are Creation – to shine through the sludge of ego and thus remind of us what we are in truth. As we remember this, the “sludge of ego” disappears as soon as we decide we neither need nor want it anymore. We can do this because “we invented the world we see.”