My mind is part of God’s. I am very holy.
Lesson 35 is a powerful lesson because it deepens the conceptual framework of healing through vision (rather than dying through seeing), and because it invites us to adopt this renewed framework for our daily ACIM practice going forward.
Through projection and denial, ego makes a world that reinforces its existence. It insists that what we are is a body which is vulnerable because it exists in a world that is hostile and dangerous. Loss and sacrifice are the hallmarks of ego’s made-up environment.
In ego’s world, we do not believe we are holy. We do not believe we are creations of God Who is Love. Yet it is because of this disbelief that ego’s world exists.
This a restatement of the insight in The Healing of the Dream: “The secret of salvation is but this: that you are doing this unto yourself” (T-27.VIII.10:1).
In the ego’s world, you and I believe we are bodies and these bodies inhabit a certain kind of world. This seems beyond question. Thus, it makes sense to protect ourselves – to go to any lengths to ensure that we have food, clothing and shelter. To deny our brothers and sisters whenever they encroach on our space, interior and exterior. To desecrate the earth’s oceans and forests and plains. To go to war if necessary.
Of course we attack in this world; we attack because we are attacked.
. . . you surround yourself with the environment you want. And you want it to protect the image of yourself that you have made. The image is part of this environment. What you see while you believe you are in it is seen through the eyes of the image. This is not vision. Images cannot see (W-pI.35.2:2-7).
Images cannot see.
What we believe we are is in fact dead and incapable of understanding or causation or anything. What we believe we are has no more “life” than a character in a book or on a screen.
Thus, we are confused about what we are in truth. It is this confusion – this error – that A Course in Miracles is given to correct.
So Lesson 35 shifts our focus from what is perceived to that which perceives (W-pI.35.3:3). This is a new and nontrivial emphasis, designed to establish our “Source” and thus reestablish our identity as it “must really be in truth” (W-pI.35.3:2).
The lesson invites us to evaluate our self in whatever terms occur to us – depressed, endangered, helpless, charitable (W-pI.35.6:3,5, 6, 9) – and to ground these assessments in the concrete facts that apparently make up our lives.
For example, if I describe myself as “helpless,” I might bring to mind all the circumstances that characterize this condition – the boss that never listens, the lack of funds to make big life changes, the parents who refuse to be accountable for what they did to me as a child, and so forth.
To each of these detailed judgments we simply acknowledge that our minds are part of God’s Mind and we are thus holy (W-pI.35.7:5).
It doesn’t matter if the ego-based perception of self is good or bad, by the way. They’re all equally untrue. It can seem that seeing ourselves in a loving light is superior to the alternative. But illusions aren’t made true because we like they way they look or how they make us feel. They are true or they are false.
And if they are of the ego, they are false. Full stop.
This is the beginning of a profound shift in our thinking, one that goes not into the world but rather into the self which brings that world forth. At first, this will be addressed to the “image” – to the “self” that ego makes up to advance its agenda.
But gradually, as our practice deepens and intensifies, we will begin to sense that our actual identity goes far beyond the narrow, mean-spirited and uncreative domain of ego. We are holy. We are creations of the God of Love, capable only of creating Love. Nothing else is holy because nothing else can be holy.
Everything else is a bad dream.
We may not wake up from that dream today, but we can be confident that this lesson is a firm and extensive step in awakening’s direction.