God is my Source. I cannot see apart from Him.
This is the first lesson in which the Holy Spirit appears. Its role in our healing is as a mediator between God and the self which believes it is separate from its Creator. The Holy Spirit sees as God sees and purifies our seeing in order to realign it with holiness.
Perception has no meaning. Yet does the Holy Spirit give it a meaning very close to God’s. Healed perception becomes the means by which the Son of God forgives his brother, and thus forgives himself (W-pI.43.2:5-7).
“Perception” is the ACIM word for how the body gathers sense data and constructs both a self and a world in which that self is at home. Our senses take in information – light, sound, scent – and our brain configures it to create an image of a world. This image – and the one to whom it appears – become our “self.”
This mode of being – so familiar to us as to be almost beyond question is alien to God. His realm is that of “knowledge,” which is direct experience of reality without any mediation or interpretation at all. To the body this makes no sense. To God – in whom there is neither difference nor distinction – nothing else could possibly make sense.
In other words, the bridge between perception and knowledge would be too great to cross if we did not have a helper. Lesson 43 introduces that helper. We observe the world, and the Holy Spirit teaches us that our “seeing” cannot be apart from God’s because we are not apart from God.
It is critical to see that the action of the Holy Spirit is not directed by us. We do nothing other than be present and open-minded. Healing is accomplished in us but not by us.
It is also helpful to notice that the workbook deviates a bit here from its generally gentle and supportive tone. Lesson 43 is slightly more involved and includes a reminder that “mind-wandering” hinders our healing (W-pI.43.6:1-2). We are being called to a greater degree of attentiveness in our practice.
Finally, this lesson invites us to “see” with God all our brothers and sisters today. As we meet them – regardless of circumstance or context – we silently remind ourselves that we cannot see this person apart from God.
To see one another this way is to offer both our self and the other a blessing, a fact which is contained in the quiet admonition that there are no strangers in our living, only brothers and sisters.
Hi Sean, I have enjoyed reading your daily commentary on the course. Thank you for the time and thought you have spent being so helpful. I started the workbook about 50 days ago, and am just finishing lesson 42. God is my strength, and vision is his gift. I am looking forward to moving on to lesson 43. I have been on 42 for three days. It is amazing how in the course of my day I have let the practice periods slip by. That is why I have had to do some lessons more than one day. My ego doesn’t want the illusion to disolve I guess. I’ll keep plugging away. Thanks again. I hope you are happy, healthy, and enjoying life.
Thanks, Phil. I’m glad it’s helpful. We do forget the application of the lesson, but as the workbook points out, that’s going to happen and it doesn’t really matter. I have been thinking lately of that phrase in The Test of Truth – “Yet the essential thing is learning that you do not know (T-14.XI.1:1). We think we’re doing the lessons the wrong way, or a less helpful way, but we don’t know. Or we think we’re doing swell, working the workbook like a pro (whatever an ACIM pro would look like) and we don’t know. I forget this all the time! So one foot in front of the other, do the best I can, try to be helpful more than hurtful and just let the spiritual chips fall where they may . . . Which they always do anyway.
Thank you for reminding me of that, Phil!
Third paragraph: “it is the separation writ large,” not “write large.” But that’s just MY perception.
Thank you, Chris. It is a shared perception 🙂
Beautiful thoughts on one of my favorite lessons. I have used this lesson everyday since the first time I studied it last year.
Grateful for those parts of the text/workbook that stay with us . . . each one like a rock in the stream, each making it possible to step to the next and at last reach the far side . . .