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A Focus on How

As students of A Course in Miracles we are focused not on what we see but rather on how we see. This represents a radical shift in being and few of us make it painlessly or in one fell swoop. It is nice to know that we are learning together.

Walking out of the forest this morning, the dog tree’d two bear cubs. An owl watched as we circled the pond. The mergansers paddled cautiously away, hiding in thick cattail. The trail was pocked with deer tracks, some no larger than a quarter: fawns tottering after their mothers home.

We see all this: and we assign meaning to it. First we name it. Then we decide if it’s good or bad. Feelings follow: more images, more ideas. It’s a river of sorts, a strong one. But we aren’t especially helped by it. The bear cubs mewing plaintively in high branches are good at first, but then bad, because nobody wants to mess with a riled up Momma bear and she must be around here somewhere. The fawn tracks are amazing – so delicate, so precious – but then a source of worry: did they make it back to their glade before the coydogs came out of the hills to feed?

And so on. We all do this. We call it seeing and thinking and living. It feels natural and seems reasonable but it’s a lot of work. And in the end it’s quite painful. Creation asks nothing of us yet we litter it with answer after answer.

Who wants inner peace and real joy must begin with how they see: which is to say, how they make the world in which they believe they live. They must unlearn what they think they know about cause and effect.

You see no neutral things because you have no neutral thoughts. It is always the thought that comes first, despite the temptation to believe that it is the other way around. This is not the way the world thinks, but you must learn that it is the way you think (W-pI.17.1:2-4).

Thus, our focus begins to shift: we enter a sort of nebulous space, an interior space in which we do not analyze the bear cubs or the fawns or the floating ducks or the scent of honeysuckle or the neighbor and his cup of coffee coming over to talk.

We focus on how we see: the ground from which thought emerges, how thought operates, what it does vs. what we believe it does. This is not meditation in the sense of assuming certain postures and breathing methods. Rather, it is a heightened awareness, a giving of our attention. If it helps to invoke Jesus or the Holy Spirit, then we do that. When we ask for help, help is given.

As we practice, our seeing becomes less and less invested in form, and more and more invested on simply discerning what is true from what is false: and that discernment is entirely interior. It is devoted to the Source, or cause, and not to mere effects.

Whatever lies you may believe are of no concern to the miracle, which can heal any of them with equal ease. It makes no distinctions among misperceptions. Its sole concern is to distinguish between truth on the one hand, and error on the other (T-2.I.5:1-3).

I think of you often as I go through the forest: the soft rays of the sun at dawn, the tangle of blackberry bushes ascending the hill, fingerling trout who dart through the pond’s shallows. Such loveliness is almost unbearable! And yet I push past it to the thoughts that give rise to it all: and the Source, the “truth as God created it” (T-1.I.36:1).

For our minds are one there – outside of time – and we give to each other equally: are blessed accordingly: and find our way home together.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • sally June 23, 2013, 10:21 am

    HOW I see, reminds me of my new awareness of how blind I’ve been; reading Lessons while thoughts intersperse my mind about “gee, this needs to be read by so-and-so, (any one of my family, with their different problems), on and on until a few days ago, as this was happening the words suddenly came: “No, this Lesson is for YOU, and keep this in your mind.”… Interesting, regarding our one mind, tricks of time and giving that radiates out to the world….my Review V has made these concepts alive to me. AND having played in the small woods near home, as a child, listening to birds, seeing Lily of the Valley, Blood root, Violets etc., and that wonderful fragrance of the earth covered with leaves from autumn……I’m reminded of, as you describe your most beautiful surroundings …..brings beautiful pictures into my mind…..Thanks Sean, for this so beautiful ‘expereince’ this Sunday morning. May His Blessings continue to fill your Heart. 🙂

    • Sean Reagan June 23, 2013, 12:02 pm

      Yes – our one mind. I always forget that. There are no private thoughts! Thank you, Sally –


  • Fred June 23, 2013, 2:06 pm

    I was talking with a group of friend, the conversation came around to loss that has been experienced by every one and the hole you feel inside your self, the absence.

    I became aware that what we were talking about were only figures of speech, and this discription was creating a reality we were experienceing.

    When I pointed out that there were no empty holes in us, and that something that happened in the past and does not exist can have no effect, I was pronounced delusional.

    • Sean Reagan June 23, 2013, 2:14 pm

      It is easier to denounce the messenger than to contemplate the challenge of his or her message. For we are perfect – and whole – and only torment ourselves in dreams. Strange that such a liberating message should meet with such resistance! And yet it does – and so we keep coming back, over and over, listening to those who would teach us.

      Thank you, Fred – I hope you are well –


    • Fred Wahlstrom June 24, 2013, 11:20 pm

      Yes, its true they were in my experience, I am responsible for what I see, its not that they are dense, I am not clear and simple enough. It does no good to think any other way.

  • Anil June 23, 2013, 3:31 pm

    So true, Sean.
    Thanks for quoting that section. “……It is always thought that comes first despite the temptation to think otherwise.” I tell you that Jesus guy, he does speak the Truth ! 🙂
    ps. Hope my “potentially irreverent” tone regarding my buddy Jesus is not offensive to you (or anyone of your readers). Nice to see your frequent writings again, Sean.
    Greetings from Hong Kong !

    • Sean Reagan June 23, 2013, 4:59 pm

      Hi Anil,

      Nice to hear from you – you sound good. Hong Kong! That is a far cry from my New England hills!

      Nope – no hard feelings at all regarding Jesus and what you call him! I keep it casual with him quite often – sometimes it’s the only way.

      Thanks for the kind words!


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