Learning to See

A Course in Miracles is simply an opportunity to learn a new way of seeing. Or – better maybe – an opportunity to learn a new way of being, one in which our relationship to thought and perception naturally aligns with life as it is, restoring us gently to the graceful love that is our inheritance.

The bridge (to the Real World) is nothing more than a transition in the perspective of reality. On this side, everything you see is grossly distorted and completely out of perspective. . . . (T-16.VI.7:1-2)

And on the other we gain “the understanding of where Heaven is . . . it will join with you and become one with you” (T-16.VI.11:1, 3).

While this transition is not necessarily easy (e.g., T-16.VI.7:4), it is simple.

Imagine for a moment that we are wearing glasses that discolor the world, magnify certain elements of it and block others as if they don’t exist at all. Someone comes along and says, “hey. There’s another way of seeing the world – a way that is clear and pure. Just take off those glasses.”

At first we would resist. But then we might secretly slip them down a little – peek over the top of the lenses – just to catch a glimpse of this “real world.” And then at some point perhaps we would take them off for a few minutes and look around.

At first, even though we would perceive the difference between the two worlds, we would be confused about their relative value. We might still prefer the old way of seeing – we have been wearing our dysfunctional glasses for a long time, after all. Probably we will put them back on. It’s familiar and comfortable. On and off, off and on . . .

I am never not amazed at how lovely a tree is, how instructive moonlight is, at the patience and kindness of brooks in full spate. This is the gift: this is what is given, and what gives of itself, over and over and over.

Awakening is like that. It is just like that. For me it is, and maybe for you as well. It comes in little flashes at first. We resist it. It comes and goes. It takes time for us to recognize and then choose Love. It takes practice.

The thing we want to be clear about is that nothing changes but the way that we see. The maple trees don’t change, our neighbors don’t change, vanilla ice cream doesn’t change, moonlight doesn’t change. But, because the way that we see changes, everything slips into its right place. We see reality as it is, not as we wish it was, and not as we insist it be.

That is all there is to peace. That is all there is to joy.

I write often about “giving attention.” That is just my way of saying that it is helpful (or is for me and may be for you) to be present: to just be still for a few minutes and notice what is going on. The more that I do this, the more I realize there is nothing to do: it is all being done. Being simply is, and it includes me naturally, and it includes you as well.

In an absolute sense, there is no practicing to this. We can’t be more or less than what we are. We can’t be anywhere else than where and when we are. But in the relative sense – in the ordinary course of experience – it is possible to discover this new way of seeing, and then – by giving attention to it consistently and gently – to deepen with and into it.

Life is both ordinary and luminous – the two qualities are really the same. I am never not amazed at this: at how lovely a tree is, how instructive moonlight is, at the patience and kindness of brooks in full spate. Life contains us: expresses us: and offers us over and over its glorious and unconditional love.

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