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On Spiritual Sight

It is true that our study and practice of A Course in Miracles leads to us an inner peace and consistent joy that transcends what the external world – which includes our bodies and includes our thoughts – can offer.

However, this transcendence is not a result of affirmations or insistence. It is not a denial of what is broken and painful. Rather, it is the natural of result of honesty and willingness. We question everything: we look at everything. And that can be scary and discomforting.

If we aren’t experiencing some grief and fear and anger along the way, it’s possible we haven’t yet found the way.

Helen’s Jesus is quite clear and direct on this point.

I said before that the Holy Spirit cannot see error, and is capable only of looking beyond it to defense of the Atonement. There is no doubt that this may produce discomfort, yet the discomfort is not the final outcome of the perception. When the Holy Spirit is permitted to look upon the defilement of the altar, He also looks immediately toward the Atonement (T-2.V.7:3-5).

He goes on to remind Helen – and, by extension, you and me – that the Holy Spirit cannot see fear. Ultimately, only healing can come from the Holy Spirit’s seeing.

The verb “to permit” is critical in understanding our role here. The Holy Spirit – our healed mind, our right mind – cannot force its way into our perception. We grant it permission – we make the space for it – and then it is there. This is very natural and not in the nature of “doing” at all. But we are all deeply resistant.

Honesty in this context simply means being willing to bring the whole of us into the light: our jealousy, our pettiness, our greed, our guilt, our anger. There are times when we feel very light and holy and that’s nice. But there are also times – and there are deep levels – where we are filled with rage, wracked with guilt, consumed by lust.

That, too, must be raised to the light. And it’s particularly hard because a) who wants to look at that crap and b) we feel guilty that we’re not already enlightened.

All A Course in Miracles does is facilitate our ability to question everything: to raise those internal feelings and shadows and blocks to the light of understanding, the light of “seeing” with the Holy Spirit. It’s got nothing to do with the world and the experience of our physical bodies. It has everything to do with the abstract and mysterious – and, honestly, sometimes fearful – minds.

Corrective learning always begins with the awakening of spirit, and the turning away from the belief in physical sight. This often entails fear, because you are afraid of what your spiritual sight will show you (T-2.V.7:1-2).

It is not the trees and the skyscrapers and the flowers and the televisions that we need to question. It is simply our belief that physical, and not spiritual, sight is the right means to perceive truth. That is what we have to question, to make contact with, and to undo.

Thus, discomfort of any kind is not a problem so much as an indication that we are doing something right. It raises to our awareness the need for correction (T-2.V.7:8). When we can see with clarity our need for healing, then healing has begun. It happens in time and space: and undoes both: and thus brings us to Truth, where learning – and the need for it – are ended.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Janet Acquilano June 26, 2013, 9:37 am

    Very nice : )

    • Sean Reagan June 26, 2013, 9:38 am

      Thank you Janet! Hope all is well!

  • Aleta June 26, 2013, 1:54 pm

    Hi, Sean –
    Reference your first paragraph: I’ve been studying the Course since 2007 and it has only recently made it through to me that the external world includes not only my body, but my thoughts as well! It should have been apparent to me because it is in the stillness of my mind that Truth can come, but I was thinking in terms of when I meditate, not also in the thoughts that jabber through my brain all day long! Now that I’m aware of that, I find I can listen to the silence between my thoughts to find inner peace. Right now I’m reading Eckhart Tolle’s “Stillness Speaks,” which addresses that point.

    • Sean Reagan June 26, 2013, 2:02 pm

      Hi Aleta,

      That is a lovely book – Stillness Speaks. Tara Singh, who is the Course teacher I turn to most frequently, used to talk about the silence or space between thoughts. Over the past year I’ve become more attuned to the emphasis in the workbook on dropping below or gently walking beyond what we think are our thoughts in order to make contact with our “real” thoughts, the thoughts we think with God. I think this is an important insight: we stop looking for Heaven or awakening in the books of the Course or in meditation and prayer but something that is traveling with us – instantly accessible – just slightly beyond the habitual chatter of the egoic self. Very intense stuff.


  • Claudia June 27, 2013, 5:46 am

    Sean, still we seem to be inspired to read the same pages from the course this week! I was just reading and considering, prior to reading here, about permitting the Holy Spirit to look upon the defilement of the altar. As I pondered it, I considered an allegory, which is my typical learning method. I envisioned a mischievous ten year old boy running carelessly and angrily like a bull in a china shop, smashing and destroying and then feeling the shame when he was through and looking at the mess he’d made. Then as he hears adult footsteps approaching. Depending on his experience with that parent- one patterned in love, or one of avoidance and fear – he either sheepishly awaits correction or runs away and hides in terror. But when the parent enters the room, like the Holy Spirit, he looks past the mess, and sees only the perfect child and what is real. In that loving space, together they can quickly clean up the mess.

    Just thought I’d share my thoughts. I’m much happier allowing the Holy Spirit to look at the mess I made now that I’ve had the experience of knowing how lovingly it is done.

    • Sean Reagan June 27, 2013, 5:56 am

      Claudia, thank you. That is lovely and right on!


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