I see nothing as it is now.
This idea obviously follows from the two preceding ones. But while you may be able to accept it intellectually, it is unlikely that it will mean anything to you as yet. However, understanding is not necessary at this point. In fact, the recognition that you do not understand is a prerequisite for undoing your false ideas. These exercises are concerned with practice, not with understanding. You do not need to practice what you already understand. It would indeed be circular to aim at understanding, and assume that you have it already.
It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems to picture is not there. This idea can be quite disturbing, and may meet with active resistance in any number of forms. Yet that does not preclude applying it. No more than that is required for these or any other exercises. Each small step will clear a little of the darkness away, and understanding will finally come to lighten every corner of the mind that has been cleared of the debris that darkens it.
These exercises, for which three or four practice periods are sufficient, involve looking about you and applying the idea for the day to whatever you see, remembering the need for its indiscriminate application, and the essential rule of excluding nothing. For example:
I do not see this typewriter as it is now.
I do not see this telephone as it is now.
I do not see this arm as it is now.
Begin with things that are nearest you, and then extend the range outward:
I do not see that coat rack as it is now.
I do not see that door as it is now.
I do not see that face as it is now.
It is emphasized again that while complete inclusion should not be attempted, specific exclusion must be avoided. Be sure you are honest with yourself in making this distinction. You may be tempted to obscure it.
Indeed, I didn’t understand this lesson when I first did it. I did the lesson anyway and trusted understanding would come, or the lesson would do its job through acceptance, no matter that I didn’t understand. That was true. Now I understand it on two levels, and have no active resistance to it.
However, I do resist it as I can tell by my insistence that some things be exactly as I see them. For instance, there have been situations at work that upset me and I have held onto that upset and the guilt that I projected. Eventually, I get tired of suffering and allow my mind to be healed. Then I see it in a new way and wonder how I ever misunderstood it so completely when the truth is so obvious. Sometimes this takes time as I lay the idea on the altar, only to pick it back up again and have to go through the process again and again until I finally have that magical miracle moment when it is simply done.
Although it can be hard for me to let go of a particular idea, to accept that there is another way to see it, I can always understand that it must be done and can be done. I know, now, that there is no instance in which I, nor my brother, is ever guilty. If I think so, I am seeing it wrong. There is no instance in which it is the will of God that I, or anyone, suffer. If suffering appears to occur, it must be an illusion.
However, there is another level of acceptance that has taken me longer to achieve. I now understand that the body’s eyes cannot really see, and so nothing that appears before me is really there. My eyes simply report to me what it is I wish to see. Therefore, I see nothing as it is now when I look with my eyes.
When I was struggling with this idea, I used an idea to help me make the leap. I assumed that everything was pure energy, or light. So when I see a body or an object, it is just light or energy coalesced into something the eyes can give back to me as the body or object I desire to see. But nothing is actually there except the light.
This is an explanation that helps me to understand the insubstantial nature of the world I think of as real, though not necessarily how it actually works. But it did help me to let go of my belief in something that exists only in the mind as a desire made into an image and then project it outward where it can be observed as if it were real.
I no longer have a problem believing this most of the time. However, there are times that the illusion feels all too real to me. When my son was sick, I could not manage the light trick. I was terrified for him and so I had to admit that the world as illusion is a concept I am comfortable with, but one I haven’t bought into completely. It is at times like this that I have the opportunity to ask the Holy Spirit to help me see clearly with true vision in every circumstance.