God is my Source. I cannot see apart from Him.
Perception is not an attribute of God. His is the realm of knowledge. Yet He has created the Holy Spirit as the Mediator between perception and knowledge. Without this link with God, perception would have replaced knowledge forever in your mind. With this link with God, perception will become so changed and purified that it will lead to knowledge. That is its function as the Holy Spirit sees it. Therefore, that is its function in truth.
In God you cannot see. Perception has no function in God, and does not exist. Yet in salvation, which is the undoing of what never was, perception has a mighty purpose. Made by the Son of God for an unholy purpose, it must become the means for the restoration of his holiness to his awareness. 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.
You cannot see apart from God because you cannot be apart from God. Whatever you do you do in Him, because whatever you think, you think with His Mind. If vision is real, and it is real to the extent to which it shares the Holy Spirit’s purpose, then you cannot see apart from God.
Three five-minute practice periods are required today, one as early and one as late as possible in the day. The third may be undertaken at the most convenient and suitable time that circumstances and readiness permit. At the beginning of these practice periods, repeat the idea for today to yourself with eyes open. Then glance around you for a short time, applying the idea specifically to what you see. Four or five subjects for this phase of the practice period are sufficient. You might say, for example:
God is my Source. I cannot see this desk apart from Him.
God is my Source. I cannot see that picture apart from Him.
Although this part of the exercise period should be relatively short, be sure that you select the subjects for this phase of practice indiscriminately, without self-directed inclusion or exclusion. For the second and longer phase, close your eyes, repeat today’s idea again, and then let whatever relevant thoughts occur to you add to the idea in your own personal way. Thoughts such as:
I see through the eyes of forgiveness.
I see the world as blessed.
The world can show me myself.
I see my own thoughts, which are like God’s.
Any thought related more or less directly to today’s idea is suitable. The thoughts need not bear any obvious relationship to the idea, but they should not be in opposition to it.
If you find your mind wandering; if you begin to be aware of thoughts which are clearly out of accord with today’s idea, or if you seem to be unable to think of anything, open your eyes, repeat the first phase of the exercise period, and then attempt the second phase again. Do not allow any protracted period to occur in which you become preoccupied with irrelevant thoughts. Return to the first phase of the exercises as often as necessary to prevent this.
In applying today’s idea in the shorter practice periods, the form may vary according to the circumstances and situations in which you find yourself during the day. When you are with someone else, for example, try to remember to tell him silently:
God is my Source. I cannot see you apart from Him.
This form is equally applicable to strangers as it is to those you think are closer to you. In fact, try not to make distinctions of this kind at all.
Today’s idea should also be applied throughout the day to various situations and events that may occur, particularly to those which seem to distress you in any way. For this purpose, apply the idea in this form:
God is my Source. I cannot see this apart from Him.
If no particular subject presents itself to your awareness at the time, merely repeat the idea in its original form. Try today not to allow any long periods of time to slip by without remembering today’s idea, and thus remembering your function.
I remind myself that perception in A Course in Miracles refers to what I see with the body’s eyes, as well as how I interpret what I see. First I am going to share an experience I had while I was still working. Then I am going to share my present experience.
Then: My eyes show me a lamp on this desk, and my interpretation of the lamp is that it is useful but not attractive. My mind goes on to other thoughts from there and the lamp becomes a symbol of my discontent with being in a hotel, and my desire to go home now.
Yesterday the lamp was fine, today it is ugly. That’s perception for you, changing sometimes moment to moment, everything taking on whatever meaning I give it. Nothing I see with the body’s eyes is real, it is just an image I have made to express a thought in my mind. If I continue to see this lamp with the ego mind and to follow the ego thinking, I will soon be depressed at the idea that I have to continue this work for years to come and so it is just going to be a string of one ugly lamp after another. Makes me want to just sit here and cry. Oh my gosh, the ego is so dramatic!
The way we know that perception isn’t knowledge is that it changes with the purpose we have given it. When I got to this hotel two days ago they surprised me with a free upgrade and I got a suite. When I got to my room I saw it was one of the nicest suites and I was very pleased. This morning everything looks like just one more hotel room I am ready to leave. So the room isn’t nice and it isn’t ugly, it is whatever I want it to be. This is not knowledge and not even close to knowledge.
Knowledge is of God and it never changes. That is how it differs from perception. God does not perceive because He knows. Because I have chosen perception over knowledge, I cannot know, but because I have the Holy Spirit in my mind to act as a bridge between perception and knowledge, I can perceive so clearly it is almost knowledge. When I get that close, God will take the last step to bring me into pure Knowledge.
This lesson is designed as an early step toward this goal. And yet, it is entirely possible that this is the only step one would need. That has not been true for me, but it might be for someone else. My path has been one of many small steps, gently guiding me to the truth. I have been walking that path long enough to see that the Holy Spirit is, indeed, walking me across that bridge.
I may not yet see that lamp as He sees it, but I understand what I am seeing instead. I know there is not a lamp there. I know that I see meaning where there is none. I know I gave the meaning to the lamp my eyes show me according to the purpose I want it to serve. I know that I can use this understanding to allow further healing of my mind.
Now: I have this idea that everything is light or energy or maybe I might call it Love, and that I use that essence to form what I see. This all happens in my mind of course, where everything I see takes place. I form an image of a table, of a forest, of a friend who has a sick body, a person I have a grievance with and I interact with that form as if it is real. I have made a body that I call myself and I pretend this body has eyes that see things when really, the “seeing” is just another way to experience what is not there. I decide to believe all this is real and nothing else is real.
Now that I have decided to stop dreaming about this stuff, I am becoming aware that I have another way to see. I am calling this vision to distinguish it from the seeing I had become accustomed to and decided to believe in. I look at the sick friend with my eyes and I see pain and suffering. But I know from A Course in Miracles that pain is not real and neither is the body. So I ask for vision and I become aware of that soul. Souls are not sick.
Depending on how singular my vision, I can never again believe in my friend’s sickness, or if I am drawn to the suffering, I might lose the vision. It might come and go. Seeing is how I see what I make with the ego mind. Vision is seeing with my holy mind. Seeing with God completely, without doubt, or uncertainty is how we perform miracles.
” 24 Miracles enable you to heal the sick and raise the dead…”
True vision, seeing with God enables me to heal the sick, enables me to heal my friend. Remember Lesson 38?
“My holiness, then, can remove all pain, can end all sorrow, can solve all problems. It can do so in connection with yourself or anyone else.”
There is a little voice in my head that finds this idea objectionable. It insists that this is not possible and that this is not a responsibility I want. It says that this might be possible with a lot of work. It says that I need to go make some breakfast because I am hungry. It tries to discourage me, scare me, distract me from seeing with God. But there is nothing for me to do but want vision and allow it to come into my awareness. It is already in my mind and it is meant for me, is mine because I am part of God. I open my heart to this vision.
I will continue the practice of remembering that my mind is part of God’s. He is my Source. I cannot see apart from Him. Vision is altogether possible, so all day today and every day, when I notice that my perception is not loving and is not near to truth, I will ask for vision. Just that. I will ask. It is mine for the asking and so I will ask.