ACIM Daily Lesson 325 All things I think I see reflect ideas. 1. This is salvation’s keynote…
All things I think I see reflect ideas.
All things I think I see reflect ideas.
1. This is salvation’s keynote: What I see reflects a process in my mind, which starts with my idea of what I want. ²From there, the mind makes up an image of the thing the mind desires, judges valuable, and therefore seeks to find. ³These images are then projected outward, looked upon, esteemed as real and guarded as one’s own. ⁴From insane wishes comes an insane world. ⁵From judgment comes a world condemned. ⁶And from forgiving thoughts a gentle world comes forth, with mercy for the holy Son of God, to offer him a kindly home where he can rest a while before he journeys on, and help his brothers walk ahead with him, and find the way to Heaven and to God.
2. Our Father, Your ideas reflect the truth, and mine apart from Yours but make up dreams. ²Let me behold what only Yours reflect, for Yours and Yours alone establish truth.
This is one of my favorite lessons because it describes the process used to both make the world we see and interpret it. It also reminds us that we can use this process to make a world that reflects creation. We do this as we choose God’s ideas rather than our own to dream upon. Every sentence in this lesson tells me something that I need to know so that I can dream a dream so close to reality that it brings me to the gates of Heaven.
The title says, “all things I think I see,” and right away, we are reminded that our eyes don’t really see at all. Remember Lesson 15, which explains this point.
It is because the thoughts you think you think appear as images that you do not recognize them as nothing. ²You think you think them, and so you think you see them. ³This is how your “seeing” was made. ⁴This is the function you have given your body’s eyes. ⁵It is not seeing. ⁶It is image making. ⁷It takes the place of seeing, replacing vision with illusions.
So what Jesus is going to tell us here is how we make the images the eyes show us. It is not creation, but it is our experience right now, and so it is important that we understand it. In fact, he calls this lesson salvation’s keynote. I wanted to fully understand this statement so I looked up keynote. A keynote in public speaking is a talk that establishes a main underlying theme. Another definition is the fundamental or central fact or idea. So clearly, we need to pay attention to this lesson.
What I see reflects a process in my mind
If ever we think that the world is acting on us, just this one phrase denies that. So how do we make these images we see? Well, it’s a process that starts with an idea of what I want to experience. I’ve noticed that over the course of the last 73 years, there were recurring themes that I wanted to experience. I wasn’t aware of them for many years. And even when I became aware, I didn’t fully understand that I was choosing these experiences. In retrospect, though, it is very clear that I wanted to experience and learn from the idea of victimhood. Another recurring theme that is related to victimhood is the desire to feel unfairly treated. Both of these themes could be seen as falling under the umbrella of guilt.
At first, I explored them as a victim, and my life was filled with guilt stories. I seemed to be victimized all through my life. I also was fully convinced that it was all being done to me, and so it wasn’t fair. Even when I saw circumstances as the result of poor choices, I believed that others were responsible for this as well. It was the way I was raised, the things people caused me to think of myself, and other such nonsense. Eventually, through the work I have done as instructed in A Course in Miracles, I began to see the error in my thinking. I started using these experiences to undo these beliefs.
²From there, the mind makes up an image of the thing the mind desires
Once I have an idea of what I want, I think of an image that would represent that desire. If I want to explore the idea of victimhood, I would need an image to help me do that. Maybe I will be the victim of an unscrupulous contractor, and he will cheat me out of my money. Or maybe I will be a liar and fail to live up to my obligations and thus be the victimizer. Maybe I will be the one who helps others recover from victimization. Perhaps I will be the one who teaches that it is not possible to be a victim. There are many ways in which we can look at the idea of victimhood.
Judges valuable and therefore seeks to find.
It is interesting to me now to see so very clearly how we judge everything according to what it is we want to believe. I used to be so sure that I was a victim, and I had all the proof. Now, I look at those incidents and see them as the classroom they were, and I am grateful for my time in them. I learned something important from each one.
Inevitably, my lessons led me to the place I am now, where I cannot believe in victimhood at all under any circumstances. This is such a different way to think, but it is a way that leads me to the peace of God. It leads me out of the world and into Heaven. The world continues with its stories, some of which seem pretty awful, but how I see those stories are different because my beliefs are now different. I don’t seek for awful; I seek for love, and thus I find love. We will always find what we seek. Only achieving a degree of healing allowed me to understand this and to finally know it is true.
Esteemed as real and guarded as one’s own.
Once we have decided what we want to experience and have chosen the image that would represent that choice, we project it outward. Now we can pretend we don’t know where it came from, believing only that we are victim of it. But even at this point, we have a choice. We can choose to reinforce the idea of being a victim, or we can choose to see it differently and accept responsibility for our perception.
If this is our choice, we can ask the Holy Spirit to interpret it for us. He will show us how to see it as the opportunity it is, and we grow from our experience. Or we can ask the ego what it means and then strengthen our belief in victimization. We will then guard that belief refusing to see it otherwise, in which case nothing changes. We just keep going down the path of pain and suffering until we can’t take anymore. Eventually, we will all make the better choice but when we do is up to us.
⁶And from forgiving thoughts a gentle world comes forth
As the mind clears, ego thinking falls away and what is left are forgiving thoughts. I don’t have to undo so many judgments anymore. Love is what I feel for the most part. I don’t feel the need to defend myself; I’m not attached to my beliefs. There is so much freedom in that. I am free to just love instead. I know my goal, and I just keep moving toward it. The world hasn’t changed, but I have, and because I have changed, my experience of the world has changed. Did I say that I love this lesson? I really do.
The world begins as a desire in our mind. It starts with an idea of something I want. Sometimes it can be difficult to discern what it is that I wanted when the process began. That’s because it shows up as an image, and if I am unclear about how it happened, I can mistake the image for the idea it represents.
We can also become confused because we are not always willing to acknowledge what we want. We seldom want what is best for us, but we always want what we value. Sometimes we value what is very painful. This is why Jesus emphasizes guilt in the Course and asks us to let that idea go. If we feel guilty, we will desire and value punishment. Another issue we have is that we cannot know all that we need to know in order to judge what is best for us, and again Jesus understands this and helps us to learn to ask the Holy Spirit to judge for us.
So, first, we have an idea of what we want to accomplish in the world.
It will be something we desire and value. What happens next? We make up an image that will represent the desire. Here is an example. If I want a self that is different than your self, I will make an image of that. It might look like this. I am smarter than most people. Or I might make an image of being not smart at all. Both of these images represent the desire to have a self that is just mine, different from yours.
What if I desire to atone for my sins? I might make an image of myself being very sick or poverty-stricken. The religious idea of suffering for Jesus or suffering here so that I can be saved and spend eternity in Heaven could drive this desire. If that were what I believed, sickness or poverty would be a strong desire that holds great value. What if I don’t hold that belief, but I still want to be special? I might imagine an image of myself as rich or beautiful, or successful. Neither one is going to achieve my truest desire because when I am thinking like this, I am confused about what I really want.
Once I have an image in mind, I still want the experience. So Jesus says I project the image outward. What if, in this world, we were able to imagine an object and then make the object appear before us? Wouldn’t that be cool? Well, we can, and we do. We have an idea we want to experience, and we make up an image that would represent that idea. Then, we perform some cool magic and make it appear before us as if it is real. We made an entire world appear before us.
We continue to make this world appear as if it was outside our mind.
And we pretend we live in it and act out our wishes in it. Have you ever noticed that your imagination is making stuff up in your mind, maybe a whole story? Sometimes I have done that. I start thinking about going to the store, and I remember a past experience with that store that made me not like shopping there. Because it’s the nearest store, I am going there anyway.
I might imagine that I am talking to the manager and telling him what I think about his store and how he should do things differently. This imagined conversation could be very detailed. I will probably never act on it, but I can imagine it clearly. Why not act on it? Maybe I want to be a victim of his poor management skills more than I want a better shopping experience. But the thing I can see clearly is that if this happened to me, it would mean that I had a clear desire to be a victim and that I believe it is true, and I am guarding that victimization, keeping it in place.
But I also want to be free, so every time I shopped at that store and felt resentful toward the manager, I looked at that thought with the Holy Spirit. Eventually, I started noticing that there must have been a change in management. I began encountering friendly, helpful employees. I discovered some things this store has that no other store in the area has. One day, I saw the manager, and it was the same guy, and I wondered why he changed. Or did I change?
Yesterday, I was walking down the aisle, and he was coming toward me.
I noticed his hand was bandaged, and I stopped him and asked about it. I had not planned to do that at all and didn’t think about doing it; I just did. I had never actually spoken to him before except in my mind. He was very friendly and explained that he had carpel tunnel surgery and how glad he had it. I smiled and chatted about that and how I am just being gentle with mine, so I don’t have to get surgery.
He very seriously encouraged me to get it. He clearly wanted me to have the relief he experienced. I think it is funny now how I held a grievance against him, and I can’t imagine why. But it is clear that in order to have a different experience, I had to have a different thought, a loving thought. Over time, my mind has healed of its desire to be a victim, and so I began to see others differently without projecting my unhealed need onto them.
As Jesus says, “From insane wishes comes an insane world.”
It is so very helpful to understand how we do these things to ourselves. We could become detectives to discover the unacknowledged desires that are making the world so that we could change our minds. We can do this because we have Help. The Holy Spirit was given to us so that we could find our way out of this mess. As we let the Holy Spirit help us understand that we are not guilty and that we really do want to be happy, we will start imagining a happy world, and from there, we will gladly give up our play and let the idea of the world go.
So, this process is very helpful when we are ready to use it to awaken. We are virtually manifesting our thoughts as form, making an image of a body that we are now using to interact with our thoughts. We can see the effects of our beliefs and feel the effects as well. For instance, we can see the damage that the belief in victimhood can do and even feel what it’s like to be a victim. This gives us an excellent opportunity to decide whether or not we keep those thoughts or let them go to the Holy Spirit.
To enjoy the Pathways of Light Insights on ACIM Lesson 325 click here.
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