ACIM Lesson 44 God is the light in which I see.
God is the light in which I see.
1. Today we are continuing the idea for yesterday, adding another dimension to it. ²You cannot see in darkness, and you cannot make light. ³You can make darkness and then think you see in it, but light reflects life, and is therefore an aspect of creation. ⁴Creation and darkness cannot coexist, but light and life must go together, being but different aspects of creation.
Jesus is not talking about seeing with the eyes and he is not talking about light that is seen with the eyes. I think of the lesson in this way. God is the light in which I perceive, or understand. Or to put it another way, the right mind is the awareness with which I comprehend the truth. So, he is using light as the symbol of clarity that is available to us in our right mind.
And he is using darkness to symbolize our denial of the truth. It is a symbol of the thoughts we think we think and our desire to think outside God. These dark thoughts represent the opposite of reality and the desire to be separate from God and our Self. They are what makes up our ego, the little self that takes the place of our true Self.
Light Is Within not Without
2. In order to see, you must recognize that light is within, not without. ²You do not see outside yourself, nor is the equipment for seeing outside you. ³An essential part of this equipment is the light that makes seeing possible. ⁴It is with you always, making vision possible in every circumstance.
Jesus says that in order to see we have to recognize that light is within, not without. He is saying that the light that makes understanding possible is in our mind. We are so certain that we see with our eyes. And yet, Jesus has already told us that the eyes don’t see, they just make images that represent our thoughts. They allow us to imagine a world outside us when all the while there is no outside. It is all happening in the mind just as your nightly dreams happen in the mind. In those dreams, you give them images that appear to be outside you, too.
We close our eyes and think we are in darkness. We open our eyes and think we see. But if we want to really see, we need to accept that vision is within the mind. I think of it as awareness. The awareness of my love for my little granddaughter cannot be seen with the body’s eyes. I close my eyes and think of her and my heart is filled with love and joy. That is seeing in the light. I enjoy the image made to represent her in the story, but it is the awareness of love in my mind that matters to me. It is what is real.
Attached to Our Imagined Self
We cannot see anything real in the part of the mind that is in darkness. This is the ego-mind, the place we go to imagine we can be separate from All That Is. We go there to imagine a personal self that is different than everyone else’s personal selves. It is insanity but we are very attached to our imagined self, so much so we are afraid of losing it. We have gotten lost in this darkness and believe it is our real self. We have become so acclimated to the darkness we have forgotten what it is like to live in the light of our holiness.
The Right Mind or the Wrong Mind
Just as I don’t know my love for my granddaughter through using the body’s eyes, I don’t see my contempt for someone through my eyes. That awareness occurs in the wrong mind, the darkness of the ego. My dark thoughts come first and then the image to represent that darkness is projected outward so that it appears as if the body of the person is the target of my hatred.
It is important that I understand that however much it seems like there is an outside world, it is only in my mind. It is either in the light of my right mind or in the darkness of my wrong mind. In this way, I will not be as distracted by the illusion and can focus on the cause of my distress. I can learn to choose to see in light instead of darkness.
Seeking the Light
3. Today we are going to attempt to reach that light. ²For this purpose, we will use a form of exercise which has been suggested before, and which we will utilize increasingly. ³It is a particularly difficult form for the undisciplined mind, and represents a major goal of mind training. ⁴It requires precisely what the untrained mind lacks. ⁵Yet this training must be accomplished if you are to see.
What a relief it is to know that even if I were in a dark mood, the light has gone nowhere. It is right there in my mind. If I were deeply depressed, I would still have access to that light. And in the light, I would re-discover my joy. If I were wailing my grief over the loss of a loved one, the light would still be in my mind. This light is me and it is eternal. We are using this lesson now to deliberately choose to place our awareness on the light of our being. We are learning how to shift our awareness from the darkness of the ego thoughts to the light that is in our right mind.
Natural and Easy
4. Have at least three practice periods today, each lasting three to five minutes. ²A longer time is highly recommended, but only if you find the time slipping by with little or no sense of strain. ³The form of practice we will use today is the most natural and easy one in the world for the trained mind, just as it seems to be the most unnatural and difficult for the untrained mind.
Jesus is spending a lot of time building up to this practice. He assures us this natural but also is letting us know that it might feel difficult. If our mind is untrained, and likely it is mostly untrained it won’t feel natural.
Ego Senses Loss of Identity
5. Your mind is no longer wholly untrained. ²You are quite ready to learn the form of exercise we will use today, but you may find that you will encounter strong resistance. ³The reason is very simple. ⁴While you practice in this way, you leave behind everything that you now believe, and all the thoughts that you have made up. ⁵Properly speaking, this is the release from hell. ⁶Yet perceived through the ego’s eyes, it is loss of identity and a descent into hell.
If you have been doing the lessons as he has asked you to, then your mind will have the benefit of some training. You are ready for this, not that you will absolutely succeed, but you are at least ready to try. Jesus wants us to know that the resistance we feel is fear of leaving the self behind. We are quite attached to our chattering self and, in fact, we think that self is us. This is the reason the ego-mind thinks of it as a loss of identity and a descent into hell. But we are not our egos. We lose nothing and gain everything.
6. If you can stand aside from the ego by ever so little, you will have no difficulty in recognizing that its opposition and its fears are meaningless. ²You might find it helpful to remind yourself, from time to time, that to reach light is to escape from darkness, whatever you may believe to the contrary. ³God is the light in which you see. ⁴You are attempting to reach Him.
We are trying to reach God when we are trying to reach the light in which we see. The ego opposition is meaningless when we realize this.
Very Holy and Very Meaningful
7. Begin the practice period by repeating today’s idea with your eyes open, and close them slowly, repeating the idea several times more. ²Then try to sink into your mind, letting go every kind of interference and intrusion by quietly sinking past them. ³Your mind cannot be stopped in this unless you choose to stop it. ⁴It is merely taking its natural course. ⁵Try to observe your passing thoughts without involvement, and slip quietly by them.
8. While no particular approach is advocated for this form of exercise, what is needful is a sense of the importance of what you are doing; its inestimable value to you, and an awareness that you are attempting something very holy. ²Salvation is your happiest accomplishment. ³It is also the only one that has any meaning, because it is the only one that has any real use to you at all.
Jesus is giving us some very specific instructions to help us move past the ego interference. He is also helping us to understand the importance of this exercise. He wants us to be aware that what we are attempting here is very holy and very meaningful. He reminds us that salvation is our happiest accomplishment.
We Are in Control
9. If resistance rises in any form, pause long enough to repeat today’s idea, keeping your eyes closed unless you are aware of fear. ²In that case, you will probably find it more reassuring to open your eyes briefly. ³Try, however, to return to the exercises with eyes closed as soon as possible.
10. If you are doing the exercises correctly, you should experience some sense of relaxation, and even a feeling that you are approaching, if not actually entering into light. ²Try to think of light, formless and without limit, as you pass by the thoughts of this world. ³And do not forget that they cannot hold you to the world unless you give them the power to do so.
Jesus is letting us know that we may not succeed this time but that we should have some experience of it. Maybe we will feel a sense of relaxation or that we are at least approaching the light. He also ends paragraph 10 by reminding us that our thoughts cannot hold us to the world unless we give them that power. It is up to us. We are in control.
Above All, Do not Forget
11. Throughout the day repeat the idea often, with eyes open or closed as seems better to you at the time. ²But do not forget. ³Above all, be determined not to forget today.
Jesus ends by asking us not to forget to use the lesson frequently during the day. He reinforces it with the plaintive request that above all to be determined not to forget. I think that I am going to record the practice and let it play while I follow these instructions. I think that will help me to stay on track.
To enjoy the Pathways of Light Insights on ACIM Lesson 44 click here.
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