ACIM Lesson 8 My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.
My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.
1. This idea is, of course, the reason why you see only the past. ²No one really sees anything. ³He sees only his thoughts projected outward. ⁴The mind’s preoccupation with the past is the cause of the misconception about time from which your seeing suffers. ⁵Your mind cannot grasp the present, which is the only time there is. ⁶It therefore cannot understand time, and cannot, in fact, understand anything.
If you are a new student, or even if you are not, after reading this, you should be profoundly shaken. Even now, even though I know this is true, reading it stated so directly, shakes me a bit. It is easy to slip into the story of the world and just go with it. But there is no world. It was over long ego. OK then, what are we seeing when we open our eyes? Only the past which is not there. So, we are seeing nothing, just images of our thoughts. Seriously, every time I stop to truly consider this extraordinary truth, I feel like someone just shook me awake. Again. It’s the strangest feeling.
2. The one wholly true thought one can hold about the past is that it is not here. ²To think about it at all is therefore to think about illusions. ³Very few have realized what is actually entailed in picturing the past or in anticipating the future. ⁴The mind is actually blank when it does this, because it is not really thinking about anything.
3. The purpose of the exercises for today is to begin to train your mind to recognize when it is not really thinking at all. ²While thoughtless ideas preoccupy your mind, the truth is blocked. ³Recognizing that your mind has been merely blank, rather than believing that it is filled with real ideas, is the first step to opening the way to vision.
This makes perfect sense. Thinking about something that does not exist is to think about nothing. It is hard to accept that all this thinking is really not thinking at all. It seems so important to us. I have practiced watching my thoughts long enough, though, that I am convinced that the chatter of the mind is truly thoughtless ideas. Reading Dan Joseph’s book, Inner Healing taught me how to do that. And reading The Untethered Soul helped me to see the nonsense for what it was.
It is more than simply nonsense, though. These thoughts hide our real thoughts. They block the truth. We want vision even though we may not realize it or even recognize there is vision to be had. This is what we came for, to remove the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence. We begin by recognizing our mind has been blank rather than filled with real ideas.
4. The exercises for today should be done with eyes closed. ²This is because you actually cannot see anything, and it is easier to recognize that no matter how vividly you may picture a thought, you are not seeing anything. ³With as little investment as possible, search your mind for the usual minute or so, merely noting the thoughts you find there. ⁴Name each one by the central figure or theme it contains, and pass on to the next. ⁵Introduce the practice period by saying:
⁶I seem to be thinking about _________.
5. Then name each of your thoughts specifically, for example:
²I seem to be thinking about [name of a person], about [name of an object], about [name of an emotion],
and so on, concluding at the end of the mind-searching period with:
³But my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.
6. This can be done four or five times during the day, unless you find it irritates you. ²If you find it trying, three or four times is sufficient. ³You might find it helpful, however, to include your irritation, or any emotion that the idea for today may induce, in the mind searching itself.
Here is the sentence that jumped out at me. ²This is because you actually cannot see anything, and it is easier to recognize that no matter how vividly you may picture a thought, you are not seeing anything. When I went to the Van Gough Immersive, I was given VR goggles. When I put them on, I found myself in his paintings, not before them, but in them. I was in a beautiful world, alive with color and movement. It felt as real as sitting at my computer doing this work.
That is what our eyes are, virtual reality equipment. Our mind holds the information that is then transformed by our eyes as a 3D experience. Only instead of just seeing it, we hear it and smell it and taste it. No wonder we get pulled into it. Just moving through Van Gogh’s paintings through the use of the VR equipment, was mesmerizing. I could have stayed there for a long time.
In this virtual reality we call the world, we will forget it’s not real unless we remind ourselves often. When I took off the goggles, the room I was in was still there. My daughters were sitting next to me. Nothing had changed just because I was unaware of it. The world is a representation of our thoughts and our thoughts are not real, so we are deep into an illusion. This is why we need to take the lessons seriously and let them do their job. As we let go of what is not true, our real thoughts will show us reality. It has gone nowhere while we have been lost in our imagination.
To enjoy the Pathways of Light Insights on ACIM Lesson 8 click here.
If you found this content helpful, please share on social media so more people can read and learn.