I am upset because I see a meaningless world.
W-pI.12.1. The importance of this idea lies in the fact that it contains a correction for a major perceptual distortion. 2 You think that what upsets you is a frightening world, or a sad world, or a violent world, or an insane world. 3 All these attributes are given it by you. 4 The world is meaningless in itself.
W-pI.12.2. These exercises are done with eyes open. 2 Look around you, this time quite slowly. 3 Try to pace yourself so that the slow shifting of your glance from one thing to another involves a fairly constant time interval. 4 Do not allow the time of the shift to become markedly longer or shorter, but try, instead, to keep a measured, even tempo throughout. 5 What you see does not matter. 6 You teach yourself this as you give whatever your glance rests on equal attention and equal time. 7 This is a beginning step in learning to give them all equal value.
W-pI.12.3. As you look about you, say to yourself:
2 I think I see a fearful world, a dangerous world, a hostile world, a sad world, a wicked world, a crazy world,
and so on, using whatever descriptive terms happen to occur to you. 3 If terms which seem positive rather than negative occur to you, include them. 4 For example, you might think of “a good world,” or “a satisfying world.” 5 If such terms occur to you, use them along with the rest. 6 You may not yet understand why these “nice” adjectives belong in these exercises but remember that a “good world” implies a “bad” one, and a “satisfying world” implies an “unsatisfying” one. 7 All terms which cross your mind are suitable subjects for today’s exercises. 8 Their seeming quality does not matter.
W-pI.12.4. Be sure that you do not alter the time intervals between applying today’s idea to what you think is pleasant and what you think is unpleasant. 2 For the purposes of these exercises, there is no difference between them. 3 At the end of the practice period, add:
4 But I am upset because I see a meaningless world.
W-pI.12.5. What is meaningless is neither good nor bad. 2 Why, then, should a meaningless world upset you? 3 If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy. 4 But because it is meaningless, you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be. 5 It is this you see in it. 6 It is this that is meaningless in truth. 7 Beneath your words is written the Word of God. 8 The truth upsets you now, but when your words have been erased, you will see His. 9 That is the ultimate purpose of these exercises.
W-pI.12.6. Three or four times is enough for practicing the idea for today. 2 Nor should the practice periods exceed a minute. 3 You may find even this too long. 4 Terminate the exercises whenever you experience a sense of strain.
The idea that is central to this lesson is that the world is neutral and has no intrinsic meaning. We then write upon the world what we would have it be. Our fearful thoughts are showing us a fearful world. We use other words to describe it such as hateful, angry, cruel, and sad, but if it is not love it is fear so all those words are variations on the theme of fear.
Even when we perceive images that express love, such as beauty and happiness until the mind awakens these are only pale shades of love and are easily distorted and never pure. Even in our happiest moments, there is a shadow of fear because we know these feelings are not stable and can be lost. Because the neutrality of the world calls for meaning, we will give it meaning. Right now, we are being asked to withdraw the meaning we have given it so far.
This is being done by following these simple non-threatening exercises. Today, we are asked to introduce to our minds the idea that it is a meaningless world that seems to be what is upsetting us, and the implication is that it is actually what we have written there that is the cause of the upset. As we withdraw those thoughts something beautiful will be written instead, something that will make us indescribably happy.
Here is an example of what it is like to have withdrawn the meaning given to the world with our thoughts. When the assault on the capital occurred, there was a lot of meaning given those actions. Some people were excited about it because they gave it the meaning of their salvation from a world they had given the meaning of becoming something they feared. Others were appalled because they gave the assault a different meaning. They thought of it as an assault on a way of living that they loved and it caused fear. It was the same event but it had very different meanings for different people because the world is neutral and so allows for different perceptions.
At first, the ego reaction in me was shock that this could happen in the United States. But under this was a sense of ‘okayness’ a fundamental feeling of wellbeing that is always there. There was a time when this event would have appalled me, too. I would have been terribly upset and would have justified my upset with many ideas. I would have been angry with those I perceived as being dangerous and resented them. I would have been projecting my fear onto them and seeing them as the cause of it and having done so, I would have hated them for how I felt.
I no longer do that. I am perfectly aware that the world is a neutral event and I decide what it means in every moment. I have devoted my life for many years now to undoing the beliefs I once had. I no longer ever believe that my happiness is affected by anything outside my own mind. If I am temporarily unhappy, I invite the Holy Spirit to look within with me for the ideas that are causing the disturbance to my peace. I then release them to Him and peace is restored.
I don’t ignore or repress, or in any way go into denial about my thoughts and feelings. If I feel something, I feel it and because I no longer believe in guilt, I am not tempted to deny it. I am always happy to discover any untrue idea so that it can be undone for all of us. The ego does not stop thinking and so there were occasional thoughts of conflict in my mind because that is what the ego does. It loves drama and chaos. But there were no thoughts like this that interested me so they came and went without effect.
What actually happened for me is that I asked myself how I contributed to this conflict. I looked within for angry thoughts, for judgmental thoughts, for the belief that my salvation is dependent on anything outside my mind. I released even the most seemingly insignificant of these to the Holy Spirit. I then asked what it is that I could do to be helpful and I was told to love everyone involved without judgment and without exception. Of course, this is what would help!
I saw this entire situation as tragic. People seeing each other as separate and different and so believing that what they did to another had no effect on them is tragic. People suffered and more will suffer before it is over and suffering is tragic. Yes, it is an illusion and an ancient story being remembered, but in time it is tragic as Jesus tells us in the Text. And so, I feel compassion for the confused minds involved and I want to help, so I love them. I put love and light into the mind that at this moment has fear and anger as the overriding ideas.
This event feels entirely different to me than it would have at one time. This is because of the work I have done in the past through these lessons and the study and practice of A Course in Miracles. I see what happened and I recognize the cause of the upset. In other words, I see what we have written on the world, but I also see that the world is neutral and that we can withdraw out ideas and let happiness be written there instead.
That is why I focus my awareness on love and happiness. Instead of seeing what is happening as a cause for any personal reaction, I am not upset. My peace is fundamentally undisturbed. My awareness is focused on being helpful in whatever way the Holy Spirit guides me to, and I am happy. This seems strange to the world but the world is confused. I am not.