The world I see holds nothing that I want.
1. The world you see holds nothing that you need to offer you; nothing that you can use in any way, nor anything at all that serves to give you joy. ²Believe this thought, and you are saved from years of misery, from countless disappointments, and from hopes that turn to bitter ashes of despair. ³No one but must accept this thought as true, if he would leave the world behind and soar beyond its petty scope and little ways.
Of course, he is not suggesting that we start giving up things in the world. We need food and housing and clothes. Most people need a car. Relationships are important. And if one started giving things up in an effort to not hold onto the world, where would one stop? And changing behavior is not the same thing as healing the mind.
Placing value on anything in the world, however, is how we wind up here again. We think the world offers us something and since it is but an illusion, what could it really offer? One night while watching some YouTube videos of singers competing with each other. I began to imagine a life time when I was myself on that stage and wouldn’t that be fun.
Another time I was watching a love story and started thinking how maybe in a different lifetime I could have a lifelong love relationship like that couple. I imagined how sweet that would be. Both times I returned to my senses. These were just ego enticements to keep these stories going. We imagine that one more time here and we can make it all work and our plan for specialness will finally give us what we thought would be so valuable.
2. Each thing you value here is but a chain that binds you to the world, and it will serve no other end but this. ²For everything must serve the purpose you have given it, until you see a different purpose there. ³The only purpose worthy of your mind this world contains is that you pass it by, without delaying to perceive some hope where there is none. ⁴Be you deceived no more. ⁵The world you see holds nothing that you want.
I like the idea of being a passerby. It evokes a sense of detachment from the world. I am here viewing the world, but I am not part of it. The moment I think, “Oh yes! This is what I need to be happy,” I have bound myself to a world that doesn’t exist and to the endless stories of failure that it offers. Even when someone has a charmed life where everything seems to go their way, it all ends in death. There is no winning here.
This doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy the world. In fact, Jesus has made it very clear that I am to be happy, but I cannot be happy as long as I keep looking to the world for that happiness. I like my little house and I am pleased to have a good vehicle. I enjoy my friends and my family. I love people and relationships. I’m looking forward to having lunch with a friend today.
But none of these things are the reason I am happy and if it all went away, I would watch to see what happens next in the story. Whatever reaction I would have would tell me if there is still a belief in lack and loss that needed to be healed. Clinging to these things is suffering and is a guarantee of finding myself back for more of these seemingly endless stories.
3. Escape today the chains you place upon your mind when you perceive salvation here. ²For what you value you make part of you as you perceive yourself. ³All things you seek to make your value greater in your sight limit you further, hide your worth from you, and add another bar across the door that leads to true awareness of your Self.
This is an interesting sentence: ²For what you value you make part of you as you perceive yourself. I had not thought of it that way. Jesus goes on to explain why that is. If I do not value my home, it is just a good place to live. But if I value it, my house becomes a reflection of my value of myself. Is it as nice as my neighbor’s house? Does it reflect a successful life or does it seem to say that I accomplished little in the world’s eyes? Same thing with the car.
Even relationships can say something about our value if we see it that way. If I valued these relationships having one go badly would reflect a sense of failure on my part. I used to be embarrassed to have been divorced three times and would make jokes about it to cover that embarrassment. Now, that is not true but at one time, my ability or rather inability to sustain a relationship defined me.
I used to think that if my children did well it meant I was a good mother and this was part of my definition of myself. If they had problems, and of course, they would have problems, this meant I failed as a mother and that became part of my definition of myself. Each thing we value in the world seems to add or detract from our personal value. It defines us in a way that precludes our actual awareness of Self.
4. Let nothing that relates to body thoughts delay your progress to salvation, nor permit temptation to believe the world holds anything you want to hold you back. ²Nothing is here to cherish. ³Nothing here is worth one instant of delay and pain; one moment of uncertainty and doubt. ⁴The worthless offer nothing. ⁵Certainty of worth can not be found in worthlessness.
5. Today we practice letting go all thought of values we have given to the world. ²We leave it free of purposes we gave its aspects and its phases and its dreams. ³We hold it purposeless within our minds, and loosen it from all we wish it were. ⁴Thus do we lift the chains that bar the door to freedom from the world, and go beyond all little values and diminished goals.
First, we must at least doubt that the world is what we thought it would be in the moment that tiny mad idea crept into the mind. Personally, I’m fully convinced that it holds nothing of value. Occasionally, I become distracted by something that I temporarily long for, but always, I remember the cost of this thing I want. To value the world, I must relinquish my awareness of my true Self. This Self has no pain, does not suffer, never dies, and knows Itself as eternally blissfully part of God.
There is no comparison in the world. No matter how we manipulate the world it cannot offer us anything that comes close to reality. Once we begin to awaken to this desire for release, we must start letting go of the belief in the value of all things that hold us here. Like everything that we do in the Course, this is simple to accomplish. Today in this lesson, we are given a process to practice this release.
6. Pause and be still a little while, and see how far you rise above the world, when you release your mind from chains and let it seek the level where it finds itself at home. ²It will be grateful to be free a while. ³It knows where it belongs. ⁴But free its wings, and it will fly in sureness and in joy to join its holy purpose. ⁵Let it rest in its Creator, there to be restored to sanity, to freedom and to love.
7. Give it ten minutes rest three times today. ²And when your eyes are opened afterwards, you will not value anything you see as much as when you looked at it before. ³Your whole perspective on the world will shift by just a little, every time you let your mind escape its chains. ⁴The world is not where it belongs. ⁵And you belong where it would be, and where it goes to rest when you release it from the world. ⁶Your Guide is sure. ⁷Open your mind to Him. ⁸Be still and rest.
We see that all along Jesus has been encouraging us to meditate on our reality. We are to simply be still, let ourselves rise above the world and all our thoughts about the world so that we can experience our freedom and our Self if even for a few moments. Clearly, if we continue to do this, we will remember Who We are and will gladly release all we made to take Its place. Our part is so simple. Just sit and allow. When the mind wanders, remember your holy purpose and return to it. Everything else happens naturally.
8. Protect your mind throughout the day as well. ²And when you think you see some value in an aspect or an image of the world, refuse to lay this chain upon your mind, but tell yourself with quiet certainty:
³This will not tempt me to delay myself.
⁴The world I see holds nothing that I want.
And besides our meditation, we are given simple words to remind us throughout the day to choose Reality over illusion.