It is impossible to see two worlds.
1. Perception is consistent. ²What you see reflects your thinking. ³And your thinking but reflects your choice of what you want to see. ⁴Your values are determiners of this, for what you value you must want to see, believing what you see is really there. ⁵No one can see a world his mind has not accorded value. ⁶And no one can fail to look upon what he believes he wants.
This is why we cannot be a victim of the world we see. It is the world we brought into being with our thinking. Our thinking reflects what it is we wish to see. What we wish to see is determined by what we value. Jesus is very clear about this. We will see what we value and therefore want and we cannot fail to see this. Here is our world complete in all details.
I used to have a belief that others were responsible for my feelings. Someone could say the wrong thing and I would be offended or hurt. This was a strong belief in my mind and since I could not control what others said, I was always at their mercy. The world seemed to be a treacherous place, any moment attacking me and I had no option but to feel what I felt, to defend myself, to return the attack.
Then after studying the Course for a while, I began to realize that no one can hurt me. It is my own interpretation of what was happening that was causing me to feel hurt. I could learn to see the world differently and I would experience the world differently. I learned that the world could not hurt me, only I could do that with my thoughts about the world. With this understanding, I began to see a very different world, one that is loving, friendly, and non-threatening. I began to see others with compassion and love, recognizing that like me they, too, could learn to value peace and love.
And still, for a long time, I persisted in choosing to be hurt. I discovered that my secret desire was to be the victim and also, I wanted to keep the victimizer in place so that I didn’t have to be responsible for my reactions. It could remain their fault. For a while, I was willing to trade happiness and peace of mind for the right to be unfairly treated.
Being unfairly treated and a victim was more valuable to me than being happy and peaceful. It took consistent practice in looking at this with the Holy Spirit to convince me that how the world appears to me is decided by me and that I could learn the difference between pain and pleasure. I did it, and now no one can hurt me and so I don’t see enemies. Because my values changed, my world changed.
2. Yet who can really hate and love at once? ²Who can desire what he does not want to have reality? ³And who can choose to see a world of which he is afraid? ⁴Fear must make blind, for this its weapon is: That which you fear to see you cannot see. ⁵Love and perception thus go hand in hand, but fear obscures in darkness what is there.
I have an example of that, too. I used to be heavily defended against love. I seldom let myself see that as true, but the signs were there. I thought love was dangerous because it was undependable. Someone could love you one moment and then the next, they could betray you. I didn’t want the pain of loss so I was careful how much I loved anyone. I built walls to protect myself, letting in and out only so much love. And because I limited love, I didn’t really know what love was.
Then one day, I needed a huge favor from my brother and sister-in-law. I hated asking for favors because that required me to become vulnerable to the other person. I had to lower my walls a bit and that scared me. But I had no choice in this so I texted a request. In that way, if they said no, I would have time to wall off my feelings without further exposing myself to others.
But something happened that took my walls down. My sister-in-law responded very quickly that she and my brother would be happy to do this for me. She said that they love me so much. My first thought shocked me. I said to myself, “Why do they love me?” Up to that point, I had kept my vulnerability a secret from others but especially from myself.
Sure, there were clues that this was true and I knew I had a problem, but I had no idea that my problem was so extreme. This was my brother and my beloved sister-in-law and yet, it came as a shock to me that they love me very much and wanted to do me a favor. I had to really look within and reassess everything. Fortunately, I had a strong spiritual practice by this time and I knew what to do with untrue beliefs. I forgave that belief and when I did, my heart opened up further, and I began to see love everywhere. I became fearless in love and so I began to understand what love is. None of this could happen while I was in fear. One cannot love and fear at the same time.
3. What, then, can fear project upon the world? ²What can be seen in darkness that is real? ³Truth is eclipsed by fear, and what remains is but imagined. ⁴Yet what can be real in blind imaginings of panic born? ⁵What would you want that this is shown to you? ⁶What would you wish to keep in such a dream?
4. Fear has made everything you think you see. ²All separation, all distinctions, and the multitude of differences you believe make up the world. ³They are not there. ⁴Love’s enemy has made them up. ⁵Yet love can have no enemy, and so they have no cause, no being and no consequence. ⁶They can be valued, but remain unreal. ⁷They can be sought, but they can not be found. ⁸Today we will not seek for them, nor waste this day in seeking what can not be found.
Fear has made everything we think we see. Fear of what we thought we did caused us to imagine a world that could be the repository for our guilt and where we could hide from our supposed ‘sin’. Every fear-based thought we have defines this world as we see it. But it is not real. We think we see it, but there is nothing to see. It is an illusion, a dream of a world. We will continue to think we see it until we decide we no longer value it and therefore do not want it.
5. It is impossible to see two worlds which have no overlap of any kind. ²Seek for the one; the other disappears. ³But one remains. ⁴They are the range of choice beyond which your decision cannot go. ⁵The real and the unreal are all there are to choose between, and nothing more than these.
Once I found the Course, I started seeking the real world, but for a long time, I compromised on this. I wanted the real world, but there were things in the illusion that I clung to. There are fewer and fewer of those things now. I have learned that none of them make me happy or make me sad. It is only my thoughts that do this and I willingly turn those thoughts over to the Holy Spirit as I find them. In so doing, I am relinquishing the world I made for the one that is real so that I can finally release the world altogether.
6. Today we will attempt no compromise where none is possible. ²The world you see is proof you have already made a choice as all-embracing as its opposite. ³What we would learn today is more than just the lesson that you cannot see two worlds. ⁴It also teaches that the one you see is quite consistent from the point of view from which you see it. ⁵It is all a piece because it stems from one emotion, and reflects its source in everything you see.
The reason I cannot continue to compromise, not even on one thing, one idea, is that the world we see will reflect this compromise. There is only love and fear and the ego world, the illusory world is one of fear. Keep one fear thought, and I keep the illusion in place. Keep one untrue thought, and I keep the unreal world in place and myself bound to it. This is why I am vigilant for my thoughts and why I never relax that vigilance. It used to feel like a lot of work, but now it feels like freedom and easily done because I have experienced the effects of releasing what is not true.
7. Six times today, in thanks and gratitude, we gladly give five minutes to the thought that ends all compromise and doubt, and go beyond them all as one. ²We will not make a thousand meaningless distinctions, nor attempt to bring with us a little part of unreality, as we devote our minds to finding only what is real.
What will I release today? What still has value to me? I think there must still be some belief in guilt hiding in my mind because sometimes it peeks out and I catch it. I don’t want this in my mind. I have been releasing it as I find it, allowing the Holy Spirit to show me how it is I still think guilt has some value to me. Today, I will renew and strengthen my desire to be free of guilt. The only other thing I see in my mind is fear about the body. I don’t feel fear about the death of the body, but how it looks. This is so ridiculous that I can’t believe I am still clinging to the idea that I still care about that image. Sigh. But I am willing to use today to undo that belief as well.
8. Begin your searching for the other world by asking for a strength beyond your own, and recognizing what it is you seek. ²You do not want illusions. ³And you come to these five minutes emptying your hands of all the petty treasures of this world. ⁴You wait for God to help you, as you say:
⁵It is impossible to see two worlds. ⁶Let me accept the strength God offers me and see no value in this world, that I may find my freedom and deliverance.
What a wonderful prayer this is. Calling on the strength of God to bring me freedom and deliverance lifts me out of the doubt and frustration I feel when I look at these remaining compromises. In the past, it seems that I have failed to release them but the past does not exist and I will not look there for the truth. Anyway, I have not failed, I have simply not completed the journey. Each time I choose the truth, I become stronger in my desire for the truth and more willing to take the final steps.
9. God will be there. ²For you have called upon the great unfailing power which will take this giant step with you in gratitude. ³Nor will you fail to see His thanks expressed in tangible perception and in truth. ⁴You will not doubt what you will look upon, for though it is perception, it is not the kind of seeing that your eyes alone have ever seen before. ⁵And you will know God’s strength upheld you as you made this choice.
I will read this paragraph over and over today. God will be there as I do this lesson. His great unfailing power supports me in my decision. It makes my heart sing to think of this. How could I fail?
10. Dismiss temptation easily today whenever it arises, merely by remembering the limits of your choice. ²The unreal or the real, the false or true is what you see and only what you see. ³Perception is consistent with your choice, and hell or Heaven comes to you as one.
11. Accept a little part of hell as real, and you have damned your eyes and cursed your sight, and what you will behold is hell indeed. ²Yet the release of Heaven still remains within your range of choice, to take the place of everything that hell would show to you. ³All you need say to any part of hell, whatever form it takes, is simply this:
⁴It is impossible to see two worlds. ⁵I seek my freedom and deliverance, and this is not a part of what I want.
These are two things I will remember today. No compromise! Heaven or Hell. And another choice is always mine to make.