I can escape from the world I see
by giving up attack thoughts.
W-pI.23.1. The idea for today contains the only way out of fear that will ever succeed. 2 Nothing else will work; everything else is meaningless. 3 But this way cannot fail. 4 Every thought you have makes up some segment of the world you see. 5 It is with your thoughts, then, that we must work, if your perception of the world is to be changed.
W-pI.23.2. If the cause of the world you see is attack thoughts, you must learn that it is these thoughts which you do not want. 2 There is no point in lamenting the world. 3 There is no point in trying to change the world. 4 It is incapable of change because it is merely an effect. 5 But there is indeed a point in changing your thoughts about the world. 6 Here you are changing the cause. 7 The effect will change automatically.
W-pI.23.3. The world you see is a vengeful world, and everything in it is a symbol of vengeance. 2 Each of your perceptions of “external reality” is a pictorial representation of your own attack thoughts. 3 One can well ask if this can be called seeing. 4 Is not fantasy a better word for such a process, and hallucination a more appropriate term for the result?
W-pI.23.4. You see the world that you have made, but you do not see yourself as the image maker. 2 You cannot be saved from the world, but you can escape from its cause. 3 This is what salvation means, for where is the world you see when its cause is gone? 4 Vision already holds a replacement for everything you think you see now. 5 Loveliness can light your images, and so transform them that you will love them, even though they were made of hate. 6 For you will not be making them alone.
W-pI.23.5. The idea for today introduces the thought that you are not trapped in the world you see, because its cause can be changed. 2 This change requires, first, that the cause be identified and then let go, so that it can be replaced. 3 The first two steps in this process require your cooperation. 4 The final one does not. 5 Your images have already been replaced. 6 By taking the first two steps, you will see that this is so.
W-pI.23.6. Besides using it throughout the day as the need arises, five practice periods are required in applying today’s idea. 2 As you look about you, repeat the idea slowly to yourself first, and then close your eyes and devote about a minute to searching your mind for as many attack thoughts as occur to you. 3 As each one crosses your mind say:
4 I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts about _____.
5 Hold each attack thought in mind as you say this, and then dismiss that thought and go on to the next.
W-pI.23.7. In the practice periods, be sure to include both your thoughts of attacking and of being attacked. 2 Their effects are exactly the same because they are exactly the same. 3 You do not recognize this as yet, and you are asked at this time only to treat them as the same in today’s practice periods. 4 We are still at the stage of identifying the cause of the world you see. 5 When you finally learn that thoughts of attack and of being attacked are not different, you will be ready to let the cause go.
The idea for today contains the only way out of fear that will ever succeed. 2 Nothing else will work; everything else is meaningless.
Yesterday Jesus told us that everything we see is a form of vengeance which wasn’t a very happy thing to realize, but today, he is giving us a way out of this that we have done. It is simple. Just give up attack thoughts. After studying and practicing the Course for 40 years, I have discovered that this path is really always very simple. Our thoughts made the world we see, so to free ourselves from the world we simply have to decide to change our thoughts. This is very doable with the help of the Holy Spirit, help we always have and, in fact, we are told that this cannot fail.
In this first paragraph, we are told this.
4 Every thought you have makes up some segment of the world you see.
He is talking about our perception in this paragraph, how we see what is happening. Never have we had this demonstrated to us so vividly as has happened in politics lately. I know a woman who is a liberal while her husband is a staunch supporter of Trump. They perceive the situation in completely different ways. It is like they live in different universes.
Their perception decides how they feel about their lives and the world, whether they are happy or unhappy. This is true because they believe their perceptions are the truth. Perception is not truth, it is just a way of seeing. In their minds and sometimes in their words, they are attacking each other’s beliefs. This doesn’t make them happy and if they want to be happy, they must stop attacking.
I have perceptions, too, but I have learned that my perceptions are not facts and certainly not worth defending. I have learned that I would rather be happy than right. So, when someone’s perception is different than mine, I find it interesting rather than an attack. I still do what I think is helpful such as voting according to my perceptions, but I don’t let other people’s choices dictate how I feel. I am at peace with them and I love them.
If I took my perceptions as reality, my world would feel dangerous and people I love would feel like enemies. It would not be peaceful and loving; it would be awful. I know because that is the way it started but through the practice of these lessons, I learned that it changed when my thoughts changed and I am more grateful than I know how to express.
As Jesus tells us in paragraph 2, 3 There is no point in trying to change the world. 4 It is incapable of change because it is merely an effect.The only way to be happy in the world is to give up our attack thoughts by letting the Holy Spirit show us another way to see and to heal our minds. In changing our thoughts, the world changes because we changed the cause of our distress.
In paragraph 2, Jesus emphasizes his point as he reminds us that we made this world with our thoughts and these images we see are the effect of those thoughts whether we acknowledge that or not. Defending our perceptions is just the way we keep our suffering. Thank goodness that we don’t have to think of a way to see our perceptions differently because when we believe something is true, we don’t really have a way out of that. Instead, we just have to ask for vision. When we do that, our perception changes, and our images become beautiful instead of hateful.
One day, someone I know said something and I imagined what they said was an attack on me, that they were angry with me and I didn’t even know why. I carried that belief around for days, worrying at it and not feeling peaceful. I wondered what I had said or done that warranted this attack. Then one day it occurred to me that I could just ask if there was a problem.
When I just came out and asked him if he was angry with me, he was confused as to why I thought that and said absolutely not! I laughed at myself for my foolishness. I had perceived a simple statement to mean something it didn’t and for a few days, it cast a shadow on my world. That is the power of perception. Even though it had no basis in truth, my belief it was true made it true for me and brought suffering into my life.
My decision to stop living under that pall brought light back into my world. If he hadbeen upset, we could have talked it out. If he stayed upset, I would have given the belief I needed him to be different to the Holy Spirit for healing, and the world as I see it would have shifted. If I attack someone or if they attack me it is the same because the effect is the same. I am unhappy and not peaceful. I hardly ever waste my time trying to change the world; I just go directly to changing my thoughts about the world and then marveling at the miracle that transpires.
The idea for today introduces the thought that you are not trapped in the world you see, because its cause can be changed.
Each of your perceptions of “external reality” is a pictorial representation of your own attack thoughts.
We make the world we see through our thoughts but this can be changed. There is an escape from this world. When we give up our attack thoughts we receive vision. 5 Loveliness can light your images, and so transform them that you will love them, even though they were made of hate. We don’t have to figure out how to see differently or how to get there. In fact, there are only three steps to this process.
The first two steps are your part in the process. First, you must let the cause be identified and then let go. The third step allows it to be replaced, and this is not our job. The replacement is already here but unseen by us when our focus is on the problem, not the solution. We see what we want to see. Honestly, I think it would be true to say that we look but don’t see. Instead of seeing the love and light and joy that abounds, we see vengeance. We see danger and the need to defend ourselves. It is very scary. But all of this can change if we just do those two very simple things; notice the attack thoughts and let them go.