Lesson 3 2021

Lesson 3

Do I understand all this?

I do not understand anything I see in this room
[on this street, from this window, in this place].

W-pI.3.1. Apply this idea in the same way as the previous ones, without making distinctions of any kind. 2 Whatever you see becomes a proper subject for applying the idea. 3 Be sure that you do not question the suitability of anything for application of the idea. 4 These are not exercises in judgment. 5 Anything is suitable if you see it. 6 Some of the things you see may have emotionally-charged meaning for you. 7 Try to lay such feelings aside, and merely use these things exactly as you would anything else.

W-pI.3.2. The point of the exercises is to help you clear your mind of all past associations, to see things exactly as they appear to you now, and to realize how little you really understand about them. 2 It is therefore essential that you keep a perfectly open mind, unhampered by judgment, in selecting the things to which the idea for the day is to be applied. 3 For this purpose one thing is like another; equally suitable and therefore equally useful.


First, we are told that nothing we see means anything and then we learn that the reason we think it does have meaning is that we gave it meaning. Now we are told that we don’t understand anything we see. And the first thought in my mind when I first did these lessons is that, of course, I understand these things I see. But did I ever?

Jesus says that this is not an exercise in judgment and over the years I have come to mistrust judgment. There are not a lot of things that I can say I know for sure, but I do know that using the split mind (the ego) to judge is never reliable. Jesus tells us this about judgment.  T-3.VI.3. 4 All uncertainty comes from the belief that you are under the coercion of judgment. 5 You do not need judgment to organize your life, and you certainly do not need it to organize yourself. 6 In the presence of knowledge all judgment is automatically suspended, and this is the process that enables recognition to replace perception. In paragraph 5 he goes on to say that the strain of constant judgment is virtually intolerable. Later he tells us that it is not possible for us to know enough to judge.

So, if we don’t judge, how do we ever understand anything? My experience has been that when I let go of what my ego-mind believes, I am given clarity and I understand what needs to be understood. Everything I think I know about anything I learned from past experience and so I don’t know anything about what I see now.

The split mind is an indiscriminate collector of ideas without regard to accuracy, but the sheer volume of information leads us to believe it is valuable when it is not. What if I looked at everything as if I were seeing it for the first time and this time, I asked to be shown meaning rather than using the thinking mind to delve into the past for an answer? What would I see then? How would I see it? What would it mean? It seems an impossible job to clear the mind of what it thinks it knows, but we don’t have to worry about that. We just need to use these simple exercises without judging them, doing it out of trust and faith.

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