God is the light in which I see.
W-pI.44.1. Today we are continuing the idea for yesterday, adding another dimension to it. 2 You cannot see in darkness, and you cannot make light. 3 You can make darkness and then think you see in it, but light reflects life, and is therefore an aspect of creation. 4 Creation and darkness cannot coexist, but light and life must go together, being but different aspects of creation.
I found myself wishing that Jesus would express this differently, that he would say perceive or understand instead of see. I always think of what I see with my eyes and then have to go back and read it again from a different perspective. And maybe that is why he writes in this way, he wants us to start thinking about what it means to actually see.
Yesterday the painters were back. I have had my house to myself for a week and it is jarring to have people here making noise and disrupting my day. I began to wish they would get done and leave. When one of the painters had a friend come by it got noisier still and I felt resentful. This is an example of trying to see in the dark. My mind was dark with ego judgments. I made the darkness by choosing to believe these thoughts that reinforce separation.
I can’t make light because that is an aspect of creation, but I can decide to see the situation differently. When I did this, I relaxed around the whole thing. I let my mind release the belief I needed things to be different than they were. As I did that, I remembered how lucky I am to have someone honest and reliable to do this work and that I have the money to pay for it. I began to see them in a different light, one of love and appreciation.
W-pI.44.2. In order to see, you must recognize that light is within, not without. 2 You do not see outside yourself, nor is the equipment for seeing outside you. 3 An essential part of this equipment is the light that makes seeing possible. 4 It is with you always, making vision possible in every circumstance.
Again, Jesus is reminding us that we don’t actually see with our eyes. We gave ourselves eyes to make images that represent what we want to see. It is the way we make our dream world seem real to us. A nifty design for the purpose it was intended but not helpful to awakening if we believe the images are real. If we really want to see we must look inward to where the light exists. This is vision and it is available to us all the time, we simply have to choose it. There is no circumstance in which vision is not possible.
Vision comes from the right mind, what I call the holy mind. What I did yesterday was to ask for another way to see the situation. I was asking for right-minded thinking. In order to use the light in my mind, I had to be willing to let go of the perspective I was currently using, that is, I had to stop thinking with my ego-mind. I had to be willing to see the innocence behind the situation and the people involved. Jesus calls this forgiveness or accepting the atonement. I do not truly see with the ego (darkness); God is the light in which I see.
W-pI.44.3. Today we are going to attempt to reach that light. 2 For this purpose, we will use a form of exercise which has been suggested before, and which we will utilize increasingly. 3 It is a particularly difficult form for the undisciplined mind, and represents a major goal of mind training. 4 It requires precisely what the untrained mind lacks. 5 Yet this training must be accomplished if you are to see.
Jesus wants us to know that these practices will feel hard to us, not because they are hard but because our minds are undisciplined. We need this mind training if we are to accomplish our goal. By implication, he is also letting us know that we will not do this perfectly and that’s expected. We wouldn’t need this training if we were already trained, after all. I do my best and by doing so, my best got better as time went on.
W-pI.44.4. Have at least three practice periods today, each lasting three to five minutes. 2 A longer time is highly recommended, but only if you find the time slipping by with little or no sense of strain. 3 The form of practice we will use today is the most natural and easy one in the world for the trained mind, just as it seems to be the most unnatural and difficult for the untrained mind.
W-pI.44.5. Your mind is no longer wholly untrained. 2 You are quite ready to learn the form of exercise we will use today, but you may find that you will encounter strong resistance. 3 The reason is very simple. 4 While you practice in this way, you leave behind everything that you now believe, and all the thoughts that you have made up. 5 Properly speaking, this is the release from hell. 6 Yet perceived through the ego’s eyes, it is loss of identity and a descent into hell.
Jesus encourages us by saying that our mind is no longer wholly untrained. We have been doing this work for 43 days already. Even if we did not do it perfectly, we were learning and getting better. Then he warns us that there will be great resistance going forward. The reason for this resistance is that the ego will not like this. We are giving up everything we currently believe to be true and that is the ego. We are slowly but surely giving up the ego and the ego (the wrong mind) is afraid and fights against this.
Also, note that Jesus says that we will give up all thoughts that we have made up. What are those thoughts? They are the thoughts that appear as images of a whole world and that includes these body/personalities we have chosen to represent us in the world. We give up the whole thing which means we give up the self we think we are and that is the ego. That is why we experience resistance now and going forward. What helped me was to keep reminding myself that I am not the ego and that this imaginary self I call Myron does not actually exist, but that I do and I want to remember who I am. I won’t remember that if I cling to the imposter-self, this personal identity.
W-pI.44.6. If you can stand aside from the ego by ever so little, you will have no difficulty in recognizing that its opposition and its fears are meaningless. 2 You might find it helpful to remind yourself, from time to time, that to reach light is to escape from darkness, whatever you may believe to the contrary. 3 God is the light in which you see. 4 You are attempting to reach Him.
Each time Jesus says to go inward to find God, my heart opens more. Oh my! I know that God is in me as I am in Him, but Jesus is telling us that we can reach God, and the way we do this is two-fold. All during the day we must notice the dark thoughts in our mind, the anger, fear, guilt, and hatred, and desire the light instead. As our desire for light grows stronger, as it will since light undoes darkness, we will be motivated to do this more and more often.
The second way is through meditation. We become quiet and let our focus change from looking outward to looking inward. We look for the light, for God.
W-pI.44.7. Begin the practice period by repeating today’s idea with your eyes open, and close them slowly, repeating the idea several times more. 2 Then try to sink into your mind, letting go every kind of interference and intrusion by quietly sinking past them. 3 Your mind cannot be stopped in this unless you choose to stop it. 4 It is merely taking its natural course. 5 Try to observe your passing thoughts without involvement, and slip quietly by them.
This has always been a challenge for me because my mind was very undisciplined and still is, though to a lesser degree. I have learned not to fight the thoughts that come up knowing that the ego-mind will think. I just don’t pay attention to them. I have learned to be gentle with myself, not trying to fight against anything, just calmly noticing thoughts and then turning away from them again. Persistence works. I choose not to allow the ego-mind to distract me from my purpose.
W-pI.44.8. While no particular approach is advocated for this form of exercise, what is needful is a sense of the importance of what you are doing; its inestimable value to you, and an awareness that you are attempting something very holy. 2 Salvation is your happiest accomplishment. 3 It is also the only one that has any meaning, because it is the only one that has any real use to you at all.
This is why I choose to keep up this practice, it is of great importance to me. In one form or another, undoing and going within, I have experienced the inestimable value that Jesus speaks of. I keep up the practice because I want to keep rising up the ladder of awakening to full enlightenment. I’m pretty much an expert at noticing darkness and immediately choosing light. Going within is still a practice for me. But the very attempt is a holy endeavor and so I continue the practice.
W-pI.44.9. If resistance rises in any form, pause long enough to repeat today’s idea, keeping your eyes closed unless you are aware of fear. 2 In that case, you will probably find it more reassuring to open your eyes briefly. 3 Try, however, to return to the exercises with eyes closed as soon as possible.
W-pI.44.10. If you are doing the exercises correctly, you should experience some sense of relaxation, and even a feeling that you are approaching, if not actually entering into light. 2 Try to think of light, formless and without limit, as you pass by the thoughts of this world. 3 And do not forget that they cannot hold you to the world unless you give them the power to do so.
W-pI.44.11. Throughout the day repeat the idea often, with eyes open or closed as seems better to you at the time. 2 But do not forget. 3 Above all, be determined not to forget today.
What has happened for me is that I have watched my mind like a hawk for a long time. I have looked at judgmental thoughts in my mind and eventually learned to do so without judging myself for them and that made it all go much faster and easier. I suggest releasing judgment of yourself to the Holy Spirit so He can help you do this without the ego interfering so much because, after all, it is the ego that says you are guilty. Do this now, and it won’t take you as long as it did me to shift.
Jesus knows that we will probably not remember to do this as we are supposed to but he asks us not to forget, to be determined not to forget. I call this spiritual aspiration, and my spiritual aspiration has been very strong for a long time now. To move forward, it is the one thing we must have. I was not determined when I first began the Course but each year my determination grew as I did the best I could. My mind began to heal and the peace and love that became part of my everyday life motivates me now.