ACIM Workbook Lesson 21, Year 2022

ACIM Lesson 21 I am determined to see things differently.

I am determined to see things differently. ACIM Lesson 22

I am determined to see things differently.

ACIM Lesson 21

Lesson 21

I am determined to see things differently.

1. The idea for today is obviously a continuation and extension of the preceding one. ²This time, however, specific mind-searching periods are necessary, in addition to applying the idea to particular situations as they may arise. ³Five practice periods are urged, allowing a full minute for each.

As you can see, Jesus is slowly getting us used to spending more time with our lessons. When I first started the lessons, it seemed that these lessons were intrusive on my day. I was working and sometimes I couldn’t stop and do them. I also felt really guilty when I failed to do the lessons. All of this was resistance but I didn’t see it that way at first. Even the guilt is resistance. Somehow, though, in spite of it all, I did finally get all the way through the lessons in one year. And, no, I didn’t do them perfectly. But I did them and I am so grateful that I did. It made all the difference in the world.

Anger

2. In the practice periods, begin by repeating the idea to yourself. ²Then close your eyes and search your mind carefully for situations past, present or anticipated that arouse anger in you. ³The anger may take the form of any reaction ranging from mild irritation to rage. ⁴The degree of the emotion you experience does not matter. ⁵You will become increasingly aware that a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury.

This is the lesson that has the familiar statement that a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury. Maybe you get that, and maybe not. I had not thought of it before I this lesson, but I see how this is true. If I am angry or just annoyed, I have lost my peace. Either I am at peace or I am not. There is no degree of peace.

And, if I am just a little annoyed at someone, I have pushed them away from me, figuratively speaking. I am not seeing the other person as part of me and thus I am choosing to believe in and reinforce the idea of separation. So, it matters not the degree of the emotion. We are one or we or not. If I see myself as separate in any way from one person, the Sonship is not whole. We are not, in my mind, one and I will suffer for that.

There Are No Justified Attacks

3. Try, therefore, not to let the “little” thoughts of anger escape you in the practice periods. ²Remember that you do not really recognize what arouses anger in you, and nothing that you believe in this connection means anything. ³You will probably be tempted to dwell more on some situations or persons than on others, on the fallacious grounds that they are more “obvious.” ⁴This is not so. ⁵It is merely an example of the belief that some forms of attack are more justified than others.

The tendency is to overlook the “little” thoughts of anger. First, all anger is the same though some situations elicit stronger emotion. But no matter how intense the emotion, it is still anger, none greater or lesser. Second, we don’t recognize what has caused the anger. For instance, I might think that the plumber caused my anger but all anger has the same cause.

We feel guilty for separating from God and need someone to blame it on, so we use these people in our dream for that purpose. I could just as easily have seen the plumber as innocent and normally would have. But in that moment, I was using him to project onto and so the anger seemed justified. This is why I typically always turn my thoughts inward when I am tempted to look for the cause in the world. In this way, each upset becomes an opportunity to heal my mind of another belief.

Our Practice

4. As you search your mind for all the forms in which attack thoughts present themselves, hold each one in mind while you tell yourself:

²I am determined to see ____________ [name of person] differently.
³I am determined to see ________________ [specify the situation] differently.

5. Try to be as specific as possible. ²You may, for example, focus your anger on a particular attribute of a particular person, believing that the anger is limited to this aspect. ³If your perception is suffering from this form of distortion, say:

⁴I am determined to see ____________ [specify the attribute] in ____________ [name of person] differently.

It may not seem like we are doing very much with this simple process, but we are instructing our minds as to what to believe. In several places, Jesus tells us to instruct our mind such as he does in this one. ³Faith goes to what you want, and you instruct your mind accordingly. (ACIM, W-91.5:3) Our mind is our servant. It does what we tell it to do. We have not done a very good job of instructing it in the past, but now we can instruct it in a new way. These lessons are a perfect way to do this reprogramming of our minds.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson 20, Year 2022

ACIM Lesson 20 I am determined to see.

I am determined to see. ACIM Lesson 20

I am determined to see.

ACIM Lesson 20

Lesson 20

I am determined to see.

1. We have been quite casual about our practice periods thus far. ²There has been virtually no attempt to direct the time for undertaking them, minimal effort has been required, and not even active cooperation and interest have been asked. ³This approach has been intentional, and very carefully planned. ⁴We have not lost sight of the crucial importance of the reversal of your thinking. ⁵The salvation of the world depends on it. ⁶Yet you will not see if you regard yourself as being coerced, and if you give in to resentment and opposition.

Jesus is such a good teacher. I try to follow his example in both my teaching and learning. I don’t want to push myself or anyone else. When we feel like we are being coerced, we tend to dig our heels in and resist. Jesus foresaw this reaction and so the lessons so far have required very little of us. Now he is going to ask for more. I guess we are graduating from the kindergarten of spiritual school. Ha ha. Jesus goes on to tell us that this is very important work that we do. The salvation of the world depends on it.

Let’s Pick Up the Pace

2. This is our first attempt to introduce structure. ²Do not misconstrue it as an effort to exert force or pressure. ³You want salvation. ⁴You want to be happy. ⁵You want peace. ⁶You do not have them now, because your mind is totally undisciplined, and you cannot distinguish between joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, love and fear. ⁷You are now learning how to tell them apart. ⁸And great indeed will be your reward.

How interesting it is that Jesus needs to tell us that we want salvation, happiness, and peace. I suppose, though, that if we don’t have these qualities in our life, it is because we don’t want them. I used to want to be happy, but I thought being right would make me happy, or having more money would do the trick.

Even after I began the study of the Course, I thought I knew what would make me happy and it was always something outside me that I looked for. I finally had to accept that I didn’t want to be happy, or I would do something that actually brought me happiness. At last, I had put my finger on the problem and things began to change. The change was slow because I resisted giving up what never worked anyway. Go figure. But I did finally make the choices that brought me peace and happiness.

I Was Really Confused

Jesus is also telling us in this lesson that our minds are undisciplined. I knew he was right. But then, he tells us that we don’t know the difference between joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, love and fear. I wasn’t so sure about that. At least I could tell the difference between love and fear, couldn’t I? But I kept my mind open and soon began to realize he was right.

Here is an example of what I saw. I thought it brought me joy to be right, to win, to be better than someone else. I’m no longer confused about this. I know this isn’t true and I never strive for it anymore. I now understand that the feeling I used to have when I won was just a short-lived adrenalin rush. And I also saw that there was no way to sustain it. True joy comes without effort and stays unless I impose something else in its place.

It Is All About What I Want

3. Your decision to see is all that vision requires. ²What you want is yours. ³Do not mistake the little effort that is asked of you for an indication that our goal is of little worth. ⁴Can the salvation of the world be a trivial purpose? ⁵And can the world be saved if you are not? ⁶God has one Son, and he is the resurrection and the life. ⁷His will is done because all power is given him in Heaven and on earth. ⁸In your determination to see is vision given you.

This is another lesson I finally learned. Nothing happens until I desire the change. I had to watch my thoughts for the tendency to slip back into old ways of thinking. For a while, I would revert to trying to find happiness in the world. I would be disappointed, and then remember that I needed to make an inward change. I needed to see the situation in another way.

Our Exercise

4. The exercises for today consist in reminding yourself throughout the day that you want to see. ²Today’s idea also tacitly implies the recognition that you do not see now. ³Therefore, as you repeat the idea, you are stating that you are determined to change your present state for a better one, and one you really want.

5. Repeat today’s idea slowly and positively at least twice an hour today, attempting to do so every half hour. ²Do not be distressed if you forget to do so, but make a real effort to remember. ³The extra repetitions should be applied to any situation, person or event that upsets you. ⁴You can see them differently, and you will. ⁵  ⁶Such is the real law of cause and effect as it operates in the world.

What I Desire to See, I Will See

Jesus was right that I wasn’t seeing, and that was why I wasn’t happy or peaceful. I became completely convinced that was the problem when I began to solve it. For instance, if I was angry at someone, I would remind myself that I must not be seeing this. I meant that I was perceiving it with the ego and that vision was possible if I changed my mind. Then, I would ask for vision, or I would forgive my thoughts about the situation and I would have vision.

Now, I never hesitate to ask for another way to see. I have learned that no one is trying to coerce me to do something I don’t want to do. I am not being forced to be happy. It became obvious to me that if what I am presently doing isn’t working, I need a better way of doing it. I came to absolutely know that Jesus is right. What I desire to see, I will see.

The Real Law of Cause and Effect

This sentence explains why it is that we always get what we want even if we are confused about what we want. Jesus says ⁶Such is the real law of cause and effect as it operates in the world. If I think I desire to see what is actually there, that is, Love, then I will see it. If I don’t see Love, then I need to recognize that I have chosen something else to see, probably to be right. ~smile~ And then with an open mind, I can choose again. My thought is the cause, what I see is the effect. This is always true so I don’t have to wonder why I am not happy or at peace. I just have to change my mind about what I thought I wanted. My new desire will bring me a new experience.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson 19, Year 2022

ACIM Lesson 19 I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.

I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts. ACIM Lesson 19

I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.

ACIM Lesson 19

Lesson 19

I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.

1. The idea for today is obviously the reason why your seeing does not affect you alone. ²You will notice that at times the ideas related to thinking precede those related to perceiving, while at other times the order is reversed. ³The reason is that the order does not matter. ⁴Thinking and its results are really simultaneous, for cause and effect are never separate.

2. Today we are again emphasizing the fact that minds are joined. ²This is rarely a wholly welcome idea at first, since it seems to carry with it an enormous sense of responsibility, and may even be regarded as an “invasion of privacy.” ³Yet it is a fact that there are no private thoughts. ⁴Despite your initial resistance to this idea, you will yet understand that it must be true if salvation is possible at all. ⁵And salvation must be possible because it is the Will of God.

Cause and Effect Are Simultaneous

This idea is very like yesterday’s idea. In Lesson 18 we practiced the idea that we are not alone in experiencing the effects of our seeing. And today we practice the idea that we are not alone in experiencing the effects of our thoughts. This would have to be so since what we see comes from what we think. And it doesn’t matter which order the ideas appear in because thinking and its results are simultaneous. Jesus says that this is so because cause and effect are never separate.

I am working this out in my mind. If I think I am a victim, I can expect situations that prove my victimhood to show up in my life. I can also expect that my perception of situations will prove my victimhood regardless of the facts because this is what I think will happen. So I see that cause and effect are simultaneous and it doesn’t matter which comes first.

Let’s Revisit the Plumber

Looking at my situation with the plumber yesterday, I can see this in action. For a little while, I accepted the idea of victimhood as possible. This belief showed me the victim story I wanted to see. When I looked at what the plumber was doing, what I saw seemed to prove I was right. When I asked for a different way of seeing it, my perception showed me an innocent plumber and the whole illusion fell apart.

The Hidden Desire

This kind of thinking and perceiving conceals a hidden desire. The reason we want to see ourselves as a victim is that we want someone else to assume the hidden guilt we feel. We think we left God bereft of His Son and now we are alone in the world and filled with guilt. So, we make up these stories that prove the guilt belongs to someone else in an effort to ease our burden. This pretense made it possible for me to believe the plumber was the problem even though the whole situation as I saw it was in my mind.

The illusory nature of the situation becomes obvious when we remember that our thoughts are images we have made. Then, in a magic act of enormous proportions, we convince ourselves that the images of our thoughts are outside us. Now we can pretend that we are innocent victims of a world over which we have no control, even though it is an effect of our thoughts. That is why we made the world but the world itself is in our mind since thoughts leave not their source. We are not in the world, the world is in us.

Our Thoughts Affect Others

So how does this affect the other person if we don’t take our accusations to the level of expressing them out loud? Ah, this is where another truth comes in. We are one, with one mind. There are no private thoughts. We may not see the effect of our thoughts on someone else, but the effect is there non the less. This is why once I came to my senses, I felt regret that I had imposed my guilt onto another. It is why I forgave myself as I allowed the consequences of my thoughts to be undone by letting the Holy Spirit decide for God for me.

Our Exercise

3. The minute or so of mind searching which today’s exercises require is to be undertaken with eyes closed. ²The idea for today is to be repeated first, and then the mind should be carefully searched for the thoughts it contains at that time. ³As you consider each one, name it in terms of the central person or theme it contains, and holding it in your mind as you do so, say:

⁴I am not alone in experiencing the effects of this thought about _____________.

4. The requirement of as much indiscriminateness as possible in selecting subjects for the practice periods should be quite familiar to you by now, and will no longer be repeated each day, although it will occasionally be included as a reminder. ²Do not forget, however, that random selection of subjects for all practice periods remains essential throughout. ³Lack of order in this connection will ultimately make the recognition of lack of order in miracles meaningful to you.

5. Apart from the “as needed” application of today’s idea, at least three practice periods are required, shortening the length of time involved, if necessary. ²Do not attempt more than four.

One Meaning and So One Miracle

Jesus is emphasizing in our instructions to be sure our selections are truly random. This is necessary so that we begin to accept that all things are the same and so all things are subject to the miracle. My thoughts are images I made in order to experience the idea of separation. The one meaning they have makes them all the same no matter what shape or form they take. The miracle undoes the idea of separation and so there is one problem and one solution. And naturally, this also means that there is no order of difficulty in miracles.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson 18, Year 2022

ACIM Lesson 18 I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.

I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing. AcIM Lesson 18

I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.

ACIM Lesson 18

Lesson 18

I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.

1. The idea for today is another step in learning that the thoughts which give rise to what you see are never neutral or unimportant. ²It also emphasizes the idea that minds are joined, which will be given increasing stress later on.

2. Today’s idea does not refer to what you see as much as to how you see it. ²Therefore, the exercises for today emphasize this aspect of your perception. ³The three or four practice periods which are recommended should be done as follows:

3. Look about you, selecting subjects for the application of the idea for today as randomly as possible, and keeping your eyes on each one long enough to say:

²I am not alone in experiencing the effects of how I see _____.

³Conclude each practice period by repeating the more general statement:

⁴I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.

⁵A minute or so, or even less, will be sufficient for each practice period.

We Are Not Alone

There are two ideas we are to practice in this lesson. The first is that we are not alone, that our minds are joined. Though Jesus is not talking about it right now, the implication is that we affect others with our thoughts. I think of it like this. My thoughts are either awakening the mind we all share, or they are taking us deeper into the illusion. Either way, they affect us all. Sometimes I think of it as light and darkness. The sleeping mind is dark and when someone remembers the truth, a little light comes on and so the mind is not as dark. Each true thought I embrace lightens the entire mind.

Fact or Perception?

The second idea being practiced is about perception. Seeing can refer to image making, that is, what we think we see when looking with our eyes. Or it can refer to how we are seeing and that is perception. In Lesson 15, I mentioned the plumbing incident in which my perceptions took me down a rabbit hole.

Here is what actually happened. I asked a plumber to fix the faucet in my tub. He did that and the process took longer and cost more than I expected. My perception of it was different than that. Much different.

Here is what I perceived that happened. In my mind, the incident was a problem and the plumber was incompetent. It seemed to me I was unfairly treated and a victim. I felt put upon and resentful. It seemed obvious to me that the company should do something about it. I was projecting my feelings (my fears) onto the plumber. And so rather than turning within to heal my mind, I was trying to fix the problem in the world. This went on until I came to my senses and turned it around.

Enlightened Perception

The way this applies to this lesson is that the effects of my seeing, that is, the effects of my perception are felt within the mind that we all share. My perception was dark and so I added darkness to the mind. I recognized my error and asked for another way to see it and accepted the Holy Spirit’s perception. Then, I was enlightening the mind because this perception was light.

The work we do as we watch our mind and allow the dark thoughts to be replaced with an enlightened perception is sacred work. We are not just removing blocks from our mind. Much more is happening. We are providing the light that helps the next person to remove blocks to the awareness of Love’s presence. In this way, the light spreads and the Sonship begins to awaken. Is there anything we could possibly do that matters more? I think not.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson 17, Year 2022

ACIM Lesson 17 I have no neutral thoughts.

I see no neutral things. ACIM Lesson 17

II see no neutral things.

ACIM Lesson 17

Lesson 17

I see no neutral things.

1. This idea is another step in the direction of identifying cause and effect as it really operates in the world. ²You see no neutral things because you have no neutral thoughts. ³It is always the thought that comes first, despite the temptation to believe that it is the other way around. ⁴This is not the way the world thinks, but you must learn that it is the way you think. ⁵If it were not so, perception would have no cause, and would itself be the cause of reality. ⁶In view of its highly variable nature, this is hardly likely.

The Thought Always Comes First

By now you are probably not surprised that we see no neutral things because we think no neutral thoughts. If you are like I was, however, you probably need a lot of practice in order to accept this as true or accept it as true all the time. The temptation is to see something and then believe you have thoughts about it. I see someone acting badly and then maybe have judgments about that person based on their behavior.

That’s not really the way it works, though. In actuality, the thought always comes first. If we expect bad behavior, we will find it. If we want to see bad behavior outside ourselves, then we will. You might wonder why anyone would want to see bad behavior in someone else. To understand this, we must remember that the world was made as a place to project our guilt. We feel safer when we find someone or something to blame instead of ourselves. So, that is our motivation.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that we keep the cycle going in this way. We expect bad behavior and so we see it. We think about the bad behavior and so we see more bad behavior. We are always either adding to the problem or the solution. So, the way to end this cycle is to see bad behavior, realize that on some level we have asked for this, and then to choose differently. Instead of judging and seeing guilt, recognize it as a call for love and give love instead.

Our Practice

2. In applying today’s idea, say to yourself, with eyes open:

²I see no neutral things because I have no neutral thoughts.

³Then look about you, resting your glance on each thing you note long enough to say:

⁴I do not see a neutral _____, because my thoughts about _________ are not neutral.

⁵For example, you might say:

⁶I do not see a neutral wall, because my thoughts about walls are not neutral.
⁷I do not see a neutral body, because my thoughts about bodies are not neutral.

3. As usual, it is essential to make no distinctions between what you believe to be animate or inanimate; pleasant or unpleasant. ²Regardless of what you may believe, you do not see anything that is really alive or really joyous. ³That is because you are unaware as yet of any thought that is really true, and therefore really happy.

4. Three or four specific practice periods are recommended, and no less than three are required for maximum benefit, even if you experience resistance. ²However, if you do, the length of the practice period may be reduced to less than the minute or so that is otherwise recommended.

Even the Good Stuff?

Did it come as a surprise to you that even the pleasant things are to be looked at as well? I always wanted to look at only the bad stuff and resisted looking at the good things. But as Jesus tells us, we don’t see anything that is really alive or really joyous. This is because at this point in the lessons, we are not yet aware of our true thoughts and so not aware of our happy thoughts.

I was thinking about this phenomena and how it must be true even if It is not immediately obvious to me. So, I thought about my computer since I am using it right now. I really like my computer for many reasons and appreciate it for the uses I have given it. But it was expensive and I know one day I will have to replace it. This puts a damper on my happiness. Sometimes something goes wrong and I have to call the techs and I dread that. Ah, another damper on my happiness. OK, I can imagine this is true about all things in the world. So, let’s just do the lesson as instructed and trust our Teacher.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson 16, Year 2022

ACIM Lesson 16 I have no neutral thoughts.

I have no neutral thoughts. ACIM Lesson 16

I have no neutral thoughts.

ACIM Lesson 16

Lesson 16

I have no neutral thoughts.

1. The idea for today is a beginning step in dispelling the belief that your thoughts have no effect. ²Everything you see is the result of your thoughts. ³There is no exception to this fact. ⁴Thoughts are not big or little; powerful or weak. ⁵They are merely true or false. ⁶Those that are true create their own likeness. ⁷Those that are false make theirs.

We are learning some important facts about thoughts in this lesson. I’m glad this is so since everything we see is an out picturing of our thoughts. We need to understand thoughts and how they work.

What We Have Learned About Our Thoughts

Let’s review what we have learned thus far about thoughts.

  • We have already been told that there is a difference between our normal thoughts which are not real and the thoughts we think with God.
  •  Our typical thoughts, the thoughts we think we think, are meaningless.
  • We are preoccupied with past thoughts and this is the reason we don’t understand anything.
  • Our meaningless thoughts are showing us a meaningless world which upsets and scares us. This is so in spite of the fact that God did not create a meaningless world. We definitely need to do something about our thoughts.
  • Thoughts make the images that are the world we see with our eyes.
  • And now, we are told that in spite of the fact our thoughts are meaningless, they are not neutral.

It makes sense, though that they are not neutral when we remember that they make up our world whether they are true or not. The strong implication here is that we need to watch our thoughts and change those that give us effects we do not prefer.

No Idle Thoughts

2. There is no more self-contradictory concept than that of “idle thoughts.” ²What gives rise to the perception of a whole world can hardly be called idle. ³Every thought you have contributes to truth or to illusion; either it extends the truth or it multiplies illusions. ⁴You can indeed multiply nothing, but you will not extend it by doing so.

Again, we see that all our thoughts matter, even those we don’t take seriously. When I read that there are no idle thoughts, I was shocked and at first, overwhelmed. But then, I buckled down and renewed my commitment to staying aware of my thoughts. I did this so that I could forgive the ones that were leading me into fear and choose more often those that lead me into love.

No Neutral Results

3. Besides your recognizing that thoughts are never idle, salvation requires that you also recognize that every thought you have brings either peace or war; either love or fear. ²A neutral result is impossible because a neutral thought is impossible. ³There is such a temptation to dismiss fear thoughts as unimportant, trivial and not worth bothering about that it is essential you recognize them all as equally destructive, but equally unreal. ⁴We will practice this idea in many forms before you really understand it.

It is easy work, really, even though I experienced a lot of resistance at times. It seems that I was attached to many thoughts that were keeping me on the battleground. Also, I often cared more for being right than being happy. Many of my thoughts took me directly into fear and that called for defensive thoughts. When that happened, I would be right back on the battleground. But in spite of all this resistance, I was able to shift my thinking.

I understood that my thoughts were the cause of everything I experienced and how I interpreted the experience. Another important understanding was that all thoughts contribute to my experience, not just some of them. I realized that every thought either brought me peace or war. With this knowledge, I had what I needed to change my thinking. I just had to keep practicing until thinking with God became more natural to me than thinking with the ego. I am still finding ideas that lead to fear, but now it is easier to choose again.

Our Practice

4. In applying the idea for today, search your mind for a minute or so with eyes closed, and actively seek not to overlook any “little” thought that may tend to elude the search. ²This is quite difficult until you get used to it. ³You will find that it is still hard for you not to make artificial distinctions. ⁴Every thought that occurs to you, regardless of the qualities that you assign to it, is a suitable subject for applying today’s idea.

5. In the practice periods, first repeat the idea to yourself, and then as each one crosses your mind hold it in awareness while you tell yourself:

²This thought about _________ is not a neutral thought.
³That thought about _________ is not a neutral thought.

⁴As usual, use today’s idea whenever you are aware of a particular thought that arouses uneasiness. ⁵The following form is suggested for this purpose:

⁶This thought about ____________ is not a neutral thought, because I have no neutral thoughts.

6. Four or five practice periods are recommended, if you find them relatively effortless. ²If strain is experienced, three will be enough. ³The length of the exercise period should also be reduced if there is discomfort.

It Took Some Practice

I have to laugh when I think of my earlier attempts at this lesson. My mind was typically chaotic with thoughts. But when I closed my eyes to search for them, they seemed to disappear. It was very frustrating especially since in those early days I was over concerned with the form of the practice. I was afraid of getting it wrong. Little did I know that I would have years to practice watching my mind and that I was going to accomplish my goal as long as I kept trying.

Now watching my mind is such a strong habit that I don’t even have to think about it. It’s also easier because typically, it is not as chaotic as it used to be. It is quieter now, and a happier more peaceful place as a result of doing these lessons. And it is not because I did them perfectly because I never did accomplish perfection. It doesn’t seem to matter. The desire to awaken from this dream of separation ensures that we will as that desire becomes our single goal.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson 15, Year 2022

ACIM Lesson 15 My thoughts are images that I have made.

My thoughts are images that I have made. ACIM Lesson 15

My thoughts are images that I have made.

ACIM Lesson 15

Lesson 15

My thoughts are images that I have made.

1. It is because the thoughts you think you think appear as images that you do not recognize them as nothing. ²You think you think them, and so you think you see them. ³This is how your “seeing” was made. ⁴This is the function you have given your body’s eyes. ⁵It is not seeing. ⁶It is image making. ⁷It takes the place of seeing, replacing vision with illusions.

The Thoughts You Think You Think

Let’s look at this first paragraph very carefully. It starts out saying “the thoughts you think you think” an idea he has alluded to before. We seem to have a lot of thoughts. In fact, our minds are filled with chatter pretty much all the time. But Jesus wants us to know that this is not real thinking. The only real thoughts we have are the thoughts we think with God or the thoughts that reflect God. All other thoughts are separation thoughts and are there to obscure our reality as Christ.

How Our Seeing Was Made

Next, he tells us that these thoughts appear as images. This is anything that is seen with the eyes. It is our bodies, trees, etc. It is the images of wars and sickness, images of suffering and death. We see these images as if they are outside us and because we see them, we believe they are real. And because they seem to be outside our mind, we can believe we have no responsibility for them. And thus, someone or something else is guilty of them.

Jesus reinforces this important idea by telling us outright that this is how our seeing was made. This is the function we gave the body’s eyes. But it is not seeing at all, it is image making. He has been building up to this from the beginning of the lessons but now he is being very clear. We have a senseless idea, a separation idea that could not be true. It is what we call thought and then we project that thought outward as an image. We then use the body’s eyes to show us the image we made and thus “prove” it is real and apart from us.

Trading Seeing for Vision

Jesus ends this paragraph by emphasizing that what we think of as seeing is made to replace vision with illusions. Vision is completely internal and has nothing to do with the body’s eyes. Vision is seeing past the body and its behaviors. It is the awareness of what actually exists. Here is an example of vision as opposed to seeing. I had been frustrated with the work a plumber was doing for me. It seemed to me that he was guilty of doing shoddy work. I knew that this had to be a wrong-minded thought but what my eyes showed me seemed to prove it was true.

I know, though, not to trust the eyes to show me the truth. And I am very uncomfortable with guilt of any kind. So, I asked the Holy Spirit to show me another way to see this. The idea He gave me was simple. “You think he is a plumber.” I laughed because I got it right away. My eyes showed me a fallible plumber. But because I was willing to see differently, my mind showed me the Christ. All resentment and guilt thoughts fell away instantly and were replaced with love. That is vision.

Light Episodes

2. This introductory idea to the process of image making that you call seeing will not have much meaning for you. ²You will begin to understand it when you have seen little edges of light around the same familiar objects which you see now. ³That is the beginning of real vision. ⁴You can be certain that real vision will come quickly when this has occurred.

3. As we go along, you may have many “light episodes.” ²They may take many different forms, some of them quite unexpected. ³Do not be afraid of them. ⁴They are signs that you are opening your eyes at last. ⁵They will not persist, because they merely symbolize true perception, and they are not related to knowledge. ⁶These exercises will not reveal knowledge to you. ⁷But they will prepare the way to it.

Most people do not experience light episodes with their eyes. This was directed to Helen because of an experience of a friend. The light we see is about vision. It is internal, the light of understanding or of seeing differently. However it shows up it is temporary, a symbol of true perception. I took this literally when I first studied the lessons. Thus, I felt guilty and inadequate that I didn’t see little edges of light. Eventually, I realized that I was slowly beginning to see things differently in a more enlightened way and that this is what Jesus means.

A Persistent Idea

4. In practicing the idea for today, repeat it first to yourself, and then apply it to whatever you see around you, using its name and letting your eyes rest on it as you say:

²This _________ is an image that I have made.
³That _________ is an image that I have made.

⁴It is not necessary to include a large number of specific subjects for the application of today’s idea. ⁵It is necessary, however, to continue to look at each subject while you repeat the idea to yourself. ⁶The idea should be repeated quite slowly each time.

5. Although you will obviously not be able to apply the idea to very many things during the minute or so of practice that is recommended, try to make the selection as random as possible. ²Less than a minute will do for the practice periods, if you begin to feel uneasy. ³Do not have more than three application periods for today’s idea unless you feel completely comfortable with it, and do not exceed four. ⁴However, the idea can be applied as needed throughout the day.

The idea that the world is real and that the eyes do truly see things outside our minds is persistent. But just because we believe something doesn’t make it true. I opened my mind to another way to see and over time, I began to accept vision as reality rather than the images we made. It still thrills me, though, to stop and looking at what appears to be a solid object, remind myself it is only an image that I have made. Even here in the middle of the illusion, we can peek behind the veil and remember we are not what we seem. In reality, we are limitless, eternal, powerful, and Divine.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson 14, Year 2022

ACIM Lesson 14 God did not create a meaningless world.

God did not create a meaningless world. ACIM Lesson 14

God did not create a meaningless world.

ACIM Lesson 14

Lesson 14

God did not create a meaningless world.

1. The idea for today is, of course, the reason why a meaningless world is impossible. ²What God did not create does not exist. ³And everything that does exist exists as He created it. ⁴The world you see has nothing to do with reality. ⁵It is of your own making, and it does not exist.

What God did not create does not exist.

In accepting that this obvious statement is actually true, we awaken. We realize that what the eyes show us is an illusion because it is not what God created. Jesus assures us that what He created exists as He created it. He did not create this body, so it does not exist. He did create Us and so we exist as He created us, as Thought in the Mind of God. We did not magically become bodies, nor did our imagination in any way change what God created us to be. The world we see is something we made up in our minds and does not exist.

Fundamental Wellbeing

2. The exercises for today are to be practiced with eyes closed throughout. ²The mind-searching period should be short, a minute at most. ³Do not have more than three practice periods with today’s idea unless you find them comfortable. ⁴If you do, it will be because you really understand what they are for.

3. The idea for today is another step in learning to let go the thoughts that you have written on the world, and see the Word of God in their place. ²The early steps in this exchange, which can truly be called salvation, can be quite difficult and even quite painful. ³Some of them will lead you directly into fear. ⁴You will not be left there. ⁵You will go far beyond it. ⁶Our direction is toward perfect safety and perfect peace.

Jesus is very gentle with us. He takes us a small step at a time into reality. However, he is very clear when he tells us that the world is not reality. It does not exist. If we identify ourselves as bodies, we will think we do not exist either and this is frightening. Actually, the self we come to the Course believing we are really does not exist. It is just a collection of beliefs, none of which are true.

When we think we are these beliefs we will experience fear when they are questioned. We will not be left in our fear because as we awaken, we naturally leave behind the idea of an individual self. What we have in its place is a feeling of fundamental wellbeing. We know everything is ok. There is a feeling of peace and happiness without this constant referencing to the story of the character.

The Horrors of the World

4. With eyes closed, think of all the horrors in the world that cross your mind. ²Name each one as it occurs to you, and then deny its reality. ³God did not create it, and so it is not real. ⁴Say, for example:

⁵God did not create that war, and so it is not real.
⁶God did not create that airplane crash, and so it is not real.
⁷God did not create that disaster [specify], and so it is not real.

5. Suitable subjects for the application of today’s idea also include anything you are afraid might happen to you, or to anyone about whom you are concerned. ²In each case, name the “disaster” quite specifically. ³Do not use general terms. ⁴For example, do not say, “God did not create illness,” but, “God did not create cancer,” or heart attacks, or whatever may arouse fear in you.

I remember when I first did this. The exercise made me very uncomfortable. I preferred not to think about the horrors of the world too specifically or at all. Of course, I knew I was afraid of many things but I tried to keep those thoughts at bay as much as I could. I couldn’t do this lesson very long and Jesus knew this would be true for many of us. This is why he cautions us to keep these exercises short.

God Did Not Create Our Horrors

6. This is your personal repertory of horrors at which you are looking. ²These things are part of the world you see. ³Some of them are shared illusions, and others are part of your personal hell. ⁴It does not matter. ⁵What God did not create can only be in your own mind apart from His. ⁶Therefore, it has no meaning. ⁷In recognition of this fact, conclude the practice periods by repeating today’s idea:

⁸God did not create a meaningless world.

7. The idea for today can, of course, be applied to anything that disturbs you during the day, aside from the practice periods. ²Be very specific in applying it. ³Say:

⁴God did not create a meaningless world. ⁵He did not create [specify the situation which is disturbing you], and so it is not real.

I don’t have too many personal horrors to look at now. I would prefer not to get Alzheimer’s Disease as my mom did. But if I do, I do. It doesn’t scare me in the way it used to. As to our shared horrors, I am not unaware of the direction we are taking in this world. I know that we are destroying the planet and that we are separating from each other in our politics. I would prefer that this was not true because those who believe it is real are going to suffer. But in spite of the suffering that are the effects of these mistakes, lessons will be learned. Everyone will wake up eventually. I’m doing my part for the healing of our mind and it is helping.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson 13, Year 2022

ACIM Lesson 13 A meaningless world engenders fear.

A meaningless world engenders fear. ACIM Lesson 13

A meaningless world engenders fear.

ACIM Lesson 13

Lesson 13

A meaningless world engenders fear.

1. Today’s idea is really another form of the preceding one, except that it is more specific as to the emotion aroused. ²Actually, a meaningless world is impossible. ³Nothing without meaning exists. ⁴However, it does not follow that you will not think you perceive something that has no meaning. ⁵On the contrary, you will be particularly likely to think you do perceive it.

In this paragraph we read that a meaningless world is impossible, that nothing without meaning exists. This in spite of the fact we have been talking about meaninglessness since Lesson 10. There is a reason that what we see is meaningless even though a meaningless world is impossible. What we are experiencing is not real; it is an illusion. In this illusion, we decide what it is we want to see, and then we see it, and thus we think we have perceived something without meaning. We did this with the tiny mad idea that we had changed God’s creation. We continue to uphold that idea moment by moment even now. How exhausting this must be. 

2. Recognition of meaninglessness arouses intense anxiety in all the separated ones. ²It represents a situation in which God and the ego “challenge” each other as to whose meaning is to be written in the empty space that meaninglessness provides. ³The ego rushes in frantically to establish its own ideas there, fearful that the void may otherwise be used to demonstrate its own impotence and unreality. ⁴And on this alone it is correct.

Next, Jesus tells us that recognition of meaninglessness arouses intense anxiety. By this time, this statement probably doesn’t surprise anyone. What he says next, however, is stunning. Jesus says the reason meaninglessness causes so much anxiety is that we think we must rush in and give it meaning. We believe this is true because if we don’t give it the meaning we want, the truth will be written there and if that happened, our play in the illusory world would be over because we would no longer be able to believe what our eyes show us. 

3. It is essential, therefore, that you learn to recognize the meaningless, and accept it without fear. ²If you are fearful, it is certain that you will endow the world with attributes that it does not possess, and crowd it with images that do not exist. ³To the ego illusions are safety devices, as they must also be to you who equate yourself with the ego.

Jesus tells us that this is the reason we must learn to recognize the meaningless and accept it without fear. If we are afraid, we will keep the world going by endowing the world with attributes that it does not possess and crowding it with images that do not exist. He says that these are safety devices that keep the illusion in place. They defend us against the love of God that is so compelling we would gladly give up the world to be in His Heart again. 

What are these attributes we endow the world with? I think of ways I have thought of the world in the past. I have sometimes seen it as lovely and exciting and fun. I have also seen it as threatening and fearful and ugly. None of these attributes is real; the world is neutral. I give it those attributes. I tell myself that I see beauty or ugliness and my mind then reports on it. But the truth is, I decide the world is beautiful or I decide that it ugly and then I instruct the eyes to show me what I want to see, beauty or ugliness according to my present moment desire. 

And what are the images we crowd the world with? It is the images of bodies and cars and trees. It is the images of chaos and drama and conflict. The analogy I use for my mind to absorb this is one of a blank screen (we call it the world) on which we separated ones project ideas in our minds of things we want to see. We project death and the grief and sorrow that accompany it onto this blank screen.  

Our screen allows many dimensions including all the body senses and the emotions appropriate to the situation. But every image represents separation from God and so every image ends in suffering and intense anxiety. Seeing it in this way allows me to see it without fear. We, the ones doing the projection are unaffected by our projections which are, after all, just images of ideas in our minds and not anything real. We are still as God created us no matter what we witness on the screen, no matter what feelings we experience from that witnessing.

4. The exercises for today, which should be done about three or four times for not more than a minute or so at most each time, are to be practiced in a somewhat different way from the preceding ones. ²With eyes closed, repeat today’s idea to yourself. ³Then open your eyes, and look about you slowly, saying:

⁴I am looking at a meaningless world.

⁵Repeat this statement to yourself as you look about. ⁶Then close your eyes, and conclude with:

⁷A meaningless world engenders fear because I think I am in competition with God.

5. You may find it difficult to avoid resistance, in one form or another, to this concluding statement. ²Whatever form such resistance may take, remind yourself that you are really afraid of such a thought because of the “vengeance” of the “enemy.” ³You are not expected to believe the statement at this point, and will probably dismiss it as preposterous. ⁴Note carefully, however, any signs of overt or covert fear which it may arouse.

6. This is our first attempt at stating an explicit cause and effect relationship of a kind which you are very inexperienced in recognizing. ²Do not dwell on the concluding statement, and try not even to think of it except during the practice periods. ³That will suffice at present.

These decisions are made quickly by the mind and just as quickly we choose not to remember that we made them. We do this because we want to reserve the right to be a victim and unfairly treated. We want the world to remain the screen on which we project the images of our discontent and the place where we find someone or something on which to project our guilt, both the conscious guilt and the unconscious guilt. This is why Jesus points out that we may feel resistance in the form of fear to the to concluding statement. Just use it anyway. A meaningless world engenders fear because I think I am in competition with God.

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ACIM Workbook Lesson 12, Year 2022

ACIM Lesson 12 I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

I am upset because I see a meaningless world. ACIM Lesson 12

I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

ACIM Lesson 12

Lesson 12

I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

1. The importance of this idea lies in the fact that it contains a correction for a major perceptual distortion. ²You think that what upsets you is a frightening world, or a sad world, or a violent world, or an insane world. ³All these attributes are given it by you. ⁴The world is meaningless in itself.

I really do understand this. My friend’s dog had to be put down it seemed like a sad world. I read about cruel and violent actions in yesterday’s news so it must be a cruel and violent world. Politics today show me an insane world. That seems obvious and yet, the world itself is meaningless. If it has meaning, it is because I gave it meaning. As soon as I hear about something or notice something, I rush to decide what it means.

It’s All the Same

2. These exercises are done with eyes open. ²Look around you, this time quite slowly. ³Try to pace yourself so that the slow shifting of your glance from one thing to another involves a fairly constant time interval. ⁴Do not allow the time of the shift to become markedly longer or shorter, but try, instead, to keep a measured, even tempo throughout. ⁵What you see does not matter. ⁶You teach yourself this as you give whatever your glance rests on equal attention and equal time. ⁷This is a beginning step in learning to give them all equal value.

I looked around my office at all I could see giving meaning to each thing my eye lit on without singling anything out. Everything was equal because nothing had more or less value so it didn’t matter what I looked at.

Jesus Will Help us Understand

3. As you look about you, say to yourself:

²I think I see a fearful world, a dangerous world, a hostile world, a sad world, a wicked world, a crazy world,

and so on, using whatever descriptive terms happen to occur to you. ³If terms which seem positive rather than negative occur to you, include them. ⁴For example, you might think of “a good world,” or “a satisfying world.” ⁵If such terms occur to you, use them along with the rest. ⁶You may not yet understand why these “nice” adjectives belong in these exercises but remember that a “good world” implies a “bad” one, and a “satisfying world” implies an “unsatisfying” one. ⁷All terms which cross your mind are suitable subjects for today’s exercises. ⁸Their seeming quality does not matter.

4. Be sure that you do not alter the time intervals between applying today’s idea to what you think is pleasant and what you think is unpleasant. ²For the purposes of these exercises, there is no difference between them. ³At the end of the practice period, add:

⁴But I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

I didn’t have any trouble describing everything. I already understand that what I think of each thing is not about the thing. It is about me because I am seeing a meaningless world. And I am jumping in to give it some kind of meaning. I wonder why I feel compelled to do that? Why not just let it be? I’m sure that Jesus will help us understand this compulsion.

The Word of God

5. What is meaningless is neither good nor bad. ²Why, then, should a meaningless world upset you? ³If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy. ⁴But because it is meaningless, you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be. ⁵It is this you see in it. ⁶It is this that is meaningless in truth. ⁷Beneath your words is written the Word of God. ⁸The truth upsets you now, but when your words have been erased, you will see His. ⁹That is the ultimate purpose of these exercises.

6. Three or four times is enough for practicing the idea for today. ²Nor should the practice periods exceed a minute. ³You may find even this too long. ⁴Terminate the exercises whenever you experience a sense of strain.

Ha! I knew we would be told the answer to my question. The reason I am compelled to give meaning to the meaningless is that beneath my words is written the Word of God. I suppose the feeling must be that this is my world not His and so I get to do the naming and decision making. I decide what it all means. And it is this that is meaningless. My thoughts are meaningless. Me trying to distort creation is meaningless. No wonder I don’t like to think about that. No wonder the world feels so screwed up.

It’s ok, though. At one time I was desperate to keep His Words hidden from me because of my fear and guilt. The past years of doing these lessons has changed that. I am ready to accept that my thoughts are meaningless, relieved even to know this. I have released so many beliefs already and I love the thought of doing more of this sacred work. The idea of seeing God’s Words that are written beneath my careless judgments is exhilarating!

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