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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 1 "THE INTRODUCTION TO MIRACLES"
II. DISTORTIONS OF MIRACLE IMPULSES
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
A theoretical foundation such as the text is necessary as a background to make these exercises meaningful. Yet it is the exercises which will make the goal possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of these exercises to train the mind to think along the lines which the course sets forth.
The exercises are very simple. They do not require more than a few minutes, and it does not matter where or when you do them. They need no preparation. They are numbered, running from 1 to 365. The training period is one year. Do not undertake more than one exercise a day.
The purpose of these exercises is to train the mind to a different perception of everything in the world. The workbook is divided into two sections, the first dealing with the undoing of what you see now and the second with the restoration of sight. It is recommended that each exercise be repeated several times a day, preferably in a different place each time and, if possible, in every situation in which you spend any long period of time. The purpose is to train the mind to generalize the lessons, so that you will understand that each of them is as applicable to one situation as it is to another.
Unless specified to the contrary, the exercise should be practiced with the eyes open, since the aim is to learn how to see. The only rule that should be followed throughout is to practice the exercises with great specificity. Each one applies to every situation in which you find yourself and to everything you see in it. Each day's exercises are planned around one central idea, the exercises themselves consisting of applying that idea to as many specifics as possible. Be sure that you do not decide that there are some things you see to which the idea for the day is inapplicable. The aim of the exercises will always be to increase the application of the idea to everything. This will not require effort. Only be sure that you make no exceptions in applying the idea.
Some of the ideas you will find hard to believe, and others will seem quite startling. It does not matter. You are merely asked to apply them to what you see. You are not asked to judge them, nor even to believe them. You are asked only to use them. It is their use which will give them meaning to you, and show you they are true. Remember only this-you need not believe them, you need not accept them, and you need not welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter nor decrease their efficacy. But allow yourself to make no exceptions in applying the ideas the exercises contain. Whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than this is required.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 12
I am upset because I see a meaningless world.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
1 The importance of this idea lies in the fact that it contains a correction for a major perceptual distortion. You think that what upsets you is a frightening world, or a sad world, or a violent world, or an insane world. All these attributes are given it by you. The world is meaningless in itself.
2 These exercises are done with eyes open. Look around you, this time quite slowly. Try to pace yourself so that the slow shifting of your glance from one thing to another involves a fairly constant time interval. Do not allow the time of the shift to become markedly longer or shorter, but try, instead, to keep a measured, even tempo throughout. What you see does not matter. You teach yourself this as you give whatever your glance rests on equal attention and equal time. This is a beginning step in learning to give them all equal value.
3 As you look about you, say to yourself:
5 and so on, using whatever descriptive terms happen to occur to you. If terms which seem positive rather than negative occur to you, include them. For example, you might think of a "good world," or a "satisfying world." If such terms occur to you, use them along with the rest. You 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. All terms which cross your mind are suitable subjects for today's exercises. Their seeming quality does not matter.
6 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. For the purposes of these exercises, there is no difference between them. At the end of the practice period, add:
8 What is meaningless is neither good nor bad. Why, then, should a meaningless world upset you? If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy. But because it is meaningless, you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be. It is this you see in it. It is this that is meaningless in truth. Beneath your words is written the Word of God. The truth upsets you now, but when your words have been erased, you will see His. That is the ultimate purpose of these exercises.
9 Three or four times are enough for practicing the idea for today. Nor should the practice periods exceed a minute. You may find even this too long. Terminate the exercises whenever you experience a sense of strain.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
I am upset because I see a meaningless world
This idea corrects ". . . a major perceptual distortion." (W.12.1.1) What is that distortion? The distortion is our belief that the world has meaning and is the cause of how we feel. We think that when we are upset it is because something happened to us, and as a result, we are hapless victims. We end up blaming people and circumstances in the world for our situation. "I would be happy if my car started, if it weren't so cold outside, if my children did not disturb my peace, if my job were less demanding, or if I had the right relationship." In other words, I'd be happy if the world weren't so upsetting, so frightening, so sad, so violent, so insane, or so disappointing. Yet Jesus says, "All of these attributes are given it by you. The world is meaningless in itself." (W.12.1.3-4)
When we start to see that the world outside of us is a reflection of what is inside, we may start to feel confused as to who is to blame for the problems in our lives. We may point to difficult childhoods and wonder how we were responsible for that. We may blame our parents for our low self-esteem and then blame our partners for exacerbating it with their behaviors towards us. The difficulty is that while we are blaming anything outside of us, we are unable to resolve the situation in front of us. Waiting for anyone else to change or trying to resolve a situation from the past makes us powerless. To free ourselves requires taking responsibility for how we choose to see every situation; it is to forgive the past by letting go of our meaningless thoughts that keep us bound.
This does not mean we should deny what we are experiencing. The idea is to see the experience as coming from our own meaningless thoughts. We are the ones who give meaning to these thoughts. They all come from the belief that we are separate and alone and are guilty of having left our home with God. Coming from this false belief of separation, we see ourselves as sinful and guilty; but the sin and guilt in our minds are so intolerable to us that in order to feel better about ourselves, we project it onto situations, people, and circumstances in the world, believing they are the cause of what we feel. Now we blame them for our condition. This makes us the victim of what we believe they have done to us, but now we are asked to see how our perceptual distortion removes responsibility from us and puts it onto the world. Yet the world is meaningless. It is our meaning that we put on it, all coming from our own minds.
Last night, I was watching a PBS program about various places in the world under siege---Sudan, Northern China, Syria, North Korea, and many others. As I was listening to the program, I watched my judgments about this world being insane, frightening, sad, and violent. (W.12.1.2) Yet this Lesson says it is, in fact, none of those things. It is all meaningless. It is just a movie playing out in front of me on the screen. What upsets me are my judgments about it. Any attributes I ascribe to the world are what I have given it. Of course, there is no question that in this dream, the events of this world do have disastrous consequences, but the consequences are not real. They have no real effects. What we are learning to see is that we can choose to be an observer of the world and watch the projections that we put onto people, circumstances, and events. We can learn to be attentive to our thoughts and observe how we respond to the world that we think we are seeing, and recognize that our judgments start with our own self-attacking thoughts, all starting with the guilt in the mind.
Whether you watch these kinds of events on TV, read the papers, or choose to avoid doing so, what is important is whether your decisions come from your belief that there is something real going on in the world. If you don't want to look because you think it is all real, you are still avoiding a world you are giving meaning to.
The reality is that we are not actually upset because of what we see in the world. What upsets us is that the world is meaningless. The meaning we put on the forms of this world comes from our own minds. We are very invested in the meaning we give everything. In fact, it is important for us to be right about the meaning we give to everything. This Lesson reminds us that the world is meaningless, and "What is meaningless is neither good nor bad." (W.12.5.1) This is important because ". . . a 'good world' implies a 'bad' one, and a 'satisfying world' implies an 'unsatisfying' one." (W.12.3.6) Whatever keeps us invested in this world keeps us from recognizing that the only reality is Oneness.
"But because it is meaningless, you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be."
(W.12.5.4) We are not ready to accept the meaninglessness of our own thoughts. The world and all our thoughts about it are there to make us forget who we are as One with God. As such, we are unlimited, perfect, and innocent; but because we feel we have sinned and are guilty, we have come to hide in the world from the love of God. We have come to hide from what we really are.
Jesus says, "The world was made as an attack on God." (W.PII.Q3.2.1) We made it as a place to keep our belief in sin and guilt hidden from our awareness and instead blame outside conditions for how we feel. This requires a world that we can make responsible for our condition. The deeper reason for this is to avoid God's punishment. We don't want responsibility for separating from love. We would rather believe others have taken love from us. Thus, for us, the world serves as a block or distraction to remembering who we are. It was made to keep the truth of who we are out of our awareness. But just because what we think is meaningless does not mean our thoughts have no power. After all, our whole world arose from the thought of separation and is held up by the power of our belief.
The Holy Spirit speaks to us, but we don't hear because our thoughts block the truth. They block His messages that are constantly communicating with us. He speaks to us of who we are. Believing there is a world outside of Oneness is a false belief. Believing there could be something outside of everything is impossible. It all comes from the same meaningless thought that I could be separate from God and be on my own. Everything in the world is a shadow of that one meaningless thought projected out. It is meaningless because we can't separate from God. It can't happen. That is what the Atonement Principle guarantees. We can only be unaware of our true reality.
"If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy."
(W.12.5.3) Our compulsion to give everything we see our meaning is a defense against the truth. Our fear is that if we don't fill all the spaces with our own meaning, the truth of who we are would shine through. "Beneath your words is written the Word of God." (W.12.5.7) We can't know it until our own meaning, which we have given everything in the world, has been released. It is a process. Our preference is to be right rather than happy. We have a big investment in our specialness and our individuality, even if we are not happy. Doing these exercises daily supports us in our intention to wake up. It is not a process of trying hard to get this, but ultimately, it is about surrendering into it.
Jesus asks, "Would God have left the meaning of the world to your interpretation? If He had, it has no meaning. For it cannot be that meaning changes constantly, and yet is true." (T.30.VII.1-3) (ACIM OE T.30.VIII.82) Each of us gives the world the meaning we think it has, and we change our minds about that meaning from time to time. Thus, there is no consistency in the interpretations we have given the world. Why does a meaningless world upset us? If the world has no meaning, how could we have meaning? The meaning I put onto the world is my meaning, and I think that what I think matters and is important. Thus, we are afraid of knowing the truth because we value our separate existence. We believe that in our separate self we can feel powerful, superior, and special. That is why we write our meaning on everything. If we did not do so, God's meaning would show up in the space left free of our own meaning, and that is what we fear.
In our practice today, we are to look around quite slowly, and as we glance from one thing to another, we give whatever our glance rests on equal time and attention. No one thing has more value than anything else. As I look around my office, I see a picture of myself on a mountaintop taken when I first met my husband. I see a commemorative medal given me for significant service to the country. I see a gift given my deceased husband by his children. I recognize that I give them all some kind of meaning based on thoughts from the past. These I judge as "good" thoughts. Then, I see the clutter in my office. I see disorganization everywhere. I see the dust on my desk. I see my bills that need to be paid before the deadline. I see emails that have not been answered. I see my appointment book. And, as I look at these things, I feel a disturbance in my mind until I remind myself that everything I see has equal value. (W.12.2.7) It is all meaningless. It only has the meaning I have given it. What I see are all just forms, empty of any meaning except that which I give them. My mind wants to linger on what I think I find distressing. "Why, then, should a meaningless world upset you?" (W.12.5.2) Again, it does not matter if we don't understand any of this. It does not matter if we actively resist the idea. Application of the idea is all that is asked of us.
The application of these lessons is about undoing our false beliefs. "Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false." (T.16.IV.6.1-2) (ACIM OE T.16.V.85)
Today, we practice removing our meaning from the world and recognizing that we do not know what anything means. We believe we suffer because of the things that happen to us. We have taught ourselves that we are victims of this world. We have, in fact, chosen to use this world to hide the truth of who we are from ourselves. We are now, at least somewhat, willing to surrender our meaning to allow the Truth to show us Its meaning.
For this practice, three or four times, for one minute or less, look about slowly, shifting your glance at regular time intervals. As you look about, say, "I think I see a fearful world, a dangerous world, a hostile world, a sad world, a wicked world, a crazy world," (W.12.3.2) and so on. Use whatever descriptive terms occur to you. This includes positive ones such as a good world, a satisfying world, a wonderful world, and a peaceful world, but remember these attributes imply their opposite. This is not the world on which God's truth is written that would make you indescribably happy. At the end, we add, "But I am upset because I see a meaningless world." (W.12.4.4) Our gentle teacher does not want us to strain in doing this exercise, so terminate it if you feel pressure. Do not push yourself or try to be a perfect student or you will judge yourself and feel more guilty, which is not helpful to this process.
Love and blessings, Sarah
A Course in Miracles
Chapter One: Introduction to Miracles
II. Distortions of Miracle Impulses
102 You are involved in unconscious distortions which are producing a dense cover over miracle impulses and which make it hard for them to reach consciousness. The nature of any interpersonal relationship is limited or defined by what you want it to
do. Relating is a way of achieving an outcome. The danger of defenses lies in their propensity for holding misperceptions rigidly in place. All actions which stem from reverse thinking are literally the behavioral expressions of those who know not what they do. A rigid orientation can be extremely reliable, even if it is upside-down. In fact, the more consistently upside-down it is, the
more reliable it is.
103 However, validity is still the ultimate goal, which reliability can only serve. Hostility, triumph, vengeance, self-debasement, and all kinds of expressions of lack of love are often very clearly seen in the fantasies which accompany them. But it is a
profound error to imagine that because these fantasies are so frequent or occur so reliably that this implies validity. Remember that while validity implies reliability, the relationship is
not reversible. You can be wholly reliable and
entirely wrong. While a reliable instrument
does measure something, what
use is it unless you discover what the "something" is? This course, then, will concentrate on validity and let reliability fall naturally into place.
104 The confusion of miracle impulses with physical impulses is a major source of perceptual distortion because it
induces, rather than straightens out, the basic level confusion which underlies the perception of all those who seek happiness with the instruments of this world. Inappropriate physical impulses (or misdirected miracle impulses) result in conscious guilt if expressed and depression if denied.
All real pleasure comes from doing God's will. This is because
not doing it is a denial of self.
Denial of error results in projection.
Correction of error brings release. "Lead us not into temptation" means "do not let us deceive ourselves into believing that we can relate in peace to God or to our brothers with
105 Child of God, you were created to create the good, the beautiful, and the holy. Do not lose sight of this. The love of God for a little while must still be expressed through one body to another because the real vision is still so dim. Everyone can use his body best by enlarging man's perception so he can see the
This vision is invisible to the physical eye. The ultimate purpose of the body is to render itself unnecessary. Learning to do this is the only real reason for its creation.
106 Fantasies of any kind are distorted forms of thinking because they
always involve twisting perception into unreality. Fantasy is a debased form of vision. Vision and revelation are closely related, while fantasy and projection are more closely associated because both attempt to control external reality according to false internal needs. Twist reality in
any way, and you are perceiving destructively. Reality was lost through usurpation, which in turn produced tyranny. I told you that you are now restored to your former role in the plan of Atonement, but you must still choose freely to devote yourselves to the greater restoration. As long as a single slave remains to walk the earth, your release is not complete.
Complete restoration of the Sonship is the only true goal of the miracle-minded.
No fantasies are true. They are distortions of perception by definition. They are a means of making false associations and obtaining pleasure from them. Man can do this only because he
is creative. But, although he can perceive false associations, he can never make them real
except to himself. Man believes in what he creates. If he creates miracles, he will be equally strong in his belief in
them. The strength of
his conviction will then sustain the belief of the miracle receiver. And fantasies become totally unnecessary as the wholly satisfying nature of reality becomes apparent to both.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
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