This Lesson follows on the heels of two previous Lessons that focus on how we see the world. Lesson 128 said, "The world I see holds nothing that I want," meaning there is nothing we can pursue in the world of form that will bring us happiness. This was followed by Lesson 129 that said, "Beyond this world there is a world I want." The focus of this Lesson was on the real world, which in truth is the only thing we want and where we will experience true joy and happiness. Now we are told, "It is impossible to see two worlds." (W.130) What Jesus emphasizes in this Lesson is that we have a choice. The emphasis here is on the power of our minds to decide. The choice is between the ego's darkness and the light of the Holy Spirit. One brings a world of fear, specialness, attack, and guilt, and the other is the world forgiveness shows us. It all depends on what we have chosen inside, because projection makes perception. In other words, our perception is consistent with the choice we have first made in our minds.
What we see is a reflection of what we have first valued. What we perceive is some expression of either the ego thought system or the thought system of the Holy Spirit. Whatever we perceive starts with what we value, ". . . for what you value you must want to see." (W.130.1.4) We have chosen to value our individual existence. We value separation. With it comes an investment in the body and the world. Having made the choice for separation and given our existence value, we now believe that what we see is really there, and it is real. Thus, we see the world and bodies as real and solid. The world is given reality because we value it and we value it because we value the ego. "The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition." (T.21.IN.1.2-5)(ACIM OE T.21.I.1) Thus, the value we have given to separation and with it our individuality and our specialness, has given rise to the world we see.
As we choose the perfection of our One Self, united with all creation, our perception shifts from the material to the eternal in ourselves and others. All of our seeing comes from our internal choice in the mind, which we are making in every moment. With each and every decision throughout the day, we are choosing between staying invested in the illusion or using the situation and circumstance for awakening. There is nothing else to choose but this. Our perception is consistent with our thoughts, and those thoughts are consistent with our choice for the ego's thought system or the thought system of the Holy Spirit.
What is it we want, and how do we know what we want? The answer to those questions is seen in what we already have. "And no one can fail to look upon what he believes he wants." (W.130.1.6) Another way to see it is every prayer is answered. We just need to look at our lives to see what we have asked for. Jesus reminds us our purpose, based on what we value, demonstrates what we want and thus what we see. If I want my specialness, my individuality, being right, seeing differences, and achieving material things, then my purpose will be firmly invested in this dream. But if I want to know who I am and what love is, then everything that shows up in my day will be turned to this purpose. With this purpose, I become the witness of the dream, looking at it from outside the dream and seeing its falsity.
"Yet who can really hate and love at once?"
(W.130.2.1) We think we can love sometimes and hate sometimes. We think both love and hate can coexist in our minds, but hate must disappear in the face of love, and darkness brought to the light must be gone. We have to make a choice between mutually exclusive thought systems. With the separation, we chose the thought system of the ego, and with it, judgment, fear and guilt, which supports our individual existence. In the face of love, the ego is threatened. It can't continue to exist. As long as we still have allegiance to the ego, we will hold onto our judgments. Judgments are what keep the ego going. Our fear of God keeps us invested in the ego thought system and our specialness. It is this fear that keeps us from recognizing our true reality as the Christ Self. "Fear must make blind, for this its weapon is: That which you fear to see you cannot see." (W.130.2.4) Fear obscures in darkness what is really there, which is the love of God. Fear covers over this love, so we don't even know it is there. We will not be aware it is in us as long as we wish to maintain our separation and our special individual self.
The undoing process requires that we look within, which the ego warns us not to do. When we listen to its guidance, we defend against the guilt and sin we don't want to see in ourselves. "Loudly the ego tells you not to look inward, for if you do your eyes will light on sin, and God will strike you blind. This you believe, and so you do not look." (T.21.IV.2.3-4)(ACIM OE T.21.V.42) We don't look when we believe the ego, and instead we defend ourselves and try to cover over the guilt we think is in us. Jesus asks, "What if you looked within and saw no sin?" (T.21.IV.3.1)(ACIM OE T.21.43) Indeed, when we go past the dark thoughts, the guilt and the shame we feel, there is nothing but the beauty of our being. There is nothing but love. Forgiveness is the process of uncovering the dark layer of defenses by being willing to look at the darkness.
We take Jesus with us. He walks with us through the fear, supporting us every step of the way. We do not go alone. It is not our ego we are facing when we look at the darkness in the mind. It is the state of the separated mind. Guilt is not ours. We need not claim it for ourselves. The only thing to claim is our innocence, though we can only know it when we release the grip of guilt on the mind. Jesus helps us look at our darkness by witnessing it without judgment of ourselves. With his help, we recognize the falseness of the ego thoughts we hold, and now we can smile gently at having been deceived into thinking this is who we are.
No longer do we believe the lies of the ego, which tell us what we look upon is who we are. What we believed to be the truth about ourselves is easily dispelled as nothing real. This includes all our suffering, including death. Our identity is not defined by the limitations of the body and its ultimate demise. "What, then, can fear project upon the world? What can be seen in darkness that is real?" (W.130.3.1-2) What we see in the world of form has no reality. It is just all our imagined fear thoughts. It is all a hallucination of our insanity. When the guilt and fear are healed, what can be projected? Only love is real. Fear covers over the love, but it is not real. Just because we are not aware of love does not mean it is not constantly there. "Fear has made everything you think you see." (W.130.4.1) Fear keeps love from our awareness.
What fear has made is a world of separation, of distinctions, and of all the ". . . multitude of differences you believe make up the world." (W.130.4.2) And yet, Jesus says very directly, "They are not there." (W.130.4.3) It is a projected world of our thoughts, and it is all nothingness---just products of our fear thoughts and of our imaginations projected onto the world. Fear is love's enemy, "Yet love can have no enemy, and so they have no cause, no being and no consequence." (W.130.4.5) Even though we value the things of this world, they are still unreal. Even though we seek the things of this world, ". . . they can not be found." (W.130.4.7) Why---because all these things we seek for are all nothing. We seek for value, where there is none. We seek for happiness, where it is not. What we are afraid of is the light, so we are doing everything we can to block it.
The world was made to block truth. It is a defense against the love of God, which is in our minds. The ego knows we can choose against it at any time. This would be its demise, which is why it keeps us invested in the world and why we project the guilt in our minds onto others, so they will receive God's punishment and not us. What the ego keeps hidden from us is that the guilt, which we believe is ours, is not real and does not belong to us. Therefore, we have nothing to fear. Guilt and fear have no cause. They are illusory. "Love's enemy [the ego] has made them up. Yet love can have no enemy, and so they have no cause, no being and no consequence." (W.130.4.4-5) Such an enemy does not exist, and thus there can be no effect, because to have an effect there must be a cause. God is not the cause of suffering, of wars, or of famine in the world. Without a cause, there can be no effects. When I suffer, I find it helpful to remind myself that I made this suffering because it did not come from God. If I made it, I can choose to release it. When we look at all the pain and suffering from outside the dream, we can smile gently at the recognition that all of it is our own dream. Nothing happens to us without our invitation.
Our perceptions vary greatly. "Yet they have one thing in common; they are all insane." (T.13.V.1.5)(ACIM OE T.12.V.33) They are insane because "They are made of sights that are not seen, and sounds that are not heard." (T.13.V.1.6)(ACIM OE T.12.V.33) This is all part of our own private world, where we give everything the meaning it has for us. "Each one peoples his world with figures from his individual past," (T.13.V.2.1)(ACIM OE T.12.V.34) which is why our private worlds differ, and why "The curriculum is highly individualized, and all aspects are under the Holy Spirit's particular care and guidance." (M.29.2.6) We each have our own special relationships, which become our special function to heal. For all of us, the world is in our minds and is not real, and the figures we see were never real. "Yet the figures that he sees were never real, for they are made up only of his reactions to his brothers, and do not include their reactions to him. Therefore, he does not see he made them, and they are not whole." (T.13.V.2.2-3)(ACIM OE T.12.V.34)
What we see is our interpretation of everything. The stories we tell are only stories that reflect how we interpret things that seem to happen to us. We give each situation we encounter a meaning, which is personal to us. In essence, what we conclude is not the truth, only our interpretation based on partial information. We are actually insane and hallucinating. "It is through these strange and shadowy figures that the insane relate to their insane world. For they see only those who remind them of these images, and it is to them that they relate. Thus do they communicate with those who are not there, and it is they who answer them. And no one hears their answer save him who called upon them, and he alone believes they answered him." (T.13.V.3.1-4)(ACIM OE T.12.V.35)
It is interesting to see these varied perceptions whenever we watch a movie with a group of people. Some movies illustrate this point more starkly than others, but in every case we actually project our meaning onto the screen. We recently watched the Woody Allen movie, "Match Point." It was a good example of varying observations and perceptions that were hotly debated. Jesus reminds us that all points of view are false. Perceptions come from past experiences, and watching movies or situations in life offer a beautiful opportunity to look at our beliefs and our shadow figures from our individual past experiences. The only meaning any of it has is what we have given it. When we see others as guilty, it is a sure sign we are simply projecting our own guilt.
"It is impossible to see two worlds which have no overlap of any kind
." (W.130.5.1) We truly cannot make the best of both worlds. We must see one or the other. There is no range of choice. We can't choose both of them. "Seek for the one; the other disappears," (W.130.5.2) but the real world always remains. "The real and the unreal are all there are to choose between, and nothing more than these." (W.130.5.5) While we think we have many choices, we only have two---the real and the unreal. While we appear to be making a choice, there is only one real choice to be made, because to choose the world of form is to choose nothing real. We choose to invest in the world of form when we fear love. No compromise is possible between this illusory world and the real world. We can't invest in some things in the world of form and still be in touch with the real world. It is one or the other. Until the fear and guilt in the mind are released, we will continue to see the world of fear. We are urged today to ". . . devote our minds to finding only what is real." (W.130.7.2)
This requires a ". . . strength beyond your own," (W.130.8.1) meaning this cannot be undertaken with the ego as our guide. The ego will never undo itself. We must call on the help of the Holy Spirit. We need God's help, but in order for His help to reach us, we must empty our "hands of all the petty treasures of this world." (W.130.8.3) We must give up what we are holding onto and come with wholly empty hands unto our Father, letting go of our preconceived notions of what we need and opening our minds for God to give us a new and clean perception. "God will be there. For you have called upon the great unfailing power, which will take this giant step with you in gratitude." (W.130.9.1-2)
Notice this is another of the giant stride Lessons, meaning it is another huge learning opportunity for us. Here it is called a ". . . giant step." (W.130.9.2) The six giant stride Lessons are 61, 66, 94, 130, 135 and 194, so we really want to pay attention to their importance in our practice.
Today, let us be willing to look honestly at the value we give to the things of this world. We will continue to see them, but the value they hold for us will be diminished as we do this practice. "You will not doubt what you will look upon, for though it is perception, it is not the kind of seeing that your eyes alone have ever seen before. And you will know God's strength upheld you as you made this choice." (W.130.9.4-5) What we look upon seems very real to us, but when we are willing to see the false as false, we see the world from a different perspective. Nothing here is real. We acknowledge we have been wrong. Now we are willing to be taught. Our perceptions are actually hallucinations. We get upset by events and circumstances in our lives, forgetting there is nothing external to us. Everything is in our own minds. There is nothing outside the mind. It is all our dream and we are the dreamer. All of it comes from our own minds. Now we are given the means to change our minds and shift our perception from the unreal to the real, from the false to what is true. We can reclaim the power within us to see everything differently.
I seemed to have food poisoning and was suffering immensely, allowing my mind to believe my condition was true and real. In my saner moments, I questioned how love and my condition could both be real. It had to be one or the other. Either my bodily experiences are the truth, or only God's Love is true. I recognized I had made an investment in the sickness and the pain I was experiencing. I was holding onto the belief in the reality of the body and the world. So, while I did take magic to alleviate the symptoms, I asked the Holy Spirit to help me not to use this discomfort in the body to keep me from the awareness of the love that I am. I asked for help to see that this situation was only made real by me in my belief in its reality. From above the battleground, I recognized how the ego set it all up to convince me that I could not be innocent and eternal and must be a body.
Sickness is made by the ego as a defense against the truth, trying to convince us that God is wrong about us. As I rested in God, peace and happiness returned to my mind. Yes, it came and went, but with each temptation to choose suffering, I refused to welcome its presence. Each step we take to release ourselves from the delusions of this world is another step to remembering who we are.
When anything tempts you in the world today where you think you will find value, remind yourself, "It is impossible to see two worlds. I seek my freedom and deliverance, and this is not a part of what I want." (W.130.11.4-5) We can't bring hell into a part of this world and still have the experience of the real world. Anything we are attracted to or value in this world of illusion is blocking our sight of the real world. So watch your mind today for thoughts of fear and guilt. Keep doing the practice. Keep bringing the fear thoughts to the light and remember, "God will be there. For you have called upon the great unfailing power which will take the giant step with you in gratitude." (W.130.9.1-2) We are asking for strength beyond our own. We are asking to see no meaningless distinctions today. There is no good and no bad. God's Son is one, and we share in that oneness. We are all the same. We are the Christ Self.
Love and blessings, Sarah