Graphic by the late Carmen Cameron, CIMS Member
31 " The slogan for the Crusade is "Listen, learn and do": Listen to my voice, learn to undo error, and do something to correct it. " ACIM OE T.1.I.31
Workbook for Students
Introduction Part I
1 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.

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Workbook for Students
Lesson 3
I do not understand
anything I see in this room
[on this street, from this window,
in this place].
1 Apply this idea in the same way as the previous ones, without making distinctions of any kind. Whatever you see becomes a proper subject for applying the idea. Be sure that you do not question the suitability of anything for the application of the idea. These are not exercises in judgment. Anything is suitable if you see it. Some of the things you see may have emotionally-charged meaning for you. Try to lay such feelings aside, and merely use these things exactly as you would anything else.

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

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Course in Miracles
Original Edition
Chapter 1
Introduction to Miracles

I. Principles of Miracles Par 25-38
23. 25 Miracles rearrange perception and place the levels of perception in true perspective. This heals at all levels because sickness comes from confusing the levels.

26 When you have become willing to hide nothing, you will not only be willing to enter into communion but will also understand peace and joy. Your commitment is not yet total, and that is why you still have more to learn than to teach. When your equilibrium stabilizes, you will be able to teach as much as you learn, which will give you the proper balance. Meanwhile, remember that no effort is wasted, for unless you remember this, you cannot avail yourselves of my efforts, which are limitless. Only eternity is real. Why not use the illusion of time constructively?

24. 27 Miracles enable man to heal the sick and raise the dead because he made sickness and death himself and can abolish both. You are a miracle, capable of creating in the likeness of your Creator. Everything else is only your own nightmare and does not exist. Only the creations of light are real.

25. 28 Miracles are part of an interlocking chain of forgiveness which, when completed, is the Atonement. This process works all the time and in all the dimensions of time.

29 I am in charge of the process of Atonement, which I undertook to begin. When you offer a miracle unto any of my brothers, you do it unto yourself and me. The reason you come before me is that I do not need miracles for my own Atonement, but I stand at the end in case you fail temporarily. The purpose of my part in the Atonement is the canceling out of all lacks of love which men could not otherwise correct. The word "sin" should be changed to "lack of love" because "sin" is a man-made word with threat connotations which he made up himself. No real threat is involved anywhere. Nothing is gained by frightening yourselves, and it is very destructive to do so.

26. 30 Miracles represent freedom from fear. "Atoning" really means "undoing." The undoing of fear is an essential part of the Atonement value of miracles.

31 The purpose of the Atonement is to restore everything to you, or rather to restore it to your awareness. You were given everything when you were created, just as everyone was. When you have been restored to the recognition of your original state, you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself. As you share my inability to tolerate lack of love in yourself and others, you must join the Great Crusade to correct it. The slogan for the Crusade is "Listen, learn and do": Listen to my voice, learn to undo error, and do something to correct it. The first two are not enough. The real members of my party are active workers.

32 The power to work miracles belongs to you. I will provide the opportunities to do them, but you must be ready and willing since you are already able. Doing them will bring conviction in the ability, since conviction really comes through accomplishment. The ability is the potential; the achievement is its expression; and the Atonement is the purpose.

27. 33 A miracle is a universal blessing from God through me to all my brothers. It is the privilege of the forgiven to forgive.

34 The disciples were specifically told to be physicians of the Lord and to heal others. They were also told to heal themselves and were promised that I would never leave them or forsake them. Atonement is the natural profession of the Children of God because they have professed me. "Heaven and earth shall pass away" simply means that they will not continue to exist as separate states. My word, which is the resurrection and the light, shall not pass away, because light is eternal. You are the work of God, and His work is wholly lovable and wholly loving. This is how a man must think of himself in his heart because this is what he is.

28. 35 Miracles are a means of organizing different levels of consciousness.

36 Miracles come from the below or subconscious level. Revelations come from the above or superconscious level. The conscious level is in between and reacts to either sub- or superconscious impulses in varying ratios. Consciousness is the level which engages in the world and is capable of responding to both. Having no impulses from itself and being primarily a mechanism for inducing response, it can be very wrong.

37 Revelation induces complete but temporary suspension of doubt and fear. It represents the original form of communication between God and His Souls, involving an extremely personal sense of closeness to creation which man tries to find in physical relationships. Physical closeness cannot achieve this. The subconscious impulses properly induce miracles, which are genuinely interpersonal and result in real closeness to others. This can be misunderstood by a personally willful consciousness as impulses toward physical gratification.

38 Revelation unites Souls directly with God. Miracles unite [Souls] directly with each other. Neither emanates from consciousness, but both are experienced there. This is essential since consciousness is the state which produces action, though it does not inspire it. Man is free to believe what he chooses, and what he does attests to what he believes. The deeper levels of his subconscious always contain the impulse to miracles, but he is free to fill its more superficial levels, which are closer to consciousness, with the impulses of this world and to identify himself with them. This results in denying himself access to the miracle level underneath. In conscious actions, then, his relationships also become superficial, and miracle-inspired relating becomes impossible.

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Sarah's Reflections
Lesson 3
I do not understand
anything I see in this room
[on this street, from this window,
in this place].
It is important to read these Lessons in the context of what Jesus tells us in the Introduction to the Workbook. The Introduction helps us to understand some of the key elements that help in making the practice of these Lessons meaningful for us. To start, Jesus is saying we need the theoretical understanding the Text offers if we are to get real meaning from the Lessons. When I started with the Lessons, I had not yet read the Text, and therefore, I did not have the theoretical framework to make the Lessons deeply meaningful. However, in spite of limited understanding of what the Lesson were getting at, I nevertheless found my mind shifting and my life changing. Wherever we start the process, it can all contribute to our investment in our spiritual healing. Having said that, to really get the deeper meaning, we do need the framework the Text provides. This is the only way we will get the full benefit of the intent and metaphysics behind these Lessons. As I write these commentaries, I find it helpful to refer to passages from the Text in order to amplify the meaning of the Lesson.
While the Lessons are based on one-year of mind training, clearly this is not a one-year course. The workbook is simply a starting point in disciplining and training the mind. "An untrained mind can accomplish nothing." (W.PI.IN.1.3) When we come to the end of the workbook, Jesus says in the Epilogue, "This course is a beginning, not an end." (W.PII.EP.1.1) "It is the purpose of this workbook to train your mind to think along the lines the text sets forth." (W.PI.IN.1.4) The mind training, thus, goes on for years, whether we are actively doing the Workbook or not. The process is not complete until our minds are healed through complete forgiveness.
Complete forgiveness means no one is exempt from forgiveness. In the introduction to the workbook, Jesus says, "On the other hand, one exception held apart from true perception makes its accomplishments anywhere impossible." (W.PI.IN.5.3) That is what makes the Course so very challenging. It means, if we see some more deserving of our love and some less, some more deserving of attack than others, or some more having more guilt, we are making exceptions. Everything in the illusion is the same since it is all illusion. That is why Jesus tells us that our minds are being trained in a systematic way to a different perception of everyone and everything in the world until we come to see there is no world. "The exercises are planned to help you generalize the lessons, so that you will understand that each of them is equally applicable to everyone and everything you see." (W.PI.IN.4.2)
While we practice with specificity in the application of each Lesson, the idea is that our lessons in forgiveness will ultimately be generalized to everything and everyone. What we are learning is that every problem and every difficulty is the same since they are all unreal. There is no order of difficulty in the illusion. Having said that, it is not something we currently believe. We don’t believe, for example, that the pen we are holding is the same and not more important than our arm. We don’t believe that one situation is as difficult as any other, and we still believe that some are guiltier than others. It takes a lot of mind training to see that there is no order of difficulty in miracles and no differentiation in the illusion. As long as we see differences, we have work to do, but our work with mind training begins with specifics for now.
As we look around us and say, "Nothing I see in this room means anything," we are looking at specifics. Eventually, we will have the experience of understanding that nothing in this world means anything. This is the generalization that will eventually be made. Oneness has been seemingly fragmented into all the forms of this world. This may be what is referred to as the Big Bang---when the choice was made for the ego at the time of the seeming separation from Heaven and God’s Love, sin, guilt, and fear entered the mind. With it came a belief in time and space and all aspects of the linear world of form. Thus, the Lessons are about undoing what we now hold to be true about who we are and what the world is. All our thoughts and beliefs are a defense against God's Love. We are now invested in this world of form and actually fear His Love. In fact, Jesus says that the world is a place where we have come to hide from Him, believing He wants revenge on us for what we believe we have done.
The ideas presented in these Lessons are foreign to the mind, although at some level, we recognize truth. Jesus addresses this in the Introduction where he says, "Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas; you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy." (W.PI.IN.9.1-2) This says to me that he is addressing a part of the mind beyond the ego. He tells us that what we think of the ideas does not matter. They still have power if we use them. "It is their use that will give them meaning to you and will show you that they are true." (WP.I.IN.8.6) The importance is in doing the Lessons and applying them to the situations and events in our day without making exceptions. Whatever our reactions to the ideas may be, he urges us to use them. "Nothing more than this is required." (W.PI.IN.9.5)
This suggests that we will experience resistance to the ideas and that fear may come up. We don't need to understand or engage in a struggle to understand but simply to do the Lessons as instructed and not to be concerned about our reactions to them. All we are asked to do is notice what is going on as we do the Lessons, be gentle and patient with ourselves, and trust the process. The process of undoing the way we think now is considerable. Fortunately, we have a lot of help as we go through these Lessons since the healing is not done by us but by the Holy Spirit. Our part is just to keep watching our thoughts without judging ourselves. This takes a lot of practice, but most important, it takes a willingness to do what we are asked.
What is it like to be in a world where we don't understand anything we see? It seems like we do understand, but it is this very understanding that we place on everything that keeps us from opening our minds to another way of seeing. Just consider the possibility that you don't understand anything. Consider the possibility that everything you have learned so far in your life is there to simply uphold the illusion and our beliefs of what we think is real. As Jesus tells us in the summary to the Course, " Nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God. " (T.IN.2.2-3) (ACIM OE T.IN.4) What we have made real in the world and have given meaning to is all illusory and not real at all.
If I think I know and understand everything I see, there is no room in my mind for new learning, new understandings, or a new perspective. I have always taken pride in my ability to figure things out in the world and effectively manage my way in it. I have worked hard to gain a perspective of how things work, what they are for, how people tick, and how to manage my life. Having said this, there has always been an underlying low-level fear and anxiety underpinning my journey through life. Some people need to hit a deep "emotional bottom" before they come to the realization that their way of managing in the world no longer works. For me, it was a general sense of dissatisfaction with my life. There was nothing seriously wrong, only a feeling of, "What is the point?" This showed itself as an underlying restlessness and a vague sense that something was missing. Much as I tried, I could not find the answer in the world.
Fortunately for me, the Course came into my life and it has given me what I was looking for in undoing the beliefs, concepts, and values I had come to believe protected me in this world and kept me safe. The crazy thing is, we have come to believe our protection has come from aligning with fear. Yet our only real protection is Love. All our survival strategies have actually kept us from trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit because in our minds we think we know what we need! We think we know our own best interests, but we are wrong.
With the steps that we are now taking in mind reversal, we are giving the Holy Spirit a little bit of room by acknowledging that we may not be right about everything we believe. All our past learning and our judgments about everything must be questioned. Again, we don't have to believe the ideas given us here, only to use them. Just because there will be resistance to the total acceptance of these ideas does not mean that they are not effective when applied. The lessons resonate with the part of the mind that knows they are true even if we consciously have resistance to them. Our practice of the ideas eventually leads to acceptance of what we already know because the truth is already in us. When the blocks to love are brought to the light, we come to know our innocence.
For me, as a result of the application of these Lessons, there is more trust, freedom, joy, and peace in my life. Increasingly, I humbly accept that I don't know anything and I don't understand anything. I continually need to step aside from my own answers and ask for help rather than assigning my own meaning. We are engaged in a radical, life-changing process, and for it to be effective, we must be willing to be wrong about everything we think we know.
It can seem more than a little disorienting and even frightening to let go of what we think we know, but the process is a gentle one, and we are the determiners of how quickly we go. Simply start by doing the exercises as described. When a difficult or unsettling situation comes up, it is helpful to remember that our upset does not come from the situation but from the way we are interpreting it. Our interpretations all come from our belief that the way we see things is the way they are. Now we remind ourselves, "I do not understand anything I see." (W.3) This is a prerequisite to opening up to new learning. And, as I said previously, it is not really new because there is "Something" in us that already understands.
In your practice today, apply the idea without making distinctions of any kind. Whatever you see becomes a proper subject for applying the idea. Be sure you do not question the suitability of anything for application of the idea. He is asking us: 1) not to make exceptions 2) not to judge what is suitable and what is not 3) to lay our emotions aside regarding anything we look upon clearing our minds of all past associations, and 4) see things exactly as they appear as color, shape, size, nothing more. Basically, we need to realize how we really don't understand what we are looking at because we have given our meaning to everything. If that is the case, we can't understand it because true understanding means we would know its purpose. I think I understand what the telephone does, but what I don't understand is that my thoughts about it are what keep me invested in the world of form. As I occupy my mind with my thoughts about everything, I leave no room for the miracle.

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Love and blessings, Sarah

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