Lesson 31:

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Idea:

“I am not the victim of the world I see.”

Purpose:
Today’s idea is the introduction to your declaration of release.

Practice:
Apply the idea to both the world you see without and the world you see within.

Look about slowly repeating today’s idea two or three times – close your eyes and apply today’s idea to your inner world (the inner is the cause of the outer). As you survey your inner world, let whatever thoughts cross your mind come into your awareness and consider each for a moment, then move on to the next thought. Watch them come and go as dispassionately as possible. Do not dwell on any one in particular. As you sit and quietly watch your thoughts, repeat today’s idea to yourself as often as you care to, with no sense of hurry.

2 three-to-five-minute practice periods: 1) AM and 2) PM

In addition, repeat today’s idea as often as possible during the day. Remind yourself that you are making a declaration of independence in the name of your own freedom. And in our freedom lies the freedom of the world.

Use today’s idea in response to any form of temptation that may arise. It is a declaration that you will not yield to it (temptation), and put yourself in bondage.

Watson and Perry:
It is amazing how many ways we see ourselves as victims of the world. We go through life feeling like victims – of the weather / the jerk who cuts you off in traffic / you housemate who uses the last of the hot water / the slow service in the restaurant.

To assert that “I am not the victim of the world I see” can be liberating and empowering.

Oddly enough, we also feel victimized by unseen enemies and even our own thoughts. Ever have an anxiety attack? A victim of an unfair “system”? Plagued by self-doubt? You are not the victim of your inner world any more than of your outer world. “You will escape from both together, for the inner is cause of the outer” (2:5).

Remember:
“You are merely asked to apply the ideas as you are directed to do. You are not asked to judge them at all. You are asked only to use them. It is their use that will give hem meaning to you, and will show you that they are true” (W-In.8:3-6).

Marianne Williamson:
While it is tempting to believe that you are the victim of certain people or forces beyond your control, A Course in Miracles teaches you to recognize that you are not a victim. Through the grace of God, you are lifted above and beyond any forces—internal or external—that threaten to limit you. Knowing you’re not a victim is a major form of personal empowerment.

“Darkness is merely the absence of light, and fear is merely the absence of love. We can’t get rid of darkness by hitting it with a baseball bat, because there is nothing to hit. If we want to be rid of darkness, we must turn on a light. Similarly, if we want to be rid of fear, we cannot fight it but must replace it with love.”

Lesson 30:

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Idea:

“God is in everything I see because God is in my mind.”

Today’s idea is the springboard for vision. From this idea will the world open up before you, and you will look upon it and see in it what you have never seen before. Nor will what you saw before be even faintly visible to you.

Today we are trying to use a new kind of “projection.” We are trying to see in the world what is in our minds, and what we want to recognize is there. Thus, we are trying to join with what we see, rather than keeping it apart from us. That is the fundamental difference between vision and the way you see.

“Real vision” is not limited to concepts such as “near” and “far.” “Real vision” is not only unlimited by space and distance, but it does not depend on the body’s eyes at all. The mind is its only source.

Purpose:
“To learn a new way of seeing. In this kind of seeing, what you see does not come in from the external world, through your body’s eyes, or from you projecting your illusions onto the world. Rather, it comes from you “projecting” the truth that is in your mind onto everything you see.” ~ Watson and Allen

Practice:
Today’s idea should be applied as often as possible throughout the day. Repeat it to yourself slowly, looking about you, and realize that today’s idea applies to everything you do see now, or could see now if it were within the range of your sight.

For several of these exercises:
eyes closed – use whatever subjects that come to mind, looking within rather than without. Today’s idea applies equally to both.

Watson and Perry:
Fundamental to understanding what the Course is talking about is the fact that what we see is quite directly caused by what is in our mind. The commonsense idea of perception is that something outside causes an impression, through my senses, on my mind. The reality is the reverse, according to the Course. The thoughts of my mind are projected outward and cause my perceptions. “Projection makes perception,” says the Text in two different places (T-13.V.3:5; T-21.In.1:1; compare with T-10.In.2:7).

What this lesson attempts to teach us is “a new kind of ‘projection'” (2:1). We might call it “positive projection.” Instead of using projection to get rid of thoughts we are uncomfortable with, we are attempting to see in the world what we want to see in our own minds. What I want to see, for one thing, is my own innocence. Therefore I am attempting to see the world as innocent. I am choosing my thoughts and deliberately “projecting” them onto the world. I want to see myself as having God in my mind, and so I choose to see everything as having God in it.

If all things contain God, and I contain God, then we are joined. “Thus, we are trying to join with what we see, rather than keeping it apart from us That is the fundamental difference between vision and the way you see” (2:4-5). Our kind of seeing emphasizes differences and distinctions; vision emphasizes sameness.

Marianne Williamson:
Lesson 30 is an affirmation of a fundamental principal in A Course in Miracles: that God is not outside of you but rather in your mind. God is in everything you see because God is in your mind. Any situation seen through the eyes of God will in time begin to reflect His holiness. In this way, you will achieve inner peace.

“What we think of as people’s guilt is their fear. All negativity derives from fear. When someone is angry, they are afraid. When someone is rude, they are afraid. When someone is manipulative, they are afraid. When someone is cruel, they are afraid. There is no fear that love does not dissolve. There is no negativity that forgiveness does not transform.”

Lesson 29:

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Idea:

“God is in everything I see.”

Today’s idea explains: why you can see all purpose in everything / why nothing is separate, by itself or in itself / why nothing you see means anything / every idea we have used thus far, and all subsequent ones as well.

Today’s idea is the whole basis for vision.

You may find today’s idea difficult to grasp, certainly God is not in a table (example), as you see it. A table (example) shares the purpose of the universe and what shares the purpose of the universe shares the purpose of its Creator.

Nothing is as it appears to you. Its holy purpose stands beyond your little range. When vision has shown you the holiness that lights up the world, you will understand today’s idea perfectly.

Purpose:
To begin to learn how to look on all things with love, appreciation and open-mindedness.

“To see the holy purpose that resides in everything.” ~ Watson and Perry

Practice:
Repeat today’s idea – apply to randomly chosen subjects about you, naming each one specifically, avoid the tendency toward self-directed selection – ie.:

“God is in this coat hanger.”
“God is in this magazine.”
“God is in this finger.”
“God is in that body.”
“God is in that door.”

6 two-minute practice periods.

In addition to the assigned practice periods, repeat today’s idea at least once an hour, looking slowly about you:

“God is in everything I see.”

Marianne Williamson:
With Lesson 29 you begin to appreciate the ubiquity of God: the notion that He is everywhere and is in everything. As you bring more love to everything you do, you begin to see the love that is everywhere. If God is in everything you see, then every aspect of your life becomes part of your spiritual journey.

“I spent years as an angry left-winger before I realized that an angry generation can’t bring peace. Everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it. As Gandhi said, ‘We must be the change.’ What the ego doesn’t want us to see is that the guns we need to get rid of first are the guns in our own heads.”

Lesson 28:

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Idea:

“Above all else I want to see things differently.”

You see a lot of separate things about you, which really means you are not seeing at all. You either see or not. When you have seen one thing differently, you will see all things differently. The light you will see in any one of them is the same light you will see in them all.

When you say, ie.:

“Above all else I want to see this _____ differently” (chair, hand, pencil, table, etc.),

you are making a commitment to withdraw your preconceived ideas about the table (chair, hand, pencil, etc.), and open your mind to what it is, and what it is for. You are not defining it in past terms. You are asking what it is, rather than telling it what it is. You are not binding its meaning to your experience of tables (chairs, hands, pencils, etc.), nor are you limiting its purpose to your personal thoughts.

You are committing yourself to seeing and it is a commitment that applies to the table (chair, hand, pencil, etc.) just as much as to anything else. You could gain vision from just that table (chair, hand, pencil, etc.), if you would withdraw all your own ideas from it, and look upon it with a completely open mind. It has something to show you; something beautiful, clean and of infinite value, full of happiness and hope. Hidden under all your ideas about it is its real purpose, the purpose it shares with all the universe.

Purpose:
You will not question what you have already defined. The purpose of the exercise is to ask questions and receive the answers. You are really asking to see the purpose of the universe.

You are making a commitment to let its (table, chair, hand, pencil, etc.) purpose be revealed to you, instead of placing your own judgment upon it.

Practice:
Repeat today’s idea – then apply to whatever you see about you – subjects should be chosen randomly – the application should include the name of the subject your eyes happen to light on – rest your eyes on the subject while slowly and thoughtfully saying:

“Above all else I want to see this __________ differently.”

6 two-minute practice periods.

Marianne Williamson:
In Lesson 28, you continue the process of opening your mind to greater possibility. It is your capacity to change your thinking about the world that causes the world to change.

You begin with your own personal circumstances, including the physical objects that surround you in your material existence, declaring your desire to see things differently. In this way, you pave the way to true vision.

“Forgiveness is the choice to see people as they are now. When we are angry at people, we are angry because of something they said or did before this moment. But what people said or did is not who they are. Relationships are reborn as we let go perceptions of our brother’s past. ‘By bringing the past into the present, we create a future just like the past.’ By letting the past go, we make room for miracles.”

Lesson 27:

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Idea:

“Above all else I want to see.”

Today’s idea expresses something stronger than mere determination – it gives vision priority among your desires.

Purpose:
To bring the time when today’s idea will be wholly true a little nearer.

Practice:
Repeat today’s ideamany repetitions are needed for maximum benefit.

It should be used at least every half hour, and more if possible (every fifteen or twenty minutes). Set a definite time interval for using the idea when you wake or shortly afterwards, and attempt to adhere to it throughout the day.

There may be a great temptation to believe that some sort of sacrifice is being asked of you when you say you want to see above all else. If you become uneasy about the lack of reservation involved, add

“Vision has no cost to anyone.”

If fear of loss still persists, add:

“I can only bless.”

The real question is, how often will you remember? How much do you want today’s idea to be true?

Marianne Williamson:
With Lesson 27, you begin to own the power of your own thinking. You state your desire to move beyond illusion and to truly see. The vision of the Holy Spirit has come to mean much more to you than the fractured vision of the ego, and with this exercise, you give true vision the highest priority. The veil of illusion now begins to slip away.

“Only love is real. Nothing else actually exists. If a person behaves unlovingly, then, that means that, regardless of their negativity—anger or whatever—their behavior was derived from fear and doesn’t actually exist. They’re hallucinating. You forgive them, then, because there’s nothing to forgive. Forgiveness is a discernment between what is real and what is not real.”

Lesson 26:

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Idea:

“My attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability.”

If you can be attacked you are not invulnerable. You see attack as a real threat – because you believe that you can really attack. And what would have effects through you must also have effects on you.

Because your attack thoughts will be projected, you will fear attack. And if you fear attack, you must believe that you are not invulnerable. Attack thoughts therefore make you vulnerable in your own mind, which is where the attack thoughts are. Attack thoughts and invulnerability cannot be accepted together – they contradict each other.

You always attack yourself first. If attack thoughts must entail the belief that you are vulnerable, their effect is to weaken you in your own eyes. Thus they have attacked your perception of yourself. And because you believe in them, you can no longer believe in yourself. A false image of yourself has come to take the place of what you are.

Purpose:
To understand that vulnerability or invulnerability is the result of your own thoughts. Nothing except your thoughts can attack you. Nothing except your thoughts can make you think you are vulnerable. And nothing except your thoughts can prove to you this is not so.

Practice:
Repeat the idea – then close eyes – review the unresolved questions whose outcomes are causing you concern (ay take the form of depression / worry / anger / a sense of imposition / fear / foreboding / preoccupation). Any problem as yet unsettled that tends to recur in your thought during the days is suitable subject.

Today’s idea is applied as follows, first name the situation:

“I am concerned about __________.”

Go over every possible outcome that has occurred to you in that connection and which has caused you concern, referring to each one quite specifically, saying:

“I am afraid __________ will happen.”

After you have named each outcome of which you are afraid, tell yourself:

“That thought is an attack upon myself.”

Conclude practice period by repeating today’s idea.

6 two-minute practice periods.

Watson and Perry:
The Heritage dictionary defines “invulnerable” as “immune to attack.” So to believe I can be attacked means, by definition that I believe I am no invulnerable.

“You see attack as a real threat.. That is because you believe that you can really attack.” (ACIM – WB-26.1:2-3)

It is my belief that I am capable of attack that makes me fear attack from without; if I can attack, so can everyone else. My fear of attack, therefore, comes from the projection of m own belief about myself! It comes from my belief that I am not a wholly loving being, but rather I am malicious, malign and wicked.

“What would have effects through you must also have effects on you” (ACIM – WB-26.1:4). Lesson 23: thoughts of attacking and thoughts of being attacked are exactly the same. My belief in attack within myself, acting through me, will also have effects on me. “It is this law that will ultimately save you” (ACIM – WB-26.1:5). What that is referring to is the truth that the way I find forgiveness is by giving it; the way I receive healing is to heal others. But we are “misusing” that law now, projecting guilt instead of extending love. So we need to learn how to use it for our own best interests, rather than against them.

Attack thoughts weaken me in my ow eyes, whether they are fearful thoughts of assault from without, or aggressive thoughts of attack on another. The strong o not have enemies (ACIM – Text-23.IN.1:5). If I can let go of attack thoughts I will perceive my invulnerability; my “vulnerability or invulnerability is the result of [my] own thoughts” (ACIM – WB-26.4:1).

“Nothing accept your thoughts can attack you” (ACIM – WB-26.4:2).

Marianne Williamson:
Lesson 26 is one of the most powerful exercises in A Course in Miracles. Learning to discipline your mind and letting go of thoughts of attack allows miracles to flow naturally and automatically into your life. Attack thoughts—about yourself or about anyone else—block the love to which you are entitled.

Lesson 26 will help you let them go.

“When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him, you will see yourself. As you treat him, you will treat yourself. As you think of him, you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.”

Lesson 25:

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Idea:

“I do not know what anything is for.”

Purpose is meaning. Today’s idea explains why nothing you see means anything. You do not know what it is for. Therefore, it is meaningless to you. Everything is for your own best interests. That is what it is for; that is its purpose; that is what it means. It is in recognizing this that: your goals become unified / what you see is given meaning.

You perceive the world and everything in it as meaningful in terms of ego goals. These goals have nothing to do with your own best interests, because the ego is not you. This false identification makes you incapable of understanding what anything is for. As a result, you are bound to misuse it. When you believe this, you will try to withdraw the goals you have assigned to the world, instead of attempting to reinforce them.

Another way to describe the goals you now perceive is to say that they are all concerned with “personal” interests. Since you have no personal interests, your goals are really concerned with nothing. In cherishing them you have no goals at all; thus you do not know what anything is for.

At the most superficial levels, you do recognize purpose. Yet purpose cannot be understood at these levels.

It is crucial to your learning to be willing to give up the goals you have established for everything. The recognition that they are meaningless, rather than “good” or “bad,” is the only way to accomplish this.

Purpose:
To be willing to give up the goals you have established for everything and recognize that they are meaningless, rather than “good” or “bad”.

Practice:
Begin with a slow repetition of today’s idea – look about you and let your glance rest on whatever happens to catch your eye, near or far, important or unimportant, human or nonhuman – with your eyes resting on each subject, say slowly without shifting your eyes from the subject:

“I do not know what this _____ is for.”

Then move onto the next subject and apply today’s idea as before.
Example:

“I do not know what this chair is for.”
“I do not know what this pencil is for.”
“I do not know what this hand is for.”

6 two-minute practice periods.

Watson and Perry:
We don’t know what anything is for. The obvious question is, “What is it for?” This lesson answers the question. “Everything is for your own best interests” (1:5). That relates to Lesson 24, “I do not perceive my own best interests.” What is for my best interests? Everything.

We don’t know that and we certainly don’t believe it. We evaluate everything “in terms of ego goals” (2:1), and sine “the ego is not you” (2:2), that cannot give us any idea of what our best interests are. We are picking and choosing the things that support our ego, which is not our Self, and therefore, clearly, we are actually undermining our true Self. (The statement that “the ego is not you” is particularly important; it isn’t something we would realize without being told.)

We look at the world from the ego perspective and we literally “assign” purposes to things, purposes that will support our ego.

Marianne Williamson:
With Lesson 25, you begin to divest yourself of an attachment to personal goals. With the thought that you want this or that specific thing to happen in your life, you remain in the belief that you are a separate and isolated being.

The purpose of the Course it to teach you that you are in fact not isolated or alone and therefore have no need but the peace of God. You do not know what anything is for, but the Holy Spirit can show you.

“The Course says, ‘We think we have many different problems, but we only have one.’ Denying love is the only problem, and embracing it is the only answer. Love heals all of our relationships—to money, the body, work, sex, death, ourselves, and one another. Through the miraculous power of pure love, we let go our past history in any area and begin again.”