"Let not my world obscure the sight of Christ."
"My world" is, of course, the world I made to support my ego; the illusory world of attack and separation. The sight of Christ, or the vision of Christ as it is mostly called in the Text, is a faculty that is native to all of us, part of our created Being. Christ's vision shows us reality and oneness, not the fragmented chaos we usually see with our eyes. This sight is always available to us, but the world we made "can obscure [our] holy sight" (1:1). So today's thought is a prayer, or a resolution, not to allow that to happen, not to let what our eyes show us prevent our seeing what the vision of Christ can show us all the time and any time--namely, the real world.
"Perception is a mirror, not a fact. And what I look on is my state of mind, reflected outward" (1:3-4). The same thought is repeated throughout the Course:
"Perception can make whatever picture the mind desires to see. Remember this" (M-19.5:2-3).
"The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that....It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition" (T-21.Int.1:2, 5).
The world, then, is only showing us our own minds. It is our own projections that obscure the sight of Christ, and nothing more or less than that. Christ is the only reality, the creation of God, and without our superimposed projections this reality is all we would see. But we cannot use perception to see it; instead, we must use the vision of Christ, a wholly separate faculty or sense (W-pII.304.1:2). We need to let the sight of the world fade from our minds; this is why closing our eyes can be helpful at first, when what our eyes show us seems so solid and real.
What we see is determined by what we want to see. Therefore, we are given these words to say: "I would [i.e. I will to] bless the world by looking on it through the eyes of Christ" (1:5). Our perception can become true perception, which sees the world as a reflection of the truth instead of being a mirror of our projections, if truth is what we want to see. "When you want only love you will see nothing else" (T-12.VII.8:1).
Today I want to tune in to my natural, God-given desire to bless the world. I want to draw upon that will to bless, which is always in me, and use it to tranform my perception of the world around me. I want to see the world as a mirror reflecting the fact that "all my sins have been forgiven me" (1:6). I will see that when I see all the world as forgiven. "Let me forgive, and thus receive salvation for the world" (2:2). This is a gift given me by God that I can offer to His holy Son, of which every person I meet or even think of today is a part. As I forgive those around me, which is my mission today, they will be helped to once again find the memory of God, and of the Christ as their own Self (2:3).
SEEING BEYOND THE GOOD ILLUSIONS
by Allen Watson
This is an "extra" for Lesson 304, some thoughts I wrote about five years ago when reading this lesson. They branch off from the lesson itself to comment on related portions of the Text. I hope you enjoy it. As with all my commentaries, some parts are purely my own opinion, reflections on the Course rather than an interpretation of it; if you do not agree with all I say, just disregard the parts you don't like!
#304, "Let not my world obscure the sight of Christ."
"Perception is a mirror, not a fact" (1:3). We never see the Truth, we always perceive symbols of the truth, and it is our mind that gives those symbols meaning. The signals reach our brain and a mental filter is applied, based on fear or based on love, and whatever is in my mind, that is what I perceive. This is why "what I look upon is my state of mind, reflected outward" (1:4).
The function of a Teacher of God is just to go around reminding everyone, in every way possible, of who they really are. He reminds them of God, and of their Self as God created it. When his brother is deceived and operating from an illusion of himself, he does not attack the illusion or seek to change the behavior, but rather he acts in whatever way he can to deny his brother's denial of his Self, and to remind him of who he really is.
Seeing the Real World is not difficult. We already have the vision of Christ. The problem is, we obscure it, overlaying it with our own ego interpretations. We superimpose our filter of fear on perception and block out the vision of Christ, replacing it with our view of the world. To see the Real World, what we need to do is to withdraw our support from the ego's perceptions. We need to stop thinking that perception is a fact, and realize it is only the projection of our own thoughts. The world is not really the way I think it is.
This is why, in the Text, we are told this:
"Sit quietly and look upon the world you see, and tell yourself: "The real world is not like this. It has no buildings and there are no streets where people walk alone and separate. There are no stores where people buy an endless list of things they do not need. It is not lit with artificial light, and night comes not upon it. There is no day that brightens and grows dim. There is no loss. Nothing is there but shines, and shines forever" (T-13.VII.1).
"The world you see must be denied, for sight of it is costing you a different kind of vision. You cannot see both worlds, for each of them involves a different kind of seeing, and depends on what you cherish. The sight of one is possible because you have denied the other" (T-13.VII.2:1-3).
This is more than just a different way of looking at the physical world. It is looking beyond the physical world entirely. It is literally denying that the physical world exists at all! No buildings. No streets. No stores. No day. No night. This is pretty far-reaching denial!
The Course is saying that the entire physical world is like a vast hologram that we have superimposed over what is really there. We see the physical world because we have denied the Real World. Therefore, to see the Real World, you must deny the physical. "The sight of it is costing you a different kind of vision."
A woman in our study group in New Jersey said she had trouble with the idea of not seeing the physical world. "There are wonderful things in it that I value: the Fall foliage, the mountains, the music of Bach. I don't want to lose those."
I would say that, Yes, indeed, you have to let those go as well, and deny their reality. The thing to see is that it is not the colored leaves you value, nor the sound of music. The real value is in the experience you have when you see or hear them, the sense of oneness, the peacefulness, the joy, the appreciation of beauty. That value lies, not in the things, but in you. We have learned to associate our experiences of love and joy with certain things and certain people. The association is wholly within our own mind. In the Real World, everything is associated with that experience! "Nothing is there but shines, and shines forever" (T-13.VII.1:7).
We don't really want more Fall foliage, more good music, more trips to the mountains. We want God, we want the experience of Him that we have associated with those things. We want the feeling of wholeness, of well-being, of self-completion that we have falsely learned to associate with certain things in our lives. That is always what we really want, and the only thing we truly want.
On the way to fuly understanding that, it becomes necessary to deny the reality of even the good things of life. As the phrase from earlier in the Workbook has it, "This is not a part of what I want" (W-pI.130.11:5). The Fall foliage is not a part of what I want. This romantic special relationship is not a part of what I want. It is a breaking of the mental associations that we have made, undoing the linking of the experience of God to the physical context in which we had the experience. The physical did not give us that experience; it came about wholly in our mind.
I am not saying that while we are in the world we should deny ourselves these physical pleasures. What I am saying is that we can learn that the experiences of God we have had are not limited to those things! Everything and everyone offers us the same experience. By saying that certain things have the power to give us that experience, and others do not, we are forming a special relationship with those things, with those people.
Even as we settle back to listen to a good symphony, we can remind ourselves that what we are doing is a form of magic thought. The symphony has no power to give us the experience; it has no more power than anything else. It is our thoughts that give us the experience as we listen. What we experience is not limited to the music; it is something inherent in our being. "God is in everything I see because God is in my mind" (W-pI.30). We are the source of the beauty, not the physical thing we have chosen as a doorway to that experience of beauty. The beauty I think I see in the world is really something in my Self, "my state of mind, reflected outward" (W-pI.304.1:4).
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