"All things I think I see reflect ideas."
This lesson is probably the best single summary of the Course's theory of perception:
"What I see reflects a process in my mind, which starts with my idea of what I want. From there, the mind makes up an image of the thing the mind desires, judges valuable, and therefore seeks to find. These images are then projected outward, looked upon, esteemed as real and guarded as one's own" (1:1-3).
Everything I see is a projection. By this analysis of perception, we see absolutely nothing real with our physical eyes. All of it "reflects a process in my mind" and nothing more than that. What we see is all projected images. As an early lesson in the Workbook says, "I have given everything I see all the meaning that it has for me" (W-pI.2).
As we choose what we want to see, the world arises in our sight. If we choose judgment we see a world condemned; if we choose forgiveness we see "a gentle world" (1:5-6). This is why the Course focuses entirely on healing the mind and not on changing the world. To change the world is not necessary; it will change with our thoughts. As Ken Wapnick points out, trying to fix things in the world is like trying to fix things in a movie by doing things to the screen. The only way you can change the movie is to change what is in the projector (or to fix the projector). The mind is the projector of the world.
When we accept forgiving thoughts in our minds, the world becomes "a kindly home where [we] can rest a while before [we journey] on" (1:6). It becomes a place where we can "help [our] brothers walk ahead with [us], and find the way to Heaven and to God" (1:6). That is what we do in this world when we have had our minds healed: help others do the same.
What we want is the ideas of God reflected in the world, rather than our own ideas. Apart from God's ideas, our ideas only "make up dreams" (2:1).
Today I do not want dreams; I want reality reflected in my world. It all starts from my idea of what I want. Therefore, Father, I ask help in wanting only the truth, only peace, and only what is loving. I want union, not separation. I want healing, not conflict. I want peace, not war. Help me to recognize it whenever I think I want anything else, or anything besides the truth; to recognize it, bring it into Your light for healing, and let it go.
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