Longer: 3 times for 10 minutes each
- Begin by repeating: "Miracles are seen in light. The body's eyes do not
perceive the light. But I am not a body. What am I?" Ask this final question in
- Then devote several minutes to allowing your weak, body-based image of
yourself to be replaced by the truth. Say, for example: "I am not weak, but
strong. I am not helpless, but powerful. I am not doubtful, but certain," and
so on. Try to experience these truths about you, especially the experience of
strength. Remember that weakness comes from the mistaken belief you are a body.
If only for a moment, remove your faith from this. Instruct your mind to escape
the body and leave weakness behind.
- For the remainder, relax, confident that your weak efforts are fully
supplemented by God's strength, which joins you in your practice. His strength
will provide you with both the experience of your strength and the light in
which you will see miracles.
Response To Temptation: Suggested form: "Miracles are seen in light. Let me not close my eyes because of this."
The first idea, central to the lesson, is that "miracles and vision necessarily go together" (1:1). We are told this bears frequent repetition, and that it is central to our new thought system. The whole nature of what the Course means by a miracle is touched on here. A miracle is not really a change in anything outside of our mind; it is a change in perception, a "shift to vision."
"As the ego would limit your perception of your brothers to the body, so would the Holy Spirit release your vision and let you see the Great Rays shining from them, so unlimited that they reach to God. It is this shift to vision that is accomplished in the holy instant." (T-15.IX.1:1-2)
"The miracle is always there" (1:4). What changes is our acceptance or rejection of vision; we either see it or we don't. It is always present. What changes is our awareness. So to experience the miracle, we must have vision. We must let go of darkness in order to see the light. As the section titled "What is a Miracle?" puts it (Workbook page 463/473):
"A miracle is a correction. It does not create, nor really change at all. It merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false."
The devastation is what we see with our eyes. The Course is very plain-spoken about physical sight: "The body's eyes do not perceive the light" (6:3). "You do not doubt that the body's eyes can see. You do not doubt the images they show you are reality" (3:3,4). And yet the lesson is clearly asking us to do just that, to doubt that our eyes really see, and to doubt that what they see is real. We have to let go of the darkness to see the light, and what they body's eyes show us is not light; therefore it must be darkness. We need a shift to a new kind of vision.
This need to undo our faith in our eyes and what they see is part of the reason this lesson turns to a second idea: "I am not a body" (6:4ff). We are told to instruct our minds that we are not bodies. We are to will ourselves to realize that we are something else, something that does not see with the eyes, but in a different way.
The exercises today are designed to help us realize that we are something other than a body; we are looking for a very concrete experience. In paragraph 7 we are told: "You need to be aware of what the Holy Spirit uses to replace the image of a body" (7:2); "You need to feel something to put your faith in" (7:3); "You need a real experience of something else" (7:4). An awareness, a feeling, an experience. There is something within us, a certain strength, "which makes all miracles within your easy reach" (4:4). We don't realize how strong we are! And more than that: "Your efforts, however meager, are fully supported by the strength of God and all His thoughts" (10:1). I always think of this by an analogy, something akin to sound waves or radio waves. When my little willingness strikes the right wavelength, I suddenly find myself joined by the harmony of the universe, a powerful beam of divine energy that resonates with me. If we can strike the right frequency of thought today, we will find that awareness, sense that feeling, and have that experience that takes us beyond the body, and into vision.
Isn't this worth ten minutes of effort, three times today? I know I think it is.
Don't be discouraged if you don't feel anything, however. You will find vision. Your efforts today are not wasted, and do not think that if nothing seems to happen that you have "failed." I remember learning to roller skate. I started out by falling down a lot. If I had stopped then, thinking I'd failed, I would never have learned to skate. But I didn't. I kept on falling down, and falling down again, until one day I didn't fall down. With spiritual vision, I'm still pretty much in the falling down stage myself. I've had some incredible experiences, holy instants, just as in the early days of skating there were times I went for blocks (skating on the sidewalk, jumping over the cracks) without falling, before I suddenly fell again. Consistent spiritual vision I don't have as yet. But the miracle is always there, whether or not I see it! And my vision is improving each time I practice.
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