- Religion and Philosophy»
- Non-denominational Beliefs & Practices
A Course in Miracles Lessons 6 to 10
I am upset because I see something that is not there.
In lesson 5 I realise that I spontaneously assign meaning to things I see. The meaning I assign to what I see is a thought inside me and as such has nothing to do with the object I see outside of me.
The meaning I assign to what I see gives rise to feelings that in turn have nothing to do with the thought that evoked the feelings. So if I am upset by what I see the reason for my upset is not for the reason I have thought up.
So now in Lesson 6 I realise that I must take responsibility for the feeling of upset that I have created and which has nothing to do with what I see. In fact the reason that I created is an illusion that does not exist. I am in effect feeling upset about something that does not exist.
I see only the past.
This lesson explains the rationale behind all the preceding ideas so far. Everything we see is labelled according to our previous experience with the object or experience in the past. Our reactions to what we see are therefore governed by the past as we continue to see everything the way we saw it when we first labelled it.
We would have no idea what something is unless we have had experiences with it in the past and this goes for objects and experiences. Everything we see is associated with something we have labelled in the past. When a child sees a leaf for the first time it is unique and different from every other leaf until it is labelled and after that all leaves are clumped under the idea called leaf which exists in the past when the idea was first created in our minds.
My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.
There is one thing we can say with certainty about the past and that it is not the present. From the previous lesson, "we see only the past", means that what we are seeing does not exist in the present. If what we are seeing does not exist now then what we are seeing is an illusion.
The reason why it is so difficult to remain focussed in the present is because the mind is hypnotised by its own projections of the past on to everything we see.
If we are looking at thoughts from the past and the past does not exist now, then we are looking at something that does not exist and the mind must therefore not be thinking though we imagine we are.
This exercise develops our ability to be aware of the times that we are not thinking because our minds are filled with thoughtless ideas. In this condition the truth is blocked.
I see nothing as it is now.
The exercise is introduced by assuring us that understanding at this stage is not required and our acceptance that we do not understand is in fact necessary for us to progress at this stage. “The recognition that you do not understand is a prerequisite for undoing your false ideas.”
We have been conditioned from birth to believe what we see is actually there when in fact this is an impossibility given that we can only see the past. This idea can be disturbing for many people who may experience resistance as a result. Because we have already labelled everything we see in the past it is all tied to the past and cannot be seen as it is now.
My thoughts do not mean anything.
What we believe are our thoughts actually don't mean anything. What we think we think is not real. The thoughts we believe are ours are simply present because we are preoccupied with the past. It is as if we are tied to everything by means of the past and as such we cannot be thinking in the present. We cannot be thinking in the present if our minds are filled with past thoughts that are not our real thoughts. In fact the very opposite is happening in that our minds are actually blank.
In a nutshell, we are aware of thinking but the error lies in us giving any meaning to the past thoughts that preoccupy us. To correct the error we must realise experientially these so called "thoughts" are not ours but are projections we are looking at which means that we are not thinking and our minds are blank.
The prerequisite for vision is the ability to recognise the nothingness in everything we think we see.