I have found myself thinking about appearances lately. Everyone knows that appearances can be deceiving. Yet I find myself quite taken in by them, especially when it comes to people. People appear to be separate bodies motivated by an extremely narrow concept of self-interest. The longer I have lived, the more I have noticed what a crazy and destructive bunch we all are.
But this, of course, is on the level of appearances. The Course teaches me that behind these appearances is a whole other story, in which we are divine Sons of God merely masquerading as selfish humans.
I want to believe this message, and I believe it a lot more than I used to. Yet I still find that there is a suspicion lurking deeply within me, one that anchors me to my my old attitudes. This suspicion whispers in my ear that the Course is just trying to sell me some wild fantasy that doesn’t fit the actual facts. It tells me that I need to stick with the evidence, the evidence of what people actually display, of how they actually behave. And how they actually behave is not like Sons of God.
I place a huge value on evidence, it is true. But I recently observed to myself that I also place a huge value on not being taken in by appearances. That is a major value for everyone, especially those who cherish the goal of finding the truth. We all know that how the product looks on the infomercial may not be how it actually performs in our kitchen.
The fact is that appearances and evidence, as any detective knows, are two different things. Even though people don’t appear to be Sons of God, I still see evidence that they are. That evidence lies in our capacity for selflessness, in our pain over not being more loving, in our innate desire for transcendence, in our ability to experience God, and in many other places.
I realized that under the guise of valuing the evidence, I have let myself be duped by appearances.
So the lesson I chose yesterday (my own words) was “Appearances will not deceive me now.” I would say it while thinking of certain people, letting these words strip off the appearance of those people being a body, being a separate ego, being something other than a Son of God. It had a remarkable effect. By about mid-afternoon, I was actually feeling a kind of elation, which was clearly tied to the lifting of the drab and heavy appearances that normally make everything seem so meaningless and petty.