Today I have been practicing Lesson 262, “Let me perceive no differences today.” Two things have been on my mind.
First, the differences we typically see between us are manifold and deep. Here are just a few:
- Differences in appearance: beautiful, ugly, thin, fat, young, old, healthy, sick
- Differences in ability
- Differences in gender
- Differences in wealth
- Differences in social status
- Differences in goodness of character: nice vs. mean, honest vs. lying, gentle vs. aggressive, giving vs. taking, etc.
- Differences in beliefs and values
- Different interests—one gaining while another loses, or even gaining from another losing
- Differences in being: my being is different than yours
When we meet someone, we instantly start assessing many of these differences, along with others I haven’t listed. And the more different we decide that someone is, the more that person becomes the alien, the stranger, even the enemy; someone we can’t relate to, someone not to be trusted, someone whose misfortune we secretly wish for.
I have been realizing that this sense of difference has run throughout my life. I have always felt different. Even though I like many of the same things that masses of other people like, in important ways I am moved by different things, things I find hard to explain to others and often misunderstood by others. This constantly undercuts the sense of solidarity and camaraderie that I should feel with everyone, making me feel, to a significant degree, alone and isolated, a fish out of water.
The second thing that’s been on my mind today has been a picture I associate with this lesson. The picture is this: Each person is really a Son of God, and as such is a literally infinite mind. There is a lot of room in an infinite mind, and a small part of this infinite mind is asleep and dreaming.
It is dreaming, of course, that it is a particular human being in the year 2012. This dream is a vastly curtailed state for it. Reducing its infinite mind down to the wattage of a human brain is like reducing the sun down to a firefly. Or, to change the metaphor, like being extremely heavily drugged. It’s like going to sleep.
But this infinite mind is not just dreaming it is this particular human being in 2012. It is also simultaneously dreaming that it’s countless other beings in countless other time periods, stretching back all the way along its individual past and forward all the way to its individual awakening to eternity. Its personal timeline is really happening all at once, in other words, since time itself is happening all at once. So this infinite mind is simultaneously dreaming being all the characters it ever was or ever will appear to be, experiencing all the moments of all their lives all at once.
Throughout the countless billions of scenes that this infinite mind’s attention is simultaneously scattered, three things are happening.
First, it is meeting its past choices, both mistakes and positive choices, in the form of lessons. It meets them in everything it sees and experiences—in the form it’s in, in the events that happen to it, in the feelings it experiences. All these things contain lessons for it, and all the lessons are really just the one lesson in different forms.
Second, God’s Voice is calling it home, by telling it how to interpret and respond to what it’s meeting, how to learn its lessons.
Third, it is learning, learning the many lessons, which add up to learning the one lesson—that it wants to be home with God again.
This is what I’m telling myself today. When I see someone, I try to remind myself that behind that body is an infinite mind which, through meeting the same lesson in countless billions of scenes, spanning the history of the universe, it is learning that it wants to be home with God. The lessons are really happening all at once, and the learning is too.
This is true no matter what form this mind appears in. If that mind appears in the form of a criminal, this is true. If it is apparently sunk into a life of pure material concerns, this is true. If it appears in the form of a fundamentalist Christian, this is true. No matter how different than me this mind appears to be, this is still true.
That is what I am reminding myself of today, so that I can perceive no differences today.