[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]
In yesterday’s class, I first reviewed the previous class, where I said that in the real world you see: 1) only the loving thoughts of others and yourself, 2) the holiness in everyone and everything, and 3) God’s purpose in each event, situation, and physical form. In this class, I focused on our relationship with the real world, which we can see as a series of contrasts with our current world:
In the world, I see people who are to one degree or another my enemy. In the real world, I see only friends. Indeed, in my eyes, everything “sparkles with a gentle friendliness” (T-31.I.8). “I will recognize in everyone my dearest friend” (W-pI.60.3).
In the world, I see objects, plants, and animals that are not concerned with me (except as threat or food). In the real world, I see all objects, plants, and animals as blessing me, in the recognition that the holiness in me is their own forgotten nature. “The light in you is what the universe longs to behold” (W-pI.156.5).
In the world, I am in discord to some degree with everything. In the real world, I am “completely at peace with everyone and everything” (W-pI.68.6).
In the world, I see attacking forms, which I interpret as murderous calls to death and war. In the real world, I see in these same forms a deeper call, a call for friendship. “Nothing but calls to you in soft appeal to be your friend, and let it join with you” (T-31.I.8).
In the world, I see hopelessness and despair all around me. In the real world, everything I see is “alive with hope” (W-pI.189.1), “lit with hope” (T-31.I.8).
I envision the world as seeing me through judgmental eyes, viewing me with suspicion and even condemnation. The real world, however, “sees salvation in [me], and protects the light in [me], in which it sees its own” (W-pI.189.2).
Overall, the world is constantly attacking me. This includes both harsh treatment and neglect from others. And it includes the unpredictable and detrimental effects of natural forces beyond my control. The real world, however, does the exact opposite: it loves me, protects me, and blesses me. “Everyone and everything I see will lean toward me to bless me” (W-pI.60.3). “…a world that protects you and loves you, and that you love in return” (W-pI.68.6). “The waves bow down before you, and the trees extend their arms to shield you from the heat, and lay their leaves before you on the ground that you may walk in softness, while the wind sinks to a whisper round your holy head” (W-pI.156.4). “It welcomes you, rejoices that you came, and sings your praises as it keeps you safe from every form of danger and of pain….It blesses you throughout the day, and watches through the night as silent guardian of your holy sleep…It offers you its flowers and its snow, in thankfulness for your benevolence” (W-pI.189.2). Notice in all these quotes a loving extension toward me.
In other words, in the real world I have a positive relationship with the world. It is positively disposed toward me, and am positively disposed toward it. This positive relationship with the world stands in stark contrast to the largely negative relationship we have with our current world.
This means that while in the world I live in a state of fear (the logical response to being under attack), in the real world I feel profoundly safe. “How safe the world will look to me when I can see it!” (W-pI.60.3). “Try to feel safety surrounding you, hovering over you and holding you up. Try to believe, however briefly, that nothing can harm you in any way” (W-pI.68.6).
All of this is made possible by simply seeing through different eyes. The real world is, well, the real world. It is what is really out there. Once we accept the Love of God inside of us, we will see the world as it really is. While our eyes are blind to the love beneath all the forms, we are simply mistaken: “How wrong are you who fail to hear the call that echoes past each seeming call to death, that sings behind each murderous attack and pleads that love restore the dying world” (T-31.I.10).
The quotes I read in class:
How can I know who I am when I see myself as under constant attack? Pain, illness, loss, age and death seem to threaten me. All my hopes and wishes and plans appear to be at the mercy of a world I cannot control. (W-56.1)
W-60.3. (48) There is nothing to fear.
How safe the world will look to me when I can see it! It will not look anything like what I imagine I see now. Everyone and everything I see will lean toward me to bless me. I will recognize in everyone my dearest Friend. What could there be to fear in a world that I have forgiven, and that has forgiven me?
W-68.6. Determine now to see all these people as friends. Say to them all collectively, thinking of each one in turn as you do so:
I would see you as my friends,
that I may remember you are part of me,
and come to know myself.
Spend the remainder of the practice period trying to think of yourself as completely at peace with everyone and everything, safe in a world that protects you and loves you, and that you love in return. Try to feel safety surrounding you, hovering over you and holding you up. Try to believe, however briefly, that nothing can harm you in any way. At the end of the practice period tell yourself:
Love holds no grievances. When I let all my grievances go I will know I am perfectly safe.
W-156.4. There is a light in you which cannot die; whose presence is so holy that the world is sanctified because of you. 2 All things that live bring gifts to you, and offer them in gratitude and gladness at your feet. The scent of flowers is their gift to you. The waves bow down before you, and the trees extend their arms to shield you from the heat, and lay their leaves before you on the ground that you may walk in softness, while the wind sinks to a whisper round your holy head.
W-156.5. The light in you is what the universe longs to behold. All living things are still before you, for they recognize Who walks with you. The light you carry is their own. And thus they see in you their holiness, saluting you as savior and as God. Accept their reverence, for it is due to Holiness Itself, which walks with you, transforming in Its gentle light all things unto Its likeness and Its purity.
W-189.1. There is a light in you the world can not perceive. And with its eyes you will not see this light, for you are blinded by the world. Yet you have eyes to see it. It is there for you to look upon. It was not placed in you to be kept hidden from your sight. This light is a reflection of the thought we practice now. To feel the Love of God within you is to see the world anew, shining in innocence, alive with hope, and blessed with perfect charity and love.
W-189.2. Who could feel fear in such a world as this? It welcomes you, rejoices that you came, and sings your praises as it keeps you safe from every form of danger and of pain. It offers you a warm and gentle home in which to stay a while. It blesses you throughout the day, and watches through the night as silent guardian of your holy sleep. It sees salvation in you, and protects the light in you, in which it sees its own. It offers you its flowers and its snow, in thankfulness for your benevolence.
W-189.3. This is the world the Love of God reveals. It is so different from the world you see through darkened eyes of malice and of fear, that one belies the other. Only one can be perceived at all. The other one is wholly meaningless. A world in which forgiveness shines on everything, and peace offers its gentle light to everyone, is inconceivable to those who see a world of hatred rising from attack, poised to avenge, to murder and destroy.
W-189.4. Yet is the world of hatred equally unseen and inconceivable to those who feel God’s Love in them. Their world reflects the quietness and peace that shines in them; the gentleness and innocence they see surrounding them; the joy with which they look out from the endless wells of joy within. What they have felt in them they look upon, and see its sure reflection everywhere.
W-189.5. What would you see? The choice is given you. But learn and do not let your mind forget this law of seeing: You will look upon that which you feel within. If hatred finds a place within your heart, you will perceive a fearful world, held cruelly in death’s sharp-pointed, bony fingers. If you feel the Love of God within you, you will look out on a world of mercy and of love.
T-31.I.8. The outcome of the lesson that God’s Son is guiltless is a world in which there is no fear, and everything is lit with hope and sparkles with a gentle friendliness. Nothing but calls to you in soft appeal to be your friend, and let it join with you. And never does a call remain unheard, misunderstood, nor left unanswered in the selfsame tongue in which the call was made. And you will understand it was this call that everyone and everything within the world has always made, but you had not perceived it as it was. And now you see you were mistaken. You had been deceived by forms the call was hidden in. And so you did not hear it, and had lost a friend who always wanted to be part of you. The soft eternal calling of each part of God’s creation to the whole is heard throughout the world this second lesson brings.
T-31.I.10. The fear of God results as surely from the lesson that His Son is guilty as God’s Love must be remembered when he learns his innocence. For hate must father fear, and look upon its father as itself. How wrong are you who fail to hear the call that echoes past each seeming call to death, that sings behind each murderous attack and pleads that love restore the dying world. You do not understand Who calls to you beyond each form of hate; each call to war. Yet you will recognize Him as you give Him answer in the language that He calls. He will appear when you have answered Him, and you will know in Him that God is Love.
“I was doing an eyes-open Workbook practice from the early part of the Workbook (I can’t remember which one). As I looked around the room, everything suddenly shifted dramatically. I was looking at the same objects, but it all appeared radically different. It was as if everything in the room had an inner aliveness which was communicating with me, and pouring love on me. Everything – from the cupboard door, to the curtains, to the clothes on the floor. Everything seemed alive and to be blessing me – it was literally as if its only purpose in being there was to love me! This lasted a couple of minutes and there were no exceptions to this – literally everything I looked at appeared to be alive and pouring love and blessings on me. There was no difference to how things actually looked, physically, except that in sensing the aliveness within each object, things did give off a sense of a glow, much like when you look at a person or an animal and can sense their aliveness. There is a certain animation you experience when looking at them. It’s the difference between looking at a real person and looking at a shop mannequin.”