Purpose: To have a day of grace in which you see the world you really want. Through this you will realize that giving up the world you do not want is a giving up of nothing in order to gain everything.
Longer: Three times—morning, evening and once in between—for ten minutes.
Begin by repeating, "Beyond this world there is a world I want. I choose to see that world instead of this, for here is nothing that I really want." Try to say these lines with feeling. They are trying to inspire in you a real desire to exchange this world for the real world, and a genuine choice resulting from that desire. Feel the desire. Make the choice. Then close your eyes and watch and wait expectantly for an experience of true vision, a glimpse of the real world. I see this practice as very similar to Lesson 75. You might want to read paragraphs 6-8 in that lesson. The main difference in this lesson is that we are seeking an eyes-closed (rather than eyes-open) experience of vision. We are seeking to see a light of meaning and holiness that our eyes cannot see, only our mind. While you sit and watch and wait, feel your desire to see a world of meaning that is totally harmless, peaceful, benign, and loving, without a trace of pain or loss. You may want to repeat the idea from time to time, to renew your focus and to clear your mind of wandering thoughts.
Frequent reminders: Once per hour, for a moment.
Clear your mind and dwell on these lines: "The world I see holds nothing that I want. Beyond this world there is a world I want." Make this repetition a confirmation of the choice you made in the longer practice periods—to exchange this world for the real world.
The Course is so down-to-earth sometimes! "You cannot stop with the idea the world is worthless, for unless you see that there is something else to hope for, you will only be depressed" (1:2). So true! The statement that "the world is worthless" is pretty blunt; there can't be much debate about what it means. And I have to confess that even after ten years of studying the Course and, over time, coming to agree with its ideas, I still find that wording a little jarring. I can almost hear myself replying, "Uhhh…that isn't exactly how I'd put it." Because there is still something in me that wants to find some value here, something worthwhile, something worth preserving and striving for.
The emphasis of the Course, however, isn't on "giving up the world, but on exchanging it for what is far more satisfying, filled with joy, and capable of offering you peace" (1:3). Well, that's not such a bad deal, is it?
It begins to look especially good if we take a hard look at the world we're trying to hang on to—"merciless,…unstable, cruel, unconcerned with you, quick to avenge and pitiless with hate" (2:3). Events such as the 1995 bombing of a government building in Oklahoma City, and the rabid rage against the bomber, are both testimony to this. The bomber was thought to be "avenging" the government's actions against David Koresh in Waco, and then people wanted vengeance on the bomber. The many wars motivated by racial, religious, or ethnic differences are vengeance cycles that have been going on for centuries. This is the way the world is. "No lasting love is found, for none is here. This is the world of time, where all things end" (2:5-6). That, perhaps, is the cruelest part of all about this world. Even when you do find love, it can't last forever.
So—wouldn't you rather find a world where it is impossible to lose anything? Where vengeance is meaningless? (3:1). "Is it a loss to find all things you really want, and know they have no ending and they will remain exactly as you want them throughout time?" (3:2). It's speaking here of what the Course calls "the real world," and the following sentence—"you go from there to where words fail entirely" (3:3)—is talking about Heaven, a nonphysical existence in eternity.
What is it talking about when it speaks of "all things you really want"? If they are things that have no ending and don't change over time, they can't be anything physical; certainly not bodies. It is speaking of Love Itself; it is speaking of our Self which is spirit, and which we share with everyone. We are here to find the changeless in the midst of the changeable, and to learn to value what is changeless and to let go of what is changeable.
When we choose the changeless, and value the real world of spirit instead of what changes and decays, it brings us very close to Heaven, and prepares us for it. Loosing our grasp on the world makes the transition to Heaven easy.
Holding on to the world brings loss. When you try to cling to the perishable you doom yourself to suffering. As we saw in yesterday's commentary, Buddhism has long taught a similar lesson.
Doing the practice exercises for today has a remarkable effect. When I say, "The world I see holds nothing that I want. Beyond this world there is a world I want" (9:4-5), I find myself noticing all the attachments I still have to things in this world; I find myself noticing that my conception of what it is beyond this world that I "really want" is a bit vague. And so I bring that attachment and that unclarity to the Holy Spirit, and ask that He help me in those areas. I know He will.