Purpose: "To free the world from all the idle thoughts we ever held about it, and about all living things we see upon it…that we may be free" (14:1, 5).
Longer: Two times, for fifteen minutes.
Begin by repeating, "I who remain as God created me would loose the world from all I thought it was. For I am real because the world is not, and I would know my own reality." The rest of the practice period sounds like Workbook meditation to me, in which we place our minds in a state of rest, "alert but with no strain" (15:4). Based on the lines we repeat, this exercise reminds me of a couple of other lessons—128 and 188—in which we have a sense of withdrawing our mind from its focus on the outer world and drawing it inward to the quiet center, where we rest, where our thoughts are transformed, and where we experience our true reality.
Remarks: You will sense your own release, but you may not realize that your release will also free the world, bringing healing to many brothers far and near.
Response to temptation: Whenever you believe that your thoughts have no power to help the troubling situations we see around us.
When you notice such a thought, repeat, "I loose the world from all I thought it was, and choose my own reality instead" (it will be helpful to memorize it), realizing that by doing so you are unleashing your mind's power to free the world, and adding to the freedom you gave in the longer practice period.
To me, today, the point of this lesson is: I have the power to do that. I can loose the world from all I thought it was, simply by changing my own mind.
This lesson contains what is perhaps the most startling statement in the Course:
There is no world! This is the central thought the course attempts to teach. (6:2-3)
The lesson admits that not everyone is ready to accept this idea, although it makes it clear that all of us will, eventually, accept it. (Such acceptance could take many lifetimes, I think, and doubtless we have gone through many already to get wherever we are; this is my own opinion, not necessarily that of the Course.)
In speaking of this in the analogy of a madman, the first paragraph says that no madman can be "swayed by questioning his thoughts' effects" (1:6). From the perspective of the Course, it is the world that is the effect of our thoughts. So the approach that will lead us, eventually, to understand that there is no world does not follow the path of directly questioning the reality of the world. That is a fruitless approach, as fruitless as trying to persuade a madman that his hallucinations are not real. The approach that bears fruit is raising the source to question—that is, in questioning the thoughts that produce the hallucinations.
"Change but your mind on what you want to see, and all the world must change accordingly" (5:2). As we begin to allow thoughts of healing to flow through us, we open ourselves to learn the lesson. "Their readiness will bring the lesson to them in some form which they can understand and recognize" (7:2). The focus for us, then, is not on denying the reality of the world, but on opening our minds to bring healing to the world we see. Doing so will bring us experiences that will convince us that the world is not as real as we supposed. We may have a near-death experience. We may undergo some experience of enlightenment that shows us an incontrovertible reality that contradicts all that we have believed to be reality up until that time. We may, in fact, experience something in doing today's exercises that will bring us our awakening.
The unreality of the world dawns upon us as we begin to grasp the reality of our Self: "To know your Self is the salvation of the world" (10:1). If we are as God created us, then what appears to change us cannot exist, it cannot be real; there cannot be a place where we can suffer, or time to bring change to us. The world is the effect of our thoughts, and nothing more: "You maintain the world within your mind in thought" (10:3). As we discover what we truly are by allowing love to move through us in healing, we realize that "If you are real the world you see is false, for God's creation is unlike the world in every way" (11:5). We release the world from what we thought it was by accepting our oneness with God, and realizing that the world, as we see it, cannot be real because it does not reflect this truth: "What He creates is not apart from Him, and nowhere does the Father end, the Son begin as something separate from Him" (12:4).
To "loose the world" is to heal it. The meditation for today is one in which we "send out these thoughts to bless the world" (16:1). "I loose the world" means that I extend healing to all the world, I free it from suffering, I absolve it from guilt, I heal it of sickness, I lift all thoughts of vengeance from it. It is taking this role as savior to the world that reveals our Self to us, and transforms our thoughts and, in turn, the world that is their effect. This is "the power of your simple change of mind" (17:1).