Purpose: To introduce you to the process of image making, by which your inner thoughts appear as outer images.
Exercise: Three times (four if comfortable), for one minute (less if you feel uneasy).
- Repeat the idea to yourself.
- Then look about and apply it randomly to whatever you see, saying quite slowly, "This [name of object] is an image that I have made." Let your eyes rest on the object the whole time you are repeating this.
Response to temptation: Optional-whenever you are upset.
You may want to use this form: "This [name of situation] is an image that I have made." This will remind you that the "upsetting" situation you are seeing is not objectively real, but is just your own thoughts appearing in image form.
Our perception is composed of images made from our thoughts. Because the thoughts appear as images, we do not recognize the thoughts as nothing. Physical sight is nothing more than this, and this is the purpose of physical sight. We gave our body's eyes the function of seeing these thought images, in order to validate the thoughts we think we are thinking.
It is not seeing. It is image making. It takes the place of seeing, replacing vision with illusions. (1:5-7)
The Course is quite consistent in its view of our physical sight. It says, for instance:
Everything the body's eyes can see is a mistake, an error in perception, a distorted fragment of the whole without the meaning that the whole would give. (T-22.III.4:3)
The body's eyes see only form. They cannot see beyond what they were made to see. And they were made to look on error and not see past it. (T-22.III.5:3-5)
What our eyes show us is a mistake. What our eyes show us is an image we have made, and does not portray the truth. They were "made to look on error and not see past it." Part of what we must begin to learn is to look past the bodily level, to begin to realize that what our eyes are showing us is not necessarily the truth. Our eyes are showing us only the errors of our own minds.
There is something beyond the physical that vision can show us. That is the meaning of the "edges of light" (2:2) the lesson refers to. In a workshop I attended, Ken Wapnick remarked that this mention of "light episodes" (3:1) was included in part as an answer to a friend of Helen's who was seeing light around people and wondering if there was something wrong. The lesson explains that such experiences "merely symbolize true perception" (3:5). The lesson is not trying to say that everyone should have such experiences. It is saying merely that, if such experiences do occur, we should not be disconcerted by them; they are a sign of progress. It is not the symbol of true perception we seek, however, but true perception itself. The meaning of "edges of light" is simply that there is something there to be seen that is beyond the physical. It is to this realization that the lesson is leading us.