Lesson 290 • October 17


Lesson 290

My present happiness is all I see.

Practice Instructions

See complete instructions in a separate document. A short summary:

  • Read the commentary paragraph slowly and personally.
  • Pray the prayer, perhaps several times.
  • Morning and evening: Repeat the idea and then spend time in Open Mind Meditation.
  • Hourly remembrance: Repeat the idea and then spend time in Open Mind Meditation.
  • Frequent reminders: Repeat the idea and then spend a quiet moment in meditation.
  • Response to temptation: Repeat the idea whenever upset, to restore peace.
  • Read the “What Is” section slowly and thoughtfully once during the day.


“Unless I look upon what is not there, my present happiness is all I see” (1:1). That is the real key: not looking at what isn’t here. So often we are looking at the past, or as I was doing as I lay in bed this morning, the future. Neither past nor future is here. By definition they are “not now.”

What Jesus is saying here is that if we can stop for a moment looking at past or future, what we will see is present happiness. As one guru says, “You are always already happy.”

What does this have to do with the leading lesson on the Holy Spirit? “What I perceive without God’s Own correction [the Holy Spirit] for the sight I made is frightening and painful to behold” (1:3). The future is frightening; the past is painful. I need the corrective spectacles of the Holy Spirit to see the truth.

The world I see is painful because the ego made it to support itself. If I just go on looking at it through the eyes the ego made, I am going to see witnesses to evil, sin, danger, and guilt. I need to see it a different way.

I’m not being asked to blind myself, to bury my head in the sand and pretend the world is not there. I’m being asked to willingly put on corrective lenses and see the world differently, as a witness to love, joy, and peace. First of all, in this lesson, I am being asked to look within and notice that without reference to the past or the future, I am naturally happy. I am being asked to stop looking at what isn’t there. Seeing what is there in a different way is the next stage, and there will be little effort to it because I will start from a place of happiness.

If I am already happy, nothing in the present can change that because I don’t approach it from a sense of lack. I don’t approach it at all, I am already in it.

This is a great technique for meditation: as thoughts arise, if they concern the past in any way, just let them float by. If they concern the future in any way, just let them float by. If you can do that, what you will discover, always, is your present happiness. You don’t have to manufacture it because it always exists.