I do not understand anything I see in this room
(on this street, from this window, in this place).
Purpose: To clear away the thick film of past associations which you project onto everything, so that you see things afresh and realize that you do not really understand them at all.
Exercise: Two times—ideally, morning and evening, for one minute.
Same basic instructions as the previous two days, only with a new idea.
Remarks: Being indiscriminate in selecting subjects is a direct reflection of the lesson’s purpose, which is to clear your mind of the interpretive film which you lay over things and which claims to tell you what those things really are. It is that same film which would also tell you there are some things to which the lesson does not apply. The very act, therefore, of applying the lesson to absolutely anything is also an act of setting aside that interpretive film.
If nothing I see means anything, and I have given everything I see all the meaning that it has for me, then obviously I do not understand anything I see. The Workbook is laying the groundwork for our learning. To learn a new understanding of anything we must let go our belief that we already understand it.
I find this lesson useful in many situations. When something happens that I interpret as unpleasant or upsetting, I can realize that my judgment of “unpleasant” or my upset comes not from the thing or person or situation, but from my imagined understanding of it. By repeating, “I do not understand anything I see,” I open my mind to a new understanding from the Holy Spirit. I use variants of the idea at times, such as “I don’t know what this means” or “I have no idea what this is all about.”
In the Course, the beginning of understanding is understanding that I don’t understand anything.
Remember this is an exercise. Don’t expect to perform it perfectly! You are practicing the realization that you don’t understand, which means you are coming from a state of mind that believes it does understand. That’s okay.