Purpose: To remember your function.
Longer: Three times, for five minutes each; morning (early as possible), evening (late as possible), and in between (when readiness and circumstances permit).
- First phase: Repeat the idea, then glance around you, applying it specifically and indiscriminately to whatever you see. Four to five subjects will be enough.
- Second phase: Close your eyes, repeat the idea, and let related thoughts come to you. Their purpose is to enrich the idea "in your own personal way" (5:2). They don't need to be restatements of it, or even obviously related to it, but they can't contradict it. If your mind is wandering or you begin to draw a blank, repeat the first phase of the exercise and then attempt the second phase again. Don't let the practice period become a mind wandering session, so be determined do this as many times as you need to.
Frequent reminders: You have a choice of three forms:
- When you are with someone, whether friend or "stranger," tell him silently, "God is my Source. I cannot see you apart from Him."
- Apply the idea to a situation or event, saying, "God is my Source. I cannot see this apart from Him."
- If no subjects present themselves, merely repeat the idea.
Remarks: Try to allow no long gaps in remembering the idea. This is an important training goal for the Workbook. The same thing was urged in Lesson 36 (2:2).
Also, do your best to remember to apply the idea to people you encounter. It takes real presence of mind to do this, but it can be done, and it will change the quality of the encounter.
Response to temptation: Whenever you get distressed about an event or situation.
Apply the idea specifically: "God is my Source. I cannot see this apart from Him."
All of what we call "seeing" is perception; it is not knowledge. Perception does not show us the truth; at best it shows us a clear symbol of truth. "Knowledge" in the Course is something that belongs to the realm of perfection, of Heaven; it is not possible to have knowledge and to be in this world, because this world is not true. The entire aim of the Course is to move us from false perception to true perception; when our perception has been cleaned up, we will be ready for the transfer to knowledge.
Without the Holy Spirit, perception would have remained false. But because God has placed this link with Himself in all of our minds, perception can be purified so that it will lead us to knowledge.
In Heaven or in God, there is no such thing as perception, only knowledge. Perception requires two, a perceiver and the perceived; that is duality and does not exist in truth. Yet "in salvation," our experience in this world, "perception has a mighty purpose" (2:3). Although we made perception for "an unholy purpose" (2:4), to make illusions that we think are real, the Holy Spirit can use it to restore our holiness to our awareness.
Remember Lesson 1? "Nothing I see means anything." That is because "perception has no meaning" (2:5). All of perception is essentially meaningless, "yet does the Holy Spirit give it a meaning very close to God's" (2:6). Rather than trying to understand what we see, we need to step back and let the Holy Spirit write His meaning on it all. Seen with Him, everything reveals God to us.
Without God, we think we see, but we really see nothing. We see nothing that looks like something and we attach our meanings to it all, meanings which deceive us. "I cannot see apart from Him." I may think I see, but what I seem to see is not seeing; it is hallucinating. With God, I can see truly. With God, I can perceive a clear reflection of truth in everything I look upon. It is that perception of truth that is the means by which I can forgive my brother. If I ask, I will see it.
So I cannot see apart from God. But that's a no-brainer, because I cannot be apart from God, so the truth is I can't do anything apart from Him. It's like saying, "My hand can't do anything without my body." Of course not; my hand is not separate from my body. "Whatever you do you do in Him" (3:2).
To achieve true vision I do not need to become part of God or to join with Him, as if I were making a transition of some kind from a separated condition to a unified condition. No, all I really need to do is acknowledge or recognize that I am already one with Him. As I accept that reality about myself, vision is already mine. It is inherent in my natural condition.
What I see when I think I am apart from God must not be sight, because being apart from God is illusion, so the "sight" must also be illusion. "I cannot see this desk apart from Him" (4:8).
Once again we are led into a period in which we let relevant related thoughts arise in our minds. The Course is clearly encouraging us to put its ideas into our own words, and to extend them and embellish them for our own personal use. Sometimes, the "altered" form of the lesson will prove more effective for your practice than the original version. We should feel free to do this kind of personalizing in all of the Workbook lessons. It is a tool we are meant to use to make the lessons more personally meaningful.