Purpose: To briefly leave your weak, body-based image of yourself behind and have an experience of your real strength. In its light you will perceive the miracles that have always been there, waiting for you to see.
Longer: Three times, for ten minutes.
- Begin by repeating, "Miracles are seen in light. The body's eyes do not perceive the light. But I am not a body. What am I?" Ask this final question in real honesty. With this question, you are calling on the strength in you to give you an experience of your reality, beyond the body. So ask with that intention.
- Then spend several minutes listing your attributes as you see them, and allowing them to be replaced by their opposite. Say, for example, "I am not weak, but strong. I am not helpless, but powerful. I am not doubtful, but certain," and so on. Focus specifically on attributes that involve weakness.
- Then try to experience these truths about you, especially the experience of strength. Try to lift your faith in your body as central to your reality, for that is what makes you feel weak. Instruct your mind to instead go to the place of strength in you (this exercise appears to be a kind of meditation). Remember that your will has the power to do this. "You can escape the body if you choose. You can experience the strength in you" (5:5-6). You might want to use the beginning question, "What am I?" as a kind of mantra to take you to this place in you.
- For the remainder, relax in the confidence that your weak efforts are fully supplemented by God's strength, which joins you in your practice. His strength will carry you to the deep place in you where your strength and His light abide.
Frequent reminders: Five or six per hour, at fairly regular intervals (every ten to fifteen minutes).
Repeat the idea, which means that the miracle is always there if you will just open your eyes. This is a central idea in the thought system you are learning. That is why it needs such frequent repeating today.
Response to temptation: Whenever you are tempted to be upset.
Repeat, "Miracles are seen in light. Let me not close my eyes because of this."
As the Workbook lessons get longer it won't be practical to try to comment on everything in each lesson. That could be more than a person could write in a day; in fact, I have written a 48-page booklet on Lesson 135. (A Healed Mind Does Not Plan is the booklet title.) So I will be picking some aspect of the lesson that particularly speaks to me, and writing about that.
The first idea, central to the lesson, is that "miracles and vision necessarily go together" (1:1). We are told this bears frequent repetition, and that it is central to our new thought system. The whole nature of what the Course means by a miracle is touched on here. A miracle is not really a change in anything outside of our mind; it is a change in perception, a "shift to vision":
As the ego would limit your perception of your brothers to the body, so would the Holy Spirit release your vision and let you see the Great Rays shining from them, so unlimited that they reach to God. It is this shift to vision that is accomplished in the holy instant. (T-15.IX.1:1-2)
"The miracle is always there" (1:4). What changes is our acceptance or rejection of vision; we either see it or we don't. It is always present. What changes is our awareness. So to experience the miracle, we must have vision. We must let go of darkness in order to see the light. As the section titled "What Is a Miracle?" puts it:
The devastation is what we see with our eyes. The Course is very plainspoken about physical sight: "The body's eyes do not perceive the light" (6:3). "You do not doubt that the body's eyes can see. You do not doubt the images they show you are reality" (3:3-4). And yet the lesson is clearly asking us to do just that, to doubt that our eyes really see, and to doubt that what they see is real. We have to let go of the darkness to see the light, and what the body's eyes show us is not light; therefore it must be darkness. We need a shift to a new kind of vision.
This need to undo our faith in our eyes and what they see is part of the reason this lesson turns to a second idea: "I am not a body" (6:4ff). We are told to instruct our minds that we are not bodies. We are to will ourselves to realize that we are something else, something that does not see with the eyes, but in a different way.
The exercises today are designed to help us realize that we are something other than a body; we are looking for a very concrete experience. In paragraph 7 we are told: "You need to be aware of what the Holy Spirit uses to replace the image of a body" (7:2). "You need to feel something to put your faith in" (7:3). "You need a real experience of something else" (7:4). An awareness, a feeling, an experience. There is something within us, a certain strength, "which makes all miracles within your easy reach" (4:4). We don't realize how strong we are! And more than that: "Your efforts, however meager, are fully supported by the strength of God and all His Thoughts" (10:1). I always think of this by an analogy, something akin to sound waves or radio waves. When my little willingness strikes the right wavelength, I suddenly find myself joined by the harmony of the universe, a powerful beam of divine energy that resonates with me. If we can strike the right frequency of thought today, we will find that awareness, sense that feeling, and have that experience that takes us beyond the body, and into vision.
Isn't this worth ten minutes of effort, three times today? I know I think it is.
Don't be discouraged if you don't feel anything, however. You will find vision. Your efforts today are not wasted, and do not think that if nothing seems to happen that you have "failed." I remember learning to roller-skate. I started out by falling down a lot. If I had stopped then, thinking I'd failed, I would never have learned to skate. But I didn't. I kept on falling down, and falling down again, until one day I didn't fall down. With spiritual vision, I'm still pretty much in the falling down stage myself. I've had some incredible experiences, holy instants, just as in the early days of skating there were times I went for blocks (skating on the sidewalk, jumping over the cracks) without falling, before I suddenly fell again. Consistent spiritual vision I don't have as yet. But the miracle is always there, whether or not I see it! And my vision is improving each time I practice.