A Course in Miracles’ lessons 8 through 14 extend from the previous week’s lessons and begin to show us how the thoughts we think we think are the bases for what we see.
ACIM Lesson 8 – My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.
This lesson is an extension of the previous lesson, a reminder that our investment in past thinking is costing us the experience of the present moment; true sight.
If we were to inspect our thoughts, what we would notice is that our thinking is related to past conditioning. The mind loves to review what it thinks it knows based on past learning, it repeats scenarios that have already happened and anticipates the future relative to the past (e.g. thoughts about what would make me happy in the future based upon what has made me happy in the past…or fear the future based what’s been reported to me about the past). The fabricated mental pictures and images that arise in our mind, including the self-image, is a manifestation of past thoughts. We respond to all of this imagined thinking as if it were real and Reality now.
“It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems to picture is not there.” – A Course in Miracles
Believing in our “dream thinking” we live and experience a world of imagination; illusion. We live in our “heads.” Having placed so much faith in our mental stories, attention is withdrawn from Reality as it is in the present moment. We see nothing as it is now.
ACIM Lesson 9 – I see nothing as it is now.
Imagine you’re watching the sunset. It wouldn’t be surprising that you mentioned to yourself “What a beautiful sunset.” And then added the commentary, “The colors are amazing. The oranges and yellow are unlike I’ve ever seen before.” …and before long, there’s a story about how quickly the sun is moving below the horizon and how lucky you are to have witnessed it.
In the 20 or so minutes that you were watching the sunset, what you were really experiencing, was not the sunset itself but the thoughts you have about the sunset. In other other words, the actual experience of witnessing the sun set became secondary to your story about it…the experience was obscured by thinking. The actual experience is much more than the story.
The lesson is bringing into our awareness that the lack of presence, or over investment in our thinking, is obscuring the true experience of life; Spiritual Vision. Nothing is actually seen as it is now because we think about the now in terms of labels, comparisons and reflection, instead of direct experience of now.
ACIM Lesson 10 – My thoughts do not mean anything.
The emphasis of this lesson is that thoughts are meaningless. Having been conditioned to believe that our thinking has reality, we respond to thought as if IS reality. Given meaning, we are at the effect of our doubt and fear thinking. We accept our limited beliefs as true. We experience ourselves as separate from others because we believe our judgements of others and the world as having a reality. The effect that thinking and story making has on us is a directly related to the belief in our thinking and narrative. But in Reality, they are just thoughts.
ACIM Lesson 11 – My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.
Thoughts and beliefs create a pseudo reality. They support a story and idea of a separate “me” and make for an experience that is in direct proportion to the conviction of our thoughts and beliefs. A Course in Miracles says “It is hard to recognize that thought and belief combine into a power surge that can literally move mountains.”
An untrained mind, which is habitually invested in stories of fear and guilt will reflect a world of suffering.
ACIM Lesson 12 – I am upset because I see a meaningless world.
Failing to recognize that our thinking is responsible for the world we see, we place blame on the world for its atrocities and injustices. We blame the world for our pains and discomforts. But it is our projections on the world that molds our perception of it.
The cause of suffering is never what is happening outside but rather the imaginative thinking of the world we hold within.
“The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition.” – A Course in Miracles
In every circumstance, our upset has nothing to do with what is happening in the world or seemingly to us. Suffering is caused by our hypothetical thinking and self talk about who we think we are and what the world is.
ACIM Lesson 13 – A meaningless world engenders fear.
As long as we believe in a world of separate people and bodies we are subject to the vulnerabilities of people and the body. Belief in separation will always produce fear. By definition, an experience of separation isn’t whole and creates an experience of lack and the need to get. Built upon the beliefs of an untrained mind’s meaningless thoughts, the world becomes a place to “try” to fulfill its needs. But in every search, our needs, are at best temporarily satisfied…nothing of this world meaningfully lasts.
The nature of the world (time, destruction, disease, suffering), will always hold a cloud of doom. There’s nothing of the world that would save you from it. This you must recognize so that a newly charted course to salvation can be chosen.
ACIM Lesson 14 – God did not create a meaningless world.
God is a symbol that represents that which is Source of everything. Source has no ego and reflects only what is true; Love.
“God is not the author of fear, you are.” – A Course in Miracles
The details of the world as seen by the ego reflects the ego thinking, not God. The world as you see it is YOUR making in your thoughts about it. That is why A Course in Miracles says “seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.”
Here’s the YouTube Live episode ACIM – Lessons of Love, Workbook Lessons 8 through 14: