I've learned that my thoughts dictate how I see the world (loving or hateful), therefore, I must change my thoughts about the world. I've also learned that the thoughts I think I think (in other words, the thoughts I believe I'm thinking) are nothing but meaningless thoughts that come from past associations and experiences. I see nothing as it is now.
I recall when I first learned about meditation, one of the things I was taught was to be aware of the thoughts in my mind but not to attach relevance to them. The Buddhists call this the "monkey mind". Our thoughts jump around like a crazed animal from this to the next thought, always keeping us distracted. It is when we can observe our thoughts and not react, that we find peace of mind.
Lesson 12 reminded me that I was upset because I see a meaningless world. My thoughts, being meaningless, determine the world I see. It is my judgment of the world that causes me to be upset, or afraid, as the next lesson reminds me.
Lesson 013: A meaningless world engenders fear.
Lesson 014: God did not create a meaningless world.
"What God did not create does not exist. And everything that does exist, exists as He created it. The world you see has nothing to do with reality. It is of your own making, and it does not exist."
Lesson 015: My thoughts are images that I have made.
"It is because the thoughts you think you think appear as images that you do not recognize them as nothing. You think you think them, and so you think you see them. This is how your "seeing" was made. This is the function you have given your body's eyes. It is not seeing. It is image making. It takes the place of seeing, replacing vision with illusions."
Lesson 016: I have no neutral thoughts.
Lesson 017: I see no neutral things.
"You see no neutral things because you have no neutral thoughts. It is always the thought that comes first, despite the temptation to believe that it is the other way around."
Lesson 018: I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.
"Today's idea does not refer to what you see as much as to how you see it."
Lesson 019: I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts .
"....minds are joined..."
Lesson 020: I am determined to see.
A Course in Miracles often refers to vision versus sight. Vision is my ability to see the world as God or Love* created it. A place of love, forgiveness and peace. A place where we are all cognizant of our wholeness as divine entities. A place where everyone recognizes these human bodies are not our truth. We are merely spirits in a material world (ahhh, love The Police) and we can never be hurt.
Sight, as defined by ACIM, refers to what the body's eyes perceive. The body's eyes take in information and process it in the brain according to past experience. The body's eyes don't see truth or any deeper essence of a thing or person. The body's eyes see the past and it is THOSE images that I believe to be true.
Therefore, my judgments (my non-neutral thoughts) are what's causing me pain. I am determined to recognize my judgments and release them. I am determined to see TRULY the world as God created it.
When I make the decision, in any moment (because it is a moment-by-moment decision in the NOW), to acknowledge the truth/see the love in my encounters and my relationships, I am also sharing that vision/love. When I can step back and treat someone as if they are not an accumulation of my history with them, I can still send love, though it may look different than I expect. I can still offer forgiveness, as I have offered to those from my past .
This changes my encounter with that person, even if it seems that I'm the only one who notices. I've written over and over again on this blog about the one little line that I recite to myself, one little tiny bit of willingness that I express when I can feel my fear dictating what I experience: "Help me to see this differently" and how it has helped me in so many situations, like at the end of this post.
Recognizing what I see is only MY perception, releasing my judgment, and understanding that, at some level, all of our minds are joined are very powerful lessons for me. What I choose to "see" and who I choose to "be" in each moment offers either love or fear to whomever I'm interacting with.
It is a continuing practice of choosing love.
*You can always substitute the word "love" for "God". I recognize that many don't believe in "God," per se, but if you read my blog, I know you believe in "love". Same thing.