Category Archives: Workbook Lessons

Lesson 009 – I see nothing as it is now

This idea obviously follows from the two preceding ones. But while you may be able to accept it intellectually, it is unlikely that it will mean anything to you as yet. However, understanding is not necessary at this point. In fact, the recognition that you do not understand is a prerequisite for undoing your false ideas. These exercises are concerned with practise, not with understanding. You do not need to practise what you already understand. It would indeed be circular to aim at understanding, and assume that you have it already.

It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems to picture is not there. This idea can be quite disturbing, and may meet with active resistance in any number of forms. Yet that does not preclude applying it. No more than that is required for these or any other exercises. Each small step will clear a little of the darkness away, and understanding will finally come to lighten every corner of the mind that has been cleared of the debris that darkens it.

These exercises, for which three or four practise periods are sufficient, involve looking about you and applying the idea for the day to whatever you see, remembering the need for its indiscriminate application, and the essential rule of excluding nothing. For example:

I do not see this typewriter as it is now.
I do not see this telephone as it is now.
I do not see this arm as it is now.

Begin with things that are nearest you, and then extend the range outward:

I do not see that coat rack as it is now.
I do not see that door as it is now.
I do not see that face as it is now.

It is emphasised again that while complete inclusion should not be attempted, specific exclusion must be avoided. Be sure you are honest with yourself in making this distinction. You may be tempted to obscure it.

Lesson 008 – My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts

This idea is, of course, the reason why you see only the past. No one really sees anything. He sees only his thoughts projected outward. The mind’s preoccupation with the past is the cause of the misconception about time from which your seeing suffers. Your mind cannot grasp the present, which is the only time there is. It therefore cannot understand time, and cannot, in fact, understand anything.

The one wholly true thought one can hold about the past is that it is not here. To think about it at all is therefore to think about illusions. Very few have realised what is actually entailed in picturing the past or in anticipating the future. The mind is actually blank when it does this, because it is not really thinking about anything.

The purpose of the exercises for today is to begin to train your mind to recognise when it is not really thinking at all. While thoughtless ideas preoccupy your mind, the truth is blocked. Recognising that your mind has been merely blank, rather than believing that it is filled with real ideas, is the first step to opening the way to vision.

The exercises for today should be done with eyes closed. This is because you actually cannot see anything, and it is easier to recognise that no matter how vividly you may picture a thought, you are not seeing anything. With as little investment as possible, search your mind for the usual minute or so, merely noting the thoughts you find there. Name each one by the central figure or theme it contains, and pass on to the next. Introduce the practise period by saying:

I seem to be thinking about ________

Then name each of your thoughts specifically, for example:

I seem to be thinking about [name of a person], about [name of an object], about [name of an emotion],

and so on, concluding at the end of the mind searching period with:

But my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.

This can be done four or five times during the day, unless you find it irritates you. If you find it trying, three or four times is sufficient. You might find it helpful, however, to include your irritation, or any emotion that the idea for today may induce, in the mind searching itself.

Lesson 007 – I see only the past

This idea is particularly difficult to believe at first. Yet it is the rationale for all of the preceding ones.

It is the reason why nothing that you see means anything.

It is the reason why you have given everything you see all the meaning that it has for you.

It is the reason why you do not understand anything you see.

It is the reason why your thoughts do not mean anything, and why they are like the things you see.

It is the reason why you are never upset for the reason you think.

It is the reason why you are upset because you see something that is not there.

Old ideas about time are very difficult to change, because everything you believe is rooted in time, and depends on your not learning these new ideas about it. Yet that is precisely why you need new ideas about time. This first time idea is not really so strange as it may sound at first.

Look at a cup, for example. Do you see a cup, or are you merely reviewing your past experiences of picking up a cup, being thirsty, drinking from a cup, feeling the rim of a cup against your lips, having breakfast and so on? Are not your aesthetic reactions to the cup, too, based on past experiences? How else would you know whether or not this kind of cup will break if you drop it? What do you know about this cup except what you learned in the past? You would have no idea what this cup is, except for your past learning. Do you, then, really see it?

Look about you. This is equally true of whatever you look at. Acknowledge this by applying the idea for today indiscriminately to whatever catches your eye. For example:

I see only the past in this pencil.
I see only the past in this shoe.
I see only the past in this hand.
I see only the past in that body.
I see only the past in that face.

Do not linger over any one thing in particular, but remember to omit nothing specifically. Glance briefly at each subject, and then move on to the next. Three or four practise periods, each to last a minute or so, will be enough.