Commentary on Lesson 281: I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts.

by Robert Perry

When you read the lesson title, you think this lesson is going to be about how nothing outside us can hurt us. External happenings can't hurt us; only our thoughts hurt us. And it is about that, but that's not where its main emphasis is.

The lesson opens by saying that, since God created me "perfect," I cannot actually be hurt. "Perfect" not only means "without faults"; it also means "complete and whole." And if our true nature is complete and whole, then it is also beyond damage, beyond hurt. Therefore, experiencing myself as hurt can only mean "I have forgotten who I am" (1:2). In my real nature, I am incapable of being hurt or knowing hurt. That's just not what I am.

So the lesson starts with the being I received from God, which is beyond hurt. From there, it moves to the Thoughts I receive from God, which are also beyond hurt. Therefore, if I am experiencing hurt, what is happening is that I am thinking my little thoughts and letting them obscure God's Thoughts. If I could really let God's Thoughts in, I wouldn't be thinking "premarital sex will get you sent to hell." Rather, I would be thinking, "I love everyone so much I almost can't bear it," which, of course, is an incredibly happy thought.

In applying this lesson, I have found it helpful to see its three main entities (external happenings, my thoughts, God's Thoughts) in a particular relationship. It's really very simple. First, something happens outside me. Let's say someone I know ignores me in public, acts like I'm not there. That, as the idea for the day tells us, cannot hurt me, because "I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts."

Second, I interpret that event: "That person doesn't love me, and that diminishes my worth and makes me that much more alone. Further, it means the other person is guilty of callousness, and should suffer for it (at which point I will secretly gloat)." This is actually what hurts me—this interpretation, this thought. Again as the idea for the day tells us, "I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts."

Third, the solution is not to have no interpretation of the event. We are not supposed to just stay with the uninterpreted sights and sounds, the pure, unadorned sensation, as if that is the road to spiritual awakening. Rather, we are supposed to see the event through the lens of God's Thoughts. With God's Thoughts as our guide to seeing, we will interpret the event entirely differently. For example, we might think, "How could being ignored by this person hurt me? As God created my being, I can't be hurt. Further, I want to make sure this brother knows he hasn't hurt me, for somewhere inside he is carrying guilt for ignoring me, and I want him to know it's OK; he is guiltless, he is still as God created him." God's Thoughts, then, will interpret this situation in a completely happy way, which gives us yet another slant on today's idea: "I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts."

Let's go ahead and apply this now. Think of something that seems to be hurting you, and say,

This outer thing cannot hurt me.
(I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts.)
Only my thoughts about it hurt me.
(I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts.)
Let me see it through God's Thoughts, for they can only bring me joy.
(I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts.)

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