In perception, a subject uses senses to receive information about an object outside of it, separate from it, information that must then be interpreted. Perception thus assumes separation. In knowledge, the subject is one with the object it is trying to know. Therefore, its experience of that object is the very same thing as the object itself. Thus, God’s knowing of us is the same thing as our being. His knowing of us is us.
God created the Holy Spirit to mediate between these two fundamentally different realms. With the Holy Spirit there, it is possible to bridge the two, through perception that becomes so pure that it is like knowledge, it reflects knowledge. And that’s what perception is for—to become that pure bridge to knowledge.
But without Him there to build that bridge, perception would have become permanent, forever. And since forever means “real,” without God creating the Holy Spirit, the separation would have become real. There are those who say that God creating the Holy Spirit means that He was aware of the separation and responded to it, and that would make it real. This paragraph says the precise opposite: If He didn’t respond by creating the Holy Spirit, that’s what would make the separation real.
To appreciate this paragraph, we have to imagine that we really did make perception for “an unholy purpose”-to keep us apart from what we are seeing. And in the gap that perception produces, we are then able to imagine that what we are seeing is whatever we want it to be. And that’s what we do. “Projection makes perception”-we see what we want to see. And seeing what we want to see, we don’t see what’s really there. Perception, then, was made to keep us in unreality, in what amounts to a state of fantasy.
Yet the Holy Spirit has given perception a new purpose: to restore our holiness to our awareness. Imagine that-that’s what perception is for. How does this happen? We forgive our brother, which leads to forgiving ourselves. And forgiving ourselves restores our holiness to our awareness.
This paragraph explains the idea for the day. You could put it in the form of these two syllogisms:
God is the Source of our being.
Our functions are part of our being.
God is the Source of our functions.
God is the source of our functions.
Seeing is one of our functions.
God is the Source of our seeing.
This makes perfect sense, but it’s not the way we think of it now. If we think of God as our Source, we think that is something that happened long ago, in the past, without a lot of relevance for now. He may have been the Source of our being originally, but our seeing is something we do by ourselves now. What has our seeing things right now got to do with God?
This lesson is saying that unless He is the Source of our seeing now, we are not really seeing. Seeing that is done by ourselves-where we interpret the information brought to us by our eyes-is really blindness.
This happens to be our very last exercise of applying the idea to things in our visual field. This has been the foundation of Workbook practice, but it was really preparation for applying the ideas to meatier things; namely, to persons, events, and situations.
When I say “God is my Source. I cannot see this desk apart from Him,” what that comes down to is this: If God is the source of me, then for my sight to be authentically mine, it too must come from God. In other words, the source of real seeing on my part is not my personal vantage point. Rather, I see things from God’s vantage point. He is the Source of my seeing, of any seeing that is authentically mine.
It is fitting here in this last lesson of applying the idea to our visual field that we get (what I think is) our last reminder to be indiscriminate in that application.
Then we have another exercise in letting related thoughts come. Again, we have the same basic components of this practice:
- Repeat the idea
- Then let related thoughts come
Note that they “need not bear any obvious relationship to the idea, but they should not be in opposition to it.” This is important. Feel free to let the thoughts go fairly far afield from the idea. Don’t think of them as restatements of it. You are adding to the idea, as this paragraph says. And you are specifically adding to the idea “in your own personal way.” You are both filling it out and personalizing it.
It helps to take a close look at his four examples of related thoughts. I suggest you go over these and look at their relationship to the idea for the day. Note, for instance, “The world can show me myself.” That can in no way be considered a restatement of today’s idea. But it is related.
Now we have the third step of this kind of practice:
- If your mind wanders, or you draw a blank, repeat the idea and try again.
Actually, there are three reasons here:
- Your mind wanders.
- You have irrelevant (unrelated) thoughts.
- Nothing comes—you draw a blank.
In the second and third sentences, you really see the value he puts on staying on track. We want to float, go with the irrelevant thoughts, give in to the currents of our mind. He wants to make sure, though, that that is precisely what we don’t do. Instead, he says make sure that no long periods pass with you just floating on those currents. Rather, keep returning to the first phase-go all the way back to applying the idea to visual objects, then closing your eyes, repeating the idea, and looking again for related thoughts. To return all the way to the start and go through those beginning steps all over again, all to keep from going lengthily off track, makes a big statement of how he sees the practice.
Applying this to anyone you are with-this is the same practice we were given in Lesson 37 (“My holiness bless you, [name].”). It’s an important and very useful practice. If you forget to do it while you are with someone, you can still do it after the two of you have parted.
Making no distinctions between strangers and “those you think are closer” reflects the idea of the source of your seeing not being your personal vantage point. You are seeing from God’s vantage point. This also reflects the original wording of one of the early miracle principles: “Miracles are habits and should be involuntary. Otherwise they may become undemocratic. Selective miracles are dangerous, and may destroy the talent.” The idea of being “selective” or “undemocratic” basically means playing favorites in how you dole out miracles. Let’s not do that today.
Here we have both frequent reminders (apply the idea to any situation that occurs to you) and response to temptation (apply the idea to situations that distress you-or seem to distress you).
Notice all the variety here
- Apply it to people we are with
- Apply it to situations and events
- Apply it to situations and events that upset you
- Repeat it in the abstract
There’s a big focus on frequency throughout the day. Notice also that this idea describes our function-to see the world from God’s vantage point. So time without practice is time spent forgetting why we are here. It’s like you are in a football game, the play starts, and you have forgotten what you are doing on the field. How many plays do you want to go by like this? Yet we generally do allow long periods to go by without remembering.
Purpose: to remember your function.
Longer: 3 times, for 5 minutes each; morning (early as possible), evening (late as possible), and in between (when readiness and circumstances permit),
- First phase: Repeat the idea, then glance around you, applying it specifically and indiscriminately to whatever you see. 4-5 subjects will be enough.
- Second phase: Close your eyes, repeat the idea, and let related thoughts come to you. Their purpose is to enrich the idea “in your own personal way” (5:2). They don’t need to be restatements of it, or even obviously related to it, but they can’t contradict it. If your mind is wandering or you begin to draw a blank, repeat the first phase of the exercise and then attempt the second phase again. Don’t let the practice period become a mind wandering session, so be determined do this as many times as you need to.
You have a choice of three forms:
- When you are with someone, whether friend or “stranger,” tell him silently: “God is my Source. I cannot see you apart from Him.”
- Apply the idea to a situation or event, saying: “God is my Source. I cannot see this apart from Him.”
- If no subjects present themselves, merely repeat the idea.
Remarks: Try to allow no long gaps in remembering the idea. This is an important training goal for the Workbook. The same thing was urged in Lesson 36 (2:2).
Also, do your best to remember to apply the idea to people you encounter. It takes real presence of mind to do this, but it can be done, and it will change the quality of the encounter.
Response to temptation: whenever you get distressed about an event or situation
Apply the idea specifically: “God is my Source. I cannot see this apart from Him.”