This lesson lays out an entire picture of two ways of seeing. The first, of course, is our current way of seeing. Here, physical light conveys to us information about physical forms. This light comes in through our physical eyes, and its information is then interpreted by our physical brain. This is what we call seeing. It seems perfectly normal and natural to us. What alternative is there?
Yet this lesson offers a sweeping critique of this entire way of seeing. It says the whole story is one of weakness, the weakness in us peering through the weakness of our body, seeing the weakness of other bodies. Let's take these one at a time.
First, as the first two paragraphs describe, our body is simply too weak to engage in real seeing. We think its eyes can see and that its brain can then interpret that information (which we also call seeing, as when we say, "the way I see it"-meaning, the way I interpret). But we have no idea how unsuitably weak the body is for a task like this. Thinking that these puny eyes can see, or this tiny brain can think, is like thinking we have the match that lights and heats the sun, or like thinking our little hand can hold the entire world. Sight and thought are simply too big for these weak eyes and this weak brain.
Second, as our weak body looks out at the world, it sees other bodies that are like itself; it sees weak bodies in a state of profound lack: "the small, the weak, the sickly and the dying, those in need, the helpless and afraid, the sad, the poor, the starving and the joyless." Let's face it, this is what we see. We see innumerable small bodies in a state of profound vulnerability, struggling against inexorable forces, and being whittled down and finally overcome by those forces. It's a picture of universal weakness.
Third, what sees the weakness in the world through the weakness of eyes and brain is the author of weakness: the ego. The ego is weakness itself. It is what looks through the body's eyes and what sees a world full of weakness. Yet, although it sees its own weakness wherever it looks, it actually sees itself as separate from all this weakness it looks upon. It stands apart from the world and judges and hates it. It sees itself locked in a life-and-death struggle with the forces of darkness arrayed against it.
Ironically, it has the same view of itself: "It fears and it attacks and hates itself" (7:1).
Finally, our current seeing is so faulty because we are not seeing in real light. Physical light is not real light. What we call light flickers and changes. It goes away and then returns. Real light is not like this at all. What we call light, then, is actually darkness. This may sound radical and bizarre, but think about it. Light illumines. It shows you what is there. Does physical light actually do this? It really doesn't, because it never shows you meaning. All it shows you is form. And yet meaning is what we want to see. So the very thing we want illumined is what physical light can never show us. Perhaps physical light really is darkness.
In total contrast to this picture is true seeing. This seeing also requires light, but of an entirely different kind. This light is not physical light. It does not fluctuate, go away, or return. It is a spiritual light that is absolutely constant.
This light has nothing to do with weakness. It is actually united with and even the same as the strength of God. Imagine seeing not with physical light, but with the strength of God. What kind of world would it show you? It would, according to this lesson, show you a world full of miracles, the miracles that escape your sight now.
When we see with the strength of God, we look right past appearances, right past the "idle shadows" that now seem so real. We may not feel strong enough to look past bodies, but the strength of God sees through them as if they were nothing. What does it see past them? It sees light. "It sees itself" (4:4). And so, unlike the weakness in us, God's strength doesn't stand apart and judge and condemn. Rather, it shares itself. It gives itself away, giving limitlessly from an inexhaustible well.
This strength is in us. It is our real strength. It is our natural apparatus for seeing. And so the light, which is one with this strength, must also be in us. It is the light of our being.
Today, our goal is to find the place in us where the strength of God meets the light of God. When we find their meeting place, we will also find our true Self: "Strength and light unite in you, and where they meet, your Self stands ready to embrace you as Its Own" (9:2).
Purpose: to experience the light of strength in you, which will reveal to you the miracles that are always there.
Longer: 2 times-morning and evening, for 20 minutes (our longest practice periods so far)
This exercise is another meditation, like you've been doing since Lesson 41. That's why the instructions are so brief-it's assumed that you know how to do this. Here, you try to sink to that deep place in your mind where light and strength meet, and where "your Self stands ready to embrace you as Its Own" (9:2). Seek this place and try to rest in the peace that waits for you there. Your sinking should not be all your own effort. "Let yourself be brought" (10:2) there; ask the truth to lead you there (this was emphasized in Lessons 69, 73, and 91). While going there, remember to draw your mind back from wandering as needed, and to carry an attitude of confidence, desire, and determination.
Frequent reminders: as often as you can
Repeat the idea, recognizing you are being led away from the body's blindness to the light of true sight, in which miracles are seen. Do it with a mindset of "I'm preparing myself for the evening practice period." In this way, you can use the day to prepare yourself for a true holy instant at the end of the day.