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Review of Lessons 1 through 7


Speaker: If there’s nothing else specific coming up for discussion I’d like to go through the review of the first 25 lessons, reviewing the main ideas of each lesson. This can be really powerful because if you can stay in the awareness of those first 25 lessons it is a protection for your mind.

You get to the later lessons of ‘I am the light of the world’ and ‘Peace and joy and love abide in me’ and ‘I am as God created me.’ And so many times I hear people say, “I just don’t always experience that. At times I’m kind of sarcastic when I’m even reading the lesson because there’s a part of me that just doesn’t believe it.” So, that’s why we go back to the ones that come before it. If you can really stay with the metaphysics of the first 25 lessons you’ve got the whole metaphysics of the course, and you’ll be very safe because you won’t slide off into the patterns.

You can also think of the first 25 lessons as if you’ve had a black board with all these scribbles, all this chalk all over it. It’s kind of like a big eraser coming out and erasing all the clutter. When I was a kid in school I used to love it when the teacher would come out with the wet rag. You know how a black board looks after it’s been gone over.

Participant: Really black.

Speaker: Yes, real clear, there’s nothing on it. There’s not even any chalk dust on it. So, you can think of those first 25 lessons as getting the wet rag out. That’s the way you stay clear in your mind, if there’s chalk dust hanging around it will get irritating. So, get the wet rag out!

Lesson 51 is where the review begins. You know how they used to say in school, “Now this is going to be very important, students. Memorize this.” Well, not only memorize these but it’s best to know these like the back of your hand. Yesterday Keith was talking about being prepared for a test and that feeling of control and power? You will know these first 25 review lessons so well that you will be oblivious to the ego because all the metaphysics that undo the ego are right here. They’re very profound and if you want to be happy and you want to ‘protect your happiness’ so to speak, and you value peace of mind, it would be worth reviewing these very consistently, maybe even daily, and going over them.

Number 1: ‘Nothing I see means anything.

The reason this is so is that I see nothing and nothing has no meaning. It is necessary that I recognize this that I may learn to see. What I think I see now is taking the place of vision. I must let it go by realizing it has no meaning so that vision may take its place’

Participant: What about the words on this page?

Speaker: Nothing; they mean nothing. Meaning comes from your mind. These words were invented to maintain the separation. The very words you see, even the words on this page, were invented by the ego to maintain the separation. There is no ‘the’ ‘reason’ ‘this’ ‘is’ ‘so’ in heaven. So, you can apply that to everything including the words on this page. If you wanted to apply it right now, and not even go to Lesson 2, just apply this lesson completely, this very instant, this very page that’s in front of you, you will have salvation. Here you go. As it’s been said many times, all you’ve got to do is get it once. The reason that there seems to be so many pages, and so many different angles is because there is such resistance to getting it. As Jesus says at one point, “The correction takes no time at all but the acceptance of the correction can seem to take forever.”

There is great glory in this. Wherever you seem to be, whatever you seem to be doing, you can always come back to glorious Lesson 1. Whenever you start feeling worked up or tight, or tense or stressful, you can start practicing as you move your eyes around, wherever you seem to be.

Participant: So to clarify that, it’s saying that there is nothing objective in the outside world.

Speaker: And it’s also saying that the projected world is unreal, so you’re seeing nothing. That would be a pretty good definition of a hallucinatory state. You’re seeing nothing, or you’re seeing something that doesn’t exist. To use a metaphor in the world, it would be like ‘seeing a mirage on the desert’. But, this is saying the desert doesn’t even exist, much less the mirage on the desert!

Participant: I’m just trying to get behind ‘means anything’. This doesn’t mean anything and yet this seems to be the tool that we’re using to come to the realization.

Speaker: It seems that way, but what’s in the world is just symbolic or representational and the way to come to the awareness of your true identity is in the mind. Even when we use the word ‘tool’, and I know that that is even being put in our journal, something about ‘David has used the Course as a tool for the transformation of his mind’ well that’s a metaphor. You could say “David has met ‘such and such teachers’ along his path and he studied under…” etc. That’s a metaphor. Once you come to the awareness of the clarity you realize that none of that was diddly squat. That was just all projection. The Holy Spirit; the light in ones mind, that’s how one came to the awareness of light. It was this abstract loving light that was helping work with the mind and all its beliefs. It’s not a person or a place, and it’s certainly not a book. ‘That book’, ‘the persons’, ‘the places’ are all symbolic and when the mind still believes it’s in the world, then that’s all it knows, so it’s a helpful metaphor to say, “The Course has been a meaningful tool” I don’t see it that way anymore. It’s kind of funny to think that a book could be causative. When you start to put it in those terms, tools could seem to be causative, but they aren’t.

So that’s just like a real introductory lesson. As we continue on, it will give the reasons why what you see is nothing, and nothing has no meaning. It’s just saying in Lesson 1 ‘It is necessary that I recognize this, that I may learn to see’. If you could really just in one instant, see how the world arose, really see it, then that would change everything. But, the mind doesn’t remember how the world arose. It thinks that the world is an objective reality and it thinks it’s a body that came into the world that was already existing, and it has completely forgotten how the world arose. It’s forgotten that it’s all a projection of the ego and that there is no world outside its own mind. But, as we keep going into this, that’s what will become more and more apparent, and finally, totally apparent.

Number 2: ‘I have given what I see all the meaning it has for me. I have judged everything I look upon and it is this and only this I see’

Participant: The judgment?

Speaker: Judgment is the ordering of thoughts. The mind orders its thoughts, orders all these concepts and images and then they are automatically projected because they don’t come from God. It is too horrifying to hold onto the ego belief system, and so the thoughts that don’t come from God are automatically projected. It’s not like the mind says, “Hmm what should I do with this?” Its more like, “Yuck…get it out of here.” The only way that the perceptual world is going to disappear is to give up the judgment, to give up the ordering of thoughts. The screen will not just go away based on wishful thinking, ‘Go away, go away world. I don’t want to see you anymore. I wish the world would just go away.’ We were in Taco Bell yesterday and we heard the song Forever by Kenny Logins, and the lyrics were, ‘Once I dreamed that you were gone. I cried, I tried to find you. I begged the dream to fade away and please awaken me.’ I begged the dream to fade away and please awaken me. No way! You think that dream is going to listen? You’ve got to see, ‘I am the dreamer of the dream. I made up the dream. I don’t have to beg the dream to fade away and please awaken me! There’s no way that the dream is going to fade away and waken me. I have to see that I’m the dreamer of the dream and say, “Hmm, when I give a new purpose, the Holy Spirit’s purpose to the dream, then the dream will fade away and I will be awakened.” It’s different to thinking that there is something outside of myself that is going to magically swoop down and rescue me. No way! There’s no knight in shining armor that’s going to come from the ‘so called outside world’ or from the dream. That’s the thing with Jesus, they think Jesus is some kind of a magical knight in shining armor, in some of those interpretations of Revelations, ‘He’s going to come down on his white horse and, “Thank you Jesus, oh at last you’re here. You’ve come to put an end to this terrible world. Take me, Lord! I’ve been good. But those people over there, let death get that one, they haven’t been good, but take me.” Jesus says in the bible, many will say, “Lord! Lord!” And he’ll say, “You know me not” or “I know you not. It has to come back to seeing the reason that the world is in place. The reason that there seems to be a world of separation is because I’m still holding onto separation thoughts. I’m still judging. Jesus isn’t going to come in time and swoop down on some horse and save the world. That’s not how the world is going to be saved. So the first sentence: I have judged everything I look upon and it is this and only this I see. As long as the mind is judging, it is just looking upon a world of judgment that is produced by the ordering of thoughts. The world is an out-picturing of judgment and the only way that you see this is to stop judging, to stop ordering the thoughts. Why do we keep coming back to these thing called preferences? What is the big deal about all these preferences? Well, preferences are judgments. Preferences, since they are judgments, are holding the world in place; are continuing to maintain the hallucination. If I continue to have preferences and I continue to judge, and I continue to see a world of judgment; of duality, of conflict, of suffering, of sickness, of death… ‘oh, it’s not worth it! I don’t want to have any more preferences. I’d rather have the Kingdom of Heaven than have preferences!’ When you put it in that kind of a context then what’s the big deal about preferences when you can have the Kingdom of Heaven in your awareness.

‘This is not vision. It is merely an illusion of reality because my judgments have been made quite apart from reality. I’m willing to recognize the lack of validity in my judgments because I want to see. My judgments have hurt me and I do not want to see according to them.’

To the deceived mind judgments have value. Judgments seem to bring order into chaos. All you really need to do as is keep looking, and you will start to see ‘judgments do not bring me anything I want’. They have absolutely no value. They never have had any value and if I let go of all my judgments I won’t have total chaos, I will have peace, joy and the Kingdom of Heaven. That’s what we keep looking at as we keep going deeper and deeper, seeing that judgments have no value. If I can really see that, why would I continue to do keep judging? In the section in the Teachers’ Manual when Jesus speaks of judgment he says ‘It’s not that you shouldn’t judge it’s that you’re totally incapable of judging. You’re trying to do something that you don’t have the capability for.’

Number 3: ‘I do not understand anything I see.’
‘How could I understand what I see when I have judged it amiss. What I see is the projection of my own errors of thought. I do not understand what I see because it is not understandable. There is no sense in trying to understand it. But there is every reason to let it go and make room for what can be seen and understood and loved. I can exchange what I see now for this merely by being willing to do so. Is not this a better choice than the one I made before?’

Referring to sentences four and five, ‘I do not understand what I see because it is not understandable. There is no sense in trying to understand it...: a lot of times we joke about ‘wonder questions’e.g “I wonder why this happened? I wonder why that happened.” If you really put your faith in sentences four and five, that would bring an end to the wonder questions. What’s the point? If the world isn’t understandable and it can’t ever be understood then why try to? Why try to understand it? That’s madness, or that’s insanity to try to understand what can’t be understood. This is just something to take a look at because as you observe your mind as you go through daily life you will see these questions pop to mind, and as you really begin to see this and you really begin to question it you will move into mysticism. You will not try to continue to play the game of the world and be a Teacher of God. That will hurt. It’s very difficult. It’s an enormous strain to try to be a Teacher of God and try to play the game of the world. And you’ll be grateful to not play the game anymore. Why use the power of your mind and invest it in something where there is no pay off, there is only cost involved. It seems, as you go along the journey, you come across this thing called ‘complete non-compromise’ and it seems too much to ask, for the ego, and it seems too overwhelming, and it seems too unreachable and too impossible, but I’ll guarantee you as soon as you embrace non-compromise completely, totally, as soon as you come to the edge of the cliff and you jump, it will be the greatest decision, the greatest thing that you’ve ever done. That’s where all the ease comes in, from embracing the non-compromise. What is non-compromise about? Sentences four and five: I do not understand what I see because it is not understandable. There is no sense in trying to understand it.

Participant: I still have a hard time with that because of the everyday things that we do, or seem to do anyway. How do I get in my car and proceed to drive if what I see doesn’t mean anything? We talked one time about not asking every single step of the way because that would be too much or something. When I know that I’m trying to get to Mt. Jagst do I say, “Holy Spirit, do I stop at this light? Do I turn right or do I turn left here?”

Speaker: It’s a good question, and this is a question that comes up at the very end of the journal that we’re putting out. What these lessons are pointing to is: If you let go of all ordering of thoughts, of all judgments, everything, you will awaken. In coming to that, it is described as a metaphor, as a process; like ‘awakening is a process’. It’s not a process, it’s just an instant, but if you talk about it as a process then you could say that the Holy Spirit is judgmental in the sense that the Guidance that the mind receives is form Guidance. It could be “Call so and so”, “Turn left at this light”, “Go to Taco Bell” that seems pretty specific, that seems to involve some ordering. How could you discern whether to go left or right at the light? How could you discern between Taco Bell and Pizza Hut? How could you make any judgment, how could you seem to function doing anything in this world without judgment? And what the Course is saying is the Holy Spirit is judgmental in the deceived mind. This is a metaphor, as if it is a process. In other words, the deceived mind thinks it’s in a maze and the Holy Spirit is metaphorically Guiding the mind out of the maze. “Turn left, go right, turn left, left again etc” As if in a maze, there are little junctures, there are a lot of decision points. That seems to be judgmental. How can the Holy Spirit know left vs. right? But again that’s implying that it’s a process, and it’s still as if the mind is a person in a world. So, here’s the belief, (indicating with gestures) and here’s the world that that the beliefs are producing (gesturing) and back here would be where the Holy Spirit would be (gesturing). The Holy Spirit is not talking to the person in the world; the Holy Spirit is working with the deceived mind to let go and give up the beliefs that are producing the world. So, as long as the mind still has beliefs in the ego, then it can’t help but interpret itself as a person in the world. Therefore, when it says, “Holy Spirit, help me. What should I do now?” and it seems as if the person hears the words in their mind. For example, “Call so and so” “Go to such and such a church” “Go to Taco Bell” “Go to Pizza Hut”.

Participant: You’re confusing me now, you said two places. You just said Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.

Speaker: Either one, (or the Guidance may be) go to both. “First go to Taco Bell, then go to Pizza Hut” which seems to be judgmental. The interpretation that the mind is making, as if it’s hearing a voice and as if that Voice is telling it to go to Taco Bell. That’s the interpretation. What these lessons are talking about is question all of this right here and this will disappear as well. You won’t see a world. Seemingly in the process as you seem to be doing that there will seem to be interpretations of what to do, what not to do. Read the Course. Do this, do that. Those are just interpretations that the mind has. It’s as if the Holy Spirit infuses through the beliefs and is talking to a person. That’s not the case but that’s the way it seems. It’s really as if persons hear the Holy Spirit. That’s how it seems. So, a quick summary of that would be as long as you believe you’re in the world then a helpful metaphor would be the Holy Spirit is judgmental. In every circumstance that you seem to find yourself in that small still Voice in your mind is available and can tell you. As it says in the rules for decision, you need not become preoccupied with every step you take. As you start to get a sense of these principles as guiding principles in your life, then that’s where the flow comes in. At one point in the text, Jesus says, ‘It is possible to bring your mind under my control without conscious effort.’ What a state, to be tuned in to Jesus without conscious effort! But he goes on to say in the text ‘…but your mind isn’t trained. You’re not capable of that at this point.” Only a highly, highly trained mind, someone who is right-minded, can flow along. It’s not a conscious asking, “Holy Spirit, what do I do here?” “Holy Spirit, what do I do here?” It’s more of a flow. When I’m doing a session or giving a talk I don’t plan them out and I certainly don’t have an internal dialogue going on, “Holy Spirit what do I do here? What do I say next?” “What word do I use next?” You can see how crazy that would be to ask specifically each word that I should use. That’s not it. It’s just aligning and tuning in to that flow and then it’s just a real natural flow. It’s like channeling. But, it doesn’t have to be speaking. You can have your motions channeled as well.

Number 4: 'These thoughts do not mean anything.'

So here we are bringing in the elements of the thinking.

‘The thoughts of which I am aware do not mean anything because I am trying to think without God. What I call “my” thoughts are not my real thoughts. My real thoughts are the thoughts I think with God. I am not aware of them because I have made my thoughts to take their place. I am willing to recognize that my thoughts do not mean anything and to let them go. I choose to have them be replaced by what they were intended to replace. My thoughts are meaningless, but all creation lies in the thoughts I think with God.

So, if we look at the second to last sentence, ‘I choose to have them be replaced by what they were intended to replace.’ The Course uses the word real thoughts. My real thoughts are what these ‘private thoughts’; ‘attack thoughts’’; (in this paragraph they are called) ‘my thoughts’ were intended to replace. If think ‘Oh I have real thoughts’, those are the light in the mind, but all of the junk, the darkness, the private thoughts, he’s calling them ‘my thoughts’, they are all heaped on top of that. This is a real early lesson, as you go along in the lesson you will cease to call attack thoughts ‘my thoughts’ we already talk about them as ego thoughts, but this is such an early lesson that he’s speaking as if it’s directly at the deceived mind.

Number 5: 'I am never upset for the reason I think'.

I am never upset for the reason I think because I am constantly trying to justify my thoughts. I am constantly trying to make them true. So if we substitute what we just said, my thoughts for ego thoughts, I am never upset for the reason I think because I am constantly trying to justify ego thoughts. I am constantly trying to make them true. Every time there is upset or a disturbance, where you’re upset at another person, or you think something in the world is out of place, or you think something could be different, what that is, is that’s the mind trying to justify the ego thoughts. And to make them true, and saying “the problem is not the ego thoughts, the problem is the world! The problem is the radiator just broke on my car. The problem is I have a sore toe, or a sore tooth. The problem is ‘so and so’ didn’t do what they said they were going to do.” You can see the enormous variety of projections that can take place but all of those little scenarios are the underlying thought beneath all of those, ‘if something were different in the world, I would be happy. And this lesson is saying no, no, you’re not upset for that reason, you’re just trying to make the ego thoughts true, and justify them.

I make all things my enemy so that my anger is justified, and my attacks are warranted. I have not realized how much I have misused everything I see by assigning this role to it .I have done this to defend a thought system that has hurt me and that I no longer want. I am willing to let it go.

The deceived mind justifies and protects the ego as if it were it’s own child. Jesus uses that metaphor in the text where he talks about ‘you react the way to your ego much like the way animals in nature react to their offspring.’ You made it, you think you love it, and you try to protect it. And it hurts your mind. You’re protecting and you’re trying to guard and make real something that is hurting you. That’s insane! That’s cuckoo! That’s the definition of a deceived mind, cuckoo! I am willing to let it go.

Number 6: 'I am upset because I see what is not there'
Reality is never frightening. It is impossible that it could upset me. Reality brings only perfect peace. When I am upset, it is always because I have replaced reality with illusions I made up. The illusions are upsetting because I have given them reality, and thus regard reality as an illusion. Nothing in God's creation is affected in any way by this confusion of mine. I am always upset by nothing.

A great little line is I am always upset by nothing. “Do I believe it? Hmm” I’ll go through my first 25 Lessons and go through the metaphysics again and see… do I really believe I am upset by nothing? Because if I can really see it, then I will cease to be upset! Because I will see it as nothing. Sentences 5 and 6 in that little paragraph, sentence 5 says When I am upset, it is always because I have replaced reality with illusions I made up. That’s the belief in separation, the belief that I have replace reality with illusions that I made up. The illusions are upsetting because I have given them reality, and thus regard reality as an illusion. And how do you give illusions reality? By believing in them, that’s the only way. That’s how you endow something with reality. If you believe in a unicorn then in your experience, unicorns have reality. If you believe in Shangri-La, then Shangri-La, in your experience, has reality. Does it have reality in Heaven? No. Neither unicorns nor Shangri-La. But to the deceived mind, that is how powerful the mind is, what it sees it believes; and it thinks has existence. Take anything that can be imagined; purple clouds.

It’s funny how when children have imaginary friends, people will giggle and laugh at them, as if there are real people in their lives, ‘real friends’ and then there are ‘imaginary friends’ and what this is teaching us is they are all imaginary!

Participant: Including the one you think you are!

Speaker: Right, including the one you think you are!

Oh, here we go, we’re getting into time. Our first time lesson is:

Number 7 : 'I see only the past.'

We’ve just had it referred to in Lesson 6, I am upset because I see what is not there, and now, I see only the past, so if you put Lesson 6 and 7 together, the past is not there! You’re seeing something that’s over and done. That’s pretty twisted. That’s our first time lesson, that’s why we need to look at time, because time is at the bottom of all of this illusion. As I look about, I condemn the world I look upon. Now that can seem a bit extreme. When you wake up, it’s not like you see a door handle and you say, “Jesus, I am not condemning this door handle! My lesson says as I look about I condemn the world I look upon but as I look about I am not condemning this shoe! I’m looking out, I’m seeing the trees, I don’t feel like I’m condemning them.

But, as long as there is ordering of thoughts, as long as there is any judgment, any preferences, then I am condemning what I look upon; trees, door handles, shoes, much less certain persons that I seem to come in contact with. Having a harsh tone with someone is thought of as being more of an overt sense of condemning, much more so than a door handle.

I call this seeing. I hold the past against everyone and everything, making them my enemies.
In other words I make that door handle my enemy.

When I have forgiven myself and remembered Who I am, I will bless everyone and everything I see. There will be no past, and therefore no enemies. And I will look with love on all that I failed to see before.

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