Above all else I want to see things differently.
Today we are really giving specific application to the idea for yesterday. In these practice periods, you will be making a series of definite commitments. The question of whether you will keep them in the future is not our concern here. If you are willing at least to make them now, you have started on the way to keeping them. And we are still at the beginning.
You may wonder why it is important to say, for example, "Above all else I want to see this table differently." In itself it is not important at all. Yet what is by itself? And what does "in itself" mean? You see a lot of separate things about you, which really means you are not seeing at all. You either see or not. When you have seen one thing differently, you will see all things differently. The light you will see in any one of them is the same light you will see in them all.
When you say, "Above all else I want to see this table differently," you are making a commitment to withdraw your preconceived ideas about the table, and open your mind to what it is, and what it is for. You are not defining it in past terms. You are asking what it is, rather than telling it what it is. You are not binding its meaning to your tiny experience of tables, nor are you limiting its purpose to your little personal thoughts.
You will not question what you have already defined. And the purpose of these exercises is to ask questions and receive the answers. In saying, "Above all else I want to see this table differently," you are committing yourself to seeing. It is not an exclusive commitment. It is a commitment that applies to the table just as much as to anything else, neither more nor less.
You could, in fact, gain vision from just that table, if you would withdraw all your own ideas from it, and look upon it with a completely open mind. It has something to show you; something beautiful and clean and of infinite value, full of happiness and hope. Hidden under all your ideas about it is its real purpose, the purpose it shares with all the universe.
In using the table as a subject for applying the idea for today, you are therefore really asking to see the purpose of the universe. You will be making this same request of each subject that you use in the practice periods. And you are making a commitment to each of them to let its purpose be revealed to you, instead of placing your own judgment upon it.
We will have six two-minute practice periods today, in which the idea for the day is stated first, and then applied to whatever you see about you. Not only should the subjects be chosen randomly, but each one should be accorded equal sincerity as today's idea is applied to it, in an attempt to acknowledge the equal value of them all in their contribution to your seeing.
As usual, the applications should include the name of the subject your eyes happen to light on, and you should rest your eyes on it while saying
Above all else I want to see this _______________ differently.
The thought that I could gain vision from just a table, or any random thing for that matter, if I could look on it with a completely open mind, is staggering. It means that I have been surrounded all my life by people and things, any one of which could have brought me enlightenment, and I have not responded. The computer screen I look at as I write, if seen without any of my own ideas, could open up and show me "something beautiful and clean and of infinite value, full of happiness and hope".
I still find that hard to believe. Oh, I don't doubt it, in one sense. Somehow it makes sense to believe that an enlightened being, like Jesus for instance, would see, as the poet put it, "the universe in a grain of sand." But I guess what I doubt is that I could see that. I've looked at so many tables in my life and none of them ever spoke to me. I look at my desk now and I see-a desk.
"Hidden under all your ideas about it is its real purpose, the purpose it shares with all the universe". Ah! A clue as to what this lesson is getting at; we're talking about a shared purpose. We're asking to see a common purpose that binds everything as one. I think a desk is for writing on, a table is for eating on, a fork is for spearing my food, a computer is for sending messages to folks on the Internet. I see a whole bunch of different purposes, each thing with its own, separate purpose. But they all share a purpose. As does my body, the sky, the moon, everything I can see. What is that purpose? That is what I am asking to see.
That is something worth asking for.
Nothing around you but is part of you. Look on it lovingly, and see the light of Heaven in it. So will you come to understand all that is given you. In kind forgiveness will the world sparkle and shine, and everything you once thought sinful now will be reinterpreted as part of Heaven. How beautiful it is to walk, clean and redeemed and happy, through a world in bitter need of the redemption that your innocence bestows upon it! What can you value more than this? For here is your salvation and your freedom. And it must be complete if you would recognize it.