Today we are continuing to develop the theme of cause and effect. You are not the victim of the world you see because you invented it. You can give it up as easily as you made it up. You will see it or not see it, as you wish. While you want it you will see it; when you no longer want it, it will not be there for you to see.
The idea for today, like the preceding ones, applies to your inner and outer worlds, which are actually the same. However, since you see them as different, the practice periods for today will again include two phases, one involving the world you see outside you, and the other the world you see in your mind. In today's exercises, try to introduce the thought that both are in your own imagination.
Again we will begin the practice periods for the morning and evening by repeating the idea for today two or three times while looking around at the world you see as outside yourself. Then close your eyes and look around your inner world. Try to treat them both as equally as possible. Repeat the idea for today unhurriedly as often as you wish, as you watch the images your imagination presents to your awareness.
For the two longer practice periods three to five minutes are recommended, with not less than three required. More than five can be utilized, if you find the exercise restful. To facilitate this, select a time when few distractions are anticipated, and when you yourself feel reasonably ready.
These exercises are also to be continued during the day, as often as possible. The shorter applications consist of repeating the idea slowly, as you survey either your inner or outer world. It does not matter which you choose.
The idea for today should also be applied immediately
to any situation that may distress you. Apply the idea by telling
I have invented this situation as I see it.
Commentary by Allen Watson
If I'm not the victim of the world, what is my relationship to it? I've invented it. If I've invented it, if I made it up, how can I possibly be its victim?.
Now, saying that I've invented the world is a pretty heavy statement. Saying that I can give it up as easily as I made it seems even more improbable. Yet that is what the practice of the Workbook is setting out to prove to us, not by rigorous logic but through experiences that demonstrate that it is true. That's what miracles are. Miracles demonstrate that "the world you see outside you" and "the world you see in your mind" are "both…in your own imagination".
This lesson is simply introducing the idea, not trying to prove it. The Text discusses the same thought in several places, the most telling of them being:.
What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up?.
It isn't a concept you can easily avoid if you study the Course; the Course insists on it.
All that is really being asked here is that we open our minds to the idea that we have invented the world we see. It is a concept that can throw our minds into turmoil because it flies in the face of our fundamental beliefs about the world. The world has a few nice things about it, but also a lot of ugly junk. And being told I am responsible for it, I made it up, doesn't sit easily with my mind.
If it raises all kinds of questions in my mind, fine;
let the questions bubble up. For today, for the practice periods, just
apply the idea as given. It's okay if part of your mind is kibitzing in
the background saying, "This is nuts! I don't really believe this." The
introduction warned us we might even actively resist the ideas. It said:
Whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than that is required..
It may be difficult to see at first, but we really only have two options. Either I made up the world, or I am its victim. Either I am the cause, or the effect. There aren't any other choices; think about it. Either I am the dreamer, inventing the whole mess, or I am part of someone else's dream (maybe God's). If I am not the cause, I am at the world's mercy. But if I am the cause—there is hope! I can change the dream, and perhaps, eventually, stop dreaming altogether.