A Course In Miracles, Lesson 51 plus Commentary by Allen Watson
Beginning with today we will have a series of review periods. Each of them will cover five of the ideas already presented, starting with the first and ending with the fiftieth. There will be a few short comments after each of the ideas, which you should consider in your review. In the practice periods, the exercises should be done as follows:
Begin the day by reading the five ideas, with the comments included. Thereafter, it is not necessary to follow any particular order in considering them, though each one should be practiced at least once. Devote two minutes or more to each practice period, thinking about the idea and the related comments after reading them over. Do this as often as possible during the day. If any one of the five ideas appeals to you more than the others, concentrate on that one. At the end of the day, however, be sure to review all of them once more.
It is not necessary to cover the comments that follow each idea either literally or thoroughly in the practice periods. Try, rather, to emphasize the central point, and think about it as part of your review of the idea to which it relates. After you have read the idea and the related comments, the exercises should be done with your eyes closed and when you are alone in a quiet place, if possible.
This is emphasized for practice periods at your stage of learning. It will be necessary, however, that you learn to require no special settings in which to apply what you have learned. You will need your learning most in situations that appear to be upsetting, rather than in those that already seem to be calm and quiet. The purpose of your learning is to enable you to bring the quiet with you, and to heal distress and turmoil. This is not done by avoiding them and seeking a haven of isolation for yourself.
You will yet learn that peace is part of you, and requires only that you be there to embrace any situation in which you are. And finally you will learn that there is no limit to where you are, so that your peace is everywhere, as you are.
You will note that, for review purposes, some of the ideas are not given in quite their original form. Use them as they are given here. It is not necessary to return to the original statements, nor to apply the ideas as was suggested then. We are now emphasizing the relationships among the first fifty of the ideas we have covered, and the cohesiveness of the thought system to which they are leading you.
The review for today covers the following ideas:
(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.
(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. This is not vision. It is merely an illusion of reality, because my judgments have been made quite apart from reality. I am 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.
(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?
(4) These thoughts do not mean anything.
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.
(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. I make all things my enemies, 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.
Commentary by Allen Watson
Note first that we aren't simply to read this review; we are meant to spend time morning and evening reviewing all five ideas, and to spend at least one two-minute practice period during the day on each of the five. That's five practice periods between the morning and evening, minimum. It will probably take a little planning to schedule those five interim periods, and the planning time is worth the effort. Second, notice that these practice instructions apply to all ten review lessons for the next ten days.
The comments on the five lessons given in Lesson 51 link them together so clearly that little comment is really needed. As the introduction to this review says in the last sentence, the emphasis of this review is on the relationships between the ideas and the cohesiveness of the entire thought system being presented. If you look at them together, they are lessons in "letting go" (the words "let go" or some variant occur in four of the five reviews).
In these first five lessons I am being asked to let go of:
- What I see
- My judgments
- My understanding
- My thoughts
- My thought system
What we "see" in the normal sense is nothing; we need to realize it is meaningless and let it go, so that vision may take its place. We are not actually seeing things; rather, we are seeing our judgments on them. If we want vision, we have to realize our judgments are invalid, and cease letting them govern our sight. If we have misjudged, surely we have also misunderstood. Our "understanding" of things is based not on reality, but on our own projections. But we can choose to exchange our misunderstandings for real understanding, based on love rather than judgment.
Like what we see, our conscious thoughts are without any real meaning; we need to let them go, along with judgment-based perceptions. They are thoughts of anger and attack, seeing all things as our enemies. These thoughts which are apart from God require constant justification, and our upset is no more than an attempt to justify our anger with the world and our attacks upon it.
As we read over this review, which is written in the first person, we may want to try reading it aloud, and seeing how we resonate with it. Am I really willing to let go of what I see, my judgments and my understanding of everything, my thoughts, and my very thought system? Can I say, "I am willing to let it go"?