A Course In Miracles Lesson 8
A Course In Miracles Lesson 8 states:
My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.
The reason I see only the past is because my mind is preoccupied with the past. This is so obvious a statement of logic that it can easily be disregarded by our understanding. It is a commentary about the nature of physical reality which begins to push the limits of the logic that is holding the illusions of the world in place. My physical eyes are in service to my physical brain. My eyes and brain developed together to serve the same purpose. That purpose is perception. Perception is unique and singular. Perception is personal.
What today’s lesson is introducing is that perception is a quality of the temporary while knowing is a quality of the eternal. My experiences are temporary. My awareness and knowing are eternal.
My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.
This is a statement of fact. This preoccupation with the past is why we do not understand time at all. Our minds do not comprehend the present moment, which is the only time there is. So long as my mind is preoccupied with the past I can not understand time. I can not understand anything because what I think I understand is not really there because the past does not exist. Any beliefs founded on the logic of the past is founded on that which is not there.
A Course In Miracles states: The only true thought we can hold about the past is that it is not here. To think about the past at all is to think about that which is not there, which is to think about an illusion from inside an illusion. We will think the illusion is real. But eventually, we will arrive at the disillusion of that which is unreal because all that is not real ends. All that is real continues on. There is a part of you that continues on beyond the body, beyond the objects around you. That is reality. The nature of reality is nonphysical energy.
When we think about the past we are thinking of illusions. We are thinking of things that are not there. Memories are not real. They may be remembered (experienced), but they do not actually exist. They are conjurings and preoccupations of focus. A Course In Miracles explains that when we “think” about the past, the mind is, in fact, blank. This state is also described as “asleep” and awakening is the process of releasing all fixation with past thoughts.
Nothing about our memories is real. Nothing about our memories exist any more. We can not go back to any place in childhood or know anyone from that time. The people and places are all different if not totally gone. Spending time with past thoughts is spending time in illusions rather than the reality of right now.
We may feel that our anger, rage, fear, heartbreak is real and it may hurt a great deal. But pain does not confirm realness. Pain can be quite painful while also being totally unnecessary and irrelevant. The intensity of pain is a very powerful persuasion which convinces us of a realness to what we are experiencing. But we have the ability to self-inflict. We have the ability to self-induce meaningless pain.
We also have the ability to stop doing that. What today’s lesson wants to introduce into our way of thinking is the concept that would in fact liberate us from that pain. The pain is coming from a preoccupation with thoughts of the past, which are in truth thoughts of nothing.
Our old way of thinking will resist this new logic. Recognizing how your mind is blank when ruminating about the past is the first step towards developing the ability to have true vision. Staying angry or even staying afraid may actually be something our brains feel compelled to do rather than consider the idea that what we think is true is not true.
Our brains, our eyes, our ears, our bodies emerged into the illusion from the illusion itself, and so every physical perception is designed to validate and serve the perpetuation of the insubstantial. It is very uncomfortable to our biology to consider that we do not really understand something. But it is a relief when we can admit that. Understanding the illusory nature of our biology enables us to begin to shift our focus towards that which is ever-lasting.
Not everything ends. While surrounded by temporary objects and cycles of life, this will be hard to believe. Believing today’s lesson will ultimately be a decision you decide to make. Illusions will never be real. Illusions will always end. Understanding this enables true vision.
Let us move towards the ability to have vision and to see past the illusions our brains are fixed upon.
A Course In Miracles Lesson 8 needs us to practice today’s exercise with eyes closed. This is because your physical eyes are actually designed to be in the service of your brain which focuses exclusively on the past, which is to say, it is focusing on the meaningless. Our eyes are not what we will use to achieve Vision. Vision, (knowing beyond perceptions of physical senses) happens outside of physical sight.
Closing our eyes helps us to not see anything. When we close our eyes there is a blankness. This is actually a true description of our state of mind even when our eyes are open. Our minds are blank so long as we are “thinking” in terms of time and the past or the future. Closing your eyes makes it easier to recognize that no matter how vividly you picture a thought or a memory, you are actually not seeing anything. That “nothing” sensation is the first awareness of the compulsive fixation our brains have with time. The blank quality that comes when closing our eyes, and the thought-forms that arise in a conjuring experience of pictures, silent sounds, and sensations are not really there. Today’s lesson is acknowledging this fact.
Lesson 8 does not go much further into this concept today because it is a difficult one to introduce to a mind that has been shaped by opposite beliefs. We want to have compassion for that mind of ours as we gently present new content. We are currently fixated on the past. Moving our attention away from this fixation is the purpose of today’s lesson. We will go slow and take it easy as we bring the statement for today into our thoughts.
“I seem to be thinking about _____.” Name each thought with a central theme then let it pass to the next thought. Then say with each of these statements, “But really, my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.”