[acimlessons_list] Lesson 22 - January 22
sue at circleofa.org
Sat Jan 21 12:06:03 EST 2012
Lesson 22 - January 22
"What I see is a form of vengeance."
Exercise: 5 times (at least), for 1 minute (at least)
* Look about you. As your eyes move slowly from one thing to
another say, "I see only the perishable. I see nothing that will last. What
I see is not real. What I see is a form of vengeance."
* Conclude by asking yourself, "Is this the world I really
want to see?"
Remarks: The four lines that we are asked to repeat do not seem to logically
follow from each other, even though it seems like they are meant to. Based
on paragraph 2, I would say they do follow from each other, only in reverse
order-meaning, the conclusion comes first and the argument's foundation
comes last. The logic all rests on the idea (mentioned in paragraph 1) that
we see the world through angry eyes. As a result, we are convinced that the
world must want to get revenge on us for the daggers that came out of our
eyes, so to speak. This (unconscious) conviction on our part makes us
perceive ourselves surrounded by a world thirsting for vengeance on us.
(That explains the fourth line.) The vengeful world we see, therefore, is
our own projection. It exists only in our imagination. It is not a real
world. (That explains the third line.) And, because it is not real, it does
not have the attributes of reality; in this case, permanence. (That explains
the first and second lines.) To make this fully clear, let me place the
original lines and my explanation side by side:
ORIGINAL LINE: I see only the perishable. I see nothing that will last.
EXPLANATION: I see a world that has no permanence.
ORIGINAL LINE: What I see is not real.
EXPLANATION: It has no permanence because permanence is an attribute of
reality, and the world I see is not real. It is only a picture in my
ORIGINAL LINE: What I see is a form of vengeance.
EXPLANATION: This picture is painted by my attack thoughts. They cause me
to imagine a world poised to get revenge on me for my attack on
This is a lesson that I simply did not understand the first few times I went
through the Workbook. I'm not entirely sure I understand it now, but it
makes a certain sense to me, and to the degree that I do understand it, I'd
like to share that understanding with you all. Notice one thing, however, as
you read through the lesson. What you are asked to actually practice with is
<not> simply the thought that heads the lesson, but quite a bit more, ending
with the question, "Is this the world I really want to see?" So
understanding the lead thought isn't really the purpose of this lesson;
rather, the purpose is to help us realize that we do not really want what we
We are seeing it, however, because in some part of our mind, a part we have
hidden from consciousness, we do want it. We always see what we want to see,
and we are seeing what we are seeing because we want to see it.
"You see what you believe is there, and you believe it there because you
want it there. Perception has no other law than this" (T-25.III.1:3, 4).
If we are seeing what we are seeing because we want to see it, then if this
lesson can help us learn we don't <really> want it--that we really want
something else--it will help us change what we see. Change what we want, and
our perception changes with it.
If we hold attack thoughts in our mind we must see the world as a vicious
place, a dangerous place. It is a world of pain, and "Pain is but witness to
the Son's mistakes in what he thinks he is. It is a dream of fierce
retaliation for a crime that could not be committed" (W-pI.190.2:3, 4). As I
said yesterday, we are angry at ourselves over what we think we have done,
and as a result we are having "a dream of fierce retaliation" for our
crimes. As egos we are also angry at reality for not being what we want it
to be, for not supporting our wish for separation and specialness. We cannot
face our own anger at ourselves, and we cannot support the guilt of our
insane rage at reality, so we project it:
"Having projected his anger onto the world, he sees vengeance about to
strike at him." The anger and attack we see in the world is only the
reflection of the intensity of our inner rage, the rage we cannot see in
ourselves <precisely because> we have denied it and projected it outward.
The world I see thus shows me what I am thinking. "The world I see is a form
of vengeance" because vengeance is what fills my own mind, although I am
unaware of it. That I see vengeance in the world is the proof it is in my
mind, because that is the law of perception.
"He will attack, because what he beholds is his own fear external to
himself, poised to attack, and howling to unite with him again. Mistake not
the intensity of rage projected fear must spawn. It shrieks in wrath, and
claws the air in frantic hope it can reach to its maker and devour him"
"It is from this savage fantasy that you want to escape" (W-pI.22.2:1). The
words the Course uses--"savage fantasy," "a dream of fierce
retaliation"--are so evocative! If the world looks like this--and surely it
does, quite often at least--what must be the state of our minds that spawn
it? "This becomes an increasingly vicious circle until he is willing to
change how he sees."
We do want to escape from this savage fantasy. That is the goal of today's
lesson, to help us become willing to change how we see. None of what we are
seeing exists, and if we are willing to change how we see, we will no longer
The Course's definition of "real" is "eternal, everlasting, changeless."
What does not last is not real. By definition. And "I see nothing that will
last." Therefore none of it is real, by this definition. If it is not real,
what is it? "A form of vengeance." Ken Wapnick said once that the world is
simply crystallized guilt. This lesson is saying that the world is
crystallized attack thoughts, vengeance solidified into a world of attack
"Is this the world I really want to see?
"The answer is surely obvious."
Bear in mind that this lesson is working at the level of motivation. It is
not telling us <how> we can see something different. It knows that if it can
get us to <wanting> something different the battle is over, because what we
want, we will see. So if this lesson leaves you feeling, "God! No, I don't
want to see the world like this any more, but what can I do about it?" then
the lesson has been successful. The question will be answered as the lessons
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