Index of Lessons

11 My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.

MT: If I understand this right, JC, the world is meaningless and a source of angst because my thoughts about it are meaningless, and that, in turn, is because my mind is closed off to the Thought of God.
JC: Yes, exactly. You notice that, as you look around as instructed, your eyes become tired and you want to close them.
MT: I did notice that. You are sneaking in meditation!
JC: If you wish to call it meditation.
MT: Thank you for this intro to whatever-it-is. Thank you for What Is.
JC: Welcome to the Kingdom.

12 I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

MT: I have a question (and a fear: have I found a hole in the Course?): You say at the end of the commentary, that meaningless is neither good nor bad, so why should we be upset when we see a meaningless world?

JC: Why indeed? But your ego rushes in to give the world its meaning.

MT: But I thought you said I was upset at my own (erroneous) meaning: a tsunami is bad, a burglar at the window is bad, ice cream and motherhood are good. That sort of thing.

JC: But you are also upset, more profoundly so, at seeing a world that is basically meaningless until meaning is imposed upon it. When you finally release the world, God's meaning becomes apparent, but only then. Your ego's struggle with God is over who is the giver of meaning, is it your ego, or is it God? Therefore, you are setting yourself in opposition to God, and at the same time believing that, if God exists, He must be irate about your arrogance.

MT: Ouch. My efforts to impose meaning must put me at odds with God. I wouldn't want to meet a pissed-off God in a dark alley at midnight.

JC: You bet. But fortunately for you, the separation was impossible and never happened.

12 I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

Today, God, I am willing to let Your meaning define the world I see. I am willing to set aside my judgments and opinions, the thoughts I clutch to my chest as sage and precious and wise. Today You tell me what to think and do and be. Today I dwell with You in Paradise.

12 I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

Why mightI think I am upset?

I think I am upset because my partner left me.
I think I am upset because my 401K is worthless.
I think I am upset because my cat is sick.
I think I am upset because I am so incompetent.
I think I am upset because I am worthless.

What's the relationship between the world of the ego and my feelings? To start, forget about changing the external world--people, money, nature, possessions, in order to feel better. What about the opinions I have of myself? Such as, "I should have cashed in my 401K but I was too stupid to do it"?

There is another reason for my upset, but it's extraordinarily well concealed. This lesson is telling us that ALL of it is meaningless. The ego struggles to find meaning in things and events, and even tries to find meaning in self-blame, but it's a game of Whac-A-Mole that we can never win. I am upset because I see a meaningless, chaotic world, an uncontrollable world. That's why I am upset.

13 A meaningless world engenders fear.

MT: You are introducing the idea of the supernatural so that we don't back off in fear, aren't you?

JC: Let's call it meaningless instead. The word "supernatural" carries with it a fearful connotation. It is important to stay with the words I use.

MT: OK, scratch supernatural. Then, you explain why meaninglessness engenders fear—it does so because it involves a direct confrontation with God.

JC: You got it. So, today, when you encounter something you can't explain, notice what happens. Your ego wants to rush in with a "scientific" explanation, which cheapens and restricts the event. On the other hand, the beginner's mind fearlessly lets the unknown be unknown. To hang in there with meaninglessness can be, then, a delicious moment that fosters creativity and brings you into closer contact with the Creator.

13 A meaningless world engenders fear.

MT: Dear JC, I start the day in a restless mood. I've distanced myself from the Work in the last few days, and I find my "meaningless thoughts" an increasing nuisance. Please provide.
JC: What is your wish?
MT: I want peace of mind. Yes, a meaningless world engenders fear, and that's what I am seeing today. I want God's meaning, not mine, but my thoughts populate my head like an unruly mob.
JC: There is meaning beyond the sun and stars, stretching out as far as the eye can see. Go there right now, and rest your weary head for awhile. Allow the peace of God to descend and wrap your heart in its soft embrace. The world you think you see recedes, and in its place you have Silence, the music of the spheres.

13 A meaningless world engenders fear.

Is there any question that it does? A noise in the night, and my mind rushes in to figure out what it was. Ah, the cat--the wind--a dish rattling in the fridge. Castaneda tells the story of the object he couldn't identify, and the intense, gut-wrenching fear he experienced. Don Juan mercilessly made him stay with the fear.

But, look! We are given the explanation: "a meaningless world engenders fear because I think I am in competition with God." So as the ego sees it, it's my meaning or God's, and God is sure to pulverize me for my arrogance. God is not someone I would choose to meet in a lonely dark alley! If I am to maintain the supremacy of my view, I must make up a world where God is not, to deal with the fear. But it's always there until we shine the light of Truth on it, and see that it's not real, it is baseless, and therefore does not exist.

14 God did not create a meaningless world.

MT: This fundamental thought is the answer to famine, pestilence, and war. Let me no longer rail at God for disasters I, or collectively, we all have made. We made up this fantastic illusion, and proceeded to act as if it were real. In a way, it's a comforting thought. It puts us back in the driver's seat. But, JC, what about natural disasters? Banda Aceh?

JC: Metaphysics has something to say about that, but let's not concern ourselves with that right now. There's need to try to explain everything. Be content with the fact that you can now reach to a loving God, from whom only the good comes to you. Be content with asking only for what you really want, and setting that which you do not want resolutely aside. Miracles will become commonplace in your life from now on.

14 God did not create a meaningless world.

What a lesson!

God did not create the mortgage meltdown, and so it is not real.
God did not create my high cholesterol reading, and so it is not real.
God did not create the war in Iraq, and so it is not real.

If God didn't, then who?

15 My thoughts are images that I have made.

MT: How many times I've thought: I know this already. How many times you've shown me: there's a whole lot more to it than you think. I'm being eased into a new way of seeing everything and everybody, by gradual steps that prevent a collapse into fear. Thank you, JC, for your loving guidance and for this magnificent map showing us the way home.

15 My thoughts are images that I have made.

I construct an image in my head, and then send my eyes out to find it. The world I think I see is of my making. A scary thought, in a way, but also empowering; if I made up the world I see, I can also unmake it. Where before I made a faulty choice, I can now make a better one.

Today let me relinquish judgment, let go of my prejudices, let go of the shabby world I made, and see instead what God created.

16 I have no neutral thoughts.

MT: Tell me, what are the Thoughts of God? Even as I ask, I'm afraid that this one time you'll have no answer for me. I'm afraid my ego will have won.

JC: And notice how this thought is not neutral! It engenders fear and creates the problem it purports to solve. Suppose I have no answer, and your ego has won.

MT: Then I'm finished with this Course. I'm on my own. I may as well close the book and be done with it. But that's too final.

JC: So your ego doesn't really want to be in charge. It only wants to pretend it is in charge. It objects to the possibility of being totally responsible.

MT: I see that, yes.

JC: All you ego wants is to keep the game going, no?

MT: Yes, it wants to keep the illusion alive and unquestioned. It wants to derail me, that's all. I feel really confused right now.

JC: Open yourself to a Thought of God. It will dispel the confusion.

MT: A thought of God. . . I know that you will never leave me. I know that I am the holy Son of God. I know that those who walk with me are sinless, part of the sonship just as I am. I know that angels hover all around me and brush my face with their wings. But my heart suddenly got heavy. . . I thought of my granddad. How can I accept this sweet presence of angels, when Karlis died alone and desolate?

JC: So the ego tells you that love is finite, that more for you is less for Karlis—how could you be happy when he was desolate? That was not a neutral thought, it happened right before your eyes, and it was made up. I know that, at the moment of his death, your granddad totally joined with the God he had served so faithfully. It was truly the death of a holy man. But the "finite love" behind either the "good" or the "bad" view is what needs to go. It doesn't belong in your mind.

MT: What a breath of fresh air in that piece of ancient history! Thank you, thank you.

16 I have no neutral thoughts.

MT: I'm always thinking of things to do--and mostly not doing them. My mind leaps ahead and removes me from the present moment. Even when I'm about to do one of the Things to Do, my mind officiously generates a dozen other options. Help!
JC: Always here for you.
MT: Help me with these very much not-neutral thoughts. A professional persecutor rented space in my head.
JC: You are home. Fear is the stranger here.
MT: What has fear got to do with it?
JC: Are you not scaring yourself about forgetting something?
MT: Yes, that's true, that's a moment of fear. One thing done, and a dozen forgotten. I want to yell, Shut Up!
JC: What is the pearl of great price you might be forgetting?
MT: That I am loved, holy, complete. That I can never not be God's creation. Thank you, JC!



17 I see no neutral things.

MT: JC, I want to heal my back. I'm not expecting the back of a 20-year-old, but I want to be free of pain.

JC: And why not have the back of a 20-year-old? You may as well ask for that. There is no order of difficulty. . .

MT: Guess I don't see my body as a neutral thing, do I. It is charged with meaning. I compare it to other bodies my age, and I puff up with pride. I am scared of the day when I must leave it for the Great Beyond, much as I brag of not fearing death. I'm not afraid of death, I'm afraid of the breaking down of the body. I cringe at the ugliness of death in this country, where you lie in a hospital bed surrounded by machines and tubes and doctors with charts. . . I want to die like my cat, curled up in a hole in the field, with crickets hopping around and butterflies celebrating life. Well, don't know how I got started on this.

JC: The hospital and tubes and doctors with charts, that's an attempt to prolong life. They are like the botox injections of your daughter, the endless gyrokinesis sessions you do, your frantic need to exercise so you'll keep young and fit. Meanwhile, what is your real contribution? What lessons can you draw from the negative example of B's aging?

MT: I don't know, JC. I need to talk more about this, but I really need to get going right now.

17 I see no neutral things.

MT: I just got angry, JC, and I didn't even notice it as it happened! I was in a dream. So much for the lesson.
JC: Decisions happen in a split second, indeed. It is good that you noticed it, albeit after the fact.
MT: I did not see a neutral trash can. I saw Scott's effort to control me, to put one over me. I saw my "need" to fight for fairness.
JC: Thus are you blinded to God's Reality. Which do you want, a drab ugly world that you must struggle to control, or a world of light and beauty that floods you with gratitude?

17 I see no neutral things.

I see no neutral things because I have opinions and judgments. My thoughts about things are not neutral, but are colored by past experience.
Today I allow myself to see with God's vision. Today marks the beginning of spiritual sight.

18 I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.

MT: Holy mackerel, JC! Now you're bringing in other people too! I thought I was an island, or a rock. . . Now I have to be responsible for others too?

JC: You make up a world in which you don't matter, and on the other hand you indulge in fantasies of wealth and fame. Talk about delusions.

MT: I was just being facetious. One major change in my thinking in the past 20 years involves the realization of how much of an effect I do have. To say I don't matter is just an excuse to behave badly.

JC: Well put! Let me add that "being responsible" are your words. I didn't say that. Guilt enters very readily with the idea of "being responsible," and one of the primary aims of this Course is to undo guilt.

MT: Amen!

JC: Today, be open to your power to change minds. It is an essential aspect of the Great Awakening.

18 I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.

Here I begin to own my true importance. What I do, say, see, hear has effects that spread to others. Even if I think I can conceal attack thoughts, my silence is in itself a statement.

Today I make every action, every thought count. Today I cease being the problem. Today I become part of the solution.

19 I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.

MT: This is about collective misperception, isn't it.

JC: You bet. And individual responsibility. You can change the collective by working on the
individual, but only God can change the collective once it's been unleashed. In your
upside-down world, you think that the collective determines the individual, but this denies
the power of your thinking. When nobody takes responsibility for thoughts, the boat has no
rudder and no captain. The mob rules.

MT: That's scary. Mobs are scary.

JC: The power of a mob is negative evidence that minds really are joined.

MT: There's elation in being part of a mob. It only happened once in my life, but I still
remember it, the delicious energy that the joining unleashed, how good it felt to act
together. So what's the lesson here?

JC: God's mob comes to mind.

MT: God's mob? Surely you jest.

JC. Only in part. You have no idea—well, you do have some idea—of the power that joining
in love, under God's guidance, will unleash. It will be a quantum leap in human
development. This lesson is about acknowledging that minds are joined. It's a beginning.


The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we
shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the
history of the world, we shall have discovered fire—Teilhard de Chardin

19 I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.

JC: Every thought creates form at some level. The level of "we-agree-to-attack" is especially noxious.
MT: It could be scary to think that thoughts are really available to others.
JC: The ability to read thoughts comes with increased openness to higher energy levels. Forgiveness is what opens one to higher energy levels, so the remedy for fear is already at hand.
MT: I delved into the history of World War II, because it affected my family so profoundly. Seems like Europe agreed to conflict, that Germans agreed to mass murder. But I think that most would claim they were victims of forces beyond their control.
JC: What about you, today, here?
MT: I've done a lot of housecleaning, JC. I've even forgiven Bill's tyrannical dotage, mostly. I can resuscitate those bad feelings but mostly I choose not to. Been there, done that.
JC: A profound forgiveness of the self is next on the celestial schedule. You were created sinless, and sinless you remain, for ever and ever.
MT: I know that, in theory. Don't think I've gotten it in the gut. Ah, what it would be like, to walk the world in complete forgiveness! I could walk on water, even!

19 I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.

MT: This seems very obvious, JC. I think I must act if I want peace in the world, but what I really need to do is to cultivate peaceful thoughts.
JC: Your thoughts have effects that ripple through all of mankind.
MT: It is scary that my angry thought about the other driver may cause an accident on the other side of town.
JC: No need for fear, ever. What is needed is appreciation of the power of the mind to affect other minds. Do not support the world of malice. Do not see evil, do not agree with others who see evil. But do not fight evil. Your mind can best be used to say, quietly, "Brother, choose again."

20 I am determined to see.

MT: Otherwise, why would I be doing these lessons for the umpteenth time? I am determined to see.

JC: And do you remember why?

MT: Because in me is the resurrection and the life. How I have minimized my value and ability! How I have squandered my gifts! But here I am, so there is, deep inside, a still small voice that reminds me: In me salvation rests.

20 (2006) I am determined to see.

MT: What a statement! No more mealy-mouthed ifs, thens, or buts. But, JC, what if it's a lie? What if I am saying the words, but they have no meaning?

JC: This is your chance to surrender to the Giver of meaning. There will be others.

MT: How so?

JC: To say that you are determined to see, is saying that you are determined to surrender. It acknowledges that your perception is not real seeing. That you have perpetrated a colossal illusion and deprived yourself of true power. It acknowledges that there is a better way. Relapses into the old way of seeing, with unavoidable loss of peace, will reinforce your will to see.

MT: The whole is contained in any of the parts, no matter how small.

JC: Yes, and the whole thought of the Course is contained in this simple
statement: I am determined to see.

20 I am determined to see.

MT: In more ways than one, JC. The deterioration of my physical eyes is a wakeup call, I reckon.
JC: Spiritual sight is yours. Claim it now.
MT: Shoot. I cringe when you say that. I always back out of the experience of God.
JC: Not always--you leapt into new seeing a couple of times in your life, and remember how you felt?
MT: I was beside myself, weeping in gratitude. Now I wait outside the gates of Heaven again.
JC: So what do you think? How shall we untie this knot, you and I?
MT: Oh, I'm glad you include you in the picture. Makes sense, if we're one.
JC: And how do we untie the knot of your isolation and lack? You lug around the bars of your prison, blind to the freedom that surrounds you. Freedom is to be had here and now.
MT: I'm asking for a shove, JC. My ego is like a mule digging in its heels.
JC: Give what you want to get for yourself. Who will you offer freedom to, today?
MT: Oh yes, the golden rule of giving and receiving that I so quickly forget! I will offer freedom to those on my path this day, that freedom will be given me.

20 I am determined to see.

MT: Such a clear statement of purpose. I am determined to see. But where is vision? Hate to admit it, I feel like a failure today.
JC: Live your life to the best of your ability. God will take care of the rest.
MT: Vision seems so unattainable, right now.
JC: Vision as your ego defines it, yes.
MT: So the ego makes up goals that are necessarily unattainable, then berates me for not attaining them.
JC: Yes. What to do? Refuse to be dissatisfied today. God's gifts are received by the open hand.

Index of Lessons