Lesson 4 Insights
“These thoughts do not mean anything. They are like the things I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place].”
This lesson is very powerful in helping me recognize the thoughts that are coming from the split mind for what they are — meaningless. This lesson brings me, through baby steps, to the awareness that all the thoughts that I think with the ego mind are trying to be substitutes for my real Thoughts, my real Identity as Love, which is still in the changeless Mind of Love.
As I learn to practice looking at my thoughts and recognize that they are really meaningless, a tiny opening is made, a crack in the hardened beliefs of separation. Even though it may seem uncomfortable to me to learn what I have been cherishing is really meaningless, I am learning here with this lesson that seeing these thoughts as meaningless helps me let them go. It helps me open my mind to let the Holy Spirit heal these thoughts and gradually bridge me to the awareness that only Love is real.
As I see that these thoughts are really meaningless, I unchain my mind from the ego prison house of separation. It is not a bad thing; it’s a good thing. I am willing to practice with diligence and consistency. I am willing to let my mind be healed today. I am willing to step back and be shown a new way of perceiving the world.
This lesson is bringing to our attention that we don’t know what is meaningful and what is meaningless. In particular, it is showing us that the thoughts we are accustomed to having are meaningless. This seems to be quite a radical thought. It brings to question everything we have thought is important. Once again it is in keeping with the Course’s message that we must learn to question everything we think we know.
In this lesson it says this is a very important step — learning to recognize what is meaningless. This recognition is the release from fear. It is only meaningless thoughts that frighten us, simply because we do not recognize they are meaningless. In the introduction to the Text we are told only Love is real. This being true, Love must be all that is meaningful. Thus, any thought that is not the extension of Love is meaningless.
This lesson is an important step in learning that this is true and in freeing us from the ego’s tyranny of fear. Because we have invested so much of our identity in the ego thought system, it is not easy to fully grasp the message of this lesson. We are not expected to do it all at once. The exercise is simply a step in the right direction. Our job is simply to take the step, trusting that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide us toward the peace and Love that is our heart’s desire.
Some of my thoughts scare me. Some make me feel guilty. Even happy thoughts come with a price tag — if circumstances are making me happy, then changing circumstances can bring a different emotion. I give all these thoughts a lot of weight, allowing them to control my emotions and mold my day, and complicate life until I don’t know what is what, and wind up feeling trapped with no way out.
It is hard to believe I cherish these thoughts. Sure, I cherish some memories. I cherish thoughts that seem to serve me. But do I cherish the ones that obviously hurt me? I must, because I keep bringing them out to examine over and over.
When I read that my thoughts are meaningless, my first thought was that I’ve just learned my mind is powerful, how can I dismiss my thoughts as meaningless? Then I realized that meaningless thoughts are not without power, they are just without meaning. By acknowledging this, I can feel free to let them go and releasing them does rob them of power. It is like I have emptied a cup of spoiled stuff, and now it is ready to be filled by the good stuff from Holy Spirit.
My most important task is to be mindful of my thoughts — to see them as they are, not as I want them to be — to be aware of their foundation in fear, neediness and fantasy. I have placed so much importance on thoughts. I have treated them with deference and respect, almost like little gods. At times my thoughts run amok with shrieking and demanding voices that exhaust me with their relentless energy. They keep me awake. They keep me anxious. They take on a life of their own. I am aware that I have allowed this to be my “reality.”
I am tired of genuflecting at the altar of thoughts, of accepting them as the truth of my existence. As I watch them and observe how they affect me, and yet they are and mean nothing, I am struck by the beauty and peace in silencing the ego mind to whatever degree is possible in each moment. Silence is not the end of the journey, but the beginning. Being deafened by meaningless thoughts is not happiness. It is not even reasonable or intelligent. It is wearing. It is keeping me upset.
I am willing today to see these thoughts as meaningless. By clinging to the meaningless, I miss the meaningful. I miss the joy of my True Self, the Self Whose thoughts would make all the difference because those thoughts spring only from Love. These True Self thoughts come to me as I await in the silence of the stilled ego mind. I wish to still the ego mind because, in stillness, I become aware that ego thoughts are meaningless. I realize that I can only be at peace in the meaningful.
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