Today is an exercise is doing what I must and shelving self-indulgence: no doubt a good thing. I find myself grateful for these daily lessons for they crack open my armor and leave me with this sense that I am indeed the student. As much as my ego wants to assure me that I am clever and knowledgeable, I don’t really understand anything. It is a good lesson. I have a tendency to step into the role of expert even when I’m bloody stupid about a subject. It’s amazing to witness and incredibly humbling.
So, today’s lesson seems apropos.
I see nothing as it is now.
This idea obviously follows from the two preceding ones. But while you may be able to accept it intellectually, it is unlikely that it will mean anything to you as yet. However, understanding is not necessary at this point. In fact, the recognition that you do not understand is a prerequisite for undoing your false ideas. These exercises are concerned with practice, not with understanding. You do not need to practice what you already understand. It would indeed be circular to aim at understanding, and assume that you have it already.
It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems to picture is not there. This idea can be quite disturbing, and may meet with active resistance in any number of forms. Yet that does not preclude applying it. No more than that is required for these or any other exercises. Each small step will clear a little of the darkness away, and understanding will finally come to lighten every corner of the mind that has been cleared of the debris that darkens it.
These exercises, for which three or four practice periods are sufficient, involve looking about you and applying the idea for the day to whatever you see, remembering the need for its indiscriminate application, and the essential rule of excluding nothing. For example:
I do not see this typewriter as it is now.
I do not see this telephone as it is now.
I do not see this arm as it is now.
Begin with things that are nearest you, and then extend the range outward:
I do not see that coat rack as it is now.
I do not see that door as it is now.
I do not see that face as it is now.
It is emphasized again that while complete inclusion should not be attempted, specific exclusion must be avoided. Be sure you are honest with yourself in making this distinction. You may be tempted to obscure it.
Funny, even after being reminded that I see nothing as it is now, I want to rush in and explain what I’m seeing. It’s good to remember that if I did indeed understand it, I wouldn’t need the exercise and clearly I do because I get sucked into illusion at every turn.
I do not see the coffee table as it is now.
I do not see this cat as it is now.
I do not see this laptop as it is now.
I do not see this clock as it is now.
I do not see that water jug as it is now.
I do not see that cupboard as it is now.
It helps that I am practiced in Lesson 25, I do not know what anything is for. It’s disturbing to think I don’t really see anything as it is. I don’t doubt that it is true, but it’s disturbing nonetheless. Still, on a morning when I need to do so much (I need to be out the door in an hour and a half and I have to prep me and my potluck dish before I go), it’s a relief not to need to understand it. I can just let it be what it is: an exercise in retraining my mind.
Namaste, my friends, Namaste.