What is the World?
Our special theme says, “Let us not rest content until the world has joined our changed perception. Let us not be satisfied until forgiveness has been made complete.”
If you continue to read the last paragraph of our special theme, it appears to have an outward focus. It says, “We must save the world.” However, an outward focus that attempts to save others, possibly by converting them to the teachings that we study and practice, ignores the teaching itself.
Remember, “Inward problems cannot be solved by looking outward. Inward problems can only be solved by looking inward.”
Or, as A Course in Miracles puts it, “The sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the atonement for himself.” (T-2.V. 5:1)
What is meant by, “Let us not rest content until the world has joined our changed perception … ”?
Most people are motivated to the spiritual path and spiritual practice by their own suffering. They are looking for a better way of existence. If one commits his/herself to spiritual practice, one will reach a point when individual suffering is no longer a problem. One has found a better way of existence. One is happy. In A Course in Miracles, this better way of existence is called “the happy dream.”
If one was motivated solely by the desire to end personal suffering, his/her motivation to continue spiritual practice may wane when s/he reaches the happy dream. However, the ego has not ended at this stage. It is merely dormant, waiting until attention has diffused its focus, so it can return undetected and regain command and control.
The desire to end suffering for one’s self can be highly motivating for a time. However, it is not enough motivation to keep one determined until the ego has ended. A motivation that continues beyond the desire to end one’s own suffering is the desire to end suffering for everyone. This was Buddha’s motivation. This was also Jesus’ motivation. This is what he meant when he said, “… whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28)
Although my experience has reached the happy dream, I pay attention to the news everyday. I look at the suffering that occurs in the world, and I let compassion for others motivate me to continue spiritual practice earnestly until the ego’s final end.
In fact, I am motivated by two factors:
- Compassion for the world.
- Desire for the direct knowledge of truth.
Whatever suffers is not part of me.
Today’s lesson may appear to conflict with everything I just said, but it doesn’t.
Let me share an analogy. Let’s imagine that you have a rash on your face. The rash does not itch or hurt. The only way you know you have a rash is that you see it when you look in the mirror.
The doctor has given you a cream to apply to your face. Her instructions are to apply the cream twice a day until the rash disappears completely. As long as there is even the slightest appearance of a rash, you need to continue to apply the cream. If you stop before the rash is completely eliminated, it may return.
Since the rash does not cause you any personal discomfort, the only way to see if the rash has been eliminated is to look in the mirror. If you look in the mirror and see the rash, you continue to apply the cream. Of course, you don’t apply the cream to the mirror. You apply the cream to your face.
The world is our mirror.
Each morning, I get up and spend a few minutes looking at the news on my Yahoo homepage. Seeing suffering there is like seeing the rash on my face. But after looking at the rash, I turn to my own spiritual practice. I apply the cream to my face.
Denying suffering, when it is done properly, is a part of applying the cream to my own face. The proper way to deny suffering is to look at awareness, recognize it as my true Self and recognize that awareness is forever unaffected by perception. In other words, I reclaim my true Self and disown the false self.
As today’s lesson says, “What is in pain is but illusion in my mind. What dies was never living in reality, … Now I disown self-concepts and deceits and lies …”
Many people have been confused about the proper use of denial. Do not deny the suffering that others experience. Have compassion for their suffering. The suffering that you deny is your own. You deny your suffering by noticing that your true Self does not suffer. It never has.
If you have 30 minutes for meditation today, I recommend this one: