First Lesson

The first lesson in A Course in Miracles (Part I Lesson 1 ACIM Workbook for Students) is to look about oneself and apply the lesson, “Nothing I see in this room (on this street, from this window, in this place) means anything.” Examples are given. I am surprised by the examples, not all the examples, but one or two. I do not worry at, “This table does not mean anything,” or “That door does not mean anything.” I skim down the list of examples and a couple take me by surprise. And the more I contemplate, or rather the more I find myself applying the lesson, “Nothing I see means anything”, the shift presents itself.

“This hand does not mean anything.”

“This foot does not mean anything.”

“That body does not mean anything.”

There is a shift in thinking when ones’ own hand is included in the phrase “does not mean anything.”

The statement is to be applied to anything I see, regardless. “Nothing I see means anything” is to be used indiscriminately, but not excessively, just for a moment or two during the day – not ALL day. In just these moments I find a shift in my thinking.

Items begin to be truly FREE of meaning. A book is a book. The stairs are the stairs. The tree is a tree. I was feeling how much I enjoyed the book, how the characters made me feel like family. Now it is back to being a book. I had thought of the stairs as needing a good vacuuming, now they are just stairs – though they still need a good vacuumming that is a separate issue. They truly are just stairs. I look at my hand and it is just a hand, no meaning – no intention behind this hand. It is just a hand.

This morning I looked at my husband and “that body does not mean anything” arose in my mind and I was surprised. It is true. That body has no meaning. He does. The place where we connect has meaning. It does not change my love, maybe clarify my feeling for him again. But that body has no meaning. Our relationship is not that body, regardless of how lovely. That body, the body, does not mean anything.

This thought liberates, it erases the extraneous. All I see is just that thing and no more. All the background thoughts, intentions, histories and motives are washed away. Disintegrated. This lesson, “Nothing I see means anything” is a clarifying thought. Each thing reduced to having no meaning, clarifies and brings into focus that that one thing I am looking at is just the one thing – no additional meaning, hidden, assigned, or otherwise.

I don’t know if this is what anyone is to be hit with first thing in the morning when someone brings you your first coffee – which has no meaning by the way. But I saw my husband. And I felt a clarity of his being.

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