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A Course in Miracles Workbook Lesson 7

This lesson and commentary is part of a complete class on A Course in Miracles offered here at The Joy Within. Signup for the full class here, or view all ACIM workbook lessons.

ACIM Lesson 7: Idea for the Day

I see only the past.

Guided Audio Narration

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Insights and Commentary

In today’s lesson, we explore the cause of all of the preceding lessons. As you look at the world, you perceive the past. Nothing that you do or witness in the physical world is based in the present.

Everything is a reflection of past energy.

You can interpret this idea on many different levels. Literally, physically, you can only ever perceive the past because there is always a delay to perception. When you look at something, you look at a refraction of light that has passed space to reach you. The time it takes for this light to reach you causes a delay in your perception, such that you are never looking at anything the way it is right now.

In daily life, we may think this delay is insignificant, but it nevertheless causes you to perceive the past, rather than the present.

Similarly, you perceive the past because there is always a delay in your recognition and response to any stimuli. From the moment in which you see something, you must then form a thought about it. You must acknowledge or respond to the perception in some way. This takes time, even when your response is automatic. Thus, you are always reacting to the past.

On a deeper, more psychological level, you see the past because you cannot separate mental associations have about something from your present experience of it.

The thought of any object, event, or circumstance will always trigger related thoughts about it. Neuroscience explains this clearly, as synaptic connections dictate electrical chains of thought. Thus, when you see a pot on the stove, you remember — from knowledge acquired both directly and indirectly — that it is likely hot, and that you should not touch it. When you hear your wedding song, you remember not only the song itself, but all of the associations you hold alongside it, from your first wedding dance to all of the ups and downs of your relationship with your partner.

You cannot separate your present experience from these past associations.

Lastly, and more fundamentally, you only ever see the past because the world you experience is a reflection of the energy — the thoughts, beliefs, and emotions — you have held. When you respond to the world, you are responding to a prior version of yourself.

It is for this reason that your thoughts and perceptions mean nothing, and why you cannot understand them properly: they are but reflections of a past you, and do not reflect the person you are right now.

When you assume these circumstances do represent or reflect upon the current you, you allow your past to dictate your present, for better or worse. In truth, it is not who you are right now, unless you choose for it to be so.

Just like the earlier lessons, this idea applies equally to everything you experience, from the seemingly insignificant and mundane to the most important events, memories, and objects you have.

Attempt to intuit the past nature of everything around you by focusing on one item, one thought, at a time, and by observing how the entirety of that item or thought exists in the past, and need not apply to the present you.

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