Workbook lesson 1

I read the instructions very carefully, and all that is said about it is, "Do not undertake more than one exercise a day." For example, the instructions do not say to start with lesson number one, proceed to lesson number two, follow that with lesson number three, and so on in normal numeric sequence.

I think that it doesn't need to be said. It's obvious that is the intended plan. Start at the beginning and proceed one lesson at a time, in sequence, until you reach the end.

Still, I want to jump back to lesson one to make a point.

When I look around this room I'm in, at the various objects, cats and people in it, and say, "This does not mean anything," my only responses is:

That's not true.

Everything I look at means something to me.

I have a name, however generic a word it may be, for everything I see. If I don't have a name for something, I make one up. It's a doodad or a thingamabob or a gadget. And, everything I look at has a specific quality of ownership attached to it.

"That's my thingamabob, and you better not break it. Give it back."

I look at my left hand, see the 3 inch scar, and remember the spring day in 1969 when I was standing on a ladder against a tree doing some pruning, and I almost sawed my thumb off.

That means something to me.

My world is chock full of meaning. Psychologists have long recognized that people become anxious and disturbed when they can't easily fit a new experience into their preexisting definition of reality. People demand to know how the world works, what is important,  what is not, and what it all means.

I'm thinking that if everyone is totally honest, nobody believes lesson one.

But, that's OK. The instructions clearly state that we are not asked to believe the lessons.

Just do the exercise mindfully, and see what comes up for you as you look around your world.

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky
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kandisk said...

Referring to Workbook Lesson 1 post...

Tom, I enjoy your blog regularly, thank you.

There's a wonderful story that I've heard about two old wise men who come together for a visit and sit with one another in a lovely park, meeting for hours in perfect silence, taking in the wonders of the surrounding gardens. Then a disciple overheard one of the men say to the other, "And they call that a tree…." to which they both broke out into uproarious laughter.

That's what lesson 1 means to me… is to see how I am attached to my 'little meanings' and how I have 'created' and "believed in them" as if is "they" are the 'Truth' …and how these "seemingly innocent mistakes," these special attachments, these little hooks, these 'sinless sins' continually obfuscate the miracle .

To me, the primary teaching in Lesson #1 is not to 'believe in it,' but to get in touch with that deeper place inside and to see how we create ALL of these 'special "meaningful or meaningless" beliefs' on everything and that, from these 'mistakes in precieving we really know'... cause us the greatest fear? We all need a lot of practice in loosening our 'attachments to our beleifs.' Noticing and becoming familiar with our 'hooked-in' attachments to our special beliefs and relationships ...it's a good place to start. Perceptions are in the eyes of the Perceivers. I don't know how to really reconcile the rest of the Course without having some honest understanding or a deep experience with Lesson 1. It all keeps unfolding from there, the more years I read and practice the Course, the looser the ego's vice grip becomes. But I don't know if one can ever completely stop the ego mind from trying to impose it's illusions upon us... maybe when LOVE is all we really want…. And then, Remember to laugh at the (de)illusions.

Peace, Kandis

Tom Fox said...


I'm glad you enjoy reading what I write here. I hope it is helpful to you in some small way, and I wish I had more time to concentrate on the Course.

The last time I did Lesson One, and I looked at a book for example, I'd also ask myself, "Where was that book 500 years ago, and where will it be 500 years in the future."

It didn't exist in the form of a book either before nor then.

It was ephemeral.