Friday, August 10, 2012

Seeing is not Believing

We are conditioned from birth to think without reservation that “seeing is believing.”  We place complete trust in our senses and what our senses in conjunction with our brains show us.  In fact, the word evidence comes from the Latin, videre, meaning “to see,” in the sense of proof by appearance.

While all the time, we can see only with true vision, looking through the eyes of Christ.

First, here are examples of the interaction between the brain and the senses.


But for all the eye’s extraordinary ability, seeing is a function of the brain—humans’ visual cortex is more developed than that of any other mammal.


Our brain processes sounds a thousand times faster than images and registers sounds even as we sleep.  This constant bath of noise affects everything from our concentration to our health.


In a part of the brain known as the anterior cingulated, tastes get married to an emotional reaction:  disgust for rotten meat, say, or delight for a sweet strawberry.


With hundreds of nerve endings in every  square inch of skin, your body functions like  an antenna, receiving a constant stream of information  ranging from the firmness of the chair you’re sitting on to the heat of the sun through the window.


And because smells are processed by the same part of the brain that handles memories and emotions—the temporal lobe—we respond to them with rare intensity.  Decades later, a passing scent may summon a memory of our first-grade classroom, one so vivid that we seem transported across time and space. (Jennifer
Kahn, What Your Nose Knows, Parade Magazine, July 29, 2012), pp. 6-8

If we weren’t so caught up in habit, perhaps we could learn to listen to reason.

Reason would tell you that the world you see through eyes that are not yours must make no sense to you. To whom would seeing such as this send back its messages? Surely not you, whose sight is wholly independent of the eyes that look upon the world.  If this is not your vision, what can it show to you? The brain cannot interpret what your vision sees. This you would understand. The brain interprets to the body, of which it is a part. But what it says you cannot understand. Yet you have listened to it. And long and hard you tried to understand its messages.

ACIM, Chapter 22.1.2:3-12

Now, perhaps, we can be more reasonable and listen quietly to a part of our mind untouched by the roar of the senses.

Reason will tell you that our projections must have been seen through a vision not of the body, and communicated in a language the body does not speak. Nor could it be a fearful sight or sound that drew them gently into one. Rather, in each the other saw a perfect shelter where his Self could be reborn in safety and in peace. Such did his reason tell him; such he believed because it was the truth
. 9:6-9

Shifting from Seeing with the Body's Eyes to Seeing with Christ Vision

One of the ways that we establish and maintain the illusion, the dream, is to give everything a name.  Just think of how strongly we reinforce an infant’s first words, like, “Daddy,” “Mommy.”

Here is the first paragraph of Lesson 184, The Name of God in my inheritance.

You live by symbols. You have made up names
for everything you see. Each one becomes
a separate entity, identified
by its own name. By this you carve it out
of unity. By this you designate
its special attributes, and set it off
from other things by emphasizing space
surrounding it. This space you lay between
all things to which you give a different name;
all happenings in terms of place and time;
all bodies which are greeted by a name.

Henry Reed (1914-1986) wrote this remarkable poem, “Naming of Parts.”  Here is the first stanza:

To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
          And to-day we have naming of parts.

In each stanza of his poem, Reed contrasts the training with the narrator’s mind shifting away, looking out the window.

Japonica glistens like coral in all the neighboring gardens

For me, the narrator is shifting his awareness from the body’s eyes to Christ vision.  This is an interval whereby he escapes the naming of parts.

Thus what you need are intervals each day
in which the learning of the world becomes
a transitory phase; a prison house
from which you go into the sunlight and
forget the darkness. Here you understand
the Word, the Name which God has given you;
the one Identity which all things share;
the one acknowledgment of what is true.
And then step back to darkness, not because
you think it real, but only to proclaim
its unreality in terms which still
have meaning in the world that darkness rules.

Now, Dear Reader, please enjoy reading the poem within this context.


To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
          And to-day we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
          Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
          Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
          They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
          For to-day we have naming of parts.

Please write about your experience of forgiving thoughts in 600 words, or less, and Submit Your Essay, using this link: