Lesson 6: I am upset because I see something that is not there.

  • I am upset about the fire alarm situation because I see something that is not there. 
  • I am worried about the state of my muscles because I see something that is not there.
  • I am depressed about getting older because I see something that is not there.
  • I am concerned about the future of our country because I see something that is not there.
  • I am saddened by my mother’s circumstances because I see something that is not there.

Wapnick says that being upset because I see something that is not there is the same as saying what is upsetting me is within me, not outside. What I think I see is merely perceptions of illusions: the projections of thoughts that are themselves illusions. And what else can an illusion breed but further illusions?

That makes me think of Victor Frankl who was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. He and several other prisoners were lined up in a firing squad with their backs to gunmen who were picking off every 6th person. Rather than focusing on the fear of being shot by focusing on the guns shots and counting down where he fell in line, he noticed a sunset and chose to focus on that, instead. If he was to die, he’d rather die in splendor than in fear.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. ~ Victor Frankl

What this lesson says is that being upset about getting older is just as upsetting to my peace of mind as being afraid of getting shot in the back.

There are no small upsets, they are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.

ACIM Lesson 98: I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation.

Another good quote from Williamson today: “No one can doubt the ego’s skill in building up false cases.”

ACIM: The guiltless have no fear, for they are safe and recognize their safety. They do not appeal to magic, nor invent escapes from fancied threats without reality. They rest in quiet certainty that they will do what it is given them to do. They do not doubt their own ability because they know their function will be filled completely in the perfect time and place. They took the stand which we will take today, that we may share their certainty and thus increase it by accepting it ourselves.

This doesn’t mean the guiltless are physically safe. But if, like Victor Frankl, you are starving and being treated as though you have less value than a rat in a concentration camp, you still have the freedom to choose to be human. You do not have to bow down to the degradation. The fear of death is what makes people bow down. But if you recognize the safety in your innocence, what is there to fear? Even the threat of death cannot be used as a manipulation against you because you know who it is you are.