A COURSE IN MIRACLES

LESSON 13

A meaningless world engenders fear.

1. Today’s idea is really another form of the preceding one, except that it is more specific as to the emotion aroused. ²Actually, a meaningless world is impossible. ³Nothing without meaning exists. ⁴However, it does not follow that you will not think you perceive something that has no meaning. ⁵On the contrary, you will be particularly likely to think you do perceive it.

Annotations
Expanded

Today’s idea is really another form of the preceding one [idea], except that it [today’s idea] is more specific as to the emotion aroused. ²Actually, a meaningless world is impossible. ³Nothing without meaning exists. ⁴However, it does not follow that you will not think you perceive something that has no meaning. ⁵On the contrary, you will be particularly likely to think you do perceive it [something that has no meaning].

Substituted

Today’s idea is really another form of the preceding idea, except that today’s idea is more specific as to the emotion aroused. ²Actually, a meaningless world is impossible. ³Nothing without meaning exists. ⁴However, it does not follow that you will not think you perceive something that has no meaning. ⁵On the contrary, you will be particularly likely to think you do perceive something that has no meaning.

Simplified

Only what has meaning exists. You think you are perceiving things that have no meaning.

2. Recognition of meaninglessness arouses intense anxiety in all the separated ones. ²It represents a situation in which God and the ego ‘challenge’ each other as to whose meaning is to be written in the empty space that meaninglessness provides. ³The ego rushes in frantically to establish its own ideas there, fearful that the void may otherwise be used to demonstrate its own impotence and unreality. ⁴And on this alone it is correct.

Annotations
Expanded

Recognition of meaninglessness arouses intense anxiety in all the separated ones. ²It [recognition of meaninglessness] represents a situation in which God and the ego ‘challenge’ each other as to whose meaning is to be written in the empty space that meaninglessness provides. ³The ego rushes in frantically to establish its [the-ego’s] own ideas there [in the empty space], fearful that the void may otherwise be used to demonstrate its [the ego’s] own impotence and unreality. ⁴And on this [the void demonstrating the ego’s impotence and unreality] alone it [the ego] is correct.

Substituted

Recognition of meaninglessness arouses intense anxiety in all the separated ones. ²Recognition of meaninglessness represents a situation in which God and the ego ‘challenge’ each other as to whose meaning is to be written in the empty space that meaninglessness provides. ³The ego rushes in frantically to establish the ego’s own ideas in the empty space, fearful that the void may otherwise be used to demonstrate the ego’s own impotence and unreality. ⁴And on the void demonstrating the ego’s impotence and unreality, alone, the ego is correct.

Simplified

Meaningless provides a void. The ego challenges God to write the ego’s meaning in the void. The ego is afraid, because the void shows the ego is impotent and unreal.

3. It is essential, therefore, that you learn to recognise the meaningless, and accept it without fear. ²If you are fearful, it is certain that you will endow the world with attributes that it does not possess, and crowd it with images that do not exist. ³To the ego illusions are safety devices, as they must also be to you who equate yourself with the ego.

Annotations
Expanded

It is essential, therefore, that you learn to recognise the meaningless, and accept it [the meaningless] without fear. ²If you are fearful, it is certain that you will endow the world with attributes that it [the world] does not possess, and crowd it [the world] with images that do not exist. ³To the ego illusions are safety devices, as they [illusions] must also be [safety devices] to you who equate yourself with the ego.

Substituted

It is essential, therefore, that you learn to recognise the meaningless, and accept the meaningless without fear. ²If you are fearful, it is certain that you will endow the world with attributes that the world does not possess, and crowd the world with images that do not exist. ³To the ego illusions are safety devices, as illusions must also be safety devices to you who equate yourself with the ego.

Simplified

Accept meaninglessness without fear. If you are fearful, you will use illusions to feel safe.

4. The exercises for today, which should be done about three or four times for not more than a minute or so at most each time, are to be practiced in a somewhat different way from the preceding ones. ²With eyes closed, repeat today’s idea to yourself. ³Then open your eyes, and look about you slowly, saying:

⁴I am looking at a meaningless world.

⁵Repeat this statement to yourself as you look about. ⁶Then close your eyes, and conclude with:

⁷A meaningless world engenders fear because I think I am in competition with God.

5. You may find it difficult to avoid resistance, in one form or another, to this concluding statement. ²Whatever form such resistance may take, remind yourself that you are really afraid of such a thought because of the ‘vengeance’ of the ‘enemy’. ³You are not expected to believe the statement at this point, and will probably dismiss it as preposterous. ⁴Note carefully, however, any signs of overt or covert fear which it may arouse.

6. This is our first attempt at stating an explicit cause and effect relationship of a kind which you are very inexperienced in recognising. ²Do not dwell on the concluding statement, and try not even to think of it except during the practice periods. ³That will suffice at present.

W-pI.12 I am upset because I see a meaningless worldW-pI.14 God did not create a meaningless world