A COURSE IN MIRACLES

LESSON 4

These thoughts do not mean anything. They are like the things I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place].

1. Unlike the preceding ones, these exercises do not begin with the idea for the day. ²In these practice periods, begin with noting the thoughts that are crossing your mind for about a minute. ³Then apply the idea to them. ⁴If you are already aware of unhappy thoughts, use them as subjects for the idea. ⁵Do not, however, select only the thoughts you think are ‘bad’. ⁶You will find, if you train yourself to look at your thoughts, that they represent such a mixture that, in a sense, none of them can be called ‘good’ or ‘bad’. ⁷This is why they do not mean anything.

2. In selecting the subjects for the application of today’s idea, the usual specificity is required. ²Do not be afraid to use ‘good’ thoughts as well as ‘bad’. ³None of them represents your real thoughts, which are being covered up by them. ⁴The ‘good’ ones are but shadows of what lies beyond, and shadows make sight difficult. ⁵The ‘bad’ ones are blocks to sight, and make seeing impossible. ⁶You do not want either.

Annotations
Expanded

In selecting the subjects for the application of today’s idea, the usual specificity is required. ²Do not be afraid to use ‘good’ thoughts as well as ‘bad’. ³None of them [good or bad thoughts] represents your real thoughts, which [thoughts] are being covered up by them [good and bad thoughts]. ⁴The ‘good’ ones [thoughts] are but [only] shadows of what lies beyond, and shadows make sight difficult. ⁵The ‘bad’ ones [thoughts] are blocks to sight, and make seeing impossible. ⁶You do not want either [shadows or blocks].

Substituted

In selecting the subjects for the application of today’s idea, the usual specificity is required. ²Do not be afraid to use ‘good’ thoughts as well as ‘bad’. ³Neither good nor bad thoughts represent your real thoughts; your real thoughts are being covered up by good and bad thoughts. ⁴The ‘good’ thoughts are only shadows of what lies beyond, and shadows make sight difficult. ⁵The ‘bad’ thoughts are blocks to sight, and make seeing impossible. ⁶You do not want either shadows or blocks.

Simplified

Good thoughts are shadows of real thoughts. Bad thoughts are blocks to real thoughts. You want only real thoughts.

3. This is a major exercise, and will be repeated from time to time in somewhat different form. ²The aim here is to train you in the first steps toward the goal of separating the meaningless from the meaningful. ³It is a first attempt in the long-range purpose of learning to see the meaningless as outside you, and the meaningful within. ⁴It is also the beginning of training your mind to recognise what is the same and what is different.

Annotations
Expanded

This is a major exercise, and will be repeated from time to time in somewhat different form. ²The aim here [of this exercise] is to train you in the first steps toward the goal of separating the meaningless from the meaningful. ³It [this exercise] is a first attempt in the long-range purpose of learning to see the meaningless as outside you, and the meaningful within [you]. ⁴It [this exercise] is also the beginning of training your mind to recognise what is the same and what is different.

Substituted

This is a major exercise, and will be repeated from time to time in somewhat different form. ²The aim of this exercise is to train you in the first steps toward the goal of separating the meaningless from the meaningful. ³This exercise is a first attempt in the long-range purpose of learning to see the meaningless as outside you, and the meaningful within you. ⁴This exercise is also the beginning of training your mind to recognise what is the same and what is different.

Simplified

What is outside you is meaningless. Only what is inside you can be meaningful.

4. In using your thoughts for application of the idea for today, identify each thought by the central figure or event it contains; for example:

²This thought about ____ does not mean anything.
³It is like the things I see in this room [on this street, and so on].

5. You can also use the idea for a particular thought that you recognise as harmful. ²This practice is useful, but is not a substitute for the more random procedures to be followed for the exercises. ³Do not, however, examine your mind for more than a minute or so. ⁴You are too inexperienced as yet to avoid a tendency to become pointlessly preöccupied.

6. Further, since these exercises are the first of their kind, you may find the suspension of judgement in connection with thoughts particularly difficult. ²Do not repeat these exercises more than three or four times during the day. ³We will return to them later.

W-pI.3 I do not understand anything I seeW-pI.5 I am never upset for the reason I think