One upon a time as this mind’s awareness of Truth grew the natural result was that this mind came to experience that it was “in the world but not of the world”, as the popular phrase goes. This meant that it felt that it was still a self operating in the world but that it had a growing awareness that its interest was really in Truth. It was a lot like being at a party but standing on the edge of the room and watching the party rather than fully participating in it.
Then this mind attained an experience of detachment that was “not in the world but aware of the world”. This meant that it no longer lived through the self to fulfill a sense of lack but that there was still a world in its awareness. This was a lot like being outside of the house in which a party was occurring but still being aware that there was a party.
Now this mind is attaining an awareness that it is “not in a world but aware of a meaningless idea of a world”. This is like being in a quiet place and remembering that once it had an idea, far distant now, of a party that was only ever an idea.
In the A Course in Miracles community there is a lot of talk about “observing the world” and “observing your thoughts”. This practice comes naturally as a mind’s awareness of Truth results in it experiencing itself as apart from the world and its own thoughts about the world. At first this detachment is vague but grows as one’s awareness of Truth grows. This first experience of observing helps a mind to gain an awareness that the ego’s (personal thought system’s) thoughts are not the mind. Since the mind can observe them, the mind cannot be them. This practice results in the first two experiences described above. It is done by mind as a “decision maker” or “learner”. This is when it still makes sense to mind that it has a choice between Truth and illusion. Mind seems to be making a choice, or a decision, to detach from the thought system (ego) about a self. Mind is becoming aware, very dimly at first but stronger as time goes on, that the self and its world is not reality.
Beyond the decision maker or learner-mind is Mind Itself. Mind Itself observes it all: the ego, the world, the decision maker, the mind’s growing awareness of Truth. The Observing Mind is always present. It is not something that a mind practices; It is something that a mind allows. This leads to the latter experience described above.
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