In the book she tells a story of a little bird brought to her by her cat. Lisa was in her room, and watched that cat and the bird. The cat just wanted to play, the bird was in panic. It desperately tried to find a way out, once the cat had released him. Yet it only hit the wall, and could not see the door standing wide open. It literally did not see it. There was nothing else disturbing in the room, the cat did not threaten it. The bird was perfectly safe, but caught in his own fear. It had to calm down and take a look at its situation. It had to be still for a moment, as Lisa describes it. Only then could it fly out the door which was open all the time.
I take that as a very close analogy and description of the human condition. I am literally caught in my own fear and thinking. I am confused about what I am, where I am, and do not recognize anything that would even remotely remind me of my true nature. Everything seems to threaten me, and in my defense against it, it grows to enormous proportions, and seems to hold me in a cage where all I can do is to react to the fearful imagery I see. I get accustomed to it, adjust to it and learn to think my way around in this world of perceived imagery. And deeper and deeper I enter this rabbit hole the more I adjust and try to find my place in it. I will never find it, for it is not my home. I have to find, actually simply see the open door, and fly out of my prison. "The prison door is open. I can leave simply by walking out. Nothing holds me in this world. Only my wish to stay keeps me a prisoner." (Review Lesson 56, ACIM)
So, would you now give up your insane wishes and walk into the sunlight at last?
The reason this is so simple is that you are not a body. "I am not a body. I am free." You are free. This is a major lesson in your release. It is a key in your awakening you should hold very dear.
But now I want to come back to my original intent. My idea is to strengthen a new concept of time. With Lisa's story in mind it is very clear that there is no sense in further trying to rearrange the rooms of my prison, or changing the world in any way. I can do it, if I like, but it won't make any difference. A prison is a prison, as a desert is a desert. All I can do is leave. That is the only reasonable thing to do here. The distance to doing just that is therefore one of time. It will always be just here. And now, but am I now?
The Course In Miracles is designed to shorten my time till that instant where I only desire to exit this world of deception and fear, and want to remember my Father in Heaven in a single desire. That is the function of the miracle. It is not providing a better living for me in this prison of mine. It is the collapsing of time.
Remember, the door is always open. To exit is always available to me, right here and now. So I am not really doing anything in my mind training to perceive a new world. I am simply allowing to have the obstacles be removed that I have put before my eyes to block the way out. I am becoming willing to be still, and let something else be shown to me. Relaxing and looking around in my world to realize that nothing is really going on, except what I have put there in my confusion and terror, is very important. Fear makes blind, and without forgiveness of what I put out into this world, without forgiveness for myself for my crazy thoughts, I will still be blind. The more I calm down, the better I am able to see what is really there, and from there I can learn to forgive the images of my frightened mind. As long as I am trying to forgive someone outside of me, or a sin my brother did, or change my outer circumstances, I am missing the mark. Only when I fully take responsibility for what I see, am I able to ask truly for a miracle to have it undone.
That is what the mind training of A Course In Miracles is all about. It removes the debris of my mind, and prepares me to stand still in this one moment of terror where I thought I am separate from God and His Love. This is the shortening of time in which I am required to participate. It lets me focus only on the truth to be restored to sanity and love.
Let's look at lesson number 7 of the workbook. It offers the practice of a new concept of time. Obviously, you would not have to change anything in this world, if you knew it is all past, even your thoughts of changing the world. They are as much over as is what you see. This is a major exercise in letting go and get over yourself to be in peace and happy expectation of a new world dawning on your mind. Obviously, you would not try to go back into the past to fix or correct something. You would simply stand still, fearless, and wait for God.
Please, watch the video by Master Teacher at the bottom of this post for further exercise in this new concept, covering the same lesson, and including the previous ones. So much more is offered, as always, just try to open your mind and listen.
"I see only the past.
This idea is particularly difficult to believe at first. Yet it is the rationale for all of the preceding ones. It is the reason why nothing that you see means anything. It is the reason why you have given everything you see all the meaning that it has for you. It is the reason why you do not understand anything you see. It is the reason why your thoughts do not mean anything, and why they are like the things you see. It is the reason why you are never upset for the reason you think. It is the reason why you are upset because you see something that is not there.
Old ideas about time are very difficult to change, because everything you believe is rooted in time, and depends on your not learning these new ideas about it. Yet that is precisely why you need new ideas about time. This first time idea is not really so strange as it may sound at first.
Look at a cup, for example. Do you see a cup, or are you merely reviewing your past experiences of picking up a cup, being thirsty, drinking from a cup, feeling the rim of a cup against your lips, having breakfast and so on? Are not your aesthetic reactions to the cup, too, based on past experiences? How else would you know whether or not this kind of cup will break if you drop it? What do you know about this cup except what you learned in the past? You would have no idea what this cup is, except for your past learning. Do you, then, really see it?
Look about you. This is equally true of whatever you look at. Acknowledge this by applying the idea for today indiscriminately to whatever catches your eye. For example:
I see only the past in this pencil.
I see only the past in this shoe.
I see only the past in this hand.
I see only the past in that body.
I see only the past in that face.
Do not linger over any one thing in particular, but remember to omit nothing specifically. Glance briefly at each subject, and then move on to the next. Three or four practice periods, each to last a minute or so, will be enough." (Lesson 7, ACIM)