Nothing in the world can make me happy
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Edited transcript of audio excerpt from
Ideas Leave Not Their Source
Dr. Kenneth Wapnick
The beginning of Lesson 70 is a very, very clear statement how nothing in the world can make us happy; nothing can make us unhappy. Nothing can give us pain; nothing can give us pleasure. And it says this puts you in the center of the universe where you belong. And that’s talking about the universe of the mind; that I am in control of whether I’m happy or sad. It has nothing to do with outside circumstances.
And even if you don’t experience that, at least knowing it intellectually is a very good start. Because it restores to you power. Otherwise, we’re all powerless. We kind of eke out a modicum of power. I can control this part of my life or this person sometimes. But we really know we’re at the mercy of forces we can’t control; certainly the forces of aging, the forces of economics. That things happen, we lose our job, lose our homes and we didn’t do anything. That’s just how it is today. Or we get cancer or a loved one gets cancer.
And on the level of the world, we don’t have control over that. But we have control over how we see it. And the line that says “The world you see is an outside picture of an inward condition,” gives us the way out. The world I see is a projection, is a symbol of an inward condition which is my mind’s decision to choose; my mind’s decision for the ego or the Holy Spirit, the power to choose. And that gives me hope. That even in the midst of horrendous circumstances, I can still be at peace.
And again, at first you believe it intellectually or you work towards believing it intellectually. At some point, if you keep working at it, it’ll become more of an experience. But it takes a lot of hard work because we’re unlearning lifetime if not lifetimes of dedication to making the symbol real and forgetting about the source.
So but I think what you’re also reflecting, even though you didn’t say it, is a resistance that we all have to accepting what I was just saying, what the Course is saying, is true. Because the world seems like such a powerful witness. As Wordsworth said, “The world is too much with us.” I mean it’s too powerful. Sickness is too powerful. The financial situation in the world is too powerful. War is too powerful. Disease is too powerful. Death is too powerful. That there’s no way we could overcome that.
And on the level of the body, we can’t. But we can overcome our belief system because we have the power to change it. So that’s where the hope lies.
Student: And we can – I’m sure there’s examples of someone who has chosen completely to become the decision maker and choose peace, choosing to be loving. It is possible Is it really possible?
Kenneth: It is really possible. You want a guarantee? It’s really possible. It’s really possible. I would tell you you could even do it this afternoon, but that would throw you into a panic, so I won’t say that.
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