Lesson 25: I do not know what anything is for
When we identify with the ego we have lost the ability to know what is best for us. And hence we don’t know what anything is for.
Today’s lesson is setting the stage for meaning or purpose. One of the recurring themes throughout the Course is the question: “What is it for?”
In other words, in every situation, we’re asked to consider the purpose behind our actions. But as this lesson points out, while we may think we know the “why”, we really don’t. Consider this passage:
“You perceive the world and everything in it as meaningful in terms of ego goals. These goals have nothing to do with your own best interests, because the ego is not you. This false identification makes you incapable of understanding what anything is for.”
Said another way, when we identify with the ego - which is anytime we’re feeling anything other than an all-inclusive, blissful peace that embraces everyone and excludes no one - which pretty much means all the time - then when we’re with the ego, we have lost the ability to know what is best for us. And if we don’t know what is best for us, then we don’t know what anything is for.
So this lesson is asking us to give up all our goals since we don’t yet understand what is best. And by doing so, we open ourselves to learning from a different teacher who guides us on a journey toward true meaning.
Lesson 25: I do not know what anything is for.
W-pI.25.1. Purpose is meaning. Today's idea explains why nothing you see means anything. You do not know what it is for. Therefore, it is meaningless to you. Everything is for your own best interests. That is what it is for; that is its purpose; that is what it means. It is in recognizing this that your goals become unified. It is in recognizing this that what you see is given meaning.
W-pI.25.2. You perceive the world and everything in it as meaningful in terms of ego goals. These goals have nothing to do with your own best interests, because the ego is not you. This false identification makes you incapable of understanding what anything is for. As a result, you are bound to misuse it. When you believe this, you will try to withdraw the goals you have assigned to the world, instead of attempting to reinforce them.
W-pI.25.3. Another way of describing the goals you now perceive is to say that they are all concerned with "personal" interests. Since you have no personal interests, your goals are really concerned with nothing. In cherishing them, therefore, you have no goals at all. And thus you do not know what anything is for.
W-pI.25.4. Before you can make any sense out of the exercises for today, one more thought is necessary. At the most superficial levels, you do recognize purpose. Yet purpose cannot be understood at these levels. For example, you do understand that a telephone is for the purpose of talking to someone who is not physically in your immediate vicinity. What you do not understand is what you want to reach him for. And it is this that makes your contact with him meaningful or not.
W-pI.25.5. It is crucial to your learning to be willing to give up the goals you have established for everything. The recognition that they are meaningless, rather than "good" or "bad," is the only way to accomplish this. The idea for today is a step in this direction.
W-pI.25.6. Six practice periods, each of two-minutes duration, are required. Each practice period should begin with a slow repetition of the idea for today, followed by looking about you and letting your glance rest on whatever happens to catch your eye, near or far, "important" or "unimportant," "human" or "nonhuman." With your eyes resting on each subject you so select, say, for example:
I do not know what this chair is for.
I do not know what this pencil is for.
I do not know what this hand is for.
Say this quite slowly, without shifting your eyes from the subject until you have completed the statement about it. Then move on to the next subject, and apply today's idea as before.