My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.
1. This idea is, of course, the reason why you see only the past. 2No one really sees anything. 3He sees only his thoughts projected outward. 4The mind’s preoccupation with the past is the cause of the misconception about time from which your seeing suffers. 5Your mind cannot grasp the present, which is the only time there is. 6It therefore cannot understand time, and cannot, in fact, understand anything.
2. The one wholly true thought one can hold about the past is that it is not here. 2To think about it at all is therefore to think about illusions. 3Very few have realized what is actually entailed in picturing the past or in anticipating the future. 4The mind is actually blank when it does this, because it is not really thinking about anything.
3. The purpose of the exercises for today is to begin to train your mind to recognize when it is not really thinking at all. 2While thoughtless ideas preoccupy your mind, the truth is blocked. 3Recognizing that your mind has been merely blank, rather than believing that it is filled with real ideas, is the first step to opening the way to vision.
4. The exercises for today should be done with eyes closed. 2This is because you actually cannot see anything, and it is easier to recognize that no matter how vividly you may picture a thought, you are not seeing anything. 3With as little investment as possible, search your mind for the usual minute or so, merely noting the thoughts you find there. 4Name each one by the central figure or theme it contains, and pass on to the next. 5Introduce the practice period by saying:
6I seem to be thinking about _________.
5. Then name each of your thoughts specifically, for example:
2I seem to be thinking about [name of a person], about [name of an object], about [name of an emotion],
and so on, concluding at the end of the mind-searching period with:
3But my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.
6. This can be done four or five times during the day, unless you find it irritates you. 2If you find it trying, three or four times is sufficient. 3You might find it helpful, however, to include your irritation, or any emotion that the idea for today may induce, in the mind searching itself.