Today’s scheduled reading, chapter 21, section I, is by far most often named as Course students’ favorite passage. (I think chapter 4, section IV, shakes quite a spear too.) “The Forgotten Song” speaks so directly to the longing that we feel for our forgotten identity and our real Home that we clasp it to ourselves and say, “Yes! This is my soul.”
“Listen,–perhaps you catch a hint of an ancient state not quite forgotten; dim, perhaps, and yet not altogether unfamiliar, like a song whose name is long forgotten, and the circumstances in which you heard completely unremembered.” This is true of you, isn’t it? The passage goes on to talk about vision, beyond the sun and the stars, infinity, shining with no limit anywhere. Yet the point of the section is: We are being deliberately blind.
I heard once about how circus elephants are trained. They used to be taken directly from the wild, and many heavy chains would be used to restrain such a powerful animal, with a massive chain looped around each foot and fastened to stakes pounded deep into the ground. Gradually, as the elephant became familiar and even friendly, the chains would be removed, one at a time, until only one leg remained tethered to the stake. Since it was an exhausting task for their trainers to drag heavy chains around all day, the chains would gradually be replaced with lighter and lighter links, until only a rope around the ankle could subdue a mighty elephant. It doesn’t take much to imprison a mind that believes in the bars.
“The blind become accustomed to their world by their adjustments to it . . . through the stern necessity of limits they believed they could not overcome.” We do the same thing when we limit ourselves and our brother to what we can see, the body. When we’re young we think we’re immortal, but after enough bumps and bruises, we know we’re not. “They do not understand the lessons keep them blind.” If we believe we are limited, we are.
This passage of the Text is about believing without seeing. The memory of what Is is inherent in each one of us. It’s why we have such longing. “The blindness that they made will not withstand the memory of this song.” We can remember by forgetting everything we think we’ve learned. “I will not think that I already know what must remain beyond my present grasp,” says the Workbook lesson. (Yes, today’s Text and lesson coincide; how do they DO that!?) “I will not think I understand the whole from bits of my perception, which are all that I can see.” By admitting to our conditioned blindness, by letting it go and embracing our ignorance, we can receive and experience the vision of Christ, who can see and can remember. If we can only be still and know, we will see what it is we’ve kept forgotten since so very long ago. ACIM T-21.I and Lesson 243.