Lesson 183 I call upon God’s Name and on my own.
I call upon God’s Name and on my own.
1. God’s Name is holy, but no holier than yours. ²To call upon His Name is but to call upon your own. ³A father gives his son his name, and thus identifies the son with him. ⁴His brothers share his name, and thus are they united in a bond to which they turn for their identity. ⁵Your Father’s Name reminds you who you are, even within a world that does not know; even though you have not remembered it.
This paragraph reminds us that we are not separate from God. He created us and holds us as part of Himself. His Name is our name. We are what He is. All of us. If I could think of anyone I would not be one with, I have thrown away the awareness of God and of Self within God. This is why I cannot hold a grievance against anyone.
2. God’s Name can not be heard without response, nor said without an echo in the mind that calls you to remember. ²Say His Name, and you invite the angels to surround the ground on which you stand, and sing to you as they spread out their wings to keep you safe, and shelter you from every worldly thought that would intrude upon your holiness.
I’ve always loved this paragraph. I use the symbol of winged beings hovering around me to represent the safety and love of knowing that I am my holy Self even as I dream of being a body in this absurd dream world. These angels represent for me the Love of God and the eternal Beingness of Self that is forever as It was created, forever holy and unaffected by strange thoughts of suffering.
3. Repeat God’s Name, and all the world responds by laying down illusions. ²Every dream the world holds dear has suddenly gone by, and where it seemed to stand you find a star; a miracle of grace. ³The sick arise, healed of their sickly thoughts. ⁴The blind can see; the deaf can hear. ⁵The sorrowful cast off their mourning, and the tears of pain are dried as happy laughter comes to bless the world.
The world is in our mind and so as we instruct the mind to turn to our Creator for Truth, we let go of all idols of suffering. This is how to bless the world and allow it to become the real world that precedes the disappearance of the world. As as I accept my true nature, I let everything that is not truth go. I let go of the idea of the body as me, the personality as me. As I do this, I let go of frailty, weakness, suffering, pain, and death. I let go of the need to be right, to win, to come out on top. I let go of the belief in aloneness, of secret thoughts, of belief in guilt and fear. All that is left is my Self in all Its glory, absolute peace and bliss.
When I finally see my Self as I am, I look out on a world that reflects only what I am. I see my brother in the same way I see myself. Nothing else would be possible. Everything I see is a reflection of a process in my mind. (See Lesson 325) So if I have only holiness in my mind, I can see only holiness. My eyes will still see a world of form, but my mind will see only love. Or to put it another way, no matter what my eyes see, my perception is true and so I see only a reflection of God in each living thing I look on.
4. Repeat the Name of God, and little names have lost their meaning. ²No temptation but becomes a nameless and unwanted thing before God’s Name. ³Repeat His Name, and see how easily you will forget the names of all the gods you valued. ⁴They have lost the name of god you gave them. ⁵They become anonymous and valueless to you, although before you let the Name of God replace their little names, you stood before them worshipfully, naming them as gods.
I am being reminded that as I replace the little gods I made with the God that exists, I realize how valueless they are. The special relationships, social status, money, beauty, and all the other idols fade into meaninglessness as I choose to remember my creator and my Self. I do this through forgiveness of all that I made, of all that I have believed.
5. Repeat the Name of God, and call upon your Self, Whose Name is His. ²Repeat His Name, and all the tiny, nameless things on earth slip into right perspective. ³Those who call upon the Name of God can not mistake the nameless for the Name, nor sin for grace, nor bodies for the holy Son of God. ⁴And should you join a brother as you sit with him in silence, and repeat God’s Name along with him within your quiet mind, you have established there an altar which reaches to God Himself and to His Son.
In calling on the name of God, I am choosing the right mind, choosing my holy mind rather than the ego as my advisor and interpreter. Instead, as I travel this world, I abandon the ego and turn to the Voice for God to understand and decide. And as always, I reach for my brother’s hand and together we call on the Name of God because it is in doing this together that we return to our Home in God.
6. Practice but this today; repeat God’s Name slowly again and still again. ²Become oblivious to every name but His. ³Hear nothing else. ⁴Let all your thoughts become anchored on this. ⁵No other word we use except at the beginning, when we say today’s idea but once. ⁶And then God’s Name becomes our only thought, our only word, the only thing that occupies our minds, the only wish we have, the only sound with any meaning, and the only Name of everything that we desire to see; of everything that we would call our own.
I stopped at this point to meditate on this lesson. I repeated the name of God as I sat there, and let that be my mantra to carry me deeper. But of course, the ego mind wasn’t interested in silence or in peace. It wanted to think and so I would instruct my mind to return to God. An interesting thing happened while I was meditating.
I had a memory of a discussion with a friend. We were talking about ways to approach her life that will bring her closer to God. Suddenly, she was full in telling me all about the story and how other people are affecting her happiness. As the memory of that conversation came to mind, I could see that we had gotten too close to the truth and her ego had her running for cover, back into the story.
I was about to dismiss it as just one of those random thoughts that come into the mind while trying to meditate, but then, I had the clear understanding that this is what I do when my meditation gets too deep. I run for cover in a memory, or a thought of the future, or I start feeling the body and this pulls me out of the meditation. I will be aware of this from now on and when I start to run away from God, I will turn around and run toward Him.
7. Thus do we give an invitation which can never be refused. ²And God will come, and answer it Himself. ³Think not He hears the little prayers of those who call on Him with names of idols cherished by the world. ⁴They cannot reach Him thus. ⁵He cannot hear requests that He be not Himself, or that His Son receive another name than His.
At first, this paragraph seemed to contradict what I read elsewhere in the Course. Here he tells us that God responds to our invitation and this is true. It also says that He does not hear our little prayers. On the other hand, we are told in Chapter 13 that while God knows that we need nothing in Heaven, He understands that in the world we do have needs. He also tells us that we should leave these needs to the Holy Spirit Who will provide them as long as we need them and in a way that will not keep us here longer than needed.
In the Song of Prayer Jesus tells us this. You have been told to ask the Holy Spirit for the answer to any specific problem and that you will receive a specific answer if such is your need. There is a ladder of prayer with rungs that are there for us no matter where we are on our spiritual path. At the top of this ladder, we use prayer to commune with God knowing that we have no needs. At this point, we know who we are and while it might be that we are still in the world, we are no longer of the world. Until we get to that point, we can still bring our needs to the Holy Spirit, knowing we are safe in His Hands.
8. Repeat God’s Name, and you acknowledge Him as sole Creator of reality. ²And you acknowledge also that His Son is part of Him, creating in His Name. ³Sit silently, and let His Name become the all-encompassing idea that holds your mind completely. ⁴Let all thoughts be still except this one. ⁵And to all other thoughts respond with this, and see God’s Name replace the thousand little names you gave your thoughts, not realizing that there is one Name for all there is, and all that there will be.
It is this practice of calling on God all through the day and spending as much time as we can with Him in the morning and at night that lifts us up the ladder. As we do these practices, we begin to remember who we are and it becomes easy to let go of all thoughts except the one thought.
9. Today you can achieve a state in which you will experience the gift of grace. ²You can escape all bondage of the world, and give the world the same release you found. ³You can remember what the world forgot, and offer it your own remembering. ⁴You can accept today the part you play in its salvation, and your own as well. ⁵And both can be accomplished perfectly.
10. Turn to the Name of God for your release, and it is given you. ²No prayer but this is necessary, for it holds them all within it. ³Words are insignificant, and all requests unneeded when God’s Son calls on his Father’s Name. ⁴His Father’s Thoughts become his own. ⁵He makes his claim to all his Father gave, is giving still, and will forever give. ⁶He calls on Him to let all things he thought he made be nameless now, and in their place the holy Name of God becomes his judgment of their worthlessness.
The only prayer we really need is for our release from the world by calling on the Name of God. As we accept the answer, we remember that our name is the same as God’s Name, and what else could we ask for? This is the solution to all problems, the answer to all needs.
11. All little things are silent. ²Little sounds are soundless now. ³The little things of earth have disappeared. ⁴The universe consists of nothing but the Son of God, who calls upon his Father. ⁵And his Father’s Voice gives answer in his Father’s holy Name. ⁶In this eternal, still relationship, in which communication far transcends all words, and yet exceeds in depth and height whatever words could possibly convey, is peace eternal. ⁷In our Father’s Name, we would experience this peace today. ⁸And in His Name, it shall be given us.
The peace of God is everything I want and today, I accept it. ⁷In our Father’s Name, we would experience this peace today. ⁸And in His Name, it shall be given us.