1. For this review we take but one idea each day, and practice it as often as is possible. ²Besides the time you give morning and evening, which should not be less than fifteen minutes, and the hourly remembrances you make throughout the day, use the idea as often as you can between them. ³Each of these ideas alone would be sufficient for salvation, if it were learned truly. ⁴Each would be enough to give release to you and to the world from every form of bondage, and invite the memory of God to come again.
Jesus has our attention in this first paragraph. He is strongly advising us to pay attention to this practice by telling us that each of these ideas alone could wake us up. In fact, he tells us each one could release us and the world with us from bondage and invite the memory of God to come again. I am taking time now to contemplate this. I don’t want to make the mistake of letting the words flow over me without understanding their importance.
2. With this in mind we start our practicing, in which we carefully review the thoughts the Holy Spirit has bestowed on us in our last twenty lessons. ²Each contains the whole curriculum if understood, practiced, accepted, and applied to all the seeming happenings throughout the day. ³One is enough. ⁴But from that one, there must be no exceptions made. ⁵And so we need to use them all and let them blend as one, as each contributes to the whole we learn.
Jesus says that each of the last twenty lessons contains the whole curriculum. I was thinking as we did them that they were really important and I see now that they were. Here is what we need to do if we want this remarkable experience of becoming free of the world so that we can be in the world but not of the world and so that we can remember God.
- Ask Holy Spirit to clarify and expand your understanding. This is what I do when I write in the mornings.
- Practice the lesson. Practice it as closely to the instructions as you can but without guilt when you fail to practice perfectly.
- Accept the Holy Spirit’s gift of correction and healing. I just open my mind and heart to receive and trust that I am being guided to something wonderful. That is all we need to do, deeply desire what is being offered.
- Apply the lessons during the day, apply them to everything that is happening in this classroom we call our life.
- Most importantly, make no exceptions. Apply in all circumstances, not allowing yourself to deliberately leave anything in your mind that you set aside to be dealt with alone (that is, with the ego).
I find this last one the trickiest because we have trained ourselves to deny what we don’t want to see. I have learned to be super vigilant these days for those areas of my life that I am not giving to the Holy Spirit. Those beliefs are the ones that I consign to a dark corner of my mind and pretend I don’t see what is happening. I’m getting pretty good at finding them because my desire to remember God has become stronger than my desire to resist.
3. These practice sessions, like our last review, are centered round a central theme with which we start and end each lesson. ²It is this:
³I am not a body. ⁴I am free.
⁵For I am still as God created me.
⁶The day begins and ends with this. ⁷And we repeat it every time the hour strikes, or we remember, in between, we have a function that transcends the world we see. ⁸Beyond this, and a repetition of the special thought we practice for the day, no form of exercise is urged, except a deep relinquishment of everything that clutters up the mind, and makes it deaf to reason, sanity and simple truth.
It has taken me so long to reach this state of fundamental wellbeing that I am amazed at how simple this really is. I am as God created me and everything in my mind that is not in God is something to release because it is not in my best interests to keep it. Even now, I still run into some belief that I have been hiding from myself and I can become frustrated with myself because of this conflict.
I want to be free but evidently, there is this belief that I don’t want to give up. But no matter what, I will give it up because I cannot tolerate conflict anymore. Here is an example of how this works for me. This morning as I was reading this introduction, I realized it was happening again. It is so weird how we can hide the obvious from our attention when we want to. But my desire to be free is stronger than my desire to oppose it.
The thought that came into my mind was this. Why am I experiencing so much pain in the body? It started with pain in my thumb, then pain in my foot, and after a few months, sciatica pain, and now pain in the lower back. All this pain in spite of the fact that I am very healthy. And only this morning did I put this all together and think to question it.
I know from the study of the Course that pain is not real. It is a thought in my mind that is projected onto the image of this body. I feel the pain only because I am still identified with the body. What is this pain telling me? It is the effect of an untrue belief and though I know this is true, I was flummoxed. So, I talked to the Holy Spirit about it, asking Him to help me see clearly and to undo what is seen.
He reminded me of this passage from the Course. ⁶Your starting point is truth, and you must return to your Beginning. ⁷Much has been seen since then, but nothing has really happened. ⁸Your Self is still in peace, even though your mind is in conflict. (ACIM, T-3.VII.5:6-8) So, I am still as God created me, nothing has changed, I just have a conflicted mind and I need to instruct it so that I can return to peace. Jesus tells us this in Lesson 91. ³Faith goes to what you want, and you instruct your mind accordingly. (ACIM, W-91.5:3)
I want a peaceful mind and I want to remember God, and it seems that the ego is opposing this still. Holy Spirit led me to Lesson 136 that says, ⁶Sickness is a defense against the truth. ⁷I will accept the truth of what I am, and let my mind be wholly healed today. (ACIM, W-136.15:6-7) And so, I instruct my mind that this is my goal. Pain and suffering are no longer on the agenda and must be released.
I am confused as to why I am choosing to resist at this point and I ask the Holy Spirit to continue to show me what it is that I need to look at with Him. I know that in the end, it is always my desire to reach my goal that takes me there, and the purer my desire the faster it happens. I surrender to the Holy Spirit in this as in all things and the presence of a past desire to remain tied to the world does not in any way prevent me from choosing again. I will instruct my mind often today of my true state which is, “I am still as God created me and I have no desire to be anything else.”
4. We will attempt to get beyond all words and special forms of practicing for this review. ²For we attempt, this time, to reach a quickened pace along a shorter path to the serenity and peace of God. ³We merely close our eyes, and then forget all that we thought we knew and understood. ⁴For thus is freedom given us from all we did not know and failed to understand.
Here is the thing we are to do in our practice of this review. ³We merely close our eyes, and then forget all that we thought we knew and understood. Sounds simple but I notice that the ego-mind is not easy to shut down, and may be impossible for any length of time. But for the few minutes dedicated to this practice, I will do my best and if my mind wanders to that which I think I know and understand, I will gently bring it back to patient attentiveness so that I can be informed as to what is actually true. It is the way I instruct the mind that there are going to be changes and it needs to pay attention. And it is the way I tell the Holy Spirit that I want a healed mind.
5. There is but one exception to this lack of structuring. ²Permit no idle thought to go unchallenged. ³If you notice one, deny its hold and hasten to assure your mind that this is not what it would have. ⁴Then gently let the thought which you denied be given up, in sure and quick exchange for the idea we practice for the day.
6. When you are tempted, hasten to proclaim your freedom from temptation, as you say:
²This thought I do not want. ³I choose instead _____________.
⁴And then repeat the idea for the day, and let it take the place of what you thought. ⁵Beyond such special applications of each day’s idea, we will add but a few formal expressions or specific thoughts to aid in practicing. ⁶Instead, we give these times of quiet to the Teacher Who instructs in quiet, speaks of peace, and gives our thoughts whatever meaning they may have.
It is important that we not let any idle thought go unchallenged. The implication is that idle thoughts are the way we keep ourselves bound to this world. Jesus is giving us a practice that will help the mind to accept the new instructions. It is short and simple. Notice interfering thoughts and then instruct the mind that we don’t want that thought anymore and this is what we want instead. Here we use the lesson for the day. So today I will say that I choose instead to remember that I can trust my brothers who are one with me.
7. To Him I offer this review for you. ²I place you in His charge, and let Him teach you what to do and say and think, each time you turn to Him. ³He will not fail to be available to you, each time you call to Him to help you. ⁴Let us offer Him the whole review we now begin, and let us also not forget to Whom it has been given, as we practice day by day, advancing toward the goal He set for us; allowing Him to teach us how to go, and trusting Him completely for the way each practice period can best become a loving gift of freedom to the world.
This is gratitude for what we are given when we surrender completely to the Holy Spirit. And why would I not? I have proven over and over that I am not a reliable teacher. I am so very grateful that I was given a Teacher Who knows everything and gladly responds to my every desire to live awake in this world while I still seem to be here.
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
1. (181) I trust my brothers, who are one with me.
²No one but is my brother. ³I am blessed with oneness with the universe and God, my Father, one Creator of the whole that is my Self, forever One with me.
⁴I am not a body. ⁵I am free.
⁶For I am still as God created me.
Oh, my! This is just so lovely. Everyone is my brother and every brother is one with all of the Sonship. I choose to trust my brothers, not because their egos are reliable, but because within every brother is the same Self that is within me. It is this Self that I trust and I simply disregard everything that is not reflective of that Self. God created us as One Self, forever one with Him.