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Notes on Lessons 40 and 42 (by Allen Watson)

[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]

LESSON 40

I am blessed as a Son of God.

You can’t read the first paragraph of today’s lesson without realizing just how important it is to your success in learning this Course to do the daily practice as instructed. It says that very frequent short periods of practice are necessary. It urges us to attempt to practice every ten minutes and to “adhere” (stick to) it. Three times, for three possible causes of a break in our schedule, it drums the message home: try again…try again…try again. In the second paragraph the author says, “You can practice quite well under any circumstances, if you really want to” (2:4).

Is today’s practice a hardship? Hardly! It just asks us to remind ourselves very frequently of how blessed we are, and to celebrate the joys of belonging to God’s family. It asks us to make a positive affirmation about ourselves every ten minutes. Oh, what drudgery! Oh, what a burden!

What may surprise you is just how difficult it is to remember to do this! What does it say about how entrenched your ego is, and how strongly it resists your recognition of how blessed you are? We do not realize how much the ego dominates our mind and our thinking. Today’s practice may help us become more aware.

LESSON 42

God is my strength. Vision is His gift.

The second sentence contains a powerful word of encouragement. Don’t gloss over it: “You cannot fail in your efforts to achieve the goal of this course” (1:2). Why? Because your achievement of that goal is God’s Will. What God wills, happens. When we pray, “Thy Will be done,” this is what we are praying for: the final enlightenment of every living thing.

Whenever you feel discouraged about your progress on the spiritual path, remind yourself that God is your strength. The omnipotent power of Universal Mind supports what you are doing. It isn’t all up to you!In fact, that has always been true. You are always on track, and you are exactly where you are meant to be right now, learning what you are meant to be learning (see 2:3-4). It’s all a classroom, and everything has a purpose. You can relax and enjoy the ride.

Once again, in the practice, you are encouraged to invent variations of the lesson idea for yourself. The Workbook is providing you with another tool for spiritual practice here, one that you can use in your daily spiritual practice for the rest of your life.

Another thing I’d like to point out here is in 7:2. The Course refers to itself as “a unified thought system in which nothing is lacking that is needed, and nothing is included that is contradictory or irrelevant.” In other words, this is a complete spiritual program with no fluff. Nothing is missing, and there’s no fat that needs to be trimmed. You do not need to supplement the Course with bits and pieces from other spiritual traditions, nor is there anything in the Course that you can safely skip over and leave out. Ultimately, the Course will stand or fall as a whole.