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Making the lesson not the pebble but the stream

In my earlier post, I shared how my practice really fell apart during the holidays (a time-honored ritual!). Since then, I have come back to it, but not nearly enough. Today I am really trying to get fully back on track, so I thought I would use the blog to reinforce that. There’s nothing like putting your intentions in writing (especially if others will see it) to solidify your intentions.

To clarify where I want to be I need to clarify how it contrasts with where I am. Where I have been recently is that I have my morning quiet time and thereafter say the lesson sometimes several times an hour and sometimes zero times an hour, and do some hourlies. But all I am really doing is dropping pebbles in the stream of my day. My day is essentially about other things, about getting things done. That’s the stream, and as it rushes past, I drop the occasional pebble of my practice into it. I feel momentarily better, but after this brief ripple on its surface, the stream returns to normal and just keeps rushing on: e-mails, phone calls, meetings, dishes, kids, toy clean-up, trash emptying, etc.

That is what I don’t want. That is spirituality as a sidelight. How can I ever make real progress—not just in name but in fact—if that is the way I live?

What I want is a day in which the stream is not the events of the day but the practice of my lesson. The events and my practice have thus switched roles. The events are now just the rocks dropped in the stream (I wish they were just pebbles, but I can’t really call them that). Now, the day is about my lesson, about my learning of it, my realizing of it, my experience of it. The lesson has become the stream. How I love those days!

That is the day I want to have today. The lesson I have chosen (inspired by my Text reading) is “I cannot be hurt, and I do not want to show my brother anything except my wholeness.” How can I have the day I want around this lesson?

First, I can see the learning/experience of that lesson as my goal for the day. So my goal for today, Monday, January 12, is to truly realize that I can’t be hurt, and to stop sending my brothers the message that they have hurt me. That is what today is about. And if I can learn that, or even have just a glimmer of learning it, then, as the Course says, today will be a time for special celebration.

Second, I can stay consistent with my frequent reminders throughout the day. I can repeat the lesson several times each hour. And every time I do so, I can repeat it with the help of my list of “how to repeat the idea for the day” (which is next to me on my desk). This is a list of nineteen ways to repeat the idea that I have drawn from the Workbook. For instance, one is “assure yourself with certainty.”

Third, I can see the lesson as the antidote to all my upsets, and use it as that. As soon as I notice an upset, I can repeat the idea with certainty, and perhaps add on a few additional thoughts of my own. I can even do an occasional sweep of my mind and apply the lesson to any upsets I find, for the fact is that at any given moment, dozens of things seem to be pressing on me, impinging on me, burdening me—hurting me.

Fourth, I can stay consistent with my hourly practice periods and the shorter ones I do on the half hour. It will help if I get up from my desk and go over to the couch where we join for practice periods, even if no one comes in and joins me.

Fifth, I can rescue my day when it gets off track, when I find that I haven’t practiced for a while, or when my practice periods have turned into those weak little pebbles thrown into the stream of my day. At that point, I can sit down and spend some time getting back in touch with my lesson.

Sixth, I can promise to all of you that tomorrow I will actually tell you how the day went (gulp!). If that doesn’t keep me accountable, what will?