Lately, I have been thinking about Workbook practice in a slightly different way and wanted to share it with you. Most Workbook practice involves repeating ideas, and so, as I often say, how we repeat those ideas makes a world of difference.
In the past, while repeating the idea, I think I have tried too hard to see the truth in the idea, in order to make the repetition “go in” and have an effect on my mind. Do you know what I mean? I often almost strain to see the truth in the idea, so that it won’t just bounce off my mind and leave me cold.
Now I actually think that this need to see the truth in the idea in order for it to have an experiential effect is a very important dimension of Workbook practice.
However, what I have recently realized is that there is an important downside to this. What do I do when I can’t see the truth in the idea? So many of the Workbook ideas are so ego-transcending that as long as I sit inside this particular center of awareness, inside my mind but outside yours, they just seem fundamentally untrue. For instance, Lesson 126, “All that I give is given to myself,” acknowledges that its idea is just too alien for us to understand on our own. As long as we sit inside this ego and outside other egos, that idea will on some level sound like 1 + 1 = 5.
So lately what I’ve been doing in my practice is adding on another element. This other element is a recognition that I don’t yet see the truth in this idea—not really. However, I trust that that truth is there. And I’m practicing in order to invite a larger, egoless Mind to reveal that truth to my little ego-bound mind.
In other words, if I were to repeat Lesson 126, “All that I give is given to myself,” I’d think, “It’s OK that the full truth of this is outside my ego. I trust that that full truth is there. And I repeat the idea as a call to a larger Mind, one not confined to this tiny bubble, to inject that truth into my mind.”
One more thing that’s implicit in this approach is that I’m relying not on a “hit” in the moment of practicing, a shift that lifts me right at the moment I’m repeating the idea. Rather, I’m seeing each repetition as a kind of prayer that, while it may have an effect in the moment, is also like a prayer that slowly draws that larger realization to me. So even if I don’t feel a shift in that moment, I’m counting on a gradual dawning, in which the light very slowly brightens in my mind.
As I reread this, it is sounding a bit muddled. The basic idea is that I’m not requiring understanding and shift right in the moment of repeating the idea. Rather, I’m letting it be OK that the understanding lies outside this tiny mind and that the shift, too, comes from outside my current awareness and dawns more slowly.