Purpose: To lay aside the ego's voice, still your mind, and listen to your Father's Voice, and then to offer Him your voice to speak to all who need to hear His Word.
Longer: Every hour on the hour, for five minutes (if you cannot do this, at least do the alternate).
- Say, "I will be still and listen to the truth. What does it mean to give and to receive?"
- Spend the rest of the time waiting for your answer from the Holy Spirit. It is important, however, to understand what you are really asking. You are asking to receive from God—to hear His Voice and receive His Word, to be filled up from within—so that you can give to your brothers, which in turn will make your receiving even more full and complete. It is important, then, to offer Him your willingness to give what you receive. This giving will apparently happen both within the practice period, as your mind goes out to other minds, and after the practice period, as what you experience today inspires you to actually "begin the ministry for which you came" (8:3). While you wait for your answer, remember the training you received in earlier lessons: Hold your mind in silent readiness, drawing it back when it lapses into listening to the ego's voice. Listen with confidence: "expect an answer" (8:1). And periodically repeat your question, to renew your posture of expectant waiting.
Frequent reminders: As often as possible.
Say, "Let me be still and listen to the truth. I am the messenger of God today, My voice is His, to give what I receive." This will reinforce your choice to receive His Word, which prepares you to give.
Encouragement to practice: Be aware that your practice is not an act of solitary self-indulgence. Rather, by sitting down and doing your practice, you will literally be releasing minds all over the world. "For each five minutes spent in listening, a thousand minds are opened to the truth and they will hear the holy Word you hear" (9:2).
At first today's lesson does not seem to follow yesterday's theme on giving and receiving, but midway through it switches back to that theme. It seems like an abrupt switch, perhaps. The first part of the lesson, speaking of stilling our minds to listen to God's Voice, doesn't seem to lead naturally into thoughts of giving and receiving.
Yet this is what we are listening for; this is what we hear. We are learning of our true nature. This is the message of salvation: "When everything is yours and everything is given away, it will remain with you forever" (7:1).
What am I in this world for? According to this lesson, it is to hear the Voice for God telling me of God's eternal gift to me, the gift of Christ, the gift of my Self—God's "dear Son, whose other name is you" (4:7). And it is to extend that same message to the world. This is "the ministry for which you came, and which will free the world from thinking giving is a way to lose" (8:3).
Hearing God's Voice and speaking for it are as inextricably linked in this lesson as are giving and receiving. If I truly hear the Voice, I will give Him my voice to speak through me. If I receive the Word, I will share it, because the message is sharing. God's Word to me is that I am a savior, a healer, and a bringer of truth. I am His Son, His offspring, like Him, extending healing, offering peace and joy to everyone, letting them know they are His offspring as well.
Sometimes I think we take the Course too seriously and need to lighten up. At other times I think we take it too lightly, and need to take it more seriously. For instance, this lesson tells me that every time I pause for five minutes to be still and listen to the truth, one thousand minds are opened to the truth (9:2). Suppose I took that seriously? Suppose I paused every hour, as instructed. In the course of the day, fifteen thousand minds would open to the truth. Suppose everyone reading these comments did that (about six hundred people)? Then nine million minds would open to the truth!
I don't take this kind of thing seriously enough. I shrug if off, thinking that if I only practice once or twice during the day, it's enough. Recently, the old Charlton Heston movie The Ten Commandments played on TV. I watched a few minutes of it, enough to remember a line from it that always impressed me. Moses, suffering setbacks in the early days of trying to get Pharaoh to release the Hebrews, prays to God, saying, "Lord, forgive me for my weak use of Thy great power." When I read today's lesson I thought about that line. I thought about how I treat these practice times, many days, as if they don't really matter. I imagine myself as of little consequence in His plan, at least most of the time. But if I take this lesson seriously, I could be instrumental today in bringing light into fifteen thousand minds!
I'm not trying to lay guilt on anyone, least of all myself. I am trying to raise my own consciousness concerning the power God has placed into my hands—or, more properly, into my mind. Each of us who connects with the truth in our minds today, listening to the truth, is contributing to the elevation of consciousness on…I was going to say, "on this planet," but it is far more than that, it is the arousal of Christ-consciousness in the whole universe. That little five minutes, in which, perhaps, nothing seems to happen; in which you may be fighting a wandering mind; or which seems at times to be interminable as your ego prods you to "get back to work" or whatever you are doing—that little five minutes is a very significant contribution to the salvation of the world.
Let me be still and listen to the truth. I am the messenger of God today, My voice is His, to give what I receive. (10:3-4)