Purpose: To open Christ’s treasure house deep in your mind, gather lilies of forgiveness from it, and then give them away to your brothers. Only by giving them away will you realize that you have received them.
Morning/evening quiet time: At least five minutes; ideally, thirty or more.
As is usual at this stage, we are not given explicit instructions for what to do during our practice periods. So what follows is a suggestion based on the content of the lesson.
Close your eyes, repeat the idea, and sink down deep into your mind. As you approach the quiet center of your mind, you see a treasure house, a beautiful, gleaming structure that radiates a sense of holiness. You approach the massive doorway, wondering if you will be able to get in. Yet the lesson reminds us, “No one will be turned away from this new home, where his salvation waits” (7:4). The door swings silently open before you, and as you enter in you behold the treasure that is stored in this place. Rather than gold and silver, you see a sacred garden of the most amazing lilies you have ever laid eyes on. They literally shine with holiness. You can swear you hear the faint singing of heavenly choirs in the air around them. You realize that these are the lilies of forgiveness. These are miracles. You also realize that the soil they are growing in is Christ’s vision, “the miracle in which all miracles are born” (4:1).
You are here to gather these miracles and take them back to the world. So walk into the garden and begin to pick the lilies. Don’t be shy; that is what they are for. As you pick each one, notice that two more spring up in its place. Now, with an armful of lilies, you are ready to go out into your day, ready to give these miracles to everyone you encounter.
After the practice period, as you go through your day, imagine yourself giving one of these lilies to each person you meet. Your lily is your acknowledgment that this person is the Christ, washed clean of his past, ready to arise from the tomb of his sins and be reborn. So as you give the lily, you might say silently, “You are forgiven. This is your Eastertime.”
Hourly remembrance: One or two minutes as the hour strikes (reduce if circumstances do not permit).
I suggest repeating the idea and then choosing one person. Then imagine giving this person a lily, while you say, “You are forgiven. This is your Eastertime.” Then ask God what lilies He would have you give in the coming hour, and thank Him for the lilies He gave through you in the hour gone by.
You might notice that today’s lesson title is almost the same as yesterday’s: “Today I learn to give as I receive.” There is definitely a commonality of thought that runs through these two lessons, even extending two lessons back. They all talk of Christ’s vision. They are all presenting a picture of the holy instant as a key part of our spiritual practice, although that term is not specifically mentioned in every lesson.
The general picture being presented is of our ongoing spiritual practice. It is this: We enter frequently into a holy instant. There, we experience a touch of eternity or Heaven, a taste of the knowledge of the truth. While we cannot carry this experience back with us to the world, we can carry back what that experience is like, translated into perception; this is called “the vision of Christ,” which is manifested in forgiveness.
In this lesson, the holy instant is only hinted at by such phrases as “Let us an instant dream with Him” (10:6), or “Receive them now by opening the storehouse of your mind, where they are laid” (2:5). The Holy Instant is the “treasure house” we come to, the place in which we receive the gifts of Christ’s vision. We must receive before we can give.
But we cannot recognize, or become fully aware of, what we have received until we give it away: “To give is how to recognize you have received. It is the proof that what you have is yours” (1:7-8). The extension of Christ’s vision is an integral part of the plan of salvation presented by the Course. It is what brings us to certainty. This is quite similar to the principle taught by AA, that you stay sober by helping someone else to stay sober. Here, You understand that you are healed when you give healing. You accept forgiveness as accomplished in yourself when you forgive. (2:1-2)
It is only as we bring the “lilies” of forgiveness from the holy instant, where we received them, and distribute them into the world that we truly know we are forgiven. It is in giving away miracles that we receive them.
Father, help me today to realize that I am rich. The storehouse of my mind is filled with miracles. I can come to this storehouse and, in this holy instant, receive them. You entrust them to me for the giving. Let me pause often today, to meet here with You, and then carry these treasures forth to offer them to the world. This is my whole purpose in life; this is why I am here.