Now are we one with Him Who is our Source.
Morning/evening quiet time: At least five minutes; ideally, thirty or more.
Enormous promises are attached to today’s practice, if we do it faithfully (4:5), if we “practice in earnest” (9:5). So let’s bring every ounce of willingness we have to this practice today.
Begin by going through a process of “letting go all things you think you want” (8:1). Go through a list of things your ego is attached to, and with each one, be willing to consider, just for the duration of this practice period, that it has no real value. You might imagine that you are inside the room of your mind, a room cluttered up with all the “trifling treasures” (8:2) you are attached to. One by one, clear out those worthless “treasures” from this room.
Now you have a clean and open room, ready to receive real treasure from Christ, “the treasure of salvation” (8:2). Let this room fill with “an ancient peace you carry in your heart and have not lost” (4:2). Let it be pervaded by “a sense of holiness in you the thought of sin has never touched” (4:3). Hear your Father calling to you, and then hear the Christ in you answer for you. Most of all, try to let in Christ’s vision. Open the curtains in this room; let in the light. Through these open windows, you now can “see the world anew, shining in innocence, alive with hope” (W-pI.189.1:7).
Now the room of your mind has become His treasure house, filled with the gold and silver of His miracles. Now, wherever you look, your eyes deliver these miracles, as you bless what you see with your loving gaze. Step out into your day knowing that this is your job, to heal everyone you see by looking on them with “His forgiving vision” (7:6).
Hourly remembrance: One or two minutes as the hour strikes (reduce if circumstances do not permit).
Repeat the idea as a way of entering the treasure house of your mind and feeling your oneness with God. Then thank Him for the treasures He bestowed on you in the last hour. And ask Him what He would have you do in the next hour.
To anyone who has done the Workbook lessons to this point, it is clear that the recent lessons are reaching for some new kind of level. There is a consistent emphasis on what the Course calls the holy instant, although many of the lessons do not use the term. But when a lesson, as this one, speaks of “this instant, now” as the time in which we come “to look upon what is forever there” (1:3), or of the time we give to spend in quiet “with Him, beyond the world” (3:2), it is clearly indicating times in which we enter the holy instant, a moment of eternity within time.
The practice being asked of us (since Lesson 153), day after day, is to set aside times of no less than five minutes, and as much as a half hour or more, morning and evening, to exercise our spiritual sight and hearing. We are being asked to listen to “the song of Heaven” (1:6) that is continually sounding beyond all the sounds of this world. This “melody from far beyond the world” (2:3) is the song of love, the call of our hearts to Him, and of His to ours.
These times are periods in which we forget all our sins and sorrows (3:3), and remember the gifts of God to us (3:4). We practice setting aside the sights and sounds of the world that constantly witness to us of the ego’s message of fear, and we listen to the song of Heaven. We quiet ourselves, still our minds, and try to get in touch with the “silence into which the world can not intrude” (4:1), the “ancient peace you carry in your heart and have not lost” (4:2), and the “sense of holiness in you the thought of sin has never touched” (4:3). All of this, as the first paragraph says, “is forever there; not in our sight, but in the eyes of Christ” (1:3). We are not creating it; we are not making it happen; we are brushing away everything within our minds that veils it from our sight. “Now is what is really there made visible, while all the shadows which appeared to hide it merely sink away” (5:2).
Such practicing puts our minds in a state in which we feel pure joy. Joy is the word that comes to my mind to describe what a holy instant “feels like.” There is a sense of contentment, an assurance that, despite all evidence to the contrary, all is well. There is a peaceful relaxation into the mind of God. Our minds naturally reach out in love to all the world from within this holy place, blessing rather than judging.
It may be difficult for us at this juncture to fully understand how such quiet practice, something that takes place completely within our own minds, can “save the world” (6:3). The lesson states in no uncertain terms that, by means of this practice, “We can change the world” (9:2). How can that be? It is so because all minds are joined, and while we may understand the concept, our sense of its reality may be very weak. That is normal; the effect on the world proceeds whether we are aware of it or not. We can, for the time being, focus on the personal benefit: “But this you can surely want; you can exchange all suffering for joy this very day” (9:4).
If you are like me, the reality and importance of this practice grows slowly. There are many days we let “slip by” without taking the time to do the work on our minds the Workbook calls for. The details of life, the press of business, the daily crises shriek for our attention, drawing us away, as they are meant to do. It takes some determination to put this “quiet time” with God first, above all else. But when we do so, an amazing thing happens. As Lesson 286 puts it: “Father, how still today! How quietly do all things fall in place!” (W-pI.286.1:1-2). I recall, long ago, reading how Martin Luther once wrote, “I have so many things to do today, I must spend three hours in prayer to prepare myself.” There was a man who understood, within his own context, that preparing his mind with God was the most important thing, and that the more pressing the world seemed, the more he needed that quiet time in God’s presence.