See complete instructions in a separate document. A short summary:
- Read the commentary paragraph slowly and personally.
- Pray the prayer, perhaps several times.
- Morning and evening: Repeat the idea and then spend time in Open Mind Meditation.
- Hourly remembrance: Repeat the idea and then spend time in Open Mind Meditation.
- Frequent reminders: Repeat the idea and then spend a quiet moment in meditation.
- Response to temptation: Repeat the idea whenever upset, to restore peace.
- Read the “What Is” section slowly and thoughtfully once during the day.
Practice suggestion: Pick an event where you felt powerless. Then say the following lines to yourself:
What happened is what I desired, on some level.
Even in this world, it is I who rule my destiny.
For in Heaven, my Self is ruler of the universe.
Today’s lesson is perhaps the most “outrageous” in the ego’s eyes. There is an odd paradox about the ego. Wanting to be ruler of the universe, it views the actual assertion of that function to be the height of blasphemy. Asserting that I am the ruler of the universe actually cuts the legs out from under the ego, and destroys everything it stands on. The whole idea of projection, or of finding blame for what is wrong outside myself, is done away with.
Nothing comes to me that I have not asked for. “It is impossible” (1:1). That seems a harsh truth. Lest we try to water it down, the lesson immediately adds, “Even in this world, it is I who rule my destiny” (1:2). Our fear of this truth is that it seems to make us incredibly guilty. The Course is always asking that we take one hundred percent responsibility with zero percent guilt.
What happens is what I desire. What does not occur is what I do not want to happen. (1:3-4)
There is just no way to squirm out of what the Course is saying here. The ego tells us that it makes us very guilty if we do this. In reality, it gives us complete power over our lives. Consider what the alternative is to these statements: “Things can happen no matter what I want. What does not happen is not under my control.” This belief system, which we all live by, leaves us powerless, hopeless victims of things beyond our control. It is the belief system of guilt, the attempt to avoid the reality of our Self, which is all-powerful. It is the voice of the ego trying to place the blame elsewhere, anywhere but within our own minds.
“My Self is ruler of the universe.” This way lies freedom. “This must I accept” (1:5). Please note that this does not speak of our “individual self,” the illusion of ourselves we all have made. It speaks of the “Self” with a capital “S,” the Self we share with all creation. It is our collective Mind we speak of, the Mind of all of us. It is the individual responsibility of each one of us to choose differently, to reverse the trend within the Mind of the Sonship. In this view there is no one but Me, the one Son of God. Each of us is responsible for the whole. Each of us is the whole, for the whole is in every part.
We must accept the truth of today’s lesson; it is the only way out of hell. Anything less is the denial of our divinity, the assertion of the reality of separation. Only in accepting this truth can we be “led past this world to [our] creations” (1:6).
In the closing prayer, spoken to God, we say, “You are the Self Whom You created Son, creating like Yourself and one with You” (2:1). God Himself is our Self. We are His extension, more of Him, like Him, one with Him. My true Self is simply my will in perfect union with God’s, assenting to God’s own extension in me and through me (2:2). If God is my Self, and God is ruler of the universe, so am I.
What does this mean in a practical sense? It means that I have to begin to accept that I am responsible for everything I see, choosing my feelings, asking for what happens to me (see T-21.II.2:3-5). It means that I see, in every moment, it is up to me to choose to either suffer, or to be happy. It means that I begin to deny the power of all things outside of me to affect me. It means I accept my role as ruler of my own mind, first of all. I begin to acknowledge the power of my wanting, and to know that “what is strong enough to make a world can let it go” (see T-21.II.2-4).