Lesson 257 • September 14


Lesson 257

Let me remember what my purpose is.

Practice Instructions

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: As you begin your day, I suggest spending a moment going through the day you normally have, trying to see how you are usually serving contradictory goals. See yourself reaching after the goals of the world, and then at other times reaching after the goal of God. Try to get in touch with how divided this makes you feel, how it makes you unsure of who you are, and how it makes you feel that you will never reach either set of goals—the earthly or the heavenly—simply because you are giving each set only half of your energy.

Then spend another moment imagining what your day would be like if you only pursued the goal of God today, if you unified your thoughts and actions behind that single goal, and therefore achieved only what God would have you do today. Ask yourself how that day would feel. And then dedicate today to being that day.


The purpose this lesson is alluding to is forgiveness (2:1). Over and over, the Course tells us that forgiveness is our function, our purpose, our reason for being here. And it is our only function:

I am the light of the world. That is my only function. That is why I am here. (W-61.5:3-5)

Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world. (W-62)

What if, today, I remembered that forgiveness is my only purpose? What if I realized that, whatever else happens, if I forgive everything and everyone I see today, I have fulfilled my function? What if I realized that all the things I think are important are nothing compared to this purpose? When I am behind that slow driver while trying to get someplace on time, forgiving is my purpose, not getting there on time. In any situation of conflict, forgiveness is my goal, not winning. When the person from whom I am seeking signs of love fails to respond, forgiveness is my goal, not getting the response I seek. And so on. What kind of difference would it make if I really made forgiveness my primary goal, my only goal?

If I forget the goal, I will always end up being conflicted, trying to serve contradictory goals (1:1-2). The inevitable result of conflicting goals is “deep distress and great depression” (1:3). Sound familiar? As we begin the spiritual path we are almost always conflicted, because we have adopted a new, higher goal without really letting go of the older ones. We’re trying to serve two masters, which reminds me of the time I had a job where I was taking orders from two bosses! What a time of distress and depression that was! The only way to peace of mind in our lives is to firmly settle on a single purpose or goal (2:2), and to continually put that above everything else. We need to “unify our thoughts and actions meaningfully,” by recognizing that God’s Will for us is forgiveness, and seeking to do only that (1:4; 2:2).