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: The prayer for this lesson is without doubt one of the most beautiful prayers in the Course. I call it the “I Need Do Nothing Prayer.” It induces a wonderful state of rest and peace. I recommend taking a chunk of time today-fifteen to thirty minutes-and praying this prayer over and over again, slowly and meaningfully, sinking more deeply into it each time. Don’t close your eyes and zone out after the first time; you’ll be grateful for the experience if you stay with it. To aid in this process, I’ve broken the prayer into three parts and have put some extra lines after each line of the prayer, to draw out its meaning.
A Day of Doing Nothing
1. Father, how still today!
Let me imagine a day of perfect stillness,
in which everything is resting, everything is at peace, glowing with a soft radiance.
2. How quietly do all things fall in place!
Normally, life seems to be a chaotic jumble of conflicting elements.
But today, all things have quietly fallen into their proper place.
As I look out on the world, everything is exactly where it belongs.
3. This is the day
that has been chosen as the time
in which I come to understand the lesson
that there is no need that I do anything.
This is the day You have appointed for me to finally realize, “I need do nothing.”
Rest from Doing
4. In You is every choice already made.
This is why I need do nothing.
In You all those hard choices that face me have already been made.
Let me feel myself resting in You, no more difficult decisions to make.
5. In You has every conflict been resolved.
I feel constantly surrounded by conflict,
trying to resolve one while hoping that the others will not spring out of control.
But in You, all my conflicts are forever behind me.
6. In You is everything I hope to find already given me.
I am always seeking, striving to find the happiness and safety that I lack.
But in You, I can rest from seeking, for I have found. In You I have everything.
The Peace that Is Mine
7. Your peace is mine.
You are totally free from choice, conflict, and seeking.
Your peace must be limitless, unfathomable!
Yet because I am in You, Your peace is mine.
8. My heart is quiet, and my mind at rest.
In Your peace, with no need to do anything, I am totally at rest, completely filled.
9. Your Love is Heaven, and Your Love is mine.
What could be more heavenly than being loved by You?
And I am loved by You; You love me with all that You are.
I need only accept Your Love, and Heaven is mine.
“How quietly do all things fall in place!” (1:2). I love that line! That is what realization is like; things just quietly fall into place, and there is nothing to do.
“This is the day that has been chosen as the time in which I come to understand the lesson that there is no need that I do anything” (1:3).
Several years ago in a study group, we read a section that described the state of knowledge. Someone asked if it is possible for an individual to attain this, or do we all have to do it together? “Is everybody waiting for me? Am I waiting for everybody else?” The leader (I’ll call him Ted) began to discuss Jesus and how we are all in this together.
“Then Jesus isn’t in this state of knowledge yet either, is he?” said the questioner.
I injected myself into the discussion: “Yes, he is. Jesus has passed from perception to knowledge. And so have you.”
We are “at home in God, dreaming of exile” (T-10.I.2:1). We are all already in Heaven. (Actually we never left.) The story is already over! We’re at the end, looking back and remembering. “We’re living a rerun,” someone said. “The fact that Jesus has already done it is the guarantee that we all will do it, we all will experience what he has experienced because we are really all one mind,” Ted said.
This is the reason that “I need do nothing.” We all continue to make the error that we have to accomplish something. We think that there is this great mountain to climb, the mountain of enlightenment or perfection. We may believe Jesus has climbed it, along with others like Buddha, but we think we’re still at the bottom looking up. We are intimidated by how hard it is going to be, awed by all the work that has to be done, discouraged by the thought of how far we have to go to get there.
These thoughts are simply the way the ego tries to handle the situation when you finally get a glimpse of the promised land, of the realm of knowledge that God intends for you to live in.
The ego can accept the idea that return is necessary because it can so easily make the idea seem difficult. Yet the Holy Spirit tells you that even return is unnecessary, because what never happened cannot be difficult. However, you can make the idea of return both necessary and difficult. Yet it is surely clear that the perfect need nothing, and you cannot experience perfection as a difficult accomplishment, because that is what you are. (T-6.II.11:1-4)
The ego tries to convince you that what you have seen is something you lack instead of something you already have. “In You is everything I hope to find already given me” (1:6). You are what you have been looking for.
The Christ-nature is not something you have to develop. You don’t have to slave over the ego trying to change it into a Christ! That simply isn’t possible. If you think you have to become the Christ, you have put yourself in a situation where “You can’t get there from here.” And that is exactly where the ego wants you to be.
The Christ-nature is Who you really are! You just don’t remember. It is already inside you. It is you. You think you are something else, but you aren’t. That is the illusion the ego has cast. You think the ego is you! You think that all this awful stuff, all this miserable little worm nature, this weakling, this sniveling coward, is what you are. That is not you. The ego is not you. The ego is not anything, and not anywhere; it is just a thought you have about yourself, a thought that is wholly false. Christ “is the only part of you that has reality in truth” (W-pII.6.3:2).
When you feel as if you have to struggle, when you feel as if you have to make all kinds of difficult choices, then you are seeing yourself as an ego, at the bottom of the mountain looking up. When you see yourself as the Christ, there is nothing to do.
Our only problem is thinking we have a problem. The thought that “I don’t have it yet” is the problem. We need to be enlightened from thinking we need to be enlightened. All that has to change is that thought, and the thought changes nothing, does nothing, because we are always already enlightened, always already happy, always already perfect. God created us that way and we can’t change it; all we can do is forget it and pretend we are something else.
In today’s moment of quiet we can taste the flavor of that stillness in which there is nothing to do and nowhere to go. “The stillness of today will give us hope that we have found the way, and travelled far along it to a wholly certain goal” (2:1). We can taste the reality of the end, even in the midst of our traveling; we can know the goal is “wholly certain,” and even inevitable.
Today we will not doubt the end which God Himself has promised us. We trust in Him, and in our Self, Who still is one with Him. (2:2-3)