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: I have had difficulty relating to the wording of today’s lesson, so I have used this rewording:
God loves me so much that He always hears
And always answers
And gives me the answer I really want.
The ego is constantly working to convince us that we want many different things, things that often compete with one another. We have listened to our egos for so long that we are quite confused about what we want. An early Workbook lesson tells us, “I do not perceive my own best interests” (W-pI.24.Heading).
Since I am so confused about what I really want, it is far better to leave that choice in the hands of the Voice for God.
You Who remember what I really am alone remember what I really want. (1:1)
I need to remind myself of this fairly often—usually any time I get caught up in thinking that I want something very much. “I want that new computer.” “I want a loving, intimate, and committed sexual relationship.” “I want a better job.” I need to remind myself, “Wait a minute, Allen. Remember! You don’t clearly remember who you really are, so how can you know what you really want?”
Part of the learning the Course is taking us through is learning to listen to the Holy Spirit. And part of that lesson is realizing that He speaks for us, and not just for God. I may think that what I want conflicts with what He seems to be wanting for me, and I need to realize that what He wants for me is what I really want, even if my ego is telling me differently.
Your Voice, my Father, then is mine as well, and all I want is what You offer me, in just the form You choose that it be mine. (1:4)
So often I am inclined to think that I want what God wants to give, but then I dictate the form in which that must come to me. I hear that God’s Will for me is perfect happiness, and then I decide the form that happiness must take. I need to take it a step further, as this lesson does: I want what God wants, and whether I can see it or not at the moment, I want it in just the form He chooses to give it, and not the form I think it must take.
I am reminded of many times, as a parent, when I tried to convince one of my sons that he didn’t really want what he thought he wanted. Perhaps he was saying, “I want the red gumball!” And I would say, “No, Ben, the red one isn’t sweet; it’s hot cinnamon and you won’t like it.” And he would say, “I want the red one!!” We do exactly the same sort of thing with God, far more often than we care to admit.
Let me remember all I do not know, and let my voice be still, remembering. (1:5)
Let me realize, when I think I know what I want, that I don’t really know. And let me simply shut up and stop throwing a tantrum; let me be quiet, and listen to my Father’s Voice. He speaks for me as well as for God; He knows what I really want, and wisdom is taking His advice. He loves us; He cares for us; He has promised always to be with us. Let me trust Him even when I don’t understand, knowing that (Oh! It seems awful sometimes to say these words; so belittling!) Father knows best.
Let me not forget myself is nothing, but my Self is all. (1:7)
The little, individual ego “I” is nothing; Who I really am is everything. The Holy Spirit always speaks from the perspective of that larger Self. He does not seek to benefit and coddle the little “I.” He is always working with us to bring us to full awareness of Self. At times what He gives may go contrary to the little “I,” while leading us on to full realization of the Self. That is why our picture of what we want is so often distorted, and what He wants for us seems at times to be something we do not want. We are confused about who we are. He is not. So let us trust His wisdom, be still, and know that He is God.