Exercise: As frequently as possible (suggestion: every hour on the hour), for one to two minutes.
- Tell yourself (with eyes closed if the situation permits): "Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world. I would fulfill my function that I may be happy."
- Then use the practice that you have been doing recently: Think about these statements (in this case, dwelling particularly on the happiness your function will bring you). Let related thoughts come. If your mind wanders, repeat the idea and add, "I would remember this because I want to be happy." This extra thought will motivate your mind to come back to and stay on focus.
Remarks: Notice the emphasis on having a happy day. This is so much of why we practice, because it will help make our day happy. It will also bring happiness to people around us, and even to people in distant times and places! This is not a selfish practice we are doing.
Notice also that this lesson mentions the Workbook's formula of practicing morning, evening, and throughout the day (4:1). We can assume today that, like yesterday, we can make the morning and evening practice periods longer if we like.
Finally, note why it is that related thoughts can flow freely: because "your heart will recognize these words, and in your mind is the awareness they are true" (4:5). Related thoughts, in other words, come from a deep well in our mind, in which we already understand these ideas. They draw that well's wisdom up to the surface and make it our own.
What does the light of the world do? It forgives. As the light of the world, my function isn't to teach people new ideas, to straighten out their misunderstandings, or to be their knight in shining armor. My function is simply to forgive them.
Forgiveness is the demonstration that you are the light of the world. Through your forgiveness does the truth about yourself return to your memory. (1:3-4)
Forgiveness not only brings light into the minds of those around me, it enables me to remember the light in myself; it reminds me of the truth about myself. Forgiveness is what saves me. Doing what I am here to do reminds me of what I really am.
Why? Because "illusions about yourself and the world are one" (2:1). If I see the illusion of sin in a brother, I am really seeing my own illusions about myself. When I forgive that brother, I am forgiving myself, seeing through the illusion that has obscured the truth about both him and me. When thoughts of attack are replaced with thoughts of forgiveness, I am replacing death with life.
Forgiveness is the means the Course sets forth as our way out of hell, because the hell we are in was made by our judgments and thoughts of attack. Forgiving calls upon the Christ in me, while attacking calls upon my own weakness. As I call upon the Christ in me, the Christ comes forward, and I begin to recognize the Christ as my true Self. Forgiveness restores "the invulnerability and power God gave His Son" (3:5).
Where is forgiveness needed? Not just in what we think of as the big things: betrayal, deceit, or obvious intent to harm. Any thought in my mind that separates me from another and makes me different is a thought of attack, and needs to be replaced with forgiveness. Any thought that belittles another person, demeans them, sees them as "less than," views them as less worthy of love for any reason, pushes them away, views them with dislike, sees myself gaining at their loss, wishes for their injury or loss in some way, or lacks faith in the love in their heart, is a thought of attack, and needs to be replaced with forgiveness.
That is my function, today and every day. Let me release the world from the bondage in which I have placed it. Let me lift my judgment from it, and so rediscover the miraculous truth of my own divine nature by my willingness to see it in everyone around me.