Purpose: To accept that your happiness and your God-given function are not only connected, but are actually the same thing, regardless of different appearances; and to accept that they are different in every way from all of the functions your ego has given you.
Longer: One time, for ten to fifteen minutes.
- Spend the time actively reflecting on the following logical syllogism: "God gives me only happiness [premise 1]. He has given my function to me [premise 2]. Therefore my function must be happiness [conclusion]." Notice how the conclusion logically follows from the premises, so that if the premises are right, the conclusion has to be.
- Therefore, spend a while thinking about the first premise ("God gives me only happiness"). Use paragraph 6 as a guide. It says that, in the end, you must either accept the first premise or accept that God is evil.
- Then spend some time thinking about the second premise ("He has given my function to me"). Use paragraphs 7 and 8 as a guide. They say that your function must have been given by either God or the ego, but the ego does not really give gifts. It is an illusion that offers illusions of gifts.
- Then spend some time thinking about how your life has reflected an alternative syllogism, which goes something like this: "My ego has given me many functions (think about some of those). None of them has given me happiness (reflect on this). Therefore, my ego never gives me happiness." Isn't this the only logical conclusion? Doesn't this conclusion make you want to choose the function God has given you instead?
- Finally, try to pour all of this reflection into an acceptance of the conclusion ("Therefore my function must be happiness"). Use the reflection to bring you to a point where you really embrace the conclusion.
Remarks: This lesson is yet another giant stride (our first was Lesson 61), but it will only be a giant step forward for you if you really give your mind to it. So do so, for your own sake. Give the longer practice your full concentration, and give the shorter practice your frequency.
Frequent reminders: Two per hour, for one minute or less.
Say, "My happiness and my function are one, because God has given me both." Repeating this slowly and thinking about it will make all the difference.
I find this lesson interesting in the way it makes use of ordinary logic, applied to extraordinary ideas. The longer practice period is supposed to be spent in thinking about the premises in the syllogism given in paragraph 5 (5:7; 9:1). In other words, the lesson asks us to test out the logic of its proposal with our minds. Quite evidently the Course sees a good deal of value in thinking and reasoning; it is not a Course in mindlessness, as some people seem to believe. Nor is it only a course in experience. It is solidly laced with reasoning, and expects us to know how to use that faculty of our minds. I find that a good aid in this kind of practice is writing down the ideas that come to me as I do it.
The central idea today is one we've seen before: happiness and my function are, at the core, the same thing. The two premises are fairly simple, especially the first: God gives me only happiness. If God is a God worthy of my allegiance, a God of love, this must be so. Why follow a god who makes me unhappy? If God gives unhappiness, He must be evil (6:5). And if God is evil I may as well quit now; I'll never find happiness living in the clutches of a sadistic god, who gives his creations unhappiness.
Second, God has given my function to me. This is a little less obvious. "Function" could be understood as meaning "nature." In simple terms, God created me, and in so doing, defined what I am. What I am defines what I do. What alternative is there? If God did not define me, what did? The only alternative is the ego (8:3). Or, I might say, I made myself (which is really the same thing). But how can anything create itself? What created its power to create? Is it really possible that the ego made me, or I defined myself? No. Therefore this second premise must also be true: God has given my function to me.
Now if God gives me only happiness, and God gave me my function, what is the logical conclusion? My function must be happiness. My reason for being is to be happy. Fulfilling my function is what brings me happiness.
If we think about all the ways we've tried to find happiness following our egos—as we are instructed to think about, here in the lesson—we must admit, if we are perfectly honest, that none of them have worked.
The lesson is trying to bring us to the point where we make a choice, the choice between madness and truth, between listening to the ego or to the Holy Spirit. It is asking us to realize that everything the ego tells us is a lie, and that only the truth is true; only what God has given us has reality.
This lesson is the second one called a "giant stride" (10:5). The first was Lesson 61. We'll see the term again in Lessons 94, 130, 135, and 194. Lesson 61 told us, "I am the light of the world," which is "a beginning step in accepting your real function on earth….a giant stride toward taking your rightful place in salvation" (W-pI.61.3:2-3). We are light-bearers, designed by God to beam His light to the universe; that is our function. Accepting that is a giant step, a strong beginning. Now, we are told, "My happiness and my function are one." Bringing light to the world is what happiness is; being the light of the world is fulfilling our function, and fulfilling our function is happiness.