Purpose: To bring reality still closer to your mind. To bring your mind out of the conflict of a split identity into the peace of identifying with your one Self.
Longer: Every hour on the hour, for five minutes (if you cannot do this, at least do the alternate).
- Give the practice period happily to the Holy Spirit. Begin by saying, "Spirit am I, a holy Son of God, free of all limits, safe and healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world."
- The remainder appears to be the same practice as yesterday, a combination of meditation and listening to the Holy Spirit. Sink to the deep place in your mind where the Holy Spirit dwells. If you reach this place, "He will speak to you, reminding you that you are spirit" (8:2). He will help you understand Who you really are. Keep in mind that He will be using your practice period to carry healing around the world. The deeper you go, the more healing He can distribute.
Frequent reminders: As often as you can.
Say, "Spirit am I, a holy Son of God, free of all limits, safe and healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world." Then take a moment and listen for the Holy Spirit's assurance that these words are true.
Response to temptation: Whenever you are tempted to yield to the belief that you are not spirit.
Repeat, "Spirit am I, a holy Son of God, free of all limits, safe and healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world."
Encouragement to practice: Every time you practice your mind comes closer to reality. This lesson makes the amazing claim that in some practice periods you save a thousand years. This is because the Holy Spirit takes the healing thoughts you generate in your exercises and carries them around the world, laying them in every mind that is open to the healing they bring. Each mind that accepts them reinforces them, so that through this process, these thoughts become multiplied in power millions of times. The result is that, when the Holy Spirit gives them back to you, your five minutes can indeed become a thousand years. This is obviously a huge incentive to practice, for you can not only immensely speed your own journey, but you can also bring healing to people across the world.
The one Self the Course speaks of is spirit. To affirm, "I am spirit" is to let go of all illusions of a split identity, of a good and bad self, and of all attempts we might make to somehow reconcile the ego self that is bound to a body with the spiritual self that is unlimited by a body.
The "nondualism" of the Course is not of the nature that says, "Everything is one because all apparent opposites are really opposite poles of a unity." It does not achieve a concept of unity by somehow uniting the opposites; teaching, for example, that evil and pain are somehow all part of the One. Instead, the Course affirms unity by declaring that all that seems to be opposed to holiness and love is nothing more than illusion and does not exist. "What is all-encompassing can have no opposite," declares the Course's introduction (T-In.1:8). We are being asked to "know your Self as love which has no opposite in you" (W-pI.99.9:8). "Love can have no opposite" (W-pII.259.2:3).
The Course makes great use of repetition; apparently it firmly believes that repeating the same idea over and over can have great benefits. We are told to "practice this truth today as often as you can" (1:4). Why the emphasis on repetition? Because "each time you practice, awareness is brought a little nearer at least" (3:2). You may not achieve astounding breakthroughs; if you are like most people, probably most of the time you won't. But every now and then, "a thousand years or more are saved" (3:2).
For those who think the Course teaches an instant salvation, I'd just like to point out something about that last line. If we can save a thousand years sometimes as we practice, what does that imply about the length of time the whole journey might take? If we are chopping thousand-year segments out of it, how long is the whole thing? It has to be at least a thousand years and a day, right? I don't mean to be depressing about this; the Course presents itself as a means of saving time, and clearly teaches that any of us could wake up at any moment we choose to do so. But the implication is pretty clear that it can take thousands of years to get us to the point of willingness to wake up. So we should not be expecting overnight enlightenment; neither should we not be expecting it. The attitude towards time that is encouraged by the Course is unconcern about it, since it is ultimately part of the illusion. "Atonement might be equated with a total escape from the past and total lack of interest in the future" (M-24.6:3).
When we make our little effort of five minutes for God, the Holy Spirit joins all of His strength with us (4:3). He takes the little we give and carries it around the world to every open mind. The gifts we give to Him are multiplied by Him ten million times (a thousandfold and tens of thousands more, 6:1). Take that literally or as a figure of speech, it doesn't matter, the meaning is the same; what we give to Him is multiplied and spread to millions of minds because all minds are joined. When I practice, I am not practicing for myself alone; my awakening mind stirs every mind. When you sit quietly for five minutes, you are saving the world.
For each little bit we give, we receive it back multiplied ten million times. "It will surpass in might the little gift you gave as much as does the radiance of the sun outshine the tiny gleam a firefly makes" (6:2). Does this sort of practice matter? You bet it does! When I remember what this lesson says, my time spent remembering "Spirit am I, a holy Son of God" (7:2) seems so much more meaningful and important. It isn't just little me struggling to do my meager practice; it is the Son of God remembering Himself. It is the awakening of the Christ in all mankind.