Throughout the Workbook, we are told that the way to hear God's Voice is to still our own minds. This came through particularly clearly in Lesson 49, "God's Voice speaks to me all through the day," where we were instructed to quiet our minds and sink down in meditation to the deep place within where God's Voice is always speaking to us.
This is another lesson in listening to that Voice. "Listen," it says, "and hear your Father speak to you through His appointed Voice." In this lesson, though, we get a new slant on what it means to quiet our minds. It means to stop listening to the ego's voice telling us what will make us happy. This comes through repeatedly. In paragraph 1, we lay aside the ego's voice, the "petty gifts" it offers us, and its ideas about what salvation is.
In paragraph 2, we refuse to be misled by the voices of the dead, telling us that they have found the source of life. This is a colorful image that calls to mind the phenomenon of mediumship, but once again it is the voice of the ego, though perhaps coming to us in the form of external voices.
In paragraph 3, we circumvent the voices of the world-again the voice of the ego whispering to us from without and within.
So we tune out the ego's thoughts of what will bring us happiness, and we go instead to our Father, listening to His idea of what salvation is, what happiness is. As our Creator, surely He knows better than we do how we work, and so surely He knows better than we do what will make us happy. As the old TV show had it, Father knows best.
But it goes further than this, God needs our voice to speak to the rest of the world. He needs us to let Him fill us up from within, so we can give from that inner abundance. "The bringer of all miracles has need that you receive them first, and thus become the joyous giver of what you have received." Only by this process of filling up inside and then overflowing into the world will we find our own true happiness. "When everything is yours and everything is given away, it will remain with you forever."
This theme is reflected in our practice. We still our minds and ask our Father what it means to give and to receive. This is a central theme in the Course, as we saw yesterday, and the Course is equally clear that we don't understand it. Our little minds have great difficulty understanding that when I give something away, I actually receive it. It seems counterintuitive. So we need help. We need a bigger Mind to shine into ours and illuminate it with ideas larger than we can generate on our own. That is the theme of today's practice, a theme that will be revisited in Lesson 126.
Purpose: to lay aside the ego's voice, still your mind, and listen to your Father's Voice, and to then offer Him your voice to speak to all who need to hear His Word.
Longer: every hour on the hour, for 5 minutes (if you cannot do this, at least do the alternate)
- Say,"I will be still and listen to the truth. What does it mean to give and to receive?"
- Spend the rest of the time waiting for your answer from the Holy Spirit. It is important, however, to understand what you are really asking. You are asking to receive from God-to hear His Voice and receive His Word, to be filled up from within-so that you can give to your brothers, which in turn will make your receiving even more full and complete. It is important, then, to offer Him your willingness to give what you receive. This giving will apparently happen both within the practice period, as your mind goes out to other minds, and after the practice period, as what you experience today inspires you to actually "begin the ministry for which you came" (8:3). While you wait for your answer, remember the training you received in earlier lessons: Hold your mind in silent readiness, drawing it back when it lapses into listening to the ego's voice. Listen with confidence: "expect an answer" (8:1). And periodically repeat your question, to renew your posture of expectant waiting.
Frequent reminders: as often as possible
Say, "Let me be still and listen to the truth. I am the messenger of God today, My voice is His, to give what I receive." This will reinforce your choice to receive His Word, which prepares you to give.
Encouragement to practice: Be aware that your practice is not an act of solitary self-indulgence. Rather, by sitting down and doing your practice, you will literally be releasing minds all over the world. "For each five minutes spent in listening, a thousand minds are opened to the truth and they will hear the holy Word you hear" (9:2).