This is our third encounter with the Workbook's premier lesson, "I am as God created me." The teaching contained in this idea was really given back in Lesson 93, which you may want to review.
Today's lesson does not review that teaching. It assumes you know it by now. What it emphasizes is the sheer power of this idea. What I suggest, then, is that you read the lesson today very slowly and consciously, looking out for statements of the power and importance of the idea. For instance, let's do that now with the first paragraph. First, read it:
This single thought, held firmly in the mind, would save the world. From time to time we will repeat it, as we reach another stage in learning. It will mean far more to you as you advance. These words are sacred, for they are the words God gave in answer to the world you made. By them it disappears, and all things seen within its misty clouds and vaporous illusions vanish as these words are spoken. 6 For they come from God.
Now try to pull out all statements of the power and/or the importance of today's idea. Here are the ones I found:
- This single thought, held firmly in the mind, would save the world.
- These words are sacred.
- They are the words God gave in answer to the world you made.
- By them it disappears.
- All things seen within its misty clouds and vaporous illusions vanish as these words are spoken.
- For they come from God.
My suggestion is that you continue to do that with every paragraph in the lesson. You don't need to write them down. Just mentally note, or even highlight in your book, those statements that speak of the power or the importance of today's idea. It will be impossible to do this and not start the day with strong motivation to practice this lesson.
As an added appreciation of today's idea, here is a blog post I wrote this past week about this lesson:
Today I was reading Lesson 162, "I am as God created me," and was struck by just how incredibly original A Course in Miracles is.
If you listen to traditional religion, it is clear that we have somehow defiled our souls. Indeed, in Christian theology, we are all born with the stain of original sin already on us. There are various solutions to this, various ways of cleaning up our soul. There is penance, church attendance, good deeds, prayer and meditation, and of course, accepting Jesus' sacrifice on the cross as paying our debt, so we can stand clean before God.
Quite understandably, many have become deeply disenchanted with this image of being guilty sinners who have to appease a judgmental God. It is so disempowering. So, in revolt against this image, now we all seek empowerment. I remember reading some New Age channeling which said that in the old age were children before God, but in the New Age, we are God.
But you don't have to believe that you are God to have accepted a sea change in values. The old values were about the self measuring up to standards "out there." In the new values, the self is the standard. You should feel good about yourself because you are you. Your feelings are good—express them. Your passions are sacred—pursue them. And your power is awesome—claim it. The whole problem of the defilement of your soul has been taken off the table. Now, the only sin is low self-esteem.
This seems to be the range of the options: "Feel bad about yourself and wipe the stain off your soul by obeying God" and "Feel good about yourself and obey your dreams and passion. Don't measure up to some 'good' out there; express the good within."
How remarkable, then, that the Course takes a completely different route, one that does not remotely resemble either of one these. It says, "You think you have defiled your soul, and this actually is the hidden source of all your suffering. You think you have lost your most priceless possession: your innocence. However, the solution is not to clean up your soul, and it's not to make the issue go away by empowering and affirming yourself. The solution is to accept a profound and complete disempowerment. Accept that God is so all-powerful that He is the only One with power over the state of your soul—over your true identity. Yes, you have made many mistakes. You have hurt many people, and quite intentionally. But none of that has defiled your identity, because you have no such power. Only God is allowed influence in that holy place, and the only thing He wills for your identity is holiness. Therefore, you have made no changes in your original innocence whatsoever. You are clean, because you are still as God created you.";
Now, whatever you think of that idea, you ought to at least be wondering one thing: Where on earth did that come from? That is not on the list of options. Who thinks that the answer to feeling like such miserable sinners in church is to give God more power? Intuitively, that feels like it's so obviously the wrong way to go. I mean, if we give Him more power, the whole problem just gets worse, right? Now, we become mere worms before the all-powerful Judge.
I have never encountered any teaching outside the Course that says, "In response to feeling like a sinner, realize that when it comes to what you are, you have no power, and God has all the power, and He created you holy." Who is saying that outside the Course?
That kind of originality amazes me. Apart from the beauty and practicality of the idea, I am simply amazed at how someone could come up with an idea in this vital area that no one else seems to have thought of. It makes you wonder if the Course is right and its ideas really did come from beyond the human.
Purpose: to accept the perfect holiness that is your right, to recognize the Son of God in you. And to thereby bring this acceptance and recognition to everyone.
Morning/evening quiet time: at least 5 minutes; ideally, 30 or more
My suggestion: Spend this time in deep meditation. Let the power of these sacred words ("I am as God created me") carry you to the place in your mind where you experience the Self that God created as you. You might want to begin this meditation by reviewing the various images you hold of yourself, stating each one in the form "I see myself as…" and letting each one go by affirming, "But I am as God created me."
Hourly remembrance: 1 or 2 minutes as the hour strikes (reduce if circumstances do not permit)
Dwell on the idea and let it carry your mind to stillness. Then thank your Father for His gifts in the hour gone by. And ask His guidance for the hour to come.
Overall remarks: I recommend making a conscious decision to steep your mind in these words today. Begin the day with them, end the day with them, and try to keep them with you all the time in between. If you do so, you will experience their power to uplift your condition. They can transform your mind into the treasure house in which all of God's gifts are stored, ready for you to distribute them to the world. Today's lesson assumes that your understanding of this idea has deepened, for whereas in earlier occurrences of it (94 and 110), you were given additional lines to repeat, this lesson says you need no extra thoughts to draw out its meaning (4:2).