by Robert Perry
Hopefully, you are becoming fairly comfortable with the “thinking about” form of practice. It is something you want to learn because it is not only important for this review, it is also an essential tool in your overall practice kit. When you repeat the idea to yourself-the most basic form of practice in the Workbook-it will heighten the effect of that idea if you spend, say, twenty seconds thinking about, or more descriptively, talking yourself into it.
So, for instance, let’s say your idea for the day is Lesson 46, “God is the Love in which I forgive myself.” When you repeat that, you can add on some thoughts to talk yourself into it. You can say, “If only I was in touch with God’s Love, given how immense and unconditional it is, I would find forgiveness to be a breeze. It would be so natural. That must mean I find forgiveness hard only because my love is so conditional. But even now I can choose to remember that a Love exists that is boundless. And that can grease the wheels of my forgiveness now. I want to do that.”
I think you can see that repeating the idea by itself would not be as powerful as repeating it along with talking yourself into it. That is why we want to learn this skill. We want to make it a permanent part of our practice repertoire. In fact, when this review finishes, we won’t be done with it. It will crop up quite a lot in the lessons following the review.
Just as a reminder, here is my summary of the instructions for this review:
Purpose: to review the lessons and therefore let them sink in a notch deeper. Also, to see how they interrelated they are and how cohesive the thought system is that they are leading you to.
Exercise: as often as possible (suggestion: every hour on the hour), for at least 2 minutes
- Alone in a quiet place, read one of the five lessons and the related comments. Notice that the comments are written as if they are your own thoughts about the idea. Try to imagine that they are. It will help if you frequently insert your name. This will set you up for the next phase, in which you generate similar thoughts of your own.
- Close your eyes and think about the idea and the comments. Think particularly about the central point of the commentary paragraph. Reflect on it. Let related thoughts come (utilizing the training you’ve received in that practice). If your mind wanders, repeat the idea and then get back to your reflection. This is the same basic exercise as in Lesson 50, in which you actively think about ideas in order to let them sink more deeply into your mind.
- At the beginning and end of the day read all five lessons.
- Thereafter, cover one lesson per practice period, in no particular order.
- Cover each lesson at least once.
- Beyond that, concentrate on a particular lesson if it appeals to you most.
Today’s reviews have the nice property of telling a complete story:
31: I can walk out of prison into the sunlight; nothing is holding me there.
32: I walk out by realizing I have invented this prison and that my reality is forever free.
33: The world is not really a prison. In fact, it is a place where God’s Son can be set free.
34: Seeing the world as a place of freedom leads to realizing that peace abides in everyone’s hearts.
35: As I share this peace with my brothers, I begin to see that holiness abides in me and in all things.
PARAGRAPH 1: (31) I am not the victim of the world I see.
Remember, in these exercises, we are supposed to think about the idea and also think about the central point of the commentary paragraph. To do that, we obviously have to have some sense of what that central point is. So when we read the commentary paragraph, try to get a sense of its central point. Please go ahead and read that comments for this first lesson now, and see what you would characterize as its central point.
I would say the central point is: I am not a victim of the world because I can leave its prison anytime I choose; nothing holds me there.
Notice also the imagery here, which you may want to use in your thought process. My chains are loosened, the prison door is open. Yet I wait, rooted to the spot by an insane wish to be in prison. Yet I can give up this wish and “walk into the sunlight at last.”
Here, then, is what a sample thought process might look like, which in this case is also a bit of a visualization: I pictured myself in a prison cell, feeling like a victim of the system, filled with resentment over my incarceration. But then I look down and see that my chains are loosened, ready to drop off. Then I look up and see that my prison door is open. I can get up and walk out into the sunlight, the sunlight of vision. Then I realize it has been this way for a long time. Actually, it’s my insane wishes to stay in this cell keep me a prisoner. How can I consider myself a victim? What am I waiting for?
Note this line from Lesson 279: “Should I wait in chains which have been severed for release, when God is offering me freedom now?” (W-pII.279. 1:5)
PARAGRAPH 2: (32) I have invented the world I see.
Sample thought process: “I made up the prison I find myself in, and it remains totally imaginary. I am the Son of God. How could I think I could imprison god’s Son? What a crazy belief! I am not the prisoner I made myself to be. I am as God created me. I am not in the prison house I made. I am where God would have me be. It is not about getting free. I am free right now. I just need to acknowledge it.”
PARAGRAPH 3: (33) There is another way of looking at the world.
Sentences 5 and 6 in this paragraph have always felt important to me. They provide us with two very different ways of seeing the prison of this world. One is that it really is a prison. The other is that it’s a place where we can be set free. Both views acknowledge that we experience life here as imprisonment. But the first gives power to the prison, while the second gives power to freedom. The second says that the real story here is that we are here to get free.
Sample thought process: “I do see the world as a prison house for God’s Son. We all seem in prison here, in one way or another. But this is the purpose I have ascribed to it. This is not its real meaning. That’s not the truth about it. Since my thinking is upside down, the truth must be the opposite. The world, then, must really be a place where the Son of God finds his freedom. Let me see it as this. Let me see everyone as here to find his freedom. Even if he procrastinates in that, that is still why he is here. And he will accomplish it eventually. What a glorious thought!”
PARAGRAPH 4: (34) I could see peace instead of this.
Sample thought process: “The world really reflects the laws of God. Therefore, despite appearances, it is really a place of peace. Peace is here, always shining behind the attacks. And peace abides in everyone’s heart. Let me see this peace and let me abide in it, rather than focusing on the clashing forms that my eyes see.”
PARAGRAPH 5: (35) My mind is part of God’s. 2 I am very holy.
Sample thought process: “If I could just bring out the best in me-the peace, the forgiveness, the love-and give that to the world, I would see a different world. I would see a world that was shining all that back on me. And I would finally begin to understand the truth about me-that I’m forgiven. That peace is an innate part of me. That I’m holy.”