I will be still an instant and go home.
Purpose: To go past your defensiveness and briefly go home with the Christ Child in you. To have an experience of the eternal innocence in you. This experience will firm up your willingness to follow "the way the course sets forth" (W-pI.In.181-200.1:4).
Morning/evening quiet time: At least five minutes; ideally, thirty or more.
The exercise today is clearly a meditation. Begin by repeating the idea and then stilling your mind. Lay aside all your sense of defensiveness, all your need to protect yourself against an alien world that cares not about your needs. Throughout the meditation, whenever your thoughts wander, respond by repeating the idea.
The more you still your mind, the more, perhaps, you get in touch with a call in you, an inner pull to experience a sense of home that nothing in this world can provide. This pull is actually the call of the Christ Child in you, an element of your true Self Who feels dragged down into this world's smoggy atmosphere by the weight of your sleeping mind, and Who "desires to go home so deeply, so unceasingly, His voice cries unto you to let Him rest a while" (5:3).
Let this inner pull draw you to your real home, which lies deep within. As the Text says, "You do not remember how to look within for you do not believe your home is there" (T-12.IV.5:4). Let this Child take you there. Let Him carry you to your Father's house, and then rest there with Him "in perfect stillness, silent and at peace, beyond all words, untouched by fear and doubt, sublimely certain that you are at home" (8:3).
Hourly remembrance: One or two minutes as the hour strikes (reduce if circumstances do not permit).
Do a brief version of the longer practice. Be still an instant and go home with the Christ Child. You may also want to ask for guidance for the next hour and thank God for His gifts in the last hour.
Another lesson about the holy instant. Notice how the thread about "instants," "moments," and "intervals" of stillness, quiet, and withdrawal from the world, begun in the introduction to this series of lessons and in Lesson 181, carries through nearly every lesson up to Lesson 200, the end of this series. It wasn't until my third or fourth time through these lessons that I realized they were all instructions in consciously setting aside short periods every day and attempting to enter the holy instant. The themes seem to differ, but all the difference lies in which block to our awareness of love's presence is being considered. The aim is always the same: a short suspension of that block, and the experience of a new awareness that comes when the block is momentarily removed.
The block being considered today is simply the temptation to find satisfaction, or to feel at home, in this world. We spend most of our lives in an attempt to adjust to the world, or to adjust the world to ourselves. It seems quite natural to us to try to be comfortable here, and we expend a great deal of effort trying to do so. This lesson appeals to us to set that effort aside, just for a brief while, and to recognize the childlike voice within us that is crying to go home—home to Heaven. We need to acknowledge that "this world you seem to live in is not home to you" (1:1). And, recognizing this is so, to take time each day to allow this Child within us to "rest a while" (5:3) and, for "just a few instants of respite…[to] return to breathe again the holy air that fills His Father's house" (5:4).
This lesson is perhaps the most poetically beautiful lesson in the entire Workbook. Some of you have heard, perhaps, the poignant reading of most of this lesson by Beverly Hutchinson on the tape The Forgotten Song. It is hard for me to listen without tears, and I don't bother trying. Tears are fine, but not enough; we need to hear the appeal and to act upon it: "Rest with Him frequently today" (9:1). "Go home with Him from time to time today" (10:3). "Be still an instant and go home with Him, and be at peace a while" (12:9).
The thought of this lesson has had a powerful effect in my life. Sometimes when I am feeling my lowest—dry, dull, and discouraged—just quietly closing my eyes and saying, "I want to go home" is enough to break the spell and allow the peace of God into my mind.
Another passage, towards the end of the lesson, has had an equally powerful effect on me:
You have not lost your innocence. It is for this you yearn. This is your heart's desire. This is the voice you hear, and this the call which cannot be denied. (12:1-4)
When I remember these words, I seem to be always surprised at the soothing effect they have. I had not realized, until I repeated them, how deeply I was feeling that I had lost my innocence, how much the source of my depression was a hidden belief in my own loss of innocence. I suddenly realize that, yes, this is what I am yearning for; this is my heart's desire.
If you can, right now as you read this, stop, and be still an instant, and go home with me. It is so easy to do. Why delay an instant longer?