Practice Instructions Review III

Purpose: A second chance at the last twenty lessons, in which you can practice them more diligently, and which can carry you so far ahead that you will continue your journey "on more solid ground, with firmer footsteps and with stronger faith" (12:3).

Remarks: Please follow the format below as closely as you can. If you miss a practice period (either the longer ones or the every-half-hour ones) because you simply couldn't do it at the appointed time, your progress is not hindered. Don't worry about making those ones up. If, however, you missed because you just didn't want to give the time, your progress is hindered. Those ones should be made up. You missed because you thought some other activity would deliver more. As soon as you remember that "your practicing can offer everything to you" (4:5), do your make-up practice periods as a statement that your real goal is salvation.

In deciding if you should make up a practice period, be very honest with yourself. Do not try to pass off "I didn't want to practice" as "I couldn't practice." Learn to discern between situations truly unsuited to practicing and those in which you could practice if you wanted.

Longer: Two-one in the morning, one in the hour before sleep (ideally the first and last five minutes of your day), for five minutes (longer if you prefer).

  • Read over the two ideas and the comments about them, so that the ideas are firmly placed in your mind.
  • Then close your eyes and begin to think about the ideas and also to let related thoughts come (you should remember both of these practices from earlier lessons). This time, however, there is an important twist. Let your mind search out various needs, problems, and concerns in your life. As each one arises, let your mind come up with thoughts related to the ideas, thoughts which apply the essence of those ideas to the need, problem, or concern. In other words, let your mind creatively apply the ideas so as to dispel your sense of need, problem, or concern. This is a more developed version of letting related thoughts come, in which this technique combines with response to temptation (there were hints of this in Review II—see my comments on response to temptation in my Review II practice instructions).
  • Remember your training in letting related thoughts come: place the ideas in your mind. Trust your mind's inherent wisdom to generate related thoughts (this trust is a big theme in this review). Don't strain—let your mind come up with thoughts. The thoughts need only be indirectly related to the ideas, though they should not be in conflict. If your mind wanders, or you draw a blank, repeat the ideas and try again.
  • If you try this and it is just too unstructured for you, I have found the following more structured version to be useful:
  1. Let a need, problem, or concern come to mind, and name it to yourself (for example, "I see this conflict with so-and-so as a problem").
  2. Repeat one or both of the ideas for the day (for instance, "I am spirit").
  3. While repeating the idea, watch your mind for any sparks of insight that arise which apply the idea to your need, problem, or concern, and verbalize this insight to yourself (for example, "As spirit, I cannot be hurt. I am totally invulnerable").
  4. Either continue with more such related thoughts, or go on to the next need, problem, or concern.

Frequent reminders: On the hour and on the half hour, for a moment.

  • Repeat the applicable idea (on the hour, the first idea; on the half hour, the second idea).
  • Allow your mind to rest in silence and peace for a moment.
  • Afterwards, try to carry the idea with you, keeping it ready for response to temptation.

Response to temptation: Whenever your peace is shaken.

Repeat the idea (the one you are carrying with you from your last practice period). By applying the idea to the business of the day, you will make that business holy.

Remarks: These shorter practice periods (frequent reminders and response to temptation) are at least as important as the longer. By skipping these, which you have tended to do, you have not allowed what you gained in the longer periods to be applied to the rest of your life, where it could show just how great its gifts are. After your longer practice periods, don't let your learning "lie idly by" (10:1). Reinforce it with the frequent reminders every half hour. And after those, do not lay the idea down (11:3). Have it poised and ready to use in response to all your little upsets. In this way, you forge a continuous chain that reaches from your longer practice periods all the way into the hustle and bustle of your day.

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