Practice Instructions Review VI

Purpose: To carefully review the last twenty lessons, each of which contains the whole curriculum. To go with quickened pace along the path to God. To finish our preparation (begun in Lesson 141) for entering a higher phase of learning: Part II.

Morning/evening quiet time: At least fifteen minutes.

For our longer practice periods, we are doing what I call Open Mind Meditation.

  • Begin by repeating, "I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me."
  • Then repeat today's idea, perhaps also repeating the italicized lines that follow the idea (which are meant "to aid in practicing"—6:5).
  • For the bulk of the time, close your eyes and relinquish all mental clutter and all beliefs you have about yourself and the world. Hold your mind in silent readiness to receive the experience of God. Do not repeat words. Simply wait for that experience to dawn, holding your mind still and expectant without the aid of verbalizing. Rather than relying on words, rely on the Holy Spirit. Offer the practice period to Him, and be open to His guidance, which may take your meditation in unexpected directions.
  • If a wandering thought intrudes—which will no doubt happen regularly—immediately respond with, "This thought I do not want. I choose instead [today's idea]." This is perhaps the Workbook's most effective way of dispelling distracting thoughts.
  • Close by again repeating, "I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me."

Hourly remembrance: One or two minutes as the hour strikes (reduce if circumstances do not permit).

Repeat the idea, plus the central thought, "I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me." Then spend a quiet moment in Open Mind Meditation, waiting in stillness to feel the peace of God.

Frequent reminder: As often as possible within each hour.

Repeat the idea for the day, plus, "I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me."

Response to temptation: (Suggestion) when you are tempted to be upset.

Quickly proclaim your freedom by saying, "This thought I do not want. I choose instead [today's idea]."

Overall remarks: The preceding forty-eight lessons have schooled us in a basic framework of practice, which includes morning and evening practice periods and hourly remembrances. What is missing from this framework are the frequent reminders, which were such an important focus earlier in the Workbook. Here, those are finally added back into the mix, so that now, as we prepare to enter Part II, we have in place the entire fourfold structure of practice: Morning and evening quiet time, hourly remembrance, frequent reminders, and response to temptation (the last item has been present throughout the Workbook, as well as in many of the last forty-eight lessons).

In this review, in a continuation of a trend that began in Lesson 124, words and specific instructions are even further withdrawn. We repeat words at the beginning and then pass into a silence that is empty of thoughts and words. This lack of structure, we are told, will help us "reach a quickened pace along a shorter path to the serenity and peace of God" (4:2). It will help prepare us for the formlessness of Part II.

It is implied that God might show up in the form of the Holy Spirit inspiring us to practice in some particular way. He may, as the final lessons say, give us a word to help our practice, or a thought to focus on, or just "stillness and a tranquil, open mind" (W-pII.361-365.1:3). If He directs you to practice in a more specific way, then fine. Otherwise, the instructions are to wait in a mental silence without words or thoughts.

In keeping with this reliance on the Holy Spirit, Jesus asks us to place every practice period in His hands, and, at the outset, to dedicate the entire review to Him.

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