In light of recent lessons, my function is:
— To be the light of the world
— To forgive
— To bring peace to every mind
— To bring salvation to the world and thus to myself.
This lesson emphasizes that this is not a function you should just add into the mix. This is meant to be it. There shouldn’t be a mix. This is your only function. All the other functions are really meant to either drop away or turn into vehicles for this.
So we have two points here, the first one being by far the easiest:
- I am committed to salvation; that is my function.
- I have no other function than that. I relinquish all other goals I’ve invented for myself.The second one, of course, is what makes our heart catch in our throat. But you need both points. Without both, you can’t have total commitment. Without both, you cannot fully accept salvation as your only function. And without doing that, you can’t find real happiness.2:1. Taking your rightful place among the saviors of the world is a clear reference back to the last section of the Text: “Choose once again if you would take your place among the saviors of the world.”
10-15 minutes—something we began yesterday. It’s a good thing we have all that practice in thinking about the idea, because now we have to do it for a long time! We’ll be maintaining this “for a number of days to follow”—it’s important to remember this. It won’t be mentioned in 67, 68, and 69. It will help us fill the 10-15 minutes if we take sentences 2-4 seriously. You might want to read them again, slowly, inserting your name while you do.
These instructions can feel constricting, but unless we can pull this sort of thing off, how can real commitment blossom? So what are the instructions? We take this time at the same time each day. We decide that time in advance. And then we adhere to it. This arranges our day so that built into our day is time for God. In fact, that part gets put in first, and then other things have to work around it. It becomes a pillar of our day, a basic part of the day’s structure. Rather than something that floats around and only settles where other things leave room for it, this makes the statement that our function is a pillar in our lives, rather than something that only finds a place when other more important things have left room for it.
He assumes that we still will be pursuing our trivial purposes. But this means our real purpose gets a solid foot in the door. This gives it a chance to one day become our only purpose. In other words, in setting the time for our practice, we are only working on the first of those two points from paragraph 1: a commitment to our function. We are not yet working on the second point—chasing the other commitments away. For now, it’s assumed they will be there. That’s OK.
So, let’s decide this now. At what time of day do you want to take your practice period? Pick a time when you really have ten or fifteen minutes each day. I would pick it as early in the day as you reasonably can, as your mind will be fresh, and also there will be less possibility for other things to intrude. You might want to ask within.
Just like yesterday, the wandering thoughts are really about my other functions. The thoughts seem to derive their energy from the world, but they really derive it from the goals I am holding.
Don’t feel guilty about these thoughts—just observe them calmly.
Obviously, the purpose of the first phase is to get those thoughts out of the way. And it really does work: once you have given those other thoughts space to come in and then have dismissed them, they don’t come so much.
Here we have a great little snapshot of what “thinking about” the idea means. You think about its importance to you, the relief it contains, and how much you want what it brings. Let’s look at those more closely.
Importance to you: your real function is everything. A thing’s function is no small matter. For instance, a telephone’s function of allowing you to have distant conversations is not incidental. It’s what that thing is for.
Relief, by resolving conflicts: think of how much of your lack of peace comes from being torn between competing functions, especially torn between ego and God.
You really want salvation: we find it threatening and inconvenient, yet deep down we really want it. It drives us. It is the thirst we have to quench.
So in your thinking about, this is the sort of thing you are supposed to dwell on. You’ve heard of motivational speaking. This is motivational thinking.
Function determines perception. When you accept your function, you will perceive a different world.
Purpose: to let go of your usual goals, even if only for a little while, so you can focus on accepting the function God gave you as your only function.
Longer: 1 time, for 10-15 minutes
- Repeat the idea, then close your eyes and repeat it again.
- Watch your mind carefully for what you would consider normal thoughts passing across it. Observe each one dispassionately (as you were taught to do in earlier lessons) and say, “This thought reflects a goal that is preventing me from accepting my only function.” When you start to run out of such thoughts, try for another minute or so to catch any remaining thoughts, though don’t strain to find them. The point of this phase is to clear your mind of your usual goals and functions.
- Then say, “On this clean slate let my true function be written for me”—or words to that effect. Be willing to have your self-assigned functions be replaced by God’s.
- Repeat the idea again and spend the remainder doing the now familiar practice of thinking about the idea and letting related thoughts come. Having cleared out your usual functions, you are now trying “to understand and accept” (3:1) your true function, to actively reflect on it so that it becomes more your own. Focus particularly on the importance and desirability of your function, and the resolution and relief it will bring. When wandering thoughts arise, I suggest dispelling them with the line you have just used: “This thought reflects a goal…”
Remarks: When he says that you need to pick a time for the longer practice period, one that you’ll stick to today and for several days to come, that may very well sound threatening. Yet it makes perfect sense. You are on the road to giving your whole life to your true function. Giving it one time during the day, a time that is devoted only to it, a time that is like an unmoving boulder in the flowing stream of your trivial pursuits, is a start, a foot in the door. If you can’t let your true function have even a foot in the door, how will you ever reach the point where you give your whole life to it?
Frequent reminders: at least 1 per hour
Sometimes use the first form, at others times, the second.
- Close your eyes and say: “My only function is the one God gave me. I want no other and I have no other.”
- Look about you and say the same line, realizing that what you see will look completely different when you truly accept what you are saying. (I suggest giving this a try now and seeing the effect it has on you.)