[acimlessons_list] REview VI Introduction
sue at circleofa.org
Thu Jul 19 06:12:28 EDT 2007
REVIEW VI INTRODUCTION
This is the final review of the Workbook, the end of Part I. Back in the
introduction to the Workbook we were told: <The workbook is divided into two
main sections, the first dealing with the undoing of the way you see now,
and the second with the acquisition of true perception> (W-In.3:1). The last
forty lessons or so have said they were preparing us for Part II of the
Workbook. So now we are coming to the end of the first phase of our
training. Presumably, if we have been doing the exercises as instructed (and
that is the real key, of course), we are now ready to enter a new, higher
phase of our practicing.
Two things are clearly different about the second part of the Workbook.
First, the written lessons are much, much shorter; none is more than a half
page, although we will be asked to read a one-page teaching section ten
times, once each day along with the lesson. The emphasis in the second part,
as we will see, is much less on learning new ideas (or unlearning old ones),
and much more on having new experiences, and on reinforcing the habits we
have formed during Part I.
The second major difference is that, from this review which ends Part I and
the introduction to Part II forward, the lessons contain <no more practice
instructions>. It seems quite clear that the pattern of practice we are
meant to follow has been established, and we are expected to know what it
is, and to follow it for the remaining 145 lessons of Part II.
That pattern was begun in Lesson 153, which established the longer morning
and evening quiet times, and the hourly remembrances. The remaining two
elements-frequent reminders between the hours, and response to temptation as
needed-remained somewhat optional for the rest of the lessons through 200.
It is only here, in the introduction to the final review, that they are
added in as something definitely expected of us every day.
<Besides the time you give morning and evening, which should not be less
than fifteen minutes, and the hourly remembrances you make throughout the
day, use the idea as often as you can between them> (W-pI.rVI.1:2). The word
<besides> makes it clear that these frequent reminders are now being given
<in addition> to the morning and evening quiet times and the hourly
remembrances. The response to temptation is clearly added as well, in
When you are tempted, hasten to proclaim your freedom from temptation,
as you say: <This thought I do not want. I choose instead _____.> And
repeat the idea for the day, and let it take the place of what you
Those four elements of practice, firmly set in place in this final review,
are meant to be the instructions we follow on a daily basis for the rest of
1. Morning and evening quiet time of not less than fifteen minutes each
2. Hourly remembrances of a few minutes, in which we recall the idea for
the day and
apply it to the hour past and the hour to come
3. Frequent reminders in between the hours, when we simply call the idea
4. Response to temptation, in which we deliberately replace our ego
thoughts with the thought for the day
We are told that any one of the ideas we are given is <sufficient for
salvation, if it were learned truly. Each would be enough to give release to
you and to the world from every form of bondage, and invite the memory of
God to come again> (1:3-4). This is true of the ideas to come, and also of
the ideas in the last twenty lessons. Notice the conditional phrases that
modify this statement, however: <if understood, practiced, accepted, and
applied to all the seeming happenings throughout the day> (2:2). Any one
idea is enough-<if> we apply that idea without exception (2:4).
If any single idea is enough, why do we need 365 lessons? The answer is
simple. The author knows perfectly well that we won't apply any single idea
without exception to every happening throughout every day. <And so we need
to use them all and let them blend as one, as each contributes to the whole
we learn> (2:5).
In this final review, which lasts for twenty days, repeating each day one of
the thoughts from the previous twenty days, we are asked to let our
practicing center around a unifying theme:
I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.
We are asked to repeat these three short sentences every morning and
evening, every hour, and every time in between that we remember our true
function here. We repeat it along with the review idea for the day. That
simple repetition is the only specific instruction we are given. Beyond
that, all that we are asked to do in our practice times is, in a short
phrase, to clear our minds of any opposing thoughts (3:8). This is to be a
<deep relinquishment> (3:8), not simply a blanking of the mind; a letting go
of every thought that stands in the way of sanity and truth.
We merely close our eyes, and then forget all that we thought we
knew and understood. (4:3)
In this final half of the Workbook we are moving <beyond all words> (4:1).
We are seeking to experience serenity and the peace of God.
The only exception is something we do when an <idle thought> (5:2) intrudes
itself into our quiet. Paragraph 5 gives us clear instructions about how to
deal with these intrusive thoughts, which will surely occur. The main point
is not to allow such a thought to simply pass by unchallenged. Rather, we
instruct our minds, <This is not a thought I want,> and replace it with the
idea for the day. We follow the same practice all through the day, whenever
we are tempted by our egos.
This is a rigorous kind of mind training. It asks a great deal of us. I
believe it is what is meant by the phrase in the Text, <Be vigilant only for
God and for His Kingdom> (T-6.V(C).2:8). How can we expect our minds to
become free of ego thinking if we let the ego's thoughts go unchallenged?
Early in the Text, Jesus tells us we are <much too tolerant of mind
wandering> (T-2.VI.4:6); this vigilant watchfulness, challenging the ego
thoughts and replacing them with thoughts of God, is the Course's remedy.
Jesus, the author, says that he places our practice periods in the hands of
the Holy Spirit (6:6; 7:1-2). We are to listen to Him for specifics about
what to <do and say and think, each time you turn to Him> (7:2). The primary
emphasis seems to be on simple quiet (6:6). Yet the mention of what we do
and say and think leaves us a great deal of latitude. Generally speaking, I
think, we can use any of the techniques we have practiced earlier in the
Workbook, such as forgiveness exercises, offering peace to the world,
reviewing situations in our lives and applying the idea for the day, and so
on. The major emphasis is on quietly listening to the Voice for God and
allowing our minds to come to serenity and peace. The Workbook has ended its
specific practice instructions, but now we are to learn to listen to the
Holy Spirit instead,
allowing Him to teach us how to go, and trusting Him completely
for the way each practice period can best become a loving gift of
freedom to the world. (7:4)
More information about the Acimlessons_list