[acimlessons_list] Lesson 183 - July 2
sue at circleofa.org
Tue Jul 1 05:58:05 EDT 2008
Lesson 183 - July 2
I call upon God's Name and on my own.
Purpose: To go past the defense of valuing other gods, of valuing the idols
of the world, and so experience the true God. This will intensify your
motivation and strengthen your commitment.
Morning/evening quiet time: At least five minutes; ideally, thirty or more.
This lesson is the introduction of what I call Name of God meditation. This
meditation (which is described more fully in the cameo essay on p. XXX) can
be summarized in the following way:
* Choose a name for God that you will use. You may want to ask within for
* Close your eyes and repeat the idea for today just once.
* After that, simply <repeat God's Name slowly again and still again> (6:1).
Do not, however, repeat it as a mere word. Repeat it as a heartfelt
invitation to God. Fully expect Him to hear. <And God will come, and answer
it Himself> (7:2). You are asking, then, for the experience of God, and of
your true Self, which is part of Him. Repeat the Name, then, with all the
desire you have to know God and yourself. Repeat it as <the only wish [you]
* Whenever your mind wanders and starts thinking about the idols of the
world, repeat the Name to dispel those thoughts. It will help if you repeat
it with the awareness that the Name is everything and the things you were
thinking about are nothing.
Hourly remembrance: One or two minutes as the hour strikes (reduce if
circumstances do not permit).
Do a short version of the morning/evening exercise. Close by asking for
God's guidance for the coming hour and thanking Him for His gifts in the
Response to temptation: When tempted to cherish an idol, a valueless thing
of this world.
Repeat God's Name, realizing that this Name signifies everything you want,
while the idol is nothing.
God's Name, as the term is used in this lesson and the next, symbolizes His
Identity and our identity with Him. God's name is not Jehovah, or Krishna,
or Allah. Yet any of those symbols could be used to represent Him. When this
lesson urges us to <repeat God's Name,> what, then, do we say? The actual
word we use does not matter; it is the concept of His Identity that is to be
foremost in our minds. We might say the word <God> over and over, or
<Father,> or <Divine Mother,> or whatever word best symbolizes for us the
Identity of God.
The general practice outlined in this lesson is very similar to practices in
Eastern religions of repeating the Name of God over and over, and the intent
is very much the same. In the Eastern spiritual practices, this often takes
the form of chanting. The Hare Krishna religion, for instance, gains its
name from the practice of repeatedly and seemingly endlessly chanting, <Hare
Krishna, Hare Rama,> which (I think) basically means <Praise Krishna. Praise
Rama,> with Krishna and Rama being names of God. A Christian group I once
belonged to had a major emphasis on the practice of repeating the words <O
Lord Jesus> for extended periods of time, with exactly the same kind of
intent, and with often remarkable results. Although this kind of practice is
not a major emphasis of the Course, clearly it is one means offered by the
Course for helping us find the holy instant. The one difference I see here
is that (in 5:4) the repetitions are meant to be silent and done <within
your quiet mind,> rather than aloud.
By focusing on God's Identity, we loosen the hold that all lesser names have
on our minds. We counter the illusion of separation in recognizing the one
Name that represents everything there is: <There is one Name for all there
is, and all that there will be> (8:5).
Many results are attributed in this lesson to repeating the Name of God: it
reminds us of our identity with Him (1:5); it invites the angels to surround
us and keep us safe, recognizing the holiness we share with God (2:2); it
prompts the world to lay down all illusions (3:1); it causes all idols to
fall (4:1, 3-4); it calls upon our Self, the extension of God that we are
(5:1); it acknowledges God as sole Creator of reality (8:1).
We are encouraged, almost as an aside, to do this practice with someone
else, sitting together in silence and repeating God's Name in our minds;
this seems to have particular merit, for by it we establish <an altar which
reaches to God Himself and to His Son> (5:4). This is the only place I am
aware of in the Course in which meditation with another person is even
mentioned, but it is a very favorable mention, and indicates there is some
added value in joining with others in meditation.
The primary idea of the practice seems to be that the thought of God
replaces every other idea in our minds, and if other ideas enter, we can
respond to them with God's Name (8:3-5). Instead of praying for any specific
thing, or any specific persons (all of which have names that distinguish
them from everything else), we repeat the Name of God which includes them
all. <No prayer but this is necessary, for it holds them all within it>
(10:2). As we repeat God's Name we can alter our mental state to experience
the gift of grace (9:1); eventually we come to a place where <the universe
consists of nothing but the Son of God, who calls upon His Father> (11:4).
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