[acimlessons_list] Lesson 232 - August 20
sue at circleofa.org
Thu Aug 19 06:13:15 EDT 2010
Lesson 232 - August 20
"BE IN MY MIND, MY FATHER, THROUGH THE DAY."
See complete Part II practice instructions.
A short summary:
* READ the commentary paragraph slowly and personally.
* PRAY the prayer, perhaps several times.
* MORNING AND EVENING: Repeat the idea and then spend time in Open Mind
* HOURLY REMEMBRANCE: Repeat the idea and then spend a quiet moment in
* FREQUENT REMINDERS: Repeat the idea often within each hour.
* RESPONSE TO TEMPTATION: Repeat the idea whenever upset, to restore peace.
* READ THE "WHAT IS" SECTION slowly and thoughtfully once during the day.
Practice suggestion: The prayer for today's lesson is one of my favorites in
the Workbook. I have benefited from a practice that you may want to try
today: Attempt to have the kind of day the prayer describes by focusing on
each part of the prayer at the time of day which that part speaks of. Here
is how it might look:
* FROM THE MOMENT OF WAKING TO 9 AM, make this line your frequent reminder:
<"Be in my mind, my Father, when I wake, and shine on me throughout the day
* FROM 9 AM TO 5 PM, make this line your frequent reminder: <"Let every
minute be a time in which I dwell with You.">
* ON THE HOUR THROUGHOUT THE DAY, repeat: <"And let me not forget my hourly
thanksgiving that You have remained with me, and always will be there to
hear my call to You and answer me.">
* FROM 5 PM TO 9 PM, make this line your frequent reminder: <"As evening
comes, let all my thoughts be still of You and of Your Love.">
* AS YOU BEGIN EVENING QUIET TIME AND WHILE YOU DROP OFF TO SLEEP, repeat,
<"And let me sleep sure of my safety, certain of Your care, and happily
aware I am Your Son.">
When I wake, God is in my mind; His Presence is with me and in my awareness.
His Love, and the joy and peace of knowing God are with me; they take
precedence over any other thoughts. Physical discomfort and concerns about
scheduling the day arise, but none of these displace the peace of God; it is
my bedrock, my foundation, and my first concern. It is a constant awareness,
like the background hum of an air conditioner, always there, often
unnoticed, but ready to be noticed any time I turn my attention to it.
"Let every minute be a time in which I dwell with You" (1:2). Here <is> my
desire! To dwell with God every minute of the day. It reminds me of John 15
in the New Testament: "Abide in me, and I in you" (John 15:4). Or the Old
Testament expression of the same idea: "The eternal God is a dwelling place,
and underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deut. 33:27, nasb). Let me
remember today, each hour, to say, "Thank You for being with me today. Thank
You for <always> being with me."
As evening comes, let all my thoughts be still of You and of Your Love. And
let me sleep sure of my safety, certain of Your care, and happily aware I am
Your Son. (1:4-5)
Sure of my safety. Thus, free of all fear. For the most part, our lives are
run by fears of various kinds; the ego is driven by fear. Peace is the
absence of fear. And since fear is only the absence of love, peace and love
are interdependent. When I am loving, I am peaceful. When I am peaceful, I
am loving. Where I am sure of my safety, knowing the Presence of God in
every moment, I am at peace and love flows through me.
"This is as every day should be" (2:1). This is the goal for life in this
world: to live every day with God in my mind. To wake in His Presence, to
walk in His shining Love, and to sleep in His care and protection. To so
live that His Presence becomes my foreground and all else, the hum and
bustle of the world, becomes background.
What is a day like for someone who has learned what the Course is teaching?
Simply this: To constantly practice the end of fear. To walk with faith in
Him Who is my Father, trusting all things to Him, letting Him reveal all
things to me, and in everything to be undismayed because I am His Son
WHAT IS SALVATION?
PART 2: W-PII.2.1:4
How does salvation work? The essence of it is stated here in a single
sentence: "God's Word is given every mind which thinks that it has separate
thoughts, and will replace these thoughts of conflict with the Thought of
peace" (1:4). The instant our mind had a thought of conflict, God's Word was
implanted in our mind as well. Before disaster could even begin, the Answer
You and I, who think of ourselves as separate entities, are such minds,
which think that they have separate thoughts. But God's Word has been
implanted in us; the truth lies beneath all our self-deception. From within,
the Thought of God is quietly working, waiting, moving to replace all our
thoughts of conflict. The thoughts of conflict are myriad, taking thousands
of forms, each in conflict with the universe and most in conflict with each
other. The Thought of peace is one. It is the one remedy to every thought of
conflict, whether it be hatred, anger, despair, frustration, bitterness, or
death. The Thought of God heals them all.
The remedy lies within me, now. This is salvation: To turn within to the
Thought of peace, and find it there within myself.
* * *
BE IN MY MIND, MY FATHER
There is tremendous value in really praying the prayers in Part II of the
Workbook. I have found this to be one of the most rewarding elements of
Workbook practice. I highly recommend doing this, speaking these prayers
(silently or aloud) directly to God as deeply felt personal communications,
as a kind of "love speech" between the created and the Creator. For that is
exactly how these prayers read.
To encourage this practice I want to focus on the prayer for Lesson 232,
which is probably my favorite prayer in the entire Course. I have used this
prayer countless times. If I am driving some distance I will sometimes spend
the time praying it over and over. Over time each line has come to feel
permeated with a beautiful meaning. I would like to share that meaning now,
by going through the prayer, line by line, commenting on each line as I go.
I would strongly encourage you to go beyond merely reading the following
material and actually pray the prayer with me as I go through it. To do so,
I suggest the following form: Preferably do it in the morning, since, as you
will see, the prayer assumes that. Read the line from the prayer and then
read my commentary on that line. Then go back to the line I am commenting on
and spend some time really speaking it to God. If you can, spend a full
minute or two with it, dwelling on it, going over and over it, perhaps
adding your own elaborations, until it really sinks in and registers in your
feelings. Hopefully, my commentary will have enriched this experience, but
see what new meanings come out of your time spent with that line. Then go on
to the next line and its commentary, repeating the same process.
<Be in my mind, my Father, when I wake, and shine on me throughout the day
today. Let every minute be a time in which I dwell with You. And let me not
forget my hourly thanksgiving that You have remained with me, and always
will be there to hear my call to You and answer me. As evening comes, let
all my thoughts be still of You and of Your Love. And let me sleep sure of
my safety, certain of Your care, and happily aware I am Your Son>.
"BE IN MY MIND, MY FATHER, WHEN I WAKE,"
Notice what a personal communication this opening line is. You are asking
someone to be inside of your mind. In a way this is more intimate than
asking someone to be in your <bed> when you wake. And you are asking it of
"my Father." This is not the same as saying "God." It makes this God
<yours>. Being yours, you don't really have to <ask> that He be in your
mind. "Be in my mind" is not a question. There is nothing timid about it.
There is no "please would you perhaps be in my mind, Your Greatness?" In
saying this line you are assuming you have the right to walk up to God,
address Him as your Father, and simply say, "Be in my mind." You can even
give Him a time: "when I wake." You are not a servant in the fields, but a
son in the household, with every right to his father's presence.
How wonderful it would be to wake up in this state, to open our eyes in the
morning feeling God's Presence in our mind. Because we are not so alert when
we awake, we usually have only the most basic and immediate things on our
mind--making coffee, getting to the bathroom, being ready for an
appointment. What if, instead, <God> was the most basic and immediate thing
to us? What if, as soon as we came out of sleep, He was the foremost thing
on our mind, and we felt Him within us? Perhaps we wouldn't greet the new
day with our customary sense of burden, our urge to turn off the alarm clock
and pull the sheets over our head. Maybe we wouldn't even be so groggy.
Perhaps we would feel something like what the following passage says. It is
talking about forgiveness, but we could also apply to God: "[He] sparkles on
your eyes as you awake, and gives you joy with which to meet the day"
"AND SHINE ON ME THROUGHOUT THE DAY TODAY."
This line calls to mind an image of God as the perfect warm sun that feels
just right, not too hot and not too remote. Like the sun, He rises on you in
the morning and shines on you all through the day. Also like the sun, His
shining is completely impartial. He shines without letup, whether you are
peaceful or angry, kind or cruel. He just shines. Yet what He shines is not
physical light. For what is shining here is not a physical object like the
sun. What does it mean for a <person> to shine on you? It means for that
person to radiate on you the warmth of his love and approval. For God to
shine on you, then, is for God to <smile> on you, as another one of the
Workbook prayers says:
<I am he on whom You smile in love and tenderness so dear and deep and still
the universe smiles back on You, and shares Your Holiness. How pure, how
safe, how holy, then, are we, abiding in Your Smile, with all Your Love
bestowed upon us>. (WpII.341.1:23)
So, if you will, just imagine yourself basking in His sun, abiding in His
smile, "throughout the day today"--at noon, at three, at five, as you sit at
your desk, as you drive in your car. And imagine that happening <today>. As
I said above, it helps to fill in the day of the week and the date.
"LET EVERY MINUTE BE A TIME IN WHICH I DWELL WITH YOU."
Who would you say this kind of a thing to? Imagine walking up to a friend
and saying, "Let every minute be a time in which I dwell with you." If this
person really thought you meant it, you might get slapped with a restraining
order. To say this to someone you must not only have an all-consuming desire
to be with that person, but you must have an extraordinary permission that
removes the normal boundaries of politeness and courtesy.
Not only am I stating my desire to be with God every minute, being with Him
seems to be what primarily characterizes each minute. Each one is not a time
in which I am mainly doing other things, but am also somewhat cognizant of
God. Each minute is entitled "a time in which I dwell with You." That is
what defines it; that is what it is, even if other activities occur on its
periphery. And what engrossing things am I doing with God as He and I pass
the minutes away? Just dwelling. Just being together. Just resting our heads
against each other. That's all.
And so I ask you again, who would you say this to? It would have to be
someone you wanted to be with so much that it would be completely satisfying
to be together every minute, without diversions or other activities, doing
nothing else but "dwelling" in each other's presence. And it would have to
be someone whom you knew would not reject you, but wanted to dwell with you
just as constantly.
"AND LET ME NOT FORGET MY HOURLY THANKSGIVING THAT YOU HAVE REMAINED WITH
Imagine a relationship that was so precious, so irreplaceable, that you
wanted to sit down every single hour of every single day and thank that
person just for <remaining> with you. Imagine doing this not because it was
your duty and not because otherwise he would leave. Of your own free will
you wanted to "not forget [your] hourly thanksgiving," simply to experience
the sweetness of your gratitude. If we had such a relationship, words could
not capture the treasure it would be in our life. Little do we realize that
we already do have such a relationship, and always have had it.
When I say this part of the prayer to God, my mind often spontaneously adds,
"in spite of it all." God has remained with me in spite of it all. We each
have our own versions of what "it all" is. Yet all those versions come down
to one thing: We left Him. We dumped Him for other lovers. Even while we
drove away, however, He climbed in the back seat. Though we left Him, He
remained with us. Therefore, we really didn't succeed in leaving Him at all.
And that is cause for endless gratitude. Thanking Him every hour of every
day hardly begins to capture it.
"AND ALWAYS WILL BE THERE TO HEAR MY CALL TO YOU AND ANSWER ME."
Here are more reasons to thank God every single hour. If you are lucky,
there have been certain people in your life who have always been there for
you. What greater gift can one have in this world? How can you ever tell
these people the depth of your gratitude? This line portrays God as a kind
of perfect, omnipresent version of these people. So sure are you of His
fidelity that you are thanking Him in advance. You just finished thanking
Him for remaining with you up until now. Now you thank Him because you trust
He <"always will"> remain with you.
Yet more than just remain, He will always <"be there"> for you. He will hear
your every call and answer every one. What are these calls? They are not
just confined to your intentional prayers. According to the Course, every
thought and feeling, every bit of pain or pleasure, everything you
experience or do, is a call to your Father, a call for His Love. This line,
then, anticipates that He will truly hear every single call and will answer
every one with His Love.
A great example of this is found in Lesson 267: "Each heartbeat calls His
Name, and every one is answered by His Voice, assuring me I am at home in
Him" (WpII.267.1:7). What a wonderful image. Each heartbeat, this says,
calls on God's Name. You are calling to Him sixty, maybe ninety times a
minute. And what is the call of your heart? Is it not to be loved, to
belong, to have a home? Thus, for every single heartbeat, God answers you,
assuring you that you are loved by Him, that you have a home in Him.
Of course, most of us do not really trust that God is hearing every call,
and especially do not trust that He is answering. Yet imagine for a moment
that the Course is right, and He has always been there, never leaving, never
disapproving, infinitely patient, silently hearing every plea and instantly
responding with all His Love? What if this is going on all the time and you
have just turned a profoundly deaf ear to Him? Now imagine being in the
position He is, being completely attentive to someone who rarely, if ever,
noticed you were there. Could you have waited all this time in love, as He
has done? Or would you instead have screamed at this person by now, or
gotten bored and walked off? The fact that God has done neither is yet more
cause to thank Him every hour.
"AS EVENING COMES, LET ALL MY THOUGHTS BE STILL OF YOU AND OF YOUR LOVE."
It is still going on. This dwelling with God has been going on all day,
through every hour and every minute. And, "as evening comes," it still goes
on. The coming of evening we often associate with a peaceful time of rest.
The day comes to an end and we can simply relax and enjoy that ending in
peace, as we watch the sunset and the coming out of the stars. Evening can
be a satisfying conclusion to a successful day, or a needed rest after a
Here in this line of the prayer, evening is not a resting at home after our
frantic activity out in the world. Rather, evening is a <continuing> of a
resting, a deepening of an experience of being home that has been going on
all day. It is the satisfying conclusion to a day of peace. We have spent
all day resting on the porch with our Love. And now, "as evening comes" and
we sit with Him still, our rest grows even deeper.
"Let all my thoughts be still of You and of Your Love." Again, what person
would you say this to? In our normal experience, is there anything that we
could devote all our thoughts to without dying of boredom? Nothing seems
interesting enough. That is why our minds flit around so much, sucking tiny
droplets from one shriveled flower after another. Think of what kind of love
we would need to feel before we could really say, "Let all my thoughts be
about you." Think how profoundly <loved> we would have to feel in order to
really say, "Let all my thoughts be of your love for me."
Something in us longs to say these words to someone. Yet who in this world
could we say them to with sincerity? At least for very long? The impression
I get from this line and from the entire prayer is that God can answer a
longing in our heart that nothing here can. There is a relationship that our
whole being calls out for, but which we cannot find with anything in this
world. Yet we can find it with God.
Imagine that this very day you will experience an evening like this. Imagine
that after an entire day of basking in the sunshine of God's Love, you will
reach the peaceful glow of sunset, and find that all your thoughts are
<still> of Him and of His Love. If this really happened, would any evening
you have ever had be better?
"AND LET ME SLEEP SURE OF MY SAFETY, CERTAIN OF YOUR CARE, AND HAPPILY AWARE
I AM YOUR SON."
It still goes on, even as we reach bedtime and the prayer concludes. We
carry our resting with God right into our sleep. I believe these lines speak
to a deep need in us, a need for a kind of sleep we always want but perhaps
never experience. We all want sleep to be something more than just physical
rest. We want our minds to be able to truly drop all cares and drift into a
state of pure peace. We want to rest in some thought that is totally certain
and endlessly happy. We want to drop off in some glad awareness, with a
smile on our face and our arm around our love. That would be rest for the
<mind> and not just for the body.
Yet how often do we experience this kind of sleep? We usually haul our cares
right into sleep with us. Our mental fists remain clenched even while our
body is inert. We have no thought that we can totally rest in, no thought
that is happy enough and certain enough to put a smile on our face and keep
it there while we drift off. Imagine, then, sleeping in the manner that this
last line of the prayer speaks of. Let's take the three final phrases one at
<"Sure of my safety."> Sleep is a time of physical vulnerability. While we
lie there and drool on our pillow, anything could be done to us. And so
something in our minds feels insecure about totally letting go. If we were
completely sure of our safety in God, if we knew that while we slept our
Love had His Arms around us, how could we not let go?<
"Certain of Your care."> In the same manner, something in our minds is
reluctant to completely relinquish our cares. If <we> don't worry about
them, who will? Yet imagine going to sleep absolutely certain of <God's>
care. If we knew we were enveloped in His care, what need would there be to
hang onto our cares?<
"Happily aware I am Your Son."> Another thing that keeps our minds from true
rest is a sense of not belonging, of being alone. We can feel alone even
with our arm around a mate. If we truly believed that we were God's Son, the
apple of His Eye, the object of all His Love, the heir to all that is His,
could there be a happier thought? Imagine dropping off to sleep in that
happy awareness. Is that not the kind of rest we have always wanted?
I have been talking about holding these thoughts in mind while we doze off.
Yet the prayer says something even stronger. It speaks of abiding in these
thoughts while we <sleep>. Although we think of sleep as total
unconsciousness, it is not. Sleep researchers have found that even when
awakened from deepest sleep, subjects report trains of thought. Of course,
the thoughts that pass through our minds during sleep are generally bizarre
and incoherent. Yet thoughts <are> passing through. What would it be like,
then, to sleep all night filled only with these thoughts: "sure of my
safety, certain of Your care, and happily aware I am Your Son"?
Now the prayer has concluded and you have spent the entire day with God. He
was the first thing in your mind as you awoke. In every minute of the day
you dwelt with Him and basked in the sunshine of His Love. As every hour
struck you expressed to Him your undying gratitude. As evening came, your
rest went on, as all your thoughts were still of Him. And even while you
slept, it still went on, all through the night. Having passed the night in
this way, can you guess what would be in your mind as you awoke the next
morning? And what the next day would be like? It would still go on.
And that is how it should be, says the line immediately following the
prayer: "This is as every day should be."
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