We are on our final week of the Review. It is helpful, I find, during this review period, to go back to the introduction and remind ourselves of the practice instructions. Jesus is speaking lovingly to us throughout this introduction, reminding us, "Let this review be then your gift to me." (W.R.V.9.1) He asks us to hear the words he speaks so we, in turn, can be his eyes, hands, and feet needed to help save the world. In other words, we are to become a clear channel for his message with the body now serving its purpose to be a communication device. What was made by the ego for attack is now being used by the Spirit to extend blessings. We now commit to being a light in the world. By allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us, we become a conduit for His healing; but we must clear the way by bringing our dark thoughts for healing. It is our dark thoughts that block our connection to the truth of who we are.
"If you cannot hear the Voice for God, it is because you do not choose to listen. That you do listen to the voice of your ego is demonstrated by your attitudes, your feelings and your behavior. Yet this is what you want. This is what you are fighting to keep, and what you are vigilant to save."
(T.4.IV.1-4)(ACIM OE T.4.V.56) It is important to see our resistance because it is what keeps us from the awareness of the Christ Self we are. We still want to hold onto our separate existence, which can only be maintained by our investment in our own thoughts. Jesus reminds us that whatever we are experiencing, this need not be. In every case, where our mood is less than joyous, he says it is because we have made a judgment we refuse to let go of; but we can be as vigilant against the ego's dictates as for them. It is up to us.
This journey to the truth may feel like a new experience for us, yet it is ". . . as old as time and older still." (W.R.V.10.1) In other words, it is a journey we already know and have already experienced but have forgotten. "We practice but an ancient truth we knew before illusion seemed to claim the world." (W.R.V.10.6) What is that ancient truth? It is "God is but Love and therefore so am I."
We cannot leave our Source. We are always a part of God, which is why there can be no death. The eternal cannot die. Yes, we do leave the body in what we call death, but Jesus reminds us there is no life outside of Heaven. There is only one death, which is our final release when we have given up all investment in illusions and returned to Oneness. That death is not of our Self but of the ego identity. It is not even a death, because the ego is nothing. When we awaken to the truth of who we have always been, we realize there has always only been life. Yes, we seem to have had many dream sequences in that one life. These dream sequences seem to have unfolded over billions of years with a variety of characters in our dream, yet the reality is there is only one life. Our Oneness with our Source is certain and cannot be altered by anything we do or anything we currently believe. It is a certainty to which we are called to awaken.
We experience glimpses of the truth when we choose to release a judgment and respond to someone's attack with forgiveness. We experience it when we make the decision not to react in anger but choose peace instead. We experience the love when we give up our need to be right and choose stillness instead. We experience it when we feel no sense of deprivation or lack. We experience it when we let go of expectations of how things should be and, "Let all things be exactly as they are." (W.268) We experience it when we release our striving and simply rest in God. We experience it deeply when we have a holy instant of connecting with the peace, joy, and love we are. With each of these experiences comes a rebirth when we no longer react as we have always done, but we recognize a new found freedom. We are now open to new possibilities, and we increasingly trust the process and recognize how all things are perfectly orchestrated for our healing. With these experiences, which come from willingness to release our misperceptions, conviction comes and our motivation is enhanced.
For me, the Course was a leap of faith when I started with the Lessons. I was unhappy in my life and had tried everything in the world of self-help and healing that I could think of. When the Course came into my life through the Director of the Institute for Noetic Sciences, Willis Harmon, I somehow trusted the answer was given, yet the Christian terminology initially put me off. I obviously had a lot of healing to do of the judgments I had about my religious upbringing. At the time, I was experiencing deep unhappiness and feeling desperate about my life, so when Willis Harmon showed up I was ready for a new direction. Dr. Harmon, a physicist now deceased, was the perfect person to speak to me about the Course, because he had a certain credibility as a scientist that I trusted. Thus, he seemed the perfect person to open up this path for me, and I continue to be grateful that he was brought into my life at the perfect time.
Interestingly enough, in spite of my immediate enthusiasm, it took several months before I actually started the Course. Clearly something in me recognized its power to change my life. Initially, I had resistance to it, although I was not conscious of my fear nor where it would take me. Something in me kept me from what I had really wanted. As things were falling apart in my life, the motivation to do something about it became more compelling, and I finally took the plunge. I started with the Workbook, as the Text seemed too daunting. By doing the practices called for in each Lesson, my life started to change without my trying to change it. Something miraculous was happening and working in my life that I did not understand. I felt a power beyond my limited self and experienced changes that were quite miraculous. With these experiences, my trust and conviction grew. Since then, my commitment to this path has never wavered.
I also learned that life, as the ego evaluates it, does not necessarily get better in this classroom. This Course does not guarantee a better illusion but only a more peaceful response to whatever seems to be happening. It provides us with more opportunities to forgive. I found I had more peace in my life, and I had more faith and trust that it was all showing up for my good. Relationships were healed, and I felt more prepared for the challenges in my life. Life became softer and sweeter, although not always easier because the ego will find ways to resist. After all, the challenge is ultimately about letting go of the ego. Without divine assistance, the ego could not be undone, but with spiritual intention and devotion, the dominance of the ego in our lives can be significantly lessened. That dominance is what keeps us suffering. As David Hawkins says, the ego likes to suffer. We get juice out of our experiences and out of our stories. That juice is about being a victim, which allows us to refuse responsibility for anything that seems to be happening in our lives. The ego provides us with the reasons for all our complaints, putting responsibility for what we have called into our lives onto others, whom we can blame with impunity.
When we set our focus on God, we recognize there is nothing outside of our own minds. We see we are supported on every step of the way. Our investment in the experiences of this world begins to change over time. What we once valued starts to subside and fall away on its own, until eventually we experience "Now are we one with Him Who is our Source." (W.164) Now we know there is no death. That which is created by God cannot end, and love is for all eternity.
For five to thirty minutes or more, morning and evening, start with the central thought, "God is but [only] Love and therefore so am I." Review the two Lessons for the day that support the central idea, and reflect on how they connect and tie together. Use the prayer in paragraphs two and three, if you find it helpful, to dedicate the review time to God, and ask God to lead you in your practicing.
Take some time in silent meditation. If your mind wanders, use the central thought to bring the mind back into focus, releasing any thoughts that show up in the meditation time. Whenever you are tempted to be upset about anything during the day, remind yourself that, "This need not be." (T.4.IV.2.2)(ACIM OE T.4.V.57)
We can do this practice as we fall into our nighttime sleep, reminding ourselves of the truth, and again as we awake, until the thoughts now become a part of a continuing practice. "And thus, when we have finished this review, we will have recognized the words we speak are true." (W.R.V.11.5)