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#16. How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?

10 There is no substitute for the Will of God. In simple statement, it is to this fact that the teacher of God devotes his day. Each substitute he may accept as real can but deceive him. But he is safe from all deception if he so decides. Perhaps he needs to remember "God is with me. I cannot be deceived." Perhaps he prefers other words, or only one or none at all. Yet each temptation to accept magic as true must be abandoned through his recognition not that it is fearful, not that it is sinful, not that it is dangerous, but merely that it is meaningless. Rooted in sacrifice and separation, two aspects of one error and no more, he merely chooses to give up all that he never had. And for this "sacrifice" is Heaven restored to his awareness.

Workbook for Students
Part II
What am I?
1 I am God's Son, complete and healed and whole, shining in the reflection of His Love. In me is His creation sanctified and guaranteed eternal life. In me is love perfected, fear impossible, and joy established without opposite. I am the holy home of God Himself. I am the Heaven where His Love resides. I am His holy sinlessness itself, for in my purity abides His own.

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Workbook for Students
Lesson 355
There is no end to all the peace
and joy and all the miracles
that I will give
when I accept God's Word.
Why not today?
1 Why should I wait, my Father, for the joy You promised me? For You will keep Your Word You gave Your Son in exile. I am sure my treasure waits for me, and I need but reach out my hand to find it. Even now my fingers touch it. It is very close. I need not wait an instant more to be at peace forever. It is You I choose and my identity along with You. Your Son would be Himself and know You as his Father and Creator and his Love.
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VIDEO: L 355 - Video

Course in Miracles
Original Edition
Manual for Teachers

16. How Should the Teacher
of God Spend His Day?
par 1-11
1 To the advanced teacher of God, this question is meaningless. There is no program, for the lessons in the curriculum change each day. Yet he is sure of but one thing—they do not change at random. Seeing this and understanding it is true, he rests content. He will be told all that his role should be, this day and every day. And those who share that role with him will find him, so they can learn the lessons for the day together. Not one is absent whom he needs; not one is sent without a learning goal already set, and one which can be met that very day. For the advanced teacher of God, then, this question is superfluous. It has been asked and answered, and he keeps in constant contact with the Answer. He is set and sees the road on which he walks stretch surely and smoothly before him.

2 But what about those who have not reached his certainty? They are not yet ready for such lack of structuring on their own part. What must they do to learn to give the day to God? There are some general rules which do apply, although each one must use them as best he can in his own way. Routines as such are dangerous because they easily become gods in their own right, threatening the very goals for which they were set up. Broadly speaking, then, it can be said that it is well to start the day right. It is always possible to begin again, should the day begin with error, yet there are obvious advantages in terms of saving time if the need for this can be avoided.

3 At the beginning, it is wise to think in terms of time. This is by no means the ultimate criterion, but at the outset, it is probably the simplest to observe. The saving of time is an essential early emphasis which, although it remains important throughout the learning process, becomes less and less emphasized. At the outset, we can safely say that time devoted to starting the day right does indeed save time. How much time should be so spent? This must depend on the teacher of God himself. He cannot claim that title until he has gone through the workbook, since we are learning within the framework of our course. After completion of the more structured practice periods which the workbook contains, individual need becomes the chief consideration.

4 This course is always practical. It may be that the teacher of God is not in a situation which fosters quiet thought as he awakes. If this is so, let him but remember that he chooses to spend time with God as soon as possible, and let him do so. Duration is not the major concern. One can easily sit still an hour with closed eyes and accomplish nothing. One can as easily give God only an instant, and in that instant join with Him completely. Perhaps the one generalization that can be made is this—as soon as possible after waking, take your quiet time, continuing a minute or two after you begin to find it difficult. You may find that the difficulty will diminish and drop away. If not, that is the time to stop.

5 The same procedures should be followed at night. Perhaps your quiet time should be fairly early in the evening if it is not feasible for you to take it just before going to sleep. It is not wise to lie down for it. It is better to sit up, in whatever position you prefer. Having gone through the workbook you must have come to some conclusions in this respect. If possible, however, just before going to sleep is a desirable time to devote to God. It sets your mind into a pattern of rest and orients you away from fear. If it is expedient to spend this time earlier, at least be sure that you do not forget a brief period—not more than a moment will do—in which you close your eyes and think of God.

6 There is one thought in particular that should be remembered throughout the day. It is a thought of pure joy, a thought of peace, a thought of limitless release—limitless because all things are freed within it. You think you made a place of safety for yourself. You think you made a power that can save you from all the fearful things you see in dreams. It is not so. Your safety lies not there. What you give up is merely the illusion of protecting illusions. And it is this you fear, and only this. How foolish to be so afraid of nothing! Nothing at all! Your defenses will not work, but you are not in danger. You have no need of them. Recognize this, and they will disappear. And only then will you accept your real protection.

7 How simply and how easily does the day slip by for the teacher of God who has accepted His protection! All that he did before in the name of safety no longer interests him. For he is safe and knows it to be so. He has a Guide Who will not fail. He need make no distinctions among the problems he perceives, for He to Whom he turns with all of them recognizes no order of difficulty in resolving them. He is as safe in the present as he was before illusions were accepted into his mind and as he will be when he has let them go. There is no difference in his state at different times and different places because they are all one to God. This is his safety. And he has no need for more than this.

8 Yet there will be temptations along the way the teacher of God has yet to travel, and he has need of reminding himself throughout the day of his protection. How can he do this, particularly during the time when his mind is occupied with external things? He can but try, and his success depends on his conviction that he will succeed. He must be sure success is not of him but will be given him at any time, in any place and circumstance he calls for it. There are times his certainty will waver, and the instant this occurs he will return to earlier attempts to place reliance on himself alone. Forget not this is magic and that magic is a sorry substitute for true assistance. It is not good enough for God's teacher because it is not enough for God's Son.

9 The avoidance of magic is the avoidance of temptation. For all temptation is nothing more than the attempt to substitute another will for God's. These attempts may indeed seem frightening, yet they are merely pathetic. They can have no effects, neither good nor bad, neither rewarding nor demanding sacrifice, healing nor destructive, quieting nor fearful. When all magic is recognized as merely nothing, the teacher of God has reached the most advanced state. All intermediate lessons will but lead to this and bring this goal nearer to recognition. For magic of any kind, in all its forms, simply does nothing. Its powerlessness is the reason it can be so easily escaped. What has no effects can hardly terrify.

10 There is no substitute for the Will of God. In simple statement, it is to this fact that the teacher of God devotes his day. Each substitute he may accept as real can but deceive him. But he is safe from all deception if he so decides. Perhaps he needs to remember "God is with me. I cannot be deceived." Perhaps he prefers other words, or only one or none at all. Yet each temptation to accept magic as true must be abandoned through his recognition not that it is fearful, not that it is sinful, not that it is dangerous, but merely that it is meaningless. Rooted in sacrifice and separation, two aspects of one error and no more, he merely chooses to give up all that he never had. And for this "sacrifice" is Heaven restored to his awareness.

11 Is not this an exchange that you would want? The world would gladly make it if it knew it could be made. It is God's teachers who must teach it that it can. And so it is their function to make sure that they have learned it. No risk is possible throughout the day except to put your trust in magic, for it is only this that leads to pain. "There is no will but God's." His teachers know that this is so and have learned that everything but this is magic. All belief in magic is maintained by just one simple-minded illusion—that it works. All through his training, every day and hour, and even every minute and second, must God's teachers learn to recognize the forms of magic and perceive their meaninglessness. Fear is withdrawn from them, and so they go. And thus the Gate of Heaven is reopened, and its light can shine again on an untroubled mind.

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Sarah's Reflections
Lesson 355
There is no end to all the peace
and joy and all the miracles
that I will give
when I accept God's Word.
Why not today?
Sarah's Commentary:
Jesus is helping us to see that, beyond this seeming reality of the body and the world of suffering and pain, peace, joy, and miracles are being held out to us in this very moment. He says, "Why not claim them?" "Do we like what we have made?" "Is our experience here one of consistent peace?" "What keeps us from accepting the truth about ourselves and who we really are as the perfect glorious Self at peace forever?" Clearly, we are not yet completely convinced. We fear that if we let go of what we are holding onto, we will disappear. As Byron Katie asks, "Who would you be without that thought?"
Jesus understands our fear and trepidation, which is why he keeps assuring us of what awaits us. He keeps reminding us that this is a world of pain and ultimately death. Even though none of it is real, we still experience it that way. Ultimately, he knows that we will make the choice to embrace who we are and to return to our Creator, whom we have never left, except in dreams. God has kept His Word, which came with us in our seeming exile, that we are exactly as we were created. We have all the attributes of God. Now Jesus waits patiently and lovingly and will wait as long as it takes for us to accept the truth of what we are. But as long as there is fear in the mind, there is healing to be undertaken. Fear is what keeps love at bay.
When the desire is strong and the motivation and willingness to undertake the discipline called for is consistent, we are ready to take the hand of Jesus, who helps us look at everything from his perspective. He helps us to see its nothingness. He awaits the memory to return to us of who we are---the One Son who never left our Father. His patience with us is infinite, but why would we want to wait any longer to release pain and suffering. We can choose to ignore the temptations that come our way to throw away our peace.
As I write this, I am feeling irritation that Don is late coming home and has not called. Finally, the phone rings. In this moment, I recognize I can throw some guilt his way. I can remind him that he is late and has reneged on his commitment to being home at a certain time. I recognize I now have a choice to go with the temptation to throw guilt at him or to choose to step back and bring peace. I can simply express gratitude for the call. Who will I turn to for guidance in this moment? Will it be the ego or the Holy Spirit? My decision will determine the outcome that I experience. Happiness is not contingent on what my brother does or does not do. My decision to free him frees us both. What I give I receive. That is the law of love. When we see how unhappy listening to the ego has made us and how much we suffer, we become more willing to choose another way. We choose to let Spirit guide us. Jesus asks, why would we want to continue to invite pain when we have another choice that we can make. We must be willing to look with honesty and courage at our motivation. Peace and joy are in us, awaiting our acceptance. When I can’t make the choice in the moment, I recognize that I must be honest with my brother in expressing what I am feeling. The purpose of such expression is to use it for the purpose of recognizing that I am responsible for how I feel, not him. It is all for healing my mind. It is not for making my brother feel more guilt.
The reality is that we are always choosing between two thought systems. We are at every moment, choosing the ego or the Holy Spirit. Which side of the ledger am I on at any moment? Am I choosing peace, love, joy, forgiveness, ease, kindness, and truth, or am I choosing the ego programming, which keeps me in fear and distress? Our egoic reactions appear to be involuntary, yet they are under our own control. We are responsible for the decisions that keep us unaware of the state of peace and joy that can be chosen at any moment. Why not now? "Why should I wait, my Father, for the joy You promised me?" (W.355.1.1)
Jesus reminds us, "Being afraid seems to be involuntary; something beyond your own control. Yet I have said already that only constructive acts should be involuntary. My control can take over everything that does not matter, while my guidance can direct everything that does, if you so choose. Fear cannot be controlled by me, but it can be self-controlled. Fear prevents me from giving you my control." (T.2.VI.1.1-5) (ACIM OE T.2.IV.72 "You believe that ' being afraid' is involuntary...") Jesus is dedicated to helping us, but he needs our help to do so. If I am not experiencing the peace and joy available to me right now, it is by my own decision. It is all about willingness. If I am not willing to humble myself, see how wrong I am about everything I perceive, release my ideas of how to respond to situations in my life, allow myself to be vulnerable, give up control over my own life, and accept everything happening as perfect and necessary for my classroom, then I am keeping myself in fear. Every minute of my day, I am making this choice. It is a choice to attack or to forgive. It is a choice to release my fearful thoughts to the Holy Spirit, or to hold onto grievances.
Everyone in this world is searching for peace, joy, and happiness. Everything we do or have done in this world is about seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, yet our efforts are misguided because we are looking to the wrong guide for the answers. The ego is always willing to come to the rescue with another idol, but Jesus keeps reminding us that the ego's mantra is, "Seek, but do not find." Because we do not know who we are, we can't know our own best interests. As the Course reminds us, our greatest advances, in our eyes, can be our biggest setbacks, and what we judge to be our biggest setbacks can be our greatest advances. When we admit that we don't know and are willing to surrender to another Teacher, we "step back and let Him lead the way," (W.155) instead of relying on our very limited understanding.
"Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way." (T.2.III.3.5-6) (ACIM OE T.2.II.48 "Pain thresholds can be high...") In that realization, we become more willing and ready to hear God's Word. His Word reflects the Atonement Principle. This Principle affirms that we have never changed ourselves. We remain as we were created. As we accept this truth, our motivation to be disciplined in our practice of the Lesson is enhanced.
Our part is to become aware of how the ego thought system came about and to recognize how it works in our own lives. To break the cycle of sin, guilt, and fear, we are called to take responsibility for our projections. Forgiveness requires that we see what is in our unconscious minds, be willing to release it to the Holy Spirit, and leave it with Him. The error we make is to think we can fix ourselves, but it is not our job to do so. In fact, the ego will never undo itself. It is the Holy Spirit that shines away the darkness when we give it over to Him. It requires trust in being willing to surrender our own answers for our lives and turn to One Who knows. He needs our cooperation in this process, so He can lead us gently and patiently to the truth of who we are. The Holy Spirit helps us to see that the peace, joy, and love we seek is already in us. There is nothing in the world, in any form, whether it is the right partner, the right job, the right house, or the right stuff, or even everything going our way, that can bring us these gifts.
I recently watched the Michael Morton story on CNN called, The Unreal Dream . He was wrongly accused of murdering his wife and as a result, spent 25 years in prison. Most of those years were spent in anger at the injustice of it all. He said he held up fairly well, learning the ways of the prison system and, ultimately, getting a college degree. Over time, he adjusted to prison life and even developed some strong friendships. It was not until his only son wrote to tell him that he no longer wished to be his son that he totally broke down. In other words, he finally let himself become completely undone and called out to God. He heard nothing but silence until ten days later, on a normal day of regular routines, something changed. He went to bed, plugged into a radio station, and remarkably heard harp music, which he says he had never heard before. Then everything around him lit up in a golden light, and he knew he was in the presence of God. Of course, everything changed after that. He was released, reunited with his son, and knew with certainty that God is all there is and can be totally trusted. "Tolerance for pain may be high but it is not without limit." (T.2.III.3.5-6) (ACIM OE T.2.II.48) Every situation, even prison, can be used for our highest good. He said it had become a kind of Ashram for him, where distractions of normal life in the world were severely limited, and this gave him a perfect opportunity to look within. As he left the prison, his fellow inmates wept as they saw what a gift he had been in their lives through his demonstration.
Our function is to "look on everyone as brother, and perceive all things as kindly and as good." (W.PII.What Am I?Q14.3.4) In the face of attacking behaviors from others, to look on all things kindly can be challenging because we still believe the cause of lack of peace in our lives comes from outside our own mind. We have reversed cause and effect when we see the cause of our lack of peace in outside events that seem to be happening to us. Yet when we take responsibility for our projections, we have gratitude for every brother who shows us a reflection of what is in our own mind. Our only responsibility, as miracle workers, is to accept the Atonement for ourselves. There is no one to blame.
We see violence and injustice in the world, and we blame others for what seems to be happening. We want to see it fixed. We don't want to accept that it is our own perfect script. What we do is to try to manage effects rather than the cause of our own self-attacking thoughts. The only place where peace can be found is in our own mind. What the miracle does is that "It merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false." (W.PII.What Is a Miracle?Q13.1.2) Only through forgiveness and willingness to surrender our way can we remember who we are.
While the ego would use the world to forget God, the Holy Spirit uses all of our experiences to help us remember God. It is up to us, but we are not alone in this. The truth is already in us, waiting for its acceptance. Why wait? Why not accept God’s word today?
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Love and blessings, Sarah


Allen Watson's
Workbook Commentaries
Allen joined Robert Perry in forming the Circle of Atonement in 1993 in Sedona, Arizona where Allen led retreats and workshops and authored many books based on “A Course in Miracles.” One of his most popular books is:

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