A Course In Miracles Review 1
A Course In Miracles Review 1
For the next ten days, ACIM will now spend time reviewing all the lessons of the past 50 days. Each day of review will work with a set of five lessons. We are asked to read the five review lessons first thing in the morning upon waking, or at least before we start any major task.
Then throughout the day, we are asked to set aside two minutes for each lesson, where we sit and close our eyes to recall and consider one lesson out of the five. This means we are asked to pause five times throughout the day and put down whatever we are doing for two minutes. During these two-minute sessions, we are asked to close our eyes and review one statement from the day’s list. We do not have to consider the statements in the order they are presented in the book. If one phrase speaks to us more, we are invited to spend more time with it.
The purpose of A Course In Miracles Review 1 is not only to deepen our awareness of each day’s concept thus far but also to help us see how each lesson is related to the others. This shows a clear map of logical connections between the ideas, which are forging for us a new way of perceiving, a new way of thinking about this world. Each day’s lesson is a statement of truth about reality which, in our current state of perception is not immediately easy for our minds to grasp.
ACIM knows that these lessons are a challenge for our current logic to fully accept, otherwise there would be no need for a course at all and nothing we needed to learn. But ACIM is not troubled by any possible resistance that arises for us as we work our way through each day’s lesson. And there are many styles of resistance we may experience. One day your mind may completely blank on a lesson and you forget about it until you lay down to bed and see the book there. Another day a lesson may generate anger and you find you have no patience to consider it at all without arguing. These various forms of resistance need not worry us. Just keep bringing your attention back to the day’s lesson from whatever mental/emotional state you might be in. How you feel about a lesson is not an indication of whether you are grasping the lesson. In our present physical form, we are a series of layers of consciousness. Those layers are not always conscious of each other. We are not in a Unified state of awareness. We are connecting to a Unified Field by choice when we remember to do so. Ultimately, we know we are always in the Unified Field because what is true is always known. We can self-induce forgetfulness (engage in denial), but we can not ever totally not know what is true. There will always be a moment, however fleeting, of knowing what is. We can also, at any time, start to release the impulse of self-induced denial and begin to cultivate the ability to sit with what is true even when it really bothers us.
ACIM says that it is not necessary to go back and read each of the day’s first lessons again. Reading the small, rephrased caption that comes with each review is enough. If you have the time and the interest to also read the original day’s lesson along with the caption, that is also welcome, but not necessary as that would add considerable time to the study process each day.
I personally found it helpful to have the reading of the days’ pages because I found it very difficult to put down what I was focusing on during the day and to shift my mind towards the two-minute practice periods without any assistance. Having that original reading material was an external activity I could reach for which helped bring me into contemplation more easily. But it is not necessary to reread the book from lesson one again.
What I found very challenging and also quite fascinating is the observation of how totally absorbed I become with my given activities for each day. Putting down what I am doing is very difficult because I do not want to be interrupted, even if it is a very brief shift. Being focused on something brings comfort and calm. But learning how to shift focus even for two minutes really expanded my day-to-day experience along with the effectiveness of my mental capacities. Taking small breaks from my activities has tremendous value. Sometimes, just stopping the current activity was an achievement in itself even if I did not manage to get my mind to connect strongly with the specific statement fully at that moment. Again, we are not concerning ourselves with evaluating how well we think we are doing with following the curriculum of the lessons. We just keep placing our attention on those lessons, rain or shine, willing or resistant.
It becomes a very interesting study in the nature of focus and attention, and how we, like holding a video game controller, are the ones who pivot our own awareness at will. The brilliance of video games is in part due to how well they echo the state of our consciousness by enabling us to navigate where we turn to and which direction we go in. When I was also able to add in a sincere consideration of one of the days’ review statements, I felt as if I’d taken a quick refreshing shower and found I had more energy for the day even as the late hour approached. Taking frequent breaks in our concentration throughout the day to place our attention on a spiritual practice has countless benefits mentally and physically. It is flawless preventative medicine.
I found it helpful to write the 5 ideas of the day onto one note card which I kept with a phone where I’d set gentle alarms to remind me to sit and close my eyes. Sometimes I was so busy I just dismissed the alarm and glanced at the notecard. And sometimes I was able to pry myself away from my current absorption. Realizing how easily I enter into absorption was eye-opening and showed me the condition of my mind very clearly. Learning how to interrupt that absorption and take breaks from my goals and activities has been a priceless tool for cultivating a calm, enduring peace of mind.
And so, here follow ten days of review with 5 lessons a day. I hope you give this challenge a try and discover the astounding benefits of a daily spiritual practice.