A Course In Miracles Review #3
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the third review section of A Course In Miracles! If this is your first time visiting this blog, this is not the best place to begin reading. To begin, start with lesson one and proceed each day with the next lesson. This spiritual teaching is a very specific curriculum that is best followed through the original course outline. If you’ve been following the course lessons consecutively, it is now time for another review!
We will now review the last 20 lessons every day for the next ten days. This review may be a challenge to follow but we only need to do our best. Effort and interest is what we are mainly interested in developing. The next 10 lessons will have two teachings a day and the format for the study will be different from the previous lessons.
It may not be possible to stay on track with the structure of the daily lesson because it will be asking for more of your attention than ever before. You will inevitably miss a few if not many sessions because we are asked to engage in the lessons twice every hour and our attention span is still at an early stage of focus.
If you forget about the lessons or get busy, don’t be tempted to feel as if you’ve dropped the ball. You can not drop the ball and the course never really ends since it is cultivating a lifelong worldview. If you miss some of the lessons in the days to come, do not feel like you need to make up what was missed or start over. What has been missed is of no importance. All that matters is to return to the material as soon as your interest has returned. This is not a “pass/fail” course. This is a pass/pass course. No matter how disorganized or inconsistent your efforts become, just keep returning to making those efforts whenever you relocate your interest in the material.
Nor does A Course In Miracles want you to repeat the lessons in a mindless, task-driven way. What we are learning is not about behavior control or mindless rituals. We are learning to connect truly to the meaning of the actual teachings, not prove how well we can remember to recite something. Our efforts will not be blocked if we miss a practice session due to a lack of time. Time is not an important concern here. What we are mainly focused on building in the next ten days is the level of interest in the material. Our amount of interest in learning this new way of thinking is in direct relation to how quickly we will learn it. Conviction is difficult to teach. But it is not impossible to find. And that is what we will be doing for the next ten days.
Your interest in wanting to get to each review lesson twice an hour is more important than missing the specific review time. Even that brief feeling of not being able to pause for a moment is a recognition of interest that is worth a great deal more than an automated behavior disconnected from meaning. We do not need to think of missed sessions as something we need to make up. We can not fall behind in this course. There is no deadline and success is an absolute guarantee because of Who wants it for us. What God wants is certainty, and God wants your joy.
Our ability to focus on the daily lessons every hour will ebb and flow. Let it ebb away without criticizing yourself. When you remember, return your attention gently back to the fun challenge these review lessons offer. We will try to remember to call to mind for one minute twice an hour the teachings of the last twenty days. It is our passion and enthusiasm for this challenge that will be how we make the most progress in establishing the mental perspective it is teaching us.
You will not be a “good” person for engaging in the exercises in a mindless, repetitive way. Mindless automation is the opposite of what we will be learning now. Do your best. Only you know when you feel connected to the material. Settle for nothing less. Clear away the distracting thoughts and activities of your daily life for brief but frequent intervals as much as you can.
Make note of what prevents you from the hourly sessions. Distractions do slow down your learning process. Any interferences, no matter how practical, understandable, urgent, or unavoidable, are still all forms of unwillingness on your part. Willingness is what we are strengthening. Willingness can come in many convincing forms. Unwillingness on your part can be disguised as situations beyond your control. But when we are caught up in putting out a social fire or hustling to be on time for an appointment, we are asked to review the value of our engagements more closely. What activity are we giving priority to? Is how we are spending our time serving the cultivation of our well-being?
Make note of all forms of unwillingness on your part. When we are late for an appointment it is not because of traffic. It is because we did not prioritize it. External interference is a reflection of inner unwillingness. What activities have the power to disrupt your conviction to connect with the hourly lessons? What does that activity offer you really? Your unwillingness to let in the logic of the review lesson only indicates an interest in continuing to hold onto mental confusion and mental anguish for a while longer.
Your interest in holding onto pain as a teacher for a while longer does not trouble A Course In Miracles. No amount of time delay will ever be a match for the eternity of Grace that is your absolute destiny. If you take time to delay here or there, do not add to that delay by beating yourself up about having delayed. There has been no delay the instant your interest returns.
Prioritizing a less meaningful activity over the hourly practice sessions occurs because you understand the distraction to be more meaningful. You do not yet understand that the pursuit of most of your daily activities do not offer true value to you. When you are able to see an activity does not deserve to hold your attention more than these brief but frequent practice sessions, you will be prioritizing a release from mental suffering. You will be building your belief that mental suffering can come to an end, which at this point you may doubt.
So let us sit easily and with good cheer towards the fun challenge ahead. For the next ten days we will be learning how to withdraw the intensity of importance we have placed on many of our activities by allowing brief but frequent interruptions throughout the day. These interruptions will give us an opportunity to gain a bit of distance from our activities and engage them without being consumed by them. Our activities give us nothing. The practice of being able to pause and not get swept up by them gives us the grace and power of all Creation. What could be more valuable than cultivating our ability to place our attention on what is true?
The Review Structure:
The structure of the review sessions has two components. 1st– We are asked to devote 5 minutes twice a day upon waking and going to sleep to contemplate the review lessons. You can sit for longer if it feels easy to do so. It may be helpful to read over the text and comments for each review as a way to help your attention connect to the messages. Contemplate each phrase and ask yourself what you think it means. Do this for 5 minutes first thing in the morning or as soon as you can get to it as well as last thing at night before going to sleep.
2nd– Beyond the two longer practice sessions, we are asked to call to mind each of the two teachings every hour. This means we think of one at the top of the hour and we think of the second one at the half-hour mark. This means that twice an hour you will interrupt what you are doing for one minute to let your eyes fall upon the text. Write it on a note card if you have a hard time recalling it from memory. These brief, frequent sessions are disruptors to the old logic pathways we function from on a daily basis. They will bring in a new perspective and change how we experience whatever we are doing.
There is a good reason for the two different kinds of practice sessions each day. We want to cultivate the ability to sit calmly and quietly twice a day for 5 minutes or more. But we also want to learn how to bring that calm stillness into the motion of our thoughts and lives. We want to perform all our activities with a logic that is strong, stable, and supportive. Moving meditations are as valuable as still, seated ones. There is no end to how useful the concepts of these lessons can be for you. Take them with you into every business meeting, every chore, and every transaction.
If you are like me, you probably have a few old cell phones lying around. Turn one into a dedicated alarm system for your Course In Miracles practice. Keep in mind as you dive in that you have only just begun your studies of cultivating true, enduring peace. You are now engaging in a tremendous learning opportunity with this ten-day review. Your conviction in this activity is of unspeakable importance to you and to the world. What you are undertaking is tremendous in scope and value.