It's review time for the second part of A Course In Miracles
It is time for the second review phase of this course. We begin with lesson 61 and revisit two lessons a day for the next ten days. ACIM Review 2 is structured in two parts. The first part of the day is dedicated to one lesson and the second part of the day is dedicated to the second lesson. Each day of review will have two parts:
- One long sitting session of 15 minutes.
- Frequent shorter practice sessions of recalling the days teaching.
For the 15 minute session each day, sit quietly in a comfortable place, preferably at the same time each day. Morning time, first thing when you wake up may be the easiest to establish as the consistent time. But you choose when you feel able to sit consistently each day. In the 15 minute session, begin by reading the page for that day’s review. Consider the paragraphs written and read the page two or three times to contemplate the lesson. Then close your eyes and listen to the activity of your mind.
If your mind wanders over to thinking about situations in your life, open your eyes and reread the day’s paragraphs. Bring you attention back to the practice session for the full 15 minutes. Set a gentle alarm if you find it helpful. Returning to the state of sitting quietly and observing stillness is the main purpose of the longer sessions. This small effort is preparing your mind to be able to quiet down enough to receive messages of peace. Such messages can not be received by a turbulent mind. The review sessions are building your concentration.
It does not matter if your mind wanders away. In fact, that is an excellent opportunity to build your ability to restore focus whenever it may slip away. By sitting down and trying, you have achieved the purpose of the exercise. Think of the longer sessions as a win-win event that only improves your connection to a greater source of wisdom. If you feel restless, do not worry that you are not doing the exercise well. Your conviction to do the sitting meditation is the only important component of the practice periods. Improvement will follow once your desire to sit in quiet listening has become so strong it reaches unstoppable determination. We are not concerned with doing the practice sessions well. We are only focused on clearing space in the day to do them at all. This conveys our conviction and dedication to developing the skill of invoking a still, receptive mind.
Sit quietly once a day for 15 minutes.
While sitting in the longer practice sessions, observe all distracting thoughts as unimportant. If your focus gets pulled into an urgent concern, realize the impulse is not really an urgent matter. Whatever it is can wait another 10 minutes to be addressed. Do not give the distracting thought any power. Refuse to be frightened by its seeming forcefulness.
Our current mind is in a billowing state of activity. It self-generates concerns to be concerned with as a way of distracting ourself from the peace that is always there. We fear joining that peace because we believe that to join it would mean we would somehow die, and end the enjoyment of engaging the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fear is not life. Loss is not life. Nothing can be taken from us that is of real value. All real value is ours always. We can not lose anything real and anything we do lose was not real and is not needed.
It is only to be expected that our thoughts will feel unwieldy and restless during a sitting session. This is true even if you have been practicing quieting your mind for years. While you make your way through ACIM Review 2, try to remember, in true reality there is no time. Your performance in sitting quietly is not being evaluated in a time constraint. The Universe has an infinite amount of patience for however long you need to take to learn to value the properties needed for happiness. There is no hurry and you are moving forward into your shift in awareness. With the daily 15 minute sessions you are developing your conviction to connect regularly with the power and grace of eternity.
Think of the 15 minute sessions like watching a plant while it is in its root-growing phase. It will seem like little progress is being made. But stay the course. Keep watering, keep reaching for sunlight with all your resources. And know, you are establishing an unshakable foundation even if there is no outward evidence of it yet. The primary aim of the longer sitting sessions is to train your attention to release an interest in the drama of your thoughts and develop the ability to sit in a quiet waiting state to hear the small voice of truth within.
The value of a daily meditation routine
This review time is not only helping us deepen our understanding of the lessons. It is also establishing a daily spiritual practice. A practice is something that is done often. What we practice here is the ability to cultivate a new way of thinking and seeing the world. We will take this disciplined practice with us wherever we go for the rest of our lives. Setting an appointment to commune with the creative state of Grace that is the God Field first thing in the morning will ground all your actions and words each day with a source of guidance that you could not possibly generate alone.
Commit 15 minutes a day to this endeavor. Remember that the power of your will is the same power of the entire cosmos. What you desire is what comes to pass. You are a world-builder, a visionary, an architect who is designing your own life system through the power of your interests. Guide your interests to join the interests of the Cosmos. What is the interest of the Cosmos? Joy. Forever expanding.
Your will is the same as the will of the Cosmos. This means it is much stronger than all the little scenarios of frustration that may come to you in your quiet sitting time. Aggitated thoughts are like pebbles tossed into the lake that is your mind. Those ripples of disruption will not endure. They are destined to fade away, leaving the lake that is you as an ever enduring state of calm.
Think of the 15 minute sitting sessions as a sacred time where you pledge total alliance to the way of Peace, the truth of Grace, and the life of Eternal Creation. These 15 minute sessions are a self-made cathedral, a self-made sweat lodge, a temple, an altar, a devotion to Light that you are learning to build wherever you go. Be determined each day to not forget to sit once a day for 15 minutes. Come willingly to your cathedral, lodge, altar, temple, self once a day and be with your sacred sanctuary.
Set a campfire in your mind and find it all through the day
During your shorter practice periods, make it a game to see how often you can reaffirm your determination to stay connected with the days lesson. The shorter practice exercises are a totally different kind of challenge from the longer practice session. They develop the habit of turning towards the light within you for guidance rather than proceeding through situations as if you are on your own. Think of the shorter practice sessions as exercises in navigation skills.
In the morning imagine that you set a sacred campfire in your heart and mind. Imagine that reading the day’s review first thing when you awake is how you set a small imaginary campfire. This fire, deep in its stone hearth will continue to quietly burn throughout the day as you explore the world around you. It’s fragrance fills the air, its crackling sound is always near by. No matter how far away you may wander, no matter how caught up in an activity you may become during the day, see if you can relocate that small but powerful glowing campfire you set earlier in the day. Turn to that camp in your mind either by seeing the glow of its warmth or by catching the fragrance of it on the wind, reminding you that home is never far off. Find your way back to your camp fire as often as you can remember throughout the day.
I find it helpful to set alarms that gently disrupt my days task and nudge me to recall the lesson even for one second. Do not feel you have to remember the exact phrase of the lesson. Put the idea into your own words as you understand them. Enjoy the next ten days of review, and I will see you on the other side!