Purpose: A second chance at the last 20 lessons, a chance to face how little you have learned and learn greatly by applying idea to everything in your life. You will gain such large advances that you will continue more firmly and solidly.
Overall Remarks: Please follow this format as closely as you can. If you miss a practice period because it was impossible to do at the appointed time, learning is not hindered. You need not make these practice periods up. If instead you missed because of unwillingness to give the time, learning will be hindered, and those practice periods should be made up. Be very honest with yourself. Do not camouflage your unwillingness with situations seemingly beyond your control. Learn to discern between this kind of situation and situations that are truly unsuited to practicing. Your unwillingness comes from choosing other goals over salvation. As soon as you choose salvation again, do your make-up practice periods as a replacement for your devotion to other goals.
Longer: 2--in morning and in last hour before sleep (ideally first and last 5 minutes of your waking day) 5 minutes (longer if you prefer)
* Read over the day's ideas and comments.
* Then lean back in faith and let your mind use them as it chooses. Let it think about them and relate them to your needs, problems and concerns. Trust your mind to do this wisely and to be guided by the Holy Spirit, for He has chosen your mind as His means for saving you. He has given these ideas to you in perfect faith you will use them well. Give them to your mind in the same perfect faith.
Shorter: at the beginning of every half hour for a moment
* Repeat applicable idea (on the hour, the first idea; on the half hour, the second idea).
* Allow your mind to rest in silence and peace for a moment.
Remarks: These shorter practice periods are at least as important as the longer. Do not forget them. You have tended to skip these and not apply the idea to all that you encounter. Your learning has thus been limited and its gifts weak.
Shorter/Response To Temptation: in between the half hour marks
Do not lay the idea down after the half hour reviews. Take it with you into your affairs and apply it to them, making them holy. If you forget or your peace is shaken, think of it again.
Remarks: The practice periods are meant to teach you the habit of applying idea to everything you do. The idea is meant to serve you with unlimited usefulness at all times and places and whenever you need any kind of help.
(Barry Kaufman wrote a wonderful book called To Love Is to Be Happy With. I always thought that was a profound title.)
On the other hand, anger is misery. If I think about how I feel when I am angry, I will notice that I don't like the way I feel. As much as the Course is about concepts and about changing our mind, often the change of mind is a decision about feelings: "You can begin to change your mind with this: At least I can decide I do not like what I feel now" (T-30.I.8:1,2). Feelings can be very useful when we think about them, and use them as motivators for changing our mind. Anger makes me miserable; loving makes me happy. Therefore, I will choose love. Is that paying attention to feelings, or is it logic? Or both? Whatever it is, it works.
I said that noticing that loving and happiness go together has helped convince me that the Course is true. Here's why. The Course says we are wholly loving and wholly loveable. It says, "Teach only love, for that is what you are" (T-6.I.13:2). Sometimes I don't feel as if I am love. Yet if when I love I am happy, love must be my will; it must be my nature. What is happiness, except the freedom to be myself and to fulfill my nature? If I am happy when I love, then I must be love.
That is what this line means: "Love is my heritage, and with it joy" (2:2). My heritage; my nature; what I am. Love belongs to me in truth, and with it happiness, since they are the same thing.
Today, as often as I can, I intend to remind myself: "Love is happiness" (1:2). And then, in that moment, to just be the love that I am. If I want to be always happy, let me always be loving. And joyous! Oh, the happiness and joy when the heart opens and lets out the love! May I not cause myself pain today by holding it back. God bless you all!
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