"I walk with God in perfect holiness."
Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 5 minutes - at least; 10 - better; 15 even better; 30 or more - best
Repeat today's idea, and reflect on it as long as possible. Be aware that you spend the time in the Presence of your Companion.
Hourly Remembrance: as the hour strikes, for more than 1 minute (reduce if circumstances do not permit)
Sit quietly and wait on God. Thank Him for His gifts in the previous hour. And let His Voice tell you what He wants you to do in the coming hour.
Remarks: At times the business of the world will allow you only a minute or less, or no time at all. At other times you will forget. Yet whenever you can, do your hourly remembrance.
Frequent Reminder: Through the day, remind yourself God remains beside you, supporting your weakness with His strength.
Remarks: In time you will never cease to think of God, not even for a moment, not even while busy giving salvation to the world.
Response To Temptation: Whenever you feel tempted to defend yourself, call upon God's strength, pause a moment, and hear Him say: "I am here."
Overall Remarks: Your practice will begin to be infused with the earnestness of love, keeping your mind from wandering. Do not be afraid, you will reach your goal. God's Love and strength will make sure of it, for you are His minister.
"Ideas leave not their source" (1:3). When a mind thinks an idea, that idea stays in the mind; it does not become a separate thing, apart from the mind that thought it. And I am a thought of God; therefore, I cannot possibly be apart from Him. I have thought I was separate. Indeed, much of the time I still think and behave as though I were separate from God. But I am not; I cannot be.
To be apart from God is impossible. God is Being; He is Existence. Whatever exists is in Him. He is Life; whatever lives, lives in Him. "He is what your life is. Where you are He is. There is one life. That life you share with Him. Nothing can be apart from Him and live" (2:5-9).
God is also holy. If God is holy, and I am in him, I am holy, too. "What lives is holy as Himself" (3:3). Therefore, "I walk with God in perfect holiness." I could "no more be sinful than the sun could choose to be of ice" (3:3). This is not a feeble hope; it is a fact. It is the truth about me, and about you, and about everyone who lives.
Yet we have taught ourselves that this truth is not true. It fascinates me to see what contradictory ideas arise in my mind when I repeat this statement. It would be a useful exercise to write today's idea as an affirmation, ten times or more, and in a second column, write down the response of the mind to this idea. You might get things like this:
"I walk with God in perfect holiness." "I'm not so holy." "I walk with God in perfect holiness." "I have a long way to go to be holy." "I walk with God in perfect holiness." "I don't like being called holy." "I walk with God in perfect holiness." "Most of the time I walk alone."
And so on. What's interesting about such an exercise is that it reveals the train of thought that dominates my mind, that opposes today's idea and constantly counteracts it. It is this chain of negative thought that blocks the light in me. All the responses are some form of the idea, "I am a sinner," which I would probably vehemently deny that I believe, if anyone asked me. And yet, faced with the affirmation that I walk with God in perfect holiness, these forms of that idea arise "spontaneously." Where are they coming from? Obviously from a backlog of very careful mind-training by the ego, very effective brain-washing, so well done that I don't even realize my mind has been programmed.
Do I believe I am a sinner? "You have wasted many, many years on just this foolish thought" says the lesson (7:1). Yes, indeed I do. But when I am made aware of these negative thoughts about myself, I can let them go. I can "step back," and stop accusing myself. When I do, "the light in you steps forward and encompasses the world" (6:2).
How can we counter the programming of the ego? One way, clearly recommended by this lesson, is explicit counter-programming. It recommends that one thousand times a day we ask ourselves the question, "Who walks with me?" And then, that we answer it by hearing the Voice for God, saying for us: "I walk with God in perfect holiness. I light the world, I light my mind and all the minds which God created one with me" (8:1-6). Certainty of our holiness does not come with a single repetition of today's idea. We need thousands of repetitions. We need to keep repeating it until we are certain of it. If we took this literally, repeating the idea 1000 times would mean repeating it a little more often than once per minute, all day long, assuming we are awake sixteen hours. That's a lot of repetition!
Let me today see the "quaint absurdity" (6:4) of the idea of sin, and laugh at the thought. Let me begin to absorb the wonderful teaching of the Course that sin "is a foolish thought, a silly dream, not frightening, ridiculous perhaps" (6:5). And let the wonder of it steal over me: "I walk with God in perfect holiness."
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