"I place the future in the Hands of God."
Purpose: Another giant stride. To go past your fixation on and fear of the future and so experience a holy instant, free of the bondage of time. This will intensify your motivation and strengthen your commitment. And it will save the world.
Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 5 minutes - at least; 10 - better; 15 even better; 30 or more - best
Let the future go. Place it in God's Hands. And then rest there yourself, untroubled, certain only good can come to you. Thus you call His memory to come to you and replace all your insane thoughts with the truth.
Hourly Remembrance: as the hour strikes, for more than 1 minute (reduce if circumstances do not permit).
Use the lesson, "I place the future in the Hands of God," to forgive the happenings of the previous hour. Do not let it cast its shadow on the hour to come. Thus you unloose the chains of time and remain unbound while still in time.
Frequent Reminder: Give as much consistent effort as you can to the idea today, to make it part of you.
Response To Temptation: If you are tempted to engage in resentment or attack, repeat the idea, and you appeal to the Holy Spirit to choose for you and leave temptation behind.
Remarks: Make today's idea a rule of thought, a habit in your repertoire of response to temptation. (Notice that we are presumed to be building a repertoire of ways to respond to temptation!) Be sure that if your perception is faulty, it will be corrected. If you forget, you will be reminded.
The block to remembering our Self that is dealt with by today's lesson is the "fear of future pain" (7:6). Again, the holy instant is a major part of the remedy. All the references to "in no one instant" and "the instant in which time escapes the bondage of illusions" are indirect references to the holy instant, which is directly referred to in 5:3: "Then is each instant which was slave to time transformed into a holy instant."
The idea is a simple one: placing the future into God's Hands. Yet it is referred to as another "giant stride" toward quick salvation. (The other "giant strides" were in lessons 61, 66, 94 and 135.) This giant stride is said to take us all the way to the lawns that welcome us to Heaven's gate. It is the remedy for anxiety, pits of hell, depression, thoughts of sin, and guilt. How can this simple idea be so powerful?
Think, for a moment, how your life and your mental attitude would change if you deeply and fully knew - not just believed but knew - that your future was wholly in the hands of a loving God. Isn't it fairly easy to see how this would remove anxiety, fears of hell, depression, temptation and even guilt? Simple as it is, this is an extremely powerful idea, and a powerful one to practice.
Once again we are not expected to suddenly shift from a state of near-constant anxiety (Ernest Becker, in his book, "The Denial of Death," refers to man's so-called normal state as one in which there is "the rumble of panic underneath everything") to one of blissful trust in God. We are being asked to practice having instants of such trust, free of panic. For a moment, just for a moment, "let the future go, and place it in God's Hands" (4:5). In so doing, we will understand that by doing this we have given past and present to God as well. In that holy instant we will be free of grief and misery, pain and loss. The light within us will be free to shine and bless the world.
In any particular instant, when we take that instant for itself, without past or future, we cannot feel depression, experience pain, or perceive loss; nor can we experience sorrow, or even die (3:1-3). Every such experience depends on our awareness of past or of the future to sustain it and give it the illusion of reality, but none of them exist in the present moment. Take grief, for instance. Grief is so clearly based on the past that it hardly requires explanation to say that if the past is momentarily put out of our minds, grief would vanish. The mind is calling up memories of our loved one, and then insisting that the absence of that loved one now demands emotional pain. Yet when the loved one was part of our life, there were thousands of moments in which they were not physically present with us, and we were still happy; why, then cannot we be happy now? Grief is really nothing more than a cruel mental trick we are playing on ourselves. The future enters in to grief because we envision an endless string of moments that lack the beloved. But those moments are not now; again, it is a mental trick. Grief does not exist when we are wholly in the present moment, in the holy instant.
As we learn to give the future into God's Hands, one instant after another, we are released. "And so each instant given unto God in passing, with the next one given Him already, is a time of your release from sadness, pain, and even death itself" (3:4). Note the similarity to yesterday's practice of applying forgiveness at the end of each hour to all that has passed in the hour, freeing the hour that follows. This kind of thing, says the lesson, needs to become "a thought that rules your mind, a habit in your problem-solving repertoire, a way of quick reaction to temptation" (6:2). That is what all this practice is about: developing new habits of spirituality that break the pattern of our deranged thinking, freeing us for a new experience. The more we experience, the more we will want it, until eventually it takes over our minds entirely.
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