Longer: every hour on the hour; 5 minutes
- Say: "Salvation comes from my one Self. Its thoughts are mine to use."
- Then try to find Its thoughts. Claim them as yours, for they are your real
thoughts. Wait patiently, and let the Holy Spirit speak these thoughts to you.
If you succeed, thoughts will come to you telling you that you are saved and
can save, that your mind can again be a channel for spirit to flow through and
bless all things.
Remarks: Be not dismayed if you are uncertain of success today. Your Self knows you cannot fail. And the joy It experiences It will save for you until you can fully experience it. Every time you practice you place another treasure in your growing store. This treasure is given not just you, but everyone who asks. And their receiving will bless you.
Most of my life I lived with this, believing my experience was the truth. Something in me, however, told me it was not so. How could I be two selves? How could I have two natures, as my Christian background taught me (flesh and spirit). It didn't make sense. The nature of something, of anything, is always one. The Course explains that one, spirit, is real; the other, the separated self that experiences being a body, is unreal, nothing more than a figment of my imagination. I am not divided, and all evidence to the contrary is a trick of the mind, a self-deception.
Based on the illusion of being split into opposites, the mind has "sought many...solutions" (1:3). It has been duped into believing in the reality of this split, and the reality of physical being. Therefore it occupies itself endlessly trying to make things work, and they never do. The mind becomes the servant of the body, trying to devise ways to make the body comfortable, to pleasure it, to make it last forever, to keep it safe from harm. In doing this, the mind has lost its true function.
Our one Self is spirit. In its preoccupation with the body the mind has, for the most part, lost sight of spirit. It needs to regain its true function of serving spirit: "Spirit makes use of mind as means to find Its Self expression" (4:1). This is what bring us peace and fills the mind with joy, while serving the body brings it nothing but conflict and pain. The thoughts of spirit seek expression through our minds; that is what minds are for.
The Holy Spirit is an agent of divine Help, bringing the mind back to its true function of serving spirit. He is the representative of spirit, of our Self, to our minds, constantly calling us to set aside this futile scrabbling for salvation in the realm of the physical and to open our minds to spirit. "If you are spirit, then the body must be meaningless to your reality" (3:7). Because we have dissociated our minds from their true function, we think we are alone and separate. We need a Helper Who reminds us of our true connection to spirit.
Our spirit--our Self--"retains Its thoughts, and they remain within your mind and in the Mind of God" (7:1). We remain, in spirit, as God created us. So we are not trying to change what our minds are, but rather change the purpose they serve. We are seeking, in these exercises, to reconnect to spirit, to set aside for five minutes the thoroughly distracting problems of the physical beings we think we are, and to open ourselves to these thoughts of spirit, to allow our minds to find their function as channels for spirit. "Restored in strength, it [the mind] will again flow out from spirit to the spirit in all things created by the Spirit as Itself. Your mind will bless all things" (10:3,4). That is our function; that is what we were created for. "The extension of God's Being is spirit's only function" (T-7.IX.3:1).
So I am rediscovering myself as an extender of God's Being. God is Love and so I love. God creates, so I create, which here on earth is expressed as healing, as restoring creation to its natural state.
This "Self" that the Course is talking about is not something apart from me; it is me. Talking about seeking the thoughts of my one Self almost makes it seem as if the Self is this separate Being I am seeking to communicate with. But the Self is me. "Here you are; This is You," as it said in Lesson 93.9:7. We are bringing the mind into contact with our spirit, but it is already me; the light is already in me, the thoughts I am "seeking" are my own thoughts I have dissociated right out of my mental awareness.
What we are asked to practice here is not described in great detail. You may be asking yourself, "What is it we are waiting for as we sit for five minutes?" And I can't tell you; no one can. You will know when you find it. The lesson recognizes that we may not "connect" today; it uses words like "if you succeed" (10:1) and "Perhaps your mind remains uncertain for a while" (11:2) It tells us not to be "dismayed" (11:3) if this is so. Relax with it, be patient. Do the exercises anyway. Every time you do your Self rejoices, even if that joy does not penetrate yet into your conscious mind, and it saves the joy, ready to bring it to you in full awareness when you do "succeed" and become certain of your one Self.
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