If you will recall, back in the Workbook Introduction we were told that "The workbook is divided into two main sections, the first dealing with the undoing of the way you see now, and the second with the acquisition of true perception" (W-IN.3:1). Although Part II does not begin for another 80 lessons, Review IV announces that we are entering a transition stage of the Workbook, "preparing for the second part of learning how the truth can be applied." Part II of the Workbook, if you will look at it, consists of lessons that are a half page long, or less. They give very few specific practice instructions, and offer us a great deal more latitude in exactly how we practice. They are geared to students who have begun to make the truths of the Course their own, and who are ready to apply them independently. This review gives us some preliminary exercises in that kind of independent practice. In Lesson 153, shortly after we complete this review, there will be a major shift in practice, as we shall see, which will set the pattern for the practice during the rest of Part I of the Workbook.
Therefore, following the practice instructions for this review is quite important, if we want to be prepared for what is to come. You'll notice that the reviews give us nothing but the theme thought for the review and the two theme ideas being reviewed; there is no additional commentary. In a sense, we are meant to supply that commentary for ourselves. We are meant to take the ideas and let the Holy Spirit open their meaning in our own minds, without the prop of printed words to help us. "Let each word shine with the meaning God has given it, as it was given to you through His Voice" (7:4).
Perhaps you do not feel ready for this. I confess that when I first did the Workbook I pretty much lost interest after Part I; I did the lessons but really all I did was read them, think about them for a minute or two, and then forget them. The reviews such as this one seemed particularly pointless to me. Two or three sentences wasn't enough to stimulate my mind, and I was not ready, apparently, to allow the Holy Spirit to "let each word shine" in my mind. You may find yourself in the same boat. Still, I would say, try to follow the instructions. Take the few lines given for each day, and ruminate on them. Chew them over. Think about what you know of their meaning, and ask to be shown more. If it works for you, try to initiate a dialogue with the Holy Spirit about the ideas. Turn them into prayers. Think how they can apply to your life. Be still before God and let the feeling of the ideas wash over you. Do whatever seems to work for you.
Maybe you won't feel like you're doing very well, but what is the purpose of practice, if not to learn to do something you don't know how to do well?
Notice the theme thought for the review: My mind holds only what I think with God. The instructions tell us to spend five minutes letting this one thought, and this alone, engage our minds, and remove all other thoughts. What we are doing is clearing the stage, making way for the Holy Spirit to teach us. The five minutes spent with this idea each day is our warm-up period. We are making ourselves ready to receive the thoughts of God, through His Holy Spirit. We are preparing ourselves to hold communion with God.
Only after this five-minute warm-up are we instructed to take the two thoughts for review, and let their meaning illuminate our minds. There is no time limit given here; we are to review them "slowly" and with "no hurry." Surely this will be more than a few seconds! More like several minutes, at the least. The best way is to be able to do this review without concern about time; if we take five minutes or twenty-five, it does not matter. The important thing is that we commune with God, and let His thoughts fill our minds. As the review says of our hourly review sessions, we should take "time enough to see the gifts that they [the two ideas] contain for you, and let them be received where they were meant to be" (8:2). The exact amount of time you spend is left to you.
Purpose: To prepare for part II of the Workbook, by concentrating on readiness for it and by reviewing the last 20 lessons in a way that will facilitate that readiness.
Longer: 2--beginning and ending of the day, for 5 minutes or more.
* Open your mind, clear it of all distracting thoughts. For five minutes let this thought alone occupy it, displacing all others: "My mind holds only what I think with God."
* Read the day's two ideas. Close eyes and repeat ideas slowly, without hurry, for this is what time was made for. Let each word shine with the meaning God gave it. Receive from each idea the gift God placed in it.
Remarks: Phase 1 will be enough to set your day along the lines God planned, making it a special time of blessing for you and for the world. It will be enough to place Him in charge of all your thoughts. Your thoughts will come from more than you. They will also come from Him and tell you of His Love. Thus will you, His completion, join with Him. And He, your completion, will join with you. He thanks you for your practicing. And as your day ends, His gratitude will surround you.
Shorter: hourly a quiet moment
* Say: "My mind holds only what I think with God." Spend a quiet moment with it.
* Then repeat the day's two ideas, slowly enough to see their gifts and receive their gifts.
"Forgiveness is the key to happiness."
"Forgiveness offers everything I want."
Forgiveness really does offer us everything we want, and without true forgiveness, happiness just isn't possible. We may not consciously and completely believe this as yet, but our right mind believes it, and always has. Forgiveness operates not just on what I think the world did to me (in reality it did nothing to me), but also on what it did not do that I wanted it to. The older one gets, the more disillusioned one becomes about the world. We speak of people becoming "world-weary" and cynical as they age, because despite the high hopes we had when younger, despite the brilliant promises the world seemed to make to us, it disappointed us. It did not make us happy. We discover that the world isn't fair, that good people don't always succeed, that we don't always get what we want. And even when we do, it isn't as good as we had hoped.
Forgiveness involves recognizing that we are the ones who laid these expectations on the world, and we are the ones who made it to disappoint us. We asked the impossible; nothing in this world will ever satisfy us or make us happy. Happiness is in our native state and there alone, union with God and with the Sonship. To forgive the world means to stop begrudging its imperfections. We cannot blame the world for our pain, nor can we blame it for its failure to make us happy. We cannot blame it at all. When at last our teeth unclench, our fists relax, and our breath eases as we release these deep-seated grievances, what we discover is our own inherent happiness, there all along, but masked by our unforgiveness.
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