"I call upon God's Name and on my own."
Purpose: To go past your special defense of valuing other gods, of valuing the idols of the world, and so experience the gift of grace. This will intensify your motivation and strengthen your commitment.
Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 5 minutes - at least; 10 - better; 15 even better; 30 or more - best
Then sit silently and repeat God's Name slowly, over and over again. Let His Name become the all-encompassing idea that occupies your mind completely. Let it become your only thought, your only word, the only Name of anything you want.
If any other thoughts enter your mind, respond with God's Name, and see it replace the thousand names you gave your thoughts.
Hourly Remembrance: as the hour strikes more than 1 minute (reduce if circumstances do not permit)
(Suggestion) Do a short version of morning/evening exercise.
Frequent Reminder: (Suggestion) Repeat God's Name.
Response To Temptation: When tempted to value the little gods of this world, when tempted to cherish an idol, repeat God's Name, and watch the idol become a nameless and unwanted thing.
God's Name, as the term is used in this lesson and the next, symbolizes His Identity and our identity with Him. God's name is not Jehovah, or Krishna, or Allah. Yet any of those symbols could be used to represent Him. When this lesson urges us to "repeat God's Name," what, then, do we say? The actual word we use does not matter; it is the concept of His Identity that is to be foremost in our minds. We might say the word "God" over and over, or "Father," or "Divine Mother," or whatever word best symbolizes for you the Identity of God.
The general practice outlined in this lesson is very similar to practices in Eastern religions of repeating the Name of God over and over, and the intent is very much the same. In the Eastern spiritual practices, this often takes the form of chanting. The Hare Krishna religion, for instance, gains its name from the practice of repeatedly and seemingly endlessly chanting, "Hare Krishna, Hare Rama," which (I think) basically means "Praise Krishna. Praise Rama," with Krishna and Rama being names of God. A Christian group I once associated with had a major emphasis on the practice of repeating the words, "O Lord Jesus," for extended periods of time, with exactly the same kind of intent, and with often remarkable results. Although this kind of practice is not a major emphasis of the Course, clearly it is one means offered by the Course for helping us find the holy instant. The one difference I see here is that (in 5:4) the repetitions are meant to be silent and done "within your quiet mind," rather than aloud.
By focusing on God's Identity, we loosen the hold that all lesser names have on our minds. We counter the illusion of separation in recognizing the one Name that represents everything there is: "There is one Name for all there is, and all that there will be" (8:5).
Many results are attributed in this lesson to repeating the Name of God: it reminds us of our identity with Him (1:5); it invites the angels to surround us and keep us safe, recognizing the holiness we share with God (2:2); it prompts the world to lay down all illusions (3:1); it causes all idols to fall (4:1,3-4); it calls upon our Self, the extension of God that we are (5:1); it acknowledges God as sole Creator of reality (8:1).
We are encouraged, almost as an aside, to do this practice with someone else, sitting together in silence and repeating God's Name in our minds; this seems to have particular merit, for by it we establish "an altar which reaches to God Himself and to His Son" (5:4). This is the only place I am aware of in the Course in which meditation with another person is even mentioned, but it is a very favorable mention, and indicates there is some added value in joining with others in meditation.
The primary idea of the practice seems to be that the thought of God replaces every other idea in our minds, and if other ideas enter, we can respond to them with God's Name (8:3-5). Instead of praying for any specific thing, or any specific persons (all of which have names that distinguish them from everything else), we repeat the Name of God which includes them all. "No prayer but this is necessary, for it holds them all within it" (10:2). As we repeat God's Name we can alter our mental state to experience the gift of grace (9:1); eventually we come to a place where, "The universe consists of nothing but the Son of God, who calls upon His Father" (11:4).
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