"God goes with me wherever I go."
PRACTICE SUMMARYLonger: 1 time, as soon as possible in the morning, for 3-5 minutes.
- Close eyes, repeat the idea very slowly.
- Then try to sink down and inward, entering deeply into your mind. Keep your mind free of distracting thoughts. If helpful, repeat the idea more, but mostly sink down and inward, past the cloud of your insane thoughts and toward the light of God within you.
Shorter: Often. Repeat the idea very slowly, preferably with eyes closed. Concentrate on what it means, that holiness, companionship and protection always go with you.
COMMENTARYInnumerable problems seem to have arisen from our perception of ourselves as separate from God. A sense of loneliness and abandonment, depression, anxiety, worry, helplessness, misery, suffering, and intense fear of loss all stem from this root problem. Most of our lives are spent, if we look at things objectively, with various ways of trying to circumvent and overcome these problems.
But the one thing they [we] do not do is to question the reality of the problem. Yet its effects cannot be cured because the problem is not real (2:2-3).
A spiritual teacher, Adi Da, once wrote a book subtitled, "The imaginary disease that religion seeks to cure." That is what separation is: an imaginary disease. How can you cure a disease that does not really exist? The answer is obvious; you cannot. There is no cure because there is no disease. This is why all our attempts to "cure" ourselves do not work. We cannot find the way "back" to God because He has never left us; God goes with us wherever we go. All of our strife and drama is just foolishness, "despite the serious and tragic forms it may take" (2:5).
Deep within you is everything that is perfect, ready to radiate through you and out into the world. It will cure all sorrow and pain and fear and loss because it will heal the mind that thought these things were real, and suffered out of its allegiance to them (3:1-2).
We carry the "cure" for our disease deep within us. This cure heals, not by overcoming the "illness" but by healing our belief in the reality of the illness. God is always with us. How could we ever, in any way, ever be separate from the Infinite? How could we ever be apart from All That Is? The very idea is insane and impossible.
We understand that you do not believe all this. How could you, when the truth is hidden deep within, under a heavy cloud of insane thoughts, dense and obscuring, yet representing all you see? Today we will make our first real attempt to get past this dark and heavy cloud, and to go through it to the light beyond (5:1-3).
How reassuring to have our Teacher tell us that he understands we do not believe this as yet. Oh, perhaps we hold an intellectual belief in God's omnipresence, but we do not believe it to the core, in a way that banishes all our fear, sorrow, pain and loss. That is the purpose of this lesson: to get past "this dark and heavy cloud" and to reach the light.
This lesson is the Course's first introduction to the practice of what we might call traditional meditation. While the Course does not make such meditation a primary focus, it definitely accords it a place of great importance. Meditation in the Course consists of sitting with eyes closed and making "no effort to think of anything" (6:4), but attempting to enter deeply into our own mind, to sink down inward while trying to keep the mind "clear of any thoughts that might divert your attention" (6:6). The purpose, as has been stated, is to become aware of the light within ourselves. Or, in more traditional terms, to experience a sense of God's presence with us. We are attempting to reach God today.
This meditation exercise, says the lesson, can achieve startling results the very first time you try it. That may not happen for you the first time, but "sooner or later it is always successful" (8:5). That certainly implies that we are expected to repeat the exercise, and to expect something as a result.
Clearly, if this idea of God's presence is meant to banish our loneliness, we can expect to develop a very clear and tangible sense of Someone Who is always with us, in every moment. When we begin to develop this sense we may be tempted to think it is our imagination. This is no imagination! It is the absence of this Presence that is imaginary.
"You can indeed afford to laugh at fear thoughts, remembering that God goes with you wherever you go" (10:1).
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