First day with NO rain in five days, our backyard is a veritable field, still wet from inches of rain!
OK, will being with a few thoughts from Ken, here goes:
He responds to paragraph eight, 8:1-4 with:
“Once we have accepted peace as our goal, we also accept the means Jesus offers us to attain it. He asks us now to extend our practice periods to a full thirty minutes, a period in which he would like us to think about the oneness of our Self, at one with Its Creator. Try to see how many senseless words and thoughts you bring to the meditation, how hard it is to sit quietly without specific instructions. When you find yourself having difficulty, do not berate, judge, or pressure yourself. Simply say: “I am afraid of oneness, for if I were really still, the thought of love would penetrate my barriers and I would disappear. To protect myself from the silence of God’s Love, I shall be noisy and restless: A fly will disturb my concentration, my ear will begin to itch, a later appointment will suddenly concern me – dozens of other irrelevant thoughts will cross my mind as well.” Do not fight such fear and distraction; simply watch calmly what you are doing. That will be enough to fulfill the requirements of the practice period.
Do not be upset, Jesus says, if you do not succeed at today’s exercise. In time you will. If you grapple with thoughts of when it will happen, or thinking it will never happen, you but return to the mistake of giving the ego power it does not have. Remember, you do the workbook properly to the extend you do it “miserably,” but without judgment. Do not pressure yourself into being perfect, for that merely reinforces the fearful belief you are imperfect.
As you practice during this half hour, try not to apply pressure on yourself to be quiet and still. You will be successful if you but observe your mind, watching how fearful you are of letting these images go, and recognizing your comfort in seeing your face instead of Christ’s. Acceptance of this fear becomes the foundation of the trust in your new Teacher that will, in time, gently lead you beyond the ego to the joy that happily awaits us all. Perhaps today, perhaps tomorrow. But certainly!”
What Ken is saying which I find immeasurably comforting is just do the half hour and note when my mind is distracted and it may be that it is 29 minutes among the 30.
If so, I forgive myself for being afraid of experiencing the love and peace of God. Very simple.
If I judge what I did or didn’t do, well then, I am right back into the ego’s clutches again.
Too often, we all miss the boat.
If we were excellent or good students, we try to do the practice periods perfectly. Many of us have gotten pretty far into the WB, practicing every day, and then abandon it because the ego told us we had failed. I did my first go-around! I got to Lesson 220 and started all over again.
That’s among the reasons I enrolled in MO’s ministerial program at the time, back in 2009, as I had convinced myself I didn’t have the discipline or patience to get through the blue book. By the program’s end, we had indeed worked our way through the Course and supplements in their entirety, thankfully, with the help of fellow students and Rev. Deb, I made it, never fully believing it were possible.
And that is what the ego does.
Moving forward as we’re a third through the WB, we work on being kind and gentle with ourselves.
Sure, we’ll falter, I will falter, I will justify not practicing and with ease.
Jesus has no scorecard, but ego does!
Remember that as you practice today’s lesson!
Have a lovely day!