Handout_142-148

Workbook Lesson Support Notes

by Allen Watson

COMMENTS ON THE PRACTICE

OF LESSONS 141–170



Review IV: lessons 141–150

The practice for this  review is surprisingly light: a couple of five minute+ practices per day and a quiet moment each hour. There are a few of notable things about this, however:

• The central thought. This review begins the habit of the three final reviews in the Workbook of having all practice organized around one central thought, in this case, “My mind holds only what I think with God.”

• A kind of contemplative study practice. The longer practice periods have two phases, and both are really just about unhurriedly dwelling on brief lines in the Course and soaking in the shining gift that God placed in those words.

• Preparation for part II. Perhaps the most significant thing about this review is that it is the first time we are told that we are now getting ready for part II. This means that the structure is starting to be taken away, the training wheels are beginning to come off, we are getting ready to fly. The first hint of this was Lesson 124, with its unstructured holy half an hour. This theme of preparation for part II will increase from this point on until, eighty lessons later, we actually reach part II.

LESSON 142
May 22

“My mind holds only what I think with God.”

“I thank my Father for His gifts to me.”

“Let me remember I am one with God.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Review IV

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, 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.

COMMENTARY

That my mind holds only what I think with God is not something I have to work at to attain. It is not a thought to be repeated like a purgative, to drive out opposing thoughts, with the undertone of “I have to make my mind have only God’s thoughts in it.” That my mind holds only what I think with God is “a fact, and represents the truth of What you are and What your Father is” (rIV.2:3).

As we were told early in the Workbook, when we think that we are thinking without God, we are not really thinking at all; our mind is actually blank. “While thoughtless ideas preoccupy your mind, the truth is blocked. Recognizing that your mind has been merely blank, rather than believing that it is filled with real ideas, is the first step to opening the way to vision” (W-pI.8.3:2, 3). “Now we are emphasizing that the presence of these ‘thoughts’ means that you are not thinking” (W-pI.10.3:2).

The Thoughts of God that fill my mind in reality are my Father’s gift to me. I am opening my mind, today, to His thoughts. What I ordinarily think of as thoughts that interfere or conflict with God’s Thoughts are like the static on a radio that interferes with the actual signal. They are not thoughts; they are static, they are noise. The signal is still there; but the static needs to be tuned out so that the signal can come through. The truth about me is that I am one with God; His Mind is my mind, His Thoughts are my thoughts. I am not something other than what He is. This is “the truth of What you are and What your Father is” (rIV.2:3).

To say that my mind holds only what I think with God can be a joyous affirmation of the truth. It can remind me of His gifts to me, and remind me that I am one with Him. That in me which seems contrary to God, distant from God, or opposed to God, is not who I am; it is not my reality. It is without meaning. There is nothing opposed to God in my mind. Another way of putting that is that what seems to be in me, opposing God, is actually nothing; it is an illusion or an hallucination, with no power and no strength of its own. It is empowered only when I believe in it. Today, I choose to deny that anything not of God has any power over me. I choose to remember what my reality is. I choose to remember that I am one with God.



LESSON 143
May 23

“My mind holds only what I think with God.”

“In quiet I receive God’s Word today.”

“All that I give is given to myself.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Review IV

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, for 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.

COMMENTARY

God’s thought creates. We were created when God thought of us; His mind extended outward, and what was in His Mind extended into and became our mind. As the review Introduction says, speaking of the main theme thought, “My mind holds only what I think with God,” “It is this thought by which the Father gave creation to the Son, establishing the Son as co-creator with Himself” (W-rIV.In.2:4).

Our minds must therefore be like His, creating like His by extending our thoughts outward. We are God’s Thoughts, and His thoughts have His nature.

“As God’s creative Thought proceeds from Him to you, so must your creative thought proceed from you to your creations. Only in this way can all creative power extend outward. God’s accomplishments are not yours, but yours are like His. He created the Sonship and you increase it. You have the power to add to the Kingdom, though not to add to the Creator of the Kingdom. You claim this power when you become vigilant only for God and His Kingdom. By accepting this power as yours you have learned to remember what you are” (T-7.I.2:3–9).

As we receive God’s Word today, so we must give it. If we receive it we will give it, because what we receive is a thought of sharing. We were created by this sharing of thought, this extending of God’s Self; sharing, or giving ourselves, is our heritage, the essence of what we are. In the first thought we review for today are the words, “I receive;” in the second thought are the words, “I give.”

Accepting or remembering what we are means realizing we are beings who extend, who give, who share. Created by Love, we are lovers. This is why the Course places such stress on accepting our function as saviors of the world; in accepting this, we are accepting our Self as God created It. We are merely taking our place in the creative process, choosing no longer to block the flow of love from God to us, and through us to the world. “To create is to love. Love extends outward simply because it cannot be contained” (T-7.I.3:3–4).

In quiet today I receive God’s Word, which is the affirmation of His love for all His creations. I open myself to acknowledge that love, receiving it for myself. And then I step forth to give as I have received, knowing that in giving to my sisters and my brothers, I am indeed giving that love to myself. My giving of it is my receiving of it. By my words, my thoughts, my expressions and my attitudes I communicate to all around me the Word I have received: “You, too, are loved. You, too, are loving. You, too, are the expression and channel of the love of God.”


LESSON 144
May 24

“My mind holds only what I think with God.”

“There is no love but God’s.”

“The world I see holds nothing that I want.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Review IV

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, for 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.

COMMENTARY

How is it that the theme thought for the review, that my mind holds only what I think with God, “fully guarantees salvation to the Son” (W-rIV.In.3:5)? It means that there is nothing in my mind that opposes God. It means that what seems to be contrary to God’s thoughts, the things I see within myself that are ungodlike or unloving, are misperceptions of myself. It means that there is nothing in reality that can keep me from completion as God’s offspring. The enemies and obstacles that seem to stand in the way—most especially the ones that seem to be part of me—are not real, and have no substance.

If there is no love but God’s, and my mind holds only what I think with Him, then the emptiness I sometimes feel within myself, the lack of love, the longing for a fully satisfying love that never fails and is always there, something I can depend upon in every situation, will be fulfilled. Thinking that I am seeking for love in this world is simply a mistake. The love I am looking for is within me, right in my own mind. I am not looking for anything in this world, although I so often think I am. I am looking for something I already have, but have denied. And the way to find it is to give it. To be it.

Love is not something I can possess. Love is something that can possess me, and in that possession is satisfaction. The attempt to collect love, to possess it and to hoard it brings me pain. My joy can be found in pouring love out, sharing it, blessing the world with it. To recognize that my mind holds only this love, and to open it to the world, is all that I truly want. This, and only this, will bring me happiness.

The words, “The world I see holds nothing that I want,” could be spoken in despair. The unspoken thought behind them might be, “Nothing here is good enough for me. Nothing here satisfies, and I will therefore never be satisfied.” Or, these words can be spoken with joy. If I am driving a brand new car, equipped with every accessory I have ever desired, and I pass an auto junkyard, I can look at that junkyard and say, “That junkyard holds nothing that I want,” and speak the words with satisfaction. I can say the same thing as I pass a luxury car dealership. Because I already have what I want.

If there is no love but God’s, and He has imparted Himself, His very thought, to my mind, I can look calmly at the world and realize that there is nothing in it to compare with what I have. I have an Artesian well of love springing up in my heart. I can never lack for love. I am the very love, and I see that same love in every being around me, springing from the same Source.

Love is all around me and within me, if I am only willing to see it. Let me look for God’s Love today in everything I see, and let me rejoice every time I find it. Let me acknowledge it in every smile. Let me give it every chance I have to do so. Let me encourage every spark of it in others, and in myself. This is where salvation lies. This is my function and my happiness. And it is guaranteed, because my mind holds only God’s loving thoughts.

LESSON 145
May 25

“My mind holds only what I think with God.” 

“Lack of forgiveness blocks this thought from his awareness” (W-rIV.In.2:7).

“Beyond this world there is a world I want.”

“It is impossible to see two worlds.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Review IV

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, for 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.

COMMENTARY

The world I see is a world shown to me by unforgiveness. It is “the delusional system of those made mad by guilt” (T-13.In.2:2). The only thing that keeps up the illusion of this world’s reality, with its seeming punishment, pain, sorrow, separation and death, is a lack of forgiveness. Why does my body seem to be what I am? Why does the pain I experience, mental, emotional and physical, seem so real? Why does loss seem so real? All of its reality originates and is sustained by a lack of forgiveness in my mind. This is why, “Forgiveness is the key to happiness” (Lesson 121).

There is a world I truly want, a world that lies beyond this world. The Course calls it the real world. “The real world is the state of mind in which the only purpose of the world is seen to be forgiveness” (T-30.V.1:1). “The real world is attained simply by complete forgiveness of the old, the world you see without forgiveness” (T-17.II.5:1). My perception shifts from seeing the world of pain to seeing the real world by means of one thing: forgiveness.

This is why it is impossible to see two worlds. Either my mind is forgiving, or it is not. Either it condemns what it sees, or it accepts in merciful forgiveness. Let me begin within myself: how unkind I am to myself in the way I think of myself! How merciless I am in judging my mistakes! This harshness with myself is the origin of the harsh world I see.

There is within me, and within us all, a vast space of kindness, an enormity of heart that embraces everything in love. This is the Mind I share with God. Within me, too, is a fearful child, awash in pain, believing it has eternally damaged the universe. Let me turn with love to that hurt part of myself and open my arms in comfort and gentle loving-kindness. My heart is big enough to hold this pain instead of rejecting it. The love I share with God is vast enough to grant mercy to myself. Let me not shut myself out of my own heart any longer. Let me take myself in, in warmth and gentle welcome.

Let me look on the ones close to me, as well, with this same gentle, kind acceptance. Here is the cure for my loneliness and pain, for there is nothing so painful as a closed heart. Indeed there is no pain but this. Pain is constricting the heart. Pain is denying the love that I am. In this subtle, internal gesture of rejection lies the origin of the world I see. In the undoing of this contraction of pain is my salvation, and the salvation of the world. Here is the entry to the real world, a world bright with love, radiant with hope, certain in its joyfulness.

Beyond this world, there is a world I want, and the key to open the door is forgiveness.

LESSON 146
May 26

“My mind holds only what I think with God.”

“No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.”

“I loose the world from all I thought it was.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Review IV

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, for 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.

COMMENTARY

Continuing to develop some ideas from the Review about the theme thought, I was struck by these words, from paragraphs 2 and 4:

“Yet it is forever true [that my mind holds only what I think with God]” (W-rIV.In.2:8).

“And yet, your mind holds only what you think with God. Your self-deceptions cannot take the place of truth. No more than can a child who throws a stick into the ocean change the coming and the going of the tides, the warming of the water by the sun, the silver of the moon on it by night” (W-rIV.In.4).

It is “forever true” that my mind holds only what it thinks with God. It was true when God created me. It will be true when the journey is over and I am home with God. And it is true right now. “Forever true.” The third paragraph talks about the many forms of unforgiveness, the way unforgiveness is “carefully concealed” in my mind, the defenses of the ego, its illusions, its use of self-deception to keep the mindless game going. Yet, despite this, “My mind holds only what I think with God.” Nothing I do affects this fact. All the self-deception in the world can only hide the truth, not change it. “Your self-deceptions cannot take the place of truth” (4:2).

The image of the child throwing a stick into the ocean is just perfect. I remember as a very young boy I used to go to Cape Cod. I would stand in the surf, with waves perhaps two or three feet high breaking before me, and I would punch the waves, battling with them, driving my fist through them. To me at the time, I was like a warrior, fighting against the ocean. I’m sure the ocean was deeply concerned! :-) I’m sure my mighty efforts slowed down the tide a bit, at least. Sure they did. And I’m sure when I peed in the water it made a drastic change in the temperature of the ocean. Right, of course.

Our “rebellion” against God has had about that much effect. In other words, none. The very idea that we could alter God’s creation is as ludicrous as the child with the stick seriously believing he had damaged the ocean when he threw the stick in.

This is why, “No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.” Because the truth is right there, in my mind, where it always has been and forever will be. I can’t fail to find it because I haven’t lost it! I’ve still got it.

I have looked upon this world and believed it to be a place where God is not. I’ve seen what appears to be an outrageous lack of love. I’ve been deeply disappointed with the world. Well, “I loose the world from what I thought it was.” I let all those impressions of the world drop away, because it can’t be what I thought it was, not if all of our minds still hold only what we think with God. Something is wrong with this picture! Just when I thought I had begun to figure out the world, along comes the Course and says, “Not even warm.” So I let my judgments about the world fall away, and open my mind to be taught anew. Maybe, just maybe, the way I’ve seen it had something to do with what I was thinking about myself, with my belief that my mind was at war with God. Maybe I’ve seen a world at war with God because that is how I imagine my mind to be, and I’ve projected that onto the world. And maybe, if I let go of my foolish ideas about myself, my image of the world will change, too. I’m willing to give it a try.

LESSON 147
May 27

“My mind holds only what I think with God.”

“I will not value what is valueless.”

“Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Review IV

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, for 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.

COMMENTARY

Let me, today, look at the things I value and reconsider them all. Why am I doing this particular thing? What is it I am valuing here? The things we value are often quite foolish when we look at them. For instance, when I have begun to experience the nourishing warmth of true intimacy in relationship, nothing seems worth the closing off of that warmth. I recall reading about a fundamentalist church that split up over the issue of whether or not it was sinful to plug in a guitar. How, I wondered, could anyone value anything like that enough to shut out from their hearts people who had once been close friends? So many relationships break up over issues that seem just as trivial.

Forgiveness sees that nothing is worth shutting another child of God out of my heart. We have so many absolutes in our consciousness, things we consider more important than love, more important than unity, more important than our own peace of mind. Have I come, yet, to value peace of mind above everything else? Have I come to the point where anything that interferes with the flow of love through me is quickly discarded?

We need to become aware of the source of our own pain. We ache when we close down our hearts. We ache when we refuse to forgive, when we latch on to the wrongs that have been done to us and fondle them over and over, refusing to let them go. “Love holds no grievances” (W-pI.68). Forgiveness is a gift to myself; it is a release from my own pain. What am I valuing above the free flow of love, the warmth of union with my brother or sister? Let me choose to no longer value this valueless thing, and choose to forgive.

Let me take five minutes this morning, and five minutes tonight, to open my mind and clear it of all thoughts that would deceive (W-pI.rIV.5:2). Let me brush aside lesser values, and remember that my mind holds God’s own thoughts. Let me value these thoughts above all else. Let me rejoice in the congruence of my mind and God’s Mind, and recognize that this blending of my mind with God’s, this sharing of His thoughts, is all that is truly valuable to me.


LESSON 148
May 28

“My mind holds only what I think with God.”

“If I defend myself I am attacked.”

“Sickness is a defense against the truth.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Review IV

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, for 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.

COMMENTARY

What seem to me to be obstacles within my mind, out-of-control thoughts that hinder me on my spiritual path, are my defenses against the truth. Nothing enters my mind without my permission. No one is thinking thoughts in my mind except me (and God). As Lesson 26 taught us, my attack thoughts are attacking my own invulnerability. I may think I am attacking someone else, but I am really attacking my own Identity with God.

My ego has built up a clever, multi-layered defense system against the truth, and has hidden it in obscurity and disguise. The process the Course sets before me is one of uncovering these defenses, becoming aware of them, judging them as insane, and letting them go. All of them are false, and what is false cannot affect what is true. Beneath all the camouflage of the ego, my mind still holds only what I think with God. The rest is elaborate illusion with no real power to cause any effects whatsoever.

Sickness is one very prominent and very effective defense system of the ego. In sickness, something my mind has caused appears to be an attack from the outside, a visible or invisible enemy with very visible effects on my body. It is something I must continually defend against, and fight with every resource when it strikes. As soon as one disease is conquered, another seems to arise with even more devastating effects. Most of mankind is not ready to accept that sickness is only of the mind. I have not fully accepted it myself; my level of fear is still too high. So there is every reason to continue to alleviate diseases in the ways we have been doing, yet we must realize that we are only muting the symptoms and not eradicating the cause. Only as more and more of us begin to realize that our minds hold only what we think with God, and that everything which seems to be other than from God is an illusion of our creation, will the need for the compromise approach of physical medicine begin to disappear.

Today in my practice I am contributing to the ultimate cure of every disease. As I search out my own inner defenses, which are actually forms of self-attack, and let them go, I am collaborating with the power of God to free mankind from disease, and not only disease, but every such ego-based system of defense against the truth. As I clear my mind of all thought that would deceive (W-pI.rIV.5:2), and place God’s Mind in charge of the thoughts I receive (5:4), I am not working alone.

“They [the thoughts] will not come from you alone, for they will all be shared with Him” (6:1).

Let me, then, take the assigned times today to remember the true Source of all my thoughts, and to allow the Holy Spirit to clear the cobwebs of deception from my mind. Let me take five minutes in the morning to “set the day along the lines which God appointed” (5:4). Each time I do so, each day I remember my practice, I bring myself and all the world nearer the day when all deception will vanish in the light.