Handout_205-211

Workbook Lesson Support Notes

by Allen Watson

LESSON 205
July 24

“I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

“I want the peace of God.”

“I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Review VI

Purpose: To carefully review the last 20 lessons, each of which contains the whole curriculum and is therefore sufficient for salvation, if understood, practiced, accepted and applied without exception.

Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 15 minutes—at least

Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Close eyes and relinquish all that clutters the mind; forget all you thought you knew. Give the time to the Holy Spirit, your Teacher. If you notice an idle thought, immediately deny its hold, assuring your mind that you do not want it. Then let it be given up and replaced with today’s idea. Say: “This thought I do not want. I choose instead (today’s idea).”

Remarks: We are attempting to go beyond special forms of practice because we are attempting a quicker pace and shorter path to our goal.

Hourly Remembrance: Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Frequent Reminder: as often as possible, as often as you can. Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Response To Temptation: permit no idle thought to go unchallenged.

If you are tempted by an idle thought, immediately deny its hold, assuring your mind that you do not want it. Then let it be given up and replaced with today’s idea. Say: “This thought I do not want. I choose instead (today’s idea).”

COMMENTARY

Review VI says that, “Each of these ideas alone would be sufficient for salvation, if it were learned truly” (W-rVI.Int.1:3). It adds, “Each contains the whole curriculum if understood, practiced, accepted, and applied to all the seeming happenings throughout the day” (W-rVI.Int.2:2). Today’s lesson is an idea of which I find that easy to believe. If you are into memorization (as I am), this lesson is an excellent one to add to your repertoire.

It’s worth noticing the list of four verb forms that are identified as making any of these ideas into “the whole curriculum.”

UNDERSTOOD: No matter how strongly the Course advocates experience, and points out that a universal theology is impossible (C-Int.2:5), you cannot get around the fact that it makes understanding very important. How can we enter into the experience of an idea if we do not understand it? Understanding is here presented as the fundamental step. Before we can really utilize the idea, “I want the peace of God,” we have to understand it. Implied in the idea (and clearly presented in the full lesson, #185) is the fact that there is a very strong thought in my mind, perhaps unacknowledged, that I do not want the peace of God, and this is demonstrated by the fact that I do not experience it. That contrary thought, however, is a mistaken one, to be dismissed whenever we become aware of it, and replaced with the truth: I do want the peace of God.

PRACTICED: That is what we are doing in these Workbook lessons. Practicing. Repeating frequently. Spending some extended time allowing the thought to soak in and penetrate the recesses of our minds.

ACCEPTED: Notice that acceptance comes after practice. Our minds do not accept the idea at the start, even after we understand the idea. When we begin to practice, we do not truly accept that we want the peace of God. We think we want something else, something more, something besides peace. It takes a good deal of practice to retrain our minds, until we begin to realize that “the peace of God is everything I want.”

APPLIED: Having accepted the idea, we can now begin to apply it to each different “seeming happening” during the day. When the car cuts us off in traffic: “I want the peace of God.” When we find ourselves wistfully longing for a more fulfilling relationship, “The peace of God is everything I want.” When we begin to feel driven to obtain some earthly goal at any cost, “The peace of God is my one goal.” When we start to think we don’t know what to do or where to go, “The peace of God is the aim of all my living here.” And when we start to feel impelled to fulfill some need of our bodies, “I am not a body. The peace of God is everything I want. I am free.”

Thank You, Father, for today’s reminder of Your peace. There is nothing else I need, and nothing else I want. O, may today’s lesson become the keynote of my life, so that I can say and truly mean, “The peace of God is my one goal.”

LESSON 206
July 25

“I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

“Salvation of the world depends on me.”

“I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Review VI

Purpose: To carefully review the last 20 lessons, each of which contains the whole curriculum and is therefore sufficient for salvation, if understood, practiced, accepted and applied without exception.

Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 15 minutes—at least

Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Close eyes and relinquish all that clutters the mind; forget all you thought you knew. Give the time to the Holy Spirit, your Teacher. If you notice an idle thought, immediately deny its hold, assuring your mind that you do not want it. Then let it be given up and replaced with today’s idea. Say: “This thought I do not want. I choose instead (today’s idea).”

Remarks: We are attempting to go beyond special forms of practice because we are attempting a quicker pace and shorter path to our goal.

Hourly Remembrance: Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Frequent Reminder: as often as possible, as often as you can. Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Response To Temptation: permit no idle thought to go unchallenged.

If you are tempted by an idle thought, immediately deny its hold, assuring your mind that you do not want it. Then let it be given up and replaced with today’s idea. Say: “This thought I do not want. I choose instead (today’s idea).”

COMMENTARY

I am not a body; I am the Son of God. I am spirit, endowed with the gifts of God. I am not what I appear to be, nor what I have thought I was for most of my life. I am a spiritual being having a human experience, and my mission here (if I will accept it :-)) is to give the gifts of God wherever He asks me to give them. And that is to everyone.

The Course requires a radical revision of my self-concept. I have thought of myself as some sort of poor, lost soul, wandering, alone, afraid. I have thought of myself as needy and lacking. I have felt like an orphan; as though, no matter how hard I tried, no matter how many places I visited, I never quite fit in. I have seen myself at the bottom trying to get up.

Now, this book comes along, a message from God to me, and tells me that the salvation of the world depends on me. I am a key figure in the plan of the ages. Everything depends on me, and that seems frightening. And yet, I have the gifts to give the world that will save it. I can give it my love. I can give it my trust. I can give it my kindness and my mercy. I can give those around me my understanding and my faith in them. Through my forgiveness I can release them from guilt.

This is such a startling idea of what I am that at first it seems ludicrous. I think at first that to see myself this way would be the height of arrogance. And yet…and yet, if this is how God created me, if this is what He created me for, it is arrogant to refuse the task being given to me. He is not asking me to set myself above anyone else. On the contrary, He is asking me to demonstrate to everyone that they have the gifts of God as well, that they are all like me.

God is asking me, “Are you ready yet to help me save the world?” (C-2.9:1) All Heaven waits breathlessly to hear my decision. Will I say, “Yes?” Will I dare to say, with understanding, meaning every word: “Salvation of the world depends on me.”

LESSON 207
July 26

“I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

“I bless the world because I bless myself.”

“I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Review VI

Purpose: To carefully review the last 20 lessons, each of which contains the whole curriculum and is therefore sufficient for salvation, if understood, practiced, accepted and applied without exception.

Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 15 minutes—at least

Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Close eyes and relinquish all that clutters the mind; forget all you thought you knew. Give the time to the Holy Spirit, your Teacher. If you notice an idle thought, immediately deny its hold, assuring your mind that you do not want it. Then let it be given up and replaced with today’s idea. Say: “This thought I do not want. I choose instead (today’s idea).”

Remarks: We are attempting to go beyond special forms of practice because we are attempting a quicker pace and shorter path to our goal.

Hourly Remembrance: Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Frequent Reminder: as often as possible, as often as you can. Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Response To Temptation: permit no idle thought to go unchallenged.

If you are tempted by an idle thought, immediately deny its hold, assuring your mind that you do not want it. Then let it be given up and replaced with today’s idea. Say: “This thought I do not want. I choose instead (today’s idea).”

COMMENTARY

All that I need is already within me. It is released for me when I release it to others, because in reality, there are no “others,” there is only one. We get caught up in questions such as, “Do I forgive myself first, and thus release myself to forgive others? Or do I forgive my brother, and thus find forgiveness for myself?” and “Must I love myself before I can love others, or vice versa?” When we ask such questions we are trying to figure out a unified reality on the basis of duality; we can’t get a clear answer because the question is framed in the wrong terms.

To “accept His boundless Love for me” (1:3) and to accept that love for others is the same thing, because all of us are merely fragments of the one mind we all share. There is no such thing as loving myself to the exclusion of loving others; that is not love at all. Nor is it love to “love” someone else and sacrifice myself on their behalf.

“I bless the world because I bless myself.” This doesn’t mean that meeting the demands of my ego benefits everyone else. Many people, in the wake of what ACIM teachers Hugh and Gayle Prather call “separation psychology” (see their book, “I Will Never Leave You”), think that loving yourself means such things as looking out for your own happiness at the expense of marriage partners and children. This is not what the Course is teaching here. The pendulum has swung from sacrificing yourself for the family or your partner (in the 40’s and 50’s) to sacrificing the family and partner for yourself (in the 80’s and 90’s). Both are mistaken approaches based on dualism.

“I bless the world because I bless myself” could be reversed, with equal truth, to read, “I bless myself because I bless the world.” Giving and receiving are the same thing; this is one of the major lessons of the Course, and, by its own admission, one of the hardest for us to learn.

“God’s blessing shines upon me from within my heart, where He abides.” The radiant and all-embracing Love of God is within me. When I turn to It, It engulfs me and instantly spills over to embrace everyone through me. Discovering that is what the Course is all about. “I am still as God created me.” I am still that Love. How can I know that I am Love without expressing it? Love, by Its nature, extends to others and includes them in Its heart. The marvellous discovery of my own nature as Love cannot be made without the extension of that Love to my brother. To bless myself and to bless the world is a single event. It is when I bless the world that I learn to love myself; and likewise, when I truly love myself, I become a blessing to the world around me. I need my brothers, not to give me what I do not have, but to be the recipients and sharers of What I am.

LESSON 208
July 27

“I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

“The peace of God is shining in me now.”

“I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Review VI

Purpose: To carefully review the last 20 lessons, each of which contains the whole curriculum and is therefore sufficient for salvation, if understood, practiced, accepted and applied without exception.

Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 15 minutes—at least

Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Close eyes and relinquish all that clutters the mind; forget all you thought you knew. Give the time to the Holy Spirit, your Teacher. If you notice an idle thought, immediately deny its hold, assuring your mind that you do not want it. Then let it be given up and replaced with today’s idea. Say: “This thought I do not want. I choose instead (today’s idea).”

Remarks: We are attempting to go beyond special forms of practice because we are attempting a quicker pace and shorter path to our goal.

Hourly Remembrance: Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Frequent Reminder: as often as possible, as often as you can. Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Response To Temptation: permit no idle thought to go unchallenged.

If you are tempted by an idle thought, immediately deny its hold, assuring your mind that you do not want it. Then let it be given up and replaced with today’s idea. Say: “This thought I do not want. I choose instead (today’s idea).”

COMMENTARY

Over and over again, the Course urges us to “be still.” It is remarkable how much benefit can be derived from simply pausing, even just for ten seconds, closing the eyes, and remembering the peace of God that is within me. Just the word “peace,” repeated silently, can have a soothing, healing effect on the mind. This is not something that will come to us without conscious cooperation. Practice is necessary. “I will be still;” it is an act of the will, a choice, a decision. The frantic onflow of thoughts and concerns has to be interrupted, and the mind turned towards that “stillness” (1:3) that “is within my heart” (1:4).

Most of our waking hours (and probably most of our sleeping hours as well, although we aren’t aware of it) are spent in various concerns that, when stripped down to their basics, are concerns about our bodies, in one way or another. The daily care-taking of bathing, grooming, dressing, feeding, and resting our bodies goes on and on. The time we spend “earning a living” is necessitated by the need for money to purchase food, clothing and shelter, and to entertain ourselves. But we are not bodies. We need frequent reminders of that fact. We need to pause and say, “Peace, be still” to ourselves. It seems easier not to make the effort, to just let the current of bodily concerns carry us onward from one moment to the next. Yet when we make the effort, when we step out of the flow for a minute to simply be still and find the peace of God, everything begins to go more smoothly. We find ourselves happier than we were before. As an old Christian hymn put it, “Things that once were wild alarms cannot now disturb my rest.”

We have a wellspring of peace within our hearts. It waits for us to simply dip into it and drink from its refreshing pool. It is there now, shining within us. Right now, and often today, “I will be still.” I will draw on that inner wealth, “which witnesses to God Himself” (1:4).

LESSON 209
July 28

“I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

“I feel the love of God within me now.”

“I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Review VI

Purpose: To carefully review the last 20 lessons, each of which contains the whole curriculum and is therefore sufficient for salvation, if understood, practiced, accepted and applied without exception.

Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 15 minutes—at least

Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Close eyes and relinquish all that clutters the mind; forget all you thought you knew. Give the time to the Holy Spirit, your Teacher. If you notice an idle thought, immediately deny its hold, assuring your mind that you do not want it. Then let it be given up and replaced with today’s idea. Say: “This thought I do not want. I choose instead (today’s idea).”

Remarks: We are attempting to go beyond special forms of practice because we are attempting a quicker pace and shorter path to our goal.

Hourly Remembrance: Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Frequent Reminder: as often as possible, as often as you can. Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Response To Temptation: permit no idle thought to go unchallenged.

If you are tempted by an idle thought, immediately deny its hold, assuring your mind that you do not want it. Then let it be given up and replaced with today’s idea. Say: “This thought I do not want. I choose instead (today’s idea).”

COMMENTARY

I was created by the Love of God (1:2). Creating and loving are the same (T-7.I.3:3). Love, by its nature, extends outward and creates more of Itself, creates like Itself. “…God created you by extending Himself as you…” (T-7.I.5:2). “Think you that you can judge the Self of God? God has created It beyond judgment, out of His need to extend His Love” (T-15.V.11:1,2). Our Self was created out of the need of Love to extend Itself. We are the natural result of Love’s extension.

Therefore, we are that Love, extended. What I am is Love; Love is what I am. It is everything I am. There is no part of me that is not Love. I am wholly Love. That in me which seems to be something else—which may seem this morning to feel fearful, or depressed, or dull, or lifeless, or angry, or spiteful—is only illusion, a figment of my imagination. It is not real. It is not me. I am only Love, and therefore I teach only Love.

I am Love’s Son, by Love’s own proclamation (1:4). I am made in the image and likeness of Love. I cannot be anything other than loving, nor have I ever been anything other than loving. When I have believed I was something else, I was only dreaming. I am not a body, obsessed with self-preservation. I am free to love, and free to love freely. “God will never cease to love His Son, and His Son will never cease to love Him” (T-10.V.10:6).

“The Love of God within me sets me free” (1:5). It is connecting with that Love within myself that liberates me from my self-imposed bondage. It is accepting this Love as myself that frees me from guilt. It is allowing that Love to flow through me that frees me from sorrow and fills me with joy. Love is my liberator.

Let me accept today that the Love of God is in me. Let me feel Its presence. Let me be glad that Love is what I am. All the little things that seem to trouble me, that seem to tell me I am less than Love, or that anyone is less than Love, fade into nothing as I open my heart to Love.

LESSON 210
July 29

“I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

“I choose the joy of God instead of pain.”

“I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Review VI

Purpose: To carefully review the last 20 lessons, each of which contains the whole curriculum and is therefore sufficient for salvation, if understood, practiced, accepted and applied without exception.

Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 15 minutes—at least

Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Close eyes and relinquish all that clutters the mind; forget all you thought you knew. Give the time to the Holy Spirit, your Teacher. If you notice an idle thought, immediately deny its hold, assuring your mind that you do not want it. Then let it be given up and replaced with today’s idea. Say: “This thought I do not want. I choose instead (today’s idea).”

Remarks: We are attempting to go beyond special forms of practice because we are attempting a quicker pace and shorter path to our goal.

Hourly Remembrance: Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Frequent Reminder: as often as possible, as often as you can. Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Response To Temptation: permit no idle thought to go unchallenged.

If you are tempted by an idle thought, immediately deny its hold, assuring your mind that you do not want it. Then let it be given up and replaced with today’s idea. Say: “This thought I do not want. I choose instead (today’s idea).”

COMMENTARY

If we saw, clearly, that this was our choice—JOY or PAIN—would there be any difficulty in making the choice?

Learning that this is the only choice is what takes so much time.

We are so confused about what brings us joy. We are quite convinced that our bodies can bring us joy. We are certain that a good, romantic relationship would bring us joy (Is that an oxymoron, “a good, romantic relationship”?). We are very sure that giving up certain things in this world would bring us a great deal of pain. It takes time, and sometimes the illusion of “giving up,” to learn that we give up nothing. “It takes great learning both to realize and to accept the fact that the world has nothing to give” (ACIM Manual, 13.2:1).

“Pain is my own idea” (1:2). What a stunning statement! Pain is an idea I thought up independently of God. In fact, pain is thinking independently of God. Pain is trying to find happiness in this world. I have taught myself that the greatest pleasure of all is total autonomy, complete independence, absolute self-sufficiency. I have chosen this, and in doing so, invented pain. Now, I am unlearning what I taught myself. Now, I am learning to choose God’s Will instead of what I made, joy instead of pain. “I am teaching you to associate misery with the ego and joy with the spirit.” (T-4.VI.5:6)

Let me realize today that in saying, “I am not a body,” I am choosing joy instead of pain. In continuing to affirm, “I am a body,” I am choosing pain instead of joy.

LESSON 211
July 30

“I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

“I am the holy Son of God Himself.”

“I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Review VI

Purpose: To carefully review the last 20 lessons, each of which contains the whole curriculum and is therefore sufficient for salvation, if understood, practiced, accepted and applied without exception.

Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 15 minutes—at least

Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Close eyes and relinquish all that clutters the mind; forget all you thought you knew. Give the time to the Holy Spirit, your Teacher. If you notice an idle thought, immediately deny its hold, assuring your mind that you do not want it. Then let it be given up and replaced with today’s idea. Say: “This thought I do not want. I choose instead (today’s idea).”

Remarks: We are attempting to go beyond special forms of practice because we are attempting a quicker pace and shorter path to our goal.

Hourly Remembrance: Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Frequent Reminder: as often as possible, as often as you can. Repeat: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”

Response To Temptation: permit no idle thought to go unchallenged.

If you are tempted by an idle thought, immediately deny its hold, assuring your mind that you do not want it. Then let it be given up and replaced with today’s idea. Say: “This thought I do not want. I choose instead (today’s idea).”

COMMENTARY

To seek the glory of God in my Self—that sounds a little pretentious. Yet the lesson says we seek this glory “in true humility.” Naturally, the Course is speaking of the Self, and not my self. “This does not refer, however, to the self of which the world speaks” (M-4.VII.2:2). When someone says, “The glory of God is in me,” or “I am the Son of God Himself,” it makes a very big difference what “me” is being spoken of. If it is the self that we believe exists separate from the billions of other selves in this world, we are not speaking the truth. We are being pretentious. If it refers to the Self that is shared by all those billions, the Self of which my little consciousness is just one fragment, it is the Truth that sets us free.

The glory of God does not reside in the little self, but it does reside in the Self. And beholding that glory “in the Son whom He created as my Self” does not lead to delusions of grandeur, but to true grandeur, a grandeur that is instantly perceived as shared with all living things. There can be no setting of myself above any others, for the glory in them is my own.

These final review lessons, before Part II of the Workbook, refer a lot to things like silence, and beholding the glory of God. In these times of practice, let us seek to open ourselves to that kind of experience, to a seeing that is not of the eyes, to an awareness of the reality of our Self, God’s Son. Let my little thoughts be silent, and let me hear the Voice for God speaking within me, speaking to my self of my Self, wooing me back into harmony with that vastness of Being to which I belong, gathering together the seeming fragments of the Sonship into one harmonious Whole. I am, indeed, still as God created me. Not just a body, not bound by the body, not characterized by the body, but “free of all limits, safe and healed and whole” (W-pI.97.7:2). I am that which God created, the holy Son of God Himself.