Monday, May 12, 2008

LESSON 65 My only function is the one God gave me.


My only function is the one God gave me.

The idea for today reaffirms your commitment to salvation. It also reminds you that you have no function other than that. Both these thoughts are obviously necessary for a total commitment. Salvation cannot be the only purpose you hold while you still cherish others. The full acceptance of salvation as your only function necessarily entails two phases; the recognition of salvation as your function, and the relinquishment of all the other goals you have invented for yourself.

This is the only way in which you can take your rightful place among the saviors of the world. This is the only way in which you can say and mean, "My only function is the one God gave me." This is the only way in which you can find peace of mind.

Today, and for a number of days to follow, set aside ten to fifteen minutes for a more sustained practice period, in which you try to understand and accept what the idea for the day really means. Today's idea offers you escape from all your perceived difficulties. It places the key to the door of peace, which you have closed upon yourself, in your own hands. It gives you the answer to all the searching you have done since time began.

Try, if possible, to undertake the daily extended practice periods at approximately the same time each day. Try, also, to determine this time in advance, and then adhere to it as closely as possible. The purpose of this is to arrange your day so that you have set apart the time for God, as well as for all the trivial purposes and goals you will pursue. This is part of the long-range disciplinary training your mind needs, so that the Holy Spirit can use it consistently for the purpose He shares with you.

For the longer practice period, begin by reviewing the idea for the day. Then close your eyes, repeat the idea to yourself once again, and watch your mind carefully to catch whatever thoughts cross it. At first, make no attempt to concentrate only on thoughts related to the idea for the day. Rather, try to uncover each thought that arises to interfere with it. Note each one as it comes to you, with as little involvement or concern as possible, dismissing each one by telling yourself:

This thought reflects a goal that is preventing me from accepting my only function.

After a while, interfering thoughts will become harder to find. Try, however, to continue a minute or so longer, attempting to catch a few of the idle thoughts that escaped your attention before, but do not strain or make undue effort in doing this. Then tell yourself:

On this clean slate let my true function be written for me.

You need not use these exact words, but try to get the sense of being willing to have your illusions of purpose be replaced by truth.

Finally, repeat the idea for today once more, and devote the rest of the practice period to trying to focus on its importance to you, the relief its acceptance will bring you by resolving your conflicts once and for all, and the extent to which you really want salvation in spite of your own foolish ideas to the contrary.

In the shorter practice periods, which should be undertaken at least once an hour, use this form in applying today's idea:

My only function is the one God gave me. I want no other and I have no other.

Sometimes close your eyes as you practice this, and sometimes keep them open and look about you. It is what you see now that will be totally changed when you accept today's idea completely.


Lesson 65
“My only function is the one God gave me.”

This mindfulness practice today is one of the most important practices for me to continue. It helps me step out of automatic mode and pay attention to the thoughts that I am allowing into my mind. These thoughts are not forced upon me. They come be invitation, whether I recognize it or not. Dwelling on these thoughts or sitting in these thoughts only reinforces them. If I truly want to be aware of the function God has given me, I must recognize other goals as the barriers they are and be willing to hand them over to the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit shines the light of truth on them, they are seen as empty, meaningless thoughts. As these thoughts disappear, peace replaces them. Quiet replaces them. Awareness that Love is all That is replaces them. Happiness that comes from the deepest place within me replaces them.

Practicing the exercise in today’s lesson brings to my attention how much I still need continued mind training. Thoughts of meaningless stories which replace my awareness of the function God gave me come up again and again. The practice of taking each of these thoughts to the Holy Spirit to be undone is a very important practice. My untrained mind still wants to make the stories real. Thoughts repeating the past come up and I am still attracted to believe in them.

This practice is so powerful. I have deep gratitude that I have such a beautiful and simple means to awaken right here in my mind. There is nothing in the outside world that can give this to me or take it away. I am willing to stick with this practice and gradually my willingness will expand day by day so that the function God gave me will be the only one I want and the only one I need.

Mind training that heals my mind is as Jesus suggests today to sink deeply, deeply into the silence of my true being. Beyond thoughts, beyond worries is the healing. In this place of deep quiet and deep peace, there I Am. In this place I am renewed. And as I return to the world of perception I bring that deep quiet, that deep calm, that deep peace with me. I am so blessed when I am willing to quiet my mind and enter into the stillness of my Being. I know that as I follow the suggestion Jesus makes to state the lesson and move beyond all words, Jesus guides me as I sink deeply into the deep well of my true Being. This deep peace and deep sense of calm nurturing Love feels more whole and more real to me each time I remember Who I am. In the One Mind there is no need for healing or for doing. There is only my Being, and I am whole.

As I relate to today’s idea, I clearly see in this life experience that all the goals I have invented for myself have one thing in common. They serve or attempt to serve to fill or fulfill anything I think is lacking within myself. Planning for my own salvation through a limited perspective can call for lots of struggle and pain. In the whirlwind of this illusionary experience, I forget what each moment is for. And as I forget, I slip back into the bazar idea that I am alone and need to save myself. I need to make plans for my future. I need to punish myself for my past. And I always need to make sure that I am not at peace in the present.

Forgiveness is the doorway to happiness, the happiness which we are all trying to achieve. There is nothing unholy about wanting happiness and joy. Its just if we realize that we are not sustaining it in every moment, it might be helpful to accept that this is a result of setting goals about a business we don’t understand. It’s at this point that I can say I’m grateful for a Friend, one the Course refers to as the Holy Spirit. The expert advisor, Whose only goal is to share happiness with us. One who remembers in every moment that happiness is now and that we are happiness. And the only thing that keeps us from sharing it is holding on to the limited ideas about ourselves.

If we can accept this as true, then it’s a relief and celebration that forgiveness is our only function. It’s a relief to know that every moment or any moment need not be dedicated to planning my own salvation. So that means I’m free each moment I allow myself to live in this truth. My experiences aren’t spent seeking that which fulfills me, but instead, all my moments are filled with joy simply because I am assured that joy is mine and mine to share. I can’t make it happen because it is already happening. The question is, am I willing to be with it and trust it, to know it, to love it and be certain that this way of life can be far more exciting than any of us together can possibly imagine. Yes I am willing.

As I watched my mind and the thoughts that paraded through it, I was struck by the sense that pervades this world that the body is innately sinful and unacceptable as it is. The fashion, cosmetic and toiletries industries represent a huge part of our economy. Great effort is spent to cover up, paint, decorate, reshape and hide the body. Much of our time is either spent investing in these things, using them or earning the money to get them. These are some of the goals that interfere with accepting the goal God gave us.

The body is believed to be sinful only because we believe ourselves to be sinful and we identify with the body. It is the underlying belief that we have harmed God by separating from Him that manifests as embarrassment about the body and its image. Its not the body that is the problem or needs to be fixed or covered up. It is the belief that we really separated from God that needs healing.

That is why the function given us by God in this world is to forgive ourselves for what we did not do in truth, but believe we have done. This is how we save ourselves and save the world. This is how we accept our unity with God and receive His joy and His peace. This is how we give joy and peace to the world. I put myself in the hands of Holy Spirit today to let Him guide my mind to see what is truly valuable and what is valueless because it is meaningless. He will guide me to the joy of fulfilling my only function.

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