If we pay attention to the ACIM workbook, we notice that the lessons – whatever their particular daily focus – place a premium on consistency. It’s not about a superhuman effort in the morning – three hours of prayer and study, say – but about small, concentrated and sustained efforts throughout the day. We are being trained to experience only those thoughts that we think with God. We are developing a habit – here in the world – of turning to God in all things, naturally and without effort. This is the way to inner peace.
If our true state is one of uninterrupted communication with God, our default state is to ignore that communication and deny all evidence it exists. A Course of Miracles entered our lives only because we believe that we are separated from God. We believe that what is One has become fragmented. And so we search for a solution to the guilt and the fear, the many problems of being bodies in a physical world, and they all come to dust and despair. For some of us, A Course in Miracles ends that hopeless cycling, restoring to our minds the memory of our true identity and enabling our return to Heaven.
Yet it does this in the world that we believe is real. And it does this with terms and conditions that the world recognizes. A Course in Miracles when we accept the responsibility of being students – that is, when we become willing to recognize that our own learning efforts have been fruitless and so we need a teacher who is actually effective. And then when we find that teacher, we have to accept – we have to practice – the teaching that is offered.
My own practice is quite strong in the morning. I experience a deep peace in the pre-dawn hours, walking with my dog, drinking tea in the darkness, quietly reading and praying. Yet as the day extends, my mind clouds. Students demand my attention. Bills have to be paid. Dinner cooked. You know the drill. Sometimes hours pass before I remember, “oh, right. I am a student and my teacher is talking to me.”
A teacher can talk and talk but if the student is not willing to listen, then the talking avails nobody.
Forgetting to turn our minds in the direction of God – forgetting to listen to God’s voice – is not a crime. Jesus doesn’t collapse in the corner and turn to drink. Lightening bolts are not being readied in the sky. Rather, God just keeps on gently singing and Jesus waits patiently for us to remember. He helps when we ask and he waits when we forget.
If we want him to be, there is no more loyal nor faithful companion than Jesus.
Yet the absence of consequence is no excuse for not doing the work. If we enter the classroom in which the curriculum reminds us we are Christ, why chew gum and stare out the window? Why ask inane questions unrelated to the teaching? Why fantasize about what we’re going to do when class gets out?
Why not learn the lesson now? Why not listen now?
When I remember to take a few minutes every hour to just remember that I remain as God created me and that God’s will for me is perfect happiness and that nothing can contradict or compromise that truth, then I am a little closer to peace. As my inner peace expands, my capacity to remember God – in gratitude, in love – expands as well. That is really all we have to do: remember to turn in the direction of the Love that is God. That is all the Holy Spirit teaches and all that Jesus asks: choose to listen to the Voice for God.
The Voice for God comes from your own altars to Him. These altars are not things; they are devotions (T-5.II.8:2-8).
This is not complicated, though we can make it so. It is not hard, though we can see it that way. In your mind right now, the voice for God is speaking – quietly, beautifully and constantly. It is beneath the worrisome chatter of the ego from which only despair and anguish arise. A few minutes of concentration can open the divine floodgates. A few minutes of willingness will bear to you strains of God.
No matter how clumsy or inept or forgetful we are, the song is always there. The Voice for God neither leaves nor stops speaking. There is nothing left but to choose at last – to choose again – to hear it.