There is a sense sometimes that we are engaged in a circular process with the lessons. They begin to blend and merge, the substance of not mimicking another, their differences less clear than what unites them. Lesson 11 is a good example. A lot of the work we have been doing with the inherent unreliability of physical sight and the meaninglessness of our thoughts and the world are suddenly brought together. We’ve done this before, but not quite like this.
There is a note of caution in this lesson that we shouldn’t ignore. Jesus suggests that three one-minute periods is sufficient. If we’re feeling really boffo about it, then sure. Go ahead and do five. But more than that is not recommended. Why?
If you’re like me, you can get pretty intense about spiritual growth. When the vibe is right and the energy is there, you want to take full advantage of it. It’s hard enough not doing two or three lessons a day. Now you want me to scale back my practice of just one lesson?
We need faith. We need patience. We need to trust our relationship as students of Jesus. This is hard! But we are being led very specifically and our willingness to be led is a big part of the lessons. Our inclinations – our ideas of what constitutes valuable learning – have not been effective. They have not produced peace or joy. They have not led us to Heaven. Quite the contrary.
Lesson 11 is a big step. It is the first time that we are explicitly told that what we see or perceive is our responsibility. It’s only there – the war, the famine, the loneliness, the poverty, whatever – because we put it there. When we understand that and when we accept it, we will finally be ready to know peace.
But that understanding and acceptance can take a long time – lifetimes even.
The early versions of the course included the admonition that part of asking Jesus what miracles to do automatically meant that we were also to ask him what miracles we were not to do. Miracle workers, in their enthusiasm and lovingkindness – but also in their tendency to overestimate their spiritual progress – are inclined to do everything. Heal this and heal that and then go knock on doors to find more chances to heal.
But Jesus is telling us to relax. To breathe. To chill out and trust that the big plan is in better hands than ours. Heeding this is important.
I raise this issue because lesson 11 is fun and I like it and, because Jesus says it matters, I want to get it right. I want to get it perfect. I want to be at the head of the class. But at the heart of this moment of teaching is this fact: I am right where I am meant to be, learning what I am meant to learn, in the companionship of those who can best help me learn it.
My ego resists that reality and masks its resistance with good intentions. But Spirit – when I give it space and listen to it speak – says thank you for your trust. In the end, its gratitude is all I need.