In Chapter 1 of A Course In Miracles Jesus gives you some important instructions that are easily overlooked.
This is a course in mind training. All learning involves attention and study at some level. Some of the later parts of the course rest too heavily on these earlier sections not to require their careful study. You will also need them for preparation. Without this, you may become much too fearful of what is to come to make constructive use of it. However, as you study these earlier sections, you will begin to see some of the implications that will be amplified later on.
This doesn’t mean that you sit down behind a desk and study as you do in university. It is not about repeating the words until you can repeat them without thinking. It means that the activity of your mind has to be involved in this. Your mind is not neutral, you think all the time. Your thoughts have to be included in with this course, it is there that the change will take place. It is there that you can give the little effort of preparation, the little willingness, so that God can take the last step and you are not bound by fear of your own making.
Some of the later steps in this course involve a more direct approach to God Himself. It would be unwise to start on these steps without careful preparation, or awe will be confused with fear, and the experience will be more traumatic than beatific.
What Jesus offers you here is the power of your mind in this course. He is asking you to pay attention, while at the same time stressing the importance of preparation. He shows you the little effort that will help you in this course in mind training. They are simple instructions, but incredibly powerful.
Healing is of God in the end. The means are being carefully explained to you. Revelation may occasionally reveal the end to you, but to reach it the means are needed.
The means are provided by you. The little practice, the willingness to be vigilant. In the practice of the workbook, in doing the lessons every day, there is always the tendency to forget the lesson during the day. Jesus tells you not to worry about it, you simply start over. But in these last two days he again mentions the power of preparation and adds the gift of careful watching.
Lesson 136 ~ Sickness is a defense against the truth
The body’s health is fully guaranteed, because it is not limited by time, by weather or fatigue, by food and drink, or any laws you made it serve before. You need do nothing now to make it well, for sickness has become impossible.
Yet this protection needs to be preserved by careful watching. If you let your mind harbor attack thoughts, yield to judgment or make plans against uncertainties to come, you have again misplaced yourself, and made a bodily identity which will attack the body, for the mind is sick.
Lesson 137 ~ When I am healed, I am not healed alone
We will remember, as the hour strikes, our function is to let our minds be healed, that we may carry healing to the world, exchanging curse for blessing, pain for joy, and separation for the peace of God. Is not a minute of the hour worth the giving to receive a gift like this? Is not a little time a small expense to offer for the gift of everything?
Yet must we be prepared for such a gift.
It is not enough to simply practice the lesson in the morning and then go about your day thinking God will take care of the rest. Your mind is required in this. It is up to you to remember that nothing you see means anything, and that is only lesson 1. Whenever your mind wanders into judgment, it is up to you to call it back and remember this course. You decide to apply the lessons and the text to get the full benefit of A Course In Miracles. Call it vigilance, call it keeping your eye on the ball, but if you don’t apply the lesson, if you don’t actively remember that you are as God created you, no one is going to do it for you.
So today, listen to Jesus. Apply the lesson as he requests and give yourself the gift of heaven, of your awakening. You are always tempted to be satisfied with far too little. Today, give yourself the gift of everything through preparation and careful watching.