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How, and how many times, should one do the Workbook?

Question: How many times should one do the workbook of "A Course in Miracles" to get the internal practice going?

Answer: There is no set answer for that question. The Holy Spirit's guidance is highly individualized. The end of the Workbook says that this Course is a beginning and not an end. Practicing the workbook lessons is just a way to learn to hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit. After you have practiced with the Course, this will seem very natural. It is mostly a matter of willingness and readiness, and not so much a matter of time. "A Course In Miracles" does say, "The ego enjoys studying itself." So if you have studied it for 25 years and done the workbook many times, you want to be aware of this trap! It is kind of like the scribes and Pharisees in the times of Jesus. They got so involved in the letter of the law that they missed the spirit of the law. You do not want to make a ritual of "A Course In Miracles." The Course aims at the experience of forgiveness, and the structure is designed to fall away.

Question: How do we realize that we're not in an ego trap?

Answer: Jesus does say there is one right use of judgment: How do you feel? Your feelings are your barometers, like a touchstone. This is a way of moment by moment learning to be honest about your feelings. That is why at the beginning it takes a lot of persistence. When the mind is untrained, it is often upset. The mirror is very dark and needs to be cleared.

Question: What is the importance of meditation?

Answer: "A Course In Miracles" Workbook is a designed technique for guiding the mind into meditation. Jesus does not assume the mind is already trained, so he has designed a system to take you slowly, step by step, and the further you go into the workbook, the more exercises you will find guiding you into the silence. It does not emphasize body postures or breathing techniques or chants, but it rapidly clears away the debris and the clutter and the chatter.

Question: When we are absolutely in the ego and we are doing the Course and the lessons, what do we do? Because theory is fine, but give us something practical we can do when we get stuck.

Answer: You have to feel out what works for you. What I did was to use a tape I had of sayings from the Course combined with gentle music, and I would just relax and listen to this tape, and the ego would always melt away. One time when I was in the situation you describe, I went to a chair in my living room and sat down and said to the ego: “I'm not leaving the chair until you leave my mind! I have nowhere to go and nothing to do.” So there were no distractions.

Often the ego wants you to get busy and distracted. "A Course In Miracles" is a quick way to undo the ego, and the ego resistance to it is enormous. If you reach a point where it seems too extreme, it is okay to set the book down for a time. The Holy Spirit and Jesus will never get mad. There are stories of people using the Course as a doorstop or a plant stand. But when the time is right, they pick it back up. There are other stories of people reading the Course and having great difficulty understanding the meaning. Then through a moment of insight and readiness, they can read the Course and understand more deeply. It is really a matter of willingness in the mind, and not a matter of how much you read or how fast you go. Always be gentle with yourself. If you miss a practice period or two, just notice the mistake, give it to the Holy Spirit, and begin to practice again. Don't compound the error by beating yourself up for missing a practice period.

Love, David