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A Course In Miracles, Lesson 31 plus Commentary by Allen Watson

I am not the victim of the world I see..

Today's idea is the introduction to your declaration of release. Again, the idea should be applied to both the world you see without and the world you see within. In applying the idea, we will use a form of practice which will be used more and more, with changes as indicated. Generally speaking, the form includes two aspects, one in which you apply the idea on a more sustained basis, and the other consisting of frequent applications of the idea throughout the day.

Two longer periods of practice with the idea for today are needed, one in the morning and one at night. Three to five minutes for each of these are recommended. During that time, look about you slowly while repeating the idea two or three times. Then close your eyes, and apply the same idea to your inner world. You will escape from both together, for the inner is the cause of the outer.

As you survey your inner world, merely let whatever thoughts cross your mind come into your awareness, each to be considered for a moment, and then replaced by the next. Try not to establish any kind of hierarchy among them. Watch them come and go as dispassionately as possible. Do not dwell on any one in particular, but try to let the stream move on evenly and calmly, without any special investment on your part. As you sit and quietly watch your thoughts, repeat today's idea to yourself as often as you care to, but with no sense of hurry.

In addition, repeat the idea for today as often as possible during the day. Remind yourself that you are making a declaration of independence in the name of your own freedom. And in your freedom lies the freedom of the world.

The idea for today is also a particularly useful one to use as a response to any form of temptation that may arise. It is a declaration that you will not yield to it, and put yourself in bondage

Commentary by Allen Watson

As you must have noticed when you read today's lesson, there isn't a lot of metaphysical thought in it. In fact there is almost none, except in the lead thought quoted above. The rest of the lesson is practice instructions. So I'll weight my comments in approximately the same way.

The one sentence that heads the lesson is plenty in itself, however. If you think about it, it is amazing how many ways we see ourselves as victims of the world. We go through life feeling like victims-of the weather, of the jerk who cuts you off in traffic or swerves into the parking space you were aiming for, of your computer disk when "it" loses your file, of your housemate who uses the last of the hot water just before your shower, of the slow service in the restaurant, of the traffic that makes you late for your appointment. Then, of course, there are the people who may deliberately and malevolently terrorize you in our cities (or perhaps in your home).

To assert that "I am not the victim of the world I see" can be liberating and empowering. It is remarkable how these simple words can cause feelings of weakness and helplessness to wash away. Try it! You'll like it.

Oddly enough, we also feel victimized by unseen enemies and even our own thoughts. Ever have an anxiety attack? Or find yourself feeling gouged by the IRS? A victim of an unfair "system"? Plagued by self-doubt? You are not the victim of your inner world any more than of your outer world. "You will escape from both together, for the inner is cause of the outer".

This lesson introduces what will become the basic practice outline for most of the Workbook, and for ongoing practice for Workbook graduates:

  1. Two longer practice periods, morning and evening, in which you apply the idea for the day on a sustained basis.
  2. Frequent repetitions through the day, as often as possible (a study of other references to this indicates that four or five times per hour is intended).
  3. Using the idea as a "response to temptation" whenever it arises.
The only element of Workbook practice not present in this lesson is specific hourly or half-hourly periods of shorter practice, in length somewhere in between #1 and #2 above. That appears as the Workbook goes along to build a habit of practice on the structure of the clock, and then is gradually phased out as the habit (presumably) has been established. The three elements presented here in Lesson 31 are retained in recommendations for post-Workbook practice given in the Manual for Teachers (see Section 16, "How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?").

Make a point of taking those longer, three to five minute periods morning and evening. This is the first time for them. You wouldn't practice the piano by playing only half the scales, so don't stint here, either. From this point on in the Workbook the practice is going to intensify; like me, I'm sure you'll find it more difficult to maintain and to actually carry out. Remember:.

You are merely asked to apply the ideas as you are directed to do. You are not asked to judge them at all. You are asked only to use them. It is their use that will give them meaning to you, and will show you that they are true. (emphasis mine)

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