VII. I Need Do Nothing
1. You still have too much faith in the body as a source of strength. What plans do you make that do not involve its comfort or protection or enjoyment in some way? This makes the body an end and not a means in your interpretation, and this always means you still find sin attractive. No one accepts Atonement for himself who still accepts sin as his goal. You have thus not met your one responsibility. Atonement is not welcomed by those who prefer pain and destruction.
2. There is one thing that you have never done; you have not utterly forgotten the body. It has perhaps faded at times from your sight, but it has not yet completely disappeared. You are not asked to let this happen for more than an instant, yet it is in this instant that the miracle of atonement happens. Afterwards you will see the body again, but never quite the same. And every instant that you spend without awareness of it gives you a different view of it when you return.
3. At no single instant does the body exist at all. It is always remembered or anticipated, but never experienced just now. Only its past and future make it seem real. Time controls it entirely, for sin is never wholly in the present. In any single instant the attraction of guilt would be experienced as pain and nothing else and would be avoided. It has no attraction now. Its whole attraction is imaginary, and therefore must be thought of in the past or in the future.
4. It is impossible to accept the holy instant without reservation unless, just for an instant, you are willing to see no past or future. You cannot prepare for it without placing it in the future. Release is given you the instant you desire it. Many have spent a lifetime in preparation and have indeed achieved their instants of success. This course does not attempt to teach more than they learned in time, but it does aim at saving time. You may be attempting to follow a very long road to the goal you have accepted. It is extremely difficult to reach Atonement by fighting against sin. Enormous effort is expended in the attempt to make holy what is hated and despised. Nor is a lifetime of contemplation and long periods of meditation aimed at detachment from the body necessary. All such attempts will ultimately succeed because of their purpose. Yet the means are tedious and very time consuming, for all of them look to the future for release from a state of present unworthiness and inadequacy.
5. Your way will be different, not in purpose but in means. A holy relationship is a means of saving time. One instant spent together with your brother restores the universe to both of you. You are prepared. Now you need but to remember you need do nothing. It would be far more profitable now merely to concentrate on this then to consider what you should do. When peace comes at last to those who wrestle with temptation and fight against the giving in to sin; when the light comes at last into the mind given to contemplation; or when the goal is finally achieved by anyone, it always comes with just one happy realization; “I need do nothing.”
6. Here is the ultimate release which everyone will one day find in his own way, at his own time. You do not need this time. Time has been saved for you because you and your brother are together. This is the special means this course is using to save you time. You are not making use of the course if you insist on using means which have served others well, neglecting what was made for you. Save time for me by only this one preparation, and practice doing nothing else. “I need do nothing,” is a statement of allegiance, a truly undivided loyalty. Believe it for just one instant, and you will accomplish more than is given to a century of contemplation, or of struggle against temptation.
7. To do anything involves the body. And if you recognize you need do nothing, you have withdrawn the body’s value from your mind. Here is the quick and open door through which you slip past centuries of effort, and escape from time. This is the way in which sin loses all attraction right now. For here is time denied, and past and future gone. Who needs do nothing has no need for time. To do nothing is to rest and make a place within you where the activity of the body ceases to demand attention. Into this place the Holy Spirit comes, and there abides. He will remain when you forget, and the body’s activities return to occupy your conscious mind.
8. Yet there will always be this place of rest to which you can return. And you will be more aware of this quiet center of the storm than all its raging activity. This quiet center, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent. For from this center will you be directed how to use the body sinlessly. It is this center, from which the body is absent, that will keep it so in your awareness of it.
We have come to the place in our learning where Jesus tells us what it means to lay down our earthly flesh. To learn of its lack of value, its utter worthlessness to us without holiness. Jesus is not asking us to hate our bodies; He is not asking us to deny them food or drink or to abstain from their animal pleasures. He is simply asking us to bring them to holiness – in our daily practice, in our daily lives – we bring our bodies to holy Spirit and forget them for a tiny bit. And in this practice we recognize our truth and our Identity. We recognize that our bodies are not our glory. We recognize who and what we really are in the Brotherhood of Christ.
Lest we get vain ideas about holiness, about the Sonship, about the seemingly arrogant idea that we are something which we are not, remember that holiness is our happiness, our freedom from limitations, our complete devotion to God Which is Love. Holiness can never be found or experienced in what we eat, what clothes we wear, the places we take our bodies, or the tithes and offerings we donate to charity and religious organizations. Holiness is not in our language, in the words or tones we use to pray, to preach, to lead others in ritualized forms of worship. No matter how many times you wash your flesh a day, your flesh will never be holy! You may fool others into thinking that you are holier than they are, you may feel entitled to special treatment or crave special treatment or be embarrassed by special treatment, but no matter what we do in the flesh and with the flesh to make ourselves holy, it is vanity, and it can get pretty silly!
Jesus says that the only way to holiness is to realize that we need do nothing. When we do nothing toward our wholeness and completeness except to trust in God, we get our flesh out of the way. We no longer try to come up with ideas on what we can do to “save” other people and get them to believe in the same worldview we have. We no longer prove our virtue by pouring ourselves out for those who would be better off learning how to solve their own problems. We no longer point fingers of blame and shame for the sins of the past. The world does not hold the allure and sway that it once did for we recognize that it is a dream that is already over. The illusion of opposition and opposites is over; we need do nothing.
When others do things which brings them low in our eyes, try to bully us into their way of thinking, seeks to argue and push their belief system or way of doing things upon us – we need do nothing. Let them have their opinions. Let them argue, let them defend their causes, let them relish their stories of vengeance, spite, disease, and death. If we are Sons of God, as Jesus teaches us in the Course, we will all come home in our own good time. Trust God to bring them home, for in our flesh there is nothing we can say, nothing we can do, nothing we can pay or pray that will make others wake up before their time. To try to force our experience on others is to be in the flesh and of the flesh, and rather than helping the cause of Christ, we would hinder it.
In my favorite parable of Christ, He tells a story of the prodigal son who left his father’s estate and went off to sow his wild oats in the city. The father did not chase after his son. He did not send his other boy out to drag him home and keep him under lock and key. He did not prepare a dungeon of tortures to punish his son and hold him there forever. The father waited with love and patience until the sorry rascal came home on his own. He trusted in love to bring the boy home. He trusted in goodness. He trusted in the fact the son he had brought into the world would have the good sense eventually to come home where he was loved and where his life had purpose and meaning. In the meantime, the father did nothing.
When we practice the holy instant, we take every fear, every irritation, every woe to this place. We bring whomever and whatever to the holy instant and we communicate there in love, in honesty, in good humor and goodwill. In the holy instant I can communicate with you without fear. I do not have to worry about making the wrong impression or saying the wrong word or not getting my point across. In the holy instant we are one. I do not have to say anything at all for when I bring you to the holy instant you can see me for who I really am and I can see you for who you really are and there we find peace, we find love, we find joy. I don’t have to write you a letter, call you on the phone, bake a cake for you. I need do nothing. Because when I take you to holiness my body stays out of it and your body stays out of the picture. It is just you and me in the spirit where we are one – already.
Practice the I-Need-Do-Nothing in your personal devotions today. Take your body out of the picture; take your special relationships and their bodies out of the picture. Bring them to the higher mind of Holy Spirit to communicate there in oneness. Do not worry about the shadows that come along – the dark thoughts, the irksome grudges, the things that really hurt you about this special someone. Bring it all and put it there on the altar before holiness. In this practice we are getting in touch with our reality, the sons we are in the Sonship; the brothers we are in the Brotherhood.
The holy instant is always available to us. No matter what may be happening in the world around us, as we practice the holy instant we come to know the beautiful state of calmness and quietness which is with us always. In this peaceful center, we will know where we are supposed to be; we will know with whom we are supposed to be; we will know how long to stay and which way to go. Without shame, without guilt, without sin our body is no longer a hindrance in our spiritual path, but a helpful device for holiness. At the center of your Being and my Being, our bodies are absent, and as we come to know our Being, we will be less aware of our bodies and more aware of our Being. This is to live without fear, and it is our awakening to the Kingdom of God, where we belong forever.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 18 The passing of the dream. VII I need do nothing. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For 2021 daily Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.
Audio credit: http://www.eckiefriar.com