1. The new beginning now becomes the focus of the curriculum. The goal is clear, but now you need specific methods for attaining it. The speed by which it can be reached depends on this one thing alone, your willingness to practice every step. Each one will help a little, every time it is attempted. And together will these steps lead you from dreams of judgment to forgiving dreams and out of pain and fear. They are not new to you, but they are more ideas than rules of thought to you as yet. So now we need to practice them awhile, until they are the rules by which you live. We seek to make them habits now, so you will have them ready for whatever need.
I. Rules for Decision
1. Decisions are continuous. You do not always know when you are making them. But with a little practice with the ones you recognize, a set begins to form which sees you through the rest. It is not wise to let yourself become preoccupied with every step you take. The proper set, adopted consciously each time you wake, will put you well ahead. And if you find resistance strong and dedication weak, you are not ready. Do not fight yourself. But think about the kind of day you want and tell yourself there is a way in which this very day can happen just like that. Then try again to have the day you want.
2. (1) The outlook starts with this: Today I will make no decisions by myself. This means that you are choosing not to be the judge of what to do. But it must also mean you will not judge the situations where you will be called upon to make response. For if you judge them, you have set the rules for how you should react to them. And then another answer cannot but produce confusion and uncertainty and fear.
3. This is your major problem now. You still make up your mind, and then decide to ask what you should do. And what you hear may not resolve the problem as you saw it first. This leads to fear because it contradicts what you perceive and so you feel attacked. And therefore angry. There are rules by which this will not happen. But it does occur at first, while you are learning how to hear.
4. (2) Throughout the day, at any time you think of it and have a quiet moment for reflection, tell yourself again the kind of day you want; the feelings you would have, the things you want to happen to you, and the things you would experience, and say: If I make no decisions by myself, this is the day that will be given me. These two procedures, practiced well, will serve to let you be directed without fear, for opposition will not first arise and then become a problem in itself.
5. But there will still be times when you have judged already. Now the answer will provoke attack, unless you quickly straighten out your mind to want an answer that will work. Be certain this has happened if you feel yourself unwilling to sit by and ask to have the answer given you. This means you have decided by yourself and can not see the question. Now you need a quick restorative before you ask again.
6. (3) Remember once again the day you want and recognize that something has occurred that is not part of it. Then realize that you have asked a question by yourself and must have set an answer in your terms. Then say: I have no question. I forgot what to decide. This cancels out the terms that you have set, and lets the answer show you what the question must have really been.
7. Try to observe this rule without delay, despite your opposition. For you have already gotten angry. And your fear of being answered in a different way from what your version of the questions asks will gain momentum, until you believe the day you want is one in which you get your answer to your question. And you will not get it, or it would destroy the day by robbing you of what you really want. This can be very hard to realize, when once you have decided by yourself the rules that promise you a happy day. Yet this decision still can be undone, by simple methods that you can accept.
8. (4) If you are so unwilling to receive you cannot even let your question go, you can begin to change your mind with this: At least I can decide that I do not like what I feel now. This much is obvious and paves the way for the next easy step.
9. (5) Having decided that you do not like the way you feel, what could be easier than to continue with: And so I hope I have been wrong. This works against the sense of opposition and reminds you that help is not being thrust upon you but is something that you want and that you need, because you do not like the way you feel. This tiny opening will be enough to let you go ahead with just a few more steps you need to let yourself be helped.
10. Now you have reached the turning point, because it has occurred to you that you will gain if what you have decided is not so. Until this point is reached, you will believe your happiness depends on being right. But this much reason have you now attained; you would be better off if you were wrong.
11. (6) This tiny grain of wisdom will suffice to take you further. You are not coerced, but merely hope to get a thing you want. And you can say in perfect honesty: I want another way to look at this. Now you have changed your mind about the day and have remembered what you really want. Its purpose has no longer been obscured by the insane belief you want it for the goal of being right when you are wrong. Thus is the readiness for asking brought to your awareness, for you cannot be in conflict when you ask for what you want and see that it is this for which you ask.
12. (7) This final step is but acknowledgment of lack of opposition to be helped. It is a statement of an open mind, not certain yet, but willing to be shown: Perhaps there is another way to look at this. What can I lose by asking? Thus you now can ask a question that makes sense, and so the answer will make sense as well. Nor will you fight against it, for you see that it is you who will be helped by it.
13. It must be clear that it is easier to have a happy day if you prevent unhappiness from entering at all. But this takes practice in the rules that will protect you from the ravages of fear. When this has been achieved, the sorry dream of judgment has forever been undone. But meanwhile, you have need for practicing the rules for its undoing. Let us, then, consider once again the very first of the decisions which are offered here.
14. We said you can begin a happy day with the determination not to make decisions by yourself. This seems to be a real decision in itself. And yet, you cannot make decisions by yourself. The only question really is with what you choose to make them. That is really all. The first rule, then, is not coercion, but a simple statement of a simple fact. You will not make decisions by yourself whatever you decide. For they are made with idols or with God. And you ask help of anti-Christ or Christ, and which you choose will join with you and tell you what to do.
15. Your day is not at random. It is set by what you choose to live it with, and how the friend whose counsel you have sought perceives your happiness. You always ask advice before you can decide on anything. Let this be understood, and you can see there cannot be coercion here, nor grounds for opposition that you may be free. There is no freedom from what must occur. And if you think there is, you must be wrong.
16. The second rule as well is but a fact. For you and your adviser must agree on what you want before it can occur. It is but this agreement that permits all things to happen. Nothing can be caused without some form of union, be it with a dream of judgment or the Voice for God. Decisions cause results by you and your adviser, for yourself and for the world as well. The day you want you offer to the world, for it will be what you have asked for, and will reinforce the rule of your adviser in the world. Whose kingdom is the world for you today? What kind of day will you decide to have?
17. It needs but two who would have happiness this day to promise it to all the world. It needs but two to understand that they cannot decide alone, to guarantee the joy they asked for will be wholly shared. For they have understood the basic law that makes decision powerful and gives it all effects that it will ever have. It needs but two. These two are joined before there can be a decision. Let this be the one reminder that you keep in mind, and you will have the day you want, and give it to the world by having it yourself. Your judgment has been lifted from the world by your decision for a happy day. And as you have received, so must you give. 
When we decide for a peaceful, joyful day, we hand our days in the dream over to God. The ego’s hold upon our consciousness is loosened for as we reach for the higher state of consciousness, we come to understand that when we make decisions without holiness, we can never have a happy day – there is always something amiss, there are conflicts, there are unloving, resentful perceptions, our happiness comes with an element of sacrifice, defensiveness, and underlying fear.
There are going to be times we forget to practice the simple rules for the forgiving dream. There are times I will wake up in the morning predetermined that things have to be done. And whether it makes me happy for not, today is the day of accomplishment. I will resent anything or anybody that stands in my way. I will have a burning inside to get at whatever I determined needs attention and many times a sense of grumpiness will overtake me. There will be no song of Heaven ringing in my heart! I will weary myself with all the demands I put upon myself and feel depressed and defeated when my energy levels plummet and I cannot accomplish all I set out to do.
The remedy for times like this is to remember to choose the happiness of holiness. I decided on my own and set out to accomplish a goal. It seems innocent enough. Afterall, this is the normal way to go about things in the world. However, normal or not, when we do not consciously choose the Voice for God within in which to guide and direct us, we choose ego by default. And when ego is our guide we are never going to have the peace and joy that constitute a delightful day! We may be working hard and getting our jobs done, but our minds will ruminate upon sour things from the past, clouding our vision. When friends call or drop by needing a favor, we will greatly resent them and not see them for who and what they really are. When our energy flags, we will berate ourselves. We will hurt ourselves by working too hard attempting to get “credit” from the perceptual realm rather than the Kingdom of God within. Without making a conscious choice to join with Holy Spirit, we will practice anti-Christ modes of relating to ourselves, others, and the world at large.
Time gives us an opportunity to practice the rules of the Kingdom, to prepare ourselves for the long haul of eternity, to get our minds and hearts in the right place so that we are never tempted again to choose a realm of opposition and opposites to the Reality of God. This is the way to develop the habits of holiness, to learn the rules in the here and now of time, to understand their value and their worth is to fully appreciate the laws of the Kingdom. In the realm of opposites, we have a sharp contrast in which to compare the outcome of the decisions we make with the anti-Christ-like ego vs the outcome of our decision to consciously choose Holy Spirit as guide.
This is never a fight or a conflict. If you find that you are simply not ready for this kind of practice, continue to try to find the joy you are looking for in making at least some decisions against Christ. Refuse to ask Holy Spirit’s guidance. Ascertain that you do know all the answers without the help of the Voice for God. Be proud of your judgments, condemnation, and vengeance, and speak boastfully of all the people you shamed, put in their place, or otherwise confounded. Take up arms against your enemies; blame your lack of happiness on them. Mock and make fun of others. Gad about wherever you choose accomplishing all the grandiose things you believe you are accomplishing. But perhaps there is another way to look at this. What can we lose by asking Him Who knows? For eventually, weary of the low-minded, fearful, and worthless, we all conclude that without Him we are nothing. Prodigals all, we all make our way Home to God.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 31 The new beginning. Introduction. I Rules for decision. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com.