I used to think that when I had a conflict, the only way to become peaceful again was to make a decision, to resolve the conflict. It rarely worked. Usually, when I made my choice, I felt some distress at what I was leaving undone, or some loss at what I could not do because of my choice (e.g. watch TV or be with my friends; one or the other had to be "sacrificed"). Lately I've begun to realize that if I put becoming peaceful at the top of the list, if I choose to be peaceful first, before making my decision (perhaps taking a minute just to close my eyes and be quiet, remembering Who is with me), the decision becomes simple, and there is no sense of sacrifice. I just know what to do.
This is the way to be happy. My function is one with my happiness. If I can be at peace, letting go of my grievances, the little demands I constantly make of life, I am happy. Like forgiveness, happiness is a choice I can make at any time.
I notice today that the examples given of different ways to apply the ideas in specific situations seem to emphasize a kind of negation. They stress that the situation, or the way we perceive things, can not affect us if we so choose. The way I perceive this doesn't change my function, give me a different function, or justify selecting a goal other than the one God gave me. No matter what I see, no matter what happens, nothing will alter the fact that the only way I will find happiness is if I fulfill my function of forgiveness, blessing, and peace. There is no happiness apart from my function, and I am deceived by an illusion whenever I think there is. Do I expect to find happiness by indulging worry, justifying my anger, indulging my appetites, or licking my wounds of pain? It will never happen. Only in forgiveness, only in releasing everyone and everything from all my demands and expectations, only in quiet peacefulness of mind will I ever find my happiness.
* For 3 or 4 minutes, read over the ideas and comments slowly (repeatedly if you wish) and think about them.
* Close eyes and spend remainder listening quietly and attentively. There is a message for you. Be confident you will receive it, for it belongs to you and you want it. If you have distracting thoughts realize they have no meaning or power. Replace them with your will to succeed. Trust it to carry you past distractions. If your mind still wanders, repeat first phase of exercise.
Remarks: Regard these exercises as dedication to God. Refuse to be distracted. Be determined to assume your function today.
First half of day: "My only function is the one God gave me." Second half of day: "My happiness and my function are one."
Response To Temptation: You may use these specific forms or your own words:
First half of day: "My perception of this does not change my function." "This does not give me a function other than the one God gave me." "Let me not use this to justify a function God did not give me."
Second half of the day: "This cannot separate my happiness from my function." "The oneness of my happiness and my function remains wholly unaffected by this." "Nothing, including this, can justify the illusion of happiness apart from my function."
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