"I want the peace of God."
Purpose: To go past the dreams you still cherish and recognize that you really want the peace of God. Experiencing His peace will intensify your motivation and strengthen your commitment. You cannot fail today.
Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 5 minutes - at least; 10 - better; 15 even better; 30 or more - best
Search your mind carefully to find the dreams you still cherish. Forget the words; what does your heart really ask for? What do you think will comfort you and make you happy? Do not hide some dreams; bring them all to light.
Ask of every dream you thus uncover: "Is this what I would have, in place of Heaven and the peace of God?"
After this, practice recognizing that you really mean the words of today's idea.
Hourly Remembrance: as the hour strikes, for more than 1 minute (reduce if circumstances do not permit)
(Suggestion) Do a short version of morning/evening exercise.
Frequent Reminder: Repeat idea, recognizing that you really mean it.
Response To Temptation: (Suggestion) When tempted to want something besides the peace of God, say: "Is this what I would have, in place of Heaven and the peace of God?" Then try to recognize that what you really want is the peace of God.
Overall Remarks: You have often been weak, uncertain of your purpose and desire, unsure where to turn for help. Today have one intent. Make the request for God's peace, realizing that in so doing you join your mind with the call of every mind. Through this joining, you cannot fail to find the Help you need.
Kind of interesting that a lesson about the peace of God falls on the day that celebrates a revolution (Independence Day in the USA). Our local Unity minister suggested that instead of "Independence Day" we should celebrate "Inner-dependence Day," which I thought was a nice play on words and quite appropriate.
This lesson teaches two seemingly opposing things. First, it teaches us that we do not yet really mean it when we say, "I want the peace of God." For if we meant it, we would have it. "No one can mean these words and not be healed" (2:1). "Many have said these words. But few indeed have meant them. You have but to look upon the world you see around you to be sure how very few they are" (2:6-8). Indeed, all you need to do is watch the evening news. Or spend one day at your job.
Second, it teaches us that, in spite of our obvious dedication to things other than peace, at heart we really do want the peace of God. All of us do. "We want the peace of God. This is no idle wish" (7:2-3). "You want the peace of God. And so do all who seem to seek for dreams" (10:1-2).
The task the Course sets before us is uncovering and fully accepting both of these facts. To accept them fully, they must be accepted as true of everyone, not just of ourselves. Underneath all the seeking for illusions, everyone wants peace. This is something that is universally true, a fact that can be totally depended upon. It is true, as the line I quoted in the last paragraph asserts, even of those who seem to be seeking for something else. They may not be aware that the peace of God is what they really want, but it is true, nevertheless (10:4). Our job in interacting with others is to remember this universal longing of every heart, and to join ourselves with it in the other person, even when they are totally unaware of it themselves.
Yet before we can firmly believe that we, and everyone, wants the peace of God above all else, we have to face the fact that we have foolishly believed we wanted something else more than peace. For if we wanted only peace, we would have only peace; that is how the power of our minds works. So there must be something, or some things, that we have valued more than peace. Our first job, then, is uncovering these competing desires, assessing them honestly, recognizing that they are only idle wishes, and letting them go in favor of peace.
We want the most amazingly trivial things instead of peace. I watch a young child burst into tears and throw a tantrum because he cannot have his favorite breakfast, and I think, "The only difference between him and me is that I have developed sophisticated ways of camouflaging my tantrums." I share a house with Robert Perry and his family and another single man, and we often have guests. I have found myself losing my peace over empty ice cube trays and vanishing rolls of toilet paper. I have given away my peace in concern about who last emptied the garbage.
Perhaps, today, we can all stop ourselves when these "little" moments of separation occur and ask ourselves, "Is this what I would have, in place of Heaven and the peace of God?" (8:8)
Do I really value a roll of toilet paper more than God's peace?
Let me point out one more interesting observation of this lesson; you cannot have peace alone. "The mind which means that all it wants is peace must join with other minds, for that is how peace is obtained" (6:1). To have peace we have to be willing to let the other person into our hearts. We have to recognize their desire for peace equally with our own.
The temptation is always to think, "I want peace; the problem is with the other person." Always remember, though; if you want peace, you will have it. No one else can take it from you. If you cannot be at peace when the other person seems to want something besides peace, what you are teaching that person is that your peace depends on their changing. This just reinforces the same belief in the other person, and they continue to believe that their peace depends on them changing you.
Our job is to see past the competing desires in that other person to the universal reality that lies underneath. However we respond to them, if we are to teach peace, our actions must affirm to that person that peace already lies within them, ready for them as soon as they are willing to receive it. We join our own intent with what they seek above all things (10:4). By our faith in that intent, however hidden it may appear, we draw it out of them; we give them the opportunity to recognize it within themselves and align their mind with it.
"It is this one intent we seek today, uniting our desires with the need of every heart, the call of every mind, the hope that lies beyond despair, the love attack would hide, the brotherhood that hate has sought to sever, but which still remains as God created it" (14:1)
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