"God's answer is some form of peace.
All pain Is healed; all misery
replaced with joy.
All prison doors are opened.
And all sin Is
understood as merely a mistake."
(See Part II Practice Summary, and also Part II Introduction)
Today I want to share some thoughts just on the first line of this lesson. Yesterday we were reminded that "No call to God can be unheard nor left unanswered" and that "His answer is the one I really want." Today we are told that when God answers, the answer "is some form of peace." So the answer that I want is peace. Every call to God is answered with some form of peace, and that is what I really want, despite what I may think to the contrary.
I think that when we begin to grasp that what we really want is peace--in every situation--things start to fall into proper perspective. Say it looks like I may lose my job, or a relationship that I believe I need. Say it looks as if I don't have enough money. I find myself, more or less, praying for that job, or that relationship, or that money. Or perhaps I'm not up to prayer so I just obsess about the situation. I'm thinking this is what I want.
If, when that happens, I can begin to recognize that what I really want is some form of peace, I've made a giant step. It isn't the job I want; it's the form of peace I think it brings. It isn't the relationship I really want; it's the peace I think lies in it. It isn't the money I need, it is the peace of mind I think it buys me.
"The prayer of the heart does not really ask for concrete things. It always requests some kind of experience, the specific things asked for being the bringers of the desired experience in the opinion of the asker." (M-21.2:4,5)
When I begin to realize that I am not really asking for things but for the experience of peace I think they bring me, I can start to ask for peace directly, bypassing my (perhaps) mistaken opinion that a certain "thing" will bring me that experience. I can open my mind to the possibility that God will bring me the peace of mind I seek through another avenue than the one I see.
Once I can begin to let go of my insistence that the answer must come in a certain form, I will much more quickly be aware of God's answer. I may find I can experience the peace of God completely independent of form. I may find the peace comes to me in a form I could never have anticipated. I will lose my anxiety over whether or not the form I first envisioned as what I needed ever comes to me at all. If peace of mind comes, I am satisfied because this is all I really ever want.
To tie this in with the rest of the lesson, just briefly, "Help us forgive, for we would be at peace" (1:9). Peace is impossible if my mind is blinded by unforgiveness. Peace is incompatible with anger. A lack of peace is always some kind of unforgiveness, although often it is difficult to see how that could be. When I ask for peace I am asking to be taught to forgive, whether I recognize it or not. If I make peace my goal above all else, I will learn forgiveness.
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