Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
LESSON 185 I want the peace of God.
- To say these words is nothing. But to mean these words is everything. If you could but mean them for just an instant, there would be no further sorrow possible for you in any form, in any place or time. Heaven would be completely given back to full awareness, memory of God entirely restored, the resurrection of all creation fully recognized.
- No one can mean these words and not be healed. He cannot play with dreams, nor think he is himself a dream. He cannot make a hell and think it real. He wants the peace of God, and it is given him. For that is all he wants, and that is all he will receive. 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. The world would be completely changed, should any two agree these words express the only thing they want.
- Two minds with one intent become so strong that what they will becomes the Will of God. For minds can only join in truth. In dreams, no two can share the same intent. To each, the hero of the dream is different; the outcome wanted not the same for both. Loser and gainer merely shift about in changing patterns, as the ratio of gain to loss and loss to gain takes on a different aspect or another form.
- Yet compromise alone a dream can bring. Sometimes it takes the form of union, but only the form. The meaning must escape the dream, for compromising is the goal of dreaming. Minds cannot unite in dreams. They merely bargain. And what bargain can give them the peace of God? Illusions come to take His place. And what He means is lost to sleeping minds intent on compromise, each to his gain and to another’s loss.
- To mean you want the peace of God is to renounce all dreams. For no one means these words who wants illusions, and who therefore seeks the means which bring illusions. He has looked on them and found them wanting. Now he seeks to go beyond them, recognizing that another dream would offer nothing more than all the others. Dreams are one to him. And he has learned their only difference is one of form, for one will bring the same despair and misery as do the rest.
- The mind which means that all it wants is peace must join with other minds, for that is how peace is obtained. And when the wish for peace is genuine, the means for finding it is given, in a form each mind that seeks for it in honesty can understand. Whatever form the lesson takes is planned for him in such a way that he can not mistake it if his asking is sincere. But if he asks without sincerity, there is no form in which the lesson will meet with acceptance and be truly learned.
- Let us today devote our practicing to recognizing that we really mean the words we say. We want the peace of God. This is no idle wish. These words do not request another dream be given us. They do not ask for compromise, nor try to make another bargain in the hope that there may yet be one that can succeed where all the rest have failed. To mean these words acknowledges illusions are in vain, requesting the eternal in the place of shifting dreams which seem to change in what they offer, but are one in nothingness.
- Today devote your practice periods to careful searching of your mind, to find the dreams you cherish still. What do you ask for in your heart? Forget the words you use in making your requests. Consider but what you believe will comfort you and bring you happiness. But be you not dismayed by lingering illusions, for their form is not what matters now. Let not some dreams be more acceptable, reserving shame and secrecy for others. They are one. And being one, one question should be asked of all of them, “Is this what I would have, in place of Heaven and the peace of God?”
- This is the choice you make. Be not deceived that it is otherwise. No compromise is possible in this. You choose God’s peace, or you have asked for dreams. And dreams will come as you requested them. Yet will God’s peace come just as certainly, and to remain with you forever. It will not be gone with every twist and turning of the road, to reappear, unrecognized, in forms which shift and change with every step you take.
- You want the peace of God. And so do all who seem to seek for dreams. For them as well as for yourself, you ask but this when you make this request with deep sincerity. For thus you reach to what they really want and join your own intent with what they seek above all things, perhaps unknown to them, but sure to you. You have been weak at times, uncertain in your purpose, and unsure of what you wanted, where to look for it, and where to turn for help in the attempt. Help has been given you. And would you not avail yourself of it by sharing it?
- No one who truly seeks the peace of God can fail to find it. For he merely asks that he deceive himself no longer by denying to himself what is God’s Will. Who can remain unsatisfied who asks for what he has already? Who could be unanswered who requests an answer which is his to give? The peace of God is yours.
- For you was peace created, given you by its Creator, and established as His Own eternal gift. How can you fail when you but ask for what He wills for you? And how could your request be limited to you alone? No gift of God can be unshared. It is this attribute that sets the gifts of God apart from every dream that ever seemed to take the place of truth.
- No one can lose and everyone must gain whenever any gift of God has been requested and received by anyone. God gives but to unite. To take away is meaningless to Him. And when it is as meaningless to you, you can be sure you share one Will with Him, and He with you. And you will also know you share one Will with all your brothers, whose intent is yours.
- 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. With Help like this beside us, can we fail today as we request the peace of God be given us?
Personal Notes and Application: In today’s lesson Jesus reminds us that as long as we ask for anything of this world, we are asking for dreams. It doesn’t matter if we are asking for money to pay our bills or money to spend on a lavish luxury; it doesn’t matter if we are asking for the Lord to save our marriage for the sake of the children or if we are seeking a new mate who will liven up our love life and take us to new heights of impassioned ecstasy. We are to carefully think about what we believe will bring us comfort and happiness. When we ask God to give us anything from this world, we are not choosing Heaven or the peace of God No matter what form it takes – we either desire things from this world that will bring us temporary satisfaction at best or we pray for God’s peace which is everlasting.
Here in the flesh, I seem to want and need so many things. My husband seems paramount to my happiness; my love for cooking is only surpassed by my love for eating. I love my house, my car, my garden. I love our kids and grandkids. When too many days go by and I do not hear their voice or see their faces, I get a sad and lonely feeling. The estrangement of my sister weighs heavily upon me; how could I ever experience peace or enjoy my life without her love and affection? I have a bucket list with all the things I want to do before I die – walk Hadrian’s Wall, visit Italy, master making the perfect bagel…
Today I lay that all aside. I know that there is nothing in the world – the love of my cherished husband, my older sister, our kids and grandkids, the Roman wall, the olive groves of Italy, and no homemade bagel this side of heaven which is going to give me everlasting peace or even the tiniest bit of Heaven. It does not work that way. I either desire the world and the things in the world or I desire God and the peace of God.
There comes a time when we start to grasp this concept and understand why there can be no compromise. As long as we seek the things that the world has to offer us we are closing our minds to who and what we really are, we are accepting the identity which the world has given us – a body with its never-ending, never-satisfied lists of needs, wants, desires, and lusts. Identifying with the body keeps us on a go-round of always living for the next fix. This is not peace. This is not joy. This is not Heaven.
There is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying one’s dream, of having a happy dream, abundant and well-spent in time. Love, food, travel, cooking, adventures…there is no sin involved in any of it. But we do not confuse this with the true desires of our heart and mind.
We know the peace of God when we understand our unity, when to take anything away becomes as meaningless to us as it is with God, when all we want is to share God’s Will and there is goodwill for all and to all.
May the peace of God be yours today.
A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 185. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
Audio credit: http://www.eckiefriar.com