It’s fairly safe to say, we are all searching for peace, whether we know it or not. The Course teaches that salvation is the only way in which we can find peace of mind. (W-pI.65.2:3) Yet, how do we practice salvation?
Salvation and forgiveness are the same. (W-pI.99.1:1) Thus, salvation, being forgiveness, is looking past our distorted view of the world, our perceptual errors. (ACIM, 2007, pg. xi) It is a letting go of the past and the future and being with what is. Salvation, or forgiveness, is our only function (W-pI.65) and the only way we can reach our goal, peace of mind. (W-pI.65.2:3) Yet we have taken on so many competing goals, for example, family goals, work goals, household goals, life goals, even spiritual goals. These goals reflect things we want to achieve in the world and are predicated on our distorted world view, not on salvation.
To find peace, we need to look past this distorted world view and learn to drop thoughts about the lingering past and the looming future. We need to be willing to sit with a quiet, forgiving mind to open the door for peace. Yet when we take time to be present, to quiet our mind, as in meditation for example, we are flooded with a constant “mental dialogue” that many of us call chatter (Singer, 2007, p. 7)
Most of us have, at least at some point, viewed the chatter with frustration and annoyance, even to a point where we gave up trying to meditate.
The Course provides an alternative view for this chatter. “Rather, try to uncover each thought that arises to interfere with [salvation]. Note each one as it comes to you, with as little involvement or concern as possible, dismissing each one by telling yourself: This thought reflects a goal that is preventing me from accepting my only function.” (W-pI.65.5:4-6)
As an exercise, close your eyes and quiet your mind. When chatter arises, note the goal of the chatter and say to yourself, “This thought reflects a goal that is preventing me from accepting my only function.” Then let the thought drop.
As I watch my mind, I have mental dialogue about what I will say to someone to resolve a situation at work. I note that the goal is to resolve an issue. I say to myself, “This thought reflects a goal that is preventing me from accepting my only function.” I let that thought drop. Quiet.
Then more chatter about how I need to do something; the goal, to complete a task. “This thought reflects a goal that is preventing me from accepting my only function.” I let the thought drop; I forgive. Quiet.
Chatter again, this time the chatter is about the steps I will follow to do a project; the goal, to complete the project. At this point I notice that I believe that getting these things said or completed helps me reach a goal in the world. I also recognize that these world-based goals give me a false sense of peace of mind. There are only more goals to achieve, each giving me a sense of achievement, but no peace. I want out of this rat race.
Going back to the Course, my real function, salvation, is the ONLY way to find peace of mind. “’My only function is the one God gave me.’ This is the only way in which you can find peace of mind.” (W-pI.65.2:3)
Thus, it might be as instructive for you as it was for me to take some time to recognize the goals you have substituted for your only real goal. Recognize that your thoughts reflect goals that are preventing you from accepting your only function. After you have done this for a while, “interfering thoughts will become harder to find.” (W-pI.65.6:1) Then tell yourself, “On this clean slate let my true function be written for me.” (W-pI.65.6:3-4)
Even more important than the words, “try to get the sense of being willing to have your illusions of purpose be replaced by truth.” (W-pI.65.6:5) Take on the willingness to forgive. Let go of past and future thoughts that reflect world goals. Let them drop, forgive them, and simply be with what is. Recognize the peace that comes with being with what is, with a willingness to forgive. Be willing to forgive the goals you have substituted for your only goal. Recognize that salvation is your only function to reach peace of mind. And, remember that, “My only function is the one God gave me. I want no other and I have no other.” (W-pI.65.8:2-3) Adopting and living in this recognition offers us escape from all of our perceived difficulties. (W-pI.65.3:2)
References:Singer, M.A. (2007). The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.
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