V. C. Be Vigilant Only for God and His Kingdom, P 3
3 This is a major step toward fundamental change. Yet it still has an aspect of thought reversal, since it implies that there is something you must be vigilant against. It has advanced far from the first lesson, which is merely the beginning of the thought reversal, and also from the second, which is essentially the identification of what is more desirable. This step, which follows from the second as the second follows from the first, emphasizes the dichotomy between the desirable and the undesirable. It therefore makes the ultimate choice inevitable.
Jesus has told us that he teaches through contrast, and nowhere is this more apparent to me than when he teaches me that I want peace. I was so confused that for years I did not even know that peace was what I wanted. I didn’t value peace. I was always focused on winning which is the opposite of peace because to win, I needed to defeat someone or something. Being in opposition guarantees separation stays in place, and this cannot bring me peace because it goes against my nature.
This is an example of how it might have appeared to me in the past. My daughter seemed to be upset with me about something. I didn’t know what it could be and maybe I was just being egocentric as I saw her upset and assume it was directed toward me. But she would not even meet my eyes when we visited and so I thought she was angry with me about something I said or did.
My first thought would have been that I was being unfairly treated because I did nothing to deserve this. I would want her to stop acting like I did something wrong. I would think I needed her to love me and not be angry with me. If none of this happened, I would become depressed about the situation because I could not make her love me or not be angry with me.
Then I would be angry with her. I would try to manipulate her with guilt. I might try the silent treatment. I would try to gather allies who would agree that she was being unfair and a bad daughter. It would never have occurred to me to seek peace, and if it did, I would have placed the burden of my peace on her.
Now I have one desire. I want the peace of God. I want the peace of God more than I want anything else. I want to have peace and so I teach peace to have it. The situation is the same. I see signs my daughter is upset with me. I ask if there is anything she wants to talk about and she rejects that offer. I watch my thoughts and feelings.
Her rejection feels personal and so I feel rejected. I cannot be rejected so I must be listening to the ego version of the story. I hand this over to the Holy Spirit to heal for me. I want the peace of God. I want my daughter to be healed, too, but I realize that I cannot do this for her. I feel helpless. I ask that my mind be healed of the belief I could be helpless and I am reminded that my daughter cannot be helpless either.
I will teach what I want to learn. My daughter is having her story. That is all that is happening here. The ultimate ending of all stories is God. Nothing to worry about here. I am at peace. I want only peace. The story cannot bring me peace, nor rob me of peace. It can only be the story. As I choose peace regardless of the direction the story takes, I am teaching peace. Perhaps it is a lesson my daughter is ready for. Because it is a lesson I am ready for, I learn it.
The ego offers me another opportunity to choose war, another chance to win this “argument,” but I am not interested. It tries to scare me with stories of loss. I am not interested. If I become attracted to any of its enticements, I will ask for correction and return to peace. I will do this as often as I need to. This is how my life is different now that I realize that peace is all I want. The contrast between my life now that peace is my goal, and the life I lived when I thought winning was my goal is so stark that I cannot miss the lesson.