V. B. To Have Peace, Teach Peace to Learn It, P 5
5 The way out of conflict between two opposing thought systems is clearly to choose one and relinquish the other. If you identify with your thought system, and you cannot escape this, and if you accept two thought systems which are in complete disagreement, peace of mind is impossible. If you teach both, which you will surely do as long as you accept both, you are teaching conflict and learning it. Yet you do want peace, or you would not have called upon the Voice for peace to help you. Its lesson is not insane; the conflict is.
It seems self evident to state that the way out of two opposing thought systems is to choose one and relinquish the other, but if you are trying to do this, you probably have noticed that while the concept is simple, it is not always that easy. Using the same power of creation that is our inheritance we have made a complex illusion and we have done an excellent job of hiding the path out. Knowing the day would come when we were ready to go home, the Guide was given us by our Father. It is in the mind patiently waiting on our call for help.
Lesson 22 in the Workbook says we can escape from the world we see by giving up our attack thoughts. Then it gives us the steps that take us out of the illusion. We have only two things to do; recognize the attack thoughts in our mind, and want to let them go. This is something we can all do. It requires only willingness, and our willingness will increase as we use it.
The only reason any of us are still in the illusion is because we are conflicted about what we want. We want peace, but at the same time we want to attack ourselves and others. How can we be at peace if we are at war? Have you ever gone to bed at night feeling disappointed in yourself that you did not remember to do your lesson that day, or that you were harsh with a co-worker? That is an attack thought and you are at war with yourself.
Before I became vigilant for these attack thoughts I often didn’t recognize that they were attack thoughts. When I did see an attack thought I didn’t correlate it to the way I felt. For instance, it felt perfectly natural to me to judge myself. If I didn’t remember to do my Lesson I never considered any reaction other than judgment and self condemnation.
I started and stopped the Lessons many times over the years because of this behavior. I would get to a lesson that I felt resistant to and would “forget” to do it, or would not do it very well. I would judge myself for it and would fear I could never do this and so was condemned to repeat this life over and over and never get out of it. I was conflicted because I knew I wanted to wake up, but I also wanted to avoid the lessons that scared me.
It was a miserable place to be. Truly it is like a war is being waged in my own mind. The way I handled it was to stop doing the lessons, then my desire to wake up would kick in and I would start over. No wonder I spent years being depressed. Who wouldn’t be under these circumstances?
Because I am ready to wake up, I kept doing the Lessons, and asking that my mind be healed. At first the conflict was intense because I wanted to avoid waking up almost as much as I wanted to wake up. However, I would watch my thoughts and with the little willingness I had, I would ask for healing. As I did this, my willingness grew and my mind became less conflicted. I learned not to judge the thoughts I found there and that made the process easier. Eventually I could ask with conviction that the Holy Spirit undo what I had done.
I am certain that it is not necessary to take as long as I did to reach that level of conviction. I did it one very small step at a time, and it seems it was necessary for me to do it that way at that time. After all, if I could have done it differently, I would have. But I have since discovered that I can stop chipping away at these obstacles to love’s presence with a toothpick, and just blast them out of my path with a strong desire to be free of conflict.
So now I notice attack thoughts based on beliefs such as lack, loss, neediness, fear, guilt, pain, suffering and death, and instead of asking that my mind be healed of the particular form of that thought, I ask that my mind be healed of the belief driving that thought. For instance, I notice that I am afraid of not having enough money to pay a bill. Instead of asking that my mind be healed of that thought, I recognize that the thought represents fear of loss and lack, and I ask that my mind be healed of the belief in lack and loss.
I couldn’t do that before because I could not believe it was possible to not experience that fear. But chipping away at the many different forms that thought took, and experiencing the healing that came with my sincere desire to be free of a certain thought, I am now ready to know that I can be free of the belief in lack and loss. I am still in conflict because I am still unwilling to fully release the belief in lack and loss, and I still want peace.
I am not as conflicted though, because I have proven to myself over and over that letting go of that belief is an attainable goal, and so my desire for peace is much stronger than it used to be. Now when I notice a thought of loss or lack, I am excited to find it because looking at that thought with the Holy Spirit is my out and I know that I want out. I ask that I be healed of the belief in lack and loss that sourced that particular thought. It is so much easier now to let go.