Lesson 185 2021

Lesson 185

I want the peace of God.

1. To say these words is nothing. ²But to mean these words is everything. ³If 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. ⁴Heaven would be completely given back to full awareness, memory of God entirely restored, the resurrection of all creation fully recognized.

2. No one can mean these words and not be healed. ²He cannot play with dreams, nor think he is himself a dream. ³He cannot make a hell and think it real. ⁴He wants the peace of God, and it is given him. ⁵For that is all he wants, and that is all he will receive. ⁶Many have said these words. ⁷But few indeed have meant them. ⁸You have but to look upon the world you see around you to be sure how very few they are. ⁹The world would be completely changed, should any two agree these words express the only thing they want.

I say that the peace of God is everything I want but clearly it is not. Not yet, anyway. Because I am willing that the peace of God be the only thing I want, when I have chosen something else to be of value to me, I am shown my error. I notice it as soon as I really want to notice it. This morning I had that experience. I wasn’t thinking about politics but I had a clear understanding that my desire for one politician over the other was something I wanted that wasn’t the peace of God. In fact, it was a desire that leads directly opposite to peace. If that desire arises in me again, I know that I will release it in favor of my true desire, the peace of God.

Another way I become aware of what I think I want in the world is to notice those “I wish” thoughts or the idea that I could be happy if only something specific would happen. I have pain in my lower back from pulling a muscle. I stand up after sitting at the computer for an hour and I groan as the pain seems to pulsate in my back and I stand there waiting for it to subside enough that I can walk. I wish it would heal up. Or I want the peace of God. Which one? That doesn’t mean that I am asking for the pain to stay. It only means that I don’t think that the pain leaving is my salvation. My goal is not to be pain free, it is to have the peace of God. And yet, Jesus says that when I mean these words, I will be healed.

3. Two minds with one intent become so strong that what they will becomes the Will of God. ²For minds can only join in truth. ³In dreams, no two can share the same intent. ⁴To each, the hero of the dream is different; the outcome wanted not the same for both. ⁵Loser 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.

4. Yet compromise alone a dream can bring. ²Sometimes it takes the form of union, but only the form. ³The meaning must escape the dream, for compromising is the goal of dreaming. ⁴Minds cannot unite in dreams. ⁵They merely bargain. ⁶And what bargain can give them the peace of God? ⁷Illusions come to take His place. ⁸And what He means is lost to sleeping minds intent on compromise, each to his gain and to another’s loss.

I am drawn to the idea that minds joined are incredibly powerful and that they can only join in truth. I understand why this is so. Minds that are drawn to illusion can never join because their illusions are different. We tend to bargain rather than join, each trying to get their personal needs met at the expense of the other. When I was last married, I saw this in action. He liked to socialize; I liked a quiet evening at home. He liked to drink and party; I like to watch TV with the family or play board games with the kids. Only one of us could have our way so whatever the compromise, someone always lost.

5. To mean you want the peace of God is to renounce all dreams. ²For no one means these words who wants illusions, and who therefore seeks the means which bring illusions. ³He has looked on them, and found them wanting. ⁴Now he seeks to go beyond them, recognizing that another dream would offer nothing more than all the others. ⁵Dreams are one to him. ⁶And he has learned their only difference is one of form, for one will bring the same despair and misery as do the rest.

It took a long time for me to renounce all dreams as having value. I clung to my special relationships and while I was ok with not being rich and famous, I did want to be comfortable and respected. Always there was a compromise, never fully committing to one or the other. I am so done with illusions now. Or am I? I still want a reasonably healthy body and I hate pain. This means that if I am in pain or am sick, I lose the peace of God and have to reassess my goals and recommit. But the work is paying off and I am moving quickly to the one goal in every circumstance.

6. The mind which means that all it wants is peace must join with other minds, for that is how peace is obtained. ²And 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. ³Whatever form the lesson takes is planned for him in such a way that he can not mistake it, if his asking is sincere. ⁴But if he asks without sincerity, there is no form in which the lesson will meet with acceptance and be truly learned.

7. Let us today devote our practicing to recognizing that we really mean the words we say. ²We want the peace of God. ³This is no idle wish. ⁴These words do not request another dream be given us. ⁵They 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. ⁶To 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.

Every day I revisit this idea. Every day I watch my mind for signs that I have compromised my goal and that I want a different illusion rather than full healing of my mind. I am not going to ask that I have a dream of more money rather than less, or better health rather than poor health. They are all dreams, all illusions. I want only the peace of God. Every day I am more certain that this is the only goal I have or want.

8. Today devote your practice periods to careful searching of your mind, to find the dreams you cherish still. ²What do you ask for in your heart? ³Forget the words you use in making your requests. ⁴Consider but what you believe will comfort you, and bring you happiness. ⁵But be you not dismayed by lingering illusions, for their form is not what matters now. ⁶Let not some dreams be more acceptable, reserving shame and secrecy for others. ⁷They are one. ⁸And 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?”

9. This is the choice you make. ²Be not deceived that it is otherwise. ³No compromise is possible in this. ⁴You choose God’s peace, or you have asked for dreams. ⁵And dreams will come as you requested them. ⁶Yet will God’s peace come just as certainly, and to remain with you forever. ⁷It 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.

Ah, as I was reading these paragraphs, I noticed another compromise. I want my children to outlive me. I want them to be happy. I know from experience that I can be happy even if they are not, but I prefer they are happy. If I had the power to make them happy, I would absolutely do it. They did not come here for me to make them happy and they would gain nothing in my doing so. I know this and I see that I still believe I need this for them in order for me to be happy. I ask that my mind be healed of the belief that this dream is the one I am holding out for, the dream that makes all the nightmares worthwhile. No more dreams. The peace of God is everything I want.

10. You want the peace of God. ²And so do all who seem to seek for dreams. ³For them as well as for yourself, you ask but this when you make this request with deep sincerity. ⁴For 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. ⁵You 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. ⁶Help has been given you. ⁷And would you not avail yourself of it by sharing it?

11. No one who truly seeks the peace of God can fail to find it. ²For he merely asks that he deceive himself no longer by denying to himself what is God’s Will. ³Who can remain unsatisfied who asks for what he has already? ⁴Who could be unanswered who requests an answer which is his to give? ⁵The peace of God is yours.

The truth is that everyone wants the peace of God even if they are unaware that this is the answer to all their prayers, all their desires. I only need join my desire for the peace of God to theirs for it to take on more certainty and more power. I want for everyone what I want for myself, the peace of God.

12. For you was peace created, given you by its Creator, and established as His Own eternal gift. ²How can you fail, when you but ask for what He wills for you? ³And how could your request be limited to you alone? ⁴No gift of God can be unshared. ⁵It is this attribute that sets the gifts of God apart from every dream that ever seemed to take the place of truth.

13. No one can lose and everyone must gain whenever any gift of God has been requested and received by anyone. ²God gives but to unite. ³To take away is meaningless to Him. ⁴And when it is as meaningless to you, you can be sure you share one Will with Him, and He with you. ⁵And you will also know you share one Will with all your brothers, whose intent is yours.

14. 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. ²With Help like this beside us, can we fail today as we request the peace of God be given us?

(ACIM, W-185.1:1–14:2)

When I accept the peace of God as my one goal, the aim of all my living here, I accept it for everyone. In this we truly join. Peace is a gift of God and God gives only to unite so it is given to all.