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Willingness in Place of Understanding

Understanding is not a critical component of awakening. Willingness to be still in the face of doubt is. When we are still in the face of not-knowing, we learn that not-knowing is natural and not dangerous, and we perceive the order of which we are a part. We no longer see a need to impose order, and thus no longer try to impose order.

This fosters what we call “inner peace” because all conflict comes from an attempt to manage life by imposing our own ideas of order on it. Life is what it is – it is what is – and the degree to which we can accept this is the degree to which we will know and experience peace.

For example, A Course in Miracles suggests that time in reality is not sequenced, a concept that generally strains what we accept as true, and so we struggle to make sense of it intellectually ((W-pI.194.4:1-2). This reflects our implicit belief in the power of understanding, of intellectual accomplishment. Yet the course goes on to assure us that we don’t have to understand this idea to make use of it (W-pI.194.4:4).

Nor is this concept limited to time.

You are still convinced that your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth, and makes it what it is. Yet we have emphasized that you need understand nothing. Salvation is easy just because it asks nothing you cannot give right now (T-18.IV.7:5-7).

We need to resign as “the arbiter of what is possible” and “give place to the One Who knows” (T-18.IV.8:2) and then – and only then – will see that what is given is wholly given and nothing remains but acceptance.

So the question is never one of intellectual understanding – which may come later, and which may be helpful in its way – but rather of our willingness to “give right now.” And what is it that we give? We give attention to the present moment as it is. We ask for nothing; we desire wholly only to accept what is already given.

The answer is given. Seek not to answer, but merely to receive the answer as it is given . . . Everything that God wills is not only possible, but has already happened (T-18.IV.5:2-3, 8:4).

There is nothing mystical or magical about this: right here, right now, Creation is sufficient unto the peace that surpasses understanding. We simply need to get out of the way. We need to resign as “the arbiter of what is possible” and “give place to the One Who knows” (T-18.IV.8:2). It is done. Resolve to see this, and you will. Resolve to understand it, and you only postpone inevitable joy.

I am not saying this is easy; it is not. It is simple, but we are bent on complexity. We perceive a strange comfort in the unsolvable mystery, the inescapable maze, the always-scrambled puzzle. Why? Because that is what we make – that is what our brains do. We are as proud of our products as a child is of a crayon drawing.

Yet is only what we make (which is always thought) that renders us frightened, lost, miserable and confused.

Think not you made the world. Illusions, yes! But what is true in earth and Heaven is beyond your naming (W-pI.184.8:1-3).

When we release our habit of adding to reality in order to improve or contain or manage it (i.e., our habit of making illusions), reality (or “truth” or “God” – the word is not the thing) enfolds us so gently and lovingly no other response but joy is possible. Let what is be, and remember again the truth of being.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Hazel November 2, 2014, 8:18 pm

    “We desire wholly only to accept what is already given.”
    Thank you. A welcome reminder, as I was starting to get hooked back into trying to understand what is happening in my life, and make “rational” deductions which would lead to predictions of the future. I do not choose to be ruled by fear any more. But old habits are hard to break. All around me I hear “others” who are still living in “consensual reality”. It sometimes helps me to remember my friend’s suggestion – responding to the ego voice, “thank you, but I choose peace”.

    Your final words brought back that feeling of being gently and lovingly enfolded by God, and the familiar tears of joy.


    • Sean Reagan November 4, 2014, 1:31 am

      You’re welcome, Hazel. I’m glad the post was helpful, in its way. That transition from old habits to the holy instant is not an easy passage, at least when we are on the old habits side of it. My practice mirrors your own: remembering to choose peace when the ego offers only chaos and fear.

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing – I’m very grateful.


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